Gunsmoke

James Arness

Matt Dillon

Generations have grown up with James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon on television's longest running series, Gunsmoke.

Born on May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Arness served his country in Italy during World War II. He was wounded during the battle of Anzio and was awarded the Purple Heart. After his tour of duty in Europe, Arness became a radio announcer in Minnesota in 1945.

After moving to Los Angeles, Arness found work in the movies. His big break came in 1947, when he landed a prime role opposite Loretta Young in The Farmers Daughter. That year he also received parts in numerous westerns. In 1951, Arness appeared in the classic science fiction movie, The Thing.

In the early 1950's, Arness signed a contract with John Wayne's production company, Bat Jack. He made four films with Wayne. His big break came in 1955 when CBS wanted Wayne for the part of Marshal Matt Dillon for a new TV series called Gunsmoke. Wayne declined but suggested his good friend, Arness who stayed with Gunsmoke for 20 years until the show was cancelled in 1975.

After Gunsmoke, Arness starred in the hit television series How the West Was Won from 1977 to 1979 and Big Jim McLain in the early 1980s. He also starred in four Gunsmoke movies that aired on television.

Currently involved with many projects and charities, including the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Arness has received numerous awards and honors. He has twice been made an Honorary United States Marshall. He was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and received numerous Western Heritage Awards. Fans can write to James through his website JamesArness.com where his book James Arness: An Autobiography, with a forward by Burt Reynolds, is also available.

James and his wife Janet live in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles and are actively involved with their family, three sons and three grandchildren.

Character Bio

This 6'7" lawman is the symbol of frontier justice. As the Marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, a small town in the middle of a harsh territory, he brings law and order to a lawless frontier where lynch mobs are the norm. He has a reputation as a fair man and a quick draw. Cattle rustlers, fugitives, stagecoach bandits and gunslingers are among the variety of villains that populate Dodge City and the surrounding territory. He prefers to take these criminals into custody for a fair trial, but those who resist inevitably end up at Percy Crump's, Dodge City's undertaker and furniture maker.

Matt is a bachelor, but he shares a mutual (though platonic) admiration with Kitty Russell, the auburn-haired beauty who owns the Long Branch Saloon.

Gunsmoke TV Schedule

Wednesday
July 27
1:00pm
Chato
When a renegade Indian kills Matt's friend, the Marshal pursues the killer high into the New Mexico mountains.
TV-G
2:00pm
The Noose
A young drifter kidnaps Kitty and holds her captive in a ghost town to lure Doc Adams, Festus and Matt to the area.
TV-G
3:00pm
Stark
The son of a wealthy rancher escapes from prison and is captured by a bounty hunter who attempts to blackmail the youth's family.
TV-G
4:00pm
Sam McTavish, M.D.
Doc Adams considers it a threat to both him and his patients when a woman doctor arrives to become his replacement.
TV-G
Thursday
July 28
1:00pm
Gentry's Law
A heavy-handed land baron refuses to turn his two sons over to Marshal Dillon for a crime they have committed.
TV-G
2:00pm
Snow Train Part 1
Matt, Doc, Festus and several other passengers are trapped on a train by a band of Indians in the snowy Colorado mountains.
TV-G
3:00pm
Snow Train Part 2
Marshal Dillon is cornered by three Sioux Indians as he goes to find help for the freezing passengers of a trapped train.
TV-G
4:00pm
Luke
A seriously wounded old-time outlaw is brought to Dodge City where he tries to find his long-neglected daughter before he dies.
TV-G
Friday
July 29
1:00pm
The Gun
A young man kills a notorious gunfighter in self-defense and becomes the victim of an unscrupulous reporter's publicity buildup.
TV-G
2:00pm
Noon Day Devil
Pursued by Marshal Matt Dillon, a Mexican bandit seeks sanctuary with a priest, his twin brother.
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3:00pm
The Witness
A family is held hostage by the relatives of a killer to prevent them from testifying at his trial.
TV-G
4:00pm
The Scavengers
A black man, to save his own life, must falsely accuse a band of Indians of wiping out a wagon train.
TV-G