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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

Friday
May 27
1:00pm
Arizona Midnight
A little cowboy astride a giant horse claims that the horse turns into an elephant when the moon is full. Dodge City residents are stunned when they see an elephant, wearing the cowboy's hat, appear in the street.
TV-G
2:00pm
Homecoming
Two outlaw brothers return to Dodge City to visit their dying mother and threaten to take Kitty and Doc as hostages to ensure their safe escape across the border to Mexico. Festus goes to the rescue.
TV-G
3:00pm
Patricia
Newly marries a young woman whom he had courted while both were helping the injured from a Kansas tornado. However, Doc confirms that Patricia is suffering from a life-threatening blood disease.
TV-G
4:00pm
Shadler
After masquerading as a priest, convict Boone Shadler escapes from prison. Newly is forced into an uneasy alliance with Shadler to save a small town from outlaws.
TV-G
Tuesday
May 31
1:00pm
Quiet Day in Dodge
Marshal Dillon has a tough day when he returns to Dodge City with a dangerous prisoner, not having slept for two days, only to face another unbelievable twenty-four hour period.
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2:00pm
Wheland's Men
An outlaw gang terrorized Dodge City duing Marshal Dillon's absence. Miss Kitty boldly challenges the leader to a poker game, with Dillon's life as the stake.
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3:00pm
Kimbro
Matt Dillon learns that the man who taught him everything he knows is now an itinerant drunk reduced to sweeping out stables for whiskey money.
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4:00pm
Jesse
Brock Peters plays an old friend of Festus' , who is now a fugitive from the law.
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Wednesday
June 1
1:00pm
Talbot
An outlaw, named Talbot, falls in love with the widow of a man he has been forced to kill in self-defense.
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2:00pm
This Golden Land
The son of a Russian immigrant, Moshe Gorofsky, is killed in a brutal hazing accident by a hooligan named Ruxton.
TV-G
3:00pm
Women For Sale Part 1
Several settlers and travelers are taken captive by a band of renegade Indians and sold to white mercenaries for slave labor and prostitution.
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4:00pm
Women for Sale Part 2
Marshal Dillon rescues Stella and Marcy from their Indian captor, and they accompany the Marshal as he tries to stop a white-slave trader from escaping to Mexico with his potential slaves.
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