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With James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis. Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in the rough and tumble Dodge City. The series started out as a half-hour show, and expanded to an hour in its seventh season. Prior to Gunsmoke (and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which premiered the same week), Western shows generally focused on fantasy characters such as the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy, holdovers from movie and radio serials. Gunsmoke was one of the earliest “adult Westerns,” centering around the exploits of Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) in the frontier town of Dodge City, Kan. in 1973. His kindly companion was Doc Adams (Milburn Stone), the town physician who spent many hours chugging beers at the Long Branch Saloon, owned and operated by the shapely Kitty Russell. Over the years there were several changes in the supporting cast, most notably the replacement of Matt’s loyal deputy, Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver), with hillbilly deputy Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis). A young gunfighter, Tom Clegg, forces farmer Abe Curry into a duel and kills him. Matt can’t arrest Clegg since Abe drew first. However, Abe’s brother Morgan plots revenge. Morgan, who is unarmed, follows Clegg constantly. Clegg soon grows tired of it and attempts to take care of his problem.

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