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James Arness played the role of U. S. Marshall Matt Dillon for 20 seasons on CBS in the legendary Gunsmoke series. This series was the longest running Western in television history. Gunsmoke has often been described as an adult Western, as sometimes the content touched on serious subjects. Even though the series was supposedly set in Dodge City, sometimes Matt would have to travel out-of-state tracking criminals. Hence, at times lovely mountain or desert scenery provided a welcome change of pace. A dispute arose in the last 1960's and early 1970's about all the violence on televsion and the possible ill effects it might have on society. Hence, for the last few seasons of Gunsmole, the opening sequence of each episode was changed to show Matt facing down a bad guy in the street, but not pulling his gun and firing, as he had done for most of the series. James Arness was a half-brother to actor Peter Graves of Mission Impossible fame. Television's beloved Marshall Dillon was born on May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, MN of Norwegian heritage. James Arness died on June 3, 2011 at age 88 in Los Angeles, CA.

After the conclusion of the series, several made-for-TV Gunsmoke films were made. Matt's daughter gets introduced for the first time, played by lovely Amy Stock-Poynton and she is living in Arizona. She was the result of a brief affair Matt had once when he was injured and had amnesia and lived for a month or so with a woman while he was recuperating. Matt is now retired from his U.S. Marshall duties and so he moves to Arizona to be near to his daughter.

An interesting tidbit is that many years ago Dodge City, KS took a block in their downtown and changed it to look like how Dodge City looked on the Gunsmoke series. The city fathers probably thought that such an act would make for a good tourist attraction.

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