Episodes: 635 (half-hour, hour)
TV show dates: September 10, 1955 – March 31, 1975
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis, Glenn Strange, Dennis Weaver, Buck Taylor, Ted Jordan, and James Nusser.
TV show description:
This legendary Western drama follows Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) as he protects the citizens of Dodge City, Kansas during the settlement of the West. The tales first delighted audiences via radio which led to it being developed into a popular television series.
Dillon and his loyal deputy, Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver), try to keep peace in the town where residents don’t always abide by the rules. They often break up bar brawls, settle gunfights, and investigate land fraud as Dillon seeks to bring villains to justice with honor and respect.
Also living in this frontier town are friends Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake), owner of “The Longbranch” saloon; bartender Sam (Glenn Strange); and Dr. Galen “Doc” Adams (Milburn Stone), who attends to the many wounds inflicted on Dodge City residents. Dillon’s sidekick was later replaced with the lovable Deputy Festus Hagen (Ken Curtis) who comes by way of Dodge to get even with his twin brother’s killer. Later in the series, the role of Dillon’s deputy is filled by characters like Thad Greenwood (Roger Ewing), Quint Asper (Burt Reynolds), and Newly O’Brien (Buck Taylor).
The show ran as 30-minute black and white episodes for its first six years and then transitioned to one-hour color spectacles. It holds the record for being American television’s longest running prime-time drama, having run 20 seasons and 635 episodes.