Marshall Matt Dillon - An Old-West Hero

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Marshall Matt Dillon - An Old-West Hero

In the 1950s the radio program, Gunsmoke, starred William Conrad as Marshall Matt Dillon. Gunsmoke was set in Dodge City, Kansas between 1872 and 1885, when the Santa Fe Railroad reached town and when the Texas cattle drives were forced to end by local farmers. Known as the Queen of the Cow Towns, the Wicked Little City, and the Gomorrah of the Plains, this little town had the reputation for being a hostile, lawless town where the fastest gun ruled (Gunsmoke). The character Marshall Matt Dillon was modeled after the real lawmen such as Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) who tamed Dodge City. Dillon was laid-back, tried to avoid conflicts, and was tough when the need arose.

Gunsmoke includes the talented actors of Howard McNear (Doc), Parley Baer (Chester) Georgia Ellis (Kitty) along with Dillon who makes up the cast of four main characters. Chester is Dillons middle aged helper who is around him often. Everyone goes to see the town physician, Doc, and visitors and friends alike are able to meet Kitty, a saloon girl, at the Texas Trails. Matt Dillon, with a laid-back personality, liked to peruse the town or just sit on a porch with his buddy, Chester, chatting about the days events. One day, as the two are chatting, their friend Kitty walks up to invite them for a drink in the bar. Sure, why not, they reply. Not much happens at times in their small humble town, except when certain people come around and stir up situations where the Marshall has to be involved. Even when at the doctors office getting a piece of lead removed from his leg, Dillon is easy-going and care-free.

When needing to confront someone, Matt Dillon would rather not approach a situation where conflicts might occur. In one episode, Webb Johnson walks up to Dillon and almost defiantly states that just because Dillon has a star on his chest does not make Johnson afraid of him. Dillon just looks at him, not threatened at all. Knowing Johnson is a big fan of the saloon, Dillon avoids the place at all costs. Another morning, while Chester and Dillon are visiting at Dillons desk, a Mr. Cook runs in looking for someone. He says he wants to kill the person, which is a strange comment to say in front of a federal Marshall. Dillon wants to stay out of this seemingly personal brawl, but as a Marshall, his job is to protect people and stop brutal fights.

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