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For those who grew up with Gunsmoke's full-hour color episodes, this first season will be something of a revelation. The show is in black and white, and, at a half-hour, lean and gritty. Not that Dodge City is Deadwood, by any means, but its reputation as "the Gomorrah of the plains," as Dillon notes in the first episode, is well earned. Most episodes begin with Dillon setting the stage, Dragnet-style, like a frontier Joe Friday. "A man will choose his gun quicker to make a point than he'll draw on his logic," he ruminates at one point. "That's where I come in." Gunsmoke has its share of shootouts and traditional Western action, but the best episodes are gripping psychological dramas. In "Reward for Matt," the embittered widow of a racist Dillon was forced to gun down puts a price on his head. In "The Killer," Dillon exposes a gunslinger (guest star Charles Bronson) for the coward he is. Even an otherwise light-hearted holiday episode, "Magnus," in which Chester's backwards, backwoods brother comes to visit, is darkened by a twisted man gunning for "wicked" dance hall woman Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake), queen of the Longbranch saloon (and a close friend of the marshaljust how close is only hinted at). John Wayne was right: More than 50 years later, Gunsmoke remains "the best thing of its kind to come along." --Donald Liebenson
More TV Westerns
50th Anniversary Collection
Love Gunsmoke! I am enjoying this DVD tremendously. I just bought season 2 and am anxious to watch it.
I do recommend it.
I have loved every minute of every episode. But now that Amazon UK can get the imports from America I shall get it that way as it would be easier.Published 1 month ago by Emmint
Defective DVD -- Disk 1.
I love Gunsmoke. It's my favorite Western show. I purchased Season 1 over a month ago but only had the opportunity to start watching it this past... Read more
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|In What Season Did the Hour-Long Programs Start?||
"Gunsmoke" went to a one-hour format for the 1961-1962 season. CBS continued to air repeats of the half-hour episodes for a time under the title "Marshal Dillon", and the half-hour episodes are still sold to local stations and other buyers under that title. Sadly, though,... Read More
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