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Gunsmoke was originally a radio series, but when CBS television decided to put it on television John Wayne introduced it. The actor William Conrad portrayed Marshall Dillon when Gunsmoke was on radio. CBS wanted John Wayne in the lead. However, at that time in Hollywood, doing a television series was considered a step down for any movie star. But John Wayne was the one, who strongly recommended to CBS, that James Arness would be perfect for the lead.

So on Saturday, September 10, 1955, at 10:00 p.m., John Wayne went on national television and introduced Gunsmoke. He also assured the American people that James Arness was perfect for the role of Marshall Dillon. The show was only 30 minutes long for the first 6 years. Then, in 1961 CBS decided to extend it to an hour. The series, in its entirety, lasted 20 years. It was an adult dramatic western television series. There were none on the air at that time. Gunsmoke broke new ground with the format.

The characters in Gunsmoke were easy to like and admire. Marshall Matt Dillon was the sheriff of Dodge City, Kansas. Miss Kitty Russell, Doc Adams and Chester Goode round out the original cast. They were people with values and courage. You could look up to them. The American viewing public welcomed these people into their living rooms every week for twenty years. No western in television history has ever accomplished this feat.

CBS hit gold with Gunsmoke.

Gunsmoke is a series that is currently running and has 20 seasons (770 episodes). The series first aired on September 10, 1955.

Where do I stream Gunsmoke online? Gunsmoke is available for streaming on CBS, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Gunsmoke on demand at Apple TV+, CBS, Sling online.

20 Seasons, 770 Episodes
September 10, 1955
Action & Adventure, Drama
Cast: Dennis Weaver, Ken Curtis, James Arness, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone
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Gunsmoke Full Episode Guide

  • Ann Marie Pugh needs to have a crop planted before her landlord evicts them from the property, but has her hands full trying to get her lazy family to work.

  • A traditional Basque custom, thought to prove one's manhood, causes Manola to be shunned by his people for refusing to fight his father.

  • A wild stallion ruins the dreams of two bronco busters who have risked their lives to raise money to build a ranch in Montana.

  • A preacher from back East intends to build a church for the Native Americans, placing Festus in the middle of a dispute when the townspeople protesting the idea.

  • A shooting in Bedrock has Marshal Matt Dillon sentenced for murder with a life imprisonment and hard labor.

  • The three sons of farmer Hackett are told it is time they wed the women they brought back from Dodge earlier.

  • Marshal Dillon escorts Bessie Sutherland to her Aunt Rachel's home after her parents are killed, but find out she is unwelcome in her house.

  • A school teacher fights to get all the children of Dodge City into school for a good education, something sorely lacking in the area, where the children's parents believe books are a waste of time..

  • Bounty hunters have their aim on Newly and his prisoner, a professional killer, as he escorts him back to Dodge City, forcing them into a strange alliance.

  • A man and his law abiding associates are skinners by trade, but they soon find themselves on the other side of the law when the go beyond the legal rights to do as they please.

  • Gristy Calhoun's survival in the badlands will all depend on a Native American woman when he flees from the partners he has double-crossed and from Marshal Dillon.

  • A once-proud military officer has an unplanned reunion with his daughter, which becomes a painful experience.

  • Ben Snow uses Festus to carry back his hidden gold to civilization to use in fighting an old enemy.

  • Festus is forced to become a human pack animal after being saved by Ben Snow, a half-crazed desert hermit.

  • Outlaw Emmett Kaysinger and his gang will be set free by Judge Kendall if Marshal Dillon doesn't maintain justice by the letter of the law.

  • A town is kept in line by Sheriff Bo Harker, who rules the territory by keeping the citizens in fear with brutality.

  • Matt fears that Doc is slated as the next victim in what appears to be a pattern of random murders in Dodge City.

  • Matt Dillon wants to reform his old friend Chauncey Demon, a former sheriff who has degenerated into a drunk.

  • The three sons of farmer Jed Hackett are ordered by their father to go into Dodge City and come back with prospective wives.

  • An old friend of Matt's is discovered dead along with two other men due to a sequence of tragedies.

  • Matt, Festus and Newly head out tof find their friend Doc when his stagecoach arrives with three passengers missing.

  • A band of former Confederate officers-turned-outlaws hold Doc and saloon owner Lyla Ross as virtual slaves after being kidnapped.

  • Five bank robbers wanted by the Marshal, capture Matt Dillon and hold him for ransom.

  • A widower who planed his revenge against Matt Dillon for the death of his son, a wanted murderer, will get his chance as the Marshal walks into his clutches.

  • After having his gun hand shot up, Marshal Matt Dillon turns in his badge and gun believing he can no longer keep the law and order in Dodge City.

  • Newly gets into a battle with a farmer over the hand of a young woman, who's mother feels neither is worthy of possessing.

  • A down-and-out pool hustler comes to Dodge City in hopes of regaining his reputation, and getting back on his feet financially.

  • Buck Henry Woolf wants revenge against his own uncle who killed his father and stole their savings. Deputy Festus Haggin is also on a search for the killer and to find him before Buck does.

  • A man protects a school teacher's reputation by killing the man who raped her and keeping her secret from Matt, who wants an explanation for the murder.

  • A mercenary gunman is hired to come to Dodge City in the wake of a range war and kill rancher Shaw Anderson, the chief opposition.

  • A town where the citizens have gone out of control is the destination of Matt and a fellow Marshal, who are asked to restore peace.

  • A reformed criminal comes home to his former sweetheart to rekindle their romance.

  • Marshal Dillon and an injured lawman are in danger of an ambush after a jailbreak reunites a family of vicious outlaws, who have already wounded a pursuing Marshal and murdered his Deputy.

  • Newly is frustrated when a fugitive and his Indian wife seek his advice about their sickly baby, but then refuse to take his advice.

  • Billy, a retarded young man, arrives in Dodge City to see his best friend Festus. But Billy is arrested after he attacks and injures a driver who was tormenting a cat.

  • A widow falls in love with a wounded prisoner Matt is escorting at a remote way station.

  • Doc Adams tests Newly's skills with medicine and people when he is asked to check on the families of the backwoods.

  • Marshal Dillon pleas for a female lawyer to defend the Indians accused of murdering the wife of Bear Sanderson.

  • When outlaw Indians burn his home and kill his wife, Bear Sanderson is hell bent on exacting revenge.

  • Festus is en route to Dodge City with a personable thief who plans to escape during the trip to jail.

  • Kitty falls in love with Will Stambridge, a reluctant gunfighter who risked his own life to save hers.

  • A retired gunfighter is trying to live a quiet life with the girl he loves, but is haunted by the reputation he earned as a legendary quick draw.

  • A drunkard is torn between a promise he made with a pair of gunmen, and his own self-respect and a friendship with a young boy.

  • Marshal Dillon, wounded and suffering from amnesia, falls for a widow.

  • Marshal Dillon tries to halt a white slave trader from escaping to Mexico, accompanied by Stella and Marcy, who Matt rescued from their Indian captors.

  • Several settlers and travelers are sold to white mercenaries for slave labor and prostitution after being taken captive by a band of renegade Indians.

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