Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Vol. 2 from Paramount

Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Vol. 2 from Paramount
Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Vol. 2 from Paramount Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Vol. 2 from Paramount (click images to enlarge)

Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Vol. 2 from Paramount

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Description of Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Vol. 2 by Paramount

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Manufacturer Description

Marshal Matt Dillon is responsible for keeping the law and respectability in Dodge City in this western action-drama. Gunsmoke captured the courage, character and spirit of the Western Frontier.

Dodge City has a bad reputation. It’s "the wickedest, cruelest town in Kansas," some Wichita yokel notes in the episode, "Sweet and Sour." "No decent man could stand it more than a day." Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) is a decent man, but he’s got a reputation, too. Residents know not to mess with him. When he tells one alcohol-fueled miscreant to give up his gun in the episode, "Chester’s Murder," the man instantly complies, "Sure, I ain’t that drunk." But it’s not just his marksmanship that distinguishes Dillon. When a former Army officer shows up in Dodge angling for Dillon’s job in "The Man Who Would Be Marshal," Dillon demonstrates his keen grasp of human nature. Rather than arrest a rowdy sodbuster, he allows him to "blow off steam," explaining, "That’s his way of reminding himself he’s a man." But the psychological toll of the dark and bloody side of Dillon’s job is the focus of "Bloody Hands," one of the best episodes in this collection of season-concluding episodes. Dillon kills three bank robbers. It's self-defense, but that doesn’t stop the nightmares, and he resigns. It’s up to his trusty sidekick, Chester (Dennis Weaver) to appeal to his sense of justice. The bad guys, he pleads, "gotta be stopped, and that’s all." And stop 'em Dillon does in his own inimitable style. After punching one man, his friends complain, "You hit him with your fist. We don’t like it." Dillon coolly replies, "How do you know? You haven’t tried it yet" As another bad man remarks in "Cheap Labor," "That ain’t no way for a lawman to talk." Dillon still has a little to learn about women. In "Sweet and Sour," he insists that Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake), who becomes the co-owner of the Longbranch saloon, hire Rena, a pretty newcomer to town. "A pretty face will throw you any time," Kitty cautions. "Her kind spells nothing but trouble." Sure enough, four men are dead after Rena instigates fights over her. Gunsmoke set a new standard for the television western. Dillon is occasionally wrong, innocent people are killed, and not all episodes end with justice served or the expected happy ending. In one episode, a photographer (Sebastian "Mr. French" Cabot) sets up his camera in Dodge City. "It’s authenticity I’m after," he insists. In these half-hour black and white episodes, Gunsmoke achieved it. --Donald Liebenson

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