Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

in Air Date Order

Southern Methodist University

Collection of Gunsmoke television scripts

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: DeGolyer Library
Title: Collection of Gunsmoke television scripts
Inclusive Dates: 1955-1975
Bulk Dates: 1973-1974
Abstract: This collection is comprised of scripts and drafts of episodes of Gunsmoke, the longest running western series on television. Also included are scripts for unaired episodes, writer Milburn Stone’s contracts and correspondence, and one draft of a pilot for a Gunsmoke spin-off, entitled “The Old Town.” Gunsmoke, starring James Arness, was televised on CBS from 1955-1975.
Accession No: A1986.1369
Extent: 2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

Afternoon reruns of theatrical "B" westerns were the first television appearances of the genre until NBC’s Hopalong Cassidy, adapted from countless Hollywood productions and a radio program, became a children’s favorite in 1949. The first westerns made expressly for television were singing cowboy shows that recycled "B" western stars (e.g. The Gene Autry Show), and formulaic juvenile westerns carried over from successful radio programs (e.g. The Lone Ranger), a trend that continued into the 1950s.

Then in 1955, CBS released the first adult western series, Gunsmoke, adapted from its own groundbreaking radio show whose moral ambiguity and psychologically complex characters broke with the juvenile tradition to address a more mature audience. James Arness was cast in what was to become an iconic leading role as the morose U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon. John Wayne himself introduced the first episode, which proved to be a good marketing strategy, as Gunsmoke stayed in production until 1975, becoming not only the most enduring western series on television, but also the longest running primetime drama.

The success of Gunsmoke prompted the introduction of adult western series on all three networks, resulting in such programs as Cheyenne, Have Gun Will Travel, Maverick, and Rawhide. Television western production peaked in the 1959-60 season with thirty primetime series, but only a handful remained by the 1970s, with Gunsmoke finally going off the air in 1975. Gunsmoke left an enduring legacy, however, with a defining impact on television westerns and a record of twenty years on the air that is still unbroken.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection includes scripts from 45 different episodes of the television western series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). The overwhelming majority of the scripts are from 1973 and 1974, with a small number of scripts from the late 1960s and from 1970. There are 9 undated scripts, which are presumably from the earliest seasons of the show, between 1955 and 1965. For some episodes, up to four different draft versions of the script appear in the collection, ranging from "first draft" to "second/third revised final draft." Also included are scripts for unaired episodes, writer Milburn Stone’s contracts and correspondence, and one draft of a pilot for a Gunsmoke spin-off, entitled “The Old Town.”

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into one series, arranged alphabetically by episode title. Scripts from the same episode (different draft versions) are arranged by date. Note that most folders contain between two and four scripts, so scripts from the same episode may be located in separate folders.

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Restrictions

Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

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Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Western television programs -- United States.
Television plays.
Television scripts.
Gunsmoke (Television program)
Stone, Charles Joseph

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Related Material

Collection of western film scripts (A1986.1387)

Collection of western film pressbooks (A1986.1372x)

Collection of western film posters (Ag1986.0597x)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of Gunsmoke television scripts, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1986.

Gift, Milburn Stone, 2012.

Processing Information

After the original finding aid was completed, Milburn Stone donated scripts written by his father, his father’s contracts, and the script “Kate Heller” in 2012. These scripts were interfiled with the original collection.

Finding aid written by

Anna Banhegyi, 2008. Revised by Cynthia Franco, 2012.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla (2008) and Cynthia Franco (2012).

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:

Scripts are arranged alphabetically by episode title.
Gunsmoke Scripts
Box Folder
1 1 "Abe Blocker" (undated)
"All That" (undated)
2 “Baker’s Dozen” (formerly “The Triplets” written by Charles Stone, 1967), two copies of revised final draft, and correspondence
“The Triplets” (1967), two first drafts, final draft, and 1962 contract for writer Charles J. Stone
3 "Between Two Suns" (1973), first draft
"The Boomer" (draft of unaired episode written by Charles Stone)
"The Busters" (1974), first draft
"The Colonel" (1974), revised final draft
"The Comancheros of Cibola Blanca" (1974), Parts I & II, second draft
4 "The Comancheros of Cibola Blanca" (1974), Parts I & II, final draft
"The Cousin" (undated)
5 "Dangerfield" (1970), final draft
"The Devil's Bounty" (1975), first draft
"The Disciple" (1973), final draft
6 "Eleven Dollars" (1972), final draft
"The Fourth Victim" (1974), first draft
"The Fourth Victim" (1974), second draft
"The Fourth Victim" (1974), revised final draft
7 “The Fugitives” (1972), two copies of revised final draft originally entitled “The Vigil”, one copy signed by cast members
"Half Straight" (undated)
8 "The Hallelujah Man" (1974), first draft
"Hargraves" (1973), final draft
"A Hat" (1967), final draft
9 "The Hiders" (1974), first draft
"In Performance of Duty" (1974), first draft
"In Performance of Duty" (1974), second revised final draft
"In Performance of Duty" (1974), third revised final draft
10 "Indian Ford" (undated)
"The Iron Blood of Courage" (1973), first draft
"The Iron Blood of Courage" (1973), second revised final draft
11 "The Iron Men" (1974), second draft
"The Iron Men" (1974), revised final draft
"J. J. Honegger" (1973), first draft
"Kate Heller" (1963), final draft
12 "Lacey" (undated)
"The Land" (1974), first draft
"The Land" (1974), second draft
13 "The Land" (1974), revised final draft
"Larkin" (1974), first draft
"Larkin" (1974), final draft
Box Folder
2 1 "Like Old Times" (1973), revised final draft
"Luke Rumbaugh" (1973), revised final draft
"The Marryin'" (1974), revised final draft
2 "Milly" (undated)
"The Misfits" (1974), first draft
"The Misfits" (1974), final draft
3 "The Misfits" (1974), revised final draft
"The Misfits" (1974), second revised final draft
"Mister Boswell" (1973), revised final draft
4 "The Moonstone" (1966), second draft
"Newly’s Rounds" (1973), final draft
5 “The Old Town” (1967), script for unaired Gunsmoke spinoff series, with correspondence
6 "Pierce" (undated)
"Saga of Benjamin Brown" (1973), final draft
"The Sharecroppers" (1974), final draft
"The Stringers" (1974), final draft
7 "Trapnell's Son" (1975), final draft
"The Widowmaker" (1973), revised final draft
"Wilderness" (1974), second draft
8 "The Wilderness" (1974), final draft
"The Wilderness" (1974), revised final draft
"The Wiving" (1974), second draft
9 "The Wiving" (1974), revised final draft
"You Have to Dig Deep" (1967), revised final draft

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Selected Scripts
in Air Date Order

These scripts are arranged by air date. Other scripts in the collection never aired. The format of each listing is: Episode Number, Season-Episode, Air Date "Title" Box/Folder
No.-Ep.-AirDate
238, 7-5, 28 Oct. 1961 "All That" Box 1/Fl. 1
No.-Ep.-AirDate
242, 7- 9, 25 Nov. 1961 "Milly" Box 1/Fl. 14
No.-Ep.-AirDate
243, 7-10, 2 Dec. 1961 "Indian Ford" Box 1/Fl. 9
No.-Ep.-AirDate
249, 7-16, 13 Jan. 1962 "Lacey" Box 1/Fl. 11
No.-Ep.-AirDate
253, 7-20, 17 Feb. 1962 "Half Straight" Box 1/Fl. 6
No.-Ep.-AirDate
278, 8-11, 24 Nov. 1962 "Abe Blocker" Box 1/Fl. 1
No.-Ep.-AirDate
288, 8-21, 2 Feb. 1963 "The Cousin" Box 1/Fl. 3
No.-Ep.-AirDate
306, 9-1, 28 Sept. 1963 "Kate Heller" Box 1/Fl. 11
No.-Ep.-AirDate
422, 12-13, 17 Dec. 1966 "The Moonstone", second draft Box 2/Fl. 1
No.-Ep.-AirDate
444, 13- 6, 16 Oct. 1967 "A Hat", final draft Box 1/Fl. 7
No.-Ep.-AirDate
453,13-15, 25 Dec. 1967 “Baker’s Dozen” Box 1/Fl. 2
No.-Ep.-AirDate
570, 18-7, 23 Oct. 1972 "The Fugitives" Box 1/Fl. 7
No.-Ep.-AirDate
571, 18- 8, 30 Oct. 1972 "Eleven Dollars", final draft Box 1/Fl. 5
No.-Ep.-AirDate
592, 19- 5, 8 Oct. 1973 "The Widowmaker", revised final draft Box 2/Fl. 3
No.-Ep.-AirDate
603, 19-16, 21 Jan. 1974 "Like Old Times", revised final draft Box 1/Fl. 13
No.-Ep.-AirDate
606, 19-19, 18 Feb. 1974 "The Iron Blood of Courage",first draft Box 1/Fl. 9
No.-Ep.-AirDate
606, 19-19, 18 Feb. 1974 "The Iron Blood of Courage" Box 1/Fl. 9
No.-Ep.-AirDate
611, 19-24, 1 Apr. 1974 "The Disciple", final draft Box 1/Fl. 4
No.-Ep.-AirDate
614, 20- 3, 23 Sep. 1974 "The Guns of Cibola Blanca" Part I, second draft, Box 1/Fl. 2
No.-Ep.-AirDate
615, 20- 4, 30 Sep. 1974 "The Guns of Cibola Blanca" Part II, second draft Box 1/Fl. 2
No.-Ep.-AirDate
614, 20- 3, 23 Sep. 1974 "The Comancheros of Cibola Blanca" Part I, final draft Box 1/Fl. 3
No.-Ep.-AirDate
615, 20- 4, 30 Sep. 1974 "The Comancheros of Cibola Blanca" Part II, final draft Box 1/Fl. 3
No.-Ep.-AirDate
617, 20- 6, 14 Oct. 1974 "The Wiving" , second draft Box 2/Fl. 4
"The Wiving" , revised final draft Box 2/Fl. 5
No.-Ep.-AirDate
618, 20- 7, 21 Oct. 1974 "The Iron Men", second draft Box 1/Fl. 10
"The Iron Men", revised final draft Box 1/Fl. 10
No.-Ep.-AirDate
619, 20- 8, 4 Nov. 1974 "The Fourth Victim", first draft Box 1/Fl. 5
"The Fourth Victim", second draft Box 1/Fl. 5
"The Fourth Victim", final draft Box 1/Fl. 6
"The Fourth Victim", revised final draft Box 1/Fl. 7
No.-Ep.-AirDate
621, 20-10, 18 Nov. 1974 "In Performance of Duty", first draft Box 1/Fl. 8
"In Performance of Duty", second revised final draft Box 1/8
"In Performance of Duty", third revised final draft Box 1/8
No.-Ep.-AirDate
624, 20-13, 16 Dec. 1974 "The Colonel" , revised final draft Box 1/Fl. 2
No.-Ep.-AirDate
626, 20-15, 13 Jan. 1975 "The Hiders", first draft Box 1/Fl. 8
No.-Ep.-AirDate
627, 20-16, 20 Jan. 1975 "Larkin", first draft Box 1/Fl. 12
"Larkin" , final draft Box 1/Fl. 12
No.-Ep.-AirDate
633, 20-22, 10 Mar. 1975 "The Busters", first draft Box 1/Fl. 2
No.-Ep.-AirDate
635, 20-24, 31 Mar. 1975 "The Sharecroppers", final draft Box 2/Fl. 2

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