• 'Gunsmoke' was a very popular western series
  • THESE cast members are still alive today
  • The show ran from 1955 to 1975

Saddle up, Western fans! It's time to take a nostalgic ride back to the dusty streets of Dodge City, Kansas, as we uncover the surviving cast members of the legendary TV series 'Gunsmoke'! This show didn't just gallop through the Wild West; it rode into the hearts of viewers for an epic 20 seasons, becoming a cornerstone of classic American television.

Buck Taylor - "Newly O'Brian"

Taylor's impact as "Newly O'Brian," "Matt Dillon"s deputy until the show's end, is notable. In 1981, he received the Western Heritage Award, entering the Cowboy Hall of Fame for his contributions. Beyond acting, Taylor is renowned for his frontier-themed paintings, with one featured on James Arness's autobiography cover.

From 2018 to 2023 he played the role of "Emmett Walsh" in 'Yellowstone'. The show ended after five seasons.

Taylor is also renowned for his paintings, often depicting frontier landscapes and scenarios. According to the DeSoto Times, his co-star James Arness even chose one of Taylor's paintings for the cover of his autobiography.

Roger Ewing - "Thad Greenwood"

At 22, Roger Ewing joined 'Gunsmoke' as a guest star, later becoming a series lead for two years. Despite leaving the show, it continued for another eight years. His debut role impressed producers, positioning him as a potential replacement for James Arness. Ewing's portrayal of "Thad Greenwood" yielded notable episodes, showcasing his versatility.

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Unlike some co-stars, he didn't integrate into the cast post-'Gunsmoke,' choosing a different path after a 1972 film appearance. Ewing shifted focus to photography, ultimately leading a private life away from acting.

William Shatner - "Fred Bateman"

In 1966, William Shatner played the villain "Fred Bateman" in the 'Gunsmoke' episode "Quaker Girl." The storyline involves a gripping pursuit by Roger Ewing's "Thad Greenwood," leading to a Quaker village with added complexity.

The opening act features an excellent and brutal fight between Shatner and Ewing, showcasing their dynamic chemistry. As they reach the Quaker village, the plot takes a twist with each man claiming the other is the wanted criminal, adding unexpected nuances to the drama.

While Shatner's notable role in 'Gunsmoke' highlighted his versatility, he is best remembered for "Captain Kirk" in 'Star Trek,' a role that transcended the show's initial run.Shatner's enduring impact includes leading successful TV shows like 'T.J. Hooker' and 'Boston Legal.'

Kim Darby - "Angel", "Carrie Neely"

Before her iconic role in the Western film 'True Grit,' Kim Darby made notable appearances on 'Gunsmoke,' showcasing her acting versatility. Despite her innocent demeanor, Darby's characters faced the harsh realities of law, criminal behavior, and revenge.

In "The Lure," she played "Carrie Neely," and in the two-parter "Vengeance," she portrayed the good-natured Dodge City girl "Angel." This episode, a favorite of Quentin Tarantino, highlighted Darby's ability to navigate contrasting themes of romance and intense vengeance.

While her output slowed in later years, her contributions in those early decades stand as enduring highlights in her career.

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While the show told every tale you could imagine from the Wild West, it's the stories of these enduring actors that have us tipping our cowboy hats today. They're the ones who keep the spirit of 'Gunsmoke' alive, reminding us of a time when the good guys wore badges, and justice was served with a side of grit.

Let's give a round of applause to these living legends who continue to inspire generations of Western enthusiasts!