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CBS (ended 1975)

What year does Gunsmoke take place in

  • Avatar of CTQprotector

    CTQprotector

    [1]Dec 4, 2005
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    I am just wondering what years was Gunsmoke suppose to take place in?
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  • Avatar of Random862

    Random862

    [2]Dec 5, 2005
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    I don't think it was specified exactly, but it appears to be around the same time as Bonanza, and that is mid 1800's.
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  • Avatar of Tascosa

    Tascosa

    [3]Dec 5, 2005
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    According to what's said in several episodes, 1870's and 80's.
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  • Avatar of fhfan

    fhfan

    [4]Dec 12, 2005
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    Dodge City became a town in 1871. They lived on the hide trade for about 8-10 years as the buffalo were slaughtered.

    When that was fading, a dry land branch of the Western Trail was becoming popular to cut off distance and to accommodate the new tracks laid into and through Dodge. The trail drives up from Texas ran through Dodge mainly from about 1878-1889. "Texas Fever" pretty much put and end to the drives. Cattle from Texas brought up a parasite in the ticks which spread to the local cattle. The Texas herds were somewhat immune due to contracting it at a young age. The local herds were devastated.

    Strict quarantines were put in place to limit where the Texas herds could go. At the same time, the spread of the train lines helped to give better access without requiring such a long drive.

    The Gunsmoke episode Thirty a Month and Found does deal with the death of the trail drives. It takes place in the last season which aired. I've always thought of it as a kind of death knoll to Gunsmoke itself. With the changing of the times, so was the changing of the culture of Dodge City itself.

    Of what need was there for a Marshall of Dillon's skills when the sources of crime and social instability were drying up and Dodge was becoming civilized instead of a frontier.

    In 1890, the United States officially closed it's frontier.
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  • Avatar of BCzar

    BCzar

    [5]Dec 20, 2005
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    I was always wondering if the series made it to the Twentieth Century. I thought that it took place about 100 years prior to when the series aired, but I only heard them mention the Civil War in passing. Plus, it did look as if slavery was over during the action.
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  • Avatar of gunsmokefan

    gunsmokefan

    [6]Dec 20, 2005
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    The Civil War was talked about quite a bit, with both Matt and Chester as enlisted soldiers. Matt was in the Calvary and Chester was a cook. Also there were many ex-slaves serving at Ft. Dodge that were mentioned in some episodes.
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  • Avatar of port5170

    port5170

    [7]Mar 9, 2006
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    I don't remember an exact date ever, late 1870 early 1880s at first
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  • Avatar of fhfan

    fhfan

    [8]Mar 28, 2006
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    There is a big problem with dates and time continuity in Gunsmoke, so don't even try to make sense of it. One fan in the old TVtome threads quoted the several dates and decided that for things to fit, there had to be a time warp. :-)

    In Island in the Desert, at the end Festus notes that the year is (I believe), 1873. This was in Season 20 of the program.

    In other programs throughout the show's run, the year was mentioned also. Keep an eye on the grave markers.

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  • Avatar of jmikeh

    jmikeh

    [9]Sep 23, 2006
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    If you go by the 3rd episode, Word of Honor, it's at least 1882.  That is what is on Frank Gouch's headstone on boothill.

    http://jmikeh.com/gunsmoke/wohboothill.jpg
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  • Avatar of TasForMayor

    TasForMayor

    [10]Sep 25, 2006
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    It was many years wasn't it?
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  • Avatar of tvking1

    tvking1

    [11]Oct 15, 2006
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    All long-running series tend to lose their sense of continuity after a while. Look at M*A*S*H. It took place entirely during the three-year Korean War, 1950-53, yet the series lasted 11 years. All we know for sure about Gunsmoke is that it took place sometime after the Civil War.
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  • Avatar of jmikeh

    jmikeh

    [12]Oct 22, 2006
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    tvking1 wrote:
    All long-running series tend to lose their sense of continuity after a while. Look at M*A*S*H. It took place entirely during the three-year Korean War, 1950-53, yet the series lasted 11 years. All we know for sure about Gunsmoke is that it took place sometime after the Civil War.



    So true. It's useless to try and figure out Gunsmoke's 'Nontinuity'
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  • Avatar of ingary

    ingary

    [13]Nov 8, 2006
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    Time warp is right.  Dates ranged from about 1865-78, but they weren't in any sort of order.  In fact, the supposed latest episode takes place in the first season.  Here are a few of the dates I've been able to pin-point.

    One of the first episodes to have a specific date was Reunion '78 (Season 1).  I hope the year is obvious.

    In The Avengers (Season 11), Richard Storm's headstone is dated August(?) 1872.

    In Mannon (Season 14), Kitty says that the (Civil) War ended ten years earlier.  This would place the episode in 1875.  (Hey, there's one that makes sense!)

    And (I'm only about 90% sure on this one, so please don't fault me if I'm wrong) in The Fourth Victim (Season 20), Matt recieves a telegram dated 1865.

    Talk about screwed up.

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  • Avatar of ingary

    ingary

    [14]Jan 23, 2007
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    I received Gunsmoke Season 2 as a Christmas gift and found another date.

    Custer (Season 2) takes place shortly before the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

    Edited on 01/23/2007 11:02pm
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  • Avatar of tvking1

    tvking1

    [15]Jul 15, 2007
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    If there had been any continuity, then by the end of the series the streets of Dodge would have been paved, andMatt would have been driving a car instead of using a horse to get around.
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  • Avatar of moonsailor

    moonsailor

    [16]Aug 7, 2007
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    Yea I Just got the first seson episodes. In the first couple of shows from season one, Matt is on Boot Hill, there are several graves marked from the 1880`s. It would seem as you move forward in the show, time moves backwards.
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  • Avatar of ingary

    ingary

    [17]Aug 10, 2007
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    But only sometimes : )
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