CBS (ended 1975)
|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.|
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.
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.