TV Series | TV-PG | | Western
The beginning sequence with Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) walking around through the graves on Boot Hill and giving the opening narration was taken directly from the radio series.
Good evening. My name's Wayne. Some of you may have seen me before. I hope so. I've been kicking around Hollywood a long time. I've made a lot of pictures out here. All kinds. Some of them have been westerns and that's what I'm here to tell you ...
Matt is called a US Marshal. Kansas became a state in 1861, more than a decade before the series is set. There was only one US district court in Kansas and one marshal assigned to it, plus a number of deputy marshal. All deputies would be based in Hays, the capital, not towns like Dodge. And deputies would enforce federal laws and court orders, and capture federal fugitives. They would not have state or local jurisdiction (like breaking up fights in the Long Branch). At the time of the series Dodge had a town marshal, and a county sheriff with jurisdiction outside the town limits.
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