American radio (1952–1961) and television (1955–1975) Western drama series

Gunsmoke is an American radio (1952-1961) and television (1955-1975) Western drama series.

Matt Dillon

  • Concerning arresting an abused starving sodbuster wife: "Blaming her would be like blaming the night for being dark."[1]
  • When confronting a cattle rancher who'd committed battery on an Indian boy and cut his tongue out:

Dillon: Just noticed that antelope carcass hanging there in that barn. Looks like a good fat one.
Traych: I just shot it early this morning, down in the bottoms. I've been fixing to cut it up.
Dillon: [skeptically] YOU shot it, huh, Traych?
Traych: Sure I did.
Dillon: With a bow and arrow? That's not a rifle wound.
Traych: I don't know what you mean, Marshal.
Dillon: So YOU'RE the one who hurt that boy.
Traych: It was a mistake, Marshal. One anybody might make. I seen him riding through the bottoms this morning with that carcass on his horse. Firstly, I thought it was one of my calves. So I roped him off, and the horse ran on, and...
Dillon: You took a knife to him.
Traych: I figured it might teach all them thieving Injuns a lesson. I didn't find out 'till later it was a antelope he had.
Dillon: Traych, you are the rottenest man I ever ran into.
Traych: Ah, let's be reasonable, Marshal. There ain't no harm done. He's just a Injun brat, worthless, sneaky--
Dillon: You're under arrest, Traych.
Traych: I reckon I ain't gonna go along with you on that, Marshal. Not while I got a rifle in my hand. Maybe you just better come to your senses.
Dillon: I said, you're under arrest.
Traych: You're talking mighty brave for a man with a gun on him.
Dillon: Don't do it. You haven't got a chance.
Traych: I can try.
[They exchange fire and Traych dies][2]



The character of Chester Goode (1955–1964) was played by Dennis Weaver

  • Commenting of Doc Adams's grumpy disposition: "What's the matter Doc? Someone pull you through a knot hole?"[3]
  • I'll sleep better for it when I do sleep, though, knowing I didn't miss nothin' when I wasn't sleepin', you know."[3]
  • On building a pot of coffee: "Most people just don't know how to make good coffee. In the first place, they boil the water before they put the coffee in. Any fool knows you gotta put the coffee in the cold water and bring them both to a boil together. That way you get all of the flavor. Worst thing they do, they throw away the old grounds after using them once. What they don't know is that they are throwing away the best part. You got to keep them old grounds and you add a little fresh coffee every morning and let her boil. Shoot, you don't make a cup, you build a pot. You don't really get a good pot until you've been usin' it about a week. Then it's coffee!"[3]
  • On observing a prisoner Matt is releasing from jail, Chester addresses the prisoner, "You look like the dogs had you under the house."
  • On a long ride with Matt, Chester declares, "Why I'm so hungry, my stomach is growing teeth."



The character of Festus Haggin (1964–1975), played by Ken Curtis, was known for his colorful back woods banter.

Festus Metaphors[4]

  • Safer than chitlins on a city folk's supper plate.
  • Hotter than a jug full of red ants.
  • If that don't put a clod in your shoe.
  • You couldn't burst a bird's egg with a ball-peen hammer.
  • This here [stew] will grow hair on your elbows.
  • This here [stew] will put muscles in your whiskers.
  • [It's] hot enough to fry a horseshoe.
  • Tighter than the feathers on a prairie chicken's rump.
  • The onliest thing you get from stradlin' the fence is a sore backside.
  • I'll get after you like thunder after lightnin'.
  • How'd you like to be gatherin' eggs and find her nest?
  • Fine as frogs hair.
  • Naked as a plucked prairie chicken.
  • Bleedin' like a stuck hog.
  • He ain't got the gumption to pound sand down a rat hole.
  • I thumped him 'till his ears rang like the liberty bell.
  • Crookeder than a dog's hind leg.
  • Hold `yer taters.
  • [He's] got more friends than a dog's got hairs on his back.
  • Sit there like a boll weevil on a corn cob.
  • [He] draws trouble like a summer melon draws flies.
  • [I] feel better than a barn rooster on a prime hoot.
  • Quiet as a mouse tip toeing.
  • Quiet as on cotton on cottontail.
  • I'll get onto you like ugly on an ape.
  • Hoppin' around like a flea on a hot skillet.
  • You look like a sunfish who flopped.
  • When you learn a thing a day you store up smart.
  • That don't hurt a particle.
  • If you don't call, then you don't see the hand.
  • I made a bigger mess than a sow's bed.
  • Ain't you startin' to itch before you git bit?
  • He can't see past the brim of his hat.
  • Pooch up like an old toad.
  • Rougher than a wagon full of cobs.
  • No more chance than a grass hopper in a hen house.
  • Flatter than a snake through a ringer.
  • I loved that boy like a June morning.
  • Quieter than a gagged gopher.
  • Sincere as a $5 funeral.
  • Show 'em how the cow eat the cabbage.
  • You act like my foot’s asleep
  • Quicker than a rat can run over the roof with a piece of raw liver in his mouth.
  • Does a mule have a tail

Festus's Thesaurus[4]

  • the slovering droops -a cattle disease
  • old scudder -old man
  • featherfoot - sneak
  • slackjaw - talk
  • tater trap - mouth
  • quack - quack - doctor
  • looksome - handsome
  • nub - central point
  • amble - walk
  • palaver - talk
  • soulsome - spiritual
  • glom - grab
  • spell - relieve from duty
  • squeemy - overly sensitive
  • a passel - a lot
  • a poke - a bag
  • grump head - ill tempered
  • bent ear - listen
  • twistee - tornado
  • howdyin' - introducing
  • pooch - puff up
  • whomp - to hit
  • slippery gee-jaw - lie
  • snigger - snicker
  • goosler - your throat
  • palotsome - delicious
  • complexicated - complex
  • wobble water - ``whisky
  • there's a pot a brewin' - trouble
  • roundy - no rough edges


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