James Arness Movie Month: How to Watch One of the ‘Gunsmoke’ Icon’s Classic Movies Featuring John Wayne This Weekend

by Thad Mitchell

If you feel like you could use a little James Arness in your life, and who couldn’t, you are in luck as many of his classic movies are coming soon.

It is “James Arness Movie Month” on the INSP Network as the station will celebrate the western icon. INSP took to social media on Monday to let fans know they have plenty of the actor coming up in the near future.

“Surrounded by miles of nothing but frozen wasteland, how long could you survive?” the Instagram post asks. “This Saturday watch the INSP Network premiere of “Island In The Sky,” part of “America’s Marshal: A James Arness Movie Month!”

James Arness fans were to express their excitement over the upcoming television event, replying to the post with enthusiasm. The movie also stars Hollywood legend John Wayne, who was also a close friend to Arness. On more than a couple of occasions, Arnes has given Wayne credit for helping him launch his acting career. The two western icons have appeared in a few things together, including “Island in the Sky.”

“Two of my favorite actors; John Wayne and James Arness!” a fan writes in the post’s comments section.

“With that crew, I would try,” another fan says in answering the social media post’s question. “Such a unique movie.”

The Instagram post also shares a brief clip from “Island in the Sky,” in which both James Arness and John Wayne are featured.

“The rescue mission means life or death,” the movie clip proclaims.

James Arness and John Wayne Team Up for Movie

In “Island in the Sky,” James Arness and John Wayne star as military members trying to survive a harsh climate. After their plane must undergo an emergency landing, the crew must fight for survival in uncharted wildlands. The 1953 classic movie is considered some of Wayne and Arness’s best work. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by author Ernest K. Gann.

James Arness is best known for his role as Matt Dillon in the classic western television show “Gunsmoke.” Standing 6’7″ Arness made Dillon into an intimidating figure who doled out his own brand of western justice. His charge was to protect the people of Dodge City, Kansas, and he did so with great authority. It was “Gunsmoke” that turned James Arness into a legit Hollywood superstar.

“Gunsmoke” was an incredibly popular television show with great staying power, appearing on television for 20 years, from 1955 to 1975. Though a gentle giant by nature, James Arness became a gunslinger each and every time he played Matt Dillon. Unafraid to get his hands dirty, Dillon kept the peace in Dodge City with a pistol at his side.

James Arness died in 2011 at the age of 88.