‘Gunsmoke’: Iconic ‘Bonanza’ Location Virginia City Made Appearance in Show

by Evan Reier
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Crossovers in television aren’t anything unheard of. In fact, they’re almost expected. However, when Virginia City appeared in Gunsmoke, it probably surprised fans.

After all, Gunsmoke and its fellow Western Bonanza were essentially competitors. However, in a Season 7 episode of the iconic program, Bonanza’s legendary setting, Virginia City, was the one to cross over.

Per MeTV, it happens in the episode titled, “The Gallows”. Matt Dillon is escorting a murder suspect to Dodge for his trial. However, on the way, Matt is shot and is then assisted in recovery by the suspect.

While the episode touches on justice and doing the right thing, it is probably most memorable for its time in Hays City.

While the town is pretty much identical to Virginia City, the real tell is the Paramount Mountain in the background. As Dillon and the suspect ride into town, it’s as clear as day it’s the same set.

Gunsmoke Was Hard to Work For

The gruffness of Gunsmoke wasn’t just held to the on-screen action. It was just as ruthless in the writers room and around the cast.

To be as revered as Gunsmoke is, it requires near-perfection and diligence. When you factor in 600 episodes and 20 seasons, the amount of writing and work put in is nearly incomprehensible.

This is why Gunsmoke featured writing staff after writing staff. According to IMDB, the moment producers and higher-ups noticed the material was being recycled, a new group or writer was brought in.

This kept the show fresh in a way that many other shows couldn’t. For two decades of episodes, it was basically mandatory.

However, there were exceptions. The most notable was John Meston, who helped create the show. From the early days of Gunsmoke in radio form to it being a full-fledged TV program, Meston was around.

In fact, he wrote 196 episodes for the show. Coupled with the 183 episodes he wrote for radio, his track record is unmatched. With over 181 different writers with credits for the show, Meston was a standout.

Outsider.com