‘Gunsmoke’: Here’s Why ‘Chester’ Didn’t Carry a Gun

by Joe Rutland
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Actor Dennis Weaver portrayed Chester on CBS’s Western drama “Gunsmoke” for a few seasons. One thing he didn’t do was carry a gun.

Now you’d think that if you live and work in a place like Dodge City, then carrying a gun would be natural. But Chester Goode didn’t do so on “Gunsmoke.” Why?

According to IMDB, Weaver said that Chester didn’t carry a gun on him was “because they wanted him to be non-violent.” If you remember, Chester was sidekick to Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness.

Show producers, though, wanted something to make Chester appear separate from Dillon.

Dennis Weaver Added Limp To ‘Chester’ For ‘Gunsmoke’

Weaver, appearing on a DVD commentary about “Gunsmoke,” said he came up with the idea of giving Chester his famous limp. People tuning in week after week to the Western could then tell that Chester, in a way, was his own man.

Yet Chester was that sidekick to Dillon. Now Weaver stayed on the show from 1955 through 1963, when he went on to do other projects. For another generation of TV viewers, Weaver is best known for playing Marshal Sam McCloud on NBC’s “McCloud.”

Imagine that. Weaver going from playing a sidekick to a marshal, then becoming a marshal himself on his own TV series.

Dennis Weaver died in 2006 from prostate cancer. His off-screen life was dedicated to a number of causes near and ear to his heart.

“Gunsmoke” fans, though, will always remember Chester for his contribution to the long-running CBS drama.

Miss Kitty’s Occupation Not Mentioned On TV Show

Now let’s turn our “Gunsmoke” glasses on another main character, Miss Kitty, played by Amanda Blake. Everyone knows Miss Kitty ran the saloon in Dodge City, where you either could get a stiff drink or cold sarsaparilla.

Before “Gunsmoke” hit CBS’s TV network in 1955, it developed quite a following on radio. Her occupation on the radio was clearly spelled out. She was a madam who ran a house of prostitution.

Do you think that would be something that TV executives in the 1950s would allow on CBS? No.

The show hinted during its first couple of seasons about Miss Kitty’s occupation, but never clearly said it.

Arness, who played Dillon on the “Gunsmoke” TV series, said that show executives dropped those references to make the show more family-friendly. Therefore, Miss Kitty simply became a lady saloon owner.

Outsider.com