‘Gunsmoke’: Sam Elliott Appeared Alongside Festus Actor Ken Curtis in This Western

by Madison Miller
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Sam Elliott has been appearing on television and film screens since the ’60s. He is known for his thick and bushy mustache and deep, resonant voice.

In fact, his characteristics and his personality were a match made in heaven for Western films. His first television appearance was in 1969 in “Judd for the Defense.” Later that year he was in an episode of “Lancer.”

Elliott and Ken Curtis in ‘Conagher’

Nearly 20 years later, Elliott appeared alongside Ken Curtis in “Conagher” in 1991. “Conagher” is a made-for-TV film that is based on the book by Louis L’Amour. Sam Elliott was the executive producer of the film and also was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Elliott plays Conn Conagher in the movie. Conagher is a hardworking cowboy that eventually learns of a scheme amongst the ranch hands to steal the boss’s cattle.

He deals with a series of problems and trouble before meeting a lonely woman out in the middle of nowhere. Ken Curtis played Seaborn Tay, one of the cattle ranchers. He is fearful of potentially losing his belongings to the “rustlers.” This was Curtis’ very last role. Curtis died from a heart attack just a few weeks after the film was finished. He is most known for his role as Festus Haggen on “Gunsmoke.”

Sam Elliott Other Co-Star

However, Curtis isn’t the only special co-star for Elliott in the film. He also stars alongside Katharine Ross, his wife since 1984. She is Mrs. Evie Teale, a woman at the isolated homestead.

She is there raising her step-children after her husband left to buy cattle and just never showed up again.

Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross first met in 1978. The two were filming the horror movie “The Legacy” in London. In the film, the two are a couple. It wasn’t all romantic, though. The movie is about a group of guests that are being terrorized at a weird and creepy English estate. The two were also in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” about a decade before that. However, she had the leading role and he was just an extra. The two never really spoke.

“My wife, Katharine Ross, and I both worked on ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, but I didn’t dare try to talk to her then. She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene. It wasn’t until we made ‘The Legacy’ [in 1978] that we actually interacted. We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together. You work past the s–t; you don’t walk away from it. That’s how relationships last,” Elliott said to AARP in 2015.

The two Hollywood icons have been together for over 30 years and have one daughter, Cleo Rose.

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