I’ve been wondering as I watch re-runs of Gunsmoke how many times over the series 20 year run Matt Dillon has received gunshot wounds. It seems he’s getting shot about every third or fourth episode. I understand there were 635 episodes produced between 1955-75, which would suggest he would display, if he were to appear shirtless and the show’s producers maintained consistency, a fairly perforated torso. Being inclined as I am to pictorial imaginings, Matt’s body would appear, as I envision it, a purplish mottled mass of undifferentiated musculature.

But, of course that’s not what we fans think about, rather we accept the clothed marshal’s obvious physical dominance knowing that the moral order will be maintained in Dodge City and by extension in our world as well.

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