Here’s a cast and character guide for western TV movie Gunsmoke: The Long Ride. Gunsmoke started as a radio series before becoming one of the longest-running scripted shows in TV history. It ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975 for a total of 635 episodes – a record that was only surpassed by The Simpsons during season 29. The series centered on the exploits of lawman Marshal Dillon and the show was noted for being a little more grounded than other western shows of the era like The Wild Wild West.
Of course, Gunsmoke is a far cry from the likes of Deadwood or Hell On Wheels, but it left a lasting impression on a generation of viewers. Its 1975 cancelation came as a surprise to the cast so a proper series finale didn’t happen. This is one reason James Arness chose to come back for the 1987 TV movie Gunsmoke: Return To Dodge, which continued Dillon’s adventures. Four sequels followed, with 1994’s Gunsmoke: One Man’s Justice bringing the series to a close.
While there were once reports of Brad Pitt and Ryan Reynolds saddling up for a Gunsmoke movie remake years ago, the franchise has yet to return. Gunsmoke: The Long Ride was the penultimate installment and involved Dillon having to clear his name after being accused of 𝕞𝕦𝕣𝕕𝕖𝕣. Here’s a guide to The Long Ride’s cast and characters.
James Arness – Marshal Matt Dillon
James Arness (The Thing From Another World) plays the now retired Marshal Dillon in Gunsmoke: The Long Ride. He’s attending his daughter Beth’s wedding when he’s arrested for 𝕞𝕦𝕣𝕕𝕖𝕣, so he sets out to clear his good name; some gunfights ensue.
Ali MacGraw – “Uncle” Jane Merkel
Ali MacGraw plays “Uncle” Jane, a former prostitute who runs a trading post that helps Dillion out, but later makes a tragic end. MacGraw gives the movie a little comic relief and the actress is perhaps best known for 1970s classics like Love Story and The Getaway.
James Brolin – John Parsley
James Brolin from the original Westworld movie plays John Parsley in Gunsmoke: The Long Ride, a former preacher who is rescued by Marshal Dillion and becomes another ally.
Amy Stoch – Beth Reardon
Amy Stoch (Bill & Ted Face The Music) returns from previous TV movies as Dillon’s daughter Beth, who has her wedding day somewhat spoiled when her father is arrested during the ceremony. Instead of sitting back and letting Matt sort it out himself, she sets out to find evidence that will clear him.
Christopher Bradley – Josh Reardon
Christopher Bradley stars as Beth’s new husband Josh in Gunsmoke: The Long Ride, who helps Beth as she sets out to help Matt; he later returned for Gunsmoke: One Man’s Justice.