Discuss Gunsmoke

If you watch and listen carefully to the gunfight at the opening of each episode, you'll notice something interesting about the trade-off between speed and accuracy. Dillon starts to draw first, but his opponent actually gets off the first shot. The opponent's shot misses Dillon, but Dillon's shot hits its mark. So Dillon was slower to shoot, but more accurate.

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You might be interested to know what Bat Masterson's views were on this subject ZurichGnome, as written in his 1907 book, Famous gunfighters of the western frontier. Contrary to what the old western tv series would often illustrate, many of the old wests gunfighters weren't particularly good shots, as ammo was too cost prohibitive to allow for such leisurely practice.

Here's the quote:

"Courage to step out and fight to the death with a pistol is but one of three qualities a man must possess in order to last very long in this hazardous business. A man may possess the greatest amount of courage possible and still be a pathetic failure as a “gun fighter,” as men are often called in the West who have gained reputations as “man-killers.” Courage is of little use to a man who essays to arbitrate a difference with the pistol if he is inexperienced in the use of the weapon he is going to use. Then again he may possess both courage and experience and still fail if he lacks deliberation. , Any man who does not possess courage, proficiency in the use of fire-arms, and deliberation had better make up his mind at the beginning to settle his personal differences in some other manner than by an appeal to the pistol. I have known men in the West whose courage could not be questioned and whose expertness with the pistol was simply marvelous, who fell easy victims before men who added deliberation to the other two qualities."

@wanton87 said:

You might be interested to know what Bat Masterson's views were on this subject ZurichGnome, as written in his 1907 book, Famous gunfighters of the western frontier.

". . . I have known men in the West whose courage could not be questioned and whose expertness with the pistol was simply marvelous, who fell easy victims before men who added deliberation to the other two qualities."

Thanks for the info. As Wyatt Earp once said, "Fast is fine but accuracy is final. You must learn to be slow in a hurry."

Were you active on the IMDB Gunsmoke board ZurichGnome? I never posted there, but would read through the threads from time to time. It's too bad that everyone's been sent scattering to different sites, and it killed off some good boards. I did see that someone posted over in the Gunsmoke section over at MovieChat, maybe you know him?

http://www.moviechat.org/movies/tt0047736

@wanton87 said:

Were you active on the IMDB Gunsmoke board ZurichGnome? I never posted there, but would read through the threads from time to time. It's too bad that everyone's been sent scattering to different sites, and it killed off some good boards. I did see that someone posted over in the Gunsmoke section over at MovieChat, maybe you know him?

http://www.moviechat.org/movies/tt0047736

I wasn't a heavy poster on the Gunsmoke boards at IMDb, but posted a bit. I had a lot more activity at the Adventures of Superman (1952-58) board. After looking around at alternatives to IMDb, I've at least temporarily settled at TMDB, partly because some of the regulars from IMDb have started posting here, including the Adventures of Superman board. (I and they kept our screen names and avatars so we'd be able to recognize one another here right away.)

Right now I prefer to invest my time at one site, not several. And this one seems pretty good because it's been around for about 10 years and has a decent amount of content--although I still use IMDb's more complete info on movies, TV shows and actors, directors, etc. Eventually I may depend more on this site for everything, but not yet. The boards are still relatively empty, but they should start to fill up as more refugees from IMDb end up here.

@ZurichGnome said:

Right now I prefer to invest my time at one site, not several.

That would be my preference as well ZurichGnome,which was why IMDB was ideal before it shut down the message boards. I'm going between 3 different boards myself, this site, the Previously TV forums (No Gunsmoke board there yet) and MovieChat. Of the 3, this one is the best at the moment. But MovieChat is really starting to come into its own and is improving daily (It's just over a week old now) and I suspect that it will eventually become my primary site.

As to not derail your thread too badly, I thought that I would add that old west gunfighter John Wesley Hardin evolved his choice of firearms to include the faster firing double action revolvers. The photo below is what he was using towards the end of his career.

Three guns known to have been carried by Hardin are a nickel-plated and ivory-stocked S&W Model 3 First Model Russian top-break (top), a nickel-plated Colt SA with the ejector removed (left), and his favorite pocket pistol, an 1877 Colt self-cocking model in .41 caliber (right). The 1877 model shown is one of Hardin’s actual guns. (1877 model courtesy of the Newlin Estate Collection).

http://files.harrispublications.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/05/wesley-hardin-lead.jpg

@wanton87 said:

As to not derail your thread too badly, I thought that I would add that old west gunfighter John Wesley Hardin evolved his choice of firearms to include the faster firing double action revolvers.

Thanks for the link. I guess there has been some debate over the years about single-action vs. double-action revolvers. Although the DA allows quicker multiple firings, it also requires a longer trigger pull to fire, while a SA trigger pull is shorter and crisper, with less chance for the gun to wiggle off target. I'm not an expert on guns, but I guess it must take a lot of practice to fire a SA accurately multiple times in rapid succession, because cocking the hammer each time takes time and can throw off the aim. In addition to holding more ammo, modern semi-automatics with hidden/internal hammers do seem much better.

Yes, single action is the more accurate of the two modes providing that you have the time to take the shot. The only way to fire a single action very quickly is to fan it, and that's probably even less accurate than firing a double action. Funny, but I just watched an episode of Gunsmoke the other night in which Matt and Chester were shooting out on the range, and Matt made some kind of comment about how inaccurate fanning was, and that you would never hit much of anything that way.

I suppose that these old west gun fighters were generally close enough to one another that accuracy wasn't as important as nerves of steel 😮

Well, I certainly hope this board picks up given time :relaxed:

I hope these boards pick up too.

What would be extremely helpful is if tMDB developed an App for their site like IMDB did. Its very clumsy to use a phone or a tablet on this site.

@JohnSteed said:

I hope these boards pick up too.

What would be extremely helpful is if tMDB developed an App for their site like IMDB did. Its very clumsy to use a phone or a tablet on this site.

I hope to see this happen some time in the near future JohnSteed. Right now I think that we're scattered at too many different sites. For myself, I'm at 3 different sites; this one, MovieChat, and Previously TV.

@ZurichGnome said:

If you watch and listen carefully to the gunfight at the opening of each episode, you'll notice something interesting about the trade-off between speed and accuracy. Dillon starts to draw first, but his opponent actually gets off the first shot. The opponent's shot misses Dillon, but Dillon's shot hits its mark. So Dillon was slower to shoot, but more accurate.

It wasn't clear to me that Dillon fired second after drawing first. I know he drew first, but I didn't seem to hear two distinct shots, one coming from off camera. I thought he drew and fired first, to show how fast he is. Did anyone else hear two shots?

@SixtiesHoldout said:

@ZurichGnome said:

If you watch and listen carefully to the gunfight at the opening of each episode, you'll notice something interesting about the trade-off between speed and accuracy. Dillon starts to draw first, but his opponent actually gets off the first shot. The opponent's shot misses Dillon, but Dillon's shot hits its mark. So Dillon was slower to shoot, but more accurate.

It wasn't clear to me that Dillon fired second after drawing first. I know he drew first, but I didn't seem to hear two distinct shots, one coming from off camera. I thought he drew and fired first, to show how fast he is. Did anyone else hear two shots?

Yeah, I find it hard to tell whether there are two shots or one.

I've listened carefully to that opening, and I don't think I hear two shots. It sounds like Dillon fires, and then there's a brief echo. Visually, Dillon draws before the other guy even starts to draw, and then he fires. I don't think the other guy had enough time to fire. I think they were trying to impress us with Dillon's amazing speed.

I just watched the opening gunfight to a 1962 episode titled “Old Yellow Boots”. To me it seems like the other guy fires first, but the camera pans away at that moment so you can't actually see it, but you can hear it. You then see Matt, who is right behind the guy on the draw, fire and hit his mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8QCFAEBBF8

But this is what really happened :grinning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncgs7JfW_7k

@wanton87 said:

I just watched the opening gunfight to a 1962 episode titled “Old Yellow Boots”. To me it seems like the other guy fires first, but the camera pans away at that moment so you can't actually see it, but you can hear it. You then see Matt, who is right behind the guy on the draw, fire and hit his mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8QCFAEBBF8

I'm pretty sure there were slightly different openings over the years. The one you cite is quite different from the earliest episodes. The other guy clearly fires first in that one; but I've been watching the earliest episodes, and it's done differently, with apparently only one shot by Dillon and nothing else. Maybe they changed it because it seemed too one-sided in the original, where the other guy never even appears to clear leather before being shot.

And yes, I've seen the outtake where Dillon gets killed. The crew did have a sense of humor!

@pt100 said: I'm pretty sure there were slightly different openings over the years. The one you cite is quite different from the earliest episodes.

True pt100. I thought that from the description, that this was the one that everyone was referring to?

In the later episodes, the anti-violence censors did away with these intros, and we got to see Dillon galloping a horse to some background music, or some such scene. Interesting, considering that the overall theme of the show was still the same.

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