I guess growing up in the Gunsmoke era meant that I was gently exposed to the rough and tumble West and its struggles with good and evil during my formative years.  Fortunately for me and all the other viewers of this classic TV show that ran for twenty years, we had Matt Dillon to keep everything straight for us.  James Arness brought Matt into our lives and reminded us that things like honor and truth existed even in those dusty corners of early TV westerns.   I find myself pining for Matt Dillon to make an appearance all over again to bring back the code of the West that allowed the good guys to win.  Today’s cop shows that go to great lengths to put the gruesome realities of the crime in your face and those money-making reality shows that leave you wondering whatever happened to common sense,  make it look like nice guys don’t actually stand much of a chance.  Matt Dillon lived on biblical principles and even kept his relationship with Miss Kitty at an always respectable familiarity. He was an honorable man and the producers of the show wanted us to believe in him.  We did.   It was good TV.

Personally, I’m still rooting for the good guys, the ones who respect the ideals of law and order and make all of us feel like we can be safe in our own home town.  It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like for girls growing up now, teenagers with no heroes to speak of, no sense that justice prevails.  If I had to reflect on life from the vantage point of all I see on The Shield or Lost, I might not know where to hang my proverbial cowboy hat because chaos seems to be the order of the day.  The other night, I had a chance to go to the American Idol tour in Orlando.  It was faithful in the sense that it showcased the talents of the fabulous young singers from the TV show.  It was flashy and loud, maybe too loud at times drowning out the powerhouse voices and causing them to have to scream to be heard, but it was  great.  I couldn’t help thinking that if each of us worked as hard as those kids did to give our best to our work, or to our life for God, we’d all be a force to be reckoned with, but that’s for another day.  The point I wanted to make is that the show took on a whole different pace when Scotty McCreery came on with his deep cowboy voice, allowing us to hear the words of his spirited songs and quieting our hearts and minds.  It was just a bit of Matt Dillon walking into town and reminding us to get back to our roots, to hold on to the good.  For me, it was the best part of the show because it wasn’t about glitz and power, but about gentle longings for things we don’t ever want to lose sight of.

Today, remember that the good guys have a Source of Power that nothing can shake and that Source is the one lighting up your heart and soul.  You can step out onto the street, well armed, well prepared, ready to take on the villains.

Meet ‘cha for a sarsparilla!


  1. William Sommerwerck says:

    “Matt Dillon lived on biblical principles and even kept his relationship with Miss Kitty at an always respectable familiarity.”

    In both the radio and TV series, Kitty Russell was (at least at first) a prostitute. Whether this changed when she bought the Long Branch is not clear. However, in the first seasons of the TV show, Matt was sometimes shown walking up or down the stairs to or from Kitty’s room. I doubt he visited her to spend time discussing some fine point of law.

    Jesus said that his followers were obliged to do as he did. When threatened with stoning, he simply walked away. He knew that man, created “in the image and likeness of God” cannot be harmed, or be guilty of harming another. Matt does not understand this, so he is obliged to use his fists or a gun.

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