Dennis Weaver's first movie featured four other future TV stars including James Arness

We give this movie 5 stars!

Before he starred as the lovable Chester Goode on the first nine seasons of the long-running TV western Gunsmoke, Dennis Weaver was a contract player at Universal making $125 a week to act in pretty much anything they wanted, even if it wasn't the best fit.

He told the Archive of American Television, "They wanted to get their money's worth and they put me in everything. It didn’t matter whether I was right for the part or not. I did 14 movies that one year."

Unbeknownst to him or anyone at the time, Weaver's very first Universal movie would prove to be unique in Hollywood history. It brought together five actors that would soon become household names for their work on popular television series, not to mention stars Rock Hudson, Robert Ryan and Julie Adams.

The movie was a post-Civil War Western called Horizons West. Future TV stars James Arness, John McIntire, Raymond Burr, Frances Bavier and, of course, Dennis Weaver filled out the supporting cast.

Arness and Weaver would reunite three years later to star on Gunsmoke. Five years after the film, Burr started playing his most famous role, the titular character in the classic courtroom drama Perry Mason. John McIntire, already a prolific actor, would later lead two popular western series, Wagon Train and The Virginian. Last but certainly not least, Frances Bavier would become everyone's favorite aunt, Aunt Bee, on The Andy Griffith Show.

Weaver also observed to the archive that because of his contract with Universal, he knew Westerns could end up playing a big part in his career.

"It sorta looked like it was leaning in that direction because Universal International was making one Western after another," he said.

Watch Gunsmoke on MeTV!

Monday - Saturday at 1 PM & 1:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


dbalius 50 months ago
12/12 I was a tv child who never really grew up...
Barry22 50 months ago
I just saw an old Western on Tv called Coulumn South. Dennis Weaver was in it, along with Russell Johnson and James Best.
cperrynaples 50 months ago
Universal seemed to be the go-to for TV Westerns in the old days! They produced Wagon Train, Tales Of Wells Fargo, Laramie, and The Virginian, among others. Only Warner Brothers had more oaters! However, the 2 biggies were Bonanza & Gunsmoke and they were network-owned!
melbaby217 50 months ago
I absolutely love Gunsmoke...I’m front and center for every episode. MeTV should do another marathon soon!
PortelaJ 50 months ago
Gunsmoke is my go to western. Really enjoy the black and white episodes. Question though: why in the lilly liver tarnation did Doc have his office on the second floor?? Must’ve been heck taking all those wounded up those dang stairs 🤔
Happy Cinco de Mayo y’all. Continue to stay safe MeTV gang.
Cowgirl PortelaJ 50 months ago
That is a question people have been asking for a whole lot of years. It's a miracle any person with a gunshot or serious injury survived the trip up those stairs.
WandaBaker PortelaJ 39 months ago
Not to mention that Doc was old and limped along.
kenyon667 50 months ago
Love Gunsmoke watch all the episodes some episodes I have seen like the 30 min episode and the ones have Burt Reynolds in which I didn't know also I have not seen episodes in black and white and didn't know that fetus had a girlfriend he started when Chester was on too fantastic show
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?