Does this scene prove that Matt and Kitty did in fact share a kiss on Gunsmoke?

Despite the wishes of many fans, Dodge City’s most obvious couple never officially got together.

Gunsmoke was many things to many people. It was a look at the triumphs and trials of the American frontier. It was an action-packed series full of shootouts and fistfights. It was both dramatic and raw as well as hilarious and eccentric. It was also one of the most romantic shows on TV without ever revealing whether its star-crossed lovers were actually a couple.

Saloon owner Kitty Russell and U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon had immediate chemistry from the start. The tension every time their eyes met in those early seasons seemed to forecast many romantic storylines to come. But those swoon-worthy episodes never materialized.

Instead, the show kept the audience enthralled, if also a little frustrated, with coy flirting and subtle body language. For almost twenty years!

Gunsmoke famously never featured a kiss between what would be the obvious romantic leads on any other show. Other characters commented on the nature of Matt and Kitty’s relationship, seemingly implying they were in love, but there was a severe lack of physical affection shown between the two – even by Sixties TV standards.

However, eagle-eyed viewers (or perhaps wishful thinkers) will know that the first episode of season 11 provides not only some of the clearest evidence of feelings between Matt and Kitty but also a loving embrace and even a potential kiss.

What would bring out such emotions to the usually stoic streets of Dodge? Marshal Dillon almost dying at the hands of a large horde of outlaws, of course. Matt suffering near-death experiences was a relatively common part of the series, but the events surrounding his presumed-fatal gunshot wounds in “Seven Hours to Dawn” play out in a unique way.

Doc Adams tells the gang’s leader, Mace Gore, played by a calculating John Drew Barrymore, that the Marshal is dead, even though he’s still hanging on by a thread. Kitty is distraught when she hears the news, so much so that even her nefarious tormentor mentions that she and Matt must have been more than friends.

When she finally sees Matt alive at the end of the episode, she runs to him like any romantic partner would. Doc Adams mentions the best thing for Matt now is lots of care and attention, then conveniently leaves them alone. Kitty smiles and says “I’ll just see what I can do about that,” before hugging Matt and… wait for it… drumroll… appearing to, perhaps, maybe, plant a kiss on his cheek.

Not exactly the kiss fans were no doubt hoping for, but compared to most of the other signs of affection seen on the series, it’s practically a full-on smooch!

Do you remember any other rare romantic moments from Gunsmoke?

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?
Close

26 Comments

Post a comment
ELEANOR 19 days ago
Well, what he could have done was to catch Kitty in an embrace and then, wait for it, hold up his hat during the kiss.
FestusFan2312 20 days ago
P. S. Murry Christmas with Jack Elam showcasing his wonderful comedy abilities. At the end he (Jack) kisses Emma Grundy’s hand and Kitty tiptoes up and kisses Matt on the cheek and says “ Merry Christmas cowboy”. In one of the priceless episodes, Quiet Day in Dodge, Kitty and an exhausted Matt are eating supper in her bedroom. Matt passes out asleep and the look Kitty gives Sam as she leaves the Long Branch indicates she had expected more than just food and conversation from Matt.
You really 𝒂𝒓𝒆 an Ultra-Fan!
Bravo!
Bgw 20 days ago
There was an episode where Matt’s feelings were clearly shown. Kitty had been kidnapped and abused (the words Doc used) by an outlaw going after the Marshal. She was in Doc’s office unconscious, and Matt sat by her side holding her hand. At one point he said to the unconscious Kitty “I need you.” That’s a pretty strong response that to me speaks volumes.
StrayCat 20 days ago
The radio version of Gunsmoke had Matt and Kitty getting together many times. In the radio version, Kitty was a Saloon girl. Listeners had to use their imaginations.
Dwight StrayCat 16 days ago
In the radio version, before she and Sam bought the Longbranch (Kitty was the majority owner), they both worked at The Texas Trail saloon. Sam was a bartender, and Kitty was a “hostess.”

When the producer was being interviewed, and pressed about just what Kitty did as a hostess, he replied, “Kitty is exactly what you think she is. She’s somebody that just has to go and see from time to time.”

After becoming owner of the Longbranch, Kitty didn’t seem to work as a “hostess” anymore. However, she did have girls that worked for her that did have rooms above the saloon. I assume Matt continued to go see her on days that they weren’t on the air.
Big3Fan 21 days ago
Matt and Buck. Festus and Ruth. Louie and the bottle.
Andybandit 21 days ago
I wish Kitty and Matt would have kissed and been a couple. They have chemistry.
Pacificsun 21 days ago
What a cool Post! Am surprised it took the MeTV this long to get to it. Having watched Gunsmoke in Primetime because my dad insisted on his favorite Western of all of them. One of the reasons was because of the (never-to-be-fulfilled) romance between Matt and Kitty. He talked about it all the time. Once in awhile would be caught on the edge of his chair, thinking it would be. He was a writer with a good head for stories and plots and characters. And the strongest premise of all was the subject of unrequited love. Twenty years later into the Eighties he was hooked on two soap operas which came on just before the noon news (his unconvincing excuse for turning on the TV during the day!). Soaps were in principle just a continuation of the best suspense played out in Radio, Westerns, and later on even Night-time Soaps in the Eighties. Viewers couldn't get enough.

IMO, when the presentation is done well enough, there's no need to show the visuals. It's all in the head, because imagination makes things even better than reality can! 😉. Meaning, in that clip above, they definitely kissed.
Runeshaper 21 days ago
My dad always mentions how Matt and Kitty never kissed when we talk about Gunsmoke. I feel like Matt and Kitty loved in each in a romantic way. Still, it would have been nice to see that affection before the show ended.
cperrynaples Runeshaper 21 days ago
Well, I always thought they did! Bonus Question: What MeTV star gave Matt a full kiss?
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 20 days ago
Bonus Question: What MeTV star gave Matt a full kiss?
----------------------------------------------------
Michael Learned in “Matt’s Love Story,” Season 19, Episode 3.
harlow1313 21 days ago
There was always a sexual tension between the two, so I particularly like the episode where Festus and Doc lock lips.
Load previous comments
harlow1313 cperrynaples 21 days ago
Doodling Yankee
Pacificsun cperrynaples 21 days ago
You always make me laugh (but in a good way, of course)!!
Pacificsun daDoctah 21 days ago
"The Wild West! Where the men are men! And the women are men.
_____________

Well there were only 3 types of frontier women in Rope Operas. The writers probably built a template, labeled Dame 1 - homestead woman, slaving over a cook stove, trudging water (reference: Little House on the Prairie). Dame 2 - the young and the beautiful, perhaps calculating too (reference: Wild, Wild West). And Dame 3 - the Saloon Gal, shall we say "𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇-𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒐𝒚𝒆𝒅 (reference: Gunsmoke).

Plug in the plot of who gets shot, where. And which female agonizes over all of it. And there you have an "instant" Western!
cperrynaples harlow1313 20 days ago
I think you meant Yankee Doddle! I still remember the last verse: "Roger Ramjet he's our man/ A hero to his nation/ For more adventures just be sure/ To tune in to this station!"
LoveMETV22 21 days ago
Much like any other TV series or Movie. It's just a kiss, created for the audience and hopefully has viewers tuning back in. There are probably romances off screen, but not because of a scripted kiss.
Example: Look at the scripted kiss between Hawkeye and Margaret on M*A*S*H.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 21 days ago
It's probably just me, am prepared to be bashed by a pair of army boots. But I was never impressed with their kiss or insincere connections. The most convincing of motivation that could be offered was in terms of comforting one another when they were in the field trying to shelter one another from the overhead shelling/bombing. But that's only when they thought they were going to die. Otherwise I think they were naturally just too cynical for each other. The history of insults and depreciation and disrespect. Which never should've been that unrelenting, given their professional talent. Their circumstances in Korea didn't justify the relentless personal attacks. And Hotlips' choice in men anyway seemed to explain her inability to value the right men, for the right reasons.

I tend to overthink MASH anyway (duhhh). Meaning 10 to 1 comments against my calling out the death of Henry Blake as well. Being defended on the point of "War is Hell" to which I relented!
I agree. From the first time I saw that episode my first thought was it would never happen. I can see her kissing Trapper. She got drunk once and was flirting with him.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?