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Tall in the Saddle

Updated on December 15, 2014
(rueters.com)
(rueters.com)

By: Wayne Brown

He was a big, strong man, one could see that from afar

Ridin’ that big bay horse, wearing a marshal’s star

His work was the law, not horses, sheep or cattle

He wore a face of confidence and sat tall in the saddle



A man who was mostly quiet but fiercely determined

To rid the west of outlaws and all of their vermin

He was good with a gun and had yet to lose a battle

He wore a face of friendship and sat tall in the saddle



Outlaws and robbers feared the sound of his very name

They ran for their hidey holes and hid their face in shame

But their hiding did not deter him, his sense they couldn’t addle

He wore a face of commitment sitting tall in the saddle



His gun-hand was steady and quick; his aim was deadly true

But he was not prone to shoot a man if other ways would do

Always alert like a rattlesnake just starting its rattle

He wore the face of truth; he sat tall in the saddle



Lawmen come and go; some remembered, some forgotten

Of this man they told tales of his dispersing of the rotten

Of how he protected the innocent, their lives, and their chattel

He wore the face of courage, and he was tall in the saddle



Like all mortal men, death will eventually find his door

But not before his work becomes the tales of lore

His headstone will say it all, no hogwash or prattle

It’ll say he was a lawman and rode tall in the saddle


© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @Coach AT...I agree with all that. I just completed watching the entire 174 episode series on NetFlix. Based on those, it looks like the family or estate owns the rights to the series now as Arness Productions wes tagged to each show in the scroll at the end. I really appreciate that series now more than ever before. There was tremendous continuity in the storyline and the characters and a lot of little historical nuances in wardrobe and scenery. It was really well done. Thanks much! WB

    • profile image

      Coach AT 5 years ago

      After all these years I still watch Gunsmoke. Marshall Dillion would really put it on someone that hit Miss Kitty or Doc. He could punch someone out with one blow.I do think these re-runs will be around for a long time. Arness was a good man on stage and real life. By the way who gets the money from all the re-runs. Coach AT Ret/

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider1...Few actors sit a horse like James Arness,two that come to mind are Clint Eastwood and Tom Selleck. Arness was a fine actor in this role...he was made for it. I think the series is timeless and will be around for eternity. WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      Wayne a fine tribute to a man who sat tall in his saddle indeed. I rarely missed a series of his, I loved his style not only with Miss Kitty but his fairness with the outlaws. If he could talk the outlaw down that was his preference, however if not, then dead eye dick he was with his side iron and the outlaw fell down.

      I never knew he was the brother of Peter Graves until now, WOW and now I can see the resemblance and the voice as well. They were both fine actors, Festus, yup funny dude indeed and great side-kick. Well done Wayne enjoyed the read and all the comments.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Heads up for those who are interested in James's career overall-Turner Classic Movies is airing The Thing From Another World tonight (Sunday) at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @breakfastpop...That's for sure, Poppy! WB

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Loved that man. He was the real deal and Miss Kitty knew it!

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Ghost32...I remember that scene you speak of...Arness had to spread his feet far apart and lean over at the waist to get down to the fighting level...he was a big man. I think that horse he rode on Gunsmoke was one of those Norwegian logging breeds just to hold him up. Loved ol' Festus...what a great character. See, I think I have inspired you to write yet again! LOL! WB

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      Ghost, it was How the West Was Won. I remember that one too. Saw it not too long ago.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Awesome tribute, Wayne. In my head, reading it, it was a rap--and it WORKED.

      My parents, especially, were rabid Gunsmoke fans to the end. (Both passed some years before Arness did.)

      For whatever reason, Shawn Davis used to call ME Festus. What he saw in me that fit, I never quite dared ask. Shawn and I were college rodeo contemporaries, he from Western Montana College and me from Northern Mt. (For those who've no clue, Shawn Davis later proved himself to be one of the all time greats, not only as World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider and college rodeo coach but also as just a remarkable human being.)

      Can't recall the name of the big-screen movie, but do remember my favorite scene of all those Arness ever did. It was some years after Gunsmoke went off the air. Not a gunfight. Bowie knives. Arness had a way of holding himself, deep-crouched, ready to move any direction with that big blade--LOVED it.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @CMerritt...Glad I could give you some cover on a hero Chris. I really love this series...some of the best television on earth...still. WB

      @dahoglund...The early ones are interesting and Dennis Weaver certainly brought a credible part in "Chester" but in the end, I think "Festus" was the one who won our hearts. WB

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I've been seeing reruns of the early Gunsmoke episodes with Dennis Weaver as Chester. I read once that he thought he was going to get the part of Matt Dillon.Someone mentioned that about waiting for Matt and Kitty to get married. There was an old joke I remember.

      Chester asks"When are you and Miss kitty going to get married"

      "I don't know Chester. When you get your leg fixed,I guess."

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Awesome tribute to my first childhood hollywood star....watching Gunsmoke was how my Dad and I first bonded. We always watched it together. Forty five years later we STILL watch an episode or two together from time to time...UP and AWESOME!!!

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @writer20...Gunsmoke is still a great series...watch it all the time. WB

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Thanks for the memory, I fell in love the James Arness watching his every week on British T'V.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I will do that! And don't worry - they don't allow knives on planes.....anymore. Sad. (haha!)

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...Give me a call when you come through and I'll give you a look...but no knives! WB

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I'm planning a trip to Austin in April - but don't be scared! Lol. Lucky you have such fine hair:)

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...Wow, thanks a bunch for that! LOL! WB

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      WB - that's the ultimate compliment:) Thank you!! And if I ever catch you - I promise not to scalp you! LOL

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @ladyjojo..Thank you much...so glad you enjoyed it. WB

      @Becky...Amen to those remarks, Becky. They did some mighty fine work over all those years. WB

      @RealHousewife...You got one hell of a sense of humor, Kelly...love it! Ha! WB

      @Hypenbird...I knew as soon as I pushed that "post button" that I was in trouble for my Miss Kitty remark. As the judge would say...strike that remark and the jury will disregard! LOL! WB

      @drbj...That's it Doc...William Conrad. Drove that big two door Lincoln boat on "Cannon". WB

      @Dim Flaxenwick...Thank you for the read and the great comments. I'd like to meet that Arizona Ranger and shoot that "Big Iron"! LOL! WB

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Great poem, and those black and white pics on video were fantastic.

      I´d like to have met ´Texas Red¨ (at a safe distance)

      Thanks for a most enjojable hub. Up, aewsome and interesting.

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      I could not remember William Conrads' name but I could picture his face. I sat next to him on a plane one time.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Nice tribute, Wayne, to James 'Marshal Dillon' Arness. BTW, the actor who played that part on radio was William Conrad.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Miss Kitty was an entrepreneur and a strong and loving woman. She was NOT a tramp! She was so in love with Marshall Dillon but he wouldn't marry her. He loved her though. They did kiss one time on the cheek. Back then people didn't express physical affection like now. I personally think they had a few "private moments." At least I can dream.....

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      John Wayne - Gunsmoke - omg! Blast from the past! I don't think Wayne will ever be forgotten. As a kid I loved watching the westerns - but sorry Tex - I was always rooting for the Indians:) lol. Loved it!

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      James Arness was one of the big ones. I loved 'em all. What is really amazing is that they were so nice in person. Things have sure changed. They were all pure class. James Arness, John Wayne, and Jimmy Stewart.

    • ladyjojo profile image

      ladyjojo 6 years ago

      OMG I was on the home page i just saw John's face and i had to come and read your hub. John Wayne was one handsome gentle man. I love how he walks and talks etc, lol and i watched tall in the saddle just last week. It was good. You ever saw Katie elder and her five son's with john? there's so much more.

      Thanks for sharing this nice hub

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally....Only Kitty and Festus would know for sure! LOL! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Wait a minute, Mr. Brown! Miss Kitty was NOT a tramp. She was a smart, independent woman. Marshall Dillion was the one who missed out. Maybe he was gay - just like the Lone Ranger. Ha!

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @marellen...I think as long as there is television, Gunsmoke will be on...maybe even longer! Matt Dillon reminded folks of John Wayne in many ways. WB

      @Truckstop Sally...Yes I now that song well. I attempt to sing it at one time but the rhythm on the guitar along with the lilt of the voice evades me...I need to work on it. I love the lyrics. I guess Matt never tied the knot with Kitty because she was a tramp! LOL! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Love anything with a western twist . . . OK, OK, I admit it - I love anything you write.

      Do you know Shoulda Been A Cowboy by Toby Keith? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-OLuEFOqDQ

      This YouTube has GREAT pictures!

      "I bet you've never heard ole Marshall Dillion say Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away Settling down will you marry me If I asked you twice and begged you pretty please She'd of said Yes in a New York minute They never tied the knot His heart wasn't in it Stole a kiss as he road away . . ."

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Good old Marshall Dillon...Did him and Kitty ever kiss? I guess in thse days they didn't need too. That show is still on and still has a following. My Grandfather and now my Mom are hooked on westerns. The Duke is stll my favorite.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Yes that's it...darn it!...

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Sunnie Day...You must have been thinking about "The Addams Family" LOL! WB

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      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Festus hahaha not fester...

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Hypenbird...I think Matt made a lot more hearts than just Miss Kitty's flutter with his presence on the screen. He was a great character and will always be remembered in fictional history of the west. WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image
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      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @FloraBreenRobison...To this day, I still enjoy the Gunsmoke series. Arness was a big factor in that but it also had a great cast and some good writers who could keep you in the action throughout the show. Both Jim and his brother Peter left a legacy of fine work for the screen. Matt Dillon will likely be an eternal figure in fictional history. By the way, did you know that the radio verson of the character was played by the short bald guy who starred in the televison series "Cannon" many years back? WB

      @Sunnie Day...I almost laughed at Flora's comment above when she mentioned the penecillin...I thought she was suggesting that maybe Matt got a little too close to those saloon girls! LOL! I love Festus...one of the best characters of all times. Him and his mule Ruth...they were a pair! WB

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      What a well written tribute to a tall man riding tall in the saddle. It describes the characteristics of Marshall Dillon so well without getting sappy. Let me share a secret with you Wayne (don't tell anyone). I always have had a bit of a crush on the tall lawman. I wish I could vote a hundred times for this poem.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Miss Kitty knew a good man when she saw one..always thought he was the perfect man..Thanks for the memory..although I did kind of like Fester too..lol

      Sunnie

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Arness was one of the first to benefit from penecilin (I don't remember how to spell that)when he was shot on the front lines of WWII. On the big screen, he was probably best know for playing the title character in The Thing From Another World. I creied when I saw it-far as I'm concerned, mankind is the monster in that film. As for the Marshall, everyone kept waiting for him and Miss Kitty to get together.

      He died one year after his younger brother Peter Graves died.(Graves took his grandmother's maiden name to avoid getting confused with his brother-their voices sounded nearly identical)I am a Graves fan for Mission Impossible, Night of the Hunter and Biography.