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Follow the "Gunsmoke Trail" Through Kansas!

By Dodge City CVB on May 10, 2023Gunsmoke_Trail_Logo

Howdy, partners, and welcome to the Gunsmoke Trail! This road trip visits four cities in Kansas that had a role in Gunsmoke, the Emmy award-winning primetime Western that entertained audiences for 20 years.

The show still runs on select networks, with iconic characters telling the story of frontier life in the Old West. Several present-day cities in Kansas play a part in the show’s storylines, including Wichita, Abilene, Hays City (now Hays), and of course, Dodge City.

Each community has opportunities to look back on the region’s Wild West days which are accessible and fun for all ages. For fans who want to experience the cities that inspired the show, we invite you to explore the Gunsmoke Trail.

"Gunsmoke" is a television western drama series based in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. "Gunsmoke" is the longest-running western in television history, originally running from 1955 to 1975 totaling 635 episodes. It was the most-watched show from 1957 to 1961. Each episode follows the life of Marshal Matt Dillon as he attempts to keep peace in and around the city.

Dodge City


“Get out of Dodge” is a phrase from the show: Matt Dillon would chase criminals out of the town, saying, “Get out of Dodge,” referring to Dodge City. 

1. Boot Hill Museum

Boot Hill Museum is located on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery and highlights the glory days as Queen of the Cowtowns with creative, lively, interactive displays and activities the entire family will enjoy. The collection at Boot Hill Museum includes more than 60,000 objects, photographs, and documents. Most of our collection is from Dodge City’s early days—the 1870s through the 1920s—and actually belonged to original residents of Dodge City.

Address: 500 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8188

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2. Santa Fe Depot

Built in 1898, the Santa Fe Depot was home to the Harvey House Hotel and El Vaquero Restaurant.

Address: 101 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

3. Dodge City Trail of Fame

The Dodge City Trail of Fame, Inc. is part of the Historic Dodge City Walking Tour. This portion of the trail is marked with sidewalk medallions and statuaries to commemorate the many famous and infamous denizens of historic Dodge City. Additionally, many medallions are dedicated to notable movie and television stars that have portrayed famous Dodge Citians.

Address: 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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4. Ford County Legacy Center

The Ford County Legacy Center's mission is to preserve the history of all of Ford County and its Communities of Bellefont, Bloom, Bucklin, Dodge City, Ford, Fort Dodge, Howell, Kingsdown, Spearville, Wilroads Gardens, and Wright Windhorst.

Address: 310 Gunsmoke, Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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5. Fort Dodge

Long before Dodge City was a hustling, bustling cattle town, Fort Dodge was established to protect railroad workers and travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from the Plains Indians.

Address E. Hwy 400, Fort Dodge, KS
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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6. Gunfighters Wax Museum

Visit the Gunfighters Wax Museum and see the life-size wax figurines of famous western personalities like: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Belle Starr, Davey Crockett, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Frank and Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Doc, Miss Kitty, Festus, and many, many more!

Address: 603 Fifth Ave, Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-7311

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7Home Screen - Visitor Center / James . Historic Walking Tour

Walk the streets of Dodge City and see where history was made.  This tour is self-guided and will take you through the streets of historic downtown Dodge City past multiple locations of interest, storyboards, pole art banners, and the Dodge City Trail of Fame medallions (including James Arness, Ben Bates, as well as sculptures, which include a life-size sculpture of James Arness). Guided tours are available through the Dodge City Trail of Fame.

Address: 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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8. Historic Trolley Tour

Hop on the Dodge City Trolley for a trip back to the 1870s. Visit the original locations of the Long Branch Saloon, Gospel Hill, the “deadline”, Front Street and so much more. Tour Fort Dodge, follow the path of the Santa Fe Trail and learn a few colorful stories along the way. This is a great way to get your bearings with an overview of Dodge City. Then you can plot the rest of your visit by adding those locations pointed out on the tour.

Address: 400 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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9. Santa Fe Trail Rut Site

The Santa Fe Trail served as the pioneer highway from 1821 to 1872 as a link from the east to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trail allowed traders to move goods across the country safely and easily. Nine miles west of Dodge City you can see the most clearly defined rut trails, still visible after almost 150 years. The site is nestled among the gently rolling hills of the Kansas plains, where the breeze moves the grasses and the peace of nature accompanies this enduring piece of unique history. Don't miss the opportunity to see this rare landmark.

Address: Highway 50/400 (nine miles west of Dodge City)
Phone: (620) 227-8188

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10. Longhorn Park

 A small herd of longhorn cattle graze on prairie grass in a 40-acre park located at the Dodge City Regional Airport entrance. Dedicated to the millions of wild Texas longhorns driven to Dodge City during the 1870s and 1880s, the park setting includes corrals for the longhorns and commemorative signs relaying the history of the famous cattle drives.

Address: Hwy 50 & Airport Road, Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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11. Mueller-Schmidt House Museum (Home of Stone)

In an 1882 bird’s-eye view of Dodge City, the Mueller-Schmidt House is proudly perched atop a hill northeast of town, alone in its new splendor and surrounded by a yard planted with trees. Built to be one of the most splendid homes in Dodge City, Ford County’s “Home of Stone” lives up to this, even today. It remains the lone limestone house in Dodge City, elegant in its simplicity. It can also claim the distinction of being the oldest building in Dodge City that is still on its original site.

Address: 112 E. Vine St., Dodge City, KS 67801
Phone: (620) 225-8186

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12. Murals

Discover Dodge City's vibrant culture and rich history through stunning murals. These beautiful murals preserve Dodge City’s cultural heritage and traditions. Experience the artistry of these murals and be transported to another time and place.

Phone: (620) 225-8186


WildBillBefore heading to Dodge City to help his friend, Marshal Dillon, Wild Bill Hickok served as sheriff in the wild and wooly Cowtown of Abilene, Kansas.

Hickok is featured in Season 4, Episode 1: Matt for Murder when Matt resigns as Marshal after Tom Samples accuses Matt of killing an innocent man. However, Doc, Matt and Matt's old friend Wild Bill Hickok come up with a plan that might clear Matt of this erroneous charge of murder.

Gunsmoke Trivia: Robert J. Wilkie portrays Wild Bill Hickok, but in the end credits, the name is misspelled “Hickock.”

Visit these sites to experience what Abilene was like during its Wild Bill Hickok and Chisholm Trail Cowtown days and celebrate the cowboy story with Abilene’s new cowboy-themed public art exhibits. 

1. Old Abilene Town

See the Chisholm Trail Museum and Interpretive Trail Center in the Way Station at Old Abilene Town. Visitors can stroll the boardwalk, just as Wild Bill Hickok did during Abilene’s wild and woolly days. Get a taste of the Old West by drinking an ice-cold sarsaparilla and watching can-can dancers as they perform on stage and on the bar from the original Alamo Saloon. Gunfighters stage mock shoot-outs during the summer travel season. Old Abilene Town also hosts Chisholm Trail Days during Labor Day weekend. Enjoy live cattle drives through Old Abilene Town, reenactors, country music performances and more!Be sure to check out the Great Western Cattle Co. building to see a complete re-creation of Abilene’s original Texas Street.

AbileneTip: Make sure to see the Bull’s Head Saloon Longhorn at the Trail Center in Old Abilene Town- According to a signed document, the bullhead is from the Bull Head Saloon that belonged to “Shotgun Ben” Thompson in Abilene. It was the headquarters for the drovers who trailed cattle from Texas to Kansas in the late 1860s and 1870s.

Address: 201 SE 5th St., Abilene, KS 67410

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2. See the original site of the Alamo Saloon

The Alamo Saloon (1871) was the grandest drinking and gambling establishment on Texas Street. The Alamo faced west on Cedar Street and became Wild Bill Hickok’s headquarters during his tenure as marshal.

At this site, in 1871, Wild Bill Hickok exchanged deadly gunfire with Texas gambler Phil Coe. Unable to see in the darkness, Hickok fired both pistols at another figure, bursting into the light with the gun drawn. Sadly, that figure was his friend and deputy, Mike Williams.

Address: 101 N Cedar Street

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3. Dickinson County Heritage Center

Learn about Dickinson County’s famous former residents, from C.L. Brown — whose telephone company eventually became known as Sprint — to Abilene’s former Marshal Wild Bill Hickok to Joseph McCoy, who brought hundreds of thousands of cattle to Abilene in the 1860s, making the community a booming Cowtown at the end of the Chisholm Trail. Tip: Make sure to check out the Wild Bill Hickok Bronze Statue and a replica of his gun on display.

Address: 412 S. Campbell St., Abilene, KS 67410

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4. World’s Largest Belt Buckle

 At 19 feet 10 ½ inches wide and 13 feet 11 ¼ inches tall, Abilene is home to the World’s Largest Belt Buckle. Climb the spiral staircase to the top to take your photo “wearing” the buckle!

Address: 400 N. Pine St., Abilene, KS 67410

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5. Big Spur

At 28 feet high, the big spur stands on its ends to form an arch and weighs a ton. It was built by Larry Houston in 2002 and was certified as the World’s Largest Spur by Guinness World Records until 2017.

Address: 1810 N. Buckeye Ave., Abilene, KS 67410

6. Cowboy Boots

 Celebrating its cowboy roots, the Cowboy Boot project pays homage to T.C. McInerney’s Drovers Boot Store from the 1870s. The Arts Council of Dickinson County, Quality of Life Coalition of Dickinson County and Community Foundation of Dickinson County joined forces to add cowboy boot art throughout the community.

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7. Murals

Celebrate the Old West by visiting murals around town!

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8. Tom “Bear River” Smith Tombstone

 Before Hickok, there was Smith. In 1870, Abilene had had enough. The city hired two professional police officers from St. Louis, Missouri. They arrived on the morning train and resigned by the end of the day, taking the midnight train going back east. They had quit, saying they could not handle the job. The city fathers then hired Tom “Bear River” Smith as their first city marshal. Smith was unknown to the cowboys but soon found out he was not to be taken lightly.

Address: 501 NW 4th St., Abilene, KS, 67410

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9. Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo

 Today, Abilene honors Wild Bill's Legacy with not only a mural and museum exhibits but an entire PRCA rodeo named after him. The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, named one of the best medium-sized PRCA rodeos in the country, attracts thousands of spectators and contestants each year in August. 

Address: 600 North Pine St., Abilene, KS, 67410

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10. Dining

Stop for a bite to eat at the Hitching Post Restaurant and Saloon, 100 SE 5th Street, at Old Abilene Town or Legacy Kansas – Munson’s Prime & Brookville Hotel, 105 E. Lafayette Ave. Or grab a drink at Abilene’s newest bar, the Dizzy Donkey Saloon, 311 N. Spruce St.



Kitty Russell: You going to Hays for the trial?
 Marshal Matt Dillon: I'll have to.
 Kitty Russell: That'll take about a week, I suppose.
 Marshal Matt Dillon: About. Why?
 Kitty Russell: Nothing. Only you've just been away for ten days.
 Marshal Matt Dillon: I have to earn a living, Kitty.
 Kitty Russell: You could make more money gambling... right here in Dodge.

FTHays1. Historic Walking Tour

Discover where history walked the streets of old Hays City on the Bricks in Downtown Hays. Bronze plaques mark the route of this self-guided tour and tell the stories behind the sites of former saloons, general stores, and more. Start at 10th and Main Street.

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2. Historic Fort Hays Site

Take a step back in time at the Historic Fort Hays Site that was home to the 7th U.S. Cavalry commanded by Lt. Colonel George A. Custer. A visitors center and four of the original structures – the stone block house, guardhouse, and two officer’s quarters – are open for guided tours. Admission is free!

Address: 1472 US Highway 183 Alt, Hays, KS 67601
Phone: (785) 625-6812

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3. Limestone Sculpture Tour

Take a driving or walking tour of local artist, Pete Felten’s limestone sculptures that decorate the community. Among these works, you will find the familiar faces of “Buffalo Bill” Cody (Hays Public Library) and “Wild Bill” Hickok (Downtown Pavilion). 

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4. Murals

Explore murals featuring historic Old West icons and elements of Hays’ history throughout the Bricks in Downtown Hays.

5. Bison Herd

Stroll through Frontier Park and see the gentle giants of the Plains! The Hays bison herd began in 1952 with a bull named Wild Bill and a cow named Calamity Jane. Now the herd includes two white bison!

Address: Old Hwy 40, across from the Historic Fort Hays Site

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6. Ellis County Historical Society

Schedule a tour of the Younger Harness Shop, which was relocated from W. 11th Street to the Historical Society property.

Address: 100 W. 7th St., Hays, KS 67601
Phone: (785) 628-2624


7. Hickok’s Steakhouse

If Wild Bill was still roaming the streets of Hays, he would surely be eating at Hickok’s Steakhouse. Hickok’s serves up hand cut, Midwestern Angus beef. Sit down for a hearty meal and enjoy the historic Hays décor.

Address: 3402 Vine St., Hays, KS 67601
Phone: (785) 301-2442


8. Paisley Pear Whiskey Flight

End your Gunsmoke tour downtown with a whiskey flight at this family-owned wine bar, bistro, and market, Paisley Pear. You will also find delicious local desserts, along with Kansas-made products and gifts.

Address: 1100 Main St., Hays, KS 67601
Phone: (785) 621-4660



Fun fact: Gunsmoke writer Mary Kathlene Hite was born in Wichita, Kansas, on June 17, 1917. She graduated from Wichita State University, majoring in journalism and history. Many think Kathlene Hite was the best writer Gunsmoke ever had. 

Wichita is featured in Season 9, Episode 23: After some horsing around, Festus breaks some of Quint's equipment. To repair or get anew, they travel to Wichita and meet a saloon girl who tells them she needs to get away from town but her jealous boyfriend is now hot on their trail.

1. Old Cowtown Museum

This outdoor living history museum features more than 50 historic buildings from the late 1800s including a saloon, blacksmith shop, and sheriff's office.

Address: 1865 W. Museum Blvd., Wichita, KS 67203, United States
Phone: (316) 350-3323

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2. Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum

Housed in a beautiful 1890s building, this museum showcases the history of Wichita and Sedgwick County. It includes exhibits about the cattle industry, transportation, and early settlers.

Address: 204 S. Main St., Wichita, KS 67202, United States
Phone: (316) 265-9314

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3. Old Town Wichita

This historic district features brick-lined streets, old-fashioned lampposts that you can tie a horse to, and unique shops and restaurants.

Address: 830 E. 1st St. #3, Wichita, KS 67202, United States
Phone: (316) 264-6005

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4. The Keeper of the Plains

This iconic statue stands at the confluence of Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers and is a symbol of Wichita. The dramatic setting, with the river and the city skyline in the background, would make for a memorable Western film scene.

Address: 650 N. Seneca St., Wichita, KS 67203, United States
Phone: (316) 383-6919

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5. Chisolm Trail

A historic cattle-drive route that passed through Wichita in the late 1800s.

Phone: (316) 219-9777

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6. The Mid-America All-Indian Museum

A museum dedicated to Native American and Indigenous history and culture in North America.

Address: 650 N. Seneca St., Wichita, KS 67203.
Phone: (316) 350-3340

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7. Historic Delano District

Located along Douglas Avenue on the west bank of the Arkansas River at the end of the Chisholm Trail, Delano District was established during the days of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives as a place for the cowboys to blow off steam after months on the trail from Texas. Today, it is a historic neighborhood with a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

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Other Kansas towns mentioned in Gunsmoke include:

Plainville, Bucklin, Spearville, Meade, Mullinville, Hutchinson, Garden City, Olathe, Salina, Kalvesta, Holcomb, and Pierceville

Help us add to our list! Do you know of other Kansas towns featured in Gunsmoke? Email with your additions.

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