Did You Know A “Gunsmoke” Legend Has A Role On “Yellowstone”?
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The show Gunsmoke ran for a historic 20 years from September 10, 1955, to March 31, 1975 with a total of 635 episodes. The show was the longest-running primetime, live-action television series at 20 seasons, until September 2019 with the 21st season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The very first episode of Gunsmoke was introduced by John Wayne who said he’d wished he’d been in the show.
Throughout the show, James Arness, who played U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, and Milburn Stone, who played Dr. Galen “Doc” Adams, were the two actors who were on the entirety of the show. Other cast members came and went. In 1967, an actor named Walter Clarence Taylor III, better known as Buck Taylor, joined the cast until the finale in 1975. He played gunsmith Newly O’Brien who eventually became a deputy marshal.
After Gunsmoke, Taylor acted in many more movies including the Westerns Tombstone, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, Cattle Annie and Little Britches. He also reprised his role as Newly O’Brien in the 1985 TV movie Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge.
In 2018, Taylor came back on a television show for the first time since 1985, and at 80 years old!
Taylor has played the recurring character of Emmett Walsh on the hit Paramount Network show Yellowstone since 2018. Emmett is a fellow rancher in Montana who encouraged Kayce Dutton to take the job of Livestock Commissioner. He came back in Season 4 with a storyline beginning in Episode 3, titled “Unhappy Trails.”
Emmett came to Kayce after exhausting all his options on dealing with his new neighbor, a Californian. The neighbor put out cattle guards on Emmett’s easement, forcing him to shell out money he doesn’t have to transport his cattle so they can graze.
Taylor himself announced his return to the show on his Facebook page, writing, “SPOT YOURS TRULY as the Seasoned Ranch Hand, Emmett Walsh, on the Dutton Ranch in special episodes of Season 4 this Fall.”
He returned in Season Five, as John Dutton’s close confidant. He can be seen is the early scenes of the season premiere, helping John get ready for his inauguration.
Sadly, Buck’s last episode on Yellowstone would be Season 5, Episode 6: “Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You.”
While out out a two-day trek, John Dutton and Emmett Walsh find a good spot to lay their heads for the evening and they talked about what a great day was had. “If it wasn’t perfect,” Emmett said, “it was damn close.” Emmett falls asleep immediately, using his saddle as a pillow.
When the morning came, John went to wake Emmett up, but he had passed away in his sleep. Beth, Rip, and John’s assistant, Clara Brewer, arrive and are shocked by Emmett just lying there. Clara calls EMS immediately and John tells his daughter and son-in-law to not be sad about it because “I couldn’t’ve dreamed up a better death if you paid me.”
As the cowboys lead the cattle back to the ranch, John and Clara stay with Emmett to make sure the EMS helicopter takes him. They then ride back as fast as they can so John can inform Emmett’s wife before she figures it out herself that he didn’t return. She sees John riding in ahead of the pack and she just knew. Breaking down in tears, she asks John, “How?”
“He just died on the trail, like every cowboy dreams it,” he tells her.
John kneeled down and hugged her, giving her a literal shoulder to cry on. We cried at this moment, too. We are sad to see Buck Taylor’s time on Yellowstone end, but we surely enjoyed every minute of it.