‘Gunsmoke’: Miss Kitty Russell First Her Iconic ‘Beauty Mark’ In This Episode


Gunsmoke actor Amanda Blake played Miss Kitty Russell for an impressive 19 seasons and one made-for-TV movie. However, the character evolved in numerous ways over the course of the show’s run on CBS from 1955 and 1975. There’s one Gunsmoke episode, in particular, that introduced Kitty’s “beauty mark” for the very first time. It became an instantly recognizable part of the character from then on out.

‘Gunsmoke’ Season 1 hinted at Miss Kitty Russell’s career

Gunsmoke originally debuted as a radio show in 1952 before making the move to television in 1955 with a new cast for the small screen. The adapted version initially followed the source material quite closely before deviating and finding its own voice. However, Gunsmoke fan letters certainly swayed CBS to make some decisions, including some changes to Kitty.

The story hinted that Kitty worked as a sex worker in Gunsmoke, which offended the more conservative viewers. As a result, the decision-makers knew that they needed to make some changes to ensure that they didn’t lose a portion of their viewer base. As a result, they changed Kitty’s career to an entrepreneur, becoming an owner of the Long Branch Saloon.

‘Gunsmoke’ Season 1 Episode 27 introduced Miss Kitty Russell’s ‘beauty mark’

Gunsmoke Season 1 Episode 27, titled “Cooter,” aired for the first time on May 19, 1956. Robert Steveson directed the screenplay written by Sam Peckinpah. The episode follows U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) after he exposes a gambler named Ben Sissle (Vinton Hayworth) as a cheater. However, he doesn’t plan on just lying down and taking it. He decides to get revenge by giving a gun to a brain-damaged man named Cooter Smith (Strother Martin) and telling Matt that the man challenged him to a gunfight.


The Gunsmoke episode doesn’t put Kitty at the forefront, but it’s actually a historic chapter in the character’s history. According to IMDb, she has a new “beauty mark” for the first time that she has in every episode from here on out. It’s a small mole on her right cheek that became a visual staple for the character in every iteration moving forward.

‘Gunsmoke’ Season 1 Episode 27 debuted Matt Dillon’s gun holster

Gunsmoke Season 1 Episode 27 did more than establish a defining moment with Kitty. It also marked an important moment for Matt that many audiences likely didn’t notice. “Cooter” wore a “Buscadero” holster for the first time in the show’s history, which became another important costuming element in the series.

IMDb confirmed that this holster was first invented in the 1920s, which Hollywood cowboys frequently used. The holster and the gun were a single piece, rather than the holster sliding over the gun belt, which was what Matt wore in previous episodes.

Gunsmoke was still establishing many of its iconic elements that the show would hold onto for the remainder of its record-setting run. However, it all paid off in the end after running for 20 seasons and lasting for five made-for-TV movies until the ratings dipped.