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Festus Haggen
Festus Haggen
Ken Curtis as Festus
Vital statistics
Gender: Male
Deputy Marshal, Dodge City, KS, U.S.
Stubborn, hot-headed, bickersome, vengeful, but kind-hearted, compassionate, honest, hardworking, helpful and loyal sidekick and friend to Marshal Matt Dillon
Related to: Henry Haggen (cousin)
Appearances/Series information
Appeared on: Gunsmoke (TV series)
appeared in:
296 in series, Seasons 8-20
Played by: Ken Curtis

Festus Haggen (played by Ken Curtis) is Matt Dillon's deputy marshal and one of the main characters of Gunsmoke who would first appear in the Season 8 episode "Us Haggens" (episode #13, December 8, 1962). Originally starting as a scruffy hillman who wanted revenge on his uncle for killing his brother, he eventually became Matt Dillon's deputy and one of his friends. From his first appearance in Season 8, Festus would remain with the series for the rest of its network run on CBS, through Season 20, in close to 300 episodes.

About Festus[]

Festus heretofore a comic feature, came to town in a 1962 episode titled "Us Haggens" to avenge the death of his twin brother Fergus, and decided to stay in Dodge when the deed was done. Initially on the fringes of Dodge society, Festus, who would eventually be seen as a hardworking, honest and compassionate sort, was slowly phased in as a reliable, loyal sidekick and part-time deputy to Matt Dillon.


  • Festus never appeared in any of the Gunsmoke made-for-TV movies. This is because Ken Curtis refused to play Festus after learning the amount of money he would be paid for the first film, Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, and said that he should be paid based on Festus' importance in the cast. As a result, Newly O'Brien became the deputy Marshal.
  • From KHOU-TV Channel 11 in Houston. (February 23, 1966.) Ken Curtis and Milburn Stone are in Texas for an appearance at the Houston Stock Show at the Astrodome. Here, they cut loose some silliness with an "interview" in front of the camera. Doc Adams: Hi there, my name is Doc Adams, your friendly little neighborhood physician, and I'm out here at the Houston International Airport interviewing some of the people who just got off an airplane here. And I have with me a fellow that, uh... What is your name, sir? Festus: Well, my folks was poor folks and I didn't get no name. Doc Adams: Well, what do they call you? Festus: They call me Festus. Doc Adams: Festus? Festus: Yeah. Doc Adams: No, I didn't mean what's the matter with you. I mean, what's your name? Festus: Well, that's harder than I'd slam a door! Doc Adams: Is that really your name... Festus? Festus: Well, yeah. Doc Adams: Seems to me that I vaguely remember hearing that. Festus: Festus Haggen. Doc Adams: Oh, yes, now I remember. You're from Dodge City. Festus: Dodge City, Kansas. Doc Adams: That's what I thought.