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The Long Branch Saloon, often shortened to the Long Branch, is a saloon operated by Miss Kitty in the town of Dodge City, Kansas. It appears in many of the Gunsmoke TV series episodes as a center of attention, oftentimes associated with Dodge itself.

The saloon on the radio and TV series is based on, in fact, the actual Long Branch Saloon, which was a well-known saloon in Dodge City, Kansas from about 1874 to 1885. It had numerous owners, most notably Chalk Beeson and gunfighter Luke Short. The establishment provided gambling and live entertainment, including Beeson's five-person orchestra. It was the scene of several altercations, shoot-outs, gunfights, and standoffs often associated with cattle towns in the American wild west. Most famous was the 1879 Long Branch Saloon Gunfight, in which Frank Loving killed Levi Richardson. A new establishment also named the Long Branch Saloon, largely based on Gunsmoke, was built as part of the modern non-profit Boot Hill Museum entertainment and exhibit theme park in Dodge City. The exterior was modeled on period photographs of the original building, while the interior is consistent with period saloons of the era. It is furnished with an 1881 bar and two Golden Eagles on top of the back bar that were once owned by Beeson.[1]


The saloon was built as the result of a wager between cowboys and soldiers playing ball. Bets were placed and if the cowboys beat the soldiers, the soldiers agreed to provide building materials to construct a saloon.[2]

Chalkley Beeson, a wealthy farmer and rancher, and William Harris bought the saloon in 1878. Harris named it after his hometown of Long Branch, New Jersey.[3] It was a plain storefront bar with little ornamentation, typical for frontier saloons of the time. The saloon prospered until the railroad replaced the cattle drive. The establishment burned down in 1885 and was never rebuilt.[1]


The saloon soon became the most popular and refined saloon in Dodge City. Beeson was a talented musician and led a five-piece orchestra that played nightly. The Long Branch served milk, tea, lemonade, sarsaparilla, and all types of alcohol including champagne and beer.[4] Anheuser-Busch was the original beer served at the Long Branch. Drinks were kept cold in the winter with ice from the river; in the summer ice was shipped by train from the mountains of Colorado. Gambling ranged from five cent chuck-a-luck to thousand dollar poker.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Weiser, Kathy (March 2010). The Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City. Kansas Legends. Retrieved on May 30, 2013.
  2. Weiser, Kathy (March 2010). The Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City. Legends of America. Retrieved on May 30, 2013.
  3. Kansas Fun Facts and Trivia. Legends of America. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved on March 11, 2010.
  4. The Long Branch Saloon Template:Webarchive; retrieved March 11, 2010.

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