Fast-draw Artist Arvo Ojala

Celebrity Q&A
on July 14, 2012

Can you identify the gunfighter who drew against Matt Dillon at the beginning of each episode of Gunsmoke?
—James Plaster, Swords Creek, Va.

Over the 20 years that Gunsmoke ran, three men drew on Marshal Dillon in the opening scene: Arvo Ojala, Fred McDougall and Bill Strathman. Of the three, the late Ojala was the real deal: a stuntman and bit player who made patented, metal-lined fast-draw holsters, which were used by dozens of Western actors over the years. A fast-draw artist, he taught TV cowboy stars including James Arness, Hugh O’Brian, James Garner, Ty Hardin, Dale Robertson and Wayde Preston. He also worked with movie stars Michael J. Fox, Kevin Costner, Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

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