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Festus Haggen was Marshal Matt Dillon's only official deputy on the CBS television series Gunsmoke. He came to Dodge City in an episode titled "Us Haggens" to avenge the death of his twin brother, Fergus. Played by Ken Curtis, he first appeared in 1962 and was showcased full-time from 1964 until 1975. One of Festus's most well-known attributes was his simple vocabulary and demeanor (which hid a sharp eye and considerable native intelligence), which ended up being interpreted by viewers as "lovable" and kept Curtis on the series as a full-time cast member.
Fergus joined their outlaw uncle—Black Jack Haggen—and was wounded trying to escape a posse. When Jack's horse came up lame, he made Fergus take the lame horse and left Fergus for dead. Fergus, however, made it back to the Haggen place and told Festus what happened. Festus rode out after Jack, who had come to the attention of Marshal Matt Dillon when he killed a local farmer and stole his wagon. Festus joined Matt Dillon and they apprehended Jack, who was shot by the marshal in an escape attempt.
Festus decided to stick around Dodge. He can frequently be seen arguing with Doc Adams, or trying to get someone to buy him a beer at the Long Branch. Although originally distrusted by Matt and the townspeople, Festus was eventually accepted by them and became the only full-time official deputy marshal of Gunsmoke. In episodes such as Deadman's Law, he was in charge of the town.
Little is known of his past life except that he was a trapper, a laborer on the transcontinental railroad, and cannot read. On a record titled "Gunsmoke's Festus Haggen Calls Out Ken Curtis," it's revealed that he served in the Confederate army, and explains why he called his mule Ruth. In the episode Brides and Grooms, he claims to have an uncle "Lazarus Dinglefoot" (though he doesn't indicate whether he's related by blood or marriage).
Some famous sayings of Festus were "Golly Bill!" or "You ornery ole scudder." He called Marshal Dillon "Math-HEW."
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