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Western Teleplays Collection

Call Number: WA MSS S-1593

Scope and Contents

The Western Teleplays Collection contains 193 scripts for three popular network television shows: Bat Masterson, Gunsmoke, and Little House on the Prairie. The scripts have been organized into series by show.

Series I, Bat Masterson contains 138 scripts from 1958-1961. They have been organized by episode number which ranges from 1B through 107B. More than a dozen episodes are represented by multiple drafts, but there are no scripts present for episodes 35B, 72B, 74B or 95B. The scripts for nearly every episode contain revised pages (which typically include the date of their revision), and many of the scripts are heavily annotated "cutting scripts" which reflect the final editing of the episode before it was broadcast.

Series II, Gunsmoke , consists of seventeen scripts from 1966-1975. The bulk of the scripts are dated between July 1973 and February 1975. As the Gunsmoke scripts do not include an episode number, they have been organized by date of last noted revision.

Series III, Little House on the Prairie , contains scripts for thirty-eight episodes from 1974-1982. The first thirty-three scripts are arranged by episode numbers. The earliest numbered episode is #3 which is dated July 8, 1974. The bulk of the series falls between episode #59 (April 30, 1976) and episode #200 (January 7, 1982). Five unnumbered and undated scripts for Little House on the Prairie episodes are arranged alphabetically by title after the numbered episodes.

The box and folder list which follows includes the title of each episode (including earlier versions where so indicated on the script), the date of the final noted revisions for each script, the kind of script represented (e.g. draft, revised draft, cutting, etc.), and the names of any writers, directors, and producers that were identified in the script.


  • 1958-1982

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Western Teleplays Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Ongoing collection of documents acquired by gift and purchase from various sources. The first accession, making up Series I, II, and III were purchased from Walter Reuben in 1987 and 1988. Second accession of interfiled Bat Masterson filmscripts were purchased from Walter Reuben in 2005.

March 2019 Acquisition: purchased from Royal Books on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2019.


Organized into four series: I. Bat Masterson, 1958-1961. II. Gunsmoke, 1966-1975. III. Little House on the Prairie, 1974-1982. IV. March 2019 Acquisition.


8.25 Linear Feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Collection contains 193 scripts for three popular network television shows: Bat Masterson, Gunsmoke, and Little House on the Prairie. There are 138 Bat Masterson scripts, 17 Gunsmoke scripts, and 38 Little House on the Prairie scripts. Many of the scripts have been heavily annotated; more than a dozen of the Bat Masterson episodes are represented by multiple drafts.
Guide to the Western Teleplays Collection
Under Revision
by George Miles
July 1994
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.