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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

42 MORE TV WESTERNS


42 MORE TV WESTERNS
NOTES FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
Having recently finished co-writing and editing 52 Weeks • 52 TV Westerns, I’m finding it hard to let go. Trying to limit the collection to 52 TV Westerns was near impossible. I found it much harder than with the first two collections, 52 Weeks • 52 Western Novels and 52 Weeks • 52 Western Movies.

With 52 Weeks • 52 TV Westerns, I agonized over some of the shows that didn't make the cut. However, the 52 Westerns collections are not supposed to be a best of list. They are designed to be a subjective overview with writers sharing their personal connection or feelings about whatever book, movie, or TV show they are writing about. It's this emotional connection that makes the 52 Weeks • 52 Westerns books different—and IMHO better—than other related books on the subjects. 

However, whenever contributing editors, Scott Harris, Rob Word, and myself felt we had finalized the list of 52 TV Westers, one or the other of us would have an emergency epiphany... 

”What do you mean nobody is writing up The Lone Ranger? It’s too important not to be included”...”We had someone covering The Wild Wild West, right? How come it’s not on the list? It has to be on the list”...”Where’s The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp? Hugh O’Brian was fantastic as Earp. We can’t not include it”... 

And on, and on, and on.

With the sheer number of popular TV Westerns broadcast into our homes each week during the 50s and ‘60s, it was inevitable some of our favorites—and yours—would not be included. Some of the TV Westerns we did choose were not as important or popular as some of those we didn’t include, but this is due to the nature of the 52 Weeks • 52 Westerns series.

As contributing editors, our goal was to go beyond rounding up the usual owlhoots. Instead, we want the included choices to be and eclectic mix of the popular and the obscure, with each choice meaning something special to our posse of contributors. Our hope is TV Western fans will find out something new about the shows they love, and casual fans will find intriguing Westerns they’ve never seen, but can now view on DVD. 

In an attempt to address some of the TV Westerns not covered in 52 Weeks • 52 TV Westerns (or at least mollify my desire to give these additional shows recognition), I’ve put together this additional list of TV Westerns I wish we’d had the room to include.
 

BARBARY COAST (1975)

The adventures of 19th century government agent Jeff Cable (William Shatner), and his pal, conman and gambler Cash—Cash makes no enemies—Conover (Doug McClure). In their battle against criminals and foreign spies, Cable and Conover operated out of the Golden Gate Saloon and Casino, which is owned by Cash and located on San Francisco's notorious Barbary Coast.
 
BAT MASTERSON (1958)

With his derby hat, his cane, and his fancy duds, famous lawman Bat Masterson (Gene Barry) uses his wits and his cane more often than his gun to defend the unjustly accused.
 
THE BIG VALLEY (1965)

In the 1870s, Victoria Barkley (Barbara Stanwyck) rules the family ranch located in California's San Joaquin Valley. Bank robbers, horse thieves, revolutionaries, and land grabbers keep the legitimate and illegitimate family members in the saddle.
 
BLACK SADDLE (1959)

Gunfighter Clay Culhane (Peter Brecks) hangs up his guns and becomes a lawyer after his brothers are killed in a shootout. Culhane was also seriously injured in the gunfight, but survived. Trying to live a quieter life, Culhane’s reputation as a gunman constantly comes back to haunt him.
 
BRANDED (1965)

Unjustly accused of cowardice, cavalry captain Jason McCord (Chuck Conners) is court-martialed and drummed out of the Army. Trying to prove he isn’t a coward—and keep the secret of why he was the only survivor of the battle of Bitter Creek—McCord wanders the West looking for trouble.
 
BROKEN ARROW (1956)

A fictionalized account of the historical relationship between Indian agent Tom Jeffords (John Lupton) and the Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise (Michael Ansara), Broken Arrow was one of the few Westerns to portray Native Americans in a positive light.
 

BRONCO (1958)

Former Confederate officer Bronco Layne (Ty Hardin) drifts through the Wild West signing on for odd cowboy-type jobs and into weekly encounters with the likes Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Theodore Roosevelt, Belle Starr, Cole Younger, and John Wesley Hardin.
 
THE CALIFORNIANS (1957)

During the gold rush on the 1850s, newly arrived Mathew Wayne (Richard Coogan) takes the job as sheriff and organizes the police force in an attempt to maintain law and order in the wide open city. Along the way he trades barbs with an attorney names Pitt and becomes infatuated with the young widow Fanzler.
 
THE CHISHOLMS (1979)

Beginning as a TV mini-series and transitioning into weekly episodes, The Chisholms was developed by Evan Hunter—better known as Ed McBain—from his own novels. Cheated out of their land in Virginia, the Chisholms head West in 1844 encountering rough conditions, hostile Indians, and family upheaval. Hadley Chisholm (Robert Preston) was the patriarch who holds the family together with the help of his wife Minerva (Rosemary Harris).  
 
COLT .45 (1957)

Using his cover as a gun salesman, Christopher Colt (Wayde Preston) is a government Agent tracking down notorious bad guys. Sam Colt Jr. (Donald May), Christopher’s cousin, took over the reins for several episodes. Christopher and Sam eventually worked together as The Colt Cousins until the end of the series. The show was loosely based on the film starring Randolph Scott.
 
DESTRY (1964)

Harrison Destry (John Gavin) is the son of legendary lawman Tom Destry (the character from the film Destry Rides Again starring Jimmy Stewart). A sheriff himself until he was framed and sent to prison, Destry now roams the West searching for the men who set him up. Destry finds himself in numerous comedic situations as he goes to great lengths to avoid violence despite always running into trouble. As star John Gavin put it, "To Destry, a hero is a man who thinks slower than a coward. While his father died with his boots on, Destry believes it is better to live with his boots on.”
 
FRONTIER CIRCUS (1961)

Colonel Kasey Thompson (Chill Wills) and Ben Travis (John Derek) own a one-ring traveling circus entertaining audiences throughout the 1880’s West. Shot in black and white two years after Bonanza brought color westerns to television, Frontier Circus simply fell through the cracks. However it’s worth viewing on DVD as many of the stories were non-traditional Westerns because of the circus background.   
 

THE GENE AUTRY SHOW (1950)

One of the most recognizable of the original singing cowboys, Autry moved his show from radio to TV with relative easy. Lighthearted, with plots that were much about nothing, Autry was definitely family entertainment. My favorite Autry outing however was his debut in 1935, playing himself in the whacky serial film Phantom Empire. Autry is a singing cowboy who stumbles upon an ancient subterranean civilization living beneath his own ranch. It only gets crazier from there.
 
THE GUNS OF WILL SONNETT (1967)

Ex-cavalry scout and gunfighter Will Sonnett (Walter Brennan) and his grandson, Jeff (Deke Rambo), search the West for Will's son, and Jeff's father, Jim Sonnett (Jason Evers)—a former lawman turned gunslinger who is on the run. There is a lot of family angst amongst the gunsmoke.
 
GUNSLINGER (1961)

Little more than a twelve episode blip, the adventures of Cord (Tony Young), a young gunfighter working undercover for the local army garrison commander trying to keep peace in the territory, should have had a longer run. Cord's dark, brooding presence made him a heartthrob for female viewers, but did little to make up for the standard plots and plodding writing. The show, however, had two redeeming factors. The first was the theme sung by Western music icon Frankie Lane. Second was the dark nature of the pilot with Cord sent to bring in a war criminal from the American Civil War—a Confederate army doctor who performed medical experiments on the Union POWs at the infamous Andersonville prison camp. This was dangerous and exciting territory, but unfortunately, the following episodes were turned into trite horse operas.
 
HELL ON WHEELS (2011)

Former soldier and slaveholder, Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), is tracking a renegade band of Union soldiers who murdered his wife. His quest for vengeance ultimately brings him into the heart of the huge project of building the transcontinental railroad. This recidivist Western is an amazing blend of writing, acting, costuming, set dressing, and cinematography. It is also violent, bloody, harsh, and sometimes hard to watch despite its brilliance, or perhaps because of it.
 
HONDO (1967)

Based on the 1953 John Wayne film, which itself was based on an early Louis L’Amour novel, Hondo Lane (Ralph Taeger) is an ex-Confederate cavalry officer who takes an Indian bride, only to see her killed in a massacre perpetuated by U.S. Army troops. Accompanied by his dog, Sam, Hondo wanders the West in a quest protect the remaining Indians from further trouble with the Army. Buffalo Baker (Noah Beery, Jr.) often turns up as Hondo's sidekick. The first two episodes were combine as Hondo and the Apaches, a feature film distributed internationally.
 
HOPALONG CASSIDY (1959)

Created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford in a series of short stories, Hopalong Cassidy became a series of successful movies starring William Boyd, who changed Mulford’s original character to suit his own personality. When the studio moved on to other projects, Boyd risked every penny he had to buy the rights to his Hopalong films. He then turned around and sold the films to the fledgling NBC network, who broadcast them as edited episodes—making Hopalong Cassidy the first TV Western. The edited films were successful enough for NBC to order an original series of Hopalong adventures with William Boyd as the star. Even though he was dressed all in black, Hopalong was still a white knight riding his white charger, Topper, doing good across the West. Between the movies, the TV show, and the incredible merchandizing, Boyd became wildly rich.
 

HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1976)

Based loosely on a 1962 movie of the same name, How the West Was Won started its television run in 1976 with a two hour made-for-TV movie entitled The Macahans. The TV movie acted as a pilot for a 1977 mini-series, which ran under the original title, How the West Was Won. The successful mini-series spawned a regular How the West Was Won weekly series in 1978. While popular in the U.S., the series became hugely successful in Europe. When broadcast in Sweden, in particular, it established a devoted, if not fanatical following.
 
When Zebulon Macahan (James Arness), an irascible mountain man, trapper/trader, and scout working for the U.S. Army in the Indian Territories, returns to check on his family in Manassas, Virginia, he finds them preparing to head West to escape the ravages of the brewing Civil War. Because of his experience, Zeb finds himself blazing the trail with the help of his nephew Luke (Bruce Boxleitner) on the way to Oregon. They run into many setbacks along the way, forcing them to delay their travels many times as they face hostile Indians, crazed mountain men, and more trouble than any family should have to face.
 
In 1978, a nearly 400-page paperback novelization of the show’s early episodes was written by the prolific and versatile Lou Cameron. Sharing the title of the series, Cameron’s novelization is often confused with the novelization of the original 1962 feature film, which has the same title, but was adapted and expanded by Louis L'Amour.
 
IRON HORSE (1966)

In the 1880s, when Ben Calhoun (Dale Robertson) wins the half-completed Buffalo Pass, Scalplock and Defiance Line railroad in a poker game, he finds he has to fight Indians, bankers, and outlaws to complete the line. The show had a subtle underlying message of how industrial free enterprise built America. It also had a not so subtle message, especially in the first season, as Calhoon clearly cavorted with anything in skirts, including the female guest stars. There were no bedroom scenes, but viewers knew exactly what was going on behind closed doors—which was scandalous for a mid-60s TV show. The series pilot was released as the film Scalplock.
 
JOHNNY RINGO (1959)

The character of Johnny Ringo (Don Durant) was loosely based on the life of the notorious gunfighter and outlaw known as John Peters Ringo or John B. Ringgold, who tangled with Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Buckskin Franklin Leslie. Since it was unthinkable to have a bad guy as the hero of a Western, TV’s Johnny Ringo has turned his back on his owlhoot past and set aside his gunfighting ways to become the young sheriff of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. Like many other Western heroes, Johnny Ringo had a gimmick gun, a custom-built LeMat revolver. The LeMat featured an auxiliary shotgun barrel under its primary barrel. Many episodes found Ringo getting into scrapes where the final round in the shotgun barrel was the deciding factor.
 
LARAMIE (1959)

When their father is murdered by a greedy land seeker, the two Sherman brothers, Slim (John Smith) and fourteen year old Andy (Robert Crawford, Jr.), link up with drifter Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) to run a stagecoach stop for the Great Central Overland Mail Company. The money the Shermans make from running the stage stop they use to hang on to their father’s ranch. Interestingly, the show often showed the Shermans and the family cook Jonesy (Hoagy Carmichael) working on the ranch—chopping wood, cooked, washing dishes and cloths, feeding chickens, repairing roofs, and the many other chores necessary to run a ranch. The relationship between the Shermans and grim drifter Jess Harper is touchy and tenuous, but eventually moves toward trust and true friendship. By season three most of the characters and the interesting storylines that made the series different from other TV Westerns had been tossed in favor of focusing on Slim Sherman and Jess Harper and standard Western tropes.
 
THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF WYATT EARP (1955)

Playing fast and loose with historical facts, Wyatt Earp (Hugh O’Brian) starts out as the deputy town marshal of Ellsworth, Kansas. However, after only four episodes, he moves on to becomes town marshal in Wichita, Kansas. In the season, Wyatt moves on again when he is hired as assistant city marshal of Dodge City, all the time keeping the peace with his Buntline Special—a Colt revolver with a 12” barrel. Wyatt was portrayed as an upstanding hero, a man reluctant to kill until forced into a gunfight. This was far from the reality of the real life Wyatt Earp’s character. However, Hugh O’Brian absolutely embodied the TV show character, playing Earp with a cold nobility, a reserve, and a slightly dark edge. TV’s Earp was a well-honed knife blade cutting to the heart of every storyline.
 
MAKENZIE’S RAIDERS (1958)

Colonel Mackenzie (Richard Carlson), commander of the 4th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Clark located in southwest Texas, receives secret orders from U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant and Secretary of War William W. Belknap to stop bandits from crossing the Rio Grande into the United States or escaping justice by fleeing into Mexico.
 
Based on the book The Mackenzie Raid, the Colonel’s orders went even further. His Cavalry unit was expected to clean up the Southwest, making it a fit place for Americans to live. They were to wipe out renegades, outlaws, and murderers. If necessary, they were expected to cross the Rio Grande in pursuit of dangerous outlaws, knowing if they were captured they would be hung by the very outlaws they pursued, or if discovered they would be court martial by the United States Army.
 

A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH (1965)

A man (Robert Horton) is shot and left for dead. He is found and revived by two buffalo hunters who take him to town hoping he has a bounty on his head. According to the sheriff, however, the man is not on any wanted posters, but the bigger problem is the man has no recollection of his past. Calling himself Shenandoah, a name given to him by the doctor who treats him, he set off across the West in search of his identity and to find out who . Eventually, He learns he had been a Union officer during the American Civil War—possibly being the only survivor of a massacre—is an expert card player, and might have been married, but he can uncover no definitive answers. The big moral hits in the final episode: It's not always important who you are; but it's always important what you are. Star Robert Horton Sang the show’s theme song after he wrote new lyrics to the music of American folk tune Oh, Shenandoah.
 
THE NINE LIVES OF ELFEGO BACA (1958)

Elfego Baca (Robert Loggia) was a real-life Mexican American lawman in the late 1800s brought to life on television in ten episodes of Walt Disney Presents. Elfego Baca was an attorney and reluctant lawman who preferred to fight outlaws using his brains rather than his guns.  In 1962 a number of episodes were compiled and released as a movie under the title Six Gun Law. In the series, Elfego was often referred to as El Gato—the cat. Star Robert Loggia, of course, would later become the cat-burglar known as T.H.E. Cat.
 
OUTLAWS (1960)

U.S. Marshal Frank Caine (Barton MacLane) and his young deputies (Don Collier / Bruce Yarnell) take on bandit gangs, gunmen, and robbers as they bring justice to the lawless Oklahoma Badlands. The series brought an interesting twist to the TV Western. In a Wild West take on Crime and Punishment, each episode was told almost exclusively from the point of view of the Outlaws, not the lawmen. U.S. Marshal Caine and his posse were a constant threating presence to the men they were chasing—always in the distance, but always coming. In some episodes, the outlaws were presented in such an empathetic way viewers found themselves rooting for them to get away. The episodes usually ended in one of two ways, the traditional lawman finally catches the outlaw, or more interestingly, the outlaw causes his own downfall through his character flaws.
 
PARADISE (1988)

With a name change to The Guns Of Paradise in season three, this family oriented TV Western saw wrongly accused gunslinger Ethan Cord (Lee Horsley) confronted with raising his dead sister's four children. When he tries to settle his new found family in the town of Paradise, Cord’s gunfighter past (as it always does) continues to put him—and his sister’s children—in danger. Some episodes tried for a more human element, such as when Paradise is infested with the small pox. Like a number of other TV Westerns, Paradise found an enthusiastic and loyal audience in Scandinavian and Europe.
 
PONY EXPRESS (1959)

Wanted...Young expert horsemen, good moral character, ready to endure severe hardships to carry the mail 2000 miles between St. Joe and Sacramento against the impossible barriers of terrain, weather, Indians...and time. Set in 1860, the opening narration for each episode of Pony Express provided the basic storyline. The majority of episodes featured Brett Clark (Grant Sullivan) as a roving investigator for the Central Overland Express Company—better known as the Pony Express—and Donovan (Don Dorrell), a young Pony Express rider, solving the many problems of delivering the mail.
 
QUEEN OF SWORDS

In 1817, a young Spanish aristocrat, Tessa Alvarado (Tessie Marie Santiago), returns to Spanish California after the death of her father and finds her home in ruins, her father's manservant reduced to stealing. The town where she was born is run by a militaristic governor who abuses his power, resulting in the miscarriage of justice and the poor living conditions of his subjects. Upset about the state of her birthplace and the murder of her father, Tessa's path is revealed to her in a mysterious dream where her father comes to her and talks of his murder, his hidden gold, and of his "Avenging Angel." She will take up arms to protect the people from the town's governor and to avenge her father's death. Tessa will do this in disguise behind a mask, becoming that "Avenging Angel," The Queen of Swords. As the Queen of Swords, Tessa becomes a vision of hope for the people who live in her long oppressed town.
 

THE ROUGH RIDERS (1958)

In a pre-automobile version of Route 66, ex-Union Captain Jim Flagg (Kent Taylor), former Confederate Lieutenant Colin Kirby (Jan Merlin), and former Union Sergeant Buck Sinclair (Peter Whitney) travel the post-Civil War West together on the lookout for trouble and badguys. Flagg is the gallant authority figure; Kirby is jaunty and self-confident; and Sinclair is an imposing, jack-of-all-trades, out of the Tennessee hills. In one episode, the Confederate Kirby gives a brief explanation of why a Reb is travelling with two Yanks by revealing the two Union vets saved his life. This was a buddy show with the three leads seeming to genuinely like one another, which was by far the biggest draw of the show.
 
THE ROY ROGERS SHOW (1951)

The announcer at the top of every episode described the show best—The Roy Rogers Show, starring Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys; Trigger, his golden palomino; and Dale Evans, Queen of the West; with Pat Brady, his comical sidekick; and Roy's wonder dog, Bullet. With all those players in place there was still room for Dale Evans’ horse Buttermilk, and Pat Brady’s seemingly possessed Jeep Nellybelle. Roy owned the Double R Ranch outside the fictional Mineral City. Dale Evans was the proprietress of the Eureka Café and Hotel. Pat Brady was Roy’s hapless sidekick, employed at the Eureka Café as Dale Evans’ cook. All of the above blended—without explanation—traditional 19th century cowboys into a strange mash-up with 20th century automobiles, telephones, and electric lighting. In stories aimed at a juvenile audience, Roy, Dale, Pat, and their collection of celebrity animals and Jeep regularly rescued the weak and helpless from Snidely Whiplash type villains, all the while teaching lessons on gun safety or natural resources, and delivering the occasional (standard for the day) Christian message.
 
SHANE (1966)

Based on the 1949 book and the 1953 movie, Shane (a pre-Kung Fu David Carradine) was a former nomadic gunslick who sometimes skirted the edges of the law. The show was mostly remarkable for its revered ancestry, but lost the point of the original source material, which was Shane leaving at the end. In the series, Shane tries to put his past behind him by accepting a job as a hired-hand at a the Starett family farm, which is owned by a comely widow (Jill Ireland), her young son (Christopher Shea), and her father (Tom Tully). For no apparent reason the series spelled Starett with only one ‘r’ instead of two as in the book and movie.
 
Before long, Shane finds himself having to deal with Rufe Ryker (Bert Freed), a ruthless anti-sodbuster land baron determined to either drive the widow Starett off her land, or if worse comes to worse, marry her. The series only lasted seventeen episodes as it was scheduled on Saturday nights against the ratings blockbuster that was The Jackie Gleason Show.
 
SHOTGUN SLADE (1959)

At a time when TV crime shows were beginning to chip away at the popularity of the TV Western, Shotgun Slade (Scott Brady) made an attempt to have it both ways. Instead of a lawman, bounty hunter, or drifting cowpoke, Slade was one of the West’s first independent private eyes. As such, he hired out much like a Wild West version of the two-fisted private eye shows, such as Peter Gunn, which were becoming popular. Slade also shared another trait with Peter Gunn. Instead of a traditional Western theme and soundtrack, Shotgun Slade featured a modern jazz score, which was anachronistic, but certainly set the show apart from other TV Westerns.
 
And then there was the reason for the shotgun part of Shotgun Slade. Like Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Rifleman, Shotgun Slade had a gimmick gun—a combination shotgun with an upper and lower barrel. The lower barrel fired a 12-guage shotgun shell, while the top barrel fired a .32 caliber rifle bullet. The idea was this gave Shotgun Slade the ability to hit targets at both close range and at distance with the same gun. The logic of this might be shaky, but the firearm was definitely as cool as the show’s soundtrack.


STONEY BURKE (1962)

This moody, nori-tinged, rodeo drama channels the bleak message of the movie Lonely Are the Brave, in which the last of the cowboys finds his way of life disappearing. The quietly noble Stoney Burke (Jack Lord) tries to stop the process as he competes to become the world champion saddle bronc rider and win rodeo’s Golden Buckle. A couple of Stoney’s pals come along for the bumpy ride. The shifty, but loveable Ves Painter (Warren Oates) often comes close to stealing the show, while E.J. Stocker (Bruce Dern) is more downbeat.

However, what makes this show so special happened behind the scenes. Producer/creator Leslie Stevens wrote all the earliest and clearly understood the characters and the underlying themes of the show. Conrad Hall's stunningly beautiful black and white photography gave the show a look unlike any other TV Western of the same time period. And there was also Dominic Frontiere's rousing theme music, which never failed to get a response from viewers.

TALES OF THE TEXAS RANGERS (1955)

In a cool time altering twist on the standard TV Western, Texas Rangers Jace Pearson (Willard Parker) and Clay Morgan (Harry Lauter) would be in 1840s Texas one week, but find themselves in a modern day setting the next week. This was a unique dramatic  device, which viewers appeared to accept and take in stride. The show was also possibly the first TV or movie Western to feature the walk—where all the characters join up to walk into danger together. This has been seen over and over again in every Western from Tombstone to The Wild Bunch. Each episode of Tales of the Texas Rangers would start with one Ranger walking down the street only to be joined by another, and another, until he had a whole company with him by the end of the opening walk. The show would end by reversing this scene. 



TOMBSTONE TERRITORY (1957)

In this respectable second tier TV Western, tough Sheriff Clay Hollister (Pat Conway) keeps the law in Tombstone, Arizona—the Town Too Tough To Die—with the support of Harris Claibourne (Richard Eastham) editor of the local The Tombstone Epitaph newspaper. Each episode would begin with a voice over narration by Claibourne stating the evening’s episode was based on a story covered by his newspaper.  
 
TRACKDOWN (1957)

Introduced on an episode of Zane Grey Theater, Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman (Robert Culp) traveled the West tracking down wanted men. While some episodes were inspired by the files of the Rangers, Hoby eventually settled down and acted as the sheriff of the fictional town of Porter, Texas. He would still occasionally venture out into the wider Lone Star State to pursue fugitives, but most of the episodes became town centered. Trackdown carried the endorsement of both the State of Texas and the Texas Rangers, dual accolades no other television series was ever granted. Trackdown is also known for an episode where Steve McQueen appeared as bounty hunter Josh Randall for the first time before being spun-off into its own show, Wanted: Dead or Alive.
 
26 MEN (1957)

Based on real life events, 26 Men acted as a bridge as TV Westerns transformed from kid friendly Westerns—The Roy Rogers show, Hopalong Cassidy—and adult oriented Westerns such as Have Gun Will Travel. Led by Captain Thomas H. Rynning (Tristram Coffin) and Ranger Clint Travis (Kelo Henderson), the 26 Arizona Rangers were expert horsemen, trackers and marksmen. Because the force was small and their territory huge, they were equipped with the best horses and the most modern weapons. The show also had a very cool theme song with a driving beat...This is the story of 26 men who rode the Arizona territory; 26 men who lived to ride again rode out to answer duty's call; 26 men who lived to fight again rode out for the right and the liberty of all...
 
WHIPLASH (1959)

Set in the 1860s, Whiplash is a kangaroo Western (filmed in Australia) in which Christopher Cobb (Peter Graves) founds and runs Australia's first stagecoach line, Cobb and Co. Cobb did not carry a pistol, but he efficiently used a stockwhip to settle disputes. The series is mostly notable for two of its writers—Gene Roddenberry and Harry Julian Fink.
 
YANCY DERRINGER (1958)

A former Confederate Army captain, Derringer (Jock Mahoney), now a gentleman adventurer and gambler, returns to New Orleans three years after the end of the Civil War. Widely respected in New Orleans society as a southerner who never surrendered, Derringer is recruited by the Federal City Administrator, John Colton, to work as a secret agent answering directly to Colton. The series was based on a 1938 short story about a destitute Southern aristocrat and troublemaker written by Richard Sale, one of the highest-paid pulp writers of the era.
 
THE YOUNG RIDERS (1989)

Fictionalized account of a group of young Pony Express riders—some younger versions of legendary Western figures—based at the Sweetwater Station in the Nebraska Territory during the years leading up to the American Civil War. The taskmaster is Aloysius Teaspoon Hunter (Anthony Zerbe), a former Texas Ranger and one of the few survivors of the Battle of the Alamo. Louise Lou McCloud (Yvonne Suhor) impersonates a man so she can join the riders, but The Kid (Ty Miller), a soft-spoken southerner, finds her out and begins to fall in love with her. Complications ensue.

2 comments:

  1. And yet no Alias Smith and Jones, Lancer and Wanted Dead or alive. Maverick or gunsmoke. All of which were wonderful series. Some of the scripts were a little crap but the acting was awsome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's because all those made it into the book... 😎

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