Everybody in the town of Copper Springs is eager to credit Bonner with the shooting of legendary gunman Jett King - including King himself, who doesn't want his reputation destroyed by letting it be ...
Bret and Bart Maverick (and in later seasons, their English cousin, Beau) are well dressed gamblers who migrate from town to town always looking for a good game. Poker (5 card draw) is ... See full summary »
Set in the Louisiana Territory around 1830, wealthy planter Jim Bowie encounters many famous people in New Orleans or the backwoods, relying for protection on the knife he supposedly ... See full summary »
The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more ... See full summary »
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The pilot aired as an episode of the Schlitz Playhouse (1951) on 29 March 1957. John Payne's character was called "Britt Ponset", but when it became a series the name was changed to "Vint Bonner". See more »
The 77 half-hour episodes (all in B&W) of the television western "The Restless Gun" ran from 1957-1959 on NBC. John Payne (best known as the Santa believing attorney in "Miracle on 34th Street") played the title character whose series name was Vint Bonner. There was also a half hour pilot where Payne's character had a different name (Britt Ponset). 23 of these episodes (including the pilot) are on the new DVD release.
"The Restless Gun" was a big deal back in those days. It had its own Dell 4-color comic book and was part of Topps 1958 set of T.V. Western trading cards. This was the first series for "Bonanza" producer David Dotort. Payne was the show's executive producer.
What distinguished Vint Bonner from the legion of televised loners (Johnny Yuma, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bronco Lane, etc.) who were roaming the range back then was that he was clearly a professional gunfighter (like Paladin) and not just somebody trying to find themselves. He didn't have Paladin's style or fondness for the good life, rather he seemed pretty world weary and disillusioned.
As someone has already mentioned, Bonner carried around a special kit that would extend the effective range of his colt. This involved a detailed assembly sequence in which a barrel extension and a rifle stock were attached to the handgun. The idea of a modified novelty gun soon inspired imitators, "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "The Rifleman" within the western genre. Then "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." as the spy shows proliferated. The U.N.C.L.E. gun was the most like what was featured on "The Restless Gun". The featured gun has been largely forgotten except among toy collectors, as a toy replica was released at the time along with the show's other merchandising programs.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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