Rawhide was a wonderful TV western series. Focusing on a band of trail drovers lead by the trail boss Gil Favor. Most episodes - especially from the first 3 seasons were really character studies of Favor and his men. Guest stars came and went but unlike Wagon Train they seldom dominated the episodes they appeared in. Rawhide was a true, gritty western and Gil Favor stood out as a memorable character never to be forgotten. Thanks to Eric Fleming's performance the show became a massive hit. Of course he was ably supported by a wonderful cast of good actors - Clint Eastwood, Sheb Wooley, Paul Brinegar, Steve Raines, James Murdoch, Rocky Shahan, Robert Cabal. All of these actors left their mark in a piece of television history. Rawhide captured the flavour of that time of the west that no other series has for me, as yet anyhow, managed to do so. Later seasons tended to split the leads and give them individual story lines. For me some of the time this didn't work - the cattle drive and the regulars provided the best stories. However there were still some classic stories and Rawhide remained top drawer affair. The black and white photography added to a bleak, realistic feel that other western series seldom managed to capture. Rustlers, Indians,Commancheroes, beautiful damsels in distress, serial killers, they all showed up to give our heroes problems. The end came for the series quietly when the final season was axed less than half way through. The reason - Eric Fleming had departed and Rawhide was now a head without a body - the gritty realism was gone, Gil Favor commanded respect and exuded authority - he was never infallible and this made him all the more interesting. We shall not see his like again. Watch an episode whenever you can, they seldom disappoint.
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