As an adolescent when this show debuted, I immediately fell in love with the character J.D. Smith, so adeptly played by Jack Elam. In the pilot ("A Man Called Ragan"), he was a gunfighter called in by Del Stark's stepfather to kill Frank Ragan, the Federal Marshal. Realizing that Ragan might have more to offer him than his boss, he decides to join the marshal's team (including young Del Stark and town constable Vance Porter) and begin bringing justice to the Dakota Territory. J.D. Smith is somewhat uneasy in his new role as a deputy, using wry humor as a means to temper his natural tendency to dispense his own brand of 'justice' to those who cross him or otherwise bully the downtrodden. Having seen some of the episodes recently, the stories are good, albeit some a bit preachy, but Jack Elam is absolutely delightful to watch. This character "made" the show and was clearly the forerunner to The Man With No Name and Dirty Harry, and nobody could have done it better than Jack Elam!
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?