A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film ... See full summary »
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The Outcasts was one of the best TV Westerns, white or black
I am not a Westerns fan or I would surely give The Outcasts a rating of 8 to 10. I am also not Black and when I first watched this show in the late 60's, I hardly caught the complex racial overtones. However everyone loves an antihero. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly had been released only two years before, perhaps the greatest Western ever made, partly because the hero was no longer the perfect "knight without armor." Clint was Clint because he had "attitude"! Now seeing a totally self-confident Black man in a white cowboy world immediately placed Jemal (Otis Young) in a similarly counter-cultural stance. Jemal did not light his matches on a stranger's sideburns--but he only needed to breathe to convey the same message. He and his partner Earl (Don Murray), a former slave owner, would end their little quarrels by shooting cigars out of each other's mouths, etc. And when the two got together, nobody but nobody could stand in their way. So in my young mind, this was just a totally cool and refreshing version of the standard TV Western. Now 40 years later, I recently discovered the Netflix free streaming that includes many old TV shows. Not remembering the exact name of The Outcasts, I had a difficult time tracking it down. Not prominently listed under TV Western nor under Black TV, and there seems just nothing except black horses and black hats when I search "Black TV Western." Netflix does not have this show nor is it even available on DVD. Possibly there were politics involved in dropping and forgetting this show. Even some Blacks might not like the idea of a Black bounty hunter at a time when just being Black was enough to be posted for a bounty. Sure The Outcasts was unreal but no more than the average TV Western, not to mention "Kung Fu." Ah well, all TV Westerns in 1968 were on the way out, replaced by Star Trek and spy thrillers. Only the good die young. Perhaps The Outcasts successfully spoke its full message in its one season. Nonetheless that one season certainly should be more available today on DVD.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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