In 1914, Nichols, a soldier, sick of killing, returns to his Arizona home town, named after his family, and is strong-armed into serving as sheriff by the Ketcham clan, who run the area. ... See full summary »
In 1914, Nichols, a soldier, sick of killing, returns to his Arizona home town, named after his family, and is strong-armed into serving as sheriff by the Ketcham clan, who run the area. Nichols, who doesn't believe in toting a gun, scoots around via an Indian motorcycle. The Ketchams install as deputy their relative, Mitch Mitchell. The nasty deputy has a dog named Slump, and Mitchell is very dumb. A business-savvy local gal has an undefined relationship with Nichols, but it's obvious there's lots of action in the back rooms of her saloon. The strict moral lines of traditional Westerns are absent in this very Vietnam War era show's view of the Old West's dying days: the Ketchams aren't all bad, and little-respected Sheriff Nichols wouldn't mind ripping off the town to head for Mexico. Written by
This show was a really good one in many ways, although certainly an atypical Western with the hero (?) riding around on a motorcycle rather than a horse, due to the 1914 setting, very "late" for a Western, which tend usually to be set between 1866 and 1890. I remember some controversy about its cancellation at the time but didn't really watch it during its time on NBC. When I came to see it and love it was a decade later when I was in the Army stationed in Germany and it was shown every week from the beginning on Armed Forces Television. By then, Margot Kidder was famous as Lois Lane but I'll also always think of her as Nichols' girlfriend. In a lot of ways, Nichols was a lot like Maverick; both were much more attracted to getting rich with little effort than they were fighting. It was in the little TV magazine that they distributed at the PX (not really an authorized edition of "TV Guide" but made to resemble it as closely as possible without getting into copyright trouble) that I first learned the real story behind the cancellation. I really wonder what the next season with the more violent twin would have been like if they had really made it as planned. Of course, by the time this show was made the "Western era" of TV had been in decline for around a decade; someday I hope to be able to write that the "reality era" has been in decline for that long! While "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza" were still running, they were both nearing their ends and it had been years since a new Western had really caught on; I think that this trend did a lot to hold "Nichols" back, and was the main reason that NBC executives doubted that it would ever find a large audience But to me, a good Western, unlike a show set in contemporary times, is somewhat timeless, as are other "period" shows; changing fashions and the like do nothing to make them look any more "dated" than they were supposed to be, and I think that watching this show, 10 years after it was produced, is really what brought this point home to me. Also, this show is an early pairing of Garner and Stuart Margolin, who is really one of the all-time great sidekicks, and not just in Westerns.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?