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The character, Dave Barrett, wasn't really a private investigator. He
was - as the show's title infers - a "manhunter", a bounty hunter. Dave
returned home, a WWI veteran, to find his family is having a hard time
making ends meet due to the Great Depression.
Dave decides to supplement the family's income by collecting the bounties on the Dillinger-esquire gangsters that were prevalent (apparently *very* prevalent in Kansas - who knew?) in those days.
So Dave fixes a car up with hiding spots for some of his war souvenirs (seriously, a Colt .45 auto and a Thompson submachine gun - plus a bayonet, a shotgun, and a Winchester rifle! Dog could take lessons from this guy.) and set off each week to earn some extra milk and egg money.
Maybe it wasn't quite historically accurate; but it was a fun show.
Back in the 1970s there were a LOT of detective shows and some nostalgia shows. The Manhunter was a detective show AND a nostalgia show. Dave Barrett was a private investigator. Actually, the show might have had a lot of stuff implanted into it, like the term "private investigator", from the 1970s and thus been somewhat unauthentic for the 1930s. Dave and his folks had a grain-and-potato farm in Idaho, as I recall. Kind of the middle of nowhere to be a private investigator. But Dave went to Kansas and Colorado and other places where there was crime. In one episode, Dave worked for a trucking company in Kansas to stop hijacking by a gang of criminals. In one episode, Dave and some locals were barricaded in a general store by a gang of criminals. One criminal decided to smash into the general store with a steam roller. Dave made a bomb to stop the steam roller. In one episode, Dave's father was pinned under his overturned Fordson and was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, there was a gang of criminals at the hospital....
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