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Classic Early Pacifist Western series - Spoilers

Author: Dejael from Los Angeles, California
9 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This terrific syndicated TV series, in 52 black & white 30-minute episodes, made by 20th Century Fox Television, now seemingly long-forgotten by TV viewers, had a new angle at the time of its release as a family show, and that was to tone down the violent aspects of Western stories and concentrate on how outlaws could be brought to justice just as well by the printing press as they could with a gun, using the old maxim "the pen is mightier than the sword".

Starring handsome hunk, baritone-voiced movie star Rex Reason, most famous as Dr. Cal Meacham in the science fiction classic THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955), as Adam MacLean, a crusading newspaper reporter and editor-in-chief of the "YELLOWSTONE SENTINEL" newspaper in the rustic western town of Yellowstone, Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park, with a circulation all over the Dakotas, thanks to his dispatches via Western Union and Wells Fargo Express.

Adam MacLean was an idealistic impresario in this small town who has as his chief ally and friend Sheriff and U.S. Marshal Frank Tallman, well played by actor Mort Mills, and often would pal around with series regulars Harry Harvey Sr. as Mayor George Dixon and Forrest Taylor as Doc Brannon in the course of his investigations. Guest stars included many popular TV actresses of the day as passing love interests for burly Adam MacLean.

Running for 52 episodes, produced from the fall of 1957 to late 1959, this popular series had its season premiere in September 1958 and ran for two seasons thru spring of 1960.

Rex Reason admirably showcased how moral ethics and common sense could be used instead of violence to bring crooks and outlaws to justice, but was not averse to an occasional fistfight if the situation demanded it.

As MacLean, Reason also used his newspaper office as a schoolroom to teach youngsters their lessons as well as common decency and the difference between right and wrong.

Rex Reason as a Western star was comparable to James Garner and Jack Kelly in MAVERICK, Clint Walker in CHEYENNE or Ty Hardin in BRONCO. Rex had already starred in a few Western movies so he was comfortable and well-suited to the series, and well-received by viewers.

One particular episode from the second season, titled "DEVIL'S ACRES" was filmed like an episode of Rod Serling's TWILIGHT ZONE, as a fantasy allegory, and is especially memorable. Pretty blonde actress Carol Ohmart (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, 1959) guest-starred as a young lady who came to claim her lost relative's land, only to realize it was claimed by the Devil, played in an uncredited cameo role by John Carradine, who rides off on a black horse at the end!

Highly recommended to Western movie and TV fans, or anyone who loves classic TV of the 1950s & 1960s.

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