Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts and Rocky Mountains. The first treks were led by gruff, ... See full summary »
Western stories and legends based, and filmed, in and around Death Valley, CA. One of the longest-running Western series, originating on radio in the 1930s. The continuing sponsor was "20 Mule Team" Borax, a product mined in Death Valley.
When his cattle drivers abandon him for the gold fields, rancher Wil Andersen is forced to take on a collection of young boys as his drivers in order to get his herd to market in time to ... See full summary »
A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians when he proves to be the match of their warriors in one-to-one combat on ... See full summary »
Weed Pindle is a rather mild mannered wandering guitar player who is in Dodge. A couple of the rowdier cowboys have started having fun at his expense getting him drunk. When they find out he fought for the Union in the 3rd Illinois Cavalry their fun turns serious and they are set on hanging the peaceful player. Chester and some of the other citizens are just as determined to prevent it. Written by
Aces all around-- Not only the best of the first year, but also among the best of the entire series. Scrawny, slow-witted Weed Pindle (even the name sounds defenseless) rides into Dodge on a mule, no less, where two saloon rowdies harass him. But when they find the bug-eyed Weed is a Texan who fought for the Yankees, the two southern-sympathizers decide to hang him! Ending is brilliantly done and a startling departure for the time. It's also one that, like a Hitchcock film, forces us to examine ourselves, and in this case how our own sense of law coordinates with that of justice.
Aaron Spelling (the future TV mogul) shines as the hapless drifter. His trusting innocence and homely features combine into a distinctive one-of-a-kind presence. I recall being jolted at the time by his odd looks -- people like him just didn't get on TV. Nonetheless, someone in production came up with a casting master-stroke. Screenplay is by the legendary Sam Peckinpah, adapted from a story by series originator John Meston, which accounts for the powerful narrative and the daring departure of the climax. Director Harry Horner's camera angle in the final scene also proves inspired. The slow pan provides a moment of emotional relief, but at the same time blurs the line between committing a crime and serving the ends of justice. All in all, this is the kind of episode that established Gunsmoke's early reputation and continues to pack a considerable punch, lo, these many years later. And it may be the only series of the day to implicate cast principals in a major crime.
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