Everybody in the town of Copper Springs is eager to credit Bonner with the shooting of legendary gunman Jett King - including King himself, who doesn't want his reputation destroyed by letting it be ...
The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Colonel MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more ... See full summary »
The Cannon family runs the High Chaparral Ranch in the Arizona Territory in 1870s. Big John wants to establish his cattle empire despite Indian hostility. He's aided by brother Buck and son... See full summary »
The basis for the series was the 1953 to 1954 radio series "The Six Shooter", starring James Stewart, and created by Frank Burt. Many of the series' season one episodes were adapted from episodes aired on the radio. See more »
The 77 half-hour episodes (all in B&W) of the television western "The Restless Gun" ran from 1957-1959 on NBC. John Payne (best known as the Santa believing attorney in "Miracle on 34th Street") played the title character whose series name was Vint Bonner. There was also a half hour pilot where Payne's character had a different name (Britt Ponset). 23 of these episodes (including the pilot) are on the new DVD release.
"The Restless Gun" was a big deal back in those days. It had its own Dell 4-color comic book and was part of Topps 1958 set of T.V. Western trading cards. This was the first series for "Bonanza" producer David Dotort. Payne was the show's executive producer.
What distinguished Vint Bonner from the legion of televised loners (Johnny Yuma, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bronco Lane, etc.) who were roaming the range back then was that he was clearly a professional gunfighter (like Paladin) and not just somebody trying to find themselves. He didn't have Paladin's style or fondness for the good life, rather he seemed pretty world weary and disillusioned.
As someone has already mentioned, Bonner carried around a special kit that would extend the effective range of his colt. This involved a detailed assembly sequence in which a barrel extension and a rifle stock were attached to the handgun. The idea of a modified novelty gun soon inspired imitators, "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "The Rifleman" within the western genre. Then "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." as the spy shows proliferated. The U.N.C.L.E. gun was the most like what was featured on "The Restless Gun". The featured gun has been largely forgotten except among toy collectors, as a toy replica was released at the time along with the show's other merchandising programs.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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