As one who always considered westerns to be a dime a dozen, I found "The Guns of Will Sonnett" to be enjoyable. Set in the 1870's, the premise has an ex-cavalry scout, Will Sonnett (Walter Brennan) roaming the Wild West, along with his grandson Jeff (Dack Rambo), searching for the boy's father, Jim Sonnett. Seems that while growing up, Will never had time for Jim, due to his army duties, moving from one fort to another, so at the age of 17, Jim bolts. In the years that followed, Jim gained the reputation of a notorious gunfighter, while keeping no contact with Will. Until the day a stagecoach arrives with Jim's infant son, Jeff, and a simple note: "Take the boy and raise him Not many of us gets a second chance." Will does just that, bringing up Jeff with the love he never showed Jim.
When Jeff reached adulthood, he wants to meet his father, since all he ever heard were stories and legends. Thus, Will and Jeff Sonnett begin their search for Jim. The pilot, like most of the episodes, involve Will and Jeff encountering folks who had run-ins with Jim Sonnett, usually bad ones. Since Jim is long gone, (They always seem to miss him by a few months, weeks, days, etc) the bitter guest stars try to take their frustrations out on a 73 year-old man and his grandson. They soon learn the only gun faster than Jim Sonnett is the man who taught him. "No brag, just fact", is Will's usual warning. Jeff is no slouch with a shooting iron either. By episode's end, it was all a misunderstanding about Jim, and the two searchers depart. Of course, if someone would've said something earlier, the conflict would've been avoided, but it's not much of a story then.
Without giving anything away, this series had a final episode that resolved the premise, and even opened the door to continue the show in a different setting, had ABC decided to renew it for a third season, which was still up in the air at that time.
I'm delighted that TGOWS was released on DVD, although the quality isn't perfect, as mentioned before. The only disappointment for me was that the special features didn't have an interview with the show's last surviving cast member. Jason Evers, who played Jim Sonnett, was still alive when TGOWS was converted to DVD, and I would've enjoyed hearing his insights on the show. It was, perhaps, his most famous role.
In spite of running only two seasons, I find "The Guns of Will Sonnett" to be my favorite western. Western fans who don't recall this obscure gem may find it worth their while to check it out.
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