Wednesday, October 28, 2020


In today’s Six-gun Justice Conversations segment, Rich visits with actor/producer Dale Midkiff who played Buck Wilmington for two seasons in the CBS series reimagining of the 1960 classic, Magnificent Seven. Midkiff’s breakthrough role came when he landed the role of Elvis in the made-for-TV movie Elvis and Me (1988). He later starred in Pet Sematary with Fred Gwynne (1989), and Love Potion No. 9 with Sandra Bullock (1992)...

Available now on all major podcast streaming platforms or by clicking the player below...

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


The terrific Television's New Frontier: The 1960s blog has numerous detailed and informative posts on many of our favorite westerns. Below is the opening paragraph of their post on Bronco. For the full post click on the link at the end...
Though it had hit the top 30 in the Nielsen ratings in its first two seasons, reaching #24 in its 1957-58 debut and inching up to #21 the next season, Sugarfoot was the first of the three rotating Warner Brothers westerns to be canceled, with only 5 episodes airing in 1961, the last on April 17. Even though Bronco (hatched a year after Sugarfoot to combat Clint Walker of Cheyenne in his dispute with the studio's skin-flint practices) never reached the top 30, it was kept around until 1962, the same year that Cheyenne bit the dust. But Warners didn't entirely abandon westerns that year because they also launched a new series, The Dakotas, in the fall of 1962, though it lasted only a single season. So it's unclear exactly why Sugarfoot got the axe when it did.
Without evidence to the contrary, it appears that the decision to cancel the series may have been an impulsive one. Warner Brothers was still employing their crossover scheme of having Bronco's Ty Hardin guest star on Sugarfoot in the third-from-last episode "Angel" on March 6, 1961. The following week Will Hutchins' Tom Brewster character was featured in the Bronco episode "Yankee Tornado." The crossover scheme was intended to lure fans of one series to watch the other series, so if Sugarfoot were on the way out, it makes little sense to have Hutchins appear on Bronco a month before his show was to be canceled. Secondly, the introduction of sidekick wannabe Toothy Thompson in the January 16, 1961 episode of the same name hardly seems like a move for a dying series.
For the full post CLICK HERE

Monday, October 26, 2020


In episode nineteen of the Six-Gun Justice Podcast, Rich and I ride hell-for-leather with the characters from the Warner Bros. Classic TV Westerns—Cheyenne, Bronco, Sugarfoot, Maverick, Lawman, Colt .45, and more...
Available now on all major podcast streaming platforms or by clicking the player below...


There have been nearly a dozen vintage westerns recently republished by Cutting Edge Books. One of the best is Texas Heller by E. M. Parsons. 
It’s the story of Coy Quillen who comes back to Two Trees Texas after fighting on the side of the Union. The Texas town, and site of Coy’s old family ranch, the Kewpie (Q-P) is firmly in the grip of Union reconstruction and a weasely opportunistic named Matt Conroy. 
Via a government swindle, Matt owns the QP now, but worse, owns Coy’s woman Lydia Prinell. When Coy finds out the details about all this over a drink at the local bar, he’s throwing down and spitting’ blood—in that order—thanks to Conroy’s goon, Moriarity. The only thing Coy can do legally is appeal the land deal, first with local military boss Captain DuPuys, and when that doesn’t work—all the way up the pipe to General Sheridan. 
But such things take time, and Conroy’s not gonna give let him have it. The good news is that even though his own brother is against him, Coy still has a few palls, and Lydia’s heart never truly strayed (even if her body did). So there’s a satisfying wrap up, filled with action, and if you like traditional westerns you can’t go wrong here. Again, it’s on Kindle from Cutting Edge books. 
Of the western writers we’ve profiled on the blog, Parsons has—perhaps—the most unique backstory. Born in Pittsburgh in 1926, he was convicted of burglary and grand theft auto 23 years later. He served three years in Chino State Prison and was released—but was back behind bars by 1955 for passing 22 stolen checks. He served five years at San Quentin. 
While there, he back editor of the prison newspaper and sold his first novel under the pen name Phillip Race to Fawcett for a $3500 advance. He wrote two more novels and one western, Texas Heller. After his prison release he wrote for TV shows, including Cheyenne, The Dakotas, and Flipper.


Another TV western from the Warner Bros. stables, Sugarfoot starred Will Hutchins as easterner gone west Tom Brewster, nicknamed Sugarfoot for his apparent total lack of cowboy skills—Sugarfoot being a designation even below that of a tenderfoot.
Writer/producer Hugh Benson created the character of Sugarfoot as a gentle itinerant cowpuncher who was also a law school correspondence student determined to become an attorney someday. Some of his adventures had a comedic flair while others were deadly serious.
Like many of his contemporaries, Sugarfoot had a run of Dell comics and a series of U.K. Annuals, which ran under the title, Tenderfoot, which was what  the program was called in Britain.


Recently, I reluctantly made a very socially distanced trip outside of California. And I have to say I'm not sure whenever or if ever flying and the associated trips we took for granted will feel safe again. But I decided to use the opportunity to use the way-back machine to also take a few days away from my Kindle and my laptop and hold a few real paperbacks in my hands again. It was a very soothing experience and something I will be doing again more often—the paperback thing that is, not necessarily the travel.

Before I left, I perused my bookshelves carefully looking over thirty or more vintage Westerns. I eventually chose three titles by authors who I can always rely on to keep my interest—Gunsight by Frank Gruber, Ride the River by Louis L'Amour, and an old favorite, The Cowboy and the Cossack by Clair Huffaker.

We'll be discussing Ride the River and The Cowboy and the Cossack at the next virtual meeting of our Six-Gun Justice Book Club. If you're interested in joining that conversation leave a comment below and we'll send you an invite. Which leaves Frank Gruber's Gunsight for me to review here.

Gruber was, of course, prolific contributor to the pulps and easily made the transition to paperback originals and TV scripts in the 1950s. Gunsight is the perfect example of Gruber at the top of his game delivering 140 pages of slam bang action all tied to a twisting, but logical plot with a few surprises along the way.

From the opening sentence, The Cowboys were drunk when they got on the train, and when they sat down they continued to improve their condition, you know action and violence will soon be in the offing, and Gruber doesn't disappoint. Throw in a pretty girl, a dangerous man on the run, a sadistic detective, and a little gunplay and Gruber has put all of his pieces in motion by the time the first chapter is over.

What follows is a great ride and a terrific comfort read. Nothing here a regular reader of Westerns hasn't come across before, but Gruber is a master wordslinger who has no trouble getting even the most jaded reader to smell the gunsmoke and hear the flying lead. Highly recommended...

Thursday, October 22, 2020


The terrific Television's New Frontier: The 1960s blog has numerous detailed and informative posts on many of our favorite westerns. Below is the opening paragraph of their post on Bronco. For the full post click on the link at the end...
As Bronco moved through the second half of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4 in 1961, nothing really changed from the previous year--former Confederate soldier Bronco Layne continued to drift about the west, former Confederate soldier Bronco Layne continued to drift about the west, often called by an old friend to help deal with a difficult situation, assigned by a territorial government to escort a detainee to prison, or summoned to help bring in a fugitive who happens to be an old army commander of his. Sometimes we find him already working as a buffalo hunter, as the sheriff of Silver City, or as a deputy. And then occasionally he just wanders into trouble, as in Stage to the Sky when he rides up just in time to stop a lynching but then becomes the target of various attempted assaults for defending the intended lynching victim. One thing remains constant, however—Bronco will never have the same job from week to week or settle down anywhere for any length of time, though he contemplates marriage and a ranching life in One Came Back only to have his bride-to-be take a bullet to save him from her criminal former boyfriend, a fate as predictable as all the other plots in the typical Warner Brothers recycling factory.
For the full post CLICK HERE