HIT THE TRAIL
For this full-length episode, Paul and Rich hit the dusty trail with crews from two of the most fondly remembered Western TV shows—Rawhide and Wagon Train. It's time to head 'em up and move 'em out and get the herd moving and the wagons rolling into the badlands of rustlers, Indians, and all manner of unscrupulous varmints...Along the way, there will also be reviews of two Frank Bonham novels and a new autobiography of Ben Haas, creator of the highly regarded Fargo series...
Available now on all major podcast streaming platforms or by clicking on the player below...
Though I largely agree that the 90 minute episodes of Wagon Train were weak, The episode "The Robert Harrison Clarke Story" is very strong. Written by Gene L. Coon (a great writer who would, a few years later, create Klingons, Khan and the Prime Directive while working on Star Trek), the story involves a snotty English writer who wants the story of the "real" American West. He's read dime novels and recognizes them as nonsense, but he overcompensates with the mind-set that the West is a dull, dirty place full of annoying people.ReplyDelete
The reporter is the title character and well-played by Michael Rennie. This time out, though, Rennie doesn't have a robot with a death ray backing him up, as he did in The Day The Earth Stood Still. Instead, he has a Sikh servant named Ram Sing. Together, Clarke and Sing have lived through wars in Africa and Asia, but now they just seemed destined to eat dust as the wagon train monotonously plows westward.
The situation soon gets dangerous. An Eastern-educated Kiowa chief named John Warbow has formed an alliance between his tribe and the Comanches. He's determined to wipe out a troop of soldiers that is also in the area.
What follows is a very well-constructed story that follows both the wagon train (actually a survey party this time out rather than a full wagon train) and the army troop. The troop's top sergeant, by the way, is played by Brian Keith, yet another actor who could give real depth to the grizzled veteran archetype.
Heck, I'm pretty sure that Ward Bond, John McIntire and Brian Keith were not born of woman, but spawned full-grown and already grizzled after the mating of a wildcat and a velociraptor.
The story ends with a last-stand situation in which the various characters, knowing they are likely to die when the Indians attack them in the morning, swap stories of their past adventures, giving Clarke an opportunity to bond with them. It's a poignant scene with the actors all giving great performances.
I haven't seen that one...Need to check it out...Delete
You guys come up with the most interesting stuff. I love your blog.ReplyDelete
Thx, Mary. Glad you are enjoying what we do. Thx also for being part of the book club. I appreciate you...Delete