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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > TV > Have Gun - Will Travel: The Complete Second Season (CBS DVD Set)

Have Gun – Will Travel: The Complete Second Season


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Episodes: B



A show like Have Gun – Will Travel could have easily rested on its laurels and become a formula Western, but it only had a half-hour time slot and had to make every minute count versus its often hour-long counterparts.  The Complete Second Season (1958 – 59) retained much of the same look and feel of the original season.  Now a hit, the show was determined to keep its audience and one way was to be one of the smartest shows on television.  It retains that title among all TV Westerns to this day.


To recap, the show centers on Paladin (Richard Boone), who lives a life of luxury, but we see just how hard he works to retain it.  All a victim/client has to do is “wire” him and they can get him at a high cost.  Like Simon Templar on The Saint, there might be some unusual exceptions.  The second season shows are as follows, over six DVDs, with key actors noted:


1)     The Manhunter

2)     In An Evil Time (Guest stars Charles Bronson)

3)     The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk (Guest stars Martin Balsam)

4)     The Hanging Of Roy Carter (Guest stars Robert Armstrong)

5)     Duel At Florence

6)     The Protégé

7)     Road To Wickenburg (Guest stars Don “Red” Berry & Harry Carey Jr.)

8)     A Sense Of Justice (Guest stars Barry Cahill)

9)     Young Gun (Guest stars Abby Dalton)

10)  The Lady

11)  A Snare For Murder (Guest stars Harry Morgan)

12)  The Ballad Of Oscar Wilde

13)  The Solid Gold Patrol

14)  Something To Live For

15)  The Moor’s Revenge (Guest stars Morey Amsterdam & Vincent Price)

16)  The Wager (Guest stars Ken Lynch)

17)  The Taffeta Mayor (Guest stars Edward Platt)

18)  Lady On The Stagecoach (Guest stars Harold “Hal” Needham)

19)  Treasure Trail (Guest stars Harry Dean Stanton)

20)  Juliet

21)  Hunt the Man Down (Guest stars Jack Elam)

22)  The Scorched Feather (Guest stars Lon Chaney, Jr.)

23)  The Return Of The Lady

24)  The Monster Of Moon Ridge

25)  The Long Hunt

26)  Death Of A Gunfighter (Suzanne Pleshette appears in final acts)

27)  Incident At Borrasca Bend

28)  Maggie O’Bannon

29)  The Chase

30)  Alaska

31)  The Man Who Lost

32)  The Return Of Roy Carter

33)  The Sons Of Aaron Murdoch

34)  Comanche

35)  Homecoming

36)  The Fifth Man

37)  Heritage of Anger

38)  The Haunted Trees

39)  Gold & Brimstone



Gene Roddenberry stayed on, obviously contributing to the series’ reputation as a thoughtful series, and certainly one that still took itself and its audience seriously.  CBS used its clout to get the best talent in front of and behind the camera it could find.  Even if you are not a fan of Westerns like this critic, you will be amazed and impressed at the high quality of the show, holding up remarkably well 45+ years later.  Like the previous set, this is in a very nicely designed and illustrated box, with slender cases for each of the six DVDs that make storage convenient.  There may be less familiar faces in this season versus the last, but enough for those curious to see some name talent in some of their best TV work.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image again varies from show to show, with some grainier prints in the mix, and Video Black is consistent enough.  The more degraded copies are unfortunate, but the storytelling helps, though this will not work when digital HD copies are needed.  The stock and transfers remain strikingly similar to CBS’s also half-hour The Twilight Zone that began its run a season after this season of this show.  This was still shot on location as much as possible, another reason it broke the mold of TV and Westerns.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also varies from show to show, with background hiss usually noticeable.  At the worst, as in the opening show, the sound is smaller than you might like, but the theme by Bernard Herrmann is ever great.  It is also the end-credits theme, but on some prints (with no pattern here) is replaced by a vocal “ballad” that does not quite cut it.  The extras “wire Paladin” summaries and unmarked chapter stops for each show.  Why they stopped short on extras for such a nice boxed set is odd, as there must be interview footage, print ads, and promotional materials somewhere in the CBS vault, but this has even less extras than the first set.  However, the playback quality is what DVD customers would expect and fans will be happy to have.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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