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

Have Gun – Will Travel: The Complete Third Season


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



I have to admit.  I though by the time Have Gun – Will Travel reached its Complete Third Season (1959 – 60) that there would have been a sign of decline, but if anything, it stayed very interesting.  The look and feel remained consistent and if anything, the show may have become smoother by this season.  This smartest of Westerns may easily be one of the most underrated early TV series of all, lost in the shuffle of so many bad and formulaic Western programs of the time.  As a matter of fact, with its remarkably consistent intelligence and enduring quality, it more easily exceeded its genre that even I was giving it credit for.


To recap again, 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.  These season shows are as follows, over seven DVDs, with key actors noted:


1)     First, Catch A Tiger (Guest stars Ida Lupino)

2)     Episode In Laredo (Guest stars Pat O’Malley)

3)     Les Girls

4)     The Posse (Guest stars Denver Pyle & Harry Carey, Jr.)

5)     Shot By Request

6)     Pancho (Guest stars Rafael Campos)

7)     Fragile (Guest stars Werner Klemperer)

8)     The Unforgiven

9)     The Black Handkerchief (Guest stars Ed Nelson)

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

11)  The Golden Toad

12)  Tiger (Guest stars Parley Baer)

13)  Champagne Safari

14)  Charley Red Dog

15)  The Naked Gun (Guest stars Ken Curtis)

16)  One Came Back (Guest stars Strother Martin)

17)  The Prophet (Guest stars Shepperd Strudwick)

18)  Day Of The Badman

19)  The Pledge

20)  Jenny

21)  Return To Fort Benjamin (Guest stars Charles Aidman)

22)  Night The Town Died (Guest stars Barry Cahill)

23)  The Ledge

24)  The Lady On The Wall

25)  The Misguided Father

26)  The Hatchet Man (Guest stars Benson Fong)

27)  Fight At Adobe Walls

28)  The Gladiators (Guest stars James Coburn)

29)  Love Of A Bad Woman

30)  An International Affair (Guest stars Oscar Beregi, Jr.)

31)  Lady With A Gun

32)  Never Help The Devil (Guest stars William Wellman, Jr.)

33)  Ambush (Guest stars George Macready)

34)  Black Sheep (Guest stars Suzanne Lloyd)

35)  Full Circle

36)  The Twins

37)  The Campaign Of Billy Banjo (Guest stars Vic Perrin)

38)  Ransom (Guest stars Denver Pyle)

39)  The Trial

40)  The Search (Guest stars Charles Aidman)



For the record, it looks like an episode entitled Bearbait may be missing, but we could not find out more before posting time.  Like the previous set, this is in a very nicely designed and illustrated box, with slender cases for each of the seven DVDs that make storage convenient.  This time, there are more stars, fan favorites, people who went on to larger roles and people who you would not know by name who are key performers.  And to think the show was far from over.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image once again varies from show to show, with some grainier prints in the mix, but Video Black and detail are consistently poorer than in the previous sets.  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 and a few shows where the sound is poor throughout.  This was not the case in the previous sets.  At other times, the sound is smaller than you might like, but the theme by Bernard Herrmann is still 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 only extras once again are “wire Paladin” summaries and unmarked chapter stops for each show.  This again means no one bothered to go into the CBS vault for any more goodies.  Once again though, the playback quality is what DVD customers would expect and fans will be happy to have.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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