At the same time John Russell was playing ranch owner Nathan Burdette, trying to free his no good brother Claude Akins from sheriff John Wayne in Rio Bravo he was working the other side of the law on television. These years were probably the high point of Russell's career, his most noted screen role and his most famous television role, Marshal Dan Troop of Laramie in Lawman.
Russell kept law and order in Laramie the same way that James Arness did it in Dodge City on Gunsmoke. Unlike Gunsmoke, Laramie never developed the all the minor characters that gave you the feel of Dodge City at the time. Instead it concentrated on Russell taking care of business and learning the business of law to his eager young deputy Peter Brown.
Brown played deputy Johnny McKay who was a most respectful young man, constantly referring to his boss as Mr. Troop. He was pretty handy with a shooting iron, but was inclined to be impulsive. Good thing Marshal Troop was around.
The other series regular was the Kitty Russell of Laramie, Lily played by Peggie Castle. This is where Lawman most resembled Gunsmoke. There was an unspoken understanding between Russell and Castle that even the smallest of children couldn't have missed. And I wasn't the smallest of children when Lawman was in first run.
Sadly Peggie Castle developed substance abuse problems after Lawman's run ended. I remember a small obituary marked her passing in the first half of the Seventies. She was one beautiful woman.
Lawman was good no nonsense western from that golden era of the adult television western. It was one of the best.
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