BEING THE "MIDDLE-PIECE" in the ABC TV Network's Sunday night line up of Westerns from Warner Brothers, LAWMAN offered perhaps the most serious and down to earth program. Of the three series, MAVERICK, LAWMAN and COLT.45, it occupied a central anchoring of reality between the hour of Brett & Bart Maverick's gambling and woman chasing and Christopher Colt's secret super sleuthing.
FOR THE MOST part, the series did portray the job of frontier Peace Officer accurately. It was a thankless, low paying and potentially very dangerous line of work. The most successful men at this position were bad dudes themselves, both physically and with the six gun. As for their character as human beings; much like all walks of life, the personalities and moral convictions varied widely. Some were very Good, others very Bad. But most fell somewhere in between the two extremes of the graph.
AS TO THE specifics of the story, Marshall Dan Troop (John Russell) was the law in the town of Laramie, Wyoming, circa 1870. He is assisted by young Deputy Johnny McKay (Peter Brown), who provides the sex appeal for the adolescent girl viewers.
AND SPEAKING OF sex appeal, in the second season, Lilly Merrill (Peggy Castle) entered Laramie, opening up a saloon. Much like the relationship of Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty Russell on the flagship of the TV Western, GUNSMOKE, the Marshall and Lilly liked each other (by implication).
WHEN WE THINK back about LAWMAN, we recall a briefly recurring character portrayed by Sig Ruman. In it he portrayed a German immigrant Chef, who opens up a restaurant in town. There were only two episodes featuring him, but it sure seemed like more.
ADDITIONALLY, THIS SERIES boasted of an array of veteran players who made multiple appearances as the same characters. These included, but limited to people like: Grady Sutton, Emery Parnell, Roscoe Ates, William Fawcett, I. Stanford Jolley, Jack Elam, Lane Chandler, Nina Vaughn, Barbara Lang, Whit Bissell, Catherine McLeod, Dick Foran, Lee Van Cleef, Frank Ferguson, Fred Crane*, Don "Red" Barry, Robert J. Wilke, Ken Lynch, Richard Reeves, Roy Barcroft and many others.
THE SERIES LASTED much longer than most, running fort a full four years. We don't recall its ever being rerun or being offered on video,or are we wrong about that?
NOTE: * Hey, that's the same Fred Crane who portrayed one of the Tarleton twins opposite George Reeves in GONE WITH THE WIND.
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