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  • Warner Bros. churned out a slew of western series in the late '50s and early '60s, some good, some not so good. "Lawman" was one of the best. John Russell, a veteran western character actor, was perfectly cast as tough Marshal Dan Troop. Russell's commanding presence, rich voice and no-nonsense demeanor fit the character perfectly. Peter Brown was well cast as Russell's eager young deputy, and beautiful Peggy Castle was a treat for the eyes as the owner of the local saloon and Russell's cat-and-mouse love interest. The show drew some good directors (Robert Altman, Burt Kennedy), had consistently interesting stories, and there was real chemistry between Russell and Brown. And, to top it off, it had what is probably the best theme song of any western series ("the lawman came from the sun, there was a job to be done . . ."). All in all, a memorable series that unfortunately didn't last as long as it should have.
  • 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.
  • It's inconceivable to me how Warner Bros. can continue to ignore the potential of remarketing this "gem" of a series on video! The casting of this show was impeccable as was the constant tight direction and consistantly strong storylines throughout the sad short run of this series.Lawman had more of a movie atmosphere about it thanks to Warner Bros. detail to props, sets (etc.) and a fair budget which didn't always go into the stars pockets as evidenced by the several western stars that galloped off their respective W.B. shows in the late fifties. John Russell opted not to follow suit.Lawman did not employ "comic relief" that helped make Maverick so intensely popular,W.B. opted instead to inject a "love intrest" for Dan Troop to help ease his tense character in the name of "Lily" after the '58 season.The few "bootleg copies around today only serve to increase the ache and yearning for Warner Bros. to reach into their vaults and allow us to enjoy "real TV" the way it was meant to be enjoyed!
  • I couldn't agree more, this 50s western series was superbly done and John Russell was perfect for the part, although he played Indians and also many other parts in western's especially, I feel the part of Dan Troop was tailor made for him and in my opinion was probably his best part, although I agree completely that it didn't run as long or received the accolades it should have done!
  • John Russel was excellently cast in this Western about protecting Laramie from the badder elements of society.

    Russell, a former Marine, was straight and tall and worked wonderfully as the wise lawman who used his six-gun with deadly accuracy and regularity. Peter Brown as Deputy Johnny McKay was also fast in the leather slappin' dept.

    Brown brought the young ladies in to view the weekly adventures while Russell, I'm sure, caught the attention of both women viewers and men.

    This was a smart Western with a great theme song composed of male voices singing the praises of the "Lawman." Russell's steely eyes made the part of tough-guy Marshall believable. The epitome of what you would expect a real Marshall in the old west to be. Brown's good looks and athletic prowess made for some great action during the series.

    I was sad to see Russell cast as a villain in the 1985 Clint Eastwood film, Pale Rider. Russell will forever remain one of the ultimate lawmen in the Old West in my mind as a result of this wonderful old Western series.
  • The theme song often goes through my head after all these years. I was never much of a TV watcher, probably because I was just entering my busy teen years when my family bought our first set in 1948 and it never became part of my life. But from the first episode of Lawman I was hooked, and it is the only TV show I've ever scheduled my week around.

    Intelligent, believable, well-written and well-acted, and John Russell is still to me the most beautiful man I ever saw. (Peter Brown was no dog, either :o)

    I agree that it is one of the most underrated TV series of all time. I hope I can find some episodes for my grandchildren to watch.
  • Lawman was fantastic! Even though I'm 45 I never saw it during the 60's, I don't even know if it was on Australian TV during that era or not. We only noticed it when they had it running at 3 or 4 in the morning and we stumbled upon it by mistake whilst looking for something to watch after a particularly punishing night. Were we hooked! My mate started taping it each day and has about 50 or so Lawmans on video but alas they did not run all of them so we have over 100 to go! Do you know if they are on DVD at all? Marshal Dan had the straightest back in TV! We never did a body count but if the rate of bad guys that got shot each episode that we've seen is anything to go by surely there were no outlaws left in the wild west by the time the series ended! Where's Lawman when you need him now! "Get out there and march that badge up and down the street Johnny!" Troy from Sydney

    "That is a specious analogy!"
  • It is a shame that this series hasn't been remastered and produced on video by Warner or some other professional movie house.

    Copies of most episodes are available, but are usually of poor quality, being copies of copies of copies.

    As I understand it, 92 episodes were produced during its run, but only 15 are noted here.

    Some of the series writers, such as Richard Matheson, went on to become noted authors.

    Excellent series, well written, well staged and well produced.

    Michael Weldon,

    Udon Thani, Thailand
  • 'Lawman' was shown on Australian television in the early 1960's, and I remember it as being one of the best of the genre, amongst others great western series, such as 'Trackdown', 'Cheyenne', 'Have Gun, Will Travel','Gunsmoke', and so many others from the golden years of television westerns. John Russell was most impressive as Marshall Dan Troop, reminding me of a long lean Clark Gable, and Peter Brown as the young deputy, who tried to live up to his boss's ideal! Above average scripts, and fine performances by Russell & Brown defined this series, and why Warner Bros. haven't seen fit to release it onto DVD, I have no idea? They'd be doing themselves, and western fans a great favour! It took a long while for 'Cheyenne' to appear, and 'Maverick' is still waiting, so perhaps there's also hope for the great 'Lawman'? Incidentally, Warners westerns had the greatest theme songs around!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am in the process of watching all 156 episodes of LAWMAN, the Warner Bros western which ran from 1958 to 1962. I remember it from its original run, but haven't seen an episode in nigh to fifty years. I was a trifle worried it wouldn't be as good as I remembered. Back in the day critics slammed this show as being a ripoff of GUNSMOKE with the same granite-butt marshal and his saloon owner love interest, only set in Laramie rather than Dodge.

    The bad news? The critics had a point. Marshal Dan Troop is pretty much a clone of Marshal Matt Dillon. Miss Lily is pretty much a clone of Miss Kitty. The good news? John Russell is fabulous as the granite-butt law officer, even better in my judgment than James Arness. The gorgeous Peggy Castle is even sexier at the Birdcage than Amanda Blake was at the Long Branch. These two certainly gave the show a solid foundation.

    The third cast regular is the young and handsome deputy Peter Brown. Here LAWMAN departed significantly from GUNSMOKE, in which the eccentric Chester and Festus were often comic relief characters. Brown was a top-of-the-line young Warners heartthrob. His relationship with Russell's veteran marshal had a father to son quality. He was nothing like the old B western comic sidekicks who seemed the inspiration on GUNSMOKE.

    The production values on the show were good, better on the whole than the early GUNSMOKE's in which the indoor for outdoor sets and painted backdrops were often obvious. Not here. The guest casts were an interesting combination of young talent like Robert Fuller, Richard Long, James Drury, and Louise Fletcher with established fifties western regulars like Lee Van Cleef, Coleen Gray, Strother Martin, Jack Elam, and Slim Pickins, and a smattering of real old-timers such as Glenn Strange and Lane Chandler.

    All in all, this show lacked the penetrating writing which made GUNSMOKE unique, but fine performances by the three regulars, good guest casts and production values, and solid, if perhaps rarely out of the ordinary scripts, make this series one well worth rewatching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really want to thank the Encore Westerns Channel for bringing this series back to television. I am getting a chance to see this series for the first time, and so far I am loving it. I was somewhat familiar with John Russell and Peter Brown due to their guest spots on Maverick and Cheyenne. With a lot of the garbage shows that are on TV nowadays, it is nice to see a series that was built on telling good stories, and not how many uses of the F-Word you can squeeze into 30-60 minutes. Most of the westerns I've watched in the past were 60 minutes, but this is a rare one that is only 30 minutes. I think the shorter time actually works for them, because it allowed for them to film more episodes, and also the episodes themselves move at a faster, more exciting pace. It has been interesting to watch the series evolve. It seems like at first they weren't to confident in Peter Brown, so most of the early episodes they had John Russell as Dan Troop tell him to keep an eye on things and he did the action by himself. However, in the latter half of season one and now as I write this we are in season two, Johnny McKay has become more involved, and Peter Brown has been allowed to show more personality. They became kind of like the Batman and Robin of the Old West. I also like the addition of Peggie Castle as Lily. She and John Russell had some great chemistry, and to be honest, I'm a little more into them than Matt Dillon and Kitty Russell. I've also noticed since season two started showing on Encore Westerns, that they added more humor into their scripts, which is something I like. If you get a chance to check this series out, I definitely encourage you to do so. It is definitely worth a look. Now if they can find Sugarfoot in their vault, I'll be an even bigger happy camper.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was never a fan of westerns growing up, but began watching them a few years ago. One of them was Lawman. As a retired police officer, I can relate to some of the things seen on the show. Having watched both early and late episodes of Gunsmoke, I prefer Lawman from a crime/police show perspective. I now have all of the episodes on my DVR, and have watched the series from start to the end. I wish it would be released on DVD.

    The relationships between both Dan and Lilly as well as Dan and Johnny were excellent. I recall an episode where Lilly in not very subtle terms hinted to Dan about being married. Dan's comeback was priceless. Johnny always treated Dan with respect, calling him Mr. Troop.

    Dan was a no-nonsense lawman and as such often a man of few words. Preventing an ambush outside the hotel, Dan walked up, snatched the gun out of the would-be killers hand, and simply said "Let's get on over to that jail." At the same time, his sense of right and wrong and respect for the law were obvious in his actions. He did not arrest every criminal, often just talking to them. He also would not give in to a mob mentality, instead upholding the law.

    Some episodes of this show are indeed timeless. In one, Dan and Johnny investigate a murder and the way they do so is similar to modern crime dramas. In another, Dan gives a speech about civic responsibility (jury duty and the law) that still holds true today. In a third, he tells a visiting federal bureaucrat that complained about guns in town "When a man that has business with a gun comes to town, taking everyone else's just makes his job easier." I recall seeing an episode of Gunsmoke where in the opening "Boot Hill" monologue Matt Dillon wanted all guns taken away.

    One of my favorite episodes was "The Long Gun" with John Dehner as burned out Marshal Ben Wyatt looking to ambush some killers. The conversation between Dan and Ben was really good dialog as to the stress of being a lawman after 20 to 30 years of service.

    The only negative criticism I have involved Lilly's attempts at singing. As others have noted, Peggy Castle was a beautiful woman, but her singing voice was not nearly as beautiful.

    It's sad that so many people on this show died at a relatively young age. I would have liked to have seen a closure episode as well, but just as with modern shows I'm sure cancellations can be unexpected.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Lawman" had a pretty good four season run on the ABC television network, notching one hundred fifty six episodes between October 1958 and June 1962. There was something about actor John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop that always got to me, those spooky white eyes of his and the streak of white in his otherwise dark hair. They served him well in the premier episode of the series titled 'The Deputy', when he first arrived in Laramie, Wyoming as the new town marshal. There was an arrogant air about him back then, hiring on Peter Brown as deputy Johnny McKay and going after the Hawk Brothers, portrayed by Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef. It was established in that first episode that a marshal's salary in the 1870's was fifty dollars a month and the life expectancy of a sheriff was less than forty years! That's one time when the good old days weren't.

    Actress Peggie Castle came aboard the series in the episode that kicked off the second season. She ran the Birdcage Saloon which afterwards became a somewhat regular hangout for the Laramie crowd, but prior to that, the first season had competitors like the Blue Bonnet and the Nugget Saloon. The Birdcage was billed as having the most beautiful girls west of Kansas City, and subsequent shows would do well to prove it. Castle's character was Lilly Merrill, and to add some resonance to her name, she sang Lily of the Valley in her first appearance. She didn't get off on the right foot with the Marshal, as Troop thought she was aiding an outlaw, the estranged father of a son she had. Over time though, their relationship picked up when Lilly started coming on to the Marshal, eventually dropping a wedding ring hint in Episode #2.52, 'Last Stop'. Nothing ever came of that suggestion.

    Along with character actors like Elam and Van Cleef, there were a host of guest stars who appeared in 'Lawman' more than once over the course of the series, guys like John Anderson, John Doucette, Robert Wilke and Edgar Buchanan. What's kind of interesting is that some of the actors portraying villains were killed multiple times. Jack Elam for example, was shot and killed by Marshal Troop in that first episode, and again in episode #1.33, 'The Senator'. Deputy McKay had the unique distinction of killing Lee Van Cleef a couple of times, in the opening show and also in episode #1.37, 'Conclave'.

    In a series with as many shows as this one had, it would be hard for most to pick a favorite, but the first time I saw the third season episode 'Yawkey', I knew it would be mine. In that one, Ray Danton portrays a noted gunslinger who arrives in Laramie and takes a seat at The Birdcage, summoning bartender Jake (Dan Sheridan) to deliver a message to Marshal Troop to meet him in the street in a half hour. Yawkey tells both Lilly and Deputy McKay that he intends to kill Troop at 3:30 in the afternoon. Both unsuccessfully try to talk him out of it, and with the gunslinger's reputation having killed twenty seven men in gunfights, there's a feeling that Troop might not come out of this encounter alive. Using a countdown clock reminiscent of the technique used in "High Noon", three thirty arrives and Marshal Troop ventures into the street. During the inevitable showdown Yawkey draws first, but Marshal Troop's slower draw finds it's mark. The dying man had no bullets in his firearm, telling Troop that he 'couldn't take it any more', referring to the countless challenges that came his way as the fastest gun in the territory. Though the citizens of Laramie clamored around Troop for taking out his opponent, the marshal would have none of it, instead respectfully carrying the dead gunslinger to his office. I guess the reason the episode grabbed me the way it did was because of it's psychological angle in the way Yawkey planned the manner of his own death. And to top it all off, this was the second time Ray Danton was shot and killed by Dan Troop; it happened the first time in episode #2.40, Lilly Merrill's first appearance!