Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958–1961)

TV Series   |  TV-PG   |    |  Western


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Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958) Poster

A Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.

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8.1/10
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  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)

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7 January 2006 | hondo551
Great fun despite the impossibilities/improbabilities
I'm just old enough to remember when Wanted Dead or Alive was first run, when I first went to the show to see The Magnificent Seven, and when I first realized Steve McQueen was on his way to being a "star".

I received the boxed set of the first season of this groundbreaking show this past Christmas and have been having great fun with it ever since. McQueen is the real star of the show, honing his craft for later career moves, with the truly offbeat story lines and resolutions coming in a close second.

Forget that it's 1877, he was in the Union Army in 1864, which would make him 8-10 years older than his real age at the time. Forget that his sawed off Winchester 1892 didn't exist in this time frame, that it fired short pistol ammunition like .44-40 and possibly .45 Colt, that it couldn't possibly accept the long .30-30 cartridges on his belt that weren't developed until the Winchester 1894 came along. In the first episode he has to bury a murdered doctor and he pulls a U.S. military shovel circa 1944 from under his saddle. While he puts 19th century cuffs on some prisoners, ties some with rope, on one occasion he puts old fashioned leg irons on a prisoner's hands, way too dangerous and way too stupid for a pro like Josh Randall. In a feat too fantastic to believe, an outlaw takes away his sawed off Winchester and removes the firing pin without the aid of tools and without so much as removing the bolt from the receiver. Of course there's also that sawed off rifle of his that sometimes has a D-ring on the lever and sometimes a teardrop ring, a gun barrel that changes from round to hexagon, and a gun barrel that always has a bigger bore than the .30 caliber slug in a .30-30 shell. And let's not forget that the outdoor scenes seldom match the geography of the story lines and that more times than not they use the same western street sound stage for towns ranging from Wyoming to Arizona to Texas with just the store front names changing! All this in just the first half of the first season. LOL

The show is all about watching McQueen, watching the offbeat stories that sometimes beg for more time for storytelling, and watching for all the goofs. It's great fun and well worth the time even 50 years later!

Critic Reviews



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