23 March 2006 | dougbrode
a marshal (Barton MacLane) tracks down outlaws in the old west.
Here's yet another of those westerns turned out in 1960 that tried to break the mold of the formulaic TV western genre, had only a mild recepetion during its first year, was then turned into a far more routine show during the second season, but still was cancelled at the end of that second year. Barton MacLane, a veteran of many old time westerns and other action films, played a tough U.S. Marshal tracking down outlaws in the badlands with the help of deputy Don Collier, a youngster then who would appear in many westerns. Sounds pretty familiar? Here was the difference - instead of telling the story from the lawmens' point of view, this was told as the outlaws saw it. That is, MacLane and his posse were always seen at a distance, almost as threatening characters. In one particularly memorable essay, James Coburn (youngster too at the time) played Culley, a confused young outlaw who wanted to go straight but didn't know what to do, who stops on his run from the law to help a blinded elderly man (Henry Hull, brilliant as always). The 'heroes' were on screen for maybe five minutes and you resented them when they arrested Coburn. For the second season, MacLane remained in the lead, they gave him a more conventionally handsome young deputy, and the stories were now told from his point of view - just like Lawman and pretty much every other western on TV at the time.