This is the first half of the third season of Rawhide. Long before Clint Eastwood was making our day as Dirty Harry or even roaming the badlands without a name for Sergio Leone, he was working the cattle drive on Rawhide. Rawhide was created to take advantage of the huge Western film and television wave that
A very young Clint Eastwood played Rowdy Yates. Unlike any cowboy you ever saw, Rowdy had slicked up hair and looked more like a biker than a cattle hand. He was the greenhorn in the bunch, usually finding each experience a learning opportunity. He had an almost naïve charm that made him popular. Eric Fleming was Gil, the trail boss. The third main character was Pete Nolan, played by Sheb Wooley. Sheb formed a good relationship with Eastwood that would be rewarded years later when Eastwood created a role for him in The Outlaw Josey Wales. I didn’t really watch the show even in its limited syndication run, so knew most of it by reputation only. Of course, I knew the Frankie Laine theme that has been used for everything from selling cars to western spoofs. The tune was also a moderate radio and record hit in the day.
Some of the better moments of the third season set include: Incident At Poco Tiempo, where Rowdy and Quince are suspected of being bank robbers. The real crooks are holding a priest hostage while sending the church’s nuns to get the missing loot. Incident Of The Buffalo Soldier has Rowdy tracking down one soldier who killed another. Ted Post was one of the best directors of this genre. He directed many episodes of Gunsmoke as well as Rawhide. His episode Incident Of The Slave Master is one of the best in this set. It stars horror film masters Peter Lorre and John Agar. A union soldier has been presumed dead for nearly 30 years; that is, until his wife tracks down Victor and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t tell her where he is. It seems Victor sent the soldier on the mission he never returned from. Ted Post also delivers the final episode of the set called The Incident Of The Fish Out Of Water. This time the setting is good ol’
Along with some mighty fine story tellin’, there’s a sweet list of guest stars in this set. Look for appearances by Emergency’s real-life hubby and wife Bobby Troupe and Julie London in Incident At Rojo Canyon. You’ll also catch such stars as Quincy and The Odd Couple’s Gary Walberg, Agnes Moorehead, and George D. Wallace.
Each episode of Rawhide is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. The series was shot in black and white. The transfer is actually a remarkable one. There isn’t much in the way of print defects, and the picture is quite sharp. Black levels are rock solid, and working along with sweet contrast makes this a picture with razor detail. You won’t believe this stuff’s almost 50 years old
The Dolby Digital Mono track delivers exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. The dialog is clear, and that’s all you’re going to get out of this minimalist presentation.
It’s hard to believe that entertainment was ever quite this simple. There were clearly defined good guys and bad guys. You could get a laugh without referencing sex or an otherwise unseen body part. There was just a guy and his horse, and if he was lucky, a few friends he could count on to have his back. And if he was really lucky, there would be a young lady waitin’ for him at the end of his ride. It’s probably hard for young folk to comprehend that kind of a life. So, don’t even try. “Don’t try and understand ‘em, just rope, throw, and brand ‘em.”