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Monday, 25 July 2016

Jack Martin's Greatest TV Westerns

Any series looking at the greatest TV westerns would have to include the short lived, Sam Peckinpah produced series, The Westerner. There were only ever 13 half hour episodes made, due to low ratings (the show aired against ratings winners, The Flintstones and Route 66), but over the years this series has built up hordes of fans. It was as unlike the then current day western TV hits a it was possible to be - Where Bonanza and others of that ilk dealt with family matters out West, the Westerner centred on a drifter who only ever formed lasting emotional attachments with his animals - David Cameron jokes can be inserted here.

You'll find the pilot episode embedded here.

The Westerner although not a ratings success scored highly on critical approval - The show was ground-breaking in its willingness to explore nuance, and bring some realism to the western; that most romanticised of genres. Instead of the usual character, Bryan Keith's Dave Blassingame is a recognizable human being. He's a drifter-- dusty from the trail. He can't read or write, likes to drink and brawl  and has no other purpose other than to wear his saddle down with his constant wandering.

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