Rawhide: Season 1 – DVD Review

credit: www.phepromo.com

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Release Date: July 25, 2006
Number of Discs: 7
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 1,180 Minutes
MSRP: $54.99


Charles Marquis Warren

Cast (for the show):

Eric Fleming……….Gil Favor
Clint Eastwood……….Rowdy Yates
Sheb Wooley……….Pete Nolan
Paul Brinegar……….Wishbone
Steve Raines……….Jim Quince
Rocky Shahan……….Joe Scarlett
James Murdock……….Harkness “Mushy” Mushgrove

The show:

Rawhide is a show that ran from 1959 for 8 seasons through 1965. This collection gives us all of season 1 and as a bonus one episode from season 2 (all airing in 1959). This show also gives us one of the most memorable theme songs in television history (rollin’ rollin’ rollin’!) and Clint Eastwood in the roll that put him on the map. Rawhide is the continuing adventures of men, real cowboys, moving a heard of 3000 cattle across our great country from Texas to Missouri, or “Missoura” as they call it.

Clint Eastwood plays Rowdy Yates, the right hand man to the leader of this band, Gil Favor (Eric Fleming). Rowdy is a short-tempered man who’s a sucker for any woman in trouble, whether she really is or not. Watching these old episodes anyone can see how great he was even then. With the Man With No Names still a few years off, Clint proved here what he was made of and everyone wanted more.

This show is the apotheosis of the western genre. Every episode brings you everything you’d want: action, excitement, fistfights, great gunplay and even a touch of humor. These guys get into everything from thieves and killers to barren stretches of land and cowpox! They go up against wolves in one episode, some looked more like German Shepherds to me though… This is a show where the heroes make mistakes and the “villains” aren’t always wrong, and that adds an extra level of intrigue to the episodes.

Trail boss, Gil Favor and his right hand man, Rowdy Yates.

These episodes are pretty inconsistent. Most of them are pretty great, some… not so much. Within the genre of the western the episodes travel all over the gambit. Some episodes suspenseful, some filled with action, and some even humorous. No matter what the episode you know someone’s going to die. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious; sometimes you get a good surprise. Many times they introduce a new trail hand and just like the famed “red shirts” on “Star Trek” you know they’re not going to make it through the episode.

In every episode Gil, Rowdy and the rest come across some new trouble, and Gil is always looking out for the underdog. In one great episode the group stumble across a greedy settler who wants to steal some land from a tribe of Comanche Indians. All the Comanche’s want to do is build a farm. What really impressed me about this episode was the depiction of the Comanche’s. In your run of the mill western Native American’s are always portrayed as savages. In this episode they are smart, speak English, and do whatever they can to prevent a war. It’s episodes like this one that make this show worth watching.

As well as bringing Eastwood into the public’s eye, several other prominent actors made guest appearances on the show. Deforest “damn it Jim!’ Kelley plays a villainous gunslinger, he’s so young he’s hardly recognizable! Another episode features both Martin Landau and Leslie Nielson as farmers who have an extreme hatred for ranchers and their cattle. It’s great to see Nielson not only in a serious roll, but as a villain to boot.

They didn’t have as many commercials back in 1959 so each episode of this show runs around 50 minutes. A Cattle drive is a great premise for a western show. It allows the group to always be on the move and stumble into situation after situation, or “incident” as each episode is titled. And somehow every woman they come across in that old west of theirs is quite the looker, and more often than not they’re up to no good. Many of them even femme fatales.

So this show ran for 8 seasons. I know a cattle drive isn’t a short trip, but I can’t imagine one drive could take eight years!

“Head ’em up and move ’em out!”

Rowdy Yates and one the many damsels in distress.


Disc One:

Incident of the Tumbleweed
Incident at Alabaster Plain
Incident with an Executioner

Disc Two:

Incident of the Widowed Dove
Incident on the Edge of Madness
Incident of the Power and the Plow

Disc Three:

Incident at Barker Springs
Incident West of Lano
Incident of the Town in Terror
Incident of the Golden Calf

Disc Four:

Incident of the Coyote Weed
Incident of the Chubasco
Incident of the Curious Street

Disc Five:

Incident of the Dog Days
Incident of the Calico Gun
Incident of the Misplaced Indians

Disc Six:

Incident of Fear in the Streets
Incident Below the Brazos
Incident of the Dry Drive

Disc Seven:

Incident of the Judas Trap
Incident in No Man’s Land
Incident of the Burst of Evil
Incident of the Roman Candles (bonus episode from season 2)


The DVD:

VIDEO: How does it look?
(Presented with a 4.3:1 full screen aspect ratio)

For being nearly 50 years old these episodes look pretty darn good. There are a lot of scratches on the film, but westerns are dirty anyway. The dirtiness of the film just adds to the ambiance of the show.

Score: 7/10

AUDIO: How does it sound?
(Dolby Digital Mono)

The sound wasn’t tricked out to be surround sound or anything, but it didn’t need to be. The sound here is fantastic. They really knew how to make good television back then.

Score: 9/10


Production Notes:Each episode has a little snippet of information about the show or the episode. You get some interesting nuggets here like that the shows was partly based on the diary of an real cattle drive led by a man named George Duffield. The little speech Favor gives at the beginning of each episode are similar in “style and breadth” to that Duffield’s journal entries. The producers felt this gave “Rawhide’ a extra level of authenticity.

Clint Eastwood Bio:Spread out over all the discs, this is an interesting read. It tells how Eastwood got the roll of Rowdy and other such things.

Except for the text on each disc there are no real special features. No interview with Clint Eastwood, nothing. I imagine there must have been something in the vaults they could have stuck on here. Very disappointing.

Score: 3/10

InsidePulse’s Ratings for Rawhide Season 1
(OUT OF 10)






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