Westerns normally have settlers dealing with strangers (Gunsmoke and Bonanza) or encountering the unknown while traveling the open frontier (Wagon Train and Rawhide). Paladin (Richard Boone) didn’t have a simple life that could be boxed in either category on Have Gun – Will Travel. The only property he settled was a hotel room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. He wasn’t having to defend a ranch against varmits and vagabonds. He merely had to keep up his room service tab. The missions he accepted varied week to week so he had no specialty. Occasionally he traveled the wilderness. Mostly he solved problems with his wit, intelligence or gun. Have Gun – Will Travel: The Fifth Season, Volume Two presents 19 more gigs that paid for Paladin’s mini-bar empire.
“The Exiles” exudes international intrigue. Paladin gets hired to track down a Count and Countess that supposedly stole government bonds from Mexico. But he needs to know what’s really happening between them and his client. “The Hunt” makes Paladin regret a job. A Russian prince hires him for what turns out to be a “Most Deadliest Game” twist. Paladin must use all his skills to not get killed by his client. “Dream Girl” brings Buddy (Hal Needham) back to civilization after five years of gold dust dreams. He’s got bags full and needs Paladin for muscle. He also needs a little help since he wants to impress a saloon lady with his load. He spent all those years thinking of her. Trouble is she has no memory, but doesn’t mind being treated right. Paladin sticks around to make sure the coot doesn’t get rolled. Needham is best remembered as the director of Smokey and the Bandit. “One, Two, Three” calculates a missing persons case gone bad. Each time he finds a contact, the person gets murdered. “The Waiting Room” assigns Paladin to escort Harry Dean Stanton (Big Love) and his brother to the hangman. The other members of the gang want to interrupt the ride. L.Q. Jones (The Wild Bunch) rides into the action.
Sometimes Paladin finds trouble for free such as in “The Trap.” He’s stuck in a hotel during a storm. Among the guests is a marshal with his prisoner or is it that way? Frank Sutton (Sgt. Carter from Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.) appears. “Don’t Shoot the Piano Player” finds a missing man who doesn’t quite want to go back. Can he complete the mission? George Kennedy pops up. “Alice” is another missing person case that turns into a homicide and robbery investigation. “The Man Who Struck Moonshine” distills William Conrad (Cannon) into old west Otis. He goes out to drill a well and comes up with liquor in the ground.
“Hobson’s Choice” brings a famous name onto the show. Before Alfred Nobel gave away peace awards, he invented explosives. He arrives in San Francisco to give a demonstration, but his cargo gets loss. Paladin has to find the boxes before San Francisco blows up. A Japanese samurai and priest arrive in “Coming of the Tiger.” They want to cause a revolution. James Hong (Kung Fu Panda) is the priest. “Invasion” stirs up more trouble when an Irish revolutionary promotes a war against Canada. Paladin has to keep us from invading the future 51st state. “Bandit” allows a woman’s touch in stagecoach robbing. Sandy (Natalie Norwick) doesn’t merely hold up, but kills the driver. Paladin wants a piece of her bounty, but other hunters won’t back off. “Pandora’s Box” gets weird when locals want to spring a killer since they want to party with the guy. “Jonah” fishes up gold at the bottom of a lake. Billy Mumy (Lost in Space) lands a boy role.
Have Gun – Will Travel: The Fifth Season, Volume Two wraps up the penultimate season with plenty of hired gun thrills. Paladin remains such a great Western character since he’s more than a quiet cowboy on the range. He remains a guy who enjoys living life and doesn’t mind picking up a strange job to pay the bills. The man must defend his luxury hotel life.
“The Exiles,” “The Hunt,” “Dream Girl,” “One, Two, Three,” “The Waiting Room,” “The Trap,” “ Don’t Shoot the Piano Player,” “Alice,” “The Man Who Struck Moonshine,” “Silent Death, Secret Death,” “Hobson’s Choice,” “Coming of the Tiger,” “Darwin’s Man,” “Invasion,” “Cream of the Jest,” “Bandit,” “Pandora’s Box,” “Jonah” and “The Knight.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers look great. The details of Richard Boone’s face adds to the action. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are fine. The episodes are subtitled.
Have Gun – Will Travel: The Fifth Season, Volume Two keeps up an unusual Western. Paladin wasn’t the conventional TV cowboy. He wasn’t a goon gun for hire. He had no patience for doing the same old job. He’s the only man who rode the range to get back to his four star hotel room.
CBS DVD presents Have Gun – Will Travel: The Fifth Season, Volume Two. Starring: Richard Boone and William Conrad. Boxset Contents: 19 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: February 22, 2011.
Tags: William Conrad