DVD Review: Rawhide (The Sixth Season: Volume 1 & 2)



American TV viewers had no idea that Clint Eastwood was a cinema superstar all over the world. A Fistful of Dollars became a sensation as the Spaghetti Western was launched. But those flipping the dial to CBS on Friday nights in the mid-’60s, Clint had a name. He was Rowdy Yates, the ramrod on Rawhide. It wouldn’t be until 1967 that his trio of Sergio Leone movies were imported. This delayed stardom allowed him to remain part of the drovers running cattle across prairie. Viewers didn’t question why Clint wasn’t the top billed actor instead of Eric Fleming. Rawhide: The Sixth Season, Volume 1 & Volume 2 contains 30 incidents on the drive.

“Incident of the Red Wind” has a new drover rub Rowdy the wrong way. Things get heated as they debate the true path to water for the herd. Neville Brand (The Untouchables) might not be trusted. “Incident at El Crucero” brings trouble in the shape of Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched). You can tell she’s bad news since she’s related to LQ Jones (The Wild Bunch). “Incident of the Travellin’ Man” rescues Simon Oakland (Kolchak: The Night Stalker) from drowning. Turns out he’s wearing something that makes the crew suspect he’s not an innocent swimmer. He swears it was a misunderstanding, but then James Sikking (Hill Street Blues) shows up with a noose ready. “Incident at Farragut Pass” puts Frankie Avalon (Beach Party) onto a horse. His mother expects Clint Eastwood to make him a man. “Incident of the Rawhiders” marks James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) and Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) sharing the screen years before The Dukes of Hazzard. “Incident of the Rawhiders” sets it up so that Clint and Warren Oates (The Wild Bunch) might have killed a guy while target practicing. Instead of the usual trial, they merely get hit with a curse. Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas) is drawn into the hex. The guys get scammed on “Incident at Confidence Creek.” Someone claims ownership of their herd and Rowdy gets nailed for the crime. What’s interesting is that Dick York (Bewitched) and Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie) are brought together.

“Incident of the Death Dancer” has the guys think they’re being tracked by a cougar. Turns out it’s a more exotic big cat. Forrest Tucker (F Troop) is in hot pursuit. “Incident of the Geisha” lets Hey Soos (Robert Cabal) dominate an episode. He meets a Japanese woman and brings her into his world. But is she other worldly? “Incident of the Rusty Shotgun” provides the FCC mandated visit from Claude Akins (The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo). He wants Wishbone (Paul Brinegar) to marry his sister. “Incident at Gila Flats” brings back LQ Jones (A Boy And His Dog). Now he has to deal with Apache country. The herd is scattered by a tornado in “Incident of the Pied Piper.” Butch Patrick (The Munsters) is an orphan. “Incident of the Odyssey” lets Mickey Rooney play Greek. He’s much better than his Japanese. ” Incident at Deadhorse” is a rare two-parter. A rich man is accused of murdering his son’s killer. Can he truly buy justice? It’s star packed with Burgess Meredith (Batman‘s The Penguin), Broderick Crawford (Highway Patrol) and Chill Wills. Pay attention to spot Hampton Fancher, the screenwriter of Blade Runner. The season ends up with “Incident of the Peyote Cup.” It really is about peyote. Turns out an indian tribe doses one of the drovers. The guy freaks out from the effect. James Gregory (Barney Miller) arrives to sort this out.

Rawhide: The Sixth Season, Volume 1 & Volume 2 shows a crack unit keeping up the trail action. Clint Eastwood doesn’t have to upgrade his 10 gallon hat to contain his swelling superstar ego. He’s the same guy from the previous season. He’s not fighting Fleming to look like the real star of the show. They all know the real star of the show are the cattle that parade round like super stars of beef. Eastwood had a little bit of a clue that the film was popular outside the USA. He was using the summer hiatus to head back to Europe to make For A Few Dollars More with Leone.

Episodes

Volume 1
“Incident of the Red Wind,” “Incident of Iron Bull,” “Incident at El Crucero,” “Incident of the Travellin’ Man,” “Incident at Paradise,” “Incident at Farragut Pass,” “Incident at Two Graves,” “Incident of the Rawhiders,” “Incident of the Prophecy,” “Incident at Confidence Creek,” “Incident of the Death Dancer,” “Incident of the Wild Deuces,” “Incident of the Geisha,” “Incident at Ten Trees” and “Incident of the Rusty Shotgun.”

Volume 2
“Incident of the Midnight Cave,” “Incident of the Dowry Dundee,” “Incident at Gila Flats,” “Incident of the Pied Piper,” “Incident of the Swindler,” “Incident of the Wanderer,” “Incident at Zebulon,” “Incident at Hourglass,” “Incident at the Odyssey,” “Incident of the Banker,” “Incident at Deadhorse (two-parter), “Incident of the Gilded Goddess,” “Incident at Seven Fingers” and “Incident of the Peyote Cup.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers bring out the richness to the black and white cinematography. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The tracks are fine. The episodes are subtitled.

Episodic Previews (1:00) for “Incident of the Gilded Goddess” and “Incident of the Peyote Cup.”

Rawhide: The Sixth Season: Volume 1 and Volume 2 brings us a view of Clint Eastwood as the TV cowboy while he was reviving the cinematic Western in Europe. Strange the producers didn’t play with his new Man with No Name persona. The episodes keep up the odd things that happen on the drive. The best of course is watching a cowboy freak out on peyote in the time before hippies.

CBS DVD presents Rawhide: The Sixth Season: Volume 1 and Volume 2. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Paul Brinegar, Jim Quince and Eric Fleming. Boxset contents 30 episodes on 8 DVDs. Released: June 4, 2013. Volume 1 and Volume 2 available at Amazon.com.

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