Six-Gun Saturday: CBS’ “Have Gun – Will Travel”

"Have Gun -- Will Travel" aired on CBS from 1957-63.

Have Gun – Will Travel reads the card of a man

A knight without armor in a savage land

His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind

A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin

CBS first wired Have Gun – Will Travel on Saturday, September 14, 1957.  Starring Richard Boone, the half-hour Western follows the adventures of the man in black known as Paladin.  Residing at the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco, he offers his services to people who can afford his fee of $1,000, but sometimes waives it if the cause is just.  Worldly, sophisticated, cultured, intelligent, cunning, and ruthless, Paladin takes on jobs that no one else would.  A West Point graduate, the gentleman Paladin is the manhunter, the problem-solver, the dark knight of the Old West: capturing outlaws, righting wrongs, risking his life and limb to not only pay for his lavish lifestyle, but protect those whom he dislikes.  Though operating in the grey area, Paladin has a deep respect for the law.

Gun – Will Travel was indeed a Western with dark undertones and mature, adult themes.  Lasting six successful seasons until 1963, the series continued to helped CBS dominated the Western genre alongside Gunsmoke (1955-75), Trackdown (1957-59), Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-61), and Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001).

Have Gun – Will Travel was the inspiration for The Equalizer (1985-89) with Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a former spy using his covert skills to help people in trouble as redemption for his sins.  Balancing the scales of justice, McCall becomes the one man who will equalize the odds on behalf of those who have their backs up against the wall.

Reruns of Have Gun – Will Travel can be found every weekday morning as part of the “Good Guys at Sunrise” block on Heroes & Icons.

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