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Featured TV on DVD Review: Have Gun - Will Travel: Season Five, Volume Two

February 22nd, 2011

Have Gun - Will Travel: Season Five, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon

We are nearing the end of Have Gun - Will Travel, with just one more season after this. Part of the Golden Age of Westerns, Richard Boone stars as Paladin, a gun for hire, for six seasons. It's considered a classic of the genre by many people, but it's a genre that has waned in appeal since then. Is it still a classic? Or have the years treated it poorly?

The Show

The 3-disc set starts with The Exiles, which has Paladin hired by a Mexican general who wants to retrieve $18 million in French bonds from aristocrats in exile. He says they refuse to return them unless they are returned to power, but the more Paladin learns of him and his compatriot, the less at ease he is with the job. In The Hunt, Paladin is tricked into going to Oregon only to become the target of a bored Russian prince who wants to hunt a human for sport. While traveling, Paladin comes across a gold prospector whose been in the mountains for five years, and amassed a fortune in gold. All he wants is to head back into town and find the woman he loves, but five years is a long time. In One, Two, Three Paladin is hired by someone obsessed with astrology, Keel, who entered a man into a lottery, Seth Carter, because he felt that man's name made him destined to win. Now he's disappeared and Paladin has to find him, but everyone he talks to about Carter winds up dead. A very twisted episode, but in a good way. Harry Dean Stanton. Adding a little Harry Dean Stanton always makes things better. Here he plays one of the Wilder brothers, leaders of a notorious gang. They've recently been captured and its Paladin's job to take them into town so they can be hanged. However, it will be a dangerous job, as the rest of their gang will be looking to free them. Arguably the best episode of disc one; arguably the best episode of the DVD. In The Trap Paladin travels to try to find an itinerant farmer that went on a killing spree, but when the weather turns sour, he has to take refuge in an inn. However, he walks into a situation involving a U.S. Marshal and a prisoner, who he is charging with attempted murder. Don't Shoot the Piano Player rounds out the first disc. Here Paladin has to look for a missing musician, who has been missing on the rough side of town for a month, but the police won't even go there to search. It's starts out well, but ends kind of average.

The daughter of the titular, Alice comes looking for her mother, who as gone missing. Blue Dollar Alice made her fortune in cattle and silver mines, but the banker tells Paladin she died in debt. Better than most episodes on this DVD. In order to dry out, Moses Kadish (William Conrad) heads out to the wilderness. He figures being alone means no alcohol to temp him. This doesn't work out quite as well as he had hoped when he digs a well, but instead of finding water, he becomes The Man Who Struck Moonshine. Silent Death, Secret Death has Paladin looking for Courtney Burgess, a man with a reputation for being a con artist. He's conned himself into becoming Colonel Burgess, leader of his own army. However, typhoid and angry Indians are now vying to see who gets to kill him first. In Hobson's Choice, Paladin gets to meet Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Unfortunately, Nobel's shipment of nitroglycerin is shipped to the wrong address, and Paladin has to track it down before there's an explosive accident. In Coming of the Tiger, a Japanese friend of Paladin tells him the new government of his home country is looking to start a war by sending two agitators to the United States through Mexico, a priest and a samurai. So Paladin travels with his friend's son to the Mexican border to stop these men. In Darwin's Man, Paladin gets mixed up in a family dispute where the patriarch is trying to get his two sons to kill each other over their inheritance, based on a gross misinterpretation of the theory of evolution.

The final disc starts with Invasion. In this episode, Paladin is hired by the American government to prevent an Irish national from starting a war with Canada in order to free the Irish people. Huh? Cyrano Jones (Star Trek: The Original Series, The Trouble With Tribbles) shows up in Cream of the Jest as a prankster making a nuisance of himself in a small town Paladin passes through. A female Bandit just killed the driver of a stage coach and made off with $50,000. He captures her fast enough, but has to contend with the other bounty hunters trying to get the reward, not to mention the repeated escape attempts. And worse of all, her sudden romantic interest in him. A government officer comes to Paladin in Pandora's Box. His son is charged with murder and he wants him brought in, quietly. You just know that won't happen. Jonah and the Trout has Paladin trying to recover some stolen gold, using a method first theorized by Da Vinci. But the original bandits are still hanging around looking to steal the gold from whomever can recover it first. The season ends with The Knight. A baron hires Paladin to track down a man, but when they get to the small town where he was last known to be, the townsfolk just want to mind their own business.

Overall the show's quality is a little lower than the previous season I reviewed. It's still very good, but there were a few episodes that were subpar and a few others that were merely average. It does hold up remarkably well for a show that's almost 50 years old.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD, but there are subtitles, play all buttons, and proper chapter placements. That's better than a lot of similar releases get.

The Verdict

A six-disc set is not unusual for a TV on DVD release, so there's no reason to split the seasons of Have Gun - Will Travel into two. That said,the price per minute of Season Five, Volume Two is acceptable and if you've been collecting the series up till now, there's no reason to stop.

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