Laredo, with its blend of western comedy and high drama, is one of the best television westerns to be found. Laredo premiered in prime time as an episode of The Virginian and was such a big hit, with its wonderful cast, gorgeous color photography, western ambiance and tight, serio-comic scripts, that it was immediately signed for a full season.
Season 1 Ep. 12: The Land Grabbers
Parmalee has only 3 rangers, Reese, Chad and Joe to keep order at a land rush. He reminds them that any rangers found showing any favoritism will face prison. While patrolling the area Chad meets lovely widow Alice Coverly and walks her back to her wagon. Reese gets into a discussion with her young brother Robert concerning western Indians versus real Indians that his British grandfather fought against. Reese goes to meet Robert’s grandfather, Major Donaldson, and he and Chad have tea with the family. Parmalee breaks up the tea party and expresses his wishes to have an extra hour before the noon starting time to give those trying to file deeds illegally time to come in and be caught, Reese steals Commissioner Smoot’s glasses, giving the Captain his extra hour. The rush begins and Major Donaldson is able to stake out the river land he wants but collapses after doing so. Chad puts on the Major’s uniform and rides the Major’s horse. He then has to pretend to be Major Donaldson to record the land deed with the glassless Commissioner Smoot. Joe and Reese stage a fake fire to accomplish this. After the rush is over they leave the fort thinking they have fooled the Captain but he tells them he wasn’t fooled by the fire with no smoke or the fact that he saw British Major Donaldson riding a western saddle.
Laredo combined action with humor to tell the tales of three Company B Texas Rangers. Reese Bennett is older then his two partners, Chad Cooper and Joe Riley. Reese is in his forties and was previously a Union Army Officer. Chad was in the Border Patrol during the Civil War but is originally from New Orleans. He joined the Rangers to search for the gunrunners who helped ambush fellow border patrolmen. Joe was a gunfighter who was at times on the wrong side of the law and joined the rangers as protection from a sheriff or two. Chad and Joe love to tease Reese about his age. They had a Gunga Din like camaraderie.
They are lead by Captain Parmalee who was stern and disciplined. He would send them on their missions and many times was not amused by the shenanigans they got into. Erik Hunter joined them in the second season. Veteran actor Claude Akins played Ranger Cotton Buckmeister in 5 different episodes but never officially became part of the cast. The pilot, “We’ve Lost A Train”, appeared as an episode of The Virginian in April of 1965.
Reese’s horse Cactus was mentioned in several episodes. Chad’s horse was Amigo, which was Peter Brown’s own horse in real life.
Cast and Crew:
Neville Brand, Peter Brown and William Smith
Director: William Witney and others
Production Company: Universal TV
Original Air Date: 1965
Audio & Video: Mono – Color
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