Best TV Shows of the 1950s and 1960s–Part Three: Have Gun Will Travel


have gun will travel


For the third entry in this series about what I consider to be the best TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s, I want to mention a series that might not be as well known as the previous two I have discussed: Have Gun Will Travel.  This western ran from 1957 to 1963 and starred Richard Boone as Paladin, the man with the gun for hire.



The name Paladin, which refers to medieval wandering knights was the working name of the main character, an educated man who charged for his services as a mercenary, except when he was defending or fighting for the poor or the week.  I have been deeply interested in the legends and mythology of knights, and I suspect this is what triggered, if you forgive the pun, my fascination with this idea.



For me, the most important episode was in the first season: “The Teacher.”  In this episode, Paladin was hired by a rancher to help remove a local schoolteacher who was teaching other than what the local people wanted to hear.  Paladin ends up defending her and takes no offer of money, because he believed that she was doing the most important work in society.

While it was a western, filled with gunfights and fisticuffs, it was also an introduction for me to the idea of honor and standing up for those who are weaker. It also showed the importance of education for society, a value that I honor as of the highest importance.



Do any of you remember this show?

have gun will travel



49 thoughts on “Best TV Shows of the 1950s and 1960s–Part Three: Have Gun Will Travel

  1. Doris

    I remember it, but not any specific episode. I liked Richard Boone & it was one my favorite western shows. I also remember him as Hec Ramsey, another of my favorites.


  2. I do remember that show vaguely. I liked that he always took the higher moral ground. I took a lot of life lessons from the little television I was able to watch. I wonder how you find those old shows again? It would be interesting to revisit them again.


  3. I was pretty young, but I remember it. My parents didn’t like us watching westerns–“too violent.” I do especially remember the song; “Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam?”

    I’m a Steve McQueen fan, so I finagled copies of Wanted Dead or Alive a while back, another show I wasn’t allowed to watch as a child. I think it was a little more escapist than HGWT. But it’s fun to look back on those times.


  4. I liked the show as a kid. It wasn’t until I got older and saw the reruns though, that I learned to appreciate the show. As a kid I’d hum the theme song and wanted a holster with the chess piece horse on it. Instead my aunt bought me a key chain that had the horse on it. It was still pretty cool, and went along side of my Davy Crockett Coonskin cap on my dresser. But as I said, I learned to appreciate later, the high moral code that Paladin had. Yes, he was a gun for hire (the westerns in those days all had their nitch—I loved Maverick because Garner and Kelly were truly lovable but also ethical characters, Wanted Dead or Alive because of McQueen and his cool looking gun, and Hotel de Paree with Earl Holliman and his cool looking cowboy hat with the mirror band around it) all drew my attention. But, what I liked about Richard Boone’s character was the fact that, though wealthy and living in San Francisco, his sense of right and wrong was enhanced by his intellect. Sure, he was a skilled gunman, but his intelligence suggested he was not a man to be taken for granted by anyone who came up against him. His style and standard of living was a by-product of more than his skill with a gun. Another fine series, Charles. Great memories, and speaking of great, I wonder if the series “The Great Adventure” will make your list? :O)


  5. Khaya Ronkainen

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  6. Oh, yes, I remember Paladin well. Network TV featured a gold mine of great Westerns in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and I was a big fan. It’s a pity we don’t have shows like that any more, but hey, most of the classic shows are easily available on YouTube.


  7. Excuse me, me again. All the talk of western got me remembering of a movie? A Tv show? It was about a cowboy who was a vampire and he’s dressed in all black? The sheriff finally offed the vampire by putting a tiny cross on the tip of a bullet?


  8. It was my favorite show when I was young, the only one my TV-disdaining mother would watch with me. She had listened to it in its days on the radio. I guess that made it all right. I remember her explaining to me that “Paladin” was a cable address–a bit of information that came in handy later, when I got interested in Edwardian-era literature–and pointing out that although the title character did indeed carry a gun (and, as I recall, other weapons. Wasn’t he a fencer?), he seldom used them. –At least, seldom compared to the characters in other westerns, who were involved in a gun-fight or two per episode.

    How long before Hollywood re-makes (and ruins) “Have Gun Will Travel”, I wonder?

    Liked by 1 person

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