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Click on the title to get the juice...
Wanted: Dead or Alive
|94 half-hour episodes and one of the best western TV series ever made.
Josh Randall (played by Steve McQueen) is a bounty hunter, a profession generally considered highly
disreputable, if not worse than the activities of the outlaws themselves. In each episode, Randall must
go out, and bring the bad guys back, Dead or Alive.|
All 3 seasons are available on DVD.
What makes Randall unique is that he prefers to "bring 'em back alive" whenever possible, and it's his
inherent decency while doing a job everybody scorns that makes Wanted: Dead or Alive so appealing. Several episodes emphasize
this ethical code and sense of justice ónotably in the
first season, Rawhide Breed, and in the second season, The Hostage and Twelve Hours to Crazy Horse. |
The series also explored the darker side of his work, when, in Bounty on Josh, Randall is wounded by an unseen stalker and the tables are turned. How does it feel to be the hunted, and not the hunter? This episode is a chilling study and Steve is at his best, with every movement, every twitch and shrug, every expressive glance revealing his thoughts more surely than words ever could.
Other episodes, such as The Littlest Client, 8-Cent Reward, Amos Carter (with the marvellous Edgar Buchanan) and The Cure are light fun and proof Steve was perfectly adept at understated comedy.
|Episode 5 Shawnee Bill|
It seemed to me it took Steve about five episodes to fully fit inside Randall's skin and become 100% comfortable in front of the camera. The first episode especially stands out because his voice was a little loud, and the action was a little over the top (possibly a result of his previous stage work). But by episode five, Shawnee Bill, he inhabits the character and you forget you're watching an actor.
|One of my favorite lines in the series
Someone comments on the size
of his gun (which was in fact a sawn off rifle), to which he responds, "I'm just
a little bitty feller, I need a big gun."
Screencaps provided by Daniel Smague.
|Randall's weapon of choice, the 'Mares Laig'.