Where it all began…

Inspiration for an “Old West” blog.

What kid didn’t love watching TV during the Golden Age of Westerns in the 50s? The allure of the Old West captured our imaginations, transporting us to a time of rugged landscapes, daring adventures, and honorable gunslingers. I watched them all, armed with my trusty Mattel Shootin Shell 45, arguably the most popular and best-remembered cap gun of the era, first introduced in its Fall 1957 catalog. Coincidental timing? I think not.

Among the countless iconic shows that graced our screens, one stood out with its enigmatic protagonist and unforgettable catchphrase. Inspired by the timeless classic “Have Gun Will Travel,”  this site aims to reignite the spirit of the Old West, delving into the stories, characters, and legends that continue to captivate audiences to this day. So grab your hat, strap on your six-shooter, and join us on a journey through the rugged terrain of Western lore. Welcome to a world where justice is served by those who possess the indomitable spirit of the Wild West.

I was 8 years old…

The 30 minute TV Western, “Have Gun Will Travel” starring Richard Boone, began on CBS September 14, 1957, and aired on Saturday nights 9:30-10 ET (preceding “Gunsmoke”) for six seasons, 226 episodes, through August 3, 1963.

In the late 1950s, nothing was more popular on TV than cowboys and few gunslingers were more popular than Paladin. The dashing, daring character of “Have Gun Will Travel” had the refined taste of James Bond and the wardrobe of Johnny Cash.

Based out of the luxurious Hotel Carlton in San Francisco, Paladin, played by Richard Boone, offered his services for steep fees, typically $1,000. He carried business cards embossed with his chess knight logo and his promise, “Have Gun Will Travel.” Paladin was everything from guardian, tutor, rescuer, bounty hunter, treasure hunter, detective… whatever the client needed.

Paladin would attempt to solve the problem with minimal conflict using his cunning and education, but if the situation called for it his skill with both his fists and his gun would prove more than sufficient. Paladin would advertise his services through business cards that read simply:
Have Gun – Will Travel
Wire Paladin, San Francisco
This would as often as not lead to the mistaken idea that Paladin was a professional killer — a term he resented — which would either result in people who wanted to avoid violence turning down his offer without hearing him out, or people who wanted a killer demanding he assassinate someone.

Have Gun – Will Travel was an American Western series that was produced and originally broadcast by CBS on both television and radio. The television version of the series starring Richard Boone was rated number three or number four in the Nielsen ratings every year of its first four seasons.

In his relentless pursuit of justice, the enigmatic figure known as Paladin would diligently scour through numerous newspapers, meticulously examining the pages that chronicled the events of the era. It was within these tales of turmoil and strife that he carefully select his potential clients, individuals in dire need of his unique services. When he found a story that caught his attention, he would send his calling card to the person in need … a simple piece of paper with the image of a chess knight and the words “Have Gun Will Travel. Wire Paladin, San Francisco.”

Paladin’s calling card was more than just a way to get in touch with a client. It also served as a distinctive emblem of his unique profession and unwavering commitment to justice. This concise yet powerful message encapsulated the essence of his vocation, conveying his readiness to travel great distances at a moment’s notice and employ his formidable skills as a gunfighter in service of those in need. He was a man who believed in justice, and while his preference was to settle problems without violence he was willing to fight for it, using the well-oiled artillery of a custom-made 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver with a 7.5-inch barrel.

Watch for free on Pluto TV…