Law of the Plainsman (TV Series 1959– ) Poster

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8/10
One great Western series that lasted on season,but with some distinctive features from the people who brought you The Rifleman
rcj53654 March 2011
The 1959-1960 season may have been the year in television in which more than one-half of the prime time schedule was taken up by Westerns. Most of the Westerns that premiered on the schedule were your average standard fare,which the exception of "Wagon Train",and "Gunsmoke" being in the top ten of the Nielsens. The only exception that in which most of the Westerns were in classic black and white,only one newcomer to the bunch that came out of gate for the 1959-1960 series when "Bonanza" premiered that year as one of the first Westerns to be presented in color.

One of the new shows for the 1959-1960 season was totally different from the rest of the pack. One it have a gimmick that was the sales pitch for the series. "Law Of The Plainsman" was one of the new TV-Westerns that was distinctive from the rest. It was one of the few television programs,and the first to featured a Native American as the lead character who was the Deputy Marshal who maintained law and order in the Old West. The series starred Michael Ansara(who was of Syriana descent playing an Native American character) as Sam Buckhart. Ansara had earlier appeared in the series "Broken Arrow" having portrayed the Apache chief. Ansara before this series was introduced in two episodes that were shown in season one of the ABC-TV series "The Rifleman",which was hugely popular in the Nielsens top ten. Ansara portrayed U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart in Season 1,Episode 27 of "The Indian"(February 17,1959). Another appearance as a renegade Apache who kidnaps Lucas McCain's son Mark and holds him hostage in hills was in Season 1,episode 37 of "The Raid"(June 9,1959). "Law of the Plainsman" was one of the few spinoffs that came from "The Rifleman" TV-series that was suppose to be a new series for ABC. However,ABC rejected it and from there ended up on NBC's prime-time schedule for the 1959-1960 season.

"Law Of The Plainsman" stars Michael Ansara as Sam Buckhart,who was an Apache Indian who saves the life of a U.S. Cavalry officer after an Indian ambush. When the officer died,he left Sam money that was to be used for an education at a private school,so Sam applied took his money and applied himself for a education at Harvard University,from which is graduated with honors. After graduation from Harvard,he returned to the badlands of New Mexico where he became a Deputy working for Marshal Andy Morrison(Dayton Lummis),and later on worked his way up to the title of U.S. Marshal. Living in a boarding house run by Martha Commager(Nora Marlowe),and was under the supervision of an 8-year old orphan girl Tess Logan(Gina Gillespie). Each week Buckhart maintain the law in the Old West taken on the baddies and lowlifes who were the enemies of Buckhart who upheld the badge of justice and maintain the security of the town.

"Law Of The Plainsman" was produced by the same people who were behind the television series "The Rifleman",and was under the executive producers of Arthur Gardner,Arnold Laven and Jules V. Levy along with associate producer Arthur H. Nadel,along with stunning musical composition by Leonard Rosenman. In fact,"Law Of The Plainsman" lasted a full season,producing 30 episodes all in classic black and white that ran on NBC-TV from October 1, 1959 until May 5, 1960. The series was produced by Four Star Television,the same company that produced "The Rifleman",and countless other TV-westerns from "Black Saddle",and "Wanted:Dead or Alive",to "Johnny Ringo",and later on the company's first-ever color western "The Big Valley". The series lasted one season on NBC. Repeated episodes ran on ABC from 1960-1962.
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One of a herd of Western series, but with two distinguishing features
jwarthen-321 May 2000
1959-60 may have been the TV year in which more than one-half of the prime team schedule was taken-up by Westerns. I can't swear to the virtues of this series-- was only 10 at the time-- but two things have stuck in my mind that recommend it. The first, its narrative gimmick: a lawman who was also Native American. Michael Ansara had charisma to burn. The idea deserved good scripts. The chief tug on my memory all these years was its theme-music-- what I remember is distinctive and beautiful-- a stirring anthem, probably not :45 seconds long. After scanning all the retro-recordings of TV music, hoping against all odds that someone would preserve it, I am resigned to whistling from memory. I wonder who composed it?
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6/10
Music
paul4opus9 July 2006
The Score for Law of the Plainsman was composed by Leonard Rosenman (also composed theme). This information comes from a classic TV Western web site. This show was a fun show to watch and my first exposure to Michael Ansara as a performer and actor. The character originality and plots using a native American character in this show were to me the first sign that the 1960's and the decades following were not going to be just, Old Anglo Saxon knockoffs with guns, on the little or big screen any more. Typically Hollywood: a Syrian, playing a native American. The opening screen of the main character riding across the western plains on a pure white horse still holds my imagination.
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