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The Westerner


NBC Network
30 Minutes

Set in the 1890s, Brian Keith starred as Dave Blassingame, a cowboy roaming the Mexican border who helped people in distress. Along for the ride, are  his faithful dog, Brown (so named because he's a brown dog) and Burgundy Smith (John Dehner), who occasionally shared the trail with Dave. Dave once called him a "no good, low down, cheatin' rattlesnake."

Dave was raised by his Uncle Adam Brown (Ted DeCorsia) on a homestead near Tres Cruces. Dave dreams of owning his own ranch but for now all he can do is work as a ranch hand as he drifts from place to place.  

When he's not drunk, or getting in a fight, he finds time to stand up for the those in need. Dave uses his fists to defense, but he does carry a 405 Winchester repeating rifle equipped with a telescopic sight that he uses for hunting, and if needed, for protection.

Brian Keith as Dave Blassingame - THE WESTERNER

Dave Blassingame and his dog - THE WESTERNER

TRIVIA NOTE: Directed by Sam Peckinpah, the series pilot aired on THE ZANE GREY THEATRE (episode "Trouble at Tres Cruces 03/26/1959). In 1963, the producers of the original series revised the original format with a new pilot (that failed) called "The Losers" starring Lee Marvin as Dave Blassingame and Keenan Wynn as Burgundy Smith.

In the original pilot, Dave's rifle was referred to as a 95 Winchester which he inherited after he finds his Uncle murdered. Later in the series, the rifle is called a 405 Winchester.

Obituaries: Brian Keith: 06/24/1997; John Dehner: 02/04/1992;

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