Dan Troop arrives in Laramie to take the marshall's job after David Lemp is murdered. He meets Johnny McKay, who wants the deputy job, but Dan dismisses him because he is too young. Johnny reveals that one of the Hawks brothers killed Lemp.
Dan and Johnny get to meet for the very first time. Johnny is finishing up the grave for David Lemp, the previous marshal. Johnny mistakenly thinks Dan is a crook. He later learns differently when Dan comes into Dru Lemp's cafe. Dru was David's wife, and Johnny works for her. Dan also encounters the Hawks Brothers. They came up with quite an all-star trio for the brothers, Edward Byrnes, Lee Van Cleef, and Jack Elam. After seeing Byrnes play such a punk in this episode, it is hard to believe he ever played a good guy. Elam and Van Cleef just look like bad guys. Oh, there was also when Dan first gets in the office and sees the cat. The townsmen try to show it away, but Dan says to let him stay. I loved his line about, "They'll even catch your mice for you, if you don't rub them the wrong way." That sounds just like my cat. Johnny tries to apply for the deputy job, but Dan dismisses him because he thinks he's too young. Dan later arrests Lacey Hawks (Byrnes). That leaves the other two. Johnny tries to convince Dan that he can't take them alone, and to let him help. Dan refuses. In the ensuing gunfight, Dan shoots one brother, and then turns to see the other brother fall. When he turns to see who shot him, he finds Johnny standing there with a rifle. That was a very cool moment. Then came the even cooler moment. Dan takes the "Deputy Wanted" sign down, let's out his first smile of the episode, and motion for Johnny to come inside with him. A great way to kick off the series.
As I watch this show I get very nostalgic. Dan Troops withdrawn personality is in stark contrast to many other western heroes...many of whom the creators wanted us to "like" them [ Marshal Dillon, Brett Maverick, Tom Brewster, Cheyenne etc]....willing to put his life on the line in a town in which he has NO stake seems hard to believe to most, but for Troop it is "what he does".....the guest stars that Warner Brothers would provide through the series run would add to the overall quality of this series......my favorite scene in this opener is when Troop is sitting in his office [which is dusty and needs cleaning], and a stray cat wanders across his desk. Soon to be deputy [played to perfection by Peter Brown] starts to reach out to shooo the cat away when Troop says "leave him alone, he isn't bothering anybody".....which we would learn as the series progresses is Troops view of life....live and let live, unless you do something wrong!......
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