The plot of Have Gun – Will Travel: The Prisoner has
Paladin (Richard Boone) approached about a justified killing he was involved in well over a decade ago. Of course, this interferes with the continuity of the show, but back in the early days of television, no one cared that much about making sure that timelines worked. So, the first thing you have to do when watching this is to set aside that flaw.
The story reveals that back then a 13 year old convicted of a crime done with his siblings is now of age and is to be hanged for his alleged involvement. Naturally, Paladin has to return to the town.
Once there, Paladin realizes that the citizens of the town seem ready to mete out their version of justice, which is pretty harsh.
Buzz Martin appears as Justin Groton. He was actually sentenced to hang at age 21, 3 years ago, but his file was misplaced. He escapes and Paladin tracks him down. Martin does a decent job, but I felt he was a little weaker than he needed to be.
Another guest star is Barry Kelley who plays Sheriff Carlton. The sheriff is sympathetic towards Justin. I like Kelley in this role. He exudes the necessary warmth and toughness required for the role.
Then there is George Mitchell as Keel. He’s eager to hang Justin. Mitchell is just awesome in these types of role. He makes you hate him.
I really enjoyed Liam Sullivan as Judge Bradford, a visiting judge from Boston who meets Paladin en route to Coffinville, the town where the crime was committed all those years ago. Isn’t that a great name for this haunted town? I thought it was a superb.
Bradford is a by the book judge, but he is finally convinced to release Justin due to the technicality that he was never really officially tried and that he never actually killed anyone.
Now, while the plot was intriguing to a point and while I enjoyed the interaction between Paladin and the judge, the show had some issues.
For one thing, there is a scene where a mob beats up the sheriff. This event is very badly choreographed with Paladin charging the mob and ending their attack, but it just doesn’t work at all. It’s overacted. Boone’s movements are stiff and way too manipulated. Everything about it is poorly done.
Overlook this, and the show is okay.