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The Guns of Will Sonnett

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8.3/10 TV

First episode date  8 September 1967
7.7/10 IMDb

Genre  Western
Final episode date  16 September 1969
The Guns of Will Sonnett wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners397327p397327
Created by  Aaron SpellingRichard Carr
Written by  Ed AdamsonHarry BaschTony BarrettJameson BrewerRichard CarrPeter B. GermanoCliff GouldKathleen HiteJames KomackEdward J. LaksoRobert PiroshAaron SpellingCliff Todd
Directed by  Jack ArnoldThomas CarrIrving J. MooreMichael O'HerlihyRichard C. SarafianJud TaylorJean Yarbrough
Starring  Walter BrennanDack Rambo
Composer(s)  Hugo FriedhoferEarle H. HagenFred Steiner
Network  American Broadcasting Company
Cast  Walter Brennan, Dack Rambo, Jason Evers

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The Guns of Will Sonnett is a Western television series set in the 1870s which was broadcast on the ABC television network from 1967 to 1969. The series was the first production collaboration between Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas, who would later go on to produce one of ABC's most-memorable hits, The Mod Squad. Today, the series is distributed by King World (now CBS Television Distribution), and, when telecast, is usually seen in tandem with another 1960s short-lived Western series, the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman production Branded; King World was originally responsible for distributing both shows.

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Synopsis

The series starred veteran character actor Walter Brennan as Will Sonnett, and Dack Rambo as his grandson, Jeff, who were searching for Will's son, James. Disgusted with his father's absence due to army business, James had disappeared at the age of seventeen. A few years later, a baby boy was delivered to Will, with a letter identifying him as James' son and explaining that the mother had died in childbirth. The letter also said that James was giving his father a second chance at being a parent. Will was grateful for the opportunity, and did his best to steer his grandson in the right direction.

The elder Sonnett was capable with firearms and often spoke to strangers about this in an intimidating way. In the first episode, he mentions that his son is an expert with guns, and his grandson is better, "and I'm better than both of 'em–no brag, just fact." This last phrase was uttered frequently on the show, and became a catch phrase among the show's fans.

Will was not completely absent from James' childhood, and he had taught James how to handle a six-shooter; the younger man became renowned as a peerless gunfighter. Hearing so much of his father's repute, Jeff decided to find him. Will agreed, and they rode across the West looking for James. They often arrived at places that James had recently left. The people they met had mixed opinions of James, some seeing him as a ruthless killer, and others as the only man brave enough to take the side of justice against men far more ruthless. James appeared in several episodes, played by Jason Evers. One episode, entitled "The Man Who Killed Jim Sonnett", guest starred Robert F. Simon.

The main characters achieved the goal of the premise in the final episode, when Will and Jeff located James. The three men became lawmen in a small town: Will as town marshal and the other two as his deputies.

The Guns of Will Sonnett aired two years after the cancellation of Brennan's 1964-1965 ABC series The Tycoon.

Guest stars

  • Ahna Capri portrayed Laurie in "Stopover in a Troubled Town" (1968).
  • Charles Grodin played the gunfighter Bells Pickering in "A Bell for Jeff Sonnett" (1967).
  • Kevin Hagen played the prosecutor named Kingman, and Judson Pratt portrayed John Hardwick in the episode "One Angry Juror" (March 7, 1969).
  • Dennis Hopper portrayed Vern Reed in "Find a Sonnett, Kill a Sonnett" (1967).
  • Cloris Leachman portrayed Vera Sonnett in "And A Killing Rode Into Town" (1967).
  • Nora Marlowe portrayed Polly in "Meeting in a Small Town" (December 6, 1968).
  • Strother Martin played the bartender Harvey Bains in "Message at Noon" (1967).
  • Jack Nicholson portrayed Tom Murdoch in "A Son for A Son" (1967).
  • DVD release

    Timeless Media Group released both seasons on DVD in Region 1 on July 14, 2009 in a 6-disc set entitled The Guns of Will Sonnett: The Complete Seasons 1&2. The episodes were taken from the form syndicated by King World, and were edited from the original broadcast versions, with 3 minutes missing from each episode. They are transferred from video tape sources and have not been remastered from the original film prints. The color is often faded, and the sound is rather poor. The edits in the episodes were poorly executed and sometimes confuse the plotline. The DVD package calls The Guns of Will Sonnett one of the most underrated westerns in the history of television.

    References

    The Guns of Will Sonnett Wikipedia


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