Cimarron Strip - Battleground
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(Jul 13, 2006)
A Classic Action Adventure of the Old West on Cimarron Strip. US Marshal Jim Crown (Stuart Whitman) gets the drop on his old buddy, Bear (Telly Savalas), and a gang of cowboys when they try to terrorize the town. He jails them in a wine cellar and brings them back to their boss, cattleman Hardy Miller (Robert Wilke), the next day. When Crown discloses that Congress has canceled Government leases on land held by the cattlemen, Miller fires all but 10 of his hired hands, knowing the discharged cowboys will take vengeance against the farmers. Finally, word comes that farmer William Payne (R.G. Armstrong) is determined to lead a band of fellow-farmers across the Cimrron River, with an army of cowboys headed by the enraged Bear massing on the other side to stop them. Crown rides out in a desperate effort to avert a massacre.
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Thank goodness for the western channel for airing these episodes this season, and it was great to watch them again.
I have to admit that I already complained on line that I thought that selling these individual episodes at the prices they put on them was excessive, and discribed them as gouging the public. I felt that it would have been great if they sold them as a box set under one hundred dollars, but be that as it may, I'm so happy to see that they're offered at all. So I have to eat my words, and will probably end up buying them and going into further debt.
Anyway, one thing is for sure, any western fan won't be disappointed with the quality of the stories.
In this episode of the series, which shows what happened when Crown first came to Cimarron, features the marshal caught in the middle of a range war between cattlemen who have hired toughs and farmers looking to settle on unclaimed land. The leader of the toughs, Bear, played by Telly Savalas, is an old friend of Crown's, but he finds out quickly that Crown is determined to keep the peace, friendship aside. Actions keep developing that put Crown on a collision course with Bear and his men.
Cimarron Strip was a victim of bad timing because the Western was quickly fading into the sunset as a popular genre. Other than Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian, The High Chaparral, and The Big Valley, there weren't many other Westerns that drew enough of an audience to stay on the air. This was a great show with great acting, great writing, and a great cast. The premise was a bit dodgy at times, seemingly a poor inversion of Gunsmoke, but Whitman made a great hero, and the show was produced by the same people who produced Gunsmoke. All of the episodes are pretty good, but this one is a standout because of the presence of Savalas and other Western perennials such as Warren Oates and RG Armstrong.
Battleground is a wonderful introduction to Cimarron Strip, and shows what might have been if the series had been allowed to stay on a few more years.