7 Classic Westerns on getTV in May


Spring is here and it’s time to venture out into the great outdoors — at least on your TV! Sundays Under the Big Sky continues in May on getTV, with eleven hours of classic Western shows starting at 6a ET every Sunday morning. And now the Western action starts early on Saturdays too, with the classic series Yancy Derringer, Laredo, The Quest and Grizzly Adams from 6–10a ET.

But we’re not stopping there. Beginning May 4 and continuing all month, getTV will present classic Western films on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings. This month we’ll screen Nevada Smith (1966) with Steve McQueen, Return To Warbow (1958) with Philip Carey, Edge of Eternity (1959) with Cornel Wilde, Gunman’s Walk (1958) with Tab Hunter, Gun Fury (1953) with Rock Hudson, Thunderheart (1992) with Val Kilmer, and director John Ford’s Two Rode Together (1961) with James Stewart and Shirley Jones.

You’ve told us you love our classic Westerns and we love bringing them to you! Here’s a round-up of the films playing this month so you won’t miss a single minute.  

1. Nevada Smith (1966) — May 4 at 2:40p ET

Steve McQueen demonstrates his depth as an actor in this powerful tale of Old West vengeance. As Max Sand (aka “Nevada Smith”), 35-year-old McQueen plays a “halfbreed” teenager determined to find the thieves who killed his parents. Martin Landau, Arthur Kennedy, and Karl Malden are the sadistic murderers, with Brian Keith as Max’s mentor and Suzanne Pleshette and Janet Margolin as the women he meets along the way. This gorgeous, widescreen epic from director Henry Hathaway (True Grit) is actually a prequel to The Carpetbaggers (1964), with McQueen taking over a role first played by Alan Ladd. If you only know McQueen for his effortlessly cool characters in movies like Bullitt (1968), this will be a revelation.

2. Return To Warbow (1958) — May 5 at 8:20p ET

Western icon Phil Carey stars as Clay Hollister, an Arizona chain gang prisoner who escapes to reclaim the money he stole 11 years earlier. James Griffith (Doc Holliday in Masterson of Kansas) plays his gambler brother, supposedly holding the loot until he returns. Catherine McLeod is his ex, now married to a local deputy Andrew Duggan (Lancer). Jay Silverheels (The Lone Ranger’s Tonto) is the Indian ranch hand Clay blinded in the robbery. And Christopher Olsen is the kid who may or may not be Clay’s son. If you know Carey primarily as the square-jawed hero of 1950s Westerns — and getTV weekend favorite Laredo — his villainous turn here will be a treat. And the bloodless action and kid hero scenes make this a good choice for family viewing.

3. Edge Of Eternity (1959) — May 12 at 8:05p ET

Don Siegel (Dirty Harry) directed this 1950s mystery about a serious-minded Arizona deputy (Cornell Wilde) investigating a string of murders in an Arizona mining town. He’s assisted by pretty socialite Janice Kendon (Victoria Shaw), after they meet cute in a traffic stop. This thriller is filled with scenic vistas of the Grand Canyon and familiar character actors. Look for Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction) as the sheriff, Jack Elam (every Western ever made) as a miner, and Dabs Greer (Little House on the Prairie).  

4. Gunman's Walk (1958) — May 18 at 1p ET

Heartthrobs Tab Hunter and James Darren star as Ed and Davy Hackett, sons of a wealthy rancher (Van Heflin) in this CinemaScope Technicolor epic. When Ed’s bad-boy behavior leads to the death of a ranch hand (Bert Convy in his first film), Ed’s father maneuvers him out of murder charges with his money. But Ed is on a campaign of self-destruction no amount of cash can fix. With its angry-young-man lead character, powerful but clueless father, and Darren’s forbidden romance with the half-Sioux sister (Kathryn Grant) of the murdered man, Gunman's Walk is as much a soapy melodrama as it is a Western. Director Phil Karlson is best known for crime films like Kansas City Confidential, and there’s definitely a bit of a noir sensibility here. Look for many familiar faces, including Ray Teal and Edward Platt (the Chief on Get Smart!) in small roles.

5. Gun Fury (1953) — May 18 at 3:15p ET

Rock Hudson and Donna Reed star as Ben Warren and Jennifer Ballard, young lovers on the stage to California after the Civil War. But their wedding will have to wait, because their fellow passenger is master thief Frank Slayton (Phil Carey). Frank robs the stage and takes off with Jennifer and his crew of highwaymen (including Lee Marvin), leading Ben on a chase across the Red Rocks territory of Arizona. Look for familiar faces Leo Gordon and Neville Brand (who would re-team with Carey on Laredo), as well as Roberta Haynes — who died on April 4 at age 91 — as Slayton’s girlfriend. Gun Fury was directed by Raoul Walsh and filmed in 3-D, which may explain why people keep throwing things at the camera.  

6. Thunderheart (1992) — May 18 at 5:15p ET

In this contemporary Western, FBI agent Ray Levoi (Val Kilmer) is given three days to investigate a murder on a Native American reservation in the Badlands of South Dakota. Ray is uniquely qualified for the assignment: he’s part Sioux. He’s teamed with a cynical veteran agent played by Sam Shepard, and Graham Greene is a reservation cop who helps him “listen to the wind” of his native heritage. Based on the 1973 Wounded Knee incident, where Native American militants clashed with federal marshals, Thunderheart is part procedural, part psychological mystery. It’s directed by Michael Apted, whose Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) was nominated for Best Picture.

7. Two Rode Together (1961) — May 25 at 1p ET

Western icon John Ford directed this epic set in 1880s Texas. James Stewart stars as Guthrie McCabe, a corrupt marshal enlisted in the Army’s search for white settlers taken prisoner by the Comanches. His partner in the mission is Jim Gary (Richard Widmark), an Army First Lieutenant in love with a woman (Shirley Jones) whose brother was also abducted. Linda Cristal is excellent as Elena, a Mexican forced to marry a Comanche warrior. Look for John Ford regulars Andy Devine, Harry Carey Jr., Woody Strode, John Qualen, Willis Bouchey, Ken Curtis, and Olive Carey. Like most Ford films, this is a powerful mixture of light and dark with timeless themes that transcend plot.

For more, visit the getTV schedule.