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Sheriff of Cochise (1956-1960) was a half-hour syndicated crime drama starring John Bromfield as tough-as-nails Frank Morgan, the head lawman of a small Arizona county.
It's a violent series. In the show's opening the sheriff comes from behind his car unloading his pistol and no wonder - in this community almost everyone gets out of their cars with guns blazing, firefights in the street and calls for a lynching are not uncommon here. It's like a western in every way except it takes place in 'modern' times, in this case the late-1950s.
The plots are simplistic, rarely more than brazen acts of lawlessness with little thought or planning behind them executed by guys who would fit right in with Tony Soprano's clan. And when women get sassy they get slapped around and told, "There's plenty more where that came from." And there will be!
If a car squeals off the cops immediately start firing and don't stop until they've emptied their weapons. The villains all go down in a hail of bullets but the cops are barely grazed despite being fired on from a few feet away. In one battle, the Sheriff is hiding behind a tiny wicker table while being fired upon practically point blank by three goons. Not a scratch.
The crminals rarely give up and when they try their partners gun them down. One memorable episode finds Charles Bronson on the run as a murderous AWOL soldier who kidnaps a couple, holds up a gas station, attempts to rape a girl, and shoots a cop before being brought down by flying lead.
Sheriff of Cochise was from Desilu, first class in terms of production values with lots of exteriors shot on location. It's disquieting to see what the desert landscape and bucolic city streets looked like 50 years ago even though I suspect it's mostly Southern California locales we're seeing.
For the final 2 seasons, the sheriff was promoted to U.S. Marshall and the show's title was changed to reflect that. Now covering the entire state, more cases took place in city environments but there was no letup on the gun play that would erupt at least twice per episode. That's in addition to the inevitable fistfights and car chases that broke out at a moment's notice in all manner of public places.
It says something about how our society has changed that people could watch the cartoonish, hyper-violent activity and accept it as somewhat normal.
Loads of fun to watch!
ON THIS PAGE: Sheriff of Cochise / U.S. Marshall
TV SHOWS ON DVD REVIEWS: Mary Tyler Moore Show / Paul Lynde Halloween Special / Life on Mars / Sheriff of Cochise / U.S. Marshall / Bing Crosby Specials / Flight of the Concourds / Funny or Die / Gangbusters / Rescue Me / Top Chef / Car 54 Where Are You? / Car 54 Where Are You? / / Popeye / It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia