One of the elements that made Rawhide so memorable was its willingness to tackle controversial subjects. One such episode was “Incident at Quivira.” In this one, recurring character Mushy (James Murdock) decides to leave the drive in the company of a wild-eyed gold prospector, to locate a “lost city of gold.” It seems pretty implausible from the start, but what they discover is even stranger. The two come upon an encampment of deserters. Looking back, drawing a parallel between then-current events in Southeast Asia was probably not what the writers intended, but it is a very intriguing subject for a TV Western in any event.
Rawhide being a Western set in the late 19th century, there are a number of episodes which deal with conflicts between Native Americans and the white cattlemen. While I would not go so far as to call Rawhide 100 percent politically correct by today’s standards, there is no question that the writers at least tried to present a more balanced view of events than some other programs did. Two of the more notable “Indian” episodes in this season include “Incident of the Clown,” and “Incident of the Hostages.”
The fifth season of Rawhide featured quite a variety of guest stars, including
Ceasar Romero, Ruta Lee, Claude Akins, Madlyn Rhue, Keenan Wynn, Walter Slezack, and Lon Chaney, among many others. Paramount is offering he series in two ways. Fans can opt for either the full eight-DVD package, or the two individual volumes of four DVDs apiece.
I believe that the fifth season of Rawhide was one its finest. The show was filmed in black and white throughout its entire run, and the picture quality here is very, very good. There are no bonus features, but every episode opens with one of the greatest theme songs ever, done by Frankie Laine.
Rawhide: The Complete Fifth Season is definitely one of the week’s best DVD releases.