Making its debut on September 14, 1957, the half-hour show ranked no. 4 in the ratings for its entire first season, which ran almost completely uninterrupted (minus a one-week preemption) until June of 1958--a punishing schedule unheard of in present-day television. (It ranked even higher in subsequent seasons, holding the no. 3 spot, behind Gunsmoke and Wagon Train.) Richard Boone was perfectly cast in the lead role of Paladin, a cultured gunslinger whose West Point education, impeccable style, literate sophistication, and distinguished Civil War service made him unique among Western heroes, and the prototype for many dashing figures to follow. Based in San Francisco's ritzy Carlton Hotel, he scans newspapers to locate trouble throughout the wild West, then cagily markets his services (via his legendary calling card, "Have Gun--Will Travel") as a hired gun, moral arbiter, voice of reason, and reluctant killer of badmen. Understanding the complexities of frontier justice, Paladin (whose full name is never revealed) could turn on those who hired him if he suspected dubious motivations. He wore black, but he traveled in an ethical gray zone.
Cast & Characters
- Richard Boone as Paladin
- Kam Tong as Hey Boy
- Lisa Lu as Hey Girl
- Hal Needham as Bartender
- Edward Faulkner as Ben
- Harry Casey, Jr. as Ben Murdock
- Roy Barcroft as Flannigan
- Hank Patterson as Hank
- Peggy Rea as Cookie
- Robert Stevenson as Clemenceau
- Horse: Rafter
Broadcast HistoryFirst Telecast: September 14, 1957
Last Telecast: April 20. 1963
Original Network: CBS
Number of Seasons: 6
Number of Episodes: 225
Have Gun - Will Travel Episode Guide
Original Primetime TV Schedule:
- September 1957 - April 1963, CBS, Saturday 9:30-10:00pm
Theme Song Lyrics & Opening Credits
"Ballad of Paladin" by Johnny Western, Richard Boone, and Sam Rolfe Performed by Johnny Western
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Have Gun - Will Travel TriviaRichard Boone was a decendant of Daniel Boone.
Gene Roddenberry (creator of the original Star Trek TV show) was also one of the writers for Have Gun Will Travel.
Paladin used a single-action Colt .44 with a long, rifled barrel. It had a one-ounce trigger pull and was hand-made to his own specifications.
While Paladin often spared the life of a bad guy (if they weren't too bad), if Paladin was injured by the bad guy, they ALWAYS ended out dead!
Paladin would switch sides against his employer if he discovered that they were really the evil one.
John Dehner who played the role of "Paladin" in the 1958-1960 Have Gun Will Travel radio show was the first choice for that role on the TV show. He was, however, contractually obligated to Warner Brothers Studios at the time due to his role on the TV program "The Roaring 20's" and couldn't take the job.
The word "paladin" means "vigilante protector".