Laramie (TV series)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Laramie DVD Cover
Directed by
Country of originUSA
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes124 (list of episodes)
Executive producerJohn C. Champion
ProducerRevue Studios
Running time60 minutes
Production companyRevue Studios
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 15, 1959 (1959-09-15) –
May 21, 1963 (1963-05-21)

Laramie is an American Western television series that aired on NBC from 1959 to 1963.[1] A Revue Studios production, the program originally starred John Smith as Slim Sherman, owner of the Sherman Ranch, along with his younger brother Andy, played by Robert L. Crawford, Jr.; Robert Fuller as Jess Harper, an immature, hot-headed drifter who shows up at the Sherman Ranch in the premiere episode; and Hoagy Carmichael as Jonesy, who keeps the homestead/stage stop running while Slim and Jess usually alternate starring roles during the show. Actress Spring Byington was later added to the cast.[2]


The two Sherman brothers and a drifter, Jess Harper, come together to run a stagecoach stop for the Great Central Overland Mail Company after the Shermans' father, Matt, was murdered by a greedy land seeker. The Sherman parents are buried on the ranch. Near the end of the series, Matt Sherman was revealed to have been falsely accused during the American Civil War of having aided the Confederates. After Jess Harper finds on Sherman Ranch land the wreckage of a Union Army gold wagon stolen by Confederate raiders, Slim sets forth with the officer accused of helping the Confederates, portrayed by Frank Overton, and an Army major, the real culprit played by John Hoyt, to clear Matt Sherman's name. The gold dust in question had long ago been scattered by the wind.

The series premiere "Stage Stop" (September 15, 1959), which was filmed in color, explains how Slim Sherman and Jess Harper become partners in the Sherman Ranch and Relay Station. Jess arrives in Wyoming from Texas in search of an erstwhile "friend", Pete Morgan, played by John Mitchum, who had robbed Jess. Morgan is part of the gang of Bud Carlin (Dan Duryea). The gang captures Judge Thomas J. Wilkens (Everett Sloane), to keep him from trying Morgan. Though Jess and Slim are at odds with each other in their first encounters, and friendship seems out of the question, Andy Sherman takes an instant liking to Jess. Andy even asks Jess to take him away from the ranch, where he lives with his older brother Slim. Their first housekeeper is Jonesy, the role filled by Carmichael. Slim and Jess must fight together when Carlin shows up at the relay station (Carlin says he likes to watch men fight), and proceeds to humiliate the judge.

In "The General Must Die" (November 17, 1959), Brian Keith appears as Whit Malone, an old friend of Slim Sherman's from the Union Army. Malone and a mentally troubled Colonel Brandon, played by John Hoyt in another appearance on the series, arrive at the relay station with a daring but foiled plan to assassinate General William Tecumseh Sherman, who is scheduled to pass through the station on a stagecoach. Gilman Rankin makes a cameo appearance as General Sherman. This episode reveals that Slim Sherman entered the Army as a private and advanced to second lieutenant and fought under General Sherman (no relation) in the March to the Sea in Georgia.

Subsequent episodes focus on the close friendship that develops between Slim and Jess, as they become like brothers with occasionally strong differences of opinion, but always finding reconciliation and common ground. Generally, Slim, who is taller than Jess and two years older, is depicted as the more level-headed and thoughtful, with Jess as more emotional, with righteous indignation and difficulty controlling his temper.

In the episode "Cactus Lady" (February 21, 1961), it is revealed that Jess Harper had been nearly hanged by mistake in the border city of Laredo, Texas, because of the McCanles gang, played by Arthur Hunnicutt, L. Q. Jones, Harry Dean Stanton, and Anita Sands. The gang arrives suddenly in Laramie.

The German title of Laramie is Am Fuß der blauen Berge (At the Foot of the Blue Mountains), despite them being located some 600 miles north-west from Laramie, Wyoming.


Guest stars[edit]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
131September 15, 1959 (1959-09-15)April 19, 1960 (1960-04-19)
233September 20, 1960 (1960-09-20)June 13, 1961 (1961-06-13)
328September 26, 1961 (1961-09-26)April 17, 1962 (1962-04-17)
432September 25, 1962 (1962-09-25)May 21, 1963 (1963-05-21)

Background and production[edit]

Hoagy Carmichael's contract was not renewed after the first season,[3] and his character was eliminated with the explanation that he had accompanied Andy to boarding school in St. Louis. Andy, however, returned to appear in three episodes in the first half of the second season.[citation needed]

To restore the chemistry of the original cast, as the third season began in 1961, Spring Byington, formerly of the sitcom December Bride, and Dennis Holmes joined the series in the roles of Daisy Cooper, a matronly widow, and Mike Williams, a young orphan permitted to live at the Sherman Ranch pending location of any next of kin, which never happened. At the beginning of its third season, Laramie was one of the first television programs that made the transition from black-and-white to color.

Because of declining ratings in its last season, Laramie was cancelled.[3]

The Laramie Peacock[edit]

The NBC peacock logo, in use since 1956, was given an update on January 2, 1962, when a new version of the NBC peacock "living color" logo was introduced before the Laramie broadcast that evening.[4] The "Laramie Peacock" featured the bird fanning its plumage against a kaleidoscopic color background (with the eleven melded feathers shrinking and separating into the peacock's form); it used the same "living color" spiel as with the first peacock but the music piece that accompanied it was a soft, woodwind-based number. This symbol was used before every color program on the network until it was retired in 1975, but the Laramie version has made special appearances throughout the ensuing years, mostly in a retro-kitsch context or to commemorate a significant broadcast event on NBC.[citation needed]



Laramie ran for four seasons, from September 15, 1959 to September 17, 1963 Tuesday evenings on NBC from 7:30 – 8:30pm Eastern.[1]

Home media[edit]

Timeless Media Group has released all four seasons on DVD in Region 1.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 31 March 15, 2011
The Complete Second Season 30 February 7, 2012
The Complete Third Season 28 March 30, 2009
The Complete Final Season 32 September 15, 2009


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 760. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 463. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  3. ^ a b Sudhalter, Richard M. (2003). Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael. Oxford University Press US. p. 303. ISBN 0-19-516898-4.
  4. ^ Ripp, Allan (June 5, 2014). "TV's Real Golden Era: When We Were a Captive Audience". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 6, 2023.

External links[edit]