CBS’s Have Gun — Will Travel was a classic show about a mythical West, where gunslingers, bandits, and businessmen ruled the frontier–all brought to one’s television in crisp (4:9) black and white. The best part of the show had to be its closing theme music or ballad (“Ballad of the Paladin”) by Johnny Western. The “Ballad of the Paladin” crafts an image of a gentleman gunslinger, who is much like the knight-errant of medieval Europe, wandering the landscape in search of adventure and fighting evil men wherever they may be. The show will most certainly be remembered for its attempt to capitalize on America’s insatiable postwar thirst for western themed entertainment. However, the show will also be remembered for helping craft a mythology of the American West by weaving together disparate realities, cultural baggage, and fictions of the postwar world.

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Thinking West: Have Gun — Will Travel (“Ballad of the Paladin”)