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The Restless Gun
The Restless Gun
Actor: Restless Gun
Director: n/a
Genres: Westerns, Television
NR     2007     10hr 0min

Based on a radio teleplay starring James Stewart, Restless Gun follows the exploits of Vint Bonner, (John Payne), a retired gunfighter and restless drifter who wanders the Southwest in search of adventure. Payne's fine, ea...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Restless Gun
Director: n/a
Genres: Westerns, Television
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Television
Studio: Timeless Media Group
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 10/30/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 10hr 0min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

24 classic episodes from a 50's western gem!
Anthony Caton | Arkansas. USA | 11/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm surprised and quite pleased that this often forgotten 1957-59 western has found it's way to a DVD release by Timeless Media Group. Rugged John Payne stars as Vint Bonner in the "Restless Gun." Bonner travels the southwest trying to live down his reputation as one of the fastest guns in the post-Civil War era. Bonner tries to avoid trouble, but it most often finds him. The set starts out with the 30-minute pilot episode first aired on "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars." Payne is surrounded by one terrific set of supporting players in the pilot -- William Hopper ("Perry Mason"), Michael Landon ("Bonanza"), and Andrew Duggan ("Lancer"). Many TV western icons guest star in the remaining 23-episode set, including Morgan Woodward ("Wyatt Earp"), Dan Blocker ("Bonanza"), Claude Akins, Jack Elam ("The Dakotas"), Ben Johnson, Robert Fuller ("Laramie"), James Coburn, Royal Dano, Edgar Buchanan, and Denver Pyle. The prints drawn from the Universal/NBC archives are not pristine (some streaks, very dark evening shots, specks) but quite watchable. As someone who has collected 16mm prints of numerous westerns over the years, I would grade the overall picture in the set an 8, on a 1-10 scale; the audio is first-rate. Snap this set up along with other TMG/NBC releases of "The Tall Man" (Clu Gulager, Barry Sullivan), "Laredo" (Neville Brand), "Riverboat" (Burt Reynolds) and "Cimarron City" (George Montgomery).

Disc 1

Episode (pilot) Restless Gun
Episode 10 Man and Boy Emile Meyer, Dan Blocker
Episode 11 Cheyenne Express Royal Dano
Episode 12 Thicker Than Water Claude Akins
Episode 14 The Child Dan Blocker, Tony Caruso
Episode 21 Hornitas Town Jack Elam, John Larch
Episode 24 Woman From Sacramento
Episode 26 Hand Is Quicker John Ericson, Gregg Palmer

Disc 2

Episode 40 Jebediah Bonner James Best, Read Morgan
Episode 45 Bonner's Squaw
Episode 66 The Pawn James Coburn, Denver Pyle
Episode 47 Remember The Dead Frank Ferguson
Episode 48 No Way To Kill Ben Johnson, Scott Morrow
Episode 50 Multiply One Day
Episode 51 Paligroso Robert Fuller, Dabbs Greer
Episode 53 Way Back Morgan Woodward, James Coburn

Disc 3

Episode 54 Painted Beauty Ruta Lee
Episode 69 Code For Killer Lane Bradford
Episode 56 Lady And The Gun Mala Powers
Episode 57 Blood of Courage J. Carrol Naish, Lee Farr
Episode 61 Melany Claude Akins, Gregg Palmer
Episode 65 Bluefield Incident Morgan Woodward, Alan Hale Jr.
Episode 35 Gold Star Edgar Buchanan, I. Stanford Jolley"
Classic John Payne Western Available in DVD
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Restless Gun only aired for two seasons (1957-1959), and was caught up in the glut of Western television programming that occurred in the 1950s. But it is wonderful news that Timeless Media has released episodes of this series on DVD because this is another example of a great show that has not received its due.

The series starred and was co-produced by John Payne, who was transitioning his career from motion pictures to television after a long film career capped by his performance as the defense attorney in the classic Christmas film, "Miracle On 34th Street." Payne played Vint Bonner, a former gunfighter who has retired from the trade and wanders the West. Bonner is more reticent than most heroes to use his gun, and has sensitivity and compassion that is expected from Western heroes, but more fully realized here than in most Westerns.

The series had all the hallmarks of great television - great lead character, great performances, great writing, and great casting. David Dortort, who would go on to produce Bonanza, worked with Payne to include the best supporting actors in The Restless Gun. Perennial Western actors like Jack Elam, Denver Pyle, James Coburn, Claude Akins, Royal Dano, plus some of the actors that would appear on Bonanza, including Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, and Ray Teal.

Payne's Vint Bonner is a thoughtful, decent fellow who is easy to root for, and The Restless Gun merits this DVD release, and a full series release sometime in the near future."
Happy Trails -- and then some!
D. S. Wymore | Catskill Mountains, NY | 12/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was much too young to remember this program because it aired from 1957 to 1959. However, just because I don't remember it certainly doesn't mean that I don't enjoy this type of television - and much better than some of the junk aired today!. The 3 disc DVD set features 24 out of the 78 aired episodes. It stars handsome John Payne as the amiable Vint Bonner, former Civil War soldier and hired gunslinger who wanders from town to town in the old west. It is fast paced with good writing, making this program one of the more enjoyable series of it's time. Some of the film quality isn't up to today's standards but considering the film stock is 50 years old, it's kind of to be expected. I can't imagine that anyone in 1957 would have thought that people of 2007 would be watching this so naturally, the film stock isn't as well preserved as, say, a major motion picture. Thanks for making this available and please consider releasing the other 54 episodes."
A Slick Series
Only-A-Child | 03/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The 77 half-hour episodes (all in B&W) of the television western "The Restless Gun" ran from 1957-1959 on NBC. John Payne (best known as the Santa believing attorney in "Miracle on 34th Street") played the title character whose series name was Vint Bonner. There was also a half hour pilot where Payne's character had a different name (Britt Ponset). 23 of these episodes (including the pilot) are on the new DVD release.

"The Restless Gun" was a big deal back in those days. It had its own Dell 4-color comic book and was part of Topps 1958 set of T.V. Western trading cards. This was the first series for "Bonanza" producer David Dotort. Payne was the show's executive producer.

What distinguished Vint Bonner from the legion of televised loners (Johnny Yuma, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bronco Lane, etc.) who were roaming the range back then was that he was clearly a professional gunfighter (like Paladin) and not just somebody trying to find themselves. He didn't have Paladin's style or fondness for the good life, rather he seemed pretty world weary and disillusioned.

Bonner carried around a special kit that would extend the effective range of his colt. This involved a detailed assembly sequence in which a barrel extension and a rifle stock were attached to the handgun. The idea of a modified novelty gun soon inspired imitators, "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "The Rifleman" in the western genre. But it was the U.N.C.L.E. gun a few years later that was the most like what was featured on "The Restless Gun". The original has been largely forgotten except among toy collectors as a replica was released along with the show's other merchandising programs.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."