Series / Rawhide

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Keep movin', movin', movin',
Though they're disapprovin',
Keep them doggies movin' Rawhide!
Don't try to understand 'em,
Just rope and throw and brand 'em,
Soon we'll be living high and wide.
Boy my heart's calculatin'
My true love will be waitin', be waiting at the end of my ride.

One of the many western-themed television series that filled the airwaves in the mid-20th century, Rawhide ran from 1959 to 1965, the twilight years of the Golden Age of the Western. It starred Eric Fleming as trailboss Gil Favour, a taciturn Team Dad, and a young Clint Eastwood as "Rowdy" Yates, his protege on the cattle trail. For eight seasons, the team of cattle men drove heads of steer along the Sedalia Trail from Texas to Missouri. Which all looked remarkably like Southern California.

This series provides examples of:

  • The American Civil War: Part of several characters' backstories.
  • Belly Dancer: Barbara Eden appears as one in "Incident at Confidence Creek".
  • Big Brother Mentor: Favor to Rowdy.
  • Bridal Carry: Favor lifts a fair number of damsels in this way, especially in earlier seasons.
  • Camp Cook: Wishbone
  • Cattle Drive: This show is almost nothing but cattle drives, though sometimes they stumble upon Adventure Towns and outlaws.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mr. Favor disappears between the seventh and final season with no explanation.
  • Cool Guns. Rowdy and Pete remark on the unique appearance of the gun Rowdy takes from a Gunslinger in "Incident at Alabaster Plain", which has a silver snake on the right-hand side of the grip. (This becomes the gun Clint Eastwood's character in the Dollars Trilogy uses.)
  • Disappeared Dad: Mr. Favor, actually. He's got two children back east. Rowdy's father, seen in the episode "Incident at Rio Salado", is also an example of this.
  • Distress Ball: When Rowdy goes anywhere on his own and talks to anyone (usually a woman), it'll generally lead to trouble. He'll get swindled, roped into something dangerous, knocked unconscious, taken hostage, pushed down a well... Etc. Other characters will occasionally fall prey to this as well.
  • Dumb Is Good: Mushy is definitely not the brightest guy around, but he's very nice and always tries to be helpful.
  • Every Episode Ending: "Head 'em up! Move 'em out!" Mr. Favor's Signing-Off Catch-Phrase. (Sometimes said by other people.)
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "Incident with|at|of|on X" (although this was dropped for season four, and for the final two seasons it was dropped again).
  • Hard Head: Rowdy in particular, but several characters, in the main cast or supporting, get a Tap on the Head and are just fine.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Wishbone could be pretty irritable, but he was also deeply moral.
  • Machete Mayhem: Luke Storm, the outlaw leader in "Incident of the Tumbleweed", carries a machete and is only too keen to use it.
  • The Medic: Wishbone handled this role whenever there wasn't a real doctor around.
  • Nitro Express: In "Walk Into Terror," A couple of drovers are trapped in an old mine, and another drover, who saw some "gun gel" (possibly gelignite) at an abandoned shack nearby, says he can use that to free them. But first they have to slowly transport the stuff via wagon.
  • Number Two: Rowdy (although Favor will sometimes leave the herd with Pete instead).
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Several main characters take a bullet to the arm, hand, shoulder, torso or even head at some point, but seem to more or less walk it off. Sometimes bad guys are taken out of the fight but unarmed by shots like this from the good guys as well. (On the other hand, when it's convenient for bad guys to die quickly, the Instant Death Bullet will come into play, usually with Bloodless Carnage.)
  • Opening Narration: Mr. Favor usually provides these. After he disappears, Rowdy takes up the mantle.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Several episodes center around morally ambiguous guest star characters with shady pasts, a significant handful of which end up dying just as or just after they acknowledge their misdeeds and/or attempt something heroic. ("Incident of the Tumbleweed", "Incident of the Garden of Eden", "Incident at the Top of the World", etc.)
  • Remittance Man: A very bitter remittance man is one of the prisoners masterminding the escape attempt in "Incident of the Tumbleweed".
  • Suicide by Cop: In "The Book," Rowdy is roped into a duel with an aging gunfighter, but Wishbone manages to get him out of it, prompting the gunfighter to ask, "Why weren't you around twenty-four years ago?" The man who set up the fight convinces another drover, Ernie Torres, to take Rowdy's place. Rowdy and Wishbone try to convince Ernie not to go because they're certain he'll be killed. He goes anyway, and to their shock, wins the duel. Later on everyone talks about how it seemed like the gunfighter didn't even try to draw, making it clear he had decided to die.
  • Take a Third Option: In "The Book," Rowdy is manipulated into participating in a gunfight that he is sure to lose. Wishbone despairs of talking him out of it, even though Rowdy doesn't even want to go through with it, because Rowdy doesn't like taking orders from anyone besides Favor and also doesn't want to look like a coward. But if he does go through with it, he'll most likely be killed. Just as Rowdy's about to go out to the street, Wishbone breaks a bottle over his head, leaving him in no condition to fight. Rowdy's not even angry about it, since it gave him an honorable way out.
  • Team Dad: Mr. Favor. Don't forget it.
  • Team Mom: Wishbone.
  • True Companions: Well, yes and no. The drovers could generally be counted on to unite against external threats, but at the end of the day, driving the herd was a job. If Favor pushed them too hard, or did anything that might jeopardize their pay, they made their displeasure known. In "Incident of the Odyssey," a number of them, including Rowdy, nearly quit because of Favor's unwillingness to explain what they saw as unreasonable demands.
  • The Western
  • The Wild West
  • Would Hit a Girl: A marshal hits the convict Dallas Storm after she assaults him. His excuse is that she's more wildcat than woman.
  • Wrongfully Accused: Favor gets accused of murder in "Incident of the Devil and His Due." Rowdy is accused of murder in both "Incident of the Sharpshooter" and "Incident of The Big Blowout." Once, Quince is accused of rustling cattle and almost lynched on the spot. "Incident on the Road to Yesterday" involves the main characters trying to clear the name of an ex-criminal they've met, who is accused of crimes he hasn't committed.