Annie's Favorite Laramie Episodes

      


Notice I didn't say my 'top 10' favorite episodes? That's cuz I can't pick just ten. This will be an on-going list, so check back. I change my mind often and I'm darn proud of it. So, here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Queen of Diamonds  
    No matter how many other episodes I watch during one of my little marathons, I always come back to this one. This, I find rather surprising seeing as how it's essentially a Slim-centric episode and I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Jess watcher. However, this episode is chock full of special moments that makes it entertaining from the teaser to the tag. Speaking of that first scene, what the heck is that all about? Don't get me wrong...I love it. It's a great opener, but it really doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the episode. That's okay, though, I'll watch it over and over anyway. Okay, so Jenny explains that the teaser is to explain how the saloon comes to need a new dealer. Okay, fine. Maybe I'm so busy watching Jess that I missed the finer points of the plot.

    Before I go any further, I just have to say that I think that Robert Fuller has never looked better than he does all throughout this episode. This was the season opener for season two and it looks like he had a great summer in the sun. Okay, I said it, so there.

    As I watch, I get that "back to school" feeling that you get when you've anticipated the new season of your favorite TV show all summer, and here it is finally. I can imagine that if I was watching back in 1960, I'd be on the edge of my seat waiting for this one to start. I would not have been disappointed either. Not for one second of it.

    This episode is partially, what I like to call, a "domestic" episode. It takes place largely at the ranch, but of course some of it is in town too. It has both of the guys together, in the same episode, at the same time. A rarity later on. Two great guest stars, Claude Akins and Julie London, and a good story.

  2. Duel at Parkison Town  
    For some reason, in my mind, I think of this as an obscure little domestic episode. I don't know why. It may have been all the rage and got Emmy nominations back in its day for all I know, but to me, it's underrated. Again, it's domestic. Most of it takes place on the ranch, which I love. The guys are all together, except for Jonesy who is away or something. Slim and Jess have to stand together against an outside foe. Jess has to support Slim in his decision to turn the other cheek, and stand by while Slim allows himself to be shot (twice!) by a mean old curmudgeon filled with hate. Slim is at his most noble in this episode, and Jess is his best friend throughout.

    I love the little domestic scenes--Andy begging to keep the wolf cub. Slim and Jess sitting on the front porch at night--Slim just sittin', and Jess whittlin'. Then Andy comes along with the cub, Jess takes it and lets it sit in his lap, then plunks it in Slim's lap when Jess decides to turn in.

    Okay, for some strange reason, I even love the scene when "Floyd-the-barber" from Mayberry comes up and wants to know what the heck Slim is doing to old man Parkison. Jess is great in this exchange. Overall, a neat, sweet, likable episode with everything thrown in from Mayberry-ites to the Psycho House.

  3. The Long Riders  
    I'm sensing a pattern here. So far, I'm three-for-three for Season two episodes. Hmmm. This is another one where the guys are at home, minding their own business, when trouble comes a-knockin'. This time it comes in the form of a new ranch hand who worms his way into Andy's affections and displaces Jess' place in the boy's heart. Well, at least that's what Jess thinks for a time. Without telling the whole story, this one has lots of conflict. Jess and Andy argue, Jess and Slim argue, and Jess and the new hand *really* argue. Jess' feelings are hurt, but more than that, he's afraid that the ranch hand is up to no-good and that Andy and Slim are in danger. Guess what? He's right!

    I love the opening scenes of this one. Jess and Slim play The Bickersons so well. With all the bickering, the hurtful conversations, the fighting and the strife, the characters are never compromised and you never doubt the underlying affection. They're as strong as ever by the end. I like that. All is happy in the Sherman household at the end, domestic tranquility is restored and no one says "I told you so" even once.

  4. Killer's Odds  
    Another periennial favorite. Another domestic episode only this time, it's Jess and Slim only. Andy and Jonesy must be away at school. Another stranger comes to the ranch and they hire him. When will those boys learn? Actually, this is a pretty nice guy who just happens to be in a heap o' trouble. Jess sympathizes with the man's plight and gets involved, sticking his nose in where he probably shouldn't. But then, if he didn't, what would be the fun of that? He tells Slim it's because *someone* helped him once too.

    There are two stand-out scenes in this one. The one where Jess wakes up in the morning, terribly hung over from a night of drinking "ratified" whisky, whatever the heck that is. Slim is amusingly unsympathetic. The other scene is after Jess butts in and gets royally beat up for his trouble. Mort brings our hero home and he and Slim put Jess to bed. The scene where Slim is cleaning Jess up, and Mort is taking off Jess' gloves, speaks volumes of what those two think of Jess' character. Not half believing what Jess is accused of, but acknowledging that sometimes Jess' temper can get the better of him. An all-around good 'un.

  5. Shadow of the Past  
    This episode may contain one of the biggest whoopsies of the series (Jess' sister comes back to life and is miraculously older than him now), but it's still one of my personal favorites. I guess just the fact that Jess has a big sister appeals to me on some level.


    Jess and his big sister, Francie.

    I love the scene between Jess and Mose after Jess gets beat up and doesn't want anyone to know. I love the I'm-mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-gonna-take-it-anymore-Jess charging through town, ready to open a can of whoop-ass on the bad guys.

    Then of course there's the beautiful scene with Jess sitting in the rocker with the rifle across his lap during the wind storm, waiting for the bad guys to show up. Lovely visuals there.

  6. The Mountain Men  
    Since I'm on a domestic roll here, I might as well mention this one. Jess and Slim are trying desperately to get out of painting the house and barn for Daisy. There is one priceless scene where they escape to the range and settle down for a mid-day nap. Their conversation runs to a man's priviledge to not be bossed around, a man's need to work to stay in shape and man's right to say when he needs to paint and when he don't. All the while, they ease back in the grass, pull their hats over their eyes and prepare to take an hour or so off.

    They, of course, end up doing exactly as Daisy asked them to do, trouble comes to the ranch once again, everyone's in danger, but they whoop the bad guys' asses in the end. The end. Oh, see  Our Favorite Moments  for some screen caps from this episode.


    "What are we doin' up here?" "We're paintin'!"

  7. Ladies' Day  
    Jess and Slim must hire help around the house if they are to be allowed to keep Mike. On the day the judge is to arrive to check out the new home for the boy, it seems that everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. In the midst of the chaos arrives Daisy Cooper from the east. Needless to say, as she will do again so often, she saves the day. A charmer from start to finish.


    The new family, from Ladies' Day


  8. Vengeance   
    Jess has to defend himself against a bunch of baddies, but unfortunately, he broke his hand in a fight and is somewhat less than his usual lightening draw at the moment. A wonderful Jess episode where he's being browbeaten by an unsavory element, and accused of being a back-shooter. We have Honorable!Jess (trying to help the dead guy's girlfriend even though she's a little harpy). We have Naive!Jess ("She wouldn't have asked me for money if she didn't really need it"). We have BigBrother!Jess ("Aren't you gonna lift me in? You know, like a sack of potatoes?"). And we have Tough-as-nails!Jess, taking on five guys in the livery stable and being the only one standing at the end.

    Mort is a good presence in this one, even if he is a bit myopic. Jess is walking around, favoring his hand like crazy, and Mort doesn't even notice. Oh well, they pay him for his sheriffin' abilities, not his acute eyesight.

  9. Stage Stop  
    No favorites list would be complete without this one. It's the first Laramie, and still one of the best pilots for a series ever. It introduces the four main characters and gives a handle on their personalities right away, all the while providing an absorbing story. It sets the "family" tone for the rest of the series, and balances action and drama with a little bit of soft humor. This episode accomplishes what every pilot sets out to accomplish. It leaves us wanting to see more of these people.

  10. The Hour After Dawn  
    A good solid "town" episode. Jess and Slim are roped into being sheriff and deputy in a time of town crisis. They work so well together, at times it seems, against the whole town. They are each other's backup and support as good partners should be. See  Our Favorite Moments  for a great one from this episode.

  11. Cactus Lady  What can I say about this one? It's a hoot. Jess and an old girlfriend butt heads throughout. Jess and Slim are at odds over her, and not for the usual reasons. No, it's not that they both want her, it's that Jess knows her too well and tries to tell Slim she's bad news. Of course, Slim can't see that because of the stars in his eyes.

    Even though I'm admittedly partial to Jess, this one has some wonderful Slim moments in it. The whole episode is full to the brim with fun stuff. Guest star Anita Sands is perfect as the prickly, get it? *prickly*, fiery and tomboyish Troy McCanless.


    Troy, Slim and Jess in Cactus Lady

  12. Confederate Express  
    This one is on my list simply because it's one that I seem to watch over and over an awful lot. For a season three episode, it's a rarity, Jess and Slim together for the entire episode. They're partnership is strong, their friendship is evident. I have to admit, this one is just a tad squeeky because our guys seem to be entirely too gullible, but what the heck, it's a good ride. Jess takes a walloping in this one and Slim plays both mother hen and avenging angel. Overall, a good showcase for both.


    Slim and the Doctor fret over a beat up and drugged Jess. Damn that Matt!

  13. The Lonesome Gun  
    Okay, I'm really surprising myself with this one. This is a sweet, gentle, funny episode featuring Hoagy Carmichael as Jonesy. If you never thought too much about Jonesy before, you will after this one. He grows on you. Jonesy goes to great lengths and puts himself in some personal danger to stop an old friend/nemesis from doing harm to Slim and Andy. All four stars are in this, but the spotlight is on that thorn in the side of horses everywhere, Jonesy.

  14. Stolen Tribute  
    What can I say about this one? It's a marathon of bad guys using, abusing and generally misusing our Jess. It's a well-done location shoot; desert, hot, no water. You get the idea. Jess does a superb horse and rider fall. I don't know if RF actually did it himself, but whoever did it deserves a hearty handshake for making us gasp and scoot to the edge of our Barca-lounger. The last scene with Jess and Edgar Buchanan's character is a keeper.

  15. Among the Missing  
    An ahead-of-its-time episode that has Jess befriending, and treating as equal, a former slave, Jamie. This is a multilayered, Jess-on-a-mission episode. Mike has been shot in a bank hold up in Laramie, and Jess pursues the perp to a town called Chloride. In Chloride, the perp is a slimball friend of the local slimeball sheriff,and both of these slimballs are keeping company with the same blonde floozy. Enter Pissed-Off! Tired! and Supremely Impatient!Jess. Before Jess even knows he's in the right place, he picks a fight with the local bullies and whumps them all. Of course, this serves to make him some enemies and that comes back to bite him in the butt a little bit later. At the same time, he's made a friend in Jamie, the hand at the local livery stable. That comes in handy a little while later. Jess gets in trouble with the sheriff, Jamie rescues him, and together they whump butt. A very good episode. Oh, and then there's that dark blue shirt. :)

  16. The Passing of Kuba Smith  
    Slim and Jess accidently "kill" a wanted outlaw and collect reward money only to have it stolen by the man they supposedly killed. Okay, it's a little confusing, but I love this episode because of its delightful twists and it's wonderful guest star, John McIntyre as the mischievous Kuba. Most of all, I love it for Jess' giddy delight at suddenly becoming "rich" and Slim's fraternal indulgence of him. Jess wants to spend all of the money on the ranch and it's not even his ranch. Their close and trusting relationship is showcased and both characters are, independently of each other, shown to be just really good guys.

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