Sherman: John Smith
During its five year run, Laramie was one of the best Westerns on television. Produced by Revue Productions, it premiered with “Stage Stop” on September 15, 1959, and hung up its boots with “The Road to Helena” on May 21, 1963. It was the story of Slim Sherman and his 14-year-old brother Andy, left by themselves to run the Sherman ranch in Laramie, Wyoming during the 1870’s. Their father had been killed in a gunfight with a land-grabber, leaving them to fend for themselves. Barely able to survive, their only help is a long-time family friend named Jonesy, who becomes a sort of handyman around the ranch.
the first episode, called “Stage Stop” in some references and “The
Drifter” in others, Slim is offered a contract from the government to use the
ranch as a relay station for the Great Overland Mail Stage Lines.
A young drifter with lightning-draw named Jess Harper wanders in and
assists Slim in a gunfight with outlaws. Slim
is very grateful for the help, and he persuades Harper to stay on to help run
the relay station. Harper’s fast
gun comes in handy throughout the series.
was an hour long show. The first 93
episodes were filmed in black and white, and the next 31 were in color.
In 1961, Andy Sherman was written out of the cast, and two new members
were added: Daisy Cooper, a
housekeeper and surrogate mother to the all-male household, and orphan Mike
Williams, his parents having been killed in the proverbial Indian attack.
a stagecoach relay station was a great way to bring in the guest stars, and Laramie
pulled in some of the top names in Hollywood.
Among them were Dan Duryea, Clu Gulager, James Coburn, Julie London,
Ernest Borgnine, and Vera Miles.
Laramie was well-written and directed, and it had the added advantage of having two stars, John Smith and Robert Fuller, who were excellent cowboys. John Smith came to Laramie from the successful television Western Cimarron City. He basically retired after Laramie, but Robert Fuller went on to do Cooper Smith in Wagon Train and Dr. Kelly Brackett in Emergency.
Carmichael died December 15, 1981
(Text and photos by Sandy Sturdivant)
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