|Bridges as former Union officer William Colton.|
The Loner, like Saddle the Wind, was an "adult Western" that downplayed action in favor of human interest stories. And like The Twilight Zone, the series had a social conscience, this time in the form of hero William Colton, played by Lloyd Bridges. A former Union officer, Colton--like television predecessors Tod and Buz in Route 66--was in search of "something." His travels into the West lead to encounters with various individuals whose stories form the basis of each episode.
The first "An Echo of Bugles," stars Whit Bissell (the hardest working actor in the late 1950 and 1960s) as a former Confederate being harassed by a young punk who throws the old man's Rebel flag on the floor. Colton interecedes and calmly (yet forcefully) states:
"I don't owe any allegiance to that flag either, but too many good men died for it to let me sit by and see it desecrated by a dirty little loudmouth that had no hand in bringing it down...a loudmouth who was still sucking milk and candy drops while this flag was the breeze."
|The horrors of war haunt Colton.|
Potent dialogue for an intriguing Western TV series. Unfortun-ately, The Loner lasted for only 26 episodes--not even a full season back in 1965. And even though Serling is considered one of the great television writers, The Loner has never made it to DVD and, sadly, probably never will. (Since I wrote this post in 2009, I'm thrilled to say that The Loner was released on DVD by Shout Factory in 2016.)