Herrmann Music in Have Gun Will Travel and Other Classic CBS Television Series

Bill Wrobel
June 2006


While I would rate Have Gun Will Travel as my favorite CBS television western series, Gunsmoke would be a very close second. There’s a terrific “family” feeling or gestalt in this show because, unlike HGWT, you had at least four principal characters: Matt Dillon, Chester Goode, Doc Adams, and Kitty Russell. Later on the series would feature Festus Haggen, Quint Asper, Sam the bartender, Louie Pheeters, Mr. Jonas, and so forth. Bonanza and The Big Valley, Rawhide, and many other popular western series had the same “family” orientation. Have Gun Will Travel only really had Paladin (with the exception of Hey Boy and Hey Girl in small, relatively insignificant roles). The same applied to Cheyenne, Wanted: Dead or Alive (Steve McQueen), and several other shows featuring a solo star, but HGWT was a cut above all of them. John Meston was the principal writer of the series in the first several seasons. He was terrific with dialog! He also tended to slant his stories with tragedy and grimness, a real hard edge.


“The Man Who Would Be Marshall” June 15, 1957 *** C+

This was the third from final episode of the second season of Gunsmoke. It marks the very first episode of the series that used Herrmann music (from Herrmann’s pilot score for Have Gun Will Travel). Herrmann signed the contract for HGWT earlier in January.

  • Chapter 3 from :01 to :50: “Travel” (HGWT) Bars 18-24, 41-45.
  • Chapter 4 from 3:08 to 3:58: “Travel” (HGWT) Bars 18-24, 41-45.


“Crack-Up” September 14, 1957 **** B

I like this season premiere, especially the confrontation in the barbershop between Matt Dillon and killer Nate Springer (played by John Dehner). Go to about the four minute point in Chapter 2. There’s a rather Hitchcockian camera angle (ala North By Northwest, etc.) above the actors. The episode title suggests a strong psychological component to the interplay dynamics between Matt and the “jumpy” gunman.

  • [Note: No Herrmann music was used in this season premiere]

“Gun For Chester” September 21, 1957 **** B

This is a good, suspenseful episode highlighting the “Chester” (Dennis Weaver) character of the Gunsmoke “family.”

  • Chapter 2 starting at 1:24: “The Tories” (Ethan Allen)
  • Chapter 2 starting at 5:06: “To The Rescue” (Ethan Allen)
  • Chapter 4 starting 4:28: “Climax Prelude” Bars 3-4.

“Blood Money” September 28, 1957 **** B+

Here is a nice morality play about Western justice. John Meston’s tightly written story for this half-hour black and white episode is top form.

  • Chapter 2 starting at 9:12: “Badman” (Western Suite) Bars 1-2, 16-17. Scene: Matt sees the newly arrived poster of the $500 reward (dead or alive!) for likeable Joe Harpe.
  • Chapter 3 starting at 4:52: “Climax Prelude”
  • Chapter 4 from 4:34 to 6:42: “The Watching” (Western Saga) Bars 1-30
  • Chapter 4 starting 6:43 to end of show: “The Watching” (Western Saga) Bars 71-79.

“Kitty’s Outlaw” October 5, 1957 *** C

I was not too convinced of the chemistry between Kitty and Cole Yankton! This is a standard tale despite the (awkward) attempt to add an extra dimension to Miss Kitty.

  • Chapter 3 from 4:43 to 4:50: “Echo IV (The Chase)” [Indian Suite] Scene: Chester and Mister Dillon race off on their horses in the night.
  • Chapter 4 starting at 3:10: “Rain Clouds” (Western Suite) Bars 34-35 played twice, Bars 36-45. Scene: Cole is dying.

“Potato Road” October 12, 1957 ***** A

Here’s another gritty story by John Meston that stars Jeanette Nolan (often appearing in Have Gun Will Travel) as Ma Grilk, and Robert F. Simon as Pa Grilk (second husband). Tom Pittman is excellently cast as Ma’s creepy son, Budge.

  • Chapter 2 from 7:46 to 8:56: “Night” (Police Force) Bars 32-50 (end of cue).

“Jesse” October 19, 1957 *** C

Ed Binns stars as a wanton killer named Bill Stapp with a young pup (Jesse) under his wing temporarily. There is also Rene Garriguenc music that is distinctively Herrmannesque. One example:

  • Chapter 2 from 1:59 to 2:43: “Trouble No. 2” (by Rene Garriguenc). Cue # 191, Bars 1-12.
  • Chapter 4 from 7:48 to 8:18: “Gunfight” (Western Saga)

“Mavis McCloud” October 26, 1957 ** C-

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this episode]


“Born To Hang” November 2, 1957 **** B

Anthony Caruso, Ken Lynch, and Mort Mills star in this interesting story about a young man wrongly hanged (but saved in time by the Mort Mills character). In fact, John Meston was nominated for an Emmy (for Best half-hour teleplay).

  • Chapter 4 starting 6:05: “The Watching” (Western Saga) Bars 68-70 twice, 71-73 twice, 74-78.

“Romeo” November 9, 1957 ** C-

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this mediocre episode. Also note that this episode was used as a representative episode of the Third Season in the 50th Anniversary dvd set (unfortunately). While it’s nice to see guest stars Robert Vaughn and Barbara Eden, it was not representative of the better episodes of this season.]


“Never Pester Chester” November 16, 1957 **** B+

This is a strong tale also. Chester is badly hurt by two bullies. His friend and boss, “Mr. Dillon,” goes after the ruffians, and later shows his vulnerable side (a bit) to recovering Chester.

  • Chapter 4 starting at 5:05: “Suspects” (Police Force) cue # 366, Bars 2-26.

“Fingered” November 23, 1957 *** B

I like this story and the good casting of John Larch as sorrowful Jim Corbett. You might remember Virginia Christine (as Lila) as Mrs. Olson in the old Folger’s coffee commercials.

  • Chapter 3 starting 3:43: “Indian Suspense” (Indian Suite) Bars 33-38, 41-48.

“How To Kill A Woman” November 30, 1957 ***** A

I believe this episode won an Emmy for Editing. It stars Pernell Roberts (later of Bonanza fame).

  • Chapter 2 starting :00 (start of episode): “The Hunt” (Western Saga) cue # 376, Bars 13-30, then 78-84. Scene: stagecoach riding.

“Cows and Cribs” December 7, 1957 *** C +

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this episode]


“Doc’s Reward” December 14, 1957 *** B-

This is a fairly interesting episode starring Jack Lord in a dual role of twin brothers (one shot by Doc).

  • Chapter 3 starting 5:35: “Lead-In B” (Police Force) all 7 bars.

“Kitty Lost” December 21, 1957 **** B+

I rather like this story about Kitty’s encounter with a man from the East, played by Warren Stevens. You never really get to better know his true thoughts or intentions except towards the end of the story, so it’s a bit of a story line twist (not getting what you initially expect).

  • Chapter 3 from 10:53 to 11:35: “Indian Suspense” (Indian Suite) Bars 1-12, 46.
  • Chapter 3 from 11:36 to 13:33: “Rain Clouds” (Western Suite) Bars 1-29, 43-44.

“Twelfth Night” December 28, 1957 ***** A

I really like this fun episode, excellently cast by William Schallert and James Griffith as two rival Hillbillies. John Meston could write entertaining non-violent or non-tragic stories if he wanted to!

The episode opens with the “Rural Grotesque” from Ethan Allen (all bars).


“Joe Phy” January 4, 1958 ***** B+

Good story about a fake Marshall convincingly played by Paul Richards. Morey Amsterdam (later of Dick Van Dyke Show fame) also stars as the town drunk.

  • Chapter 3 starting at :47: “Lead-In F” (Police Force) all 11 bars.
  • Chapter 4 starting 5:43: “Suspects” (Police Force) mixed bars.

”Buffalo Man” January 11, 1958 ***** A+

This is one of the best episodes of the season not only because of the dramatic story but in large part because of the perfect casting of John Anderson as “Ben Siple” and Jack Klugman as “Earl Ticks” (I just love those funny names!) as two dangerous buffalo hunters (the John Anderson character is especially sadistic). This episode gets my best rating.

  • Chapter 2 starting at 3:04: “Suspects” (PoliceForce) Bars 20-26. Scene: The Marshall goes to a wagon and asks, “Anybody here?” There is a battered woman hidden in it named Abby (Patricia Smith).
  • Chapter 3 from 5:29 to 8:02: “Indian Suspense” (Indian Suite) Bars 1-30. Scene: Terrific scene and dialog of Chester and Mr. Dillon tied to the buffalo men’s wagon wheel. Hostile Indians are hooting in the near distance.
  • Chapter 4 from 2:12 to 3:00: “Climax Prelude” Cue # 215, Bars 1-3, 5-6, 13-15.
  • Chapter 4 from 7:03 to 8:29: “The Rocks” (HGWT). Scene: Matt fights Siple on a Dodge street.

“Kitty Caught” January 18, 1958 ** C

Bruce Gordon (remember him later in the tv series, The Untouchables?) plays the heavy (what else is new?) in this standard Western tale.

  • Chapter 4 from :39 to 3:22: “The Watching” (Western Saga) Bars 1-40.
  • Chapter 4 from 4:08 to 6:51: “The Watching” once again, Bars 31-67, 77-79.

“Claustrophobia” January 25, 1958 *** B-


“Ma Tennis” February 1, 1958 **** B+


“Sunday Supplement” February 8, 1958 **** B


“Wild West” February 15, 1958 *** C (Phyllis Coates in this episode)

[NOTE: There are no Herrmann music quotations in the above four episodes, interestingly.]


“The Cabin” February 22, 1958 ***** A+

Here’s another terrific episode from the third season. The heavy snowstorm setting is quite atmospheric and geared for a heavy drama. The two villains holed up in a cabin keeping Belle (Patricia Barry) hostage are wonderfully cast. First you have Claude Akins as Hack, and Harry Dean Stanton as his slow-witted partner, Alvy. Matt seeks refuge from the storm outside but finds even more trouble inside the cabin! This episode would probably be rated as one of the Best Ten half-hour episodes from the first six seasons.

  • Chapter 2 from 6:45 to 9:16: “Mirages” (Desert Suite) Bars 1-31, then 49-51. Incidentally, “Mirages” is one of those nine cues not included in the Cerberus LP/Prometheus cd albums.

“Dirt” March 1, 1958 *** B-

Lovely June Lockhart stars as ill-fated Beulah

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this episode]


“Dooley Surrenders” March 8, 1958 *** B-

Strother Martin is pretty darn good in this role as simple-headed Emmett Dooley, buffalo hunter.

  • Chapter 2 starting at 2:13: “Lead-In A” (Police Force) Bars 1-4. Then “Lead-In C” is used, Bars 1-4.

“Joke’s On Us” March 15, 1958 **** B

Very strange story about some Dodge ranchers with a strange sense of morality! It stars Virginia Gregg (you’ll see her in plenty of Dragnet color episodes) as the bereaved widow, and Bartlett Robinson as the shallowest of the ranchers who hanged an innocent man (“the joke’s on us”).

  • Chapter 2 starting :00: “Travel I (Tranquil Landscape)” [Western Suite] Bars 23-36.
  • Chapter 2 from 4:29 to 4:41: “Rain Clouds” (Western Suite) Bars 43-45. This music is nicely placed with the scene of the hanged man, Tilman.
  • Chapter 2 from 4:49 to 5:07: “Lead-In C” (Police Force) Bars 6-11.
  • Chapter 3 from 3:26 to 3:38: “Lead-In E” (Police Force)
  • Chapter 4 starting at 3:31: “Night Suspense” (Western Suite) Bars 1-12, 33-36.

“Bottleman” March 22, 1958 **** B

This episode stars the excellent character actor, John Dehner as town drunk, Tom Cassidy, and Ross Martin (later of Wild Wild West fame) as Dan Clell.

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this episode]


“Laughing Gas” March 29, 1958 **** A-

I rather like this moody tale about an ex-con trying to do a legitimate but risky (in consequences) road show involving dentists’ laughing gas.

  • Chapter 3 starting from :01: “Rain Clouds” (Western Suite)
  • Chapter 3 starting :26: [????] Perhaps a fragment from “Opening D” (Police Force) but will recheck.
  • Chapter 3 starting from 4:40: “East Horizon” (Desert Suite) Bars 3-18.
  • Chapter 4 from 3:32 to 4:32: “Mirages” (Desert Suite) mixed bars.

“Texas Cowboys” April 5, 1958 *** B-

[Note: No Herrmann music was used here]


“Amy’s Good Deed” April 12, 1958 **** B

This episode stars Jeanette Nolan once again, a very talented and chameleon-like character actress. No wonder Richard Boone wanted her in his short-lived series, The Richard Boone Show.

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this episode]


“Hanging Man” April 19, 1958 *** C

  • Chapter 3 starting 1:45: Cue III (Hitchhiker)

“Innocent Broad” April 26, 1958 ***** A

I really enjoyed this episode, especially the long scene in the stagecoach that occupies dozing Matt, the scared “innocent broad” named Linda Bell, and the wonderfully cast Aaron Saxon as laconic, slow or deliberate-speaking bad guy, Joe Bassett. Joe tries to strike up a conversation with the scared girl, finally trying to loosen her up with whiskey! Matt intervenes. Great dialog!

  • Chapter 2 starting 2:12: “The Trail” (Desert Suite) Bars 26-36, 1-12, 37-53. Curiously, this cue is rarely ever utilized in the CBS westerns during the travel sequences, although you’ll hear it next in next season’s “Monopoly.” It’s nice to hear it here.
  • Chapter 3 starting at 3:17: Cue I (Hitchhiker) Bar 1, then cue III Bars 1-4, 19. Scene: In Dodge, Matt throws back Bassett’s gun back to him.
  • Chapter 4 from 5:14 to 5:50 :cue III (Hitchhiker). Scene: Matt shoots Joe dead.

“The Big Con” May 3, 1958 **** B

This is a fine tale about fancy con men duping an assistant bank manager into lending them $20,000.

[Note: No Herrmann music was used in this episode]


“Widow’s Mite” May 10, 1958 ** C

Marshall Thompson stars in this rather tired story.

  • Chapter 4 starting at 5:21: “Mirages” (Desert Suite) Bars 3-9. Scene: Matt confronts Leach Fields (Thompson).

“Chester’s Hanging” May 17, 1958 *** B-

  • Chapter 4 starting at 3:29: “Night” (Police Force) Bars 1-4, etc.

“Carmen” May 24, 1958 ** C

  • Chapter 2 from 1:55 to 2:48: “East Horizon” (Desert Suite) Bars 5-18
  • Chapter 2 starting from 2:56: Cue III (Hitchhiker)

“Overland Express” May 31, 1958 ***** A

This is a thoroughly entertaining action story. I particularly enjoyed seeing Clem Bevens as old man “Fly.” He was a steady fixture of many western movies and some tv shows. I think he always played an old man! Simon Oakland is terrific as suspected murderer, Jim Nation. Moreover, for a change, you will be treated to a great deal of Herrmann music in this episode.

  • Chapter 2 from :00 to :09: “The Hunt” (Western Saga) Bars 87-99
  • Chapter 2 from :10 to :19: “Lead-In A” (Police Force)
  • Chapter 2 from :20 to :42: “Night” (Police Force) Bars 20-29
  • Chapter 2 from :43 to 2:16: “Climax Prelude”
  • Chapter 3 from :01 to 1:17: “Ghost Town” (Desert Suite) Bar 1 to (most of cue).
  • Chapter 4 starting from 2:37: “Travel” (HGWT) Bars 18-33, then 1-10, 45.
  • Chapter 4 from 5:45 to 6:04: “The Return” (HGWT) Bars 1-12.

“The Gentleman” June 7, 1958

  • Chapter 4 from 5:26 to 5:56 (end of story): “Dramatic Finale (Americana)” by Rene Garriguenc. Cue # 187, CBS 8-47-C.All 10 bars, :30. Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode but I thought I would mention this rather Herrmannesque cue composed by the talented Rene Garriguenc. You will hear this cue more in the Have Gun Will Travel episodes.


“Matt For Murder” September 13, 1958 *** B-

[Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode]


“The Patsy” September 20, 1958 *** B-

Martin Landau is a co-star in this episode.

[Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode]


“The Gunsmuggler” September 27, 1958 **** B

This is a fairly interesting and typical outdoors western adventure. Frank DeKova plays the Indian guide, Tobeel.

  • Chapter 3 starting at 3:08: “Travel” (HGWT) Bars 21-33, then 1-16.
  • Chapter 4 from :00 to :44: “Watching” (Western Saga) Bars 2-11
  • Chapter 4 from 1:34 to 2:06: “East Horizon” (Desert Suite) Bars 1-9
  • Chapter 4 from 4:42 to 5:48: “East Horizon” Bars 1-18
  • Chapter 4 from 5:49 to 6:57: “Ghost Town” (Desert Suite)
  • Chapter 4 from 6:58 to 7:42: “The Return” (HGWT)
  • Chapter 4 from 9:24 to end: [???]

“Monopoly” October 4, 1958 *** B-

This episode stars J. Pat O’Malley as honest freighter, Joe Trimble, up against a crooked new freighter that came into Dodge.

  • Chapter 3 from 3:07 to 3:37: “The Trail” (Desert Suite) Bars 26-42.

“Letter of the Law” October 11, 1958 **** B+

This is a fine episode about squatters being forced out of their farm by a greedy landowner. I really liked the Topeka conversation between Matt and the district judge and the landowner. For a change, it’s one of those few “all’s well that end’s well” episodes by Meston (although earlier the farmer’s unborn baby died due to the mother being pushed to the ground). Oh, well. As I said, Meston had a hard edge in his writing.

[Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode]


“Thoroughbreds” October 18, 1958 *** C

Stolen horses are the focus of this episode. Dan Blocker plays a bit role.

  • Chapter 3 from 6:41 to 7:33: Cue III (Hitchhiker)
  • Chapter 4 from :01 to :25: “Lead-In C” (Police Force)

“Stage Hold-Up” October 25, 1958 *** C

John Anderson stars as Yermo, a stagecoach bandit. Charles Aidman also stars.

  • Chapter 3 from :00 to :15: “The Hunt” (Western Saga) Bars 69-79, 111-117.
  • Chapter 3 from 2:06 to 2:53: “Mirages” (Desert Suite) Bars 1-9, 22-23.
  • Chapter 3 from 3:25 to 3:51: “Climax Prelude” Bars 1-5
  • Chapter 3 from 4:18 to 4:56: “Climax Prelude” mixed bars

“Lost Rifle” November 1, 1958 *** C

Charles Bronson stars in this otherwise typical story (nothing exceptional beyond the guest star).

[Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode. Unfortunately, it was this episode that was selected as the only Season Four representative in the 50th Anniversary Volume One dvd set, disc 2.


“Land Deal” November 8, 1958 **** B

This is a fine episode starring Murray Hamilton and Ross Martin about immigrant homesteaders trying to get parcels on railroad land! I enjoyed the opening section with Matt, Miss Kitty, and Mr. Jonas on $2.65 shoes (that Kitty thinks is way too high a price).

[Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode]


“Lynching Man” November 15, 1958 *** C

This is a sad episode written by Meston, a tragedy in more ways than one. George MacReady stars as the man fixated in the wrongful hanging of a greenhorn drifter for allegedly stealing a horse.

  • Chapter 2 from 2:40 to 3:17: “Echo I” (Indian Suite) Bars 1-8, 20-22.
  • Chapter 4 from :01 to :18: “Lead-In C” (Police Force) Bars 6-11. Scene: The two men who really hung the drifter enter a bar and approach the MacReady character.
  • Chapter 4 starting from :36: Cue III (Hitchhiker). Scene: The two men tell Charlie Drain (MacReady) that they know who done the hanging.

“How To Kill A Friend” November 22, 1958 **** B

Two gamblers try to bride Matt. Failing that bad move, they hire a former friend of Matt’s to kill him.

  • Chapter 4 from :26 to :57: “East Horizon” (Desert Suite) Bars 1-9. Scene: The gamblers drink with Toque Morlan (the hired killer).
  • Chapter 4 from 8:51 to 9:47: “The Glass” (Collector’s Item). Scene: Toque is out on the street, menacingly.
  • Chapter 4 from 9:48 to 10:37: “Sandstorm” (Desert Suite) Bars 1-10, 41-56. Scene: Toque tells the gamblers he’s quitting the job, and then confronts a drunken man on the street. Toque shoots him, thinking he was drawing a gun (but he was unarmed).
  • Chapter 4 from 10:38 to 11:24: “The Discovery” (Collector’s Item) all bars.
  • Chapter 4 from 11:25 to 13:03: “Night” (Police Force) Bars 20-48. Scene: Matt shoots Toque. Dying on the ground, he tells Matt that he actually had changed his mind about killing him. “You changed it too late,” Matt replies.

“Grass” November 29, 1958 **** B

This is fine, well-cast story about farmer Harry Pope (nicely played by Phil Coolidge) threatened (he thinks) by Indians.

[Note: There is no Herrmann music in this episode]


NOTE: No further dvds of the Gunsmoke series were issued after this episode thru Columbia House subscription. It’s highly unlikely the series will continue, so it’s hoped that eventually dvd sets of the full season episodes will be released thru normal public sale release. If so, then you have ahead of time the benefit of knowing the Herrmann quotations located in the episodes already delineated above. If I have time before I need to submit this paper to the Bernard Herrmann Society for the June deadline, then I may continue with the episodes in the third season since I have vhs copies of the shows. However, I may not be able to pinpoint precise locations since of course there is no official dvd release (unless I use my video counter).


Now: In disc 3 of that 50th Anniversary dvd set, an Eight Season representative is “Quint Asper Comes Home.” There is indeed Herrmann music in that one, so I’ll delineate the locations in case the buyer wishes to purchase the set (I recommend it highly).

“Quint Asper Comes Home” September 29, 1962 (Season Eight) **** B+

This is an excellent episode that introduces Burt Reynolds as “Quint.” It also co-stars Harry Carey, Jr (a frequent guest star in HGWT).

  • Chapter 2 from :17 to :42: “East Horizon” (Desert Suite) Bars 1-5, 7. 9.
  • Chapter 2 from :43 to 1:13: “The Canyons” (Western Saga) Bars 48-60
  • Chapter 2 from 8:28 to 8:50: “Travel I (Tranquil Landscape)” [Western Suite] Bars 1-2, 11-14.
  • Chapter 3 from 1:16 to 1:48: “Lead-In B” (Police Force) all 7 bars but initially edited for the quarter note chords.
  • Chapter 3 from 2:10 to 2:56: “Indian Fight” (Indian Suite) Bars 27-34, etc.
  • Chapter 3 from 3:51 to 4:30: “Lead-In A” (Police Force) Bars 1-7, 9.
  • Chapter 4 from 10:27 to 10:52: “Sandstorm” (Desert Suite) with a curious drum beat overlap from another cue (non-Herrmann).
  • Chapter 5 from 1:34 to 2:09: “Indian Fight” (Indian Suite) Bars 27-40, etc.
  • Chapter 5 from 2:10 to 2:40: “Indian Ambush” (Indian Suite) Bars 38-45

“Ash” February 16, 1963 (Season Eight)

Note: This hour episode was also included in the 50th Anniversary set starring John Dehner and Anthony Caruso, with a minor guest performance of Adam West. However, there is no Herrmann music in this episode.


“Prairie Wolfer” January 18, 1964 (Season Nine) **** B+

This is a very nice episode that introduces Ken Curtis as a regular cast member of the Gunsmoke family, Festus Haggens. There is Herrmann music here but lifted from the original score Herrmann scored for the half-hour episode titled “Tall Trapper.” Gene Feldman was the music editor.

  • Chapter 2 from :11 to :30: Cue XIV (Tall Trapper) Bars 1, 5-10.
  • Chapter 3 from :01 to :10: Cue XIV (Tall Trapper)Etc.
Herrmann Music in Have Gun Will Travel and Other Classic CBS Television Series
Bill Wrobel • June 2006
Company/organization: CBS