Season 1

I thought I would put these two together because they do form a really quirky and off beat introduction to Laramie, for me at least. Because I'm a normal mortal woman I obviously adore Stage Stop, and fell in love with both heroes. Glory Road bothered me the first time I saw it and it bothered me even more thesecond. Roney is one scary character but it was a great way to move the
relationship between Jess and Slim without turning them into false best buddies which I hate in shows that are doing their best to hook you into a relationship with the characters. Laramie definitely did not go down the road of shows where two episodes in everybody is best friends and willing to do anything, betray family, friends and get killed for someone they met a week ago. I hate being forced into a relationship. With Glory Road, Laramie was certainly different. Let us share the journey.

I can't help wondering whether audiences in the original running of the series recognised right from the start how off beat Laramie was and how well thought out the development of the characters was. In an age where you knew who the hero was from the colour of his hat, white for noble Marshall, black for good bad man, grey for cowboy, feather in the hat for Indian scout, Laramie seemed to go out of its way not to label the heroes. I know Jess wore a black hat but I think he just knew he looked good in them. I also wonder if audiences then were more patient and stay with a show while it developed. It's interesting how many of season one episodes had titles which were about taking a journey, Road Trail, Ride Run, Stop seem to be pretty regular in the titles. As if they were warning the audience they were taking a journey with these people.

Stage Stop

Stage Stop seemed almost perfect as a first episode. Dan Duryea was just the best villain to get us cheering for the boys. The introduction to Slim and Jess is most unorthodox. The first we see of Jess is he turns tail and runs. He must have been still feeling the effects of that broken skull, otherwise he would have galloped up and broken the rifle over the sheriff's head. And when we are introduced to Slim, lets face it, he's being a bit of a stinker and gets a boot in his face for his trouble. We don't know at this stage that it takes three of anything coming at Jess before he starts breathing heavily so Slim does not look quite as tough as we come to know he is. Of course by the time Jess said "getting' a crick in my back" I was in love with him. It was also nice that right from the start Jess looked after his horse before himself.


Usually in those tough guy with the heart of gold roles, they prove how tough the guy is before they show the heart of gold but long before we know how tough Jess is we see just how kind he is to Andy and later to Slim when he chooses not to cause any more rifts between Andy and Slim by not letting Andy know he was friend who had gone to help. I did love Jonsey's line about Andy collecting a two legged critter to go with the rest of his menagerie which is a perfect reason for letting Jess in the house. After the way Slim rode after Jess, makes you wonder if Slim collected critters when he was a kid too.


There was some really nice foreshadowing, that these aren't two dimensional characters. Both Slim and Jess have a temper, that is no way connected to righteous wrath. Fireworks ahead. Yippee!!!! And its Jess who is playing safe, not taking on Carlin, and Slim being just a bit impetuous looking at the gun onthe table. A little bit of role reversal there. And a couple of lovely exchanges between Andy and Jess when Jess says he can't be domesticated. I wonder if he had noticed the apron in the kitchen yet. And Jess admitting he's lonely but saying if he got himself into trouble he would get himself out like he always did. This is NOT going to be good/badman comes to town and saves Slim and family on a regular basis character. Slim is going to get to do the saving, which immediately made me forgive him for being such a stinker to Jess when he first met him and makes the dust up the two start to have more amusing. Jess does not know he's about to get domesticated (sort of) and Slim does not know he's about to spend a good part of his life saving Jess.


Falling in love with Slim!!! I have to admit it was not until the last punch when he let Carlin have it that I really fell in love with Slim, that and the way he just looks at Jess when Jess is trying to find reasons not to stay. We know from the look on Slim's face before Jess does, that there isn't a hope in
Hades he can win that argument.


After reading about Crazy Horse it was good to see he got into character very early. There is a bit where Slim is about to let him loose and Crazy Horse's  ears go flat back at John Smith, like he wants to have a good snap, and an unscripted leap in the air across a road when Slim is chasing the stage which could have ended in a rather undignified parting of the ways.


Anyway it was just about a perfect introduction, and teaser for what was to come.


Glory Road.

This was a really interesting episode of a second episode because once again they seemed to go out of their way NOT to make Jess a tough guy not frightened of anything and Slim is NOT your usual tough cowboy on the range. Jess really is running scared, with good reason as it turns out. Slim seems to wear that apron ( I know it's a blacksmith's apron but most cowboys always seem to have an interesting "character" to shoe their horses) for most of his scenes and even walks down the road to fix the wagon, does not ride.

Glory Road also sets up a reason for Jonsey to trust Jess, independent of how Andy and Slim react to him. It is also great they did a Jess comes back episode right from the start. Except in this one when he comes back he's very nervous about the reaction he'll get.


Right at the beginning, Jess and Slim are NOT best buddies. It looks a bit like Slim is having some serious doubts about Jess, and maybe a bit of jealousy as well. Slim's working and Jess is drinking coffee and being with Andy. There seems to be a lot of Jess being a hurt puppy dog in this episode. He looks seriously kicked when Slim goes off at him for getting Andy to lie. And Slim looks seriously angry and confused that Jess would do it. They definitely have not reached implicitly trusting each other stage.

And that gets even deeper when Jess rides off with Roney and Miss Essie. When Slim walks down that road, the look between him and Jess says everything. Jess who is as we find out just going to protect Andy looks so hurt that Slim is accepting him going, and Slim looks soooooooooooo betrayed that Jess would just go.


I love that Jonsey works out what Jess is doing and why he left from almost the minute he realised Roney is what in Australia we call several sandwiches short of a picnic. And Jonsey is at ease with Jess. No angst there at all. Just friends. I wonder if some of Jess's real fear of being around Roney is that he works out early that Roney is so crazy that in the end someone will have to "put him down" and if Jess is around it will end up him doing it. He acts like someone being sucked into something they don't want to do.

I love the way the last couple of scenes really push the family coming together. When Jonsey and Slim and Andy come in the house, Jess is really looking more puppy dog expecting to get kicked than ever. Just the way after Andy runs to him, you see his hand twisting anxiously on Andy's shirt at the back, so hard he looks like he may rip it, but Slim can't see it, and watching Slim's reaction. And then Jess is trying far too hard to make the piano a family thing, still watching Slim's reaction.

And Slim's reaction is just wonderful. No Ben Cartwright type preaching about trust, or pert little speeches about the door always open. Just puts his arm around Jess and starts singing. They could not have written a speech about trust as well as Slim not saying anything shows it. No wonder Jess was swirling those hips and bouncing around as he sang along.

I wouldn't say Glory Road was a favourite episode. Roney was far too dark a character to like or even enjoy but it a really brave and interesting way to go for the second episode and went a long way to making Laramie such an unusual show.