Cimarron Strip (TV Series 1967–1968) Poster


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aimless-4628 July 2008
The 23 (90 minute) episodes of the CBS television western "Cimarron Strip" were originally broadcast during the 1967-68 television season, running from 7:30PM to 9PM on Thursday nights. In 1967 a 90-minute time slot seemed reasonable as "The Virginian" (1962-1971) had enjoyed considerable success with this expanded running length; 248 episodes in total. And before that "Wagon Train" made a portion of its episodes this long. Unfortunately for "Cimarron Strip", by 1967 the television western was on its way out and viewers never really warmed up to the show.

Unlike "The Virginian" and "Wagon Train", "Cimarron Strip" is not structured in the anthology style, a format better suited to the longer format because it emphasizes guest stars and a large cast of intermittently appearing characters. If anything "Cimarron Strip" went to the other extreme, focusing on only two regular characters and a single theme; the other regular cast members rarely appear in anything more than supporting roles.

While this narrow focus is a poor match to the longer running length, it is also what makes the series so special. If not television's all-time best western, "Cimarron Strip" is certainly the most ambitious. The episodes are set in the 1880's and revolve around the interplay between Marshall Jim Crown (Stuart Whitman) and Dulcey Coopersmith (Jill Townsend). Crown is a somewhat world-weary lawman tasked with maintaining law and order in the vast Cimarron Strip (named after the Cimarron River and comprising parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico). Dulcey is a compassionate and caring young woman from the East who has inherited (from her father) the local inn; a combination saloon, boarding house, and jail.

Dulcey's innocence and goodness inspire the otherwise disillusioned Marshall, who in turn protects her from what he can and tries to put the rest in perspective for her. Dulcey is obviously symbolic of the arrival of civilizing forces to the frontier but in a larger sense she represents the loss of innocence process anywhere and anytime. The series is in many ways her coming of age story. It doesn't hurt that Townsend is hauntingly beautiful, with a refreshing natural look and a hair-style that swept the country during and after the premiere of the series.

Moral ambiguity is the other regular theme, with guest stars often redeeming themselves with a final act of personal responsibility. Typically these characters are portrayed as individuals who have had to subordinate their basic goodness in order to survive in this tough environment.

Almost every episode included several top quality and well-known guest stars, whose performances were always up to the task.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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recent sightings
rogerscorpion26 February 2006
I've caught the show once or twice on TBS (I think)--early Saturday mornings. Thing is--it's been edited down to a 60 minute show--so as to more easily sell it for syndication. There goes much of the dramatic complexity of it. Also--it isn't called 'Cimarron Strip'. It's 'Marshall Crown'--I believe. I even tried @ a video store near me--Audio Video Plus--& I found some of them. I think Stuart Whitman, himself, might own the rights these days.

I LOVED this series. Others were 2-dimensional, by comparison. Jim Crown was a former gunslinger, who had reformed. Sometimes, friends from the bad old days would show up--thinking they'd be cut slack. Wrong. Well--Crown WOULD try to dissuade them from illegal activities--to no avail. He'd end up having to kill his old friend--w/much remorse.

I remember reading that, when CBS cancelled the show, they issued a memo, explaining that the characters should be either good or bad--no shades of grey. In other words, the show was too sophisticated for it's time.
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Excellent writing, direction, and stories. Stuart Whitman very good.
bfm_101712 April 2008
I recently discovered this show in reruns on Encore Westerns. I honestly never saw this show in its first run, and don't know how I missed it. Some of the best stories I've seen in Westerns, well directed, Stuart Whitman is very believable as Marshal Crown, tough and honest to a fault. I don't know how shows like this didn't last, yet Gunsmoke was on forever it seems. The Encore copies are around 1 hr 17 minutes each, so they appear uncut, and without commercials. The 1 1/2 hr format allows the story to be well developed and to have multiple twists. I am quite genuine in saying shows like this are non existent anymore. The prints are not great, especially when compared to Big Valley or Bonanza which appear to have been restored. Now I wish someone would run "Lancer", "High Chaparral", "Branded", "Have Gun Will Travel" among other old westerns.

Cimarron Strip is top drawer among westerns right up with my personal favorite - "The High Chaparral".
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Cimarron Strip
xartist827 October 2005
When Cimarron Strip first aired I was a young girl of 14. The theme music was wonderful. I would literally sit on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the beginning notes. Stuart Whitman was my first and only TV crush. He epitomized what all western heroes should be, from the way he walked, talked, and wore his black hat. Isn't it funny what stays in you subconscious. I loved him then, and love him still. After all these years I hope he knows what a difference he made in my life. Coincidently my husband grew-up watching Cimarron Strip also. He recalls that he and his brother would pretend to ride the family ottoman as their trusty steed, as Stuart Whitman did in the beginning and the ending of the show.
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Superb western!
pennylane-1427 December 2007
One of the finest westerns ever shown on television! Marshall Crown, the hero, was true, gritty, keen-thinking. The villains were believable,often complex, not the "cardboard cutouts" featured in modern TV shows.

The scenery was breath-taking, especially the opening sequence of Crown riding his horse across a broad vista of stark beauty, as the theme song, the BEST EVER for a TV western, soars majestically through the horse's dusty wake.

A wonderful supporting cast -- Dulcey, MacGregor, and Francis --added just the right touch to Crown's character, "softening or hardening" his edge as the situation demanded. Sadly, it lasted only one season. They don't make 'em like this any more!
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The memory of it stays with me still...
kruse-24 March 2006
I still remember the almost mystical episode where a mysterious something was killing folk just outside the perimeter of the town, leaving their bodies so mutilated that no-one could identify whether death was caused by man or beast. Cimarron Strip was like a western version of the Twilight Zone, instead of being the cartoon town which every other show had the Strip was its own place, far removed physically from the rest of the west and far removed in philosophy and execution from the rest of western TV shows. You never knew what complex psychological problem would come riding into town each week. Marshall Jim Crown stalked the Strip like a six-gunned God and town maiden Dulcie was the fairest of the fair. In TV Heaven, they show this every day. They should - there's never been another western like it.

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Cimarron Strip - The Law of the American West
piratecat-25 January 2007
I was very young when I watched the reruns in the early 70s. This was more for my parents but cool enough for me. I knew this Marshall was no fool. Every episode was riveting. I really enjoyed the beginning riding the horse on the trail with that great theme. When your about 6 TV cowboys are real. I am sure I rode a few arm chairs with hat and holster on. The marshal portrayed the American Western Lawman has a prolific hero. The bad villains were really bad men that rode a horse and were not anti heroes or somethings cool. Marshal Jim Crown man's man. Today a show of this caliber would be on an HBO mini series. I don't think the networks could get away with a smart but violent show in which bad guys are left in the dirt. I yearn for good ole quality cowboy shows. A must see if you have never experience the likes of this one. I can't wait till it comes on DVD. Alias Smith and Jones comes out in Feb 2007 another classic. So hopefully soon Marshal Crown rides again.
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One of the best westerns on television
helpless_dancer30 August 1999
This was a great series featuring the tough but tender Jim Crown. Plenty of action and gunplay kept the stories interesting each week. One year a friend and I kept count of the men Crown killed as compared to Matt Dillon. I don't remember which marshall came out on top, but the difference was only 2 bodies. I didn't miss an episode of this one, not only because Jim Crown was so cool, but I also liked looking at "Biscuit". Of course, MacGregor was always good for a laugh or two. Great show.
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Good show. though unintentionally humorous at times
jimmmgen8 December 2007
I remember Cimarron from its first run in 1967, and now I watch it when I can on EWST. The acting was at times over the top, the violence gratuitous, and Stuart Whitman's slurring of his lines always provided a chuckle ("Ged me muh gun, Dulzzz-y!").

Most humorous are the opening and closing scenes in which Whitman tries to ride a horse. As the horse goes full gallop across the plain, the actor appears to be doing all he can to stay in the saddle, body stiff, arms flailing up in the air. In one shot he even looks terrified, and in another he appears about to slide off the saddle! On the other hand, I do agree with the other commentators that the characters were relatively complex, with shades of gray rather than all good and all bad, which is how they are depicted in modern Western movies. Also notable is that it appears (at least in rerun) to have been filmed in somewhat washed-out color, thus adding to the gritty feel of the show. This is another technique that is popular in today's cinema (e.g., the remake of "3:10 to Yuma").

On the whole I rate this show a seven: for the unintentional laughs, complicated characters, and always an interesting storyline.
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Remembering the short lived series Cimarron Strip on its 50th anniversary
raysond31 May 2018
The short lived television series "Cimarron Strip" lasted one season on the air and it was originally broadcast in prime time on Thursday nights for the 1967-1968 season running 90 minutes in length(including commercials) and had some strong competition. "Cimarron Strip" went up against ABC's "Batman", "The Flying Nun", and "Bewitched" and it went up against NBC's "Daniel Boone", and "Ironside". The series was created by Christopher Knopf who was the executive producer of the show under Philip Leacock, Douglas Benton, and John Manley and produced by Bernard McEveety and Leonard Freeman for Whitman Productions in association with the CBS Television Network. The series produced 23 episodes in color that aired from September 7, 1967 until March 7, 1968. Reruns of all 23 episodes were aired during the summer of 1971 three years after it was canceled by CBS.

"Cimarron Strip" is one of only three 90-minute weekly Western series that aired during the 1960's(the others are NBC's The Virginian, and for one season Wagon Train) and the only 90 minute series of its kind during the 1960's to be centered primarily around one lead character in every episode. The series theme music was written and composed by Maurice Jarre who also scored the Oscar winning themes to Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. The series was set in the late 1880's in the Cimarron Territory where Marshal Jim Crown(Stuart Whitman) maintains law and order in the new territory with his two deputies as assistants one was the Scotsman MacGregor(Percy Herbert),and the young lad Francis Wilde(Randy Boone) and the caring young woman Dulcey Coopersmith (Jill Townsend).

Several great writers ranging from Austin and Irma Kalish, Christopher Knopf, Jack Curtis, Dan Ullman, Stephen Kandel, Herman Miller, Mel Goldberg, David Jones, Hal Sitowitz, and Harlan Ellison. Veteran directors from Boris Segal, Vincent McEveety, Alvin Ganzer, Gerald Mayer, Richard C. Sarafian, Don Medford and Herschel Daugherty contribute to the great episodes that this series produced. Big name guest stars included Warren Oates, Andrew Duggan, Jack Braddock, Robert J. Wilke, Morgan Woodward, Steve Forrest, Royal Dano, Richard Boone, Joesph Cotton, Suzanne Pleshette and L.Q. Jones to name a few that appeared on this action packed Western series.

The best episodes "Journey To A Hanging", "The Beast That Walks Like A Man", "Till The End Of The Night", "The Search", "The Battle of Bloody Stones", "The Roarer", "The Deputy", "The Judgment", "Nobody", "Heller", to name a few. Even 50 years later this was without a doubt not only ambitious but exciting to watch too. Cimarron Strip lived up to its title and then some.
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Cimarron Strip - 23 Great Episodes set in the American West!
FredFromFlorida14 May 2018
Cimarron Strip is an excellent Western adventure series. Starring Stuart Whitman as Marshall Jim Crown, this 90-minute TV show had the largest budget of any television show up until that time. Set in the year 1888 in the sprawling, wide open West, it features the saloons, the gunfire, the cattle, the railroads, the "Western towns", the stagecoaches, and all the ingredients necessary for a great Western television show.

It has a stellar cast of guest stars; some episodes include 2, 3, or even 4 easily-recognized leading actors from Hollywood movies or popular television shows. (One interesting quirk about the co-stars on Cimarron Strip is that at least 7 of the actors from the movie, "Cool Hand Luke", appear as guests during the series).

Like most TV Westerns of the 1960's, Cimarron Strip contains historical discrepancies, like six-shooter pistols that fire more than six shots, white actors playing the role of Indians, and Army uniforms that are not correct for the era. One glaring issue with Cimarron Strip is that the real Cimarron Strip - part of today's Oklahoma Panhandle - does not contain any mountain ranges. But the show (which was filmed in California) contains many scenes set in the high mountains. However, those mistakes can be easily ignored, as you enjoy some very good scripts, beautiful scenery, and great acting by Stuart Whitman and his guest stars.

So why did Cimarron Strip only run for one season? Why was it cancelled after the first run? A number of reasons are obvious:

The first reason was the 90-minute format. The "long show" had worked for the Virginian, and for one season of Wagon Train. But by 1967, when Cimarron Strip appeared, the viewing public had become accustomed to 30 minute or 60 minute shows. 90 minutes was just too long for many people. And, quite frankly, there are several episodes of Cimarron Strip (actual running time about 75 minutes) where the story and the action begin to drag. A good example is the episode, "The Blue Moon Train", where Marshall Crown takes a painfully long time searching a ghost town for the kidnapped Francis. A second reason was the competition from other TV networks. It is hard to over-estimate the enormous popularity of "Batman", "Daniel Boone, "The Flying Nun", "Ironside", and "Bewitched", which were running on other networks in the same time slot as Cimmaron Strip. Another detriment to the show was the regular supporting cast. With total respect to actors Percy Herbert, Randy Boone, and Jill Townsend, their characters were simply not in the league of "Miss Kitty", "Festus", and "Doc". A stronger supporting cast might have kept Cimarron Strip higher in the ratings.

A major challenge for the series was "Western Fatigue". By 1967, television studios had produced dozens of Western series, with hundreds of total episodes (there were 26 Westerns television shows playing in the year 1959 alone!). The Western genre was saturated; it was approaching the end of its life span. Had Cimarron Strip appeared a few years earlier, it might have fared better in the ratings.

After 23 episodes, on March 7, 1968, Cimarron Strip came to its end. The final episode was "The Greeners", featuring Mark Lenard as a homesteader (Lenard was prominent in the Star Trek franchise, once as a Romulan Commander, and later as Spock's father, Sarek). Cimarron Strip can be frequently seen on reruns on various networks, including TBS, TNT, and The Western Channel. It was released as a DVD set in May of 2014. Regrettably, the reels have not been properly remastered; the video quality of the DVD set is only average.

Cimarron Strip, with its exciting theme music, and impressive list of guest stars, was a Western TV show produced by and starring Stuart Whitman as Marshall Jim Crown, set in the year 1888. The 23 episodes average 75 minutes each, they are quite enjoyable.
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The best network western series IMO.
jtchance-561-5803783 December 2019
For my money no other western achieved as much as this show. Each show without commercials ran one hour and seventeen minutes. Each show felt like a well budgeted studio movie. The writing was rich with strong characterization. The casting of Stuart Whitman as Jim Crown gave gave us a well rounded performance of a man who is trying to hold the line in an impossible situation. Sworn to keep the peace between potential homesteaders and ranchers who want government land for their private grazing Crown and his deputies with little help from the army have a tough road to hoe. There was a greater amount of location photography used in comparison say GUNSMOKE definitely raising the production values. The guest stars like Richard Boone, Robert Duvall,John Saxon Telly Savalas, Warren Oates, Jon Voight and Steve Forrest all turned in superior performances. The music in the pilot and the main title was by film composer Maurice Jarre. A later episode even had an incredible score by Bernard Herrmann and a script by Harlan Ellison! This show only went one season but I prefer it to the nine seasons of the other ninety minute western THE VIRGINIAN which at times seemed bloated to me.
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Cimarron strip
brettheinke8 May 2019
The theme song for this show still gets me, magnificent arrangement and orchestration.
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worse western ever on TV
larrylvn3 August 2016
What is with these people who give such wonderful reviews of this show.? I became a viewer with high expectations having seen Stuart Whitman in big budget westerns such as Commancheros with John Wayne. This show -first of all- had poor lighting. Did anyone bother to pay the light bill?Often...the action, (which was very little, not enough for a half hour much less 90 minutes) was at night and you could not even tell what was going on . The cast was total stereotypes with Percy Herbert, Randy Boone, and Jill Townsend. It appeared that the entire show was filmed on one acre of desert and a saloon. This was no ..Virginian- which had everything- great acting,plots, guest stars,unpredictable big budget production..It was the same thing every week, 5 minutes of action at the end.Stuart Whitman would chase some psycho villain and get either shot or beaten up terribly and miraculously survive. ..The sheriff didn't seem to live anywhere just roamed around This show has poor melodramatic plots.And CBS became cheap and used the same theme music on every western on TV
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