Hec Ramsey

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Hec Ramsey
Starring Richard Boone
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 10
Executive producer(s) Jack Webb
Running time

90 min.

120 min.
Production company(s) Mark VII Limited
Universal Television
Original channel NBC
Original run October 8, 1972 – April 7, 1974

Hec Ramsey is a television Western, a production of Jack Webb's production company, Mark VII Limited, in association with Universal Studios, broadcast in the United States by NBC as part of the NBC Mystery Movie wheel show during the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons.


This series was groundbreaking in that it was the first television Western set in the days when the Old West was fading, the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Critics dubbed the series "Dragnet meets John Wayne", as the scripts balanced authentic investigative methods of 1900 with action and adventure.

Hec Ramsey starred Richard Boone as Hector "Hec" Ramsey, who had been a gunfighter/lawman, but had developed a strong interest in the then-emerging field of forensics. He still carried a firearm, but had traded his low-slung "gunfighter" rig for a Single Action Army-type revolver with a short barrel, carried in a Cavalry draw holster. However, his most important "weapons" were now fingerprinting equipment, magnifying lenses, scales, and other equipment which allowed him to determine the real perpetrators of crimes with greater accuracy than had previously been possible.

Ramsey, having recently become expert with his new equipment, accepts the position of deputy police chief in the fictional town of New Prospect, Oklahoma. Arriving in town, he learns that the chief of police, Oliver B. Stamp (Rick Lenz), is a very young, very inexperienced lawman who needs lots of help—fortunately, Stamp knows it, and after some initial friction, the two men develop a strong working relationship.

A colorful local doctor, Amos Coogan (Harry Morgan, who accompanied Webb during the 1967-1970 version of Dragnet and appeared on the 1971 Mark VII show The D.A.), also frequently became involved.

Despite good ratings, Hec Ramsey was canceled after two seasons following unresolvable disagreements between Boone and Universal Studios. Douglas Benton and Harold Jack Bloom were the producers; Jack Webb was executive producer.

Guest stars in the series' 10 episodes included: Claude Akins, R.G. Armstrong, Rory Calhoun, Angie Dickinson, Steve Forrest, Pat Hingle, Kim Hunter, Rita Moreno, Sheree North, Ruth Roman, Kurt Russell, Stella Stevens, Stuart Whitman, Chill Wills and Keenan Wynn.

During the show's run, there was speculation that Hec Ramsey was actually an aged version of actor Boone's earlier character, Paladin from the long running CBS western Have Gun, Will Travel—but this was never confirmed, and no references in the shows as broadcast explicitly tie the two characters together.

Boone, Morgan and Lenz all were featured in John Wayne's final film, The Shootist, as was one of the show's guest stars, Sheree North.

The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie program worked on a rotating basis - one per month from each of its shows. Top left: Dennis Weaver in McCloud. Top right: Richard Boone in Hec Ramsey. Bottom left: Peter Falk in Columbo. Bottom right: Rock Hudson in McMillan & Wife.


Season 1 (1972–1973)[edit]

Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "The Century Turns" Daniel Petrie Harold Jack Bloom October 8, 1972 (1972-10-08)
Deputy sheriff Hec Ramsey uses the latest crime-solving techniques to solve the murder of a homesteading couple.
2 "Hangman's Wages" George Marshall Shimon Wincelberg October 29, 1972 (1972-10-29)
Hec searches for a convicted outlaw's admirer who's threatening to kill a person a day unless the outlaw is set free.
3 "The Green Feather Mystery" Herschel Daugherty John Meston December 17, 1972 (1972-12-17)
Indians are implicated in the murder of a family of settlers, but Hec is not one to jump to conclusions.
4 "The Mystery of the Yellow Rose" Douglas Benton Teleplay: John Meston
Story: William R. Cox and Douglas Benton
January 28, 1973 (1973-01-28)
Hec tracks a check forger to Santa Rita, New Mexico where he encounters an old flame who's been framed for murder.
5 "The Mystery of Chalk Hill" Harry Morgan Harold Swanton February 18, 1973 (1973-02-18)
Hec relocates to Enid, Oklahoma where he gets involved in a double-homicide case.

Season 2 (1973–1974)[edit]

Title Directed by Written by Original air date
6 "A Hard Road to Vengeance" Alex March Teleplay: S. Bar-David and Harold Jack Bloom
Story: S. Bar-David
November 25, 1973 (1973-11-25)
The citizens of New Prospect are about to honor a dead outlaw with a monument when the lawman who shot him shows up.
7 "The Detroit Connection" Nicholas Colasanto Joseph Calvelli December 30, 1973 (1973-12-30)
When a crime syndicate from Detroit murders one of the oil drillers they've tricked into accepting loans, Hec sets out to take them down.
8 "Dead Heat" Richard Quine Brad Radnitz February 3, 1974 (1974-02-03)
A young man dies of heart failure and Hec suspects foul play.
9 "Scar Tissue" Andrew V. McLaglen Mann Rubin March 10, 1974 (1974-03-10)
Hec helps a hot-headed young man search for his father and uncovers dark secrets along the way.
10 "Only Birds and Fools" Harry Morgan Richard Fielder April 7, 1974 (1974-04-07)
Hec investigates a murder committed at an exhibition celebrating the first flight.


External links[edit]