Young Clint Eastwood
Rawhide on DVD
Clint Eastwood was still a whippersnapper when he debuted on “Rawhide” as Rowdy Yates. But, especially when the going got tough on the trail and he furrowed those iron brows, the outline of the persona he revealed a few years later in Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly could be discerned. On “Rawhide Season Five,” a two-volume DVD set (with some 27 hours of programming), he played the sidekick to seasoned trail boss Gil Favor (Eric Fleming). The Rowdy character was still green behind the ears but beginning to ripen.
“Rawhide” was one of the most popular westerns during an era when the genre was king in movie houses and in living rooms. Many Americans measured themselves by those western yarns, which set a simple and identifiable standard of values. Chief among them: courage under fire and loyalty to the common cause, whether encountering dubious strangers, fending off wild bulls or fording swollen rivers. Framing the story was a simple device: a seemingly endless cattle drive with a cast of distinctive if stock characters riding herd. Rowdy Yates, the Confederate making his way in the post-Civil War West, is the most memorable only from the hindsight of Eastwood’s distinguished career. It began here.