Colt .45: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: May 10, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Colt .45: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)



Release Date(s)

1957-1960 (March 12, 2024)


Warner Bros. Television (Warner Archive Collection)
  • Film/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A+
  • Audio Grade: A+
  • Extras Grade: F

Colt .45: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)



Developed into a TV series by celebrated producer Roy Huggins—known for creating the TV shows Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, The Rockford Files, and Hunter—the 1950 film version of Colt .45 (aka Thundercloud) starred Randolph Scott as a traveling salesman who is initially accused of murder in a small town, but is eventually released and made deputy, all while pursuing a vicious gang of outlaws. The TV version of Colt .45, which was marketed in the UK as The Colt Cousins, took some of those elements, but made them more accessible to television audiences. The show was a mild ratings success for ABC at a time when TV Westerns were prolific on the airwaves, lasting three seasons before petering out after a series of setbacks.

Taking place in the small town of Cottonwood, Arizona, Christopher Colt (Wayde Preston) arrives under the guise of a pistol salesman, providing shooting demonstrations of the Colt .45, which he proclaims to be the best pistol money can buy. Unknown to everyone, Colt is actually an undercover military agent who’s been sent to track down outlaws that are continually escaping justice.

Unfortunately, Colt .45 never made it past three seasons. During filming of the second season, Wayde Preston, who by this time had become something a star because of the show’s success, began to protest about the poor working conditions and low budget of the show, putting forward that he was asked to do his own stunts instead of hiring a stunt man. As such, he left the show, leaving those in charge to scramble to replace him, which is why the show’s second season is so brief. They hired a new lead in Donald May, who portrayed Christopher Colt’s cousin Sam. Preston was eventually allowed to come back to the show later under second billing, but the damage had been done as the ratings plummetted and the show was ultimately canceled.

In truth, Colt .45 is pretty standard fare, even for a TV Western. But what makes it interesting and somewhat illuminating is that it’s not a show that’s received regular rotation in reruns over the years like The Rifleman, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and many others. So seeing it released on Blu-ray for the first time (and as far as I can tell, never even making it DVD) makes it seem more special. Complete with the original cold openings (where utilized) and “produced at Warner Bros.” logos at the head of each show, it’s like a high quality version of a time capsule. Previously, the show had been kept alive through lower quality recordings and bootlegs among fans, all of which can now be laid to their eternal rest, thanks to this release.

Colt .45 was shot on black and white 35 mm film by cinematographers Wesley Anderson, Carl Berger, Ellis W. Carter, Perry Finnerman, Carl E. Guthrie, Robert Hoffman, Warren Lynch, J. Peverell Marley, Frank V. Phillips, Harold E. Stine, William P. Whitley, and Ralph Woolsey. The shows were later finished at the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 for television broadcast. The Warner Archive Collection brings The Complete Series to Blu-ray for the first time utilizing new 4K scans of the original camera negatives, presented on BD-50 discs. It would be an overstatement to declare that this is one finest-looking Blu-ray releases for a TV show of this vintage. Bitrates sit primarily between 30 and 40Mbps, usually in the upper registers, with fine detail and nuances in the images fully-captured and preserved. Grain is a light sheen throughout with perfect contrast and outstanding delineation. Gradations of the black and white images are stellar, and frames are clean and stable throughout with nary a speck of leftover damage visible. In short, you’d be hard-pressed to find better presentations of an American TV Western on optical media.

Audio is included in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s given similar treatment. Outside of its single-channel confines, dialogue and sound effects come through with authority, aided dutifully by the show’s orchestral score. All of the tracks are well-balanced, clean, and free of any noticeable artifacts or hiss.

Colt .45: The Complete Series is presented on 10 Blu-ray discs in a three separate blue Amaray cases with artwork that features the show’s main title artwork, all tucked inside a thin slipcase with a color photo of Wayde Preston on the cover. No bonus materials have been provided, but the following 67 episodes, presented in their original broadcast order, are included on each disc:


  1. Judgment Day (24:44)
  2. A Time to Die (25:07)
  3. The $3,000 Bullet (24:41)
  4. Gallows at Granite Gap (25:07)
  5. Small Man (25:16)
  6. Final Payment (24:45)


  1. One Good Turn (25:22)
  2. Last Chance (24:45)
  3. Young Gun (25:22)
  4. Rebellion (24:15)
  5. The Gypsies (24:21)
  6. Sign in the Sand (24:03)


  1. Mirage (23:47)
  2. Blood Money (24:05)
  3. Dead Reckoning (23:55)
  4. Decoy (24:02)
  5. Rare Specimen (23:36)
  6. Mantrap (24:16)
  7. Ghost Town (24:17)


  1. Golden Gun (25:16)
  2. Circle of Fear (24:16)
  3. Split Second (25:17)
  4. Point of Honor (24:15)
  5. The Deserters (24:16)
  6. The Manbuster (24:24)
  7. Long Odds (24:25)


  1. The Escape (24:23)
  2. Dead Aim (24:16)
  3. The Magic Box (24:32)
  4. The Confession (23:57)
  5. The Man Who Loved Lincoln (25:34)
  6. The Sanctuary (24:32)


  1. The Saga of Sam Bass (23:57)
  2. Amnesty (24:33)
  3. The Pirate (24:33)
  4. Law West of the Pecos (25:23)
  5. Don’t Tell Joe (24:02)
  6. Return to El Paso (24:33)
  7. Nice of Decision (25:23)


  1. Queen of Dixie (24:33)
  2. The Reckoning (24:23)
  3. The Devil’s Godson (24:22)
  4. The Rival Gun (24:23)
  5. The Hothead (24:22)
  6. A Legend of Buffalo Bill (24:03)
  7. Yellow Terror (24:31)


  1. Tar and Feathers (23:59)
  2. Alias Mr. Howard (25:07)
  3. Calamity (24:19)
  4. Under False Pretenses (25:18)
  5. Impasse (24:48)
  6. Arizona Anderson (25:02)
  7. The Cause (24:19)


  1. Phantom Trail (25:23)
  2. Breakthrough (24:39)
  3. Chain of Command (24:41)
  4. Alibi (25:08)
  5. Absent Without Love (24:40)
  6. Strange Encounter (24:43)
  7. Trial by Rope (24:53)


  1. The Gandy Dancers (25:24)
  2. Martial Law (24:35)
  3. Attack (25:07)
  4. Bounty List (25:07)
  5. Appointment in Agoura (24:32)
  6. Showdown at Goldtown (24:31)
  7. The Trespasser (24:37)

Warner Archive impresses once again with another amazing release, but this time with an obscure show that die-hard TV fans will want to own. Colt .45 is an entertaining show, simple as it is, but very consumable and fun. And its Blu-ray debut is sensational. Highly recommended!

- Tim Salmons

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