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Dusty's Trail DVD Review: Attn: Gilligan Fans (1 Viewer)

Ron Lee Green

Mar 24, 2004
Thought you would like to know that TWO different companies have released episodes on DVD of Bob Denver's obscure TV series, "Dusty's Trail" the past few weeks. Alpha Video's version contains only 4 episodes for $6.99, BUT for just three dollars more at $9.99, Brentwood has a much more attractive package containing 17 episodes on 2 double-sided discs.

I thought it was cute the way they billed it: "The ALMOST Complete First (and only) Season". (That's because there really were 26 episodes, but not all of them were aired.)

Naturally, I bought the Brentwood Version.

If you're a "Gilligan's Island" fan, then you'll probably like "Dusty's Trail". I never saw the show before, but from what I read, it was syndicated during the 1973-74 season (and this was way before cable!).

4 of it's episodes were strung together to make a feature film called, "The Wackiest Wagon Train in the West." It has seldom been aired--until now!

Not only does it star Bob Denver, but the show was also created by Sherwood Shwartz who also created Gilligan. Also stars Forrest Tucker from F-Troop as the jolly skipper (except here he's called the wagonmaster) and 2 of the Petticoat Junction Girls fulfill the Ginger/MaryAnn roles. I wouldn't be surprised if they had the same writers and directors. Even has similar theme song with lyrics explaining how they got lost and setting up the story and introducing the characters.

It's basically a second rate-Gilligan's Island set in the old west with the same 7 stereotypical characters: the rich couple, the schoolteacher, the dance hall girl, the smart guy. Their wagon train goes off course and now they're trying to find their way to California while battling comedic Indians and bandits. It's not as good as Gilligan's Island, but worth checking out if you've seen every episode of Gilligan's Island and are craving something new--or old--in this case. Has a laugh track and lots of slapstick and pratfalls that Bob Denver was famous for. In one scene, Gilligan--er, I mean DUSTY, is accidentally handcuffed to the Skipper--oops, I mean the "wagonmaster", and they get all tangled up just like they did on the island.

Like most of Brentwood's releases, little restoration (if any) was done on these shows, but they don't look that bad. The shows have the usual dust and scratches, but the colors are very vibrant and the picture was sharp and totally viewable, considering their age. On the menu, there is a PLAY ALL option or you can pick specific episodes. There is also a settings feature. You can choose Dolby Digital Stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1. Either way, it still sounds mono to me. I still feel I got my money's worth. Found this at Fry's electronics, in the WESTERN section of all places.

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