“This is the story of 26 men who rode the Arizona territory…26 men who lived to ride again…rode out to answer duty’s call; 26 men who lived to fight again…rode out for the right and the liberty of all…”
The pounding beat that pulsed through that theme song said it all: these guys, idealistic and high-minded though they were, were not to be trifled with. If Texas had its Rangers and gunsmoking Dodge City had its Marshals…rest assured, Arizona would be kept orderly by its 26 Men.
The half-hour show’s premise was based on a true-life 1901 event, in which the Arizona Territorial Legislature authorized an armed force consisting of “one captain, one lieutenant, four sergeants, and 20 privates.” Tris Coffin played the captain, Kelo Henderson the team newcomer, and as for the remaining 24…though a few lucky riders were occasionally seen and heard from, aside from Coffin and Henderson, there were no regulars. It was shot on location in Arizona, frequently using the Grand Canyon State’s residents in small supporting roles.
Producer Russell Hayden was a well-known part of that Hollywood factory which churned out B-movie Westerns. He was famous for his Hopalong Cassidy films and was also known to act, playing the original Marshal in The Marshal of Gunsight Pass. This time, he was content to preside over 26 Men’s syndicated run, bringing frontier justice into suburban living rooms across the country.
USA / Syndicated – NBC – Russell Hayden / 78×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 1957-58 black and white
TRIS COFFIN as Captain Tom Rynning
KELO HENDERSON as Ranger Clint Travis