The Rebel

          

Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma, The Rebel

 

Text and photos courtesy of Sierra

 

One of the most intriguing westerns on television was the cult classic The Rebel. The story of a young ex-Confederate soldier at the end of the Civil War, all the episodes centered around Johnny Yuma’s attempt to find inner peace. He roamed all through the West of the 1860’s, still wearing parts of his uniform, keeping his journal, as he traveled from town to town looking for his own place in life. He had his own brand of law, and sometimes he had to use his sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun to prove it. He had high morals and principles, and as he worked in the various towns, he interjected himself into the plights of the citizens in an unofficial capacity, calling upon his morals and ethics to uphold justice.

Johnny was an angry young man, and the casting of Nick Adams in the role seemed inspired. Nick Adams was a great admirer of John Wayne, and he frequently consulted the legendary actor for advice. He also read everything he could find on the Civil War, thus bringing the proper intensity to a young man on the losing side of a bitter war who has been cast adrift.

The Rebel lasted for three seasons. It premiered on ABC with “Johnny Yuma” on October 4, 1959 and ended with “The Executioner” on June 18, 1961. All totaled, there were 76 black and white episodes, 30 minutes in length.

Nick Adams committed suicide on February 7, 1968.

An interesting note to the series is that Elvis Presley was originally scheduled to sing the theme song. Elvis and Nick Adams were fast friends, but the producer didn’t like the way Elvis sang and used Johnny Cash instead.  It was a big hit for Johnny Cash and is still known as one of the best theme songs ever written for television:  

The Rebel

Johnny Yuma was a rebel. He roamed through the West.  
Did Johnny Yuma, The Rebel.
He wandered alone.  
He got fighting mad,
this rebel lad  
He packed no star and he wandered far
 
Where the only law was a hook and draw
 
The Rebel.
 
Away, away, away rode The Rebel.

  Johnny Yuma was a rebel. He roamed through the West.  
Did Johnny Yuma, The Rebel
. He wandered alone.  
He searched the land
,
this restless lad  
He was panther quick and leather tough  
And he figured that he’d been pushed enough
 
The Rebel.
 
Away, away, away rode The Rebel.

Johnny Yuma was a rebel. He roamed through the West.  
Did Johnny Yuma, The Rebel
. He wandered alone.  
He was fighting mad
, this rebel lad  
With a dream he would hold until his dying breath  
He would search his soul and gamble with death
 
Away, away, away rode The Rebel, Johnny Yuma.

 

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