Sugarfoot: The Complete First Season, Warner Archive, 982 minutes, five discs, 2013, $47.99
“Produced for television by Warner Bros.” For a kid growing up in the 1950s, those were magic words heard before each episode of such TV Westerns as Cheyenne, Maverick, Bronco and Sugarfoot. Beginning in September 1957, Sugarfoot alternated with Cheyenne every other week on ABC, and what a contrast there was between the physically imposing, gun-toting Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie and the fresh-faced, law book–toting Will Hutchins as Tom “Sugarfoot” Brewster. Cheyenne was the man all right, but Sugarfoot was the boy, and a cowboy-loving kid could relate to how Brewster drank sarsaparilla instead of red-eye, blushed around females and stood up to bullies despite his gunless belt and other apparent shortcomings.
A 1954 Will Rogers Jr. Hollywood Western called The Boy From Oklahoma inspired this offbeat show. In “Brannigan’s Boots,” the first of the 20 episodes from the first season, a young lady gives our easygoing hero the nickname “Sugarfoot,” because he is one step short of qualifying as a “tenderfoot.” It catches on, and in most subsequent episodes strangers, especially bad guys like Dennis Hopper’s Billy the Kid, tend to underestimate our “Reluctant Hero,” which is also the name of the second episode.