First off, a quick thank you to the several folks who left comments and sent emails asking me to continue this series. I have really appreciated hearing from folks who have dug these posts and I am sorry it has taken me awhile to write a new one.
The Story: When a former cowboy star's life is put in danger by a crazed sniper, Pete, Linc and Julie go undercover as hired rodeo-hands to protect him.
The Crew: The best thing "Fear is the Bucking Horse" has going for is the fact that director George McCowan is back on board for it. One of eleven episodes directed by the future director of the cult-classic Frogs (1972), "Fear is the Bucking Horse" is an extremely well-directed hour of television and it stands (technically at least) as one of the more stylish episodes of season one. Sadly McCowan is let down by a lackluster script credited mainly to Tony Barrett.
The Guest-Stars: "Fear is the Bucking Horse" might not be one of season one's stronger episodes but the supporting players are fine. Ed Begley makes an appearance as does the always terrific (and quite prolific) character actor Monte Markham. Former member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theater, Ross Elliott, who shot this just before he began appearing regularly on Ironside, is also on hand and he is his usual splendid self. Film and television actor Richard Karlan also appears as does stunt-man extraordinaire Chris Howell. The instantly recognizable television player Nina Shipman can also briefly be seen for those on the look-out.
The Verdict: Outside of some nice directorial touches by McCowan, "Fear is the Bucking Horse" is kind of a blah episode. Linc's undercover role as a rodeo clown is a bit cringe-inducing and, even though Tige Andrews looks like he is having a blast, few needed to see Captain Greer in Cowboy gear. Still, it is nice to see Peggy Lipton on horseback, as she projects an obvious ease (and looks smashing), and the episode is finally not a bad way to spend an hour. One wishes though that the script would have been a bit more interesting (or humorous) considering the slightly laughable circumstance our Squad find themselves in.