Friday, November 11, 2011

#109 Powder River (CRT)

Powder River is a western audio drama series produced by Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air. Currently there are four seasons available with a fifth and possibly as sixth on the way. The series starts off a bit shaky. Many of season one's episodes are mediocre at best. However, season one does offer glimmers of developing into a decent western and if you can get past the first season the series begins to take shape after that. 

Powder River follows the lives of retired U.S. Marshall Britt MacMasters (Jerry Robbins), his son Chad MacMasters (Derek Aalerud), Doc (Lincoln Clark), Dawes (Joseph Zamparelli), Millie (Diane Lund), Jacob (James McLean), Etta (Marcia Friedman), Matt (Isaac Bean), Sheriff Wilkins (Sam Donato), Clay (Deniz Cordell) and the other citizens of Clearmont, Wyoming.

If you're searching for a show with that rugged John Wayne feel to it or that tough gritty feeling the radio versions of Gunsmoke or Have Gun Will Travel had, this isn't it.  This series is more along the lines of the classic old time western radio series The Six Shooter or Fort Laramie with it's easy going family friendly action-adventure stories. Powder River plays out more like an audio version of The Big Valley, Bonanza or High Chaparral (which by the way were great western television series.) Though the series is pleasant and enjoyable it lacks that authentic western ambiance. The stories more often than not feel like they were written by an eastern greenhorn and the voice work doesn't quite corral that western sound. If we were using the five star rating system we'd give Powder River three stars.

Powder River offers fans of the western genre 75 half hour episodes and two 2 hour full-length features. The series is available on CD. It can also be heard on XM satellite radio as well as on Jim French's Imagination Theater.

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