TRACKDOWN premiered October 4, 1957 on CBS. This was Robert Culp’s first television series, which ran until 1959 and produced 70 episodes. Culp himself wrote the script for one episode, “Back to Crawford,” which ran toward the end of the final season.

TRACKDOWN was set in Texas in the 1870s and starred Culp as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman. The series initially started off like an anthology series, with Gilman working cases and tracking down various fugitives and outlaws throughout Texas and being in a different town or location every week. Eventually, Gilman was centered in the town of Porter, Texas to act as the de facto sheriff for the town after their sheriff was killed and the show settled in to more of a serial format (although there were still episodes set outside of Porter, when Gilman would have to leave town to deal with some outlaw or problem).

Considered an adult western, the series touched on various subjects that went beyond the usual bank robbing and cattle rustling storylines of a typical western.

Critics were kind of “meh” about the show, more or less because by this point the television landscape was overrun with westerns. However, Culp stood out, even among the most critical of TV reviewers who often lamented that Culp’s talents were being wasted with some of the scripts of the show. Nonetheless, the show had a fairly successful two season run and gave Robert Culp the recognition to go on to a successful television and film career.

Oh, there was one tidbit of controversy however…the way Hoby Gilman walked. 

The walk, described as kind of a “slouch-stroll” was the signature of Culp’s cool cowboy persona of Hoby Gilman and it caused a bit of a stir. Considering the times, with Elvis being barred from being seen on television accept only from the waist up a year earlier, good lord now we’ve got this tall, lean good looking cowboy sashaying across the TV screen?! The walk got plenty of attention both good (by the start of the second season, Culp was reportedly receiving some 3000 fan letters a month) and bad (some sponsors of the show threatened to boycott if he didn’t “tone it down.”). Eventually, the controversy blew over but “the walk” remains immortalized within the episodes of TRACKDOWN.

Currently, you can catch TRACKDOWN on Saturday mornings on Me-TV at 8am EST where you can watch Hoby Gilman walk “the walk.” The series does not have a formal DVD release as of yet, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for CBS Home Entertainment to release a set sometime soon.


Check out Topp’s TV Westerns Trading Card Set – TrackdownTrackdown trading card

Season One

The Marple Brothers
Law in Lampasas
The San Saba Incident
Easton, Texas
Like Father
Sweetwater, Texas
Alpine, Texas
End of an Outlaw
Look for the Woman
The Town
Man and Money
The Reward
The Farrand Story
Right of Way
The Witness
The Toll Road
The Young Gun
The Wedding
The Trail
The Bounty Hunter
The Judge
The House
The Boy
The Pueblo Kid
The Winter Boys
The Mistake
The Deal
The Jailbreak
The End of the World
The Brothers
The Governor

Season Two

Killer Take All
Outlaw’s Wife
Chinese Cowboy
The Set Up
A Stone for Benny French
Matter of Justice
Tenner Smith
The Avenger
The Schoolteacher
Deadly Decoy
Sunday’s Child
Day of Vengeance
Three-Legged Fox
The Kid
Every Man a Witness
McCallin’s Daughter
Bad Judgment
The Feud
The Samaritan
The Gang
The Threat
Hard Lines
Stranger in Town
The Protector
False Witness
The Trick
The Eyes of Jerry Kelso
Gift Horse
The Vote
The Unwanted
Toss Up
The Inquest
Back to Crawford (written by Robert Culp)
Blind Alley
Quiet Night in Porter



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Lisa PhilbrickJeanineRozBarbara K EmanueleKay Recent comment authors
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You know, I wish I liked Trackdown more than I do. I appreciate Culp was trying to create a “thinking man’s” lawman. But, Hobey seemed very two dimensional and even, dare I say it?, boring to me. He had few friends, few interests, no real personality quirks or flaws, except, he wound up killing an enormous amount of people during his rein as Texas Ranger in Porter. I mean, he killed an ENORMOUS amount of people. One supposes the town’s coffin maker gave Hobey a very nice Christmas gift each year…. Overall, there are some good episodes in this series,… Read more »


Well, to give the show credit, it was only 30 minutes long. Tough to create an exciting story AND have character development too in such a short space.

I’ll have to look up “Sweetwater, Texas” — that sounds like a grand story.


It’s true Hoby killed a lot of people, but he always (as far as I’ve seen so far) tried to avoid killing. Of coarse, if someone drew on him, they would always learn he was the faster draw!

The character development I’ve seen so far has been low key and subtle — as has been pointed out, 1/2 hour doesn’t allow for much — but I like what I’ve seen.

Barbara K Emanuele
Barbara K Emanuele

Really, we don’t see much of Hoby’s personality at all until he settles down, so to speak, in Porter. And even then, I think we would have seen a lot more of Hoby’s personality if he had one continuous best friend, as opposed to it switching from the town barber to the saloon owner.

And no, it never makes sense to give a crow a cigarette, let alone light it for him. That kind of humor Hoby Gilman never possessed.


There is an old law enforcement adage about the use of deadly force: It is better to have to be tried by twelve than to be carried by six. Toby never picked a fight, but as a Ranger he could not back away from one either.


I’ve seen all the episodes and enjoyed each and every one of them. I wish they were in better quality. Maybe some day.


Heroes & Icons has been showing the “Trackdown” episodes in order, and I’ve been catching them as they air. As I said above, not much room for character development in 30 minutes. However, we got a strong impression of Paladin’s character in “Have Gun-Will Travel,” and of Lucas and Mark McCain in that gold standard for TV Westerns, “The Rifleman” — and those were both half-hours. No matter. Culp is always convincing and still moves like no other actor ever. The “Trackdown” eps I’ve seen are standard TV oater fare, but there are occasional twisty plots where you don’t know… Read more »


The crow was a featured “player,” so to speak, in the Season 2 episode “The Unwanted.” AS IMDb has it: “Hoby is called to the town of Glenville[,] who are afraid that a group of religious people who moved in outside of town are practicing witchcraft and are causing bad luck.” A local, the Widow Harper, is the one stirring up the accusations, and she pretends that a crow that appears at a meeting is a harbinger of death. But Hoby realizes it’s her trained crow, and uses that to defuse the mob. Written by Fred Freiberger, who would later… Read more »


If the “Back to Crawford” episode was Mr. Culp’s first filmed script, then he came out of his corner swinging. It resonates with the viewer because it is truly a personal story for Hoby. His sister Norah is receiving death threats, and they are coming from a woman Hoby grew up with as a boy! This is the kind of story that most TV series start with on the pilot, and the series doesn’t always live up to that standard. Here, BtC is almost the last episode, a kind of capper for the series. Best exchange, when Hoby is packing… Read more »