Back in those long gone days when the TV range was waste-deep in horse operas, there came out of the West, not just a man with another one of those “special” guns, but a man who was more than special himself. Not exactly a singing cowboy in the usual “git along little dogie” sense, Don Durant, also known as “Johnny Ringo”, could draw crowds in Las Vegas just as easily as he could out-draw them on the streets of Velardi.
Don Durant left Hollywood in the dust, and even today, almost 40 years later, is still smiling about it. The Western TV star has never had any regrets about what he did that fateful day in Universal City. It was high noon and he was all alone. A showdown was coming and all he could think about was how “a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.” He wasn’t the type to start a fight, but he wasn’t a man to run from one either. Every bit of his life demonstrated that. A life that saw him enter the world on November 20, 1932 as Donald Allison Durae in Long Beach, California during the era of the “Great Depression”. A life that was made even more miserable by the fact that his father had died two months earlier in a truck accident. Not yet 11, Donald came face-to-face with death himself when a childish dare on a bicycle caused the chain to break coming down a steep hill. He was propelled into the path of a cement truck and was in a coma for three days. He would spend the next 14 months in a hospital under intensive care. It was even feared that he would suffer amputation, but the family rallied its humble resources to bring in a specialist that prevented the horrific measures and helped get the lad back on his feet.
A succession of stepfathers would eventually lead the boy and his mother to live on a 17,000-acre cattle ranch in Nevada. There he learned how to rope, ride and take care of himself. It was while serving in the military during the Korean Conflict, that Don really got bitten…………………………………..