Trailer also quietly took into account the social concerns of his day. An accomplished marksman, Trailer included actual gunplay in the early years of his show. But he hung up his guns in 1963 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Again, he did so without fanfare or self-glorification. He said it just seemed like the right thing to do.
This is not some misguided effort to canonize Trailer; the man was human and undoubtedly had his limitations and failings. But for nearly 20 years, he was an indelible icon on local television, a person whom one could feel good about watching, and a worthy role model for literally millions of children. In the end, maybe the saddest thing about Rex Trailer’s passing is that there seems to be no one around who can even begin to fill that ten-gallon Stetson.