Sunday, June 24, 2012

Laramie (1960)


Another of the westerns from the class of 1959, which also included Bonanza, Rawhide, and The Deputy, Laramie centered around the relationship between two men who were not related, Slim Sherman, played by John Smith, and Jess Harper, played by Robert Fuller. Initially the cast also included Hoagy Carmichael as Jonesy, cook and caretaker at Sherman's 1870 Wyoming ranch and stagecoach relay station, and Sherman's 14-year-old brother Andy, played by Robert Crawford, Jr., who along with Slim had inherited the ranch after their father was murdered by someone trying to grab his land. Smith commented in an April 23 TV Guide cover story that it was this ensemble that helped the show appeal to viewers of all ages: "Laramie is different from any other western that's ever been on the air. It appeals on all levels. Now you take Hoagy. He gets 'em at all ages. Bob [Robert Fuller] and I are--well, I guess you might say for the younger set. And Bobby gets the kids and mothers." Though popular, the show failed to crack the top 30 in viewership for its initial season (however, Fuller more recently remarked that the show was immensely popular in Germany and Japan) and Carmichael's contract was not renewed for the second season. Crawford's character was also eased out of the series--sent off to school in St. Louis with Jonesy accompanying him, though Andy does appear in a few episodes in Season 2, the last being "Duel at Parkison Town" on December 13, 1960. That left just Slim and Jess as the primary characters for the bulk of Season 2, though temporary ranch hand Ben appears for a couple of episodes beginning with ".45 Calibre" (November 15, 1960). In Season 3 the characters of housekeeper Daisy Cooper and youngster Mike Williams were introduced to once again make the ensemble a quartet.

But even with these later additions, the show's foundation was the relationship between young upstanding Sherman and his right-hand man Harper. Harper's character has a shady past, however, that is highlighted in many of the series' 1959 episodes. He is a drifter just passing through when he first happens upon the Sherman ranch and is only persuaded to accept Sherman's offer of a permanent job when he strikes up a friendship with the younger Andy Sherman. Slim and Jess have their differences and even a few fights early on but over time develop a tight-knit bond running the ranch and relay station and supporting law and order in the town of Laramie. Ironically, Smith was initially cast to play the role of Jess Harper, and Fuller was sought out for the role of Sherman, but after Fuller read a sample script, he insisted that he could play Harper or no one, and the producers finally agreed and got Smith to accept the less complex role of Sherman. Fuller was drawn to the role of Harper because of his checkered past, but his portrayal of the part often comes across as an ornery, hot-headed complainer. His temper can easily get him into trouble and requires Slim to cool him down or poke fun at him to make him see how ridiculous he looks.

With Jonesy out of the way and no one else to tend house, Slim and Jess begin taking on more domestic duties. In "Drifter's Gold" (November 29, 1960), Jess parades around in an apron and chides Slim for taking so long to procure supplies from the general store in town, not knowing that Slim barely escaped death at the hands of bank robber Tom Bedloe. Jess complains that the bread he was baking has been ruined because Slim failed to return with the yeast in time. Jess comes in for more humiliation while wearing an apron in "Queen of Diamonds" (September 20, 1960) when members of the Reeves gang taunt him and call him a woman after finding him washing dishes when they show up at the Sherman Ranch looking for ex-lawman Jim Dark and his wife June Brown. Slim also takes on domestic duties, identifying himself as the cook for the relay station when Kem Backer's henchmen show up and pretend to be interested in a meal in "No Second Chance" (December 6, 1960).

Many of the other early Season 2 episodes have Slim or Jess away from the ranch and running into trouble while the other stays home and appears only at the beginning and end of the episode. In both "The Track of the Jackal" (September 27, 1960) and ".45 Calibre," the episode begins with Slim dressed up to head out of town via stagecoach on business, leaving Jess to fend for himself against a money-hungry bounty hunter looking to bring in one of Laramie's best-loved citizens and against the notorious Torrey gang. But Slim runs into his own share of trouble when he leaves the ranch, as in the aforementioned "Drifter's Gold" and in "Three Rode West" (October 4, 1960), when he rides shotgun on a stagecoach to deliver $10,000 to a stage company representative in another town only to be accused of conspiring to help the stagecoach driver steal the money and kill the company representative. However, there are also plenty of episodes in which the two stick together to protect the ranch, as in the Christmas-themed "A Sound of Bells" (December 27, 1960), and in "License to Kill" (November 22, 1960), where Slim insists on accompanying greedy Colorado sheriff Sam Jarrad when he takes Jess back to his town to stand trial for murder.

One interesting, though certainly not unique, trend in the series is the number of characters who are basically villains, or begin that way, but in the end display some redeeming qualities. In "Saddle and Spur" (March 29, 1960) Agate mayor Ed Durban starts out the episode in cahoots with corrupt townspeople who are trying to run female rancher Terry Blake off her property, but after Durban hires Slim to back his interests and Slim learns that Blake is the injured party, he gets Durban to change allegiances and fight with him against the villainous townspeople. In "Ride the Wild Wind" (October 11, 1960) bank robber Boone Caudle takes Andy in as a kind of hostage after he runs away from home but defends him against soulless gang member Pike, who attempts to kill him, and shows a softer side in courting widow Hannah Moore, hoping to settle down with her after one more heist. Caudle ends up saving Andy by shooting Pike, who tries to shoot Andy during the botched robbery.  Andy befriends another outlaw, Luke Gregg, in "The Long Riders" (October 25, 1960), taken in by his charm, though Jess maintains his suspicions. Gregg is an undercover hired gun sent to find Slim so that convicted killer Ed McKeever can pay Slim back for sending him to prison. When McKeever also plans to kill Andy and Jess, Gregg intervenes and saves them, though he is fatally wounded in the process. And in "A Sound of Bells" gun-runner Slate not only develops a fondness for traveling orphan Neil Hunter but gives his life to save all those at the Sherman Ranch under attack by Sioux Indians, to whom Slate had previously sold guns. Like many other western series, there are also a raft of falsely accused or imprisoned innocents in various episodes, suggesting that people are rarely what they seem, and it is unwise to pass hasty judgment before getting to know a person's true character.

The instrumental theme music, which changed dramatically from Season 1 to Season 2, was composed by British film veteran Cyril Mockridge. Mockridge worked on dozens of movies, most of them uncredited, from the mid-30s until the mid-40s, when he began receiving lead musical credit for films such as Miracle on 34th Street, Nightmare Alley, and I Was a Male War Bride. In the 1950s, he worked on How to Marry a Millionaire, Woman's World, Bus Stop, Desk Set, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? before making the transition to television. Laramie was his first regular assignment in TV, and though many of the later Season 1 scores were farmed out to composers such as Albert Sendrey, Leigh Harline, and Harry Sukman, Mockridge contributed a larger share of the scores in the early episodes of Season 2. With a noted songwriter like Carmichael on board, one may be surprised at how little he contributed to the show musically, though he does get a chance to rattle off his song "Marry Me in Laramie" in the episode "The Legend of Lily" (January 26, 1960).

All four seasons have been released on DVD by Timeless MediaGroup.

The Actors

John Smith

The actor with the most common name in the English language was actually born Robert Van Orden in Los Angeles, California. As a boy, Smith sang in the choir of his local Catholic church and was recruited by Bob Mitchell to be in his boys choir, which resulted in screen time in the Bing Crosby films Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's. After high school he attended UCLA for a year, studying aeronautic engineering, but dropped out and found work as a messenger boy at MGM Studios. There he was spotted by a casting director and given the part of Jimmy Stewart's younger brother in the 1952 film Carbine Williams. But Smith then left MGM and went on to sell china and silverware until a chance meeting with well-known agent Henry Willson while visiting old MGM friends led to a contract. Willson had a history of renaming young actors, including Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, and Lana Turner, and was the one who suggested the name John Smith, since there were already many others with the name Van in Hollywood but no one with the most common name of all.

Smith's next big break came when acting in John Wayne's 1954 film The High and the Mighty. Wayne took a liking to Smith and signed him to a personal services contract. That same year he also began appearing in a recurring role on TV in That's My Boy. He had steady film work throughout the 1950s, including in We're No Angels with Humphrey Bogart, Hot Rod Girl, and Island of Lost Women. In 1958 he was cast as Deputy Lane Temple in the western series Cimarron City, along with George Montgomery and a pre-Bonanza Dan Blocker. He met actress Luana Patten when she was a guest on one episode and the two were married in 1960 and divorced four years later. Cimarron City lasted only a single season, but the popular Smith was immediately thereafter cast as Slim Sherman for Laramie.

After the show ended its four-year run, Smith was cast in another Wayne film Circus World, which proved his career's undoing because director Henry Hathaway did not like Smith and reportedly told him he would never work in Hollywood again. Though Smith's career did not end abruptly at that point, his opportunities decidedly declined. He appeared in only three more feature-length films in the 60s and had occasional TV work, including three stints on Hondo and two each on The Virginian, Emergency!, and Marcus Welby, M.D., the last being in 1975. He died at age 63 twenty years later on January 25 from cirrhosis of the liver.

Robert Fuller

Born Buddy Lee in Troy, NY to a pair of dance instructors (his father was also a Naval Academy officer), Fuller's family moved to Key West, FL where his parents ran a dance school. He graduated from the Miami Military Academy in 1952, then traveled with his family to Hollywood where he found work as a stuntman and the head of the usherettes at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. He also appeared in his first film that year, Above and Beyond, and had a number of other uncredited appearances over the next few years, though his career was interrupted for three years when he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. His first credited role came in 1957 in the teenage exploitation flick Teenage Thunder, thanks to an assist from actor friend Chuck Courtney. That year he also appeared in the sci-fi B-movie The Brain From Planet Arous while also beginning a string of TV guest appearances. In 1959 he was offered the role of Ray Milland's side-kick in the detective series Markham but turned it down because he wanted to play in a western. As mentioned above, he was then offered the role of Slim Sherman on Laramie but held out until he was given the role he really wanted--Jess Harper. His success as Harper made him a huge star in Japan, where in 1961 he received the Best Actor Award, the first American to do so, and was also given the Japanese Golden Order of Merit by the empress herself. In Germany, he received five Otto awards (the Emmy equivalent) and recorded an album of vocal numbers, many sung in German.

After Laramie was canceled, Fuller was immediately cast as Cooper Smith on Wagon Train and stayed with the series until its cancelation in 1965. He had sporadic film and TV work over the next several years, including a leading role in Return of the Seven, a sequel of sorts to The Magnificent Seven, and playing a returning Vietnam vet and biker in the 1971 film The Hard Ride, which caught the eye of Jack Webb, then casting parts for his upcoming production Emergency! At first Fuller did not want to play a doctor, but Webb insisted that the days of the western were over and finally won over Fuller for the role as head physician Dr. Kelly Brackett, reuniting him with long-time friends Julie London and Bobby Troup who had guest starred on the first episode of Season 2 on Laramie. After staying with Emergency!  for its entire six-year run, Fuller continued making occasional appearances, mostly on TV shows like The Love Boat, The Fall Guy, and Diagnosis Murder through the end of the 1990s. His last recurring role was as the character of Jess Harper's great-great-grandson Wade Harper on Walker, Texas Ranger, after which he retired from acting and took up ranching in Texas with his second wife, former St. Elsewhere actress Jennifer Savidge. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6608 Hollywood Blvd.

Hoagy Carmichael

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Howard Hoagland Carmichael received his unusual middle name from a traveling circus group that stayed at the Carmichael house during his mother's pregnancy. Carmichael learned piano from his mother, who provided accompaniment at silent movies, but also studied law and received his law degree from Indiana University in 1926. While traveling around the state with the Collegians, playing piano to earn money for his studies, he met and befriended legendary jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, who was the first to record a Carmichael composition with "Riverboat Shuffle." After a failed attempt to join a law firm in Miami, Carmichael returned to Indiana in 1927 and passed the bar there, the same year he finished and first recorded an instrumental version of his most famous composition, "Stardust" (lyrics would be added by Mitchell Parish two years later). His first big hit was "Rockin' Chair" recorded by Louis Armstrong and Mildred Bailey in 1930, followed by "Up a Lazy River" that same year. In 1932 he became a Brill Building songwriter, writing "Lazybones" with Johnny Mercer the next year, and in 1935 he moved over to writing for a division of Warner Brothers, which helped him make the connection to Hollywood. He made his first film appearance as an uncredited piano player in Cary Grant's Topper in 1937 and had a total of 14 movie appearances, most notable in To Have and Have Not with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, The Best Years of Our Lives, and the Beiderbecke biopic Young Man With a Horn with Kirk Douglas in the title role. He also won an Oscar in 1952 with Mercer for Best Song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening." That same year he had his first television role on The Gulf Playhouse and had a couple more roles in drama anthology series before being cast as Jonesy on Laramie.

For undetermined reasons, Carmichael's contract was not renewed by NBC for Season 2, and other than occasional appearances on Burke's Law, The Farmer's Daughter, and The Name of the Game, Carmichael's career sputtered out. His last role was in an episode of Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law in 1972. Likewise his musical career dwindled in the age of rock n roll and other than occasional tribute shows and appearances, he pretty much vanished from the music scene after sharing in Ray Charles' Grammy for "Georgia on My Mind" in 1960. He was elected to the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1971. Ten years later he died from heart failure at the age of 82 on December 27, 1981 in Rancho Mirage, California.

Robert Crawford, Jr.

Robert Lawrence Crawford, Jr., born in Quantico, Virginia, came from a family steeped in television. His father, Robert Crawford, Sr., was an Emmy-nominated film editor and played the role of Det. Phil Burns on the 1960-61 TV series Manhunt. His younger brother, Johnny Crawford, played Chuck Connors' son Mark McCain on The Rifleman. Both boys were "discovered" and signed as clients by their Sunday school teacher, Jeanne Haliburton. Robert Crawford, Jr. began appearing on TV series at age 13 in 1957 in shows such as The Court of Last Resort and Whirlybirds. He also made three appearances each on Zorro and The Rifleman before being cast as Andy Sherman on Laramie. He was nominated for an Emmy for his performance on the "Child of Our Time" episode of Playhouse 90 but lost out to Fred Astaire.

After his character was written out of Laramie, Crawford had sporadic guest appearances on shows like Combat!, Gunsmoke, and My Three Sons before turning, like his father, to the production side of the business. He was associate producer for the films The Sting, The Great Waldo Pepper, and Slap Shot and produced The World According to Garp, Funny Farm, and The Little Drummer Girl. He also worked as a dialogue coach on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and as a production assistant on Slaughterhouse-Five. Besides his acting career, Crawford was an avid fencer and competed as a member of the UCLA team when he attended college there. Like brother Johnny, he was also a recording artist, cutting two singles for Del-Fi Records ("Mrs. Smith Please Wake Up Joan"/"Little Ole' Lovemaker Me" and "I Want to Be a Good Guy") as well as a duet single with Johnny called "Good Buddies." A fan site with many photos can be found at robertcrawfordjr.com.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 17, "Trail Drive": Jim Davis (Matt Clark on Stories of the Century, Wes Cameron on Rescue 8, Marshal Bill Winter on The Cowboys, and Jock Ewing on Dallas) plays trail boss Hake Ballard. Willis Bouchey (shown on the right, played Mayor Terwilliger on The Great Gildersleeve, Springer on Pete and Gladys, and the judge 23 times on Perry Mason) plays stagecoach company man Frazer. Russ Conway (Fenton Hardy on The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, Gen. Devon on MenInto Space, and Lt. Pete Kile on Richard Diamond, Private Detective) plays posse leader Jake Tyler. Don C. Harvey (Collins on Rawhide) plays drover Martin. 

Season 1, Episode 18, "Day of Vengeance": John Larch (starred in The Wrecking Crew, Play Misty for Me, and Dirty Harry and played Deputy District Attorney Jerry Miller on Arrest and Trial, Gerald Wilson on Dynasty, and Arlen & Atticus Ward on Dallas) plays murder suspect Gabe Reynolds. Vinton Hayworth (Magistrado Carlos Galindo on Zorro, Oren Slauson on Lawman, Mr. Sutherland on Hazel, Dr. Faber on Green Acres, and Gen. Winfield Schaeffer on I Dream of Jeannie) plays Judge Joshua Meeker. Adele Mara (starred in Alias Boston Blackie, Sands of Iwo Jima, and The Avengers (1950)) plays stage traveler Alice Goren. 

Season 1, Episode 19, "The Legend of Lily": Constance Moore (Chris Logan on Window on Main Street) plays declining songstress Lily Langford. Kent Taylor (Carlos Murietta on Zorro and Capt. Jim Flagg on The Rough Riders) plays her husband and manager Ben Carson. Patsy Kelly (Brigid Murphy on The Cop and the Kid) plays her assistant Bea. George Tobias (shown on the left, starred in Sergeant York, This Is the Army, and Yankee Doodle Dandy and played Pierre Falcon on Hudson's Bay, Trader Penrose on Adventures in Paradise, and Abner Kravitz on Bewitched) plays renegade Shanghai Pierce. Harry Lauter (Ranger Clay Morgan on Tales of the Texas Rangers, Atlasande on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, and Jim Herrick on Waterfront) plays his gang member Alamo. Hal Smith (Charlie Henderson on I Married Joan, Hickey on Jefferson Drum, Otis Campbell on The Andy Griffith Show, Engineer Taurus on Space Angel, and did voicework on The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, The Fantastic Four, The Dukes, and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh) plays Laramie barber Charlie. Roy Barcroft (Col. Logan on The Adventures of Spin and Marty and Roy on Gunsmoke) plays the Platte County sheriff.

Season 1, Episode 20, " Death Wind": Claude Akins (shown on the right, played Sonny Pruett on Movin' On and Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo on B.J and the Bear and on Lobo) plays escaped Army prisoner Sgt. Maj. Tom Cole. Nancy Gates (starred in The Great Gildersleeve, The Atomic City, The Member of the Wedding, and Some Came Running) plays his wife Angela. Stacy Harris (Det. Vic Beaujac on N.O.P.D., John P. Clum on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, and Leslie Harrington on Return to Peyton Place) plays bank official Bradley Teague. William Fawcett (Clayton on Duffy's Tavern, Marshal George Higgins on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Pete Wilkey on Fury) plays stagecoach driver Ben. Jon Locke (Officer Garvey on Highway Patrol and Sleestack Leader on Land of the Lost) plays an unnamed hired gun. 

Season 1, Episode 21, " Company Man": John Dehner (Duke Williams on The Roaring '20's, Commodore Cecil Wyntoon on The Baileys of Balboa, Morgan Starr on The Virginian, Cyril Bennett on The Doris Day Show, Dr. Charles Cleveland Claver on The New Temperatures Rising Show, Barrett Fears on Big Hawaii, Marshal Edge Troy on Young Maverick, Lt. Joseph Broggi on Enos, Hadden Marshall on Bare Essence, and Billy Joe Erskine on The Colbys) plays stagecoach company supervisor Jack Slade. James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard) plays head horse thief Ben Leach. James Westmoreland (Ruel Jaxon on The Monroes) plays his brother Johnny. William Bryant (McCall on Combat!, President Ulysses S. Grant on Branded, Col. Crook on Hondo, Lt. Shilton on Switch, and the Director on The Fall Guy) plays horse thief Skinny. Bing Russell (Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza) plays horse thief Tex. Eddy Waller (Deputy Marshal Rusty Lee on Steve Donovan, Western Marshal, Red Rock Smith on Casey Jones, and Matt Krebbs on Lassie) plays stagecoach driver Mose. Olive Sturgess (Carol Henning on The Bob Cummings Show) plays Johnny's girlfriend Caroline Clark. Ellen Corby (Henrietta Porter on Trackdown and Esther Walton on The Waltons) plays her mother. Dabbs Greer (Mr. Jonas on Gunsmoke, Coach Ossie Weiss on Hank, Norrie Coolidge on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Reverend Robert Alden on Little House on the Prairie, Rev. Henry Novotny on Picket Fences, and Grandpa Fred Stage on Maybe It's Me) plays upcoming author Samuel Clemens. 

Season 1, Episode 22, "Rope of Steel": Mari Blanchard (shown on the left, starred in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Destry, Son of Sinbad, and She Devil and played Kathy O'Hara on Klondike) plays blackjack dealer Sally. Tom Fadden (Duffield on Broken Arrow, Silas Perry on Cimarron City, and Ben Miller on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction) plays rancher Dell Layton. Bartlett Robinson (Frank Caldwell on Mona McCluskey) plays the sheriff. 

Season 1, Episode 23, "Duel at Alta Mesa": Douglas Dumbrille (starred in Crime and Punishment, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Three Musketeers (1939), Du Barry Was a Lady, and Road to Utopia and played Inspector Hobson on China Smith, Grant on The Grand Jury, and Mr. Osborne on The New Phil Silvers Show) plays stagecoach owner T.J. Patterson. Fay Spain (starred in Dragstrip Girl, Al Capone, and The Gentle Rain) plays his daughter Gloria. Jon Lormer (Harry Tate on Lawman, various autopsy surgeons and medical examiners in 12 episodes of Perry Mason, and Judge Irwin A. Chester on Peyton Place) plays farmer Wally. George Kennedy (shown on the right, starred in Charade, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Dirty Dozen, Cool Hand Luke, and The Naked Gun and played MP Sgt. Kennedy on The Phil Silvers Show, Father Samuel Cavanuagh on Sarge, Bumper Morgan on The Blue Knight, and Carter McKay on Dallas) plays henchman Gene. Ron Hayes (Wyatt Earp on Bat Masterson, Lincoln Vail on Everglades, Ben Jones on The Rounders, and Hank Johnson on Dallas) plays henchman Ray. 

Season 1, Episode 24, "Street of Hate": Charles Bronson (shown on the left, starred in The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Valachi Papers, and four Death Wish movies and played Mike Kovac on Man With a Camera, Paul Moreno on Empire, and Linc Murdock on The Travels of Jamie McPheeters) plays ex-convict Frank Buckley. Kathleen Crowley (Terry Van Buren on Waterfront and Sophia Starr on Batman) plays his girlfriend Laurie Allen. Herbert Lytton (Admiral Reynolds on McHale's Navy) plays a prison warden. Barton MacLane (starred in The Prince and the Pauper, High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, and Treasure of the Sierra Madre and played Marshal Frank Crane on Outlaws and Gen. Peterson on I Dream of Jeannie) plays ranch owner Cameron Gault. Dean Fredericks (Kaseem in Jungle Jim, Komawi on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Lt. Col. Steve Canyon on Steve Canyon) plays his foreman Chad Morgan. Richard Farnsworth (starred in The Grey Fox, The Natural, Misery, and The Straight Story) plays an unnamed ranch hand.

Season 1, Episode 25, "Ride or Die": Simon Oakland (starred in Psycho, West Side Story, and Follow That Dream and played Tony Vincenzo on Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Brig. Gen. Thomas Moore on Black Sheep Squadron, and Sgt. Abrams on David Cassidy - Man Undercover) plays bank robber Vernon Kane. Dennis Moore (Deputy Lee on Tombstone Territory) plays an unnamed doctor. 

Season 1, Episode 26, "Hour After Dawn": Ben Johnson (starred in Shane, The Wild Bunch, Chisum, and The Getaway and played Sleeve on The Monroes) plays outlaw Billy Pardee. Russell Thorson (Det. Lt. Otto Lindstrom on The Detectives and William Kennerly on Peyton Place) plays an unnamed Laramie citizen. Gloria Talbott (shown on the right, starred in The Cyclops, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll,  and I Married a Monster From Outer Space and played Moneta on Zorro) plays restaurant owner Maud. S. John Launer (Marshall Houts on The Court of Last Resort and the judge 33 times on Perry Mason) plays circuit judge Oliver. 

Season 1, Episode 27, "The Protectors": Vince Edwards (shown on the left, starred in The Killing, The Scavengers, and The Devil's Brigade and played Dr. Ben Casey on Ben Casey and Dr. Matt Lincoln on Matt Lincoln) plays protection gang leader Gil Craig. William Phipps (Curley Bill Brocius on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Uncle Link on Boone, and Jake Dodge on Santa Barbara) plays ranch owner Roy Allen. Herbert Rudley (Sam Brennan on The Californians, Lt. Will Gentry on Michael Shayne, General Crone on Mona McCluskey, and Herb Hubbard on The Mothers-in-Law) plays ranch owner Luke Rawlins. Robert Bray (Simon Kane on Stagecoach West and Corey Stuart on Lassie) plays land-grabber Sam Willard. Ted de Corsia (Police Chief Hagedorn on Steve Canyon) plays rancher Sam Greer. 

Season 1, Episode 28, "Saddle and Spur": Beverly Garland (shown on the left, played Casey Jones on Decoy, Ellis Collins on The Bing Crosby Show, Barbara Harper Douglas on My Three Sons, Dorothy "Dotty" West on Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Ellen Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Ginger on 7th Heaven) plays ranch owner Terry Blake. Edgar Buchanan (shown on the right, played Uncle Joe Carson on The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction, Red Connors on Hopalong Cassidy, Judge Roy Bean on Judge Roy Bean, and J.J. Jackson on Cade's County) plays her foreman Calico. Sam Buffington (John Richards on Whispering Smith) plays town council member Franklin. Walter Coy (Zoravac on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and the narrator on Frontier) plays rancher Emmett Bishop. 

Season 1, Episode 29, "Midnight Rebellion": Michael Pate (starred in Face to Face, Julius Caesar, Hondo, and Tower of London and played Chief Vittoro on Hondo and Det. Sgt. Vic Maddern on Matlock Police) plays renegade Canadian governor Loren Corteen. Bruce Gordon (shown on the left, played Commander Matson on Behind Closed Doors, Frank Nitti on The Untouchables, and Gus Chernak on Peyton Place) plays former Confederate Maj. Owen Cantrell. Ed Kemmer (Commander Buzz Corry on Space Patrol) plays Corteen associate Capt. Vernon Jamieson. Norman Leavitt (Ralph on Trackdown) plays the Laramie newspaper publisher. Roy Barcroft (see "The Legend of Lily" above) plays an unnamed marshal. Frank Ferguson (Gus Broeberg on My Friend Flicka, Eli Carson on Peyton Place, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction) plays Canadian storekeeper Paul Durand.  

Season 1, Episode 30, "Cemetery Road": R.G. Armstrong (Police Capt. McAllister on T.H.E. Cat and Lewis Vendredi on Friday the 13th) plays wagonmaster Matthews. Dennis Patrick (Paul Stoddard on Dark Shadows and Vaughn Leland on Dallas) plays his assistant Ross. Read Morgan (Sgt. Hapgood Tasker on The Deputy) plays irascible wagon traveler Glen Bentley. Rachel Ames (Audrey March/Hardy on General Hospital) plays his wife Helen. King Donovan (Roger on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Harvey Helm on The Bob Cummings Show) plays drunk doctor Matthew Hansen. Barney Biro (played the judge 5 times on Perry Mason) plays an unnamed bartender. Kenneth MacDonald (played the judge 32 times on Perry Mason, played Col. Parker on Colt .45, and appeared in several Three Stooges shorts) plays the sheriff. 

Season 1, Episode 31, "Men of Defiance": Don Megowan (shown on the right, played Captain Huckabee on The Beachcomber) plays Defiance, NM fort leader Clint Gentry. Bing Russell (see "Company Man" above) plays fort scout Reb. Edgar Buchanan (see "Saddle and Spur" above) plays fort doctor Doc. Norman Leavitt (see "Midnight Rebellion" above) plays fort cook Smoky. Mort Mills (Marshal Frank Tallman on Man Without a Gun, Sgt. Ben Landro on Perry Mason, and Sheriff Fred Madden on The Big Valley) plays an unnamed U.S. marshal. John Anderson (Virgil Earp on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Dr. Herbert Styles on Dallas, and Harry Jackson on MacGyver) plays escaped convict Frank Bannister. Ed Nelson (Michael Rossi on Peyton Place and Ward Fuller on The Silent Force) plays one of Bannister's gang. Rayford Barnes (Ike Clanton on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays another gang member. Denny Miller (Duke Shannon on Wagon Train, Mike McCluskey on Mona McCluskey, and Max Flowers on Dallas) plays ex-convict Toby.

Season 2, Episode 1, "Queen of Diamonds": Julie London (shown on the left, popular singer, starred in Nabonga, The Fat Man, and The George Raft Story, played nurse Dixie McCall on Emergency!) plays card dealer June Brown. Claude Akins (see "Death Wind" above) plays her husband Jim Dark. Maurice Manson (Mr. Timberlake on Dennis the Menace and Josh Egan on Hazel) plays saloon owner Stoner. James Chandler (Lt. Girard on Bourbon Street Beat) plays an unnamed card player. Eddy Waller (see "Company Man" above) returns as stagecoach driver Mose. Tony Young (Cord on Gunslinger) plays a member of the Reeves gang. 

Season 2, Episode 2, "Track of the Jackal": Stephen McNally (starred in Johnny Belinda, Criss Cross, and Winchester '73 and played Paul Marino on Target: The Corrupters) plays bounty hunter Luke Riley. Robert J. Wilke (Capt. Mendoza on Zorro) plays ex-convict Sumner Campbell. Jeanne Bates (Nurse Wills on Ben Casey) plays his wife Sarah. Dabbs Greer (see "Company Man" above) plays citizen Mr. Colby. Steven Terrell (Tom on Pride of the Family) plays young hothead Jimmy Foster. Stacy Harris (see "Death Wind" above) plays citizen Firth.

Season 2, Episode 3, "Three Rode West": Myron Healey (Doc Holliday on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays stagecoach driver Frank Skinner. Vera Miles (shown on the right, starred in Wichita, The Searchers, The Wrong Man, and Psycho) plays his girlfriend Anne. Jan Merlin (Roger Manning on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Lt. Colin Kirby on The Rough Riders) plays his brother Chris. Denver Pyle (Ben Thompson on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Grandpa Tarleton on Tammy, Briscoe Darling on The Andy Griffith Show, Buck Webb on The Doris Day Show, Mad Jack on The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, and Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard) plays a sheriff. Ross Elliott (Freddie the director on The Jack Benny Show and Sheriff Abbott on The Virginian) plays stagecoach company agent Jack Adams. 

Season 2, Episode 4, "Ride the Wild Wind": Ernest Borgnine (shown on the left, starred in From Here to Eternity, Bad Day at Black Rock, Marty, The Dirty Dozen, and The Poseidon Adventure and played Lt. Commander Quinton McHale on McHale's Navy, Joe Cleaver on Future Cop, Dominic Santini on Airwolf, and Manny Cordoba on The Single Guy) plays bank robber Boone Caudle. John Kellogg (Jack Chandler on Peyton Place) plays his accomplice Pike. Vivi Janiss (Myrtle Davis on Father Knows Best) plays his love interest Hannah Moore. Robert Stevenson (bartender Big Ed on Jefferson Drum and Marshal Hugh Strickland on Stagecoach West) plays the sheriff of Caspar, Wyoming. 

Season 2, Episode 5, "Ride Into Darkness": Charles Drake (starred in Winchester '73, Harvey, Bonzo Goes to College, and To Hell and Back and played John Burden on Rendezvous) plays Danvers Pass kingpin Matt Jessup. Leo Gordon (Big Mike McComb on Maverick) plays his henchman Rafe. Kevin Hagen (John Colton on Yancy Derringer, Inspector Dobbs Kobick on Land of the Giants, and Dr. Hiram Baker on Little House on the Prairie) plays henchman Pete. Phyllis Avery (Peggy McNulty on The Ray Milland Show: Meet Mr. McNulty) plays his girlfriend Mae. Stafford Repp (shown on the right, played Chief O'Hara on Batman) plays the Danvers Pass bartender. Stuart Randall (Sheriff Art Sampson on Cimarron City, Al Livermore on Lassie, and later played Sheriff Mort Corey on Laramie) plays Jessup accuser Patterson. 

Season 2, Episode 6, "The Long Riders": Dan Duryea (shown on the left, starred in The Little Foxes, The Pride of the Yankees, Scarlet Street, and Winchester '73 and played China Smith in China Smith and The New Adventures of China Smith and Eddie Jacks on Peyton Place) plays hired gun Luke Gregg. John Anderson (see "Men of Defiance" above) plays outlaw Ed McKeever. 

Season 2, Episode 7, "The Dark Trail": Harold J. Stone (John Kennedy on The Grand Jury, Hamilton Greeley on My World and Welcome to It, and Sam Steinberg on Bridget Loves Bernie) plays horse rancher Sam Bronson. Gigi Perreau (starred in Family Honeymoon, Never a Dull Moment, Bonzo Goes to College, and Girls Town and played Pat Strickland on The Betty Hutton Show and Kathy Richards on Follow the Sun) plays his daughter Celie. Robert Vaughn (shown on the right, starred in Teenage Cave Man, The Magnificent Seven, The Towering Inferno, and Bullitt and played Capt. Ray Rambridge on The Lieutenant, Napoleon Solo on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Harry Rule on The Protectors, Harlan Adams on Emerald Point N.A.S., Gen. Hunt Stockwell on The A-Team, and Albert Stroller on Hustle) plays fired ranch hand Sandy Kayle. Vinton Hayworth (see "Day of Vengeance" above) plays horse buyer Mr. Creighton. L.Q. Jones (Beldon on The Virginian, Sheriff Lew Wallace on The Yellow Rose, and Nathan Wayne on Renegade) plays horse thief Betts. 

Season 2, Episode 8, ".45 Calibre": George Nader (shown on the left, starred in Robot Monster and played Dr. Glenn Barton on The Man and the Challenge and Joe Shannon on Shannon) plays new Laramie sheriff Wells Clark. Anna-Lisa (Nora Travers on Black Saddle) plays his wife Louisa. Lee Van Cleef (starred in For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) plays outlaw Wes Torrey. John Mitchum (starred in Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, and The Enforcer and played Pickalong on Riverboat, Trooper Hoffenmueller on F Troop, and the bartender on The Virginian) plays an unnamed barfly. William Fawcett (see "Death Wind" above) plays Sherman ranch hand Ben. Katherine Warren (starred in The Lady Pays Off, The Glenn Miller Story, and The Caine Mutiny) plays Sherman neighbor Mrs. Byrd. Roy Engel (Doc Martin on Bonanza, the police chief on My Favorite Martian, and President Ulysses S. Grant on The Wild, Wild West) plays the Laramie bartender. John Pickard (Capt. Shank Adams on Boots and Saddles and Sgt. Maj. Murdock on Gunslinger) plays townsman Sloane. 

Season 2, Episode 9, "License to Kill": R.G. Armstrong (see "Cemetery Road" above) plays Willow, Colorado sheriff Sam Jarrad. Roy Barcroft (see "The Legend of Lily" above) plays the Laramie sheriff. William Fawcett (see "Death Wind" above) returns as Sherman ranch hand Ben. Denny Miller (see "Men of Defiance" above) plays Willow kingpin Wilkie. 

Season 2, Episode 10, "Drifter's Gold": Rod Cameron (shown on the right, played Det, Lt. Bart Grant on City Detective, Lt. Rod Blake on State Trooper, and Dan Adams on Coronado 9) plays ex-convict Tom Bedloe. Gregory Walcott (starred in Badman's Country and Plan 9 From Outer Space and played Det. Roger Havilland on 87th Precinct) plays his henchman Duke. Don Kennedy (the voice of Tansut on Space Ghost Coast to Coast) plays henchman Nick. Judi Meredith (Bonnie Sue McAfee on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and The George Burns Show and Monique Devereaux on Hotel de Paree) plays storekeeper Marcie Benson.  

Season 2, Episode 11, "No Second Chance": Jeff Richards (starred in Crest of the Wave, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and It's a Dog's Life and played Jefferson Drum on Jefferson Drum) plays stagecoach owner Kem Backer. Fay Spain (see "Duel at Alta Mesa" above) plays vengeful daughter Fran Ericson. Dub Taylor (shown on the left, starred in You Can't Take It With You, Bonnie & Clyde, and The Wild Bunch, played the character Cannonball in 53 western films, and played Wallie Simms on Casey Jones, Mitch Brady on Hazel, and Ed Hewley on Please Don't Eat the Daisies) plays log hauler Smudge. William Bryant (see "Company Man" above) plays hired gun Tracy. Richard Coogan (Marshal Matthew Wayne on The Californians) plays Laramie sheriff Lon Matthews. Frank Wilcox (Mr. Brewster on The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction) plays the Laramie doctor.
Season 2, Episode 12, "Duel at Parkison Town": Henry Hull (starred in Little Women, Werewolf in London, Great Expectations, High Sierra, and The Fountainhead) plays feuding patriarch Ben Parkison. Ron Harper (Det. Bert Kling on 87th Precinct, Jeff Conway on Wendy and Me, Paul Marshall on The Jean Arthur Show, Lt. Craig Garrison on Garrison's Gorillas, Alan Virdon on Planet of the Apes, and Uncle Jack on Land of the Lost) plays his son Lee. Howard McNear (shown on the right, played Floyd Lawson on The Andy Griffith Show and Jansen the Plumber on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show) plays newspaper editor Waldo. Bartlett Robinson (see "Rope of Steel" above) plays the Laramie sheriff. Murray Matheson (Felix Mulholland on Banacek) plays British news reporter Alexander. Kenneth MacDonald (see "Cemetery Road" above) plays stagecoach driver Duggan.
Season 2, Episode 13, "A Sound of Bells": Ross Martin (shown on the left, Andamo on Mr. Lucky, Artemus Gordon on The Wild Wild West, and Tony Alika on Hawaii 5-O) plays Mexican bandido Angel. Dick Foran (Fire Chief Ed Washburne on Lassie and Slim on O.K., Crackerby!) plays nearly ruined businessman Tom. Mara Corday (starred in Tarantula, The Giant Claw, and Girls on the Loose) plays his wife Rose. Robert J. Wilke (see "The Track of the Jackal" above) plays gun-runner Slate. Rachel Ames (see "Cemetery Road" above) plays Army widow Miss Lewbelle. Ben Johnson (see "Hour After Dawn" above) plays stagecoach driver Jim.

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