Monday, July 4, 2016

Wagon Train (1961)

Early in its 4th season Wagon Train experienced an existential crisis at the peak of its popularity: it's top-billed star Ward Bond suffered a fatal heart attack in November 1960 while making a promotional appearance at a Dallas Cowboys football game. The producers moved quickly to sign up veteran character actor John McIntire to take his place even though there were still a few episodes filmed with Bond that had not yet aired. McIntire was credited in 5 episodes, beginning with "The Jeremy Dow Story" (December 28, 1960) before ever appearing on camera. But replacing Bond was not the only crisis facing the series: Even before Bond's death co-star Robert Horton had already decided to leave the series after his 5-year contract expired at the end of Season 5, in May, 1962. They began planting the seeds for his replacement by bringing on former college basketball player Denny Scott Miller as a second scout for the wagon train, Duke Shannon, who first appeared in one of Bond's last episodes to air, "Weight of Command" (January 25, 1961). And yet in spite of these personnel changes, or perhaps because of the curiosity they engendered, the series became even more popular, moving from the #2 spot in the ratings for 1960-61 to the very top spot in 1961-62. In a cover story for the June 24, 1961 issue of TV Guide, Horton was very critical of the direction the series had taken since its beginning. He bemoaned the increased use of stock footage and less time spent on location to save money; he criticized that fact his character Flint McCullough was sometimes given speeches and put in situations directly at odds with his go-it-alone personality, such as the episode "The Prairie Story" (February 1, 1961) in which he essentially gives the same speech Bond did in the previous episode when a member of the train runs off on their own and he can't spare anyone to go chase them down and bring them back. He also criticized the scripts as being too soft, talky, and soap opera-ish. Perhaps not surprisingly for a Hollywood leading man, he considered the best script for the season to have been "The Odyssey of Flint McCullough" (February 15, 1961) in which he single-handedly rescues a blind grandfather and his grandchildren after their family is massacred by Indians and adds to their brood a lost Indian orphan, teaching the white children not to hate the Native American boy just because his skin is the same color as their parents' murderers.

The aforementioned episode and several others aired during 1961 constitute a deliberate effort by the show's producers to rebuild the brand in the wake of all its personnel turmoil. As discussed in our post on the 1960 episodes for the series, Wagon Train presented an over-arching narrative about the people who "settled" the west, with all their trials and imperfections. Native Americans do not come off well in this story, often serving as one of many obstacles to white western expansion, though the producers do acknowledge the devastating effect of manifest destiny in the year's final episode "Clyde" (December 27, 1961) when we are told how the many wagon trains and western settlers who crossed the prairies effectively wiped out the Native American's primary resource--the buffalo. Still, with their series at a cross-roads, the producers focused on origin stories of the principal characters to bolster viewers' attachment to the program. For the departing Bond they revisited the two-part Seth Adams story from Season 1 by introducing a look-alike character for Adams' one true love Rainey Webster in "The Beth Pearson Story" (February 22, 1961), with the same actress, Virginia Grey, brought back for both roles. This episode also retells the story of how Adams, Bill Hawks, and Charlie Wooster first met and became lifelong friends serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. Though he successfully romances and is ready to marry Beth Pearson, Adams finally makes a Freudian slip in calling her Rainey when he is overly tired, revealing that the romance was merely his attempt to recapture a long-lost love rather than truly loving the woman in front of him.

McCullough's character also traces his roots in several 1961 episodes, some of which contradict each other. From his origin story during Season 2, the series has depicted the orphaned McCullough as having been raised and mentored by legendary scout Jim Bridger. He reunites with this father figure in "The Jim Bridger Story" (May 10, 1961) when Bridger is working for U.S. Army General Jameson, who commandeers McCullough's wagon train to rescue a regiment of soldiers trapped on a mountain by a band of Utes. McCullough has his saint-like reverence for Bridger shattered because he does not agree with forcing civilians to serve a military cause against their will. McCullough is finally able to convince Jameson that the civilians must be allowed to make their own choice, and when Jameson backs off and shows some compassion, the citizens are ready to aid the soldiers who offer them protection year-round. Once the tension is eased, Bridger and McCullough are able to resume friendly relations as well. But in "The Artie Matthewson Story" (November 8, 1961), Shannon finds a wounded old woman whose wagon has been overturned and who claims to be Flint's adoptive mother. McCullough rushes to Angie Matthewson's side and agrees to carry out her final wish before she dies--find her natural-born son Artie and make sure he hasn't backslid into his earlier criminal ways. Horton certainly has a point that episodes such as this have a soap opera-ish flavor, never mind the contradiction that McCullough was raised by Angie Matthewson rather than Jim Bridger.

Newcomer John McIntire gets two origin-story episodes in 1961. McIntire's first appearance on the program was as Andrew Hale in a 1959 episode in which Adams asks him to temporarily take over leadership of the train when Adams falls ill. In his new role as Bond's replacement, McIntire becomes Christopher Hale, whom we first meet in "The Christopher Hale Story" (March 15, 1961) when Flint finds him sitting on what is left of his burnt homestead's porch after Indians massacred his family while he was away leading another wagon train west. Prior to finding him Flint and the others had learned that their parent company had assigned notorious wagon master Jud Benedict to lead their train (no explanation is given for what prompted this assignment or what has happened to Adams). Hale is still dazed when he is brought back to camp, but when the others learn that he is Christopher Hale, noted wagon master, they urge him to rescue them from Benedict's iron grip and then install him as permanent wagon master once Benedict is run off. We learn more of the Hale family's fate in "The Janet Hale Story" (May 31, 1961) in which Hale's wife Janet (played by McIntire's real-life wife Jeanette Nolan) insists on accompanying Hale on his last wagon train journey to California, where they will settle, only to fall ill along the way and force the Hales to pick a different spot in the middle of Indian country for their final homestead. Hale feels compelled to carry through on his obligation to lead the train to California, leaving his wife and children behind with a brother and his wife. Despite assurances from a friendly Indian chief that they can settle on his land in peace, a younger renegade leader ignores the promise and leads the massacre that leaves Hale alone when Flint finds him.

Future lead scout Duke Shannon also gets his story told in "The Duke Shannon Story" (April 26, 1961) in which his gold-prospecting father Henry is a member of Hale's wagon train and wanders off with Charlie Wooster to mine a legendary vein not far from the path traveled by the train. Duke shows up shortly thereafter and is accompanied by Bill Hawks on a search to bring the two old fools back. But a pair of greedy eavesdroppers have also trailed the elder Shannon and Wooster to the mine, and after finding that it has already been cleaned out attempt to blow up Henry and Wooster inside the mine. Hawks and Duke dispatch the villains with bullets, but Henry passes away after he and Charlie have escaped out a back entrance, the elder Shannon dying peacefully at having correctly found the legendary mine, even if it was empty. This turn of events leaves Duke without a family, and Hawks and Hale agree that he would be a good addition to their wagon train, accepting him into their virtual family.

Which brings us to the common thread that binds these characters--they are all adult orphans in a sense, with no attachments, no spouses, not even a steady girlfriend among them. Any romance they might strike up is doomed. Attempts to settle down and give up their traveling are foiled. Though they have committed no murder, they seem sentenced like the Biblical Cain to wander the earth for the rest of their existence. Though they cross the country from Missouri to California each season, they never seem to get anywhere personally. In his TV Guide interview Horton complained that his character was "a traffic cop directing guest stars through the show." Perhaps the producers should have recognized that their focus on the stories of their principal characters drove the series to its highest ratings ever rather than reverting to a formula more akin to the drama anthology series of the 1950s, which had long since faded in popularity. After Horton's departure, the series fell to #25 for 1962-63 and then out of the top 30 for its last two seasons.

All 8 seasons have been released on DVD by Timeless Media Group.

The Actors

For the biographies for Ward Bond, Robert Horton, Terry Wilson, and Frank McGrath, see the 1960 post for Wagon Train.

John McIntire

Born in Spokane, Washington, McIntire grew up on a ranch in Montana where his lawyer father told him tales of the many Native American leaders he met as commissioner of Indian affairs. The young McIntire also rode broncos, winning a national competition at age 16. These experiences would later serve him well in his many western roles over a career that included 100 films and starring roles on several TV series. He graduated high school in Santa Monica, attended USC for two years, and then worked as a seaman traveling the world before coming back and settling into radio drama and as the host of The March of Time. While working in radio in 1935 he met and married actress Jeanette Nolan, and the two remained married for 56 years, until his death, and appeared in many films and TV programs together, sometimes playing a couple. At age 40 he moved from radio into feature films, first appearing as a radio announcer in The Hucksters in 1947. The following year he established himself as a supporting character actor in the Jimmy Stewart crime drama Call Northside 777. The 1950s were a fertile period for his film work in features such as The Asphalt Jungle, A Lion Is in the Streets, and The Phenix City Story, but he also branched out in villainous roles in a trio of Anthony Mann-directed westerns--Winchester '73, The Far Country, and The Tin Star. His television career started in 1956 with a series of drama anthology appearances before landing a starring role as Lt. Dan Muldoon in the first season of Naked City. According to author James Rosin in his book Naked City: The Television Series, McIntire grew dissatisfied with the rigors of a weekly television series based in New York while his family was out west and asked out of his contract, but according to a 1961 TV Guide interview, McIntire said, "I really did not care for that type of role." The producers decided to have his character killed off in the 1959 episode "The Bumper" and replaced by Horace McMahon as Lt. Mike Parker. After an active 1960 that saw him appearing in feature films such as Psycho (with Nolan), Elmer Gantry, Dean Martin & Tony Curtis' Who Was That Lady?, and Elvis Presley's Flaming Star, as well as guest appearances on Peter Gunn, Overland Trail, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he quickly returned to regular TV roles as Pa Canfield in the short-lived Civil War drama The Americans and as Ward Bond's replacement on Wagon Train, a role he would retain until the series' end in 1965.
Guest spots on TV series like Daniel Boone, The Fugitive, and Bonanza would fill the next couple of years until he replaced another suddenly departed regular, William Bickford, playing his brother Clay Grainger on The Virginian from 1967 until that series' final episode in 1970. Around the same time he began appearing in a number of Walt Disney productions, first as the character Whit White on the Wonderful World of Color serial Gallegher Goes West and its follow-up The  Mystery of Edward Simms, then as Father Boudreau on Bayou Boy. He and Nolan then voiced characters in the Disney animated features The Rescuers and The Fox and the Hound. He continued regular TV guest spots through the 1970s and '80s on shows like Love American Style, Charlie's Angels, and Dallas and had his last regular role as Dutch McHenry on the single-season Shirley Jones vehicle Shirley in 1979-80. Feature film work continued as well with roles in Herbie Rides Again, Rooster Cogburn, and Cloak & Dagger, with his last credit coming in the 1989 Tom Hanks comedy Turner & Hooch. He passed away two years later from emphysema and cancer at the age of 83 on January 30, 1991.

Denny Scott Miller

Dennis Linn Miller was born in Bloomington, Indiana where his father was a physical education instructor at Indiana University. Miller and his brother Kent played basketball from an early age and after stops in Silver Spring, Maryland and Baldwin, New York, the family moved to Los Angeles, where the 6'4" Denny and Kent were recruited by John Wooden and given full scholarships to UCLA. Working as a furniture mover during his senior year, Denny was spotted by a talent scout on Hollywood Boulevard and signed to a contract with MGM, which first put him in an uncredited part in Some Came Running before casting him in the lead role in the 1959 feature Tarzan, a slapped-together affair that spliced in old footage from Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies. He filled the following year with a half dozen guest appearances on TV westerns such as Have Gun -- Will Travel, The Rifleman, Laramie, Overland Trail, and Riverboat before being cast as scout Duke Shannon on Wagon Train, making his debut in one of Ward Bond's last episodes, "Weight of Command."

Miller stayed with Wagon Train through the end of its 7th and penultimate season. He then was cast as Juliet Prowse's husband Mike McCluskey's in the 1965-66 comedy Mona McCluskey, which lasted only a single season. The remainder of his career was spent doing guest appearances on TV shows from Gilligan's Island, Death Valley Days, and Ironside to The Incredible Hulk, Magnum, P.I., and Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, He appeared 4 times as Max Flowers on Dallas and 3 times as Sheriff Owen Kearney on Lonesome Dove: The Series. He gave a memorable turn as Hollywood cowboy actor "Wyoming" Bill Kelso in Blake Edwards' 1968 comedy The Party and had supporting roles in Doomsday Machine and Buck and the Preacher in the 1970s. He also portrayed the yellow rain-slickered Gorton's fisherman in TV commercials for over a decade and all-purpose spray foam character Big Wally. Other than the 2005 western-star reunion feature Hell to Pay (which included James Drury, Peter Brown, and Lee Majors), Miller's acting career ended in 1996. He published an autobiography Didn't You Used to Be--What's His Name? and an anti-obesity/pro-exercise manual Toxic Waist?...Get to Know Sweat! In January 2014 he was diagnosed with ALS and died on September 9th the same year at the age of 80.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 4, Episode 15, "The Earl Packer Story": 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 bounty hunter Earl Packer. Edward Binns (starred in 12 Angry Men, North by Northwest, Heller in Pink Tights, and Judgment at Nuremberg and played Roy Brenner on Brenner and Wally Powers on It Takes a Thief) plays former legendary lawman Bill Strode. 

Season 4, Episode 16, "The Patience Miller Story": Rhonda Fleming (shown on the right, starred in Spellbound, The Spiral Staircase, Out of the Past, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Great Lover, The Eagle and the Hawk, Serpent of the Nile, Inferno, and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) plays pacifist widow Patience Miller. Michael Ansara (appeared in Julius Caesar, The Robe, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Harum Scarum, played Cochise on Broken Arrow and Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart on The Rifleman and the Law of the Plainsman, and voiced General Warhawk on Rambo) plays Arapahoe chief North Star. Bart Braverman (Bobby "Binzer" Borso on Vega$, Roy on The New Odd Couple, and Dr. Bhandari on Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book) plays his son Evening Star. Morgan Woodward (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays his right-hand man Chief Spotted Horse. Karyn Kupcinet (Carol on The Gertrude Berg Show) plays one of his wives Brown Robin. E.J. Andre (Eugene Bullock on Dallas) plays Indian mission agent Mr. Wise. Jason Robards, Sr. (father of Jason Robards) plays Arapahoe elder White Hawk.

Season 4, Episode 17, "The Sam Elder Story": Everett Sloane (shown on the left, starred in Citizen Kane, The Lady From Shanghai, and Lust for Life and provided the voice for Dick Tracy on The Dick Tracy Show) plays former Union Army officer Sam Elder. Ray Stricklyn (Dr. James Parris on The Colbys and Senator Pickering on Wiseguy) plays his second-in-command Sgt. Frank Perks. Roger Mobley (Homer "Packy" Lambert on Fury) plays boy soldier Ty Anderson. Walter Coy (Zoravac on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and the narrator on Frontier) plays grieving father Ben Allen. Adrienne Marden (Mary Breckenridge on The Waltons) plays his wife Lila. Roberta Shore (Laura Rogan on Walt Disney Presents: Annette, Henrietta Gogerty on The Bob Cummings Show, and Betsy Garth on The Virginian) plays his daughter Millie.

Season 4, Episode 18, "Weight of Command": Tommy Rettig (Jeff Miller on Lassie) plays 16-year-old first-time buffalo hunter Billy Gentry. Jeanne Bates (Nurse Wills on Ben Casey) plays his mother Hester. Richard Crane (Rocky Jones on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Dick Preston on Commando Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe, and Lt. Gene Plehn on Surfside 6) plays greenhorn Dan Foster. Nancy Rennick (Patty Johnson on Rescue 8) plays his wife Judith. Clancy Cooper (see the biography section of the 1960 post on Lawman)plays wagon master Joe Henry. Jan Arvan (Nacho Torres on Zorro and Paw Kadiddlehopper on The Red Skelton Hour) plays Indian scout Charlie.

Season 4, Episode 19, "The Prairie Story": Beulah Bondi (shown on the right, starred in Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Our Town, It's a Wonderful Life, and The Life of Riley) plays elder stateswoman Grandma Bates. Virginia Christine (was the Folger's Coffee woman in commercials, starred in The Mummy's Curse, The Killers, and Night Wind, and played Ovie Swenson on Tales of Wells Fargo) plays hysterical traveler Clara Reynolds. Jack Beutel (starred in The Outlaw, Best of the Badmen, and Jesse James' Women and played Deputy Jeff Taggart on Judge Roy Bean) plays her husband Jack. Jan Clayton (starred in Sunset Trail, The Wolf Hunters, and This Man's Navy and played Ellen Miller on Lassie) plays piano-playing traveler Charity Kirby. Diane Jergens (appeared in Teenage Rebel, Desk Set, High School Confidential!, and Island of Lost Women and played Francine Williams on The Bob Cummings Show and Susie Jackson on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays newlywed Sally Miller. Mickey Sholdar (Steve Morley on The Farmer's Daughter) plays her son Garth.

Season 4, Episode 20, "Path of the Serpent": Noah Beery, Jr. (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Riverboat) plays legendary mountain man Ruddy Blaine. Jay Silverheels (shown on the left, appeared in The Prairie, Key Largo, Broken Arrow, The Pathfinder, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, and The Lone Ranger (1956) and played Tonto on The Lone Ranger) plays his Shoshone sidekick The Serpent. Paul Birch (Erle Stanley Gardner on The Court of Last Resort, Mike Malone on Cannonball, and Capt. Carpenter on The Fugitive) plays U.S. Army fort commander Sgt. Bart Huntington. Robert Harland (Deputy Billy Lordan on Law of the Plainsman, Jack Flood on Target: The Corruptors, and Sgt. Older on The Rookies) plays his second-in-command Cpl. Clay Taylor. Melinda Plowman (Linda Kelly on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show) plays Huntington's daughter Penelope.
Season 4, Episode 21, "The Odyssey of Flint McCullough": Henry Hull (starred in Little Women, Werewolf in London, Great Expectations, High Sierra, and The Fountainhead) plays destitute grandfather Gideon Banning. Michael Burns (Howie Macauley on It's a Man's World and later played Barnaby West on Wagon Train) plays one of his grandchildren Homer. 

Season 4, Episode 22, "The Beth Pearson Story": Virginia Grey (shown on the right, appeared in Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Women, Another Thin Man, Mr. and Mrs. North, and Stage Door Canteen and played Clara Appleby on The Red Skelton Hour) plays widow Beth Pearson. Johnny Washbrook (Ken McLaughlin on My Friend Flicka) plays her son Ron. Del Moore (appeared in The Errand Boy, The Nutty Professor, and The Big Mouth and played Cal Mitchell on Bachelor Father and Alvin on Life With Elizabeth) plays disgruntled traveler Johnson. 

Season 4, Episode 23, "The Jed Polke Story": John Lasell (Dr. Michael Shea on As the World Turns and Dr. Peter Guthrie on Dark Shadows) plays former Union traitor Jed Polke. Joyce Meadows (Lynn Allen on The Man and the Challenge and Stacy on Two Faces West) plays his wife Rheba. Dennis Holmes (Mike Williams on Laramie) plays their son Carlton. Willard Waterman (Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve on The Great Gildersleeve and Mac Maginnis on The Real McCoys) plays former Union Army doctor Allison Day. Morgan Woodward (see "The Patience Miller Story" above) plays former Union soldier Walt Keene. Ron Hayes (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Bat Masterson) plays former Union soldier Ross Amber. Perry Lopez (starred in Mister Roberts, Taras Bulba, Kelly's Heroes, and Chinatown and played Joaquin Castaneda on Zorro) plays former Union soldier Jeff. Frank Gerstle (Dirk Gird on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and voiced Raseem on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour) plays wagon traveler Otto.

Season 4, Episode 24, "The Nancy Palmer Story": Audrey Meadows (shown on the far left, played Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners and The Jackie Gleason Show, Iris Martin on Too Close for Comfort, and Maggie Hogoboom on Uncle Buck) plays southern scam artist Nancy Palmer. Jack Cassidy (shown on the left, Tony Award-winning father of David and Shaun Cassidy and husband of Shirley Jones, played Oscar North on He & She) plays her husband Dan. Harry Lauter (Ranger Clay Morgan on Tales of the Texas Rangers, Atlasande on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, and Jim Herrick on Waterfront) plays former Confederate soldier Will Davidson. Elisha Cook, Jr. (starred in The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, The Great Gatsby (1949), and The Killing and played Francis "Ice Pick" Hofstetler on Magnum P.I.) plays traveler Lem Salters. Vivi Janiss (Myrtle Davis on Father Knows Best) plays his wife. Roger Mobley (see "The Sam Elder Story" above) plays his son Freddie. Bern Hoffman (Sam the bartender on Bonanza) plays immigrant traveler MacGregor. Jeanne Bates (see "Weight of Command" above) plays his wife. Lauren Perreau (sister of Gigi Perreau and Peter Miles) plays his daughter Doreen. Med Flory (played clarinet in the Ray Anthony orchestra and founded and plays alto sax in the group Super Sax, appeared in Gun Street, The Nutty Professor (1963), and The Gumball Rally, and played Sheriff Mike McBride on High Mountain Rangers) plays King City Sheriff Giles.

Season 4, Episode 25, "The Christopher Hale Story": Lee Marvin (shown on the right, starred in The Big Heat, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen, and Paint Your Wagon and played Det. Lt. Frank Ballinger on M Squad) plays notorious wagon master Jud Benedict. L.Q. Jones (Beldon on The Virginian, Sheriff Lew Wallace on The Yellow Rose, and Nathan Wayne on Renegade) plays his gunman Lenny. William Demarest (appeared in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Lady Eve, The Devil and Miss Jones, Stage Door Canteen, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, and That Darn Cat! and played William Harris on Love and Marriage, Mr. Daly on Make Room for Daddy, Jeb Gaine on Tales of Wells Fargo, and Uncle Charlie O'Casey on My Three Sons) plays older traveler Mr. Hennessey. Claire Carleton (Nell Mulligan on The Mickey Rooney Show and Alice Purdy on Cimarron City) plays his wife. Wesley Lau (Lt. Andy Anderson on Perry Mason and Master Sgt. Jiggs on The Time Tunnel) plays traveler Stevens. Nancy Rennick (see "Weight of Command" above) plays his wife.

Season 4, Episode 26, "The Tiburcio Mendez Story": Nehemiah Persoff starred in The Wrong Man, Al Capone and Some Like It Hot) plays notorious bandito Tiburcio Mendez. Lisa Gaye (Gwen Kirby on How to Marry a Millionaire) plays his daughter Alma. Leonard Nimoy (shown on the left, played Mr. Spock on Star Trek, Paris on Mission: Impossible, and Dr. William Bell on Fringe) plays her fiance Joaquin Delgado. Orville Sherman (Mr. Feeney on Buckskin, Wib Smith on Gunsmoke, and Tupper on Daniel Boone) plays miner Smathers.

Season 4, Episode 27, "The Nellie Jefferson Story": Janis Paige (shown on the right, appeared in Of Human Bondage, Cheyenne, Romance on the High Seas, Silk Stockings, and Please Don't Eat the Daisies and played Jan Stewart on It's Always Jan, Kate Lanigan on Lanigan's Rabbi, Auntie V on Eight Is Enough, Nettie McCoy on Gun Shy, Blanche Riddle on Baby Makes Five, Catherine Hackett on Trapper John, M.D., Aunt Iona Huntington on General Hospital, and Minx Lockridge on Santa Barbara) plays legendary theatrical performer Nellie Jefferson. H.M. Wynant (Frosty on Batman and Ed Chapman on Dallas) plays her manager Bart Haskell. Don Megowan (Captain Huckabee on The Beachcomber) plays her former husband Sean Hennessey. Dennis Rush (Howie Pruitt on The Andy Griffith Show) plays young traveler Homer.

Season 4, Episode 28, "The Saul Bevins Story": Rod Steiger (shown on the left, starred in On the Waterfront, Oklahoma!, The Pawnbroker, The Brothers Karamazov, Doctor Zhivago, and In the Heat of the Night) plays blind doctor Saul Bevins. Vivi Janiss (see "The Nancy Palmer Story" above) plays his sister Martha. Charles Herbert (David Barker on The Donna Reed Show and Peter McCauley on Men Into Space) plays his son Job. Willard Waterman (see "The Jed Polke Story" above) plays prejudiced traveler Andrew Harley. Rachel Ames (Audrey Hardy on General Hospital) plays his daughter Jane.

Season 4, Episode 29, "The Joe Muharich Story": Akim Tamiroff (starred in The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, The Way of All Flesh, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Touch of Evil, and Ocean's 11) plays immigrant farmer Joe Muharich. Robert Blake (shown on the right, played Mickey in over 30 Our Gang shorts and Little Beaver in 23 westerns, starred in Black Rose, Pork Chop Hill, The Purple Gang, In Cold Blood, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, and Electra Glide in Blue, and played Det. Tony Baretta on Baretta and Father Noah Rivers on Hell Town) plays hot-headed gunslinger Johnny Kamen. Doodles Weaver (narrated Spike Jones' horse-racing songs and hosted A Day With Doodles) plays drunkard Efen Dirkin. Kelton Garwood (Beauregard O'Hanlon on Bourbon Street Beat and Percy Crump on Gunsmoke) plays his brother Claude. Susan Silo (Rusty on Harry's Girls and prolific voice actor on shows such as The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, James Bond, Jr., and Where's Waldo?) plays Johnny's girlfriend Betty Whittaker. Tristram Coffin (Lt. Doyle on The Files of Jeffrey Jones and Capt. Tom Rynning on 26 Men) plays her father. Stacy Harris (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays the Cottonwood sheriff. William Mims (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays his Deputy Fisk. Ken Mayer (Maj. Robbie Robertson on Space Patrol) plays Cottonwood troublemaker Jonesy. 

Season 4, Episode 30, "The Duke Shannon Story": Frank McHugh (appeared in The Front Page, The Crowd Roars, One Way Passage, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Going My Way, and State Fair and played Willis Walter on The Bing Crosby Show) plays gold prospector Henry Shannon. Maudie Prickett (Cassie Murphy on Date With the Angels, Miss Gordon on The Jack Benny Program, and Rosie on Hazel) plays traveler Ethel. 

Season 4, Episode 31, "The Will Santee Story": Dean Stockwell (shown on the left, starred in Anchors Aweigh, Gentleman's Agreement, Kim, Sons and Lovers, and Dune and played Dr. Rudy Devereux on Dr. Kildare, Admiral Al Calavicci on Quantum Leap, John Stern on Street Gear, Frank DiMeo on The Tony Danza Show, Edward Shefflied on JAG, and John Cavil on Battlestar Gallactica) plays murderer's son Will Santee. Virginia Christine (see "The Prairie Story" above) plays his mother Amanda. Millie Perkins (starred in The Diary of Anne Frank, Wild in the Country, Wild in the Streets, and Wall Street and played Gladys Presley on Elvis, Jane Sumner on Knots Landing, Irene Otis on Any Day Now, and Rebecca Kaplan on The Young and the Restless) plays Santee's love interest Jessie McDermott. Jocelyn Brando (Marlon Brando's sister) plays her mother Agnes. Harry Von Zell (the announcer on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and The George Burns Show and played Frank Curtis on Bachelor Father) plays her father Fred. John Crawford (appeared in Zombies of the Stratosphere, John Paul Jones, Exodus, and The Americanization of Emily and played Chief Parks on Police Woman and Sheriff Ep Bridges on The Waltons) plays actor Edwin Booth. Dal McKennon (see the biography section for the 1961 post on 87th Precinct) plays Juniper Creek townsman Lee.

Season 4, Episode 32, "The Jim Bridger Story": Karl Swenson (Lars Hanson on Little House on the Prairie) plays legendary scout Jim Bridger. John Doucette (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on Lock Up) plays U.S. Army Gen. Jameson. Hank Brandt (Leonard Waggedorn on Julia, Morgan Hess on Dynasty, and Dr. Aaron Kranzler on Santa Barbara) plays objecting traveler Gray Beddoe. Francis de Sales (Lt. Bill Weigand on Mr. & Mrs. North, Ralph Dobson on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Sheriff Maddox on Two Faces West, and Rusty Lincoln on Days of Our Lives) plays objecting traveler Mark Anders. Nestor Paiva (Theo Gonzales on Zorro) plays U.S. Army Sgt. Hoag. Glenn Strange (played Frankenstein's monster in House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and played Sam Noonan on Gunsmoke) plays army Capt. Fox.

Season 4, Episode 33, "The Eleanor Culhane": Felicia Farr (shown on the left, starred in 3:10 to Yuma, Onionhead, Hell Bent for Leather, Kiss Me, Stupid, and Charley Varrick) plays Flint's former girlfriend Eleanor Culhane. John Lasell (see "The Jed Polke Story" above) plays her husband Riker. Russell Thorson (Det. Lt. Otto Lindstrom on The Detectives and William Kennerly on Peyton Place) plays Riverford Sheriff Ed Harris. Renata Vanni (appeared in Pay or Die!, A Patch of Blue, and Fatso and played Rose Brentano on That Girl) plays Culhane housekeeper Inez. Orville Sherman (see "The Tiburcio Mendez Story" above) plays a Riverford bartender. Hank Patterson (played Fred Ziffel on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction and Hank on Gunsmoke) plays a Riverford citizen. Dennis McCarthy (Dr. Sam Hodges on Cimarron City and the lab technician on 87th Precinct) plays a man on the street.

Season 4, Episode 34, "The Chalice": Lon Chaney, Jr. (shown on the right, starred in The Wolfman, Of Mice and Men, High Noon, The Ghost of Frankenstein, The Curse of Dracula, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, and many others, and played Chief Eagle Shadow on Pistols 'n' Petticoats and Chingachgook on Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans) plays perpetually unlucky traveler Mr. Carstairs. Richard Jaeckel (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Frontier Circus) plays his protege Barker. 

Season 4, Episode 35, "The Janet Hale Story": Jeanette Nolan (shown on the left, starred in Macbeth (1948), The Big Heat, Tribute to a Bad Man, and The Reluctant Astronaut, did voicework for Psycho, The Rescuers, and The Fox and the Hound, and played Annette Devereaux on Hotel de Paree and Holly Grainger on The Virginian) plays Chris Hale's wife Janet. Robert Hyatt (Junior Morrison on The Pride of the Family) plays her son Jeff. Wendy Winkelman (younger sister of Michael Winkelman on The Real McCoys) player her daughter Marie. Charles Aidman (narrator on the 1985-87 version of The Twilight Zone) plays future farmer Whit Martin. Bethel Leslie (appeared in 15 episodes of The Richard Boone Show and played Claudia Conner on All My Children and Ethel Crawford on One Life to Live) plays his wife Helen. Robert Warwick (starred in Alias Jimmy Valentine, The Supreme Sacrifice, The Heart of a Hero, and Against All Flags) plays Indian chief Red Cloud. X Brands (played Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah on Yancy Derringer) plays an Indian renegade leader.

Season 4, Episode 36, "Wagon to Fort Anderson": Don Rickles (shown on the right, legendary comedian who appeared in Run Silent, Run Deep, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo, Kelly's Heroes, voiced Mr. Potato Head in all the Toy Story movies, and played Don Robinson on The Don Rickles Show, Otto Sharkey on C.P.O. Sharkey, and Al Mitchell on Daddy Dearest) plays U.S. Army soldier Joe Carder. Albert Salmi (Yadkin on Daniel Boone and Pete Ritter on Petrocelli) plays his brother George. Carol Eve Rossen (Anna Kassoff on The Lawless Years) plays deaf massacre survivor Fay Ellison. Candy Moore (Chris Carmichael on The Lucy Show and hosted The Dream Girl of 1967) plays her sister Sue.

Season 4, Episode 37, "The Ah Chong Story": Arnold Stang (shown on the left, appeared in My Sister Eileen, The Man With the Golden Arm, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, was the voice of Herman the mouse in a string of Herman and Katnip cartoon shorts, the voice of Top Cat on Top Cat, and played Stanley Stubbs on Broadside) plays Chinese cook Ah Chong. Frank Ferguson (Gus Broeberg on My Friend Flicka, Eli Carson on Peyton Place, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction) plays a sheriff. 

Season 4, Episode 38, "The Don Alvarado Story": Michael Forest (starred in Ski Troop Attack, Atlas, and The Glory Guys and was the voice of Capt. Dorai on Street Fighter II: V and Olympus on Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) plays Mexican nobleman Julio. David Faulkner (Dr. Pagano on Ryan's Hope) plays his cousin Rudolfo. Minerva Urecal (Dean Bradey/Bradley on The Ray Milland Show: Meet Mr. McNulty, Ma Bowie on The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Tugboat Annie Brennan on The Adventures of Tugboat Annie, and Mother on Peter Gunn) plays the Alvarado housekeeper Maria. Ed Nelson (Michael Rossi on Peyton Place and Ward Fuller on The Silent Force) plays Mexican Sheriff Donovan. Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr. (Luis Valdez on Viva Valdez) plays the padre of the Alvarado estate.

Season 5, Episode 1, "The Captain Dan Brady Story": Joseph Cotten (shown on the right, starred in Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Third Man, Niagara, and From the Earth to the Moon and hosted The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial) plays wild west showman Captain Dan Brady. Paul Comi (Deputy Johnny Evans on Two Faces West, Chuck Lambert on Ripcord, and Yo Yo on Rawhide) plays his manager John Gray Cloud. Russell Thorson (see "The Eleanor Culhane Story" above) plays an army major. David Faulkner (see "The Don Alvarado Story" above) plays naive traveler Murray. Dawn Wells (Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island) plays his wife. Michael McGreevey (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Riverboat) plays a young fan of Brady's. Glenn Strange (see "The Jim Bridger Story" above) plays rival wagon master's henchman Brace.

Season 5, Episode 2, "The Kitty Allbright Story": Polly Bergen (singer and actress starred in That's My Boy, Escape From Fort Bravo, Cape Fear, Move Over, Darling, Kisses for My President, and Cry-Baby and played Doris Campbell on Baby Talk, Kate Allen on Commander in Chief, and Stella Wingfield on Desperate Housewives) plays trail-blazing nurse Kitty Allbright. Eleanor Audley (Mother Eunice Douglas on Green Acres and Mrs. Vincent on My Three Sons) plays her mother. Kathleen Freeman (Katie on Topper, Marilly on Mayor of the Town, Bertha Krause on The Bob Cummings Show, Flo Shafer on The Beverly Hillbillies, Kate Harwell on Funny Face, and Iris Belmont on Lotas Luck) plays poor traveler Lolly Johnson. Morgan Woodward (see "The Patience Miller Story" above) plays her husband Barney.

Season 5, Episode 3, "The Maud Frazer Story": Barbara Stanwyck (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Barbara Stanwyck Show) plays gold-digger Maud Frazer. Russ Conway (Fenton Hardy on The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, Gen. Devon on Men Into Space, and Lt. Pete Kile on Richard Diamond, Private Detective) plays her husband Isaac. Nora Marlowe (Martha Commager on Law of the Plainsman, Sara Andrews on The Governor and J.J., and Mrs. Flossie Brimmer on The Waltons) plays massacre survivor Bessie Steen. Kathleen O'Malley (Mrs. Moss on General Hospital) plays massacre survivor Dolly. Wesley Lau (see "The Christopher Hale Story" above) plays a mortally wounded soldier. 

Season 5, Episode 4, "The Selena Hartnell Story": Jan Sterling (starred in Johnny Belinda, Ace in the Hole¸ The Mating Season, 1984, and High School Confidential! and played Mildred Foss on Guiding Light) plays female bounty hunter Selena Hartnell. H.M. Wynant (see "The Nellie Jefferson Story" above) plays her partner Jason Powers. Claude Akins (Sonny Pruett on Movin' On and Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo on B.J and the Bear and Lobo) plays reformed killer Will Cottrell. Jack Smith (singer who hosted his own radio show, appeared in King Kong (1933), On Moonlight Bay, and The Barefoot Executive, and hosted You Asked For It and American West) plays objecting traveler Ed Clark. Sheldon Allman (Norm Miller on Harris Against the World) plays gang leader Gordon.

Season 5, Episode 5, "The Clementine Jones Story": Ann Blyth (starred in Mildred Pierce, The Great Caruso, Kismet, and The Helen Morgan Story) plays ostracized saloon girl Clementine Jones. Dick York (shown on the right, played Tom Colwell on Going My Way and Darrin Stephens on Bewitched) plays failed bank robber Willie Maines. Henry Corden (Carlo on The Count of Monte Cristo, and Babbitt on The Monkees and did voicework on The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, The Atom Ant Show, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and Return to the Planet of the Apes) plays his partner Frank. Nestor Paiva (see "The Jim Bridger Story" above) plays his partner Gip. Roger Mobley (see "The Sam Elder Story" above) plays orphan Homer Pettigrew. Willard Waterman (see "The Jed Polke Story" above) plays the Cinnabar mayor. Frank Wilcox (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Untouchables) plays Marshal Nolan.

Season 5, Episode 6, "The Jenna Douglas Story": Carolyn Jones (shown on the left, appeared in House of Wax, The Big Heat, The Seven Year Itch, The Tender Trap, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and How the West Was Won and played Morticia Addams on The Addams Family, Marsha, Queen of Diamonds on Batman, and Myrna Clegg on Capitol) plays escaped mental patient Jenna Douglas. Hank Brandt (see "The Jim Bridger Story" above) plays cripple Andy Green. 

Season 5, Episode 7, "The Artie Matthewson Story": Jane Darvell (starred in Tom Sawyer (1930), Hucklberry Finn (1931), Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, The Ox-Bow Incident, and Mary Poppins) plays Flint's adoptive mother Angie Matthewson. Rory Calhoun (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Texan) plays her natural-born son Artie. William Mims (see "The Joe Muharich Story" above) plays Artie's gunman Gurn Meeker. Joyce Meadows (see "The Jed Polke Story" above) plays Artie's girlfriend Melanie Sanders. House Peters, Jr. (Sheriff Jim Billings on Lassie) plays her foreman Nick Fears. William Fawcett (Clayton on Duffy's Tavern, Marshal George Higgins on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Pete Wilkey on Fury) plays the stable owner.

Season 5, Episode 8, "The Mark Miner Story": Brandon De Wilde (starred in The Member of the Wedding, Shane, All Fall Down, and Hud and played Jamison Francis McHummber on Jamie) plays vengeance-seeking orphan Mark Miner. Michael Burns (see "The Odyssey of Flint McCullough" above) plays his brother Matt. Robert Cornthwaite (Professor Windish on Get Smart) plays a traveler minister. Barbara Parkins (starred in Valley of the Dolls, The Mephisto Waltz, and Puppet on a Chain and played Betty Anderson Harrington on Peyton Place) plays his daughter Molly. Walter Coy (see "The Sam Elder Story" above) plays thief victim Abner Thorn.

Season 5, Episode 9, "The Bruce Saybrook Story": Brian Aherne (shown on the left, starred in The Song of Songs, Sylvia Scarlett, Juarez, My Sister Eileen, Prince Valiant, and Sword of Lancelot) plays British nobleman Lord Bruce Saybrook. Antoinette Bower (Fox Devlin on Neon Rider) plays his wife Diana. Liam Sullivan (Major Mapoy on The Monroes, Dr. Joseph Lerner on The Young and the Restless, and Mr. Willis on Knots Landing) plays his brother Tommy. Richard Ney (appeared in Mrs. Miniver, Joan of Arc, Ivy, and Midnight Lace) plays illustrator Bevan Alston. 

Season 5, Episode 10, "The Lizbeth Ann Calhoun Story": Dana Wynter (appeared in The Crimson Pirate, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Sink the Bismarck!, and Airport and played Eva Wainwright on The Man Who Never Was and Jill Daly on Bracken) plays Confederate agent Lizbeth Ann Calhoun. Richard Crane (see "Weight of Command" above) plays her stalker Lon Harper. Raymond Bailey (Milburn Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies, Dean Magruder on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, D.A. John Carvell on The Untouchables, and Mr. Beaumont on My Sister Eileen) plays U.S. Cavalry Maj. Hanley. Peter Whitney (Sergeant Buck Sinclair on The Rough Riders and Lafe Crick on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays bandito El Ladron.

Season 5, Episode 11, "The Traitor": Nick Adams (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Rebel) plays notorious bandit Sam Upton. Jeanne Cooper (Grace Douglas on Bracken's World and Katherine Chancellor Murphy on The Young and the Restless) plays his sister Madge. Myron Healey (Doc Holliday on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays duplicitous U.S. Army Sgt. Oakes. Stacy Keach, Sr. (Carlson on Get Smart) plays his commanding officer Maj. Hansen.

Season 5, Episode 12, "The Bettina May Story": Bette Davis (shown on the left, 11-time Oscar nominee and 2-time winner, starred in Of Human Bondage, Dangerous, Jezebel, Dark Victory, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Now, Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, All About Eve, The Star, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) plays domineering matriarch Bettina May. Joby Baker (David Lewis on Good Morning, World) plays her son Nathan. Jud Taylor (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Dr. Kildare) plays her son Arthur. Asa Maynor (Dixie on Straightaway) plays Arthur's wife Rose. Bennye Gatteys (Susan Hunter on Days of Our Lives) plays Bettina's daughter Ginny. Ron Hayes (see "The Jed Polke Story" above) plays Ginny's husband Gene.

Season 5, Episode 13, "Clyde": Frank De Kova (shown on the right, played Chief Wild Eagle on F Troop and Louis Campagna on The Untouchables) plays an Arapahoe chief. Nora Marlowe (see "The Maud Frazer Story" above) plays complaining launderer Mrs. Seidel. Harry Von Zell (see "The Will Santee Story" above) plays cattle rancher John Sherman. Michael McGreevey (see "The Captain Dan Brady Story" above) plays his son Sonny.

1 comment:

  1. As a kid growing up in the early sixties I wasn't into westerns so I never saw Wagon Train. I was surprised to learn that one of my musical heroes Sheldon Allman (who co-composed the theme for the Jay Ward cartoon "George Of The Jungle") made an appearance on the show. Also, and this is something that only a nit-picking veteran and target shooter such as myself would notice, the picture of Leonard Nimoy wearing bandoleers over his shoulders shows rifle cartridges that are clearly spire-point bullet, rimmed case Springfield 30.06 ammunition which was developed and adopted by the U.S. ARMY in 1906 (!) long after the days of the wagon trains were history. Ooops! Where's that ferschlugginer Prop Man!