Sunday, December 30, 2012

Father Knows Best (1960)

Perhaps no other family-based situation comedy from the 1950's fits the stereotype of the sage parents doling out much-needed wisdom to their squeaky-clean but occasionally misguided children quite like Father Knows Best, set in an alternate universe where serious issues include which boy to date, trading fair with friends from the neighborhood, and what the neighbors will think about mother's housekeeping. The series began on radio in 1949 with Robert Young in the title role but with an entirely different cast from the TV version and a question mark at the end of the title. Young's character in the radio version was more acerbic, even resorting to calling his children "stupid" at times. The show was piloted for television on the May 27, 1954 episode of The Ford Television Theatre with Young again in the title role and another different cast for the rest of the family. The series then began its regular run on October 3, 1954 with Young again as father and insurance salesman Jim Anderson, Jane Wyatt as his wife Margaret, Elinor Donahue as older daughter Betty, Billy Gray as son Bud, or James Anderson, Jr., and Lauren Chapin as younger daughter Kathy. The family lived in the mythical midwest town of Springfield (Simpsons fans will note the irony). The series was not an immediate success, and its original sponsor, Kent Cigarettes, was disappointed with poor ratings and dropped it after one season on CBS. However, a popular outcry of support persuaded Scott Paper Company and NBC to pick up the series the next fall and the show ran for another five seasons, ending in May 1960. The show's ratings also improved with each season so that by the final season it ranked number 6 overall. Despite the show's momentum, Young in particular was ready for a change, but the show continued to run in prime-time repeats for another three years.

In the television version of the show, Young's character is much more understanding and wise, though he occasionally makes mistakes.  In "Time to Retire" (March 7, 1960), Jim is assigned by the home office to tell long-time colleague and friend Arthur Higgins that he must retire from the company on his 65th birthday, per company policy. But because he is such good friend with Higgins, he tries to soften the blow by inviting him over for a family dinner, giving him a lavish fishing set as a birthday present, and having Margaret bake him a scrumptious birthday cake. Every time during the evening when he is about to break the news to Higgins, Jim puts it off, thinking the moment isn't quite right, and thus never tells him, leaving the job to his secretary Miss Thomas, who accidentally lets it slip when Higgins gets to work before Jim the next morning. His sentimentality and dithering cause him to evade his professional responsibility. It falls to Bud to go off and find Higgins, who has run off to brood, and bring him around to see that the end of his work at Jim's insurance company is actually an opportunity for a new career by starting a competing business. But these slip-ups are few and far between. More often, Jim is the voice of reason and discipline when his children want to make unwise choices.

However, the number of times that the Anderson children are mean, unfair, or deceitful makes one wonder how effective Jim and Margaret are as parents. In "Blind Date" (April 18, 1960) Betty is incensed when classmates set her up on a blind date with clumsy hayseed Rudy Kissler and she retaliates against them by acting as though she is happy to date him, leading him on as she goes with him to every school function thereafter until he honestly tells her he loves her, then is devastated when he finds out from her prankster classmates that their whole relationship is based on a gag. Her treatment of Rudy as a mere tool to exact revenge on her classmates hardly shows the signs of a virtuous upbringing. And Bud doesn't give a second thought to running up a huge hotel bill when he is away from home on a debate team trip merely to impress a girl in "Bud Lives It Up" (May 9, 1960), until he gets caught and faces expulsion from school. Kathy also gives in to innate greed when she destroys the photograph of another family who are competing for a free trip to Hawaii so that they won't make the contest deadline in "Family Contest" (April 4, 1960). All of these episodes become teaching moments for Jim, but one has to wonder why his children continue to make such poor choices when they are college and junior high school students. In fact, the other children and young adults that the Anderson brood come in conflict with are often much more mature, but then, if the Andersons were better behaved, their father wouldn't have weekly opportunities to show his brilliance.

Despite co-producer Eugene Rodney's belief in the series--he once stated that any TV writer who didn't get misty eyed at the thought of a young girl putting a baby bird back in its nest would never work for him--Young had grown tired of the grind of producing a weekly series, at least by season 5, and was the principal reason the series ended after its sixth season. In the producers' official press release, reprinted in its entirety in the May 28, 1960 issue of TV Guide, Rodney and Young stated there were several reasons behind their decision to end the series. First and foremost was the fact that the children had grown up and would naturally be leaving home, thus destroying the rationale for the series and making the title absurd. And yet, other family-based series--The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and My Three Sons--wound up running much longer and found ways to evolve the family dynamics to make sense. In fact, given that Rodney and Young had discussed ending the show a full year before they actually did, they wound up doing a poor job in bringing the series to closure. The last 20 episodes, which aired in calendar year 1960, included four episodes that were mere flashbacks, consisting largely of footage from episodes aired years earlier with snippets at beginning and end of the characters circa 1960 saying in effect, "remember the time that so-and-so did such-and-such?" Despite the producers' claim that the series was an "organic" living, growing thing, the series has little continuity from one episode to the next; the episodes, like most series of the era, are self-contained. For example, in their parting press release, the producers say they considered having the older daughter, Betty, get married, and in "Betty's Career Problem" (April 25, 1960) that seems to be what they suggest: Betty has apparently had a competition going for some years with classmate Cliff Bowman (whom we've never heard of before). But when they both compete for the same assistant buyer's job at a local department store, Betty realizes that she really doesn't want a career but rather a husband, and when she is dressed as a bride in the department store's fashion show, with Clifford playing the groom, she tells him there is something she is better at than he is--being a bride. When they kiss, an elderly lady in the audience says it seems real, and Jim replies that it is. When the woman asks how he would know that, Margaret says that he is the father of the bride. Yet in the very next episode, "Bud Lives It Up," Betty is back in college and dating the head of the school debate team.

The second reason that Rodney and Young gave for canceling the series was that they had gone higher in the ratings with each successive season and they did not want fall back and slide into mediocrity. As mentioned above, the show did make it all the way up to the 6th spot in the 1959-60 season, which would have been hard to top in the coming years. But a couple of the episodes in that last season also seem to suggest that the producers were unhappy with the way the show was being characterized and were concerned about its legacy. In "Togetherness" (January 25, 1960), Jim is selected to be the subject of an insurance industry magazine article about how a thriving family life helps make an insurance salesman more successful. Only the reporter sent to Springfield by the magazine finds that the Andersons do not at all fit the stereotypical mold of familial togetherness. In fact, the reporter decides to write an entirely different story until at the very end he comes in on all of the family members pitching in to help Bud out of a mess he'd gotten into at school. Still, the article says that the family has their own brand of togetherness that doesn't fit the usual pattern, and Jim and Bud both remark after reading the finished article that they are glad it didn't make them look sappy. And yet the team effort at the end of the episode and the way all the loose ends are tied up neatly by episode's end is the very definition of TV family sappiness. In "Jim's Big Surprise" (February 29, 1960), Jim tells the family that he has a big surprise to announce later that afternoon and makes them all reconvene to hear the news at 4:00. Each of them imagines that the surprise is some kind of financial windfall that will please them personally, and they are initially disappointed to learn that it is only that Jim has been named Father of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. After being shamed by Margaret for being so selfish, they rally to give Jim a special dinner before he and Margaret go to the award ceremony, with each of the children giving him a present of some achievement they have earned as the result of his fatherly guidance. Jim sums things up by saying that they may not be the richest family, but they are surely the most normal. While he may be correct that his children are normal in being self-serving on first impulse, the Andersons are more the epitome of squeaky clean morality than the definition of normal. In both of these episodes, it's as if Rodney and Young are trying to tell the viewers that the Andersons are just plain folks, with all the faults and blemishes of the average American family, rather than the standard that all families should aspire to. But contrasting the characters' on-screen behavior with the real lives of the actors who played them shows how far from normal the series actually was.

The sweeping orchestral theme song, with spoken voice over announcing the main actors, was composed by Indiana clarinetist Irving Friedman, who began playing in New York jazz bands back in the 1920s, including time in Paul Whiteman's orchestra. After appearing in the Whiteman film King of Jazz, Friedman decided to stay in Hollywood and formed one of the first regular studio orchestras for Warner Brothers, becoming head of the group in 1934. He moved over to MGM in 1943, then on to Eagle-Lion three years later. Eventually he formed his own music company, Primrose, which he ran while working as music supervisor on Father Knows Best, until finally selling it when he retired in 1963. He also served as music supervisor on The Range Rider, The Gene Autry Show, Captain Midnight, Tate, Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show, and Hazel. He died November 21, 1981 at the age of 82.

A fan web site with a wealth of information and photos from the series can be found at

All six seasons of the series have been released on DVD by Shout! Factory

The Actors

Robert Young

The actor whom Louis B. Mayer once described as having "no sex appeal" was born in Chicago, grew up in California, and broke into movies in 1931 after being discovered by an MGM talent scout while touring with a theatre stock company. Young's first appearance was in a Charlie Chan movie and his early career included being an extra in Keystone Cops movies. He had an extremely prolific career in films through the 30s and 40s, appearing mostly in B grade films or in supporting roles. However, he had a few juicier parts, such as in Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent, in the first Mr. Belvedere film Sitting Pretty, The Enchanted Cottage, and H.M. Pulham, Esq., but by the end of the 40s the number of roles began to wane and he switched to radio with Father Knows Best in 1949. After five years on radio, the series moved to television with Young the only actor from the original cast that made the transition to the small screen.

Despite Young's desire to leave the series in 1960, he was back on the air with a new series in the fall of 1961 titled Window on Main Street, which unfortunately lasted only a single season. After that disappointment, Young had scant film and TV appearances throughout much of the rest of the 1960s as Young, a nearly lifelong alcoholic and clinically depressed, suffered a nervous breakdown in 1966. However, he triumphantly returned to television in the fall of 1969 in the lead role of Marcus Welby, M.D., which ran for seven seasons. After the series ended, he did two Father Knows Best reunion TV movies in 1977 and two Marcus Welby reunion TV movies in 1984 and 1988, retiring from acting after the last of these. He unsuccessfully attempted suicide in 1991, the same year in which he reportedly recovered from his 45-year bout with depression. He died of respiratory failure on July 21, 1998 at the age of 91.

Jane Wyatt

Born in New Jersey and raised in New York City, Wyatt was the daughter of an investment banker and a drama critic in a family that traced its roots back to Rufus King, one of the original signers of the U.S. Constitution. She was also distantly related to Eleanor Roosevelt. After college she joined the apprentice school of a theatre group in Stockbridge, MA; she eventually made her way to Broadway and from there was signed to a movie contract by Universal Pictures, making her film debut in 1934. Amongst her most notable roles were the female leads in Lost Horizon, Gentleman's Agreement, and None But the Lonely Heart. Her career suffered in the 1950s because of her vocal opposition to the tactics of Communist hunter Senator Joe McCarthy, and she was considered suspicious for hosting a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet during World War II, though she did so under instruction from President Roosevelt. Though she had roughly a dozen TV theatre anthology shows in the 1950s, Father Knows Best was her first regular role on the small screen, a role for which she won three Emmy Awards.

After the series ended its 6-year run, Wyatt had several guest appearances on various TV shows and an occasional film role throughout the 1960s, though none more notable than her appearance as Spock's human mother in the Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel," a role she reprised in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986. In the 1980s she also had a recurring role as Katherine Auschlander on St. Elsewhere, and her last television appearance came in a 1992 episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. She died of natural causes October 20, 2006 at the age of 96.

Elinor Donahue

Born in Tacoma, WA, Donahue's mother was a theatrical costumer who had her taking tap dance lessons from the age of 16 months. By age 5 she was signed by Universal to appear in dance choruses. At age 15 she appeared in a supporting role in the Elizabeth Taylor film Love Is Better Than Ever, and the next year she was a musical judge on the ABC television program Jukebox Jury. But her big break came being cast as the Anderson's elder daughter Betty on Father Knows Best at age 17 in 1954. In a January 9, 1960 cover story for TV Guide, Donahue revealed that her chance at the Father Knows Best role came after she broke her ankle and was unable to travel to Las Vegas as part of a chorus line. By the time the TV Guide article appeared, Donahue, then 22, had been married and divorced from sound technician Richard Smith and was living with her mother and 3-year-old son Brian. She would soon thereafter marry Father Knows Best executive producer Harry Ackerman, 25 years older than her, with the marriage lasting until his death in 1991.

After Father Knows Best ended, Donahue was immediately snapped up to play Andy Griffith's love interest as Ellie Walker in the first season of The Andy Griffith Show, but she decided to leave the show after its first season despite having originally signed a 3-year contract. She has had a busy acting career ever since: besides the occasional guest appearances on various TV shows and an occasional film role, she played Joan Randall on the series Many Happy Returns in 1964-65, Dr. Jennifer Ethrington in The Flying Nun in 1968-70, Miriam Welby on The Odd Couple from 1972-75, Jane Mulligan on Mulligan's Stew in 1977, Susan Baxter on Beans Baxter in 1987, Chris Elliott's character's mother Gladys Peterson on Get a Life from 1990-92, Jane Seymour's mother Rebecca Quinn on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman from 1993-1997, and most recently Judge Marie Anderson on The Young and the Restless in 2010-2011. In 1998, she published In the Kitchen With Elinor Donahue, which recounted her memories from her acting career along with 150 of her favorite recipes. She is currently married to her third husband, since 1992, contractor Louis Genevrino.

Billy Gray

Gray was born in Hollywood; his mother, an actress often uncredited, had him appearing in films from the age of 5 when he had a bit part in Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Amongst his most notable early film appearances are in the Doris Day musical On Moonlight Bay, playing Jim Thorpe as a child in Jim Thorpe -- All American, and as the young boy Bobby Benson befriended by alien Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still. He also began making television appearances in 1950 and was slated to play the role of Tagg Oakley on Annie Oakley before the role as Bud Anderson on Father Knows Best came along. Despite his good fortune as a result of the series, keeping in contact with the other cast members after the series ended, and appearing in the two reunion TV movies in 1977, Gray blasted the series in a 1983 interview:
"I wish there was some way I could tell the kids not to believe it. The dialogue, the situations, the characters ­ they were all totally false. The show did everyone a disservice. The girls were always trained to use their feminine wiles, to pretend to be helpless to attract men. The show contributed to a lot of the problems between men and women that we see today. . . . I think we were all well motivated, but what we did was run a hoax. 'Father Knows Best' purported to be a reasonable facsimile of life. And the bad thing is, the model is so deceitful. It usually revolved around not wanting to tell the truth, either out of embarrassment, or not wanting to hurt someone. If I could say anything to make up for all the years I lent myself to (that), it would be, 'You Know Best.'"

After the series ended, he made several guest appearances on various TV shows, but his career suffered a setback in 1962 when he was arrested for marijuana possession. When he appeared as a heroin dealer in the 1971 film Dusty and Sweets Magee, famous film critic Leonard Maltin reported that Gray had been recruited for the role by actual drug dealers and addicts and continued publishing this information in his popular film guide for two decades until Gray sued him and won. Besides his acting career, Gray has been a dirt bike racing competitor and an inventor, creating such items as a self-massager, unique guitar pick, and a candle holder for jack o'lanterns. He is currently a promoter for the revival of Class A dirt bike racing.

Lauren Chapin

Chapin, born in Los Angeles, lived through a child actor's hell, being the daughter of an alcoholic mother and a sexual predator father, as detailed in her autobiography Father Does Know Best. She was sexually abused by her father as early as age 3, but after her parents divorced due to her mother's alcoholism, she ran away to live with him again at age 11 because she couldn't stand life with her mother. Living with father the second time was no better as he resumed the sexual abuse, causing her to run away again and marry a boy she didn't love. From there she descended into heroin addiction, prostitution and jail time. Consequently, other than her years on Father Knows Best and its reunions, Chapin's acting career is sparse. She won five Jr. Emmy's as best child actress for her role as Kathy Anderson. Producer Eugene Rodney once remarked that she was cast for the role because she had little previous acting experience, which he felt caused her performance to appear more natural.

She is now a manager for actors and singers, performs in a version of Father Knows Best on cruise ships, is a licensed and ordained Christian evangelist, and an advocate for the state of Israel. She also sells memorabilia from her television days on her web site

Notable Guest Stars

Season 6, Episode 15, "Bud Hides Behind a Skirt": Forrest Lewis (Mr. Peavey on The Great Gildersleeve) plays an unnamed traffic court clerk. Bob Anderson (Park Street, Jr. on The Court of Last Resort and Aeneas MacLinahan on Wichita Town) plays a traffic cop. Larry Gates (starred in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Some Came Running, The Sand Pebbles, and In the Heat of the Night and played Harlan Billy Lewis on Guiding Light) plays a judge. 

Season 6, Episode 16, "Togetherness": Don Keefer (shown on the left, starred in Death of a Salesman, Hellcats of the Navy, and Sleeper and played George on Angel) plays magazine reporter Mel Buford. 

Season 6, Episode 17, " Second Best": Billy Hummert (Cornell Clayton on Margie) plays little boy Gordon. Ralph Faulkner (played Woodrow Wilson in three 1918 films and was fight choreographer for The Three Musketeers (1935), Captain Blood, and Zorro's Fighting Legion) plays Betty's fencing instructor.

Season 6, Episode 18, "Kathy's Big Deception": Reba Waters (Francesca on Peck's Bad Girl) plays Kathy's friend Patty.
Season 6, Episode 19, "Cupid Knows Best": Katina Paxinou (shown on the right, Greek actress who won the 1944 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in For Whom the Bell Tolls and also appeared in The Inheritance and Mourning Becomes Electra) plays flower shop owner Mama.

Season 6, Episode 20, "The Big Test": Jack Harris (starred in Burden of Truth, Squad Car, and Stakeout! and played the court clerk 8 times on Perry Mason) plays Bud's teacher Mr. Glover. 

Season 6, Episode 21, "Jim's Big Surprise": Marion Ross (shown on the left, played Marion Cunningham on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, Emily Heywod/Hayward on The Love Boat, Sophie Berger on Brooklyn Bridge, Beulah Carey on The Drew Carey Show, and the voice of Mrs. Lopart on Handy Manny) plays Kathy's diving instructor Miss Abrams. 

Season 6, Episode 22, "Time to Retire": Charles Ruggles (shown on the right, starred in Charley's Aunt, The Girl Habit, If I Had a Million, Alice in Wonderland, Ruggles of Red Gap, Bringing Up Baby, and Son of Flubber and played Lowell Redlings Farquhar on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays Jim's colleague Arthur Higgins. Sarah Selby (Aunt Gertrude on The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, Lucille Vanderlip on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, and Ma Smalley on Gunsmoke) plays Jim's secretary Miss Thomas. 

Season 6, Episode 23, "Bud, the Speculator": Jeffrey Silver (Rodney on The Charles Farrell Show and Jimmy Lloyd on The Bob Cummings Show) plays Bud's friend Eddie. 

Season 6, Episode 24, "The $500 Letter": Sarah Selby (see "Time to Retire" above) returns as Miss Thomas. 

Season 6, Episode 26, "Family Contest": Stuart Erwin (shown on the left, starred in Men Without Women, Make Me a Star, Women Are Trouble, and The Bride Came C.O.D. and played Stu Erwin on The Stu Erwin Show and Otto King on The Greatest Show on Earth) plays bakery co-owner Mr. Henslee. Hanna Landy (starred in Thunder Pass, Git!, In Like Flint, and Rosemary's Baby) plays his wife. 

Season 6, Episode 27, "Love and Learn": Diana Millay (shown on the right, played Laura Collins on Dark Shadows) plays Bud's tutor Nelda Fremont. 

Season 6, Episode 28, "Blind Date": Hampton Fancher (Deputy Lon Gillis on Black Saddle and co-wrote the screenplay and was executive producer on Blade Runner) plays clumsy waiter Rudy Kissler. Dick Gering (Johnny Green on Margie) plays dance M.C. Bob. 

Season 6, Episode 29, "Betty's Career Problem": Jim Hutton (shown on the left, starred in The Subterraneans, Where the Boys Are, The Honeymoon Machine, Bachelor in Paradise, Walk Don't Run, and The Green Berets and played Ellery Queen on Ellery Queen) plays Betty's nemesis Cliff Bowman. 

Season 6, Episode 30, "Bud Lives It Up": Skip Young (Wally Dipple on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays Bud's debate teammate George Allison. 

Season 6, Episode 31, "Not His Type": Diana Millay (see "Love and Learn" above) plays Betty's best friend Diane. 

Season 6, Episode 32, "Betty's Graduation": Paul Brinegar (shown on the left, played Jim "Dog" Kelly on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Wishbone on Rawhide, Jelly Hoskins on Lancer, and Lamar Pettybone on Matt Houston) plays an unnamed delivery man.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lawman (1960)

Amid the deluge of western series that swept the airwaves during the 1950s and early 1960s, none seemed more destined for obscurity than Lawman, not only for its generic title but also for its lack of a real distinguishing angle. Bonanza told the tale of upholding a family name and its land; Wagon Train described the nation's move west and the people who "settled" it; Rawhide described life on a cattle drive; Wanted Dead or Alive depicted the life of a bounty hunter; and even The Deputy showed one man's struggle between life as a public servant and a private citizen. And while Lawman, like the more popular and longer-running Gunsmoke,  had its cast of supporting characters, Deputy Johnny McKay (played by Peter Brown) and saloon proprietor Lily Merrill (Peggie Castle), it really all came down to one man, the Lawman, Marshall Dan Troop, played by Clark Gable-lookalike John Russell. In essence, it's a series that plays off the American trope of the rugged individual, in this case a strong, unwavering individual who can make the difference between lawlessness and law and order. This theme obviously found an audience, as the series placed in the top 30 of the ratings its first three years, reaching a peak of #15 for the 1959-60 season.

The show's debut episode, "The Deputy" (October 5, 1958), has a much rawer tone and Troop's character is more abrasive than the comfort zone the series had reached by 1960, midway through Season 2. This first episode tells the story of how Troop was hired by the town of Laramie, Wyoming to replace the previous Marshal David Lemp, murdered by a family gang living in Laramie, whom the citizens know are guilty but are too afraid to confront or even talk about. When Troop first rides into town from his previous job in Abilene, he encounters McKay burying his predecessor. When he understands the situation he has walked into, he is understandably testy and abrupt with the cowards he has been hired to protect. In a scene reminiscent of High Noon, Troop has to take on two of the brothers while the townspeople watch from their hiding places. McKay's boldness in coming to Troop's aid and helping him gun down the killers earns him the role as Troop's deputy. Thus, in the beginning, the Lawman, an outsider, comes into Laramie to save it from an evil festering in its core.

Fast forward a season and a half and the tables have turned. Troop is firmly ensconced as the law in Laramie, a familiar sight patrolling its streets and on better terms with its citizens, while threats to the town's peace and quiet typically come from the outside. In "Last Stop" (January 3, 1960), young Gabe Jennings rides into town intending to kill the father he thinks deserted him and his mother. Troop has to do some investigative research but eventually figures out that the story doesn't add up, that Gabe's father had already settled in Laramie at the time his mother had claimed they were all living in St. Louis, meaning that her story about the father's desertion was false. Presented with the evidence, Gabe realizes that his father is not at fault and decides to reconcile with him rather than shoot him. In "The Showdown" (January 10, 1960), another outsider, Blake Carr, rides into town looking for Lance Creedy, claiming that he is going to kill him because Carr stole his woman. When Mattie, the woman central to the charge, proves her love for Creedy, Carr turns on Troop, who is forced to gun him down. And in "The Stranger" (January 17, 1960), an unknown man rides into town planning to kill Troop to avenge the death of his son, whom Troop was forced to shoot when the drunken son drew his gun on him. McKay this time tells the stranger what really happened and that his son was no good, which the father is finally forced to admit. Occasionally crime springs up from a Laramie citizen, but most often trouble comes from outside, and inevitably Troop is the one who must deal with it. However, unlike in the show's first episode, he once in a while gets a little help from one of Laramie's own other than McKay, as when hotel clerk Jack Stiles and stagecoach driver Calvin help Troop and McKay outgun a gang of bank robbers in "The Lady Belle" (May 1, 1960).

Yet despite a year and a half of seasoning, McKay had not developed very far in his role as deputy by 1960. Though he is eager and loyal, he is too often bushwhacked or outwitted and must be saved by Troop, though early in Season 3 a couple of episodes are devoted to exploring his maturation. In "The Town Boys" (September 18, 1960), McKay persuades Troop to release a gang of juvenile delinquents into his custody, recognizing in them the same sense of abandonment that he felt growing up and believing that all they need is a good job and someone to believe in them in order to set them on the right path. But while he allows McKay to take on this assignment, Troop also secretly follows up behind him to make sure that things don't get out of hand. And even though one of the boys turns out to be a bad apple who is intent on a criminal plot, McKay figures it out and is able to foil the plot without Troop having to intervene. And in "Cornered" (December 11, 1960) McKay is forced to shoot down a notorious and ornery gunslinger, thereby guaranteeing that he will face the wrath of the gunslinger's lone surviving son. Troop offers to step in and spare him what appears to be certain death, but McKay recognizes that he can't run from his fate and stands up to the challenge by himself.

Another area of Troop's life that has moved forward is female companionship. In the series' first season, Troop's main female interest is the late Marshal Lemp's widow Dru (played by Bek Nelson). But in season 2, Lily Merrill arrives in Laramie, after being run out of Billings, Montana by a crooked sheriff, and opens a saloon called the Bird Cage, which features gambling and occasional musical entertainment by Lily. She and Troop become an item, but in a very low-profile, never explicitly stated sort of way. But it is clear that they are assumed to be headed for matrimony one day. In "The Old War Horse" (October 9, 1960), Lily foils the plans of shyster Jason McQuade in getting Lily's former mentor Bess Harper to claim the inheritance of her former husband, who had intended the money to be used to build a school in Laramie. Lily achieves this by persuading Bess to revive her showgirl act from their days together in Billings. As Troop forces the exposed McQuade out of town, the latter warns Troop never to get involved with a showgirl because they never outgrow their hunger for applause, causing Troop to register concern on his face and ask Lily if this is true for her, obviously trying to weigh what he may have in store once he and Lily tie the knot.

Though the series frequently makes use of familiar plots seen on many other westerns from the era (some of them recycled from other Warner Brothers series), it also features the occasional story that proves particularly poignant. In "Girl From Grantsville" (April 10, 1960), McKay falls for pretty young Jenny Miles when she rides into town on the stage, failing to see that she is only using him to inspire jealousy in the man she really loves, card dealer Jeff Hacker, which in and of itself is a hackneyed theme of the young man blind to the true character behind a pretty face. But what sets this episode apart is that once Miles meets her tragic end and is exposed in the game she has been playing, McKay simply walks off dejectedly alone and Troop, with Lily by his side, watches with a look of pure agony written across his face, as if McKay were his son and he were vicariously feeling his pain. There is no tidy wrap-up or statement of lessons learned here; the episode merely ends with a pure expression of suffering. 

The episode "Thirty Minutes" (March 20, 1960) also proves interesting because the time elapsed in the story nearly matches the time elapsed in the show itself. Having a plot driven by the agonizingly slow passage of time heightened by a rising sense of tension was not unprecedented--High Noon being but one predecessor--but the formula still gives the plot a sense of urgency not often seen in television scripts of the era. On the other end of the spectrum, the series was not above resorting to a little beefcake to goose the interest of female viewers: in consecutive episodes we see McKay and then Troop go shirtless. In "Chantay" (November 13, 1960) McKay is shown sleeping in a back room of the jailhouse, then startled when the title character, a young Native American woman, is found hiding under his bed to escape her pursuers, thereby forcing him to quickly cover up and get dressed. In the next episode, "Samson the Great" (November 20, 1960), Troop strips to the waist to take on burly and bad-tempered fighter Samson in a boxing match. Even though the mighty Samson outweighs Troop by about 100 pounds and has just easily whipped nine other Laramie fighters, he ultimately proves to be no match for the Lawman. And speaking of details involving shirts or the lack thereof, it should be noted that McKay's character wears the same corduroy shirt in every 1960 episode but one, "The Old War Horse," in which he sports a plaid shirt.

The choral theme song was written by long-time collaborators Jerry Livingston and lyricist Mack David, older brother of lyricist Hal David. Mack David received 8 Oscar nominations and wrote lyrics for such popular songs as "Rain, Rain, Go Away," "I'm Just a Luck So and So," "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine," The Shirelles' "Baby, It's You," as well as the theme songs to the film The Blob and the TV show Casper the Friendly Ghost. Besides his many collaborations with David (including three shared Oscar nominations), Livingston wrote for several other Warner Brothers TV series, including 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6, and Bourbon Street Beat.

Though there are no credits listed for scores of individual episodes, the music supervisors for the Lawman series were another pair of long-time partners Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter. Sawtell, originally from Poland, had literally hundreds of film credits, mostly B movies and many westerns, dating to the late 1930s. He teamed up with Shefter in the 1950s and continued his prolific output on films such as The Fly, The Curse of the Fly, It! The Creature From Beyond Space, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Sawtell & Shefter's work on this last film led to music composition duties on the television series it spawned beginning in 1964. The two also served as music supervisors on the same aforementioned Warner Brothers series, as well as Colt .45, Sugarfoot, Maverick, and Bronco. Sawtell and Shefter composed scores for the western series Broken Arrow from 1956-58.

Though it has not been released on DVD as of this writing, the series is currently showing weekdays on the Encore West cable TV channel.

The Actors

John Russell

John Lawrence Russell was a native of Los Angeles and attended the University of California while also participating in athletics. He joined the Marines during World War II, initially rejected because at 6'4" he was considered too tall, and was decorated for valor at the Battle of Guadalcanal, later receiving a medical discharge when he contracted malaria. He was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout in a restaurant in Beverly Hills and appeared in his first film in 1939, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Thereafter he mostly served in supporting roles in films such as the first Mr. Belvedere movie Sitting Pretty, Saddle Tramp, and The Last Command before being cast in the lead role for the 1955 action-adventure TV series Soldiers of Fortune, which ran for two seasons. After that show ended, he appeared in B movies such as Untamed Youth and The Dalton Girls as well as the lead role in Hell Bound before being cast as Marshal Dan Troop in Lawman in 1958. During the show's four-year run, Russell also made occasional appearances in films such as Rio Bravo and Yellowstone Kelly.

In the remainder of the 1960s, his film appearances were spotty, but he did appear in five episodes of It Takes a Thief as William Dover in 1969. In 1976 he had a memorable supporting role as Bloody Bill Anderson in Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales and appeared in two more Eastwood films--Honky Tonk Man and Pale Rider--in the 1980s. He also succeeded James Doohan as the voice of the Commander in the children's science fiction animated series Jason of Star Command. He died from emphysema at the age of 70 on January 19, 1991.

Peter Brown

Born Pierre Lind de Lappe in New York City, Brown's mother, Mina Reaume, was the voice actor for the Dragon Lady in the radio serial version of Terry and the Pirates and provided the inspiration for Brown to pursue an acting career. Brown's father died when he was four, and he took the last name of his step-father Albert Brown. While stationed in Alaska as a member of the Army, Brown wrote, directed, and acted in theatrical productions to entertain his fellow soldiers, and when he left the service he enrolled in drama at UCLA. While working at a gas station on Sunset Strip, he met Jack Warner of Warner Brothers and was signed to a contract with the studio. His first appearances on film were in two 1957 episodes of the TV series Colt .45, and the next year he had his first credited role in a feature film in Darby's Rangers. Though his scenes were deleted from the 1958 Andy Griffith picture Onionhead, Brown caught the attention of producer Jules Schermer, who then cast him in the role of Deputy Johnny McKay when he started Lawman later that year. In his role as McKay, Brown also appeared in other Warner Brothers westerns, like Maverick and Sugarfoot. Brown was one of the more accomplished TV western actors in skills pertinent to the character he played: he won over $2000 in prize money in competitive rodeo events and he won a quick-draw contest staged as a publicity stunt involving other leading TV western actors of the day.

After Lawman was canceled, Brown had multiple appearances on shows like Wagon Train and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in addition to more film roles in Ride the Wild Surf and Ann-Margret's Kitten With a Whip. In 1965 he was cast in the role of Chad Cooper for the series Laredo, which ran two seasons. As with his McKay character, he played Cooper in an episode of The Virginian as well. Sporadic film work in the 1970s was highlighted by his villainous role as Steve Elias in the Pam Grier blaxploitation classic Foxy Brown and repeat appearances as Dr. Greg Peters on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. He continued working steadily in films and mostly TV series through the 80s and 90s, including more recurring soap opera roles on The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. His last appearance on film was in the 2005 western reunion feature Hell to Pay, which also included The Virginian's James Drury, Lee Majors, and Stella Stevens.

Peggie Castle

Castle was born Peggy Blair in Appalachia, Virginia, and like John Russell was spotted by a talent scout in a Beverly Hills restaurant. She got her start in radio drama, leading to a screen test for 20th Century Fox in 1947 playing opposite none other than John Russell. She began appearing in films that same year, starting with When a Girl's Beautiful, and often playing the other woman in B-grade features, though she did also have her share of serious fare in movies such as Payment on Demand, 99 River Street, and I, the Jury. Her television work began in 1952 with an appearance on Fireside Theatre, followed by occasional appearances on Racket Squad, Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, and Perry Mason before being cast as saloon proprietor Lily Merrill during the second season of Lawman

After the show ended, she effectively retired from show business, making only a single appearance on The Virginian in 1966. She developed a problem with alcoholism and died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 45 on August 11, 1973.

Clancy Cooper

Born in Boise, Idaho, Cooper appeared in 35 productions on Broadway before venturing into film, starting with several uncredited roles in High Sierra, Double Cross, and They Died With Their Boots On. He appeared in over 100 feature films in a career that spanned from 1938-62. Most roles were minor, often unnamed characters and frequently uncredited but included Pride of the Yankees, The Thin Man Goes Home, State Fair, Mildred Pierce, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Pickup on South Street. He began work in television on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show in 1951 and appeared in over 200 episodes, the last being an episode of Sanford and Son in 1972. But his turn as bartender Timmo McQueen in 15 episodes of Lawman was his only recurring role. He died at age 68 on June 14, 1975 in Hollywood.

Dan Sheridan

A native Irishman, Sheridan began appearing in American films in 1946, with uncredited roles in Cloak and Dagger, followed by Thunder in the Valley, Street With No Name, and Cry of the City. His television career began in 1957 with appearances on Perry Mason, Tombstone Territory, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Like Clancy Cooper, the man he replaced as bartender of the Bird Cage on Lawman, Sheridan's career was limited to supporting small parts, frequently uncredited, and numerous supporting roles on television. On Lawman he played bartender Jake Summers in 41 episodes, up until the last episode of the series on June 24, 1962. He appeared in single episodes of The Dakotas and The Virginian the next year and died June 29, 1963 at the age of 46.

Harry Cheshire

Cheshire's career in film began playing a character named Harry "Pappy" Chesire in five movies, starting in 1940 with Barnyard Follies. Throughout the late 1940s he had a string of roles playing judges, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officers, ministers, wardens, and other official titles. His first television appearance was on The Gene Autry Show in 1950, followed by five appearances on The Range Rider, and finally a recurring role as Judge Ben Wiley on Buffalo Bill, Jr. in 1955-56, the longest-running role of his career. He appeared 15 times as Judge Traeger on Lawman and thereafter had only an uncredited appearance as a policeman in the Jerry Lewis film The Patsy in 1964 before passing away at age 76 on June 16, 1968.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 2, Episode 13, "Last Stop": Jonathan Gilmore (noir author best known for his non-fiction work about the Black Dahlia and biography of James Dean) plays vengeful young man Gabe Jennings. Richard Arlen (shown on the left, starred in The Virginian, Dangerous Paradise, Gun Smoke, Island of Lost Souls, and Alice in Wonderland) plays his father Bill. Rita Lynn (Ella Russo on The Detectives and Miss Kelly on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) plays Bill's betrothed, saloon girl Amie. 

Season 2, Episode 14, "The Showdown": James Coburn (shown on the right, starred in The Magnificent Seven, Charade, Our Man Flint, and In Like Flint and played Jeff Durain on Klondike and Gregg Miles on Acapulco) plays vengeful Blake Carr. John Howard (Dr. Wayne Hudson on Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal, Commander John "Pliny" Hawk on Adventures of the Sea Hawk, and Dave Welch on MyThree Sons) plays the man he's after, Lance Creedy. 

Season 2, Episode 15, "The Stranger": Ian Wolfe (starred in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, The Magnificent Yankee, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and played Hirsch the Butler on WKRP in Cincinnati and Wizard Traquil on Wizards and Warriors) plays vengeful father Jason Smith. Larry J. Blake (the unnamed jailer on Yancy Derringer and Tom Parnell on Saints and Sinners) plays barfly Chuck Slade.

Season 2, Episode 16, "The Wolfer": Archie Duncan (Inspector Lestrade on Sherlock Holmes, Little John on The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Biskett on Mess Mates, and Capt. Dan Cassidy on Orlando) plays Reese, the wolfer. Gilman Rankin (Deputy Charlie Riggs on Tombstone Territory) plays rancher Ed Fuller.
Season 2, Episode 17, "The Hardcase": Don Drysdale (shown on the left, Hall-of-Fame Dodgers pitcher and announcer who appeared in several other TV roles, including playing himself on episodes of Leave It to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show, and The Brady Bunch) plays trailhand Roy Grant. Paul Carr (Bill Horton on Days of Our Lives, Casey Clark on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Ted Prince on Dallas, and Martin Gentry on The Young and the Restless), plays store clerk Gilly Stuart. Robert Armstrong (starred in King Kong, The Son of Kong, Framed, Dive Bomber, Blood on the Sun, and Mighty Joe Young and played Sheriff Andy Anderson on State Trooper) plays Roy's father Lacey. 

Season 2, Episode 18, "To Capture the West": Warren Stevens (starred in The Frogmen, The Barefoot Contessa, Deadline U.S.A., and Forbidden Planet, played Lt. William Storm on Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers, and was the voice of John Bracken on Bracken's World) plays painter Frederick Jameson. Henry Brandon (starred in Secret Agent X-9, Drums of Fu Manchu, and The Searchers) plays his sidekick Tall Horse. 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 arm-wrestler Burt. Mickey Simpson (Boley on Captain David Grief) plays townsman Connors. 

Season 2, Episode 19, "The Ugly Man": Ted Knight (shown on the left, played Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Roger Dennis on The Ted Knight Show, and Henry Rush on Too Close for Comfort) plays the Ugly Man. Eve McVeagh (starred in High Noon, The Glass Web, and Tight Spot and played Miss Hammond on Petticoat Junction) plays waitress Josie. 

Season 2, Episode 20, "The Kids": 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 one of the kids, Dennis Deaver. Tom Drake (starred in Meet Me in St. Louis, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College, and The Sandpiper) plays their uncle Luke Evans. 

Season 2, Episode 21, "The Thimblerigger": Gerald Mohr (narrator on 19 episodes of The Lone Ranger, Christopher Storm on Foreign Intrigue, voice of Mr. Fantastic and Reed Richards on Fantastic 4) plays the thimblerigger. DeForest Kelly (shown on the right, played Dr. McCoy on Star Trek) plays runaway groom Sam White. Doodles Weaver (narrated Spike Jones' horse-racing songs and hosted A Day With Doodles) plays townsman Jack Stiles. Richard Reeves (Mr. Murphy on Date With the Angels) plays townsman Ed Shafter.

Season 2, Episode 22, "The Truce": Robert McQueeney (Conley Wright on The Gallant Men) plays former Confederate officer O.C. Coulsen. Ed Prentiss (Carl Jensen on The Virginian) plays Governor Campbell. 

Season 2, Episode 23, "Reunion in Laramie": William Schallert (shown on the left, played Justinian Tebbs on The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Mr. Leander Pomfritt on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show, Admiral Hargrade on Get Smart, Teddy Futterman on The Nancy Walker Show, Carson Drew on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Russ Lawrence on The New Gidget, and Wesley Hodges on The Torkelsons) plays pianist Reed Smith. Murvyn Vye (Lionel on The Bob Cummings Show) plays buffalo skinner Vint Fell. William Mims (Editor Dameron on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays buffalo skinner Eph. 

Season 2, Episode 24, "Thirty Minutes": Jack Elam (shown on the right, played Deputy J.D. Smith on The Dakotas and George Taggart on Temple Houston) plays wanted criminal Jake Wilson. John Clarke (Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives) plays barfly Len Eaton. Carolyn Komant (Dixie on The Roaring 20's) plays saloon girl Dolores.

Season 2, Episode 25, "Left Hand of the Law": John Anderson (Virgil Earp on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Dr. Herbert Styles on Dallas, and Harry Jackson on MacGyver) plays one-armed man Lloyd Malone. Regis Toomey (starred in Alibi, Other Men's Women, The Finger Points, His Girl Friday, and The Big Sleep and played Joe Mulligan on The Mickey Rooney Show, Lt. Manny Waldo on Four Star Playhouse, Lt. McGough on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Det. Les Hart on Burke's Law, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction and Green Acres) plays his brother Jubal. Robert Reed (shown on the left, played Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch, Kenneth Preston on The Defenders, Judd Morrison on Doctor Kildare, Lt. Adam Tobias on Mannix, and Dr. Adam Rose on Nurse) plays his son Jim. 

Season 2, Episode 26, "Belding's Girl": Emile Meyer (starred in Shane, Drums Across the River, Blackboard Jungle, Sweet Smell of Success, and Paths of Glory and played Gen. Zachary Moran on Bat Masterson) plays rancher Ben Belding. Susan Morrow (starred in Gasoline Alley, Problem Girls, and Cat-Women of the Moon) plays his daughter Meg. Don "Red" Barry (played Red Ryder in the movie serial The Adventures of Red Ryder, and played Lt. Snedigar on Surfside 6, The Grand Vizier and Tarantula on Batman, Capt. Red Barnes on Police Woman, and Jud Larabee on Little House on the Prairie) plays ranch-hand Jim Gaylord. Rush Williams (Roy Hondine on Hawaiian Eye) plays his brother Frank. Doodles Weaver (shown on the right, see "The Thimblerigger" above) returns as hotel clerk Jack Stiles. 

Season 2, Episode 27, "Girl From Grantsville": Suzanne Lloyd (Raquel Toledano on Zorro) plays flirtatious newcomer Jenny Miles. Burt Douglas (Jim Fisk on Days of Our Lives) plays card dealer Jeff Hacker. Roy Barcroft (Col. Logan on The Adventures of Spin and Marty and Roy on Gunsmoke) plays an unnamed stagecoach driver. William F. Leicester (wrote teleplays for 21 episodes of Lawman plus multiple episodes of Tales of Wells Fargo, Colt .45, Bonanza, and The High Chaparral) plays an unnamed stagecoach guard. 

Season 2, Episode 29, "The Salvation of Ownie O'Reilly": Joel Grey (shown on the left, starred in Cabaret, Man on a Swing, The Seven Percent Solution, and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and played Ownie O'Reilly in two more episodes of Lawman and Lemuel Idzik on Oz) plays diminutive youngster Ownie O'Reilly. Donald Murphy (Ben Cabot on The Loretta Young Show) plays his older brother Jack. William F. Leicester (see "Girl From Grantsville" above) plays Jack's accomplice Al Samson. 

Season 2, Episode 30, "The Lady Belle": Joan Marshall (Sailor Duval on Bold Venture) plays bank robbery gang leader Lady Belle Smythe. Slim Pickens (starred in The Story of Will Rogers, Dr. Strangelove, Blazing Saddles, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, and The Howling and played Slim on Outlaws, Slim Walker on The Wide Country, California Joe Milner on Custer, and Sgt. Beauregard Wiley on B.J. & the Bear) plays stagecoach driver Calvin. Vinton Hayworth (Magistrado Carlos Galindo on Zorro, Mr. Sutherland on Hazel, Dr. Faber on Green Acres, and Gen. Winfield Schaeffer on I Dream of Jeannie) plays bank president Oren Slauson. Orville Sherman (Mr. Feeney on Buckskin, Wib Smith on Gunsmoke, and Tupper on Daniel Boone) plays an unnamed bank clerk. Doodles Weaver (see "The Thimblerigger" above) returns as hotel clerk Jack Stiles.

Season 2, Episode 31, "The Payment": Troy Donahue (shown on the right, starred in Monster on the Campus, A Summer Place, Palm Springs Weekend, and Come Spy With Me and played Sandy Winfield II on Surfside 6 and Philip Barton on Hawaiian Eye) plays deceased mine owner's son David Manning. Catherine McLeod (starred in I've Always Loved You, So Young So Bad, A Blueprint for Murder, and The Outcast) plays his mother Judith. Robert McQueeney (see "The Truce" above) plays gunslinger Ron Fallon. Allan Lane (played Red Ryder in 7 westerns, Rocky Lane in 38 westerns, and was the uncredited voice of Mister Ed) plays barfly Joe Hoyt. Mickey Simpson (see "To Capture the West" above) plays Hoyt's friend Lew. 

Season 2, Episode 32, "The Judge": John Hoyt (starred in My Favorite Brunette, The Lady Gambles, and Blackboard Jungle and played Grandpa Stanley Kanisky on Gimme a Break!) plays criminal Judge Grant. Randy Stuart (Louise Baker on Biff Baker, U.S.A. and Nellie Cashman on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays his wife Rose. Diane McBain (Daphne Dutton on Surfside 6 and Pinky Pinkston on Batman) player her sister Lilac Allen.

Season 2, Episode 33, "Man on a Wire": Gustavo Rojo (starred in Tarzan and the Mermaids, Luis Buñel's The Great Madcap, Alexander the Great, and The Miracle and starred in several Mexican TV series since the late 80s) plays high-wire performer Giuseppe Soldano. Karen Steele (starred in Marty, Westbound, and The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond) plays his wife Laura. 

Season 2, Episode 34, "The Parting": Kenneth Tobey (shown on the left, starred in The Thing From Another World, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and It Came From Beneath the Sea and played Chuck Martin on Whirlybirds and Russ Conway on I Spy) plays wanted criminal Bishop. Mike Road (Marshal Tom Sellers on Buckskin, Lt. Joe Switolski on The Roaring 20's, and provided the voice for Race Bannon on Johnny Quest and Ugh on Space Ghost) plays reward seeker Bluel. Doodles Weaver (see "The Thimblerigger" above) returns as hotel clerk Jack Stiles.

Season 2, Episode 35, "The Swamper": J. Pat O'Malley (Judge Caleb Marsh on Black Saddle, Duffy on Frontier Circus, Harry Burns on My Favorite Martian, Mr. Bundy on Wendy and Me, Herbert Morrison on A Touch of Grace, and Bert Beasley on Maude) plays swamper Jim Phelan. Luana Anders (starred in Reform School Girl, Dementia 13, and The Last Detail) plays his unruly daughter Ellie. 

Season 2, Episode 36, "Man on a Mountain": Lee Van Cleef (shown on the right, starred in For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) plays ambitious and ruthless Sandy Creek Deputy Clyde Wilson. Forrest Taylor (starred in True Nobility, Big Calibre, Too Much Beef, and The Lost Planet and played Doc Brannon on Man Without a Gun) plays aging and passive Sheriff Dawson. Richard Garland (Clay Horton on Lassie) plays fugitive Ben Jaegers.

Season 2, Episode 37, "Fast Trip to Cheyenne": King Calder (Lt. Gray on Martin Kane) plays murder suspect Frank Saunders. Suzanne Storrs (Janet Halloran on Naked City) plays his wife Amy. William Fawcett (Clayton on Duffy's Tavern, Marshal George Higgins on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Pete Wilkey on Fury) plays relay station operator Charlie Greer. 

Season 3, Episode 1, "The Town Boys": Richard Evans (Paul Hanley on Peyton Place) plays juvenile ring-leader Pete Goff. Tommy Rettig (shown on the left, played Jeff Miller on Lassie) plays gang member Dean Bailey. Rickie Sorensen (Tommy Banks on Father of the Bride) plays gang member Chuck. Hank Patterson (Fred Ziffel on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction and Hank on Gunsmoke) plays stable owner Harrison Lester. Phil Chambers (Sgt Myles Magruder on The Gray Ghost and Jed Ransom on Lassie) plays gunsmith Sam Jowett.

Season 3, Episode 2, "The Go-Between": Paul Comi (Deputy Johnny Evans on Two Faces West, Chuck Lambert on Ripcord, and Yo Yo on Rawhide) plays kidnapper Cole Reese. Larry J. Blake (the unnamed jailer on Yancy Derringer and Tom Parnell on Saints and Sinners) plays his accomplice Jennings. Gary Conway (Det. Tim Tilson on Burke's Law and Capt. Steve Burton on Land of the Giants) plays eager posse organizer Sam Carter. 

Season 3, Episode 3, "The Mad Bunch": Frank Ferguson (Gus Broeberg on My Friend Flicka, Eli Carson on Peyton Place, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction) plays mad bunch leader Uncle Ben. Edd Byrnes (shown on the right, played "Kookie" Kookson on 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye and the emcee on $weepstake$) plays mad bunch defector Joe Knox. Jack Hogan (starred in The Bonnie Parker Story, Paratroop Command, and The Cat Burglar and played Kirby on Combat!, Sgt. Jerry Miller on Adam-12, Chief Ranger Jack Moore on Sierra, and Judge Smithwood on Jake and the Fatman) plays mad bunch member Duke Janks. Nick Dennis (starred in A Streetcar Named Desire, East of Eden, and Kiss Me Deadly and played Nick Kanavaras on Ben Casey and Constantine on Kojak) plays mad bunch member Skitter. Asa Maynor (starred in Promise Her Anything and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and played Dixie on Straightaway) plays murder victim's widow Dory Terry. Harry Antrim (Judge Hooker on The Great Gildesleeve) plays Laramie's Doc Shea.

Season 3, Episode 4, "The Old War Horse": Lee Patrick (starred in Saturday's Children, The Maltese Falcon, Mildred Pierce, and Pillow Talk and played Aggie on Boss Lady and Henrietta Topper on Topper) plays former showgirl Bess Harper. Arch Johnson (starred in Somebody Up There Likes Me, G.I. Blues, and The Cheyenne Social Club and played Cmdr. Wivenhoe on Camp Runamuck) plays scheming private investigator Jason McQuade. Grady Sutton (later played Ben Toomey on Lawman) plays hotel clerk Stiles. 

Season 3, Episode 5, "The Return of Owny O'Reilly": Joel Grey (see "The Salvation of Ownie O'Reilly" above) returns as diminutive youngster Owny O'Reilly. Lee Van Cleef (see "Man on a Mountain" above) plays outlaw Jack Saunders. William Fawcett (see "Fast Trip to Cheyenne" above) plays general store proprietor Mr. Jenkins. 

Season 3, Episode 6, "Yawkey": Ray Danton (shown on the left, starred in Chief Crazy Horse, Onionhead, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, The George Raft Story, and Portrait of a Mobster and played Nifty Cronin on The Alaskans) plays notorious gunslinger Yawkey. George Selk (Moss Grimmick on Gunsmoke) plays an unnamed newspaper editor. Johnny Eimen (Monk on McKeever & the Colonel) plays an unnamed young boy. 

Season 3, Episode 7, "Dilemma": Tom Drake (see "The Kids" above) plays doctor-in-hiding Sam Burbage. John Beradino (Special Agent Steve Daniels on I Led 3 Lives, Sgt. Vince Cavelli on The New Breed, and Dr. Steve Hardy on General Hospital) plays gang leader Walt Carmody. John McCann (Aereth on Flamingo Road and Walter Kovacs on Melrose Place) plays his brother Fen. Percy Helton (shown on the right, played Homer Cratchit on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays inn owner Ellery Purvy. 

Season 3, Episode 8, "The Post": Don Megowan (Captain Huckabee on The Beachcomber) plays fugitive Rafe Curry. Bernard Fein (Pvt Gomez on The Phil Silvers Show) plays Concordia, New Mexico Sheriff Sabin. 

Season 3, Episode 9, "Chantay": Dean Fredericks (shown on the left, played Kaseem in Jungle Jim, Komawi in The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Lt. Col. Steve Canyon in Steve Canyon) plays Sioux policeman Great Bear. Barbara Luddy (the voice of Lady in Lady and the Tramp and Kanga in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh) plays general store proprietor Mrs. Gaddis. Jan Arvan (Nacho Torres on Zorro and Paw Kadiddlehopper on The Red Skelton Hour) plays Fort Laramie government agent Mr. Weil. 

Season 3, Episode 10, "Samson the Great": Mickey Simpson (see "To Capture the West" above) plays traveling brawler Samson the Great. Walter Burke (starred in All the King's Men, Jack the Giant Killer, and Support Your Local Sheriff! and played Tim Potter on Black Saddle) plays barker Jimmy Fresco. 

Season 3, Episode 11, "The Second Son": Warren Oates (shown on the right, starred in In the Heat of the Night, The Wild Bunch, and Stripes and played Ves Painter on Stoney Burke) plays Al May, first son of rancher Carl May. Kim Charney (Terry Richmond on Leave It to Beaver) plays second son Charlie May. 

Season 3, Episode 12, "The Catcher": Robert Armstrong (see "The Hardcase" above) plays sheepherder Frank Fenway. Claudia Barnett (starred in Robot Monster) plays his wife Missie. James Coburn (see "The Showdown" above) plays foreman Lank Bailey. 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) plays drover Catcher. Steve Mitchell (Starkey on The New Phil Silvers Show) plays drover Ory Task.

Season 3, Episode 13, "Cornered": Frank DeKova (shown on the left, played Chief Wild Eagle on F Troop and Louis Campagna on The Untouchables) plays notorious gunslinger Jed Barker. Guy Wilkerson (played Panhandle Perkins in 22 westerns) plays nosy townsman Phillips. 

Season 3, Episode 14, "The Escape of Joe Killmer": Ken Lynch (starred in I Married a Monster From Outer Space, Anatomy of a Murder, and Dead Ringer and played Lt. Thomas Brand on Checkmate, Det. Lt. Tom Handley on Arrest and Trial, Lt. Barney Keller on Honey West, and Police Sgt. Grover on McCloud) plays criminal brother Al Killmer. 

Season 3, Episode 15, "Old Stefano": Vladimir Skoloff (starred in The Life of Emile Zola, Road to Morocco, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and I Was a Teenage Werewolf) plays sheep herder Old Stefano. John Qualen (shown on the right, starred in The Three Musketeers(1935), His Girl Friday, The Grapes of Wrath, Angels Over Broadway, Casablanca, Anatomy of a Murder, and A Patch of Blue) plays alcoholic veterinarian Doc Shannon.