Get Death Valley Days essential facts below. View Videos or join the Death Valley Days discussion. Add Death Valley Days to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
As the series continued on the air, episodes began to focus on nearly any portion of the American West, not just the Death Valley country. Most episodes portrayed events in the late 19th century, the heyday of the "Old West". Some, however, were set in much earlier times, especially the Spanish colonial era, and a few recounted stories from the early 20th century.
Stanley Andrews as "The Old Ranger," first host of Death Valley Days
Each of the 452 television episodes was introduced by a host. The longest-running was "The Old Ranger," a character played by veteran actor Stanley Andrews.
Following the departure of Andrews, all subsequent hosts appeared under their own names. The first was Ronald Reagan, the former host of CBS's General Electric Theater and future governor and U.S. President from 1981 to 1989. Reagan acted in twenty-one episodes of Death Valley Days, including the 1965 segment "A City Is Born." In that one, he played mining developer Charles Poston, the founder of Arizona. When Reagan entered the race for governor, actress Rosemary DeCamp filled in as the host for a short time. Then the Death Valley Days hosting position went to Reagan's friend and fellow Hollywood actor, Robert Taylor. Like Reagan, Taylor appeared as a character in some of the shows, including "The Day All Marriages Were Cancelled" (1966), also based on the career of Charles Poston.
Taylor portrayed Horace Bell in another 1967 episode, "Major Horace Bell." In the story line, Major Bell, an early settler of Los Angeles, defends a man who he believes has been framed for murder. That same year in the episode "Shanghai Kelly's Birthday Party," Taylor played James Kelly of San Francisco, who shanghaied sailors onto ships bound for the Far East with the expectation that none would return to accuse Kelly of a crime.
Taylor played Texas John Slaughter, a role most associated with Tom Tryon, in the 1968 Death Valley Days episode "A Short Cut through Tombstone." Buck Taylor (no relation) played his deputy, Billy Stiles. Ned Romero was cast as the Geronimo Kid. He played Porter Stockton in the 1967 episode "Halo for a Badman." In the story line, Stockton, an ex-convict, is hired by Mayor Engley (Roy Barcroft) as the marshal of the former Animas City, near Durango in southwestern Colorado, because local officials believe that Stockton can withstand outlaws who have robbed every gold shipment sent out of town. Some of the miners, however, claim Stockton has not reformed but is still involved with the gangs. He had reformed but was fatally shot in the back by a bandit.
When Taylor became gravely ill in 1969, he was succeeded by Dale Robertson, former star of two other western series, Tales of Wells Fargo and Iron Horse. Production of new episodes ceased in 1970, but singer Merle Haggard provided narration in 1975 for some previously made episodes.
During the latter years of the series, some new episodes were still being made while older episodes were already in syndication. In some markets, new episodes could even be running in competition with older ones. To make it easier for viewers to distinguish between old and new, some blocks of syndicated "Death Valley Days" episodes were shown under other series names and with different hosts. This was common practice at the time among syndicated series because it was easy to reshoot the hosting portions of an episode without affecting the main content. Alternate series titles and their respective hosts included Frontier Adventure (Dale Robertson), The Pioneers (Will Rogers, Jr.), Trails West (Ray Milland), Western Star Theater (Rory Calhoun), and Call of the West (John Payne). The last title was also often applied to the series' memorable, haunting theme music.
For its first two years, the series was produced by Autry's Flying A Productions; then from 1954 to 1959, it was handled by McGowan Productions, also known for the Sky King series. Filmaster Productions Inc., which produced the first several seasons of Gunsmoke for CBS Television, took over production of the series after 1959. Madison Productions began to produce the series in 1965.
Although Rio Tinto, successor-in-interest to the series' original sponsor, U.S. Borax, still has a financial stake in this show because copyrights are still held by the United States Borax and Chemical Corporation, the major rights are now held by Element 5 Media, LLC for the broadcast rights and home video rights.
Under the Death Valley Days title, the program was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company, which during the program's run changed its name to U.S. Borax Company following a merger. Advertisements for the company's best-known products, 20 Mule Team Borax, a laundry additive, Borateem, a laundry detergent, and Boraxo, a powdered hand soap, were often done by the program's host. Death Valley was the scene of much of the company's borax mining operations. The "20-Mule Team Borax" consumer products division of U.S. Borax was eventually bought out by the Dial Corporation, which as of 2014, as a division of the German consumer products concern Henkel, still manufactures and markets them. Rio Tinto Group absorbed the U.S. Borax mining operations in 1968 and now owns the TV series.
Death Valley Days is by far the most successful syndicated television western series, the most successful television western ever in the half-hour format, and one of the longest-running and most successful of all scripted syndicated series. The end of the series, coupled with the end of Bonanza in 1973 and Gunsmoke in 1975, marked the demise of the traditional Western era in American television; by the middle 1970s, although western elements were still fairly common in modern series, such as Little House on the Prairie, pure western series were a thing of the past.
The stories used in the series were based on actual events. The episode titled "Death Valley Scotty" was based on the record-breaking run of the 1905 Scott Special chartered by Walter E. Scott, a.k.a. "Death Valley Scotty."
James Adamson (1896-1956) and Felix Nelson (1913-1998) were cast, respectively, as African-Americanslaves Zack and Zeke, living in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1953 episode "Land of the Free." In the story line, the slaves successfully persuade their kindly master, Dr. Henry Cabell (Laton Riley Kirk, Sr.), to allow them to head west to find gold, by which they would purchase their freedom. Gail Davis appeared as Dr. Cabell's daughter, Jerrie.
John Agar was cast as Dr. Charles Edwards, a new graduate of an eastern medical school who sets up his practice in Placerville, California, in the 1963 episode, "Pioneer Doctor." He faces a fight for patients with "Doc" Hutchins (Dick Foran), whom he accuses of engaging in superstition. As the story unfolds Edwards heals some patients left untreated by Hutchins. Ultimately, Edwards kills Hutchins in a gunfight and has to sign his rival's death certificate.
Armand Alzamora (1928-2009) played the Mexican-American outlaw Tiburcio Vásquez in the 1957 episode "The Last Bad Man." The segment focuses on Vasquez's early life of crime, his hatred for the Americans, his prison escape, and his hanging at the age of thirty-nine.
Warner Anderson played John Gaunt, a successful settler in Wyoming, in the 1960 episode, "The Strangers." Gaunt's successful farm is threatened when a mysterious drifter suddenly appears.
Keith Andes was cast in the 1965 episode "Paid in Full" as Rob Hunter, a former Confederatecolonel who returns to Texas to visit Kathy McLennan (Aneta Corsaut), the wife of a soldier who had been killed while serving under Hunter in the American Civil War. He discovers that McLennan and her neighboring ranchers have been defrauded by the cattle baron John Chisum (Michael Constantine), who issued legally unclaimable IOUs when he purchased their stock. Hunter works to recover the money owed to the ranchers.
Richard Angarola (1920-2008) was cast as the historical ComancheQuanah Parker in the 1959 episode "Tribal Justice." In the story line, Parker must clear his name for causing the death of a fellow tribesman before he can become the Comanche chief.
Morris Ankrum appeared as Major Rogers in the 1959 episode "A Bullet for the Captain." In the story line, Rogers tries to determine who is smuggling weapons to nearby Indians. Ankrum was also cast as a rancher named Phillips in another 1959 segment, "The Talking Wire," the story of the difficulties encountered in establishing the first telephone system in California.
Anna-Lisa played Huldah Swanson in the 1966 episode "The Hat That Huldah Wore." In the story line, Anna-Lisa played a young Swedishimmigrant coming west to meet her intended husband for the first time. The episode centers upon her flowery hat in which she had stored more than $1,300 to help get a start in her new life. Tris Coffin, Carl Reindel, and Dub Taylor also appear in this episode.
John Ashley appeared in the 1961 episode "The Holdup-Proof Safe" as Sandy, a rodeo performer who wants to become a deputy sheriff so that he can marry his sweetheart, Katie Downs (Susan Crane). However, he is arrested for the theft of funds from the "holdup-proof" safe in the building of merchant Gus Lammerson (Regis Toomey). With Katie's aid, Sandy escapes from jail to find the real thieves.
John Astin guest starred as Jesse Martin, a mine operator who finds gold in the middle of a town, in the 1968 episode "The Gold Mine on Main Street." Gregg Barton and Lita Baron also appeared in this episode.
Tol Avery appeared five times on the series: as Frank Brenner in "The Resurrection of Deadwood Dick," as Walter Benson in "Doc Holliday's Gold Bars" (both 1966), and in historical roles as Judge Sidney Edgerton of Montana Territory in "Lucia Darling and the Ostrich" and as the mayor of Caldwell, Kansas, in "The Restless Man" (both 1969).
Richard Avonde (1914-1981) was cast as firefighter Philo Clark in the 1954 episode "Little Papeete," a reference to a special fire engine purchased by the community of Columbia, California, which had burned in 1853 and again in 1857. In the story line, Clark leads the effort to purchase the engine, but his girlfriend, Sue Pellet (Emily Heath), grows jealous of Philo's devotion to the machine.
Joby Baker was cast as a traveling magician, Dr. William Davis, in the 1967 episode "The Saga of Dr. Davis." In the story line, Davis's wife, Jenny (Judi Meredith), dies after she encourages him to take a young boy, Tad, on his remaining travels across the West.
Ed Bakey (1925-1988) played the outlaw Sam Bass in the 1967 episode "The Informer Who Cried." In the story line, Jim Murphy (Scott Thomas) is about to be sentenced when Texas Ranger Captain Peak (Mark Tapscott) offers him freedom if he helps in the capture of Bass. A fellow gang member, Barnes (Steve Sandor), is suspicious when Murphy returns.
Roy Barcroft, among seven appearances on the series, played the wagon master, Captain Shaw, in the 1958 episode "Head of the House," the story of the seven Sager orphans, who after the deaths of both parents, head for refuge to the Marcus Whitman mission in Walla Walla, Washington. They are assisted along the way by the famous frontier scout Kit Carson (Morgan Jones) (1928-2012). Harold Daye and Rickie Sorensen played the Sager sons, John and Frank, respectively.
Claudia Barrett was cast as Lee Whipple in the 1959 episode, "Stagecoach Spy." In the story line, Lee rides the stagecoach to observe the movements of outlaws and to help in their identification. Brad Johnson played Sheriff Tom Fuller.
John Beck played a young newspaperman, Sandy Peters, in the 1969 episode "Solomon's Glory." In the story line, a formerly successful journalist named Solomon (Willard Sage) has turned to liquor but is being sobered up by his former boss (Tyler McVey), as Solomon's sister arrives in town.
Don Beddoe in 1954 played the bandit Black Bart, a poetry-writing, debonair former school teacher who turns to stagecoach robbery after his first holdup, a prank, pays handsomely. Wells Fargo & Co. detectives track him down through a laundry mark. He was also pursued by his landlady, Winona Webb (Helen Brown). He spent six years in the penitentiary, never to be heard from again.
Ralph Bellamy was cast as the aging minister Daniel Quint in the 1962 episode "The Vintage Years." In the story line, a young woman whom Quint befriends on a stagecoach ride, Lorna Erickson (Merry Anders), sets him up to be robbed by her former paramour, Johnny Meadows (William Bryant) whom he defeats in a fistfight but is then saved by David J. Cook from being shot. Soon Lorna and Quint marry despite a large age difference.
Mark Bennett, who had a limited acting career, was cast as the historical Abraham Curry, the "founding father" of Carson City, Nevada, in the 1956 episode "The Man Who'd Bet on Anything." Helen Gilbert (1915-1995), a former Miss Missouri, was cast as Mrs. Curry, who questions her husband's gambling habit.
James Best, among four appearances on Death Valley Days, was cast as miner "Tiny" Stoker in the 1955 episode, "Million Dollar Wedding." In the story line, Stoker, in a bet with his cohorts, proposes marriage to a presumably plain woman in their community, Aggie Filene (played by Virginia Lee, an actress who lived from 1924 to 2008). Soon, though the couple falls madly in love and go on a worldwide honeymoon tour with proceeds from a gold strike that they had nearly forfeited. And Aggie returns to the mining camp as a beautiful woman. As Reuel Colt Gridley, a southern Democrat Unionist in 1863 who raised $275,000 by repeatedly auctioning off "The $275,000 sack of flour (1962) to benefit the forerunner of the Red Cross and is terrorized for it by the forerunner of the revenge bent terrorists Klu Klux Klan, the Golden Circle.
Paul Birch played transcontinental telegraph line layer Mike Walsh in the 1959 episode, "Hang 'Em High." In the story line, Walsh competes with a rival company to be the first to lay the telegraph. Then Confederate sympathizers attempt to sabotage the telegraph. Arthur Space was cast as Ben Hudson.
John Bleifer, in the 1960 episode "One Man Tank," played a prospector, Dutch Charley Koehn, who failed at gold mining and instead bought a goat farm, on which he makes a gold strike. John Harmon was cast as Mike Shannon, who tries to evict Charley from the property. Charley's friend, Leo Harris (Dabbs Greer), tries to remedy the injustice Charley faces. Best was cast as Ruel Gridley in the 1962 Death Valley Days episode "The $275,000 Sack of Flour." In the story line, Gridley pays off a bet by donating a bag of flour to a fund for those wounded in the American Civil War.
Joan Blondell was cast as the widowed Lucy Tutaine in the 1963 episode "The Train and Lucy Tutaine." In the story line, Lucy sues the railroad, against great odds, for causing the death of her cow. Noah Beery Jr., was cast as Abel.
Lloyd Bochner played the author Robert Louis Stevenson in the 1966 episode "Jolly Roger and Wells Fargo," directed by Denver Pyle. Don Reardon (died 2004) played Stevenson in an earlier 1958 episode, "The Great Amulet." In the story line, Stevenson falls in love with Fanny Osbourne, played by Aline Towne, the mother of two children in a loveless marriage in San Francisco. The couple met in France where Stevenson recuperated from health issues and moved to San Francisco, where he worked tirelessly despite lingering health matters in the production of a large volume of literary works. The secret of the "Great Amulet" is revealed at the conclusion of the episode.
Eric Bond played Philip Adams in the 1957 episode "The Washington Elm." A Bostonian, Adams yearns to live in the Pacific Northwest and establishes a law office in Seattle, Washington, but his romantic interest, Janice Peabody (Havis Davenport) refuses to relocate. He takes with him a portion of the elm tree on the Harvard University campus and replants it at the University of Washington. Thirty years later, he returns to the Harvard campus to plant part of the Washington elm on the campus because the original tree was destroyed in a storm. A chance encounters with Janice, by then a widow, leads to a second chance at romance for the pair.
Carol Booth (born 1941), in the 1969 episode "Lucia Darling and the Ostrich," played a teacher trying to establish a school in 1863 in the since ghost town of Bannack, Montana. In the story line, a masked sheriff (William Bryant) and his deputy (Jeff Morris) rob the stagecoach bringing Lucia to Montana and steal both gold and her textbooks. She sets out to prove the officers' guilt despite the reservations of both the town itself - hence the reference to "The Ostrich" in the sand in the title of the episode - and her uncle, Judge Sidney Edgerton (Tol Avery), who shortly thereafter became the first governor of the Montana Territory.
William Boyett played respected settler Jim Hardwicke in the 1954 episode "11,000 Miners Can't Be Wrong." In the story line, Columbia is in competition with Sacramento to be the site of the California state capital. When he informs the sheriff (Glenn Strange) that he had killed a man in self-defense, Hardwicke is forced to stand trial. Because of political influence placed on the jury by a corrupt district attorney, Hardwicke was found guilty. His fiancee and his lawyer, Ed Barrett (Gordon Barnes), develop a bizarre scheme to free Hardwicke from the hangman's noose; Barrett steals from a safe in the local bank a petition fomented by the same DA with 11,000 signatures of persons who want Columbia to be the capital, rewrites the first page to call for a pardon for Hardwicke, and appeals to the governor, who is impressed that so many signed. The governor orders Hardwicke's release; but Columbia justly loses out to Sacramento. In another role, Boyett played Dr. Edward Wilson in the 1957 episode, "The Luck of the Irish." In the story line, while fighting an epidemic among the Paiute, Dr. Wilson encounters a young white woman, Kay Casey (Rosemarie Ace), who was taken by the Indians years earlier. When the doctor unites Kay with her large family, she leaves the Paiute and in time became Mrs. Wilson. John Sorrentino played the sympathetic Chief Red Cloud. In the 1955 episode, "The Mormon's Grindstone," Boyett played John Corwin, the friend of the new assayer in town, Murphy (Clark Howat), whom some of the miners believe is understating the value of the assays. Thn Murphy reports that the sandstone in "The Mormon's Grindstone" assays much richer than any other ore around. With Harry Lauter as Cy Meeker and Hank Patterson as "Dad the blacksmith."
Jolene Brand portrayed "Indian Emily" in the 1959 episode of the same name. At the United States Army outpost, Fort Davis, Texas, Emily, an Apache captive, adopts the white man's ways but flees when a young officer, Tom Easton (Burt Metcalfe), whom she loves prepares to marry another. She returns to warn the fort of a pending Apache attack and dies after saving the fort of a gunshot wound fired in error. Meg Wyllie played Tom's compassionate mother, Mrs. Easton. A memorial has been erected at Fort Davis to honor the heroism of Indian Emily.
Paul Brinegar played a prospector, Sawbuck, in the episode "Solid Gold Cavity," filmed in Sedona, Arizona. In the story line, based on a true incident, Sawbuck saves the life of Dr. John Beers, a young dentist who on the trail to San Francisco is attacked and left for dead by two bandits. Dr. Beers (played by Thomas Peters) repays Sawbuck by taking some of the prospector's gold and making him a set of gold teeth, for which Beers subsequently obtained a patent. In "The Lady and the Sourdough," Brinegar plays a cantankerous cook who teams up with a gold miner, Tom Despo (Stanley Adams), until he meets a neighboring widow (Amzie Strickland). In 1969, Brinegar played the Death Valley pioneer Jimmy Dayton (died 1899) in the episode "Jimmy Dayton's Bonanza." In the story line, the aging rancher Dayton takes a saloon girl, played by Marilyn O'Connor, as his wife, but she has second thoughts after she learns that he has exaggerated his wealth. James Wainwright (1938-1999) co-stars as a cowboy who feigns an interest in Mrs. Dayton. The episode was released three days after the death of series host Robert Taylor.
Susan Brown was cast as Wilhelmina Vail in the 1970 episode, "Talk to Me, Charley." In the story line, Wilhelmina arrives to claim her late brother's gold mine, which is being managed by his friends Charley Gentry (Sean McClory) and Stokes LaFever (Hal Baylor), who have been staving off claim jumpers. Soon romance develops between Wilhelmina and Stokes, leaving Charley as the odd man out.
Richard Bull, pre-Little House on the Prairie, was cast as Jeremy Hatcher in the 1970 episode, "Amos and the Black Bull." In the story line, Amos Kolb, played by Anthony Costello (1938-1983), wants to marry Maggie (Heidi Vaughn), Hatcher's ward. Hatcher refuses permission unless Amos can demonstrate financial security. Amos devises a plan to trade a black bull for some Indian land, where he can establish a homestead with Maggie.
James Caan and Roy Thinnes were cast in the 1963 episode "Shadow of Violence" as Bob and Jim, respectively, who begin digging in a cemetery in a western town amid much suspicion. Then a tombstone reveals that they were outlaw brothers. Karyn Kupcinet, who died in real life at the age of twenty-two in an unsolved homicide not long after the episode aired, played Julie.
John Carradine in the 1961 episode "Miracle at Boot Hill," was cast as a stranger coming into a western town who falsely claims that he can resurrect the dead. His promise creates tension for Bill Groat (Peter Hansen), who is responsible for an unsolved murder.
Anthony Caruso was cast as Buckskin Frank Leslie in the 1958 episode, "The Gunsmit." Robert Fuller was cast as gunsmith Alex. In the story line, Leslie comes to town to see his old flame Mary (Anita Gordon), Alex's fiancé who wants nothing to do with Leslie. In 1959, Caruso was cast as Cabrio, a self-proclaimed member of the powerful Black Hand, in the episode, "The Invaders."
Kathleen Case was cast as Helen Crosby in the 1953 episode, "The Lady with the Blue Silk Umbrella." In the story line, Crosby hides the official California statehood documents from ruffians trying to steal them. Rick Vallin was cast as Lieutenant Bob Hastings. She then portrayed schoolteacher Ruth Stewart in the 1958 episode "The Gambler and the Lady," with Mark Dana (1920-2015) as businessman and gambler Brad Forrester. In the story line, heavyweight boxerJohn L. Sullivan (Roy Jenson) comes to a western town to fight an exposition match against the local Buck Jarrico (Hal Baylor). When the prize money earmarked to refurbish the school goes missing, both the teacher and the gambler are falsely accused based on appearances.
Jerome P. "Bill" Catchings (1926-2007), a western stunt performer, was cast as expert lumberjack Silas "Si" Seymour in the 1956 episode "Loggerheads." In the story line, Silas corresponds with flowery letters to Florence Aston (Camille Franklin), but both are illiterate. Each has a friend who is actually writing the letters; Vic Burke (Gregg Palmer) writes for Silas; Mrs. Perrin (Marjorie Bennett) does the same for Florence.
Winnie Chandler (1900-1983) was cast as housekeeper Minnie in the 1958 episode "The Moving Out of Minnie." In the story line, rancher Herb Gulic (Don Kelly) (1924-1966) sends Minnie back to her tribe when he weds Henrietta (Karen Norris) (1927-1996). Then Henrietta's daughter, Carol (Larrian Gillespie), is stricken, and Gulic must try to bring Minnie back to care for her in an emergency. Chandler was also cast as "Ma" Carey in the 1959 episode "Pioneer Circus." When Ma's circus falls on hard economic times, she hires a French equestrian, Juliette Bonet (Joyce Vanderveen) (1927-2008), to reverse the decline.
Stephen Chase (1902-1982) played the historic Sam Houston, with Nancy Rennick (1932-2006), as Houston's second and much younger wife, Margaret Lea Houston, in the 1958 episode "The Girl Who Walked with a Giant." The story focuses on Margaret's important role as a confidant of her husband from his days as president of the Republic of Texas to his time as governor, a postthat he resigned in 1861 because he could not support the Confederate States of America. The episode, however, has no connection to the Death Valley country. Chase was cast too as Colorado sheep rancher Ed Pratt in the 1958 episode "The Mystery of Suicide Gulch." In the story line, Pratt disbelieves his son Loren (Lee Anthony), who loses a large number of sheep while on a drive. The culprit, as it developed, was a toxic plant on which the sheep had grazed. Chase was cast as a minister, Joshua Coleman, in the 1959 episode "Eruption at Volcano," a story not of an explosive volcano but a Confederate attempt to take over the community of Volcano, California. Brett Halsey played Coleman's son, Joel. The two join forces to thwart the dissidents.
Ken Clark was cast as the shanghaied sailor Joe Chapman in the 1958 episode "Yankee Pirate." In the story line, Mexican families in early California are beset by a group of pirates, but the Ortega family resists. The captured Joe Chapman becomes a hard worker and soon falls in love with Lupe Ortega (Pamela Duncan), who had saved him from execution.
Phyllis Coates was cast as a Civil War widow Mary in the 1959 episode, "One in a Hundred". In the story line, Larry Brooks (Michael Forest) is given the new Henry repeater rifle and becomes aggressive with his weapon while he escorts pioneers across peaceful Indian country. The party runs into a lack of water, and Brooks finds himself attracted to Mary. In 1964, Coates was cast as the kind-hearted saloon singer Dora Hand of Dodge City, Kansas, in the episode entitled, "The Left Hand Is Damned." In the story line, Dora nurses an ungrateful gunslinger, Bill Crawford (John Clarke), back to health after he is shot by Dora's boss, MayorJames H. Kelley (Stephen Roberts), in self-defense. Having lost the use of his right hand, Crawford develops skills with his left hand and vows to kill Kelley. Instead, he killed Dora, thinking that her silhouette in Kelley's house was Kelley, who was instead away on business. In 1954, Coates was cast as Annie Stewart in the episode, "Light on the Mountain," set in the early 1860s during the time of Nevada statehood. In a trial concerning mining claims and Civil War allegiances, lawyers Richard Corey (Glase Lohman) and William M. Stewart (Michael Colgan), Annie's husband, must prove that the judge and jury have been bribed to rid the courts of corruption. Angie Dickinson played Annie's friend, Sabina Harris.
Harry Cody (1896-1956) played the aging prospector and Death Valley pioneer Jimmy Dayton in the 1954 episode, "Jimmy Dayton's Treasure." Barbara Knudson played saloon singer Flory Wilkins, who is breaking up with a former paramour, Thad Ryeker (Harry Lauter). She agrees to marry Jimmy because she thinks he has money hidden on the ranch of which he is the caretaker. Her change of heart led to Jimmy and Flory reconciling their differences. Cody died two years after the release of this episode.
Robert Colbert was cast as Andy Carter, a pioneer who retrieves for sale cast-off items from wagon trains, in the 1964 episode "A Bargain Is for Keeping." Sue Randall played Mary Ann Duncan, who finds a missing family heirloom among Carter's goods. He insists that she work for him to gain possession. Karl Swenson was cast as Abe Hughes.
Ben Cooper appeared as Jason Tugwell in the unusually named 1969 episode "Biscuits and Billy, the Kid," no relation to the American outlaw but the story of a pioneer family deserted by a wagon train en route to Utah. Erin Moran was cast as their young daughter, Mary, who is ill with a high fever. They survived the threat of Indians by the popularity of the biscuits of Mrs. Ellie Tugwell (Emily Banks) and their dainty blue-eyed white goat called Billy. Michael Hinn (1913-1988) appeared near the end of the episode as the Mormon figure Brigham Young preaching peace on the frontier.
Jeanne Cooper was cast as pioneer woman Rachel Barrett in the 1969 episode "A Gift." In the story line, Rachel pleads with an Indian chief (Valentin de Vargas) to spare the lives of her husband and son, played by Harry Lauter and Michael Courtney, respectively, as the family waits on an approaching wagon train. Cooper also played Ann Dix in the 1955 episode "I Am Joaquin." In the story line, Ann searches with ultimate success for eight years for the return of her young daughter whom the Mexican bandt Joaquin Murrieta left at a Roman Catholic church after he boarded a ship and stabbed to death the girl's father, Capt. Stephen Dix, played by John Damler (1919-1984). Much earlier, in 1954, Cooper was cast as Susie Jarvis in the episode, "Sixth Sense." Susie is unable to adjust to her blindness until she meets Steve McIntyre (William Hudson), who encourages her to learn telegraphy. She witnesses a stage robbery; her heightened senses play a key role in solving the crime.
Lloyd Corrigan was cast as the lucky hobo, Carl Herman, in the 1960 episode "Money to Burn." Helen Kleeb played a recipient of Herman's largess. Paul Sorensen and William Boyett played the thieves whose $50,000 worth of loot Herman found and then gave away. In 1962,Corrigan was cast as Dorsey Bilger, the bearer of tall tales in Totem, Idaho, in the episode "A Sponge Full of Vinegar." In the story line, the townspeople no longer valued Dorsey's "fairy tales"he tells the children, but he dies a hero rescuing trapped children from the clutches of a gunslinger, Charlie Winslow (Chris Alcaide). The episode title refers to the hard attitude the townspeople held toward the kind and gentle Dorsey. This episode also featured Paul Birch as Sheriff Lick.
Jerome Courtland was cast as newspaperman William Byers in the episode "The Race at Cherry Creek." In the story line, Byers races against time to put out the first newspaper in the Colorado Territory during the gold rush year of 1859. His Rocky Mountain News became the first publication in the territory. Though strongly encouraged in the pursuit by his wife Elizabeth (Nancy Rennick), Byers' pressman, Andy Kate (Alvy Moore), is pessimistic about their chances of publishing first.
Dennis Cross appeared three times in the episodes "Treasure of Elk Creek Canyon" (1961), as the Indian Captain Dick in "Captain Dick Mine," and "The Rider" (both 1965).
Kathleen Crowley appeared as Elizabeth Hayward in "Somewhere beyond the Vultures" (1959).
Robert Culp was cast as the accused robber and killer James Stuart in the 1961 episode, "Alias James Stuart." The episode focuses on mistaken identity: whether this Stuart, who claims to be honest citizen Tom Burdue, knifed to death a storekeeper named Jansen. Eleanor Berry (1906-1991) was cast as Mrs. Stuart, who can identify her abusive but charismatic husband  with John Zaremba as the trial judge.
Ken Curtis appeared as a muleskinner, James "Paddy" Graydon (1832-1862), in the 1964 episode "Graydon's Charge," a dramatization of one of the last clashes of the American Civil War in New Mexico Territory. In the story line, the Union Army plans an attack against a renegade Confederate camp. Denver Pyle played Graydon's partner, Ortho Williams. They two eye the attention of a widow (Cathy Lewis) and seek to show their courage to win her hand. Graydon agrees with reluctance to send his mules, laden with dynamite into the rival camp. The episode is semi-comedic. Graydon's story is the subject of the 1992 book, Captain Paddy Graydon: Desert Tiger, by the historianJerry D. Thompson.
Marcel Dalio played Victor Rosseau in the 1960 episode, "The Battle of Mokolumne Hill," with Roy Engel as Colonel John Charles Fremont. In the story line, Lieutenant Bill Bradshaw (Dallas Mitchell) is ordered to collect California state taxes in the 1850s from immigrant gold miners who rebel against the government thought Bradshaw is sympathetic to the miners. H.M. Wynant was cast as Paul Martain.
Jack Daly (1914-1968) and Ella Ethridge (1893-1982) played a married couple, Henry and Elvira Riggs, in the 1955 episode, '"Riggs and Riggs." In the story line, after a gold strike, the couple sells the claim for $70,000. Elvira worked much harder in prospecting than did Henry, who went to San Francisco to arrange the transfer of payment. Then Henry cavalierly takes off with a shady sea captain to visit various Pacific islands. Though he loses their fortune, the crafty Elvira has a replacement strike looming which she had been working.
Royal Dano was cast as the historical Henderson Luelling in the 1965 episode, "The Traveling Trees." In the story line, Luelling, against the advice of his wagon master, takes the Hastings Cutoff to Oregon, where he intends to plant an apple orchard. Tim McIntire appeared as Ben Fraser, who resists the lawlessness of his older brother, Spencer (Robert Yuro). Dano also appeared in four other Death Valley Days episodes, including another 1965 segment, "The Trouble with Taxes," in the role of Aaron Winters, founder of the Death Valley borax strike.
Michael Dante appeared as Captain Richard Rocha in "Olvera" (1959). Ten years later, he was cast as the ill-fated half-breed Clay Squires, with Robert Taylor as Ben Cotterman and June Dayton as Cotterman's wife, Rachel, in the 1969 episode, "Long Night at Fort Lonely."
Christopher Dark appeared in the 1960 episode, "Human Sacrifice," as Washaki, the designated heir to the chieftainship of the Shoshone. In the story line, Julia (Arlene Martel), the young widow of a fallen chief, fights an ancient ritual that requires her to be killed after the death of her husband.
Gail Davis appeared in two episodes, "The Little Bullfrog Nugget" (1952), in which she played Mamie Jaggers, the only single woman in Bulldog, Nevada, where she had to contend with several suitors, Then in 1953, Davis was cast in "Land of the Free" in the role of Jerrie Cabell. Davis would go on to star in her own western series, Annie Oakley.
Dennis Day was cast in the 1962 episode "Way Station" as Jason Barnes, an ambitious railroad employee who is romancing the daughter, Cynthia Waterfield (Theona Bryant), of his boss, Clay Waterfield (Frank Willcox). Merry Anders portrayed Abby Jefferson.
June Dayton was cast as a nun, Sister Mary Frances, in the 1960 episode "The Wind at Your Back." In the story line, the nun tries to convince a young wounded outlaw, Johnny Carter (Steven Terrell), whom she is treating at a mission school to turn himself into the law.
Rosemary DeCamp played newspaper editor Caroline Romney of Durango, Colorado, in the 1965 episode "Mrs. Romney and the Outlaws." In the story line, the woman editor sounds the alarm for citizens to fight the Kimball/Sykes gang. Willard Sage played Marshal Christy. In the 1965 episode "Canary Harris v. the Almighty," DeCamp played Canary Harris, a widow who sues her church after a meteorite destroys her front porch. She bases her claim on the premise that God unjustly caused or allowed her calamity to occur. After the congregation and Reverend Medford Farr (Robert O. Cornthwaite) reject her claim, she files an appeal to his bishop (Cyril Delevanti). Peggy Rea (pre-The Waltons) was cast as Canary's friend, Lucy.
Yvonne DeCarlo played the title role of Clare Reed in the 1961 episode, "The Lady Was an M.D.," set in the 1890s. John Vivyan was cast as Ed Taylor, her suitor, who devised a most unusual and risky plan to convince people to accept Dr. Reed.
Paul Donovan, who acted only from 1957 to 1958, played a youthful Mark Twain in the 1957 episode, "Fifteen Paces to Fame." In the story line, Twain in 1864 quarrels with a rival newspaperman in the Comstock Lode, Ganse Taylor (Doug McClure), fights a duel, and leaves Nevada for good to begin the long journey to literary success.
James Douglas was cast as Steve Hewitt, a man who accidentally shoots to death the rescuing dogs of a miner, in the 1960 episode "Dogs of the Mist."
James Drury, pre-The Virginian, was cast in the 1959 episode "Ten Feet of Nothing" as a young miner, Joe Plato, who in a drunken stupor gives away half of his Virginia City mining claim to a saloon singer, Kathy Mulqueen (Preshy Marker). Kathy arrives to collect on her interest in the mine when gold is discovered on the adjacent property. Soon the two fall in love and marry. Hank Patterson was cast as Plato's friend, Abe.
Pamela Duncan was cast as Princess Nadja in the 1959 episode, "RX: Slow Death." William Sumner played apothecary Justin Gates, who exposes Nadja's employer, Professor Peacock (Charles Watts) (1912-1966), a traveling medicine man selling an opium-laced concoction that endangered the life of a boy in the community.
Penny Edwards appeared as Nan Gable in the 1958 episode, "Two-Gun Nan," the story of a woman sharpshooter affiliated with William F. Cody's Wild West Show. Nan sets out on a daring 180-day thoroughbred horse ride from San Francisco to New York City to prove that a woman could undertake such a task. Robert "Buzz" Henry (1931-1971) played her husband, Frank Gable, and William O'Neal (1898-1961) was cast as Cody. Still living in 1958, Nan Gable appeared with series host Stanley Andrews at the conclusion of the episode.
Jack Elam was cast as Juan Cortina in the 1961 episode, "General Without a Cause." In the story line, Cortina, a Mexican rancher, outlaw, and folk hero, captures the gravely wounded Miles Owen (William Boyett) and Owen's guide, Delores (Lisa Gaye). Cortina expects to use Owen's wagon of guns for the resistance to the invading French troops. Despite his wounds, Owen conceals the location of the wagon and its water with hope against hope to convince Cortina to give up his outlaw ways and instead to work to save his country.
Hope Emerson appeared as "Big Liz" Barton, a miner who strikes it rich, in the 1958 episode of the same name. Percy Helton played her partner, Scrubby.
Michael Emmet (1926-2009) portrayed Captain Owen Manners in the 1959 episode, "A Bullet for the Captain." In the story line, Manners must prove that a friend, Fred Pierson (John Parrish) (1896-1988), is not supplying ammunition to hostile Indians. The .50 caliber rifles under question become chronically short of ammunition.
Richard Emory in 1952 played "The Death Valley Kid," a bank robber who outsmarted Sheriff Jim Manning (Bruce Edwards) (1914-2002). Ann McCrea, before her stint on The Donna Reed Show, was cast as the saloon singer Lucy, who has romantic interest for Manning. As it developed, the Kid was the estranged younger brother of Sheriff Manning.
Jena Engstrom was cast as Maggie Woolf in the 1961 episode, "Storm over Truckeee." In the story line, Maggie and her father (Frederick Downs, Jr.), while headed to Truckee, California, take refuge in an abandoned cabin during a storm, but two outlaws, played by Corey Allen and George Keemas, arrive there as well.
Harry Fleer was cast as Wyatt Earp in the 1957 episode, "Birth of a Boom." In the story line, prospector Jim Butler (Roy Bancroft) strikes a rich vein in Tonopah, Nevada, in 1900, which makes him and his partners, Johnny Regan (Joel Smith) and Tasker Oddie (Byron Keith), wealthy. The prospectors enlist Earp to stop claim jumping.
Rhonda Fleming was cast as the glamorous Kitty Bolton in the 1962 episode, "Loss of Faith." In the story line, Kitty pits Joe Phy (Jim Davis) and Peter Gabriel (Don Collier) to run against each other for sheriff of Pima County, Arizona. Violence results from the rivalry.
Benson Fong played Sam Kee in "Sam Kee and Uncle Sam." In the story line, Kee, a Chinese man, is being driven out of the United States in a congressionally-sanctioned racial ethnic cleansing when he saves a cavalryman who is being attacked by Apache and eventually aids the entire fort. The commander, Lieutenant Burke (James Douglas) (1929-2016) knows better than to "obey orders" by continuing with Sam's deportation.
Dick Foran played muleskinner Ferguson, with William Schallert as his partner, Dave Mesier, in the 1961 episode "The Breaking Point." In the story line Shad Cullen (DeForest Kelley), Meiser's partner in a gold mine, knows that Ferguson and Mesier have discovered. Not wanting to share the gold, Cllen foments probably fatal discord. Grace Lee Whitney was cast as Verna.
Wallace Ford and Irene Barton were cast as cantankerous rival miners, Buck Hansen and Jennie Parrish, in the 1953 episode, "Claim Jumping Jennie." When Jennie's daughter Linda (Karen Sharpe), educated in the East, visits her mother for the first time in seven years, Linda learns that her mother has not yet struck wealth though she had pretended to have done so in their letters. The episode ends with a partnership between Buck and Jennie to work their neighboring mines.
Steve Forrest played later U.S. SenatorWilliam Borah in the 1963 episode, "The Lion of Idaho." In the story line, Borah as a young attorney defends a woman in Nampa, Idaho, on a murder charge. In the 1964 episode, "See the Elephant and Hear the Owl," Forrest played a down-and-out cowboy, Jack Costello, who is smitten with Julie Stedman (Sue Randall), the daughter of the wealthy cattle baron Col. Stedman (Roy Roberts), who tries to destroy Costello.
Ron Foster appeared as Silas Begg in the 1957 episode, "Rough and Ready."
Anne Francis was cast as the outlaw Pearl Hart, with Jesse Pearson as her boyfriend, Joe Boot, in the 1964 episode, "The Last Stagecoach Robbery." Despite his own hesitation, Boot joins Pearl in staging in 1899 what is called "the last stagecoach robbery" between Globe and Florence in the Arizona Territory. Pearl's intent was to return the money taken in the heist and to become a widely-known female bandit. Both served time at the Yuma Territorial Prison. After two years, Boot escaped and was never seen again. The territorial governor pardoned Hart in 1902 on the condition that she leave Arizona.
James Franciscus and Mary Webster appeared as Mike Ward and Laura Frick, competing newspaper editors in Carson City in the 1959 episode "Lady of the Press." Don Beddoe was cast as a newspaper magnate and senatorial candidate, Colonel Emmett.
David Frankham was cast as a British sailor Edward Peel in the 1958 episode, "Ship of No Return." In the story line, Peel loves Manuela Cortez (Nyra Monsour), whose father (Jan Arvan) disapproves of him and has him shanghaied on a pearl-gathering ship. But Peel soon returns to claim his bride along with pearls owned by Senor Cortez.
Arthur Franz was cast in the 1960 episode, "The Young Gun," as Matt Warner, an ex-convict who tries to steer the son, Rex (David Howe), whom he gave up for adoption, from turning to a life of crime. Franz then appeared in the 1961 episode, "Justice at Jackson Creek" as the drunken, ostracized lawyer Paine Page Prim, who hesitates to help a miner in legal trouble. The episode also stars Dub Taylor as Jake; William Schallert as Carl Spenger, and Bill Bixby as Kinney. Prim subsequently established a law practice and served for two decades as the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.
Gil Frye (1918-2000) was cast as Peter Trumble in the fourth episode of the series, "The Lost Pegleg Mine." In the story line, Trumble clashes with Jeanne DeCourcey (Gloria Eaton) as thye search c. 1950 for the Lost Pegleg in the Death Valley country. The two put aside their differences and agreed to marry. Ralph Sanford played Thomas L. "Pegleg" Smith, the founder of the mine. Andy Clyde appeared as the durable ranch hand, Andy. Frye portrayed Father Miguel Sanchez in another 1953 episode, "The Bell of San Gabriel." As a child portrayed by Peter J. Votrian, Miguel provides funds acquired from a wealthy nobleman to sweeten the tone of the bell at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in San Gabriel, California. Years later, the ring of the bell saves his life when he is a young monk stranded in the desert in the Death Valley country.
Robert Fuller, more than a year before he began his role as Jess Harper on NBC's Laramie, was cast in the 1958 episode, "Ten in Texas" as Johnny Santos, an accused rustler who is on trial for having changed brands and seizing cattle from the historic XIT Ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Harry Strang and Ray Corrigan played, respectively, XIT general manager B. H. "Barbecue" Campbell and Abner Pickens "Ab" Blocker (1856-1943), the developer of the XIT brand. The year before, Fuller appeared in "The Gunsmith."
Parker Garvie was cast in a 1956 episode as "Emperor" Joshua Norton, a businessman who loses his fortune and becomes an eccentric in San Francisco in the 1860s. He declared himself "Emperor of Mexico." His compatriots treat his claims with kindness until his death.
Lisa Gaye plays the widowed Faith Turner who places a sign seeking a husband and a father for her young son in the 1965 episode "The Rider." Jesse Pearson (1930-1979) was cast as mail express rider Jim Barnes, who tries to help her find a suitable mate. Gaye played a woman fortune-teller in Julesburg, Colorado, in the 1966 Death Valley Days episode "The Gypsy." Dennis Cross portrayed Monte Dunning, an evil man who murders a miner named Gross (Bill Zuckert), so that The Gypsy's prediction comes true. In 1968, Gaye played the gambler-turned-Sunday school-teacher Lottie Deno in the episode "Lottie's Legacy." In the dramatization, Lottie falls in love with the Reverend Peter Green (John Clarke), who does not know the details of her past. Gaye appeared in another 1968 episode, "Green Is the Color of Gold," the story of Rosie Winters, who must adjust to isolation in the Death Valley country. Royal Dano played her husband, Aaron Winters, who finds no gold but instead rich deposits of borax.
Anthony George played Vincente Rosetti in "The Invaders," the story of Italian immigrant refugees in the Old West who face threats from that same organized crime ring that they had in their old country. George was cast too as Carlos in "Perilous Refuge." Both episodes aired in 1959.
Frank Gerstle appeared as the villain Sam Walton in "The Mule Mail" and as Charley Parkhurst in "Cockeyed Charlie Parkhurst" (both 1958). Parkhurst was a woman posing as a man who became a horse expert and model driver for Wells Fargo & Co. in California. The title refers to the loss of an eye in an accident. Michael Whalen played Thomas Carter, Charley's boss.
George Gobel appeared as Baylor Thomas, a visionary who tries to develop the use of wind power for moving wagons west, in the 1963 episode, "Thar She Blows."
James Griffith appeared as Aaron Winters and Donna Martell as his wife Rosie in the 1952 episode, "She Burns Green." In the story line, the Winterses are in the midst of ending their marriage while prospecting unsuccessfully for gold in the California desert. They learn of a strike for the needed mineral borax (which one can identify when "She burns green"). Hank Patterson appeared in this episode as Fye Jones.
Ron Hagerthy, formerly the nephew Clipper on Sky King, appeared as Felix Bridger, son of Jim Bridger (Harry Shannon), in the 1958 episode, "Old Gabe." In the story line, Jim Bridger, despite failing eyesight, takes one last assignment as a scout so that he can raise money to pay off the family farm.
Don Haggerty, among multiple roles, played Horace Tabor in the 1967 episode, "Chicken Bill," with Dub Taylor in the title role of the Colorado silver miner "Chicken Bill" Lovell. In the story line, Lovell salts his mine to get Tabor to pay off Lovell's lingering debt and to fund his continued operation. In the 1969 episode, "Old Stape," Haggerty played an eccentric thief who outwits lawmen from his rundown shack along the border of the United States and the Republic of Texas.
Alan Hale was cast as stagecoach driver Abe Williamson, who pursues the murderous Reynolds Brothers, played by Dennis Cross and John Considine, in the 1961 episode, "The Treasure of Elk Creek Canyon." The thieves in this case stole only the fifteen cents that Williamson had in his possession.
Nancy Hale, an actress from 1952 to 1969, was cast as Mary Jane in the 1958 episode, "The Capture," the story of the two Babb children, Betsy (Molly McGowan) (1946-1965) and Charlie (Earl Roby) (1946-2010), kidnapped by the Comanche in Texas. With vital help from Keepo-Kiowa (Irene Barton), a white woman captured years earlier by Kiowa Indians, Mary Jane arranges the children's successful rescue.
Brett Halsey appeared as Joel, the son of a minister, Joshua Coleman (Stephen Chase) in the 1959 episode, "Eruption in Volcano."
Peter Hansen played Dr. Allen Camden in the 1961 episode, "Dead Man's Tale." In the story line, a beautiful woman, Bella Robbins (Valerie Starrett) passes over Dr. Camden for the store owner, Grant (Russell Johnson). Then a survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn played by John Milford comes looking for revenge on Grant, who had been selling government food meant for the Indians. Hansen sees his chance to right a wrong while winning Bella's hand.
Mariette Hartley appeared four times between 1965 and 1968. She portrayed a Roman Catholic nun, Sister Blandina, in the 1967 episode, "Lost Sheep in Trinidad," the story of a wounded gunman, Montana Joe (Matt Clark), an associate of Billy the Kid, played by Tom Heaton (1940-2018). Sister Blandina tries but fails to nurse Montana Joe back to health, but no physician would treat the culprit. The story is set in the then unsettled town of Trinidad, Colorado. Hartley was cast as "Tiger Lil" in the 1968 episode, "Lady with a Past," the story of young woman who leaves the dance hall to become a dressmaker in search of anonymity. Host Robert Taylor played Frank Johnson, a mining engineer with a romantic interest in Tiger Lil. Earlier in 1952, Tracey Roberts (1914-2002) was cast in the same role in "The Little Dressmaker of Bodie," with Myron Healey as her once reluctant suitor, Frank Johnson. In another 1968 episode, Hartley played Cynthia Fallon in "Dress for a Desert Girl," the story of a pioneer woman who yearns for a special store-bought blue dress, which her miner husband, Tom (Richard Beymer), never seems to have the money for the purchase.
Raymond Hatton was cast as Porphyry Smith, who brings the first automobile into the Mojave Desert, in the 1958 episode "Auto Intoxication." Elizabeth Slifer (1896-1958), who died ten months after the episode aired, played his wife, Tildy, who requests the vehicle after he pockets $4,000 from a mining claim. Unknown to Porphyry, the vehicle is intended for use as a hearse. Though he rescued many in a flood, his compatriots ridiculed his choice of a vehicle. The taunts caused him to destroy the hearse by pushing it over a cliff.
Allison Hayes was cast as Mary Granger, a pioneer woman engineer who comes West in the 1957 episode "Lady Engineer." In the story line, Granger, the daughter of a mining company owner, must prove her worth to overcome discrimination in her profession. Gregg Palmer played her coworker and romantic interest, Justin Cramer.
Ron Hayes portrayed newspaper editor Colonel Lounsberry in the 1960 episode "The Great Lounsberry Scoop." In the story line, Lounsberry's reporter friend is killed at The Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana. Walter Sande played the telegrapher who kept the lines open for eighty hours to report on the battle. Hayes was also cast in the lead role in the 1960 episode "Devil's Bar," the story of a Christian pacifist couple, Dan and Mary Bartlett (Terry Loomis), who arrive in Murphy's Flats, California, with intentions of seeking gold in underwater locations. His unusual diving suit resembles a future robot and scares off hostile Indians.
Anne Helm appeared as Jennie Metcalf, or "Little Britches" in the 1962 episode "Girl with a Gun." Ken Mayer portrayed Marshal Hobe Martin, who naively allowed her father's lie that he was unarmed when he was shot, setting her on her outlaw path, then works for her surrender.
Percy Helton played Alex Grant, who is arrested for a 15-year-old murder when he returns to a mining camp, in the 1955 episode, "The Hangman Waits." Things look bleak for Grant until his youthful lawyer, Greg Lewis (Clark Howat), locates a corroborating witness, 75-year-old Harry Gander (Hank Patterson), whose personal diary clears Grant. James Seay played corrupt district attorney Lucius Peck. Helton also appeared as Scrubby in the 1958 episode, "Big Liz."
William Henry was cast as the San Francisco lawyer Lew Barry in the 1952 episode, "Self Made Man." In the story line, after he loses an arm in a shooting and cannot earn his livelihood as a rock driller, his wife Doris Merrick persuades the despondent Barry to study to become a lawyer. Years later, he gains the acquittal on a murder charge of Jerry (Steve Conte), the man who shot him.
Craig Hill was cast as the author Bret Harte in "Year of Destiny," the last episode of 1956. In the story line, Harte leaves the East and arrives in California in the 1850s. First a stagecoach guard, then a newspaper editor and schoolteacher, he finds fame as a western writer, the author of such short stories as "The Luck of Roaring Camp" and "The Outcasts of Poker Flat."; Mauritz Hugo appeared as Bummer Smith, the suicidal father of his first main character. Hill was then cast in the 1957 episode "Train of Events" as H. MacFarlane, who guards shipments for the railroad. When he clashes with the Clayton gang, MacFarlane makes mortal enemies. Anne Gwynne and Harry Fleer appeared, respectively, as Belle and Vic Clayton.
Michael Hinn (1913-1988) of the former Boots and Saddles western series played Brigham Young in the 1969 episode, "Biscuits and Billy, the Kid." In the story line, the Tugwell family, Jason (Ben Cooper), Ellie (Emily Banks), and Mary (Erin Moran), are abandoned by their guide while on a wagon train from Utah to California. He was also in "The Watch" and in "The Vintage Years".
Boyd Hollister (credited as Robert Palmer) was cast as Bill Gentry, who is courting Susan Sayres (Sandra Marsh) in the 1961 episode "The Third Passenger," a reference to a stray dog which witnesses the murder of Susan's father, Lew Sayres (Tyler McVey).
Skip Homeier was cast as Doc Holliday in the 1964 episode, "The Quiet and the Fury," which focuses on Holliday as a card player. Grace Lee Whitney played Kate in the episode. In 1965, Homeier played a pastor, Ben Darniell, in Carson City, Nevada, in the oddly titled episode "Fighting Sky Pilot." In the story line, the minister Darniell attempts to rescue a saloon girl, Claire Vernon (Carol Brewster), from her oppressive employer.
Wes Hudman played the outlaw Curly Bill Brocius in the 1955 episode "Death and Taxes." In the story line, novice deputy Bud Payson (Wayne Mallory) while courting the sheriff's daughter, June (Eve Brent), enlists the aid of Curly Bill to assist him in collecting property taxes from a large area of the Death Valley country which had not been previously taxed.
Mauritz Hugo appeared as Sure Thing Murdoch in the 1959 episode "Half a Loaf," the story of the origin of the Sugar Loaf mine in Arizona.
Jeffrey Hunter was cast as the historical Dr. Walter Reed (then a captain) in the 1962 episode, "Suzie." When Reed's troop finds an orphaned white/Apache child, the corporal Robert J. Wilke recommends not getting involved in Indian affairs but is overruled by Reed. He and his wife, Emilie (Aneta Corsaut) take her in and name her "Suzie." Fearing for her safety, Reed resolves to take her to Fort Apache which is recommended against by the commander Frank Ferguson. Upon catching up to them, Suzie's grandfather, Chief Nahnee (Frank DeKova), demands the return of the child but relents and lets the Reeds adopt Suzie, played in her only acting role by Leniece Heywood.
Patricia Huston (1929-1995) was cast in the 1968 episode, "The Saga of Sadie Orchard" as a woman who takes the stagecoach reins from her husband John (John Pickard) after he was attacked by two bandits. Her accomplished mission was to deliver a silver shipment in Hillsboro, New Mexico Territory. Tris Coffin appeared in the episode as the silver mine owner, Edwards.
Bradford Jackson (1928-2009) was cast as the Boston greenhorn Mac Gordon in the 1956 episode, "Pay Dirt." In the story line, Gordon is swindled by two men, played by Paul McGuire and Frank Richards, who sell him a worthless gold mining claim. The film actress Barbara Lang appears as his longsuffering wife, Norma. Jackson also played Asa Mercer, who recruits brides from the East to become wives of settlers in Seattle, Washington, in the 1957 episode "Mercer Girl." The women travel to the Northwest via ship. Norma Ward played Annie Stephens, Mercer's romantic interest.
Sherry Jackson in the 1966 episode, "Lady of the Plains," portrayed Katherine "Kate" Turner, a young woman from Boston who takes over a wagon train after the death of the trailmaster. DeForest Kelley played a gambler, Elliott Webster, who falls in love with Kate despite their age difference and the fact that she is engaged to marry once the wagon train reaches Salt Lake City, Utah.
David Janssen played Dr. Bill Breckenridge in the 1961 episode, "Deadline at Austin." Breckenridge attempts to beat the incompetent cronies of Governor Lambert (Stephen Chase) and hence save Austin, Nevada, from corruption. Jan Harrison played Ruth Woodruff, Breckenridge's romantic interest and the daughter of Mayor Horace Woodruff (Harry Shannon).
Gloria Jean was cast as singer and actress Lotta Crabtree in the 1954 episode, "Lotta Crabtree." In the story line, Lotta lives in a gold mining camp in California where her mother, Mary Ann Crabtree (Kay Stewart), operates a boarding house and her father, John Crabtree (Paul Weber), has become another failed prospector. Briefly under the tutelage of Lola Montez, Lotta demonstrates rare talent to become the most beloved entertainer in San Francisco.
Roy Jenson played boxerJohn L. Sullivan in the 1958 episode, "The Gambler and the Lady." In the story line, Sullivan in his tour of local communities across the country fights an exposition match against Buck Jarrico (Hal Baylor). When the prize money designated to refurbish the school goes missing, both the teacher, Ruth Stewart (Kathleen Case), and the gambler, Brad Forrester (Mark Dana), are falsely accused based on appearances. With Marjorie Bennett as the wife of the mayor.
I. Stanford Jolley, who appeared five times on the series, was cast as J.V. Langley in "The Kickapoo Run" (1954), as Colby in "California's First Ice Man" (1955), as a guide in "California Gold Rush in Reverse" (1957), and as Bart Taylor in his final credited role in the series in "Eruption at Volcano" (1959).
Gordon Jones and Jane Frazee were cast as rival cafe owners Steve Bassett and Melodie Marshall in a western mining town in the 1953 episode, "The Rival Hash Houses." The arrangement leads to romance between the two as gold is discovered on a plot of land Melodie purchased from Steve to raise chickens. The episode also features Minerva Urecal and William Fawcett as Mattie and Flapjack Kelly, who work, respectively for Melodie and Steve.
Morgan Jones was cast in the 1955 episode, "The Crystal Gazer," in the historical role of Sandy Bowers, a Nevada mining magnate. Natalie Norwick (1923-2007) portrayed Eilley Orrum, who consults a crystal ball to guide her decisions and helps Sandy to locate a gold strike. The two marry, spend recklessly on a world tour, and build the still-standing Bowers Mansion, located between Reno and Carson City, Nevada. Bowers died early in life of a lung disease associated with miners, and Eilley was left with many unpaid bills for which she was responsible. She had not foreseen that their fortune would run dry so quickly.
Bruce Kay, who appeared only five times on screen between 1955 and 1958, played the half-Sioux scout Frank Grouard in the 1958 episode, "The Greatest Scout of All." Frank Richards (1909-1992) was cast as Sitting Bull. In the story line, Grouard is caught in a culture clash but becomes a highly regarded scout for the United States Army, one dispatched on the toughest of assignments.
Howard Keel was cast as Diamond Jim Brady in a 1963 episode of the same name. In the story line, while traveling by train in Texas, Brady accepts a nearly impossible wager that he can sell $100,000 worth of barbed wire to area ranchers who oppose such fencing without leaving the train.
DeForest Kelley was cast as Shad Cullen, with William Schallert as Dave Meiser and Dick Foran as Ferguson, in the 1962 episode, "The Breaking Point." In the story line, Meiser suspects that a friend is trying to swindle him out of a valuable mine. In 1963, Kelley was cast as Clint Rogers in the episode "Coffin for a Coward." In the story line, Rogers with little support among townspeople seeks to stop crime in a western town plagued by division over the outcome of the American Civil War. Kelley subsequently played a convict, Martin, in the 1965 episode "Devil's Gate," with Jim Davis, and he was the gambler Elliott Webster in the 1966 episode, "The Lady of the Plains," with Sherry Jackson.
Don Kennedy (born 1920) was cast in the lead role of Snowshoe Thompson, also the title of the 1954 episode. In the story line, while Thompson used home-made snowshoes to carry the mail across the snows of the Sierra Nevadas into the various California mining camps, Lee Van Cleef is back in town sowing disaffection in his fiancee. Thompson is considered the "father of California skiing."
Don Kent (1911-1978) played William Bottle in the 1956 episode, "Bill Bottle's Birthday." In the story line, Bottle nets $100,000 from the sale of a gold claim. He places advertisements in major newspapers inviting his Bottle relatives to attend a family reunion times with his birthday. While various "relatives" come to the party, they are imposters, but Bottle treats them warmly as if they were family.
Yaphet Kotto was cast as a preacher in the 1967 episode, "A Man Called Abraham." Abraham lives in the southwestern desert country in 1876. In the story line, Abraham works to convince a killer named Cassidy Rayford Barnes that he can change his heart. Bing Russell and Ken Mayer also appeared in this segment.
Stanley Lachman played United States ArmyLieutenantEdward Fitzgerald Beale in two 1957 episodes, "The Camel Train" and "The California Gold Rush in Reverse." In the former, Beale is instructed by Secretary of WarJefferson Davis to conduct an experiment with the use of camels in the deserts of the American Southwest. William "Red" Reynolds (1927-1981) was cast as mountain man Kit Carson. In the second episode, Beale attempts to be the first to return East with a sample of newly-discovered California gold, but he must escape Mexican bandits to do so.
Gil Lasky played John Studebaker in the 1959 episode, "Wheelbarrow Johnny." In the story line, young Studebaker fails at gold mining because con men take advantage of him. His talent for making wheelbarrows, however, paves the way for a bright future in the transportation industry. Emile Meyer appeared in this episode as the storekeeper, Sam Dalrymple.
Harry Lauter, a character actor, appeared seven times on the series, including his portrayal of newspaperman Mel Hardin in "Gold Lake" and in "Wheelbarrow Johnny."
Virginia Lee (1924-2008) was cast as Rose Calvin in the 1958 episode, "Thorn of the Rose," the story of a woman with a past happily married to a blacksmith, Gil Calvin (Walt Barnes). Then she faces blackmail from an outlaw in her past.
Britt Lomond was cast as professional gambler Faro Bill, with Diane Brewster as his romantic interest, Grace, in the 1956 episode, "Faro Bill's Layout." Though she objects to Faro Bill's occupation as a faro dealer, Grace she relents after Bill adopts Butch (Gary Hunley), an orphaned relative of Sidewinder (Steve Conte), a card player whom Bill killed in self-defense. Lomond also played the Spaniard James Addison Reavis in the 1956 episode, "The Baron of Arizona." Two newspapermen doubt Reavis' claim to millions of acres in the New Mexico Territory, which then included Arizona. Though Reavis' papers seem authentic and date to colonial times, the reporters prove them to be fraudulent. In a 1968 episode about Reavis entitled, "The Pieces of the Puzzle," series host Robert Taylor portrayed the lead role, with Russell Johnson as Matthew Reynolds.
William Lundigan was cast as Nathaniel Norgate in the 1961 episode, "Dangerous Crossing," which focuses on religious settlers who encounter outlaws led by Don O'Kelly operating an illegal toll-gate.
Ida Lupino was cast as Pamela Mann in the 1960 episode, "Pamela's Oxen." In the story line, the widowed Pamela resists letting Sam Houston (Jeff DeBinning) (1918-2012) take her oxen to carry cannon in the fight for Texan independence But a military officer, Steve Barnes (James Coburn) convinces Pamela to make the sacrifice. James T. Callahan played the role of Private Riggs.
John Lupton, known for his lead role in Broken Arrow, was cast as Buffalo Bill Cody in the 1959 episode, "The Grand Duke." The Grand Duke of Russia is portrayed in the segment by Alexander Davion. The episode focuses on the friendship that developed when the skeptical Cody was assigned by the Army to escort The Grand Duke on a western buffalo hunt. In 1961, Lupton was cast in "South of Horror Flats" as Pinkerton agent Allen Hodges, who is hired by a ghost-plagued woman, Abigale Briton (Jocelyn Somers), to take her and her fortune in gold to San Francisco (with Hank Patterson). In 1962, Lupton was cast as Milton Clark in the episode "The Private Mint of Clark, Gruber and Co." Jerry Paris played Emmanuel Gruber. They were Denver bankers who the U.S. government prosecutes for operating a mint; their lawyer was played by Bernard Kates . Sue Randall as Clark's wife, Martha, was the brains behind their success, with Alvy Moore as newspaper editor William Byers.
Tyler MacDuff played Norman Berry in the 1956 episode, "The Hoodoo Mine." In the story line, Berry is prospecting for gold with the dishonest Bill Snyder (Duane Grey). When Snyder leaves Berry for dead in the desert to steal his part of the claim, a young Indian woman, Lupin (Linda Brent), comes to Berry's rescue. She had earlier tipped him off on the location of a gold strike.
Murray MacLeod and Dennis Whitcomb were cast as two young men, Cliff and Frank, respectively, released from the United States Army still living on a temporarily deserted western fort in the 1969 episode, "A Full House." The two engage in a poker game in which the loser agrees to get married; soon both are in love and things fall into place like a storybook romance. Heidi Vaughn and June Zachary play the female leads.
Jock Mahoney was cast as an engineer, Andy Prentis, in the 1954 episode, "Husband Pro-Tem." In the story line, Prentis is hired by a railroad executive, Alonzo Phelps (Howard Negley) (1898-1983), to negotiate a private agreement with the Indian Chief Black Hawk (Lane Bradford) so that the railroad can be constructed across Indian lands. In his assignment, Prentis soon romantically tangles with Phelps' daughter, Evelyn (Gloria Marshall).
Edward Mallory was cast in the 1961 episode, "Lieutenant Bungle." In the story line, Lieutenant Ross, fresh out of West Point, is given the nickname "Bungle" because of his inept ways at a western fort. But when called upon to save his men from an Indian attack, he rises to the occasion. Then he informs Major Galloway (Philip Ober) that he intends to marry the major's daughter, much to Galloway's surprise and at first reluctance to accept "Bungle" as a son-in-law.
Wayne Mallory played deputy Bud Payson in the 1955 episode, "Death and Taxes." While courting the sheriff's daughter (Eve Brent), Payson enlists the aid of Curly Bill Brocius (Wes Hudman) to help him collect property taxes from a large area of the Death Valley country which had not been previously taxed.
Dorothy Malone, pre-Peyton Place, appeared in the 1961 episod, "The Watch" as Mary Parker, a beautiful young schoolteacher who is the object of rivalry between two men involved in a mine cave-in, Rafe Pegarski (Steve Clinton) and Jack Short (Bing Russell).
Sally Mansfield (1923-2001) was cast in 1953 episode, "Sego Lilies" (named for a flower), as Wilhemina Cannon, a young woman who has trouble adjusting to Mormon life after she and her husband, David (Robert Hutton) (1920-1994), leave Salt Lake City to settle in a remote area.
Michael Margotta played a youthful Butch Cassidy in the 1969 episode, "Drop Out," set in Utah in the 1880s. In the story line, 16-year-old George Leroy Parker is rebellious against his father, Maxy Parker (Russ Conway), and his church bishop, played by William Zucker. He takes the name of a much older rustler acquaintance, Mike Cassidy (Tony Russel) and sets forth to Salt Lake City. The episode aired the same year as the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Joe Maross starred as the pioneer William Eddy in the 1964 episode, "Hastings Cut-off." A survivor of the 1846 Donner Party, Eddy grieves the loss of his wife and children and vows revenge against Lansford Hastings (Robert Ellenstein), who in The Emigrant's Guide to Oregon and California recommended his Hastings Cutoff, a shortcut through the Rocky Mountains that had been useful for an earlier wagon train but proved disastrous for the Donner party and its late timing on the trip west. Others in the cast are Ellen Burstyn as Jenny and John Alderson as Big Mac.
Strother Martin played a country chicken farmer, Alfred Hall, who sues an insurance company for underpayment in the 1966 comedy segment "The Four Dollar Law Suit." In the story line, Hall seeks the additional $4 he believed owed him after his chicken coop burns to the ground. J. Pat O'Malley plays his attorney; Anthony Costello, the school teacher, and Amzie Strickland his wife. In the 1967 episode "Silver Tombstone," Martin played the Arizona miner Ed Schieffelin, who after years of failure is convinced he is on the verge of a silver strike in Tombstone, Arizona. He invites his brother to join him in the pending strike. Jamie Farr appears as Dick Gird.
Tony Martin was cast as Amadeo Giannini in the 1962 episode, "The Unshakeable Man," a dramatization of the establishment of the Bank of America. The story line focuses on Giannini saving his bank from the impact of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake by investing in his fellow citizens during the disaster and turning it into the largest financial institution in the world. The episode also starred Parley Baer as Crowder, a traditional bank president.
Daria Massey plays newlywed Janet Gee in the 1957 episode, "The Rosebush of Tombstone," the story of the largest rosebush in the United States established in Tombstone, Arizona. A native of Scotland, Janet moves with her husband to Tombstone, Arizona, where she befriends rough women and cares for a homeless Indian boy. A rosebush from her mother lifts her spirits. Almira Sessions is cast in this episode as shrewd businesswoman Nellie Cashman.
Jack Mather, among five appearances on Death Valley Days, played legendary cattleman Charles Goodnight in the 1959 episode, "Old Blue." The story focuses on Goodnight's lead steer, Old Blue, who is stolen and thereafter adopted as a family pet. Myron Healey was cast in this episode as Red Snell and Jeanne Bates as Helen.
Ken Mayer was cast as Marshal Hobe Martin in the 1962 episode "Girl with a Gun." In the story line, an outlaw's vengeful daughter, Jennie Metcalf (Anne Helm), joins her father's gang after he is justifiably killed in a showdown with the marshal.
Lin McCarthy (1918-2002) was cast as Dr. Tom Bell in the 1959 episode "The Scalpel and the Gun," the story of a frontier doctor whose indifference contributed to the death of a woman. Faced with disdain from his fellow settlers, he joins an outlaw gang and ultimately is hanged.
Patty McCormack appeared as young Virginia Reed in the 1960 episode, "A Girl Called Virginia," with John Anderson as her stepfather, James F. Reed. Edward Platt was cast as Frank Graves. In the story line, the Donner Party crosses the Sierra Nevadas, but the Reeds are banished after a dispute ends in a death. Virginia proves helpful beyond her years as the family faces great hardship while headed to Sutter's Fort, California.
Tim McIntire in the 1965 episode, "The Lawless Have Laws," played Lorenz Oatman, a young man who obtains the help of an Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Burke (Ronald Reagan), in the search for his long lost sister, Olive Oatman (Shary Marshall) from whom he was separated five years earlier when the Apache killed their parents in a raid.
Tyler McVey appeared four times, including the role of a priest in the 1962 episode, "Abel Duncan's Dying Wish," and in the 1969 segment, "The Oldest Outlaw."
Don Megowan and Douglas Henderson were cast as prospectors "Big" Charlie Loomis and "Little" Charlie Porter, respectively, who strike it rich in the 1954 episode, "To Big Charlie from Little Charlie." "Little" Charlie since became a small-town shopkeeper; "Big" Charlie," an eastern business mogul. After many years apart, "Little Charlie" sent "Big Charlie" a Christmas card, which reminds him of still valued friendships from the past. .
Sam Melville was cast as Indian agent John Clum in the 1970 episode, "Clum's Constabulary." In the story line, Clum recruits an elite team of Apaches to assist the U.S. Cavalry in the Southwest but faces opposition within the white community. Tris Coffin was cast as Captain Loren Phillips and John Considine as Lago.
Denny Miller played Gustaf Olaffson in the 1968 episode, "Britta Goes Home." In the story line, Gustaf awaits the arrival of his Swedish bride, Britta (Susanne Cramer). While headed to Gustaf's sod house, Britta becomes disillusioned about her future. Then a visit with other homesteaders help her overcome her fear.
Fabrizio Mioni was cast as Paul Duval, a man falsely condemned to Hangtown's gallows for a missing body murder, in the 1962 episode, "Hangtown Fry," set in Placerville, when that California community was known as "Hangtown." In the story line, Duval orders a made-up recipe of bacon and oysters in the form of an egg omelette in hopes of postponing his execution while his girlfriend, Ann Alton (Nancy Rennick), frantically seeks information to clear him. Helen Kleeb played Ann's mother with Robert Cornthwaite as the "judge". The recipe is still known as the Hangtown fry.
Ewing Mitchell played Edmund S. Meany in the 1957 episode, "The Washington Elm," and Fred Gerlock in the 1958 episode, "The Red Flannel Shirt."
George Mitchell played Charley Stoner whose nature savvy helped him strike it rich in the 1959 episode, "Fair Exchange."
Roger Mobley was cast as Matt Denby, Jr., in the 1960 episode, "The Madstone." In the story line, young Denby is bitten by a rabid skunk and must travel 150 miles alone to get access to a madstone owned by his estranged grandfather, Caleb Reese (George Macready), a method that was then the only treatment possible for hydrophobia. Myron Healey played Denby's father, whose wife stays behind when he moves to start a new ranch in New Mexico Territory. Denby, Sr., is alienated from the boy's maternal grandfather but makes amends so the family can remain in Texas.
Erin Moran was cast, pre-Happy Days, at the age of nine as Mary Elizabeth Foster in the 1969 episode, "The Tenderfoot," the story of three orphans in the West given rights to a gold mine. Mitch Vogel played her middle brother, Jerry Ray Foster; Kevin Burchett, their older brother, Billy Earl Foster, and Chubby Johnson portrayed the prospector Jake.
Roland Morris (1922-1986) was cast as journalist Sam Swift in the 1954 episode, "Mr. Godiva". In the story line, Swift must earn a fortune in three days to gain permission to marry Marjorie Delafield (Yvonne Crossley in her only credited acting role), the daughter of business mogul Marcus Delafield (Emile Meyer).
Byron Morrow made a cameo appearance as Mormon figure Brigham Young in the 1966 episode, "An Organ for Brother Brigham." In the story line, the organ crafted and guided to Salt Lake City by Joseph Harris Ridges (1827-1914) of Australia, played by Hedley Mattingly, becomes mired in sand. Morgan Woodward, as wagon master Luke Winner, feels compelled to jettison the instrument until Ridges finds solid rock under the sand.
Vic Morrow was cast as soldier/engineer Lt. Robert Benson in the 1962 episode, "A Matter of Honor." The story focuses on Benson's fiancée, Indiana (Shirley Ballard) (1925-2012), who tries to persuade him to boost their income by selling inside Army information to criminal real estate moguls like Joseph Hooker (Howard Petrie). Trevor Bardette and Meg Wyllie were cast as Captain and Mrs. Warner.
Ken Murray was cast as aging gold prospector Dave Eldridge, with Dick Sargent as his tenderfoot junior partner, Cliff Streeter, in the 1960 episode, "Gamble with Death." In the story line, Streeter must leave a wounded Eldridge behind in the desert to seek helpwhen their supplies go missing. Eldridge found a gold strike but did not live to claim it. Tom Greenway played a sheriff in this episode. Murray subsequently played Whipsaw, the operator of a Utah Territorystagecoach depot, in the 1964 episode, "Little Cayuse." In the story line, Whipsaw and his partner in 1862 take in a Cayuse orphan (Larry Domasin), who demonstrates his loyalty to the men during an Indian attack.
N to O
Anna Navarro (1933-2006) portrayed 17-year-old Maria in the 1956 episode, "The Hidden Treasure of Cucamonga." In the story line, Maria upon the sudden death of her father, becomes mistress of a large California ranch. After she marries a persistent suitor, Don Pedro (Richard Gilden), a dream leads her to the discovery of a fortune stashed away by her father in the wall of her bedroom. Than Wyenn played a fellow hacienda owner who had entrusted his own money to Maria's father.
Howard Negley (1898-1983) played U.S. Senator William Morris Stewart of Nevada in the 1953 episod, "The Bandits of Panamint." In the story line, Stewart enters into an agreement to gain pardons for two bandits, played by Rick Vallin and Glase Lohmond, who accidentally stumble upon a rich silver strike. Stewart, however gains ownership of the mine. Sheila Ryan and Gloria Winters played young women with romantic interests in the outlaws. Negley played another historical role in 1953 as John Bidwell in "The Lady with the Blue Silk Umbrella." He was cast with Kathleen Case as Helen Crosby, the woman who hides California statehood papers in her umbrella to keep them out of the reach of pursuing ruffians.
Ed Nelson was cast in the 1962 episode, "Fort Bowie: Urgent," as Frank Girard, an escaped convict in 1895 who heads to Fort Bowie, Arizona, with the intent of murderously disrupting a wedding. The recently-invented telegraph (operated by Dub Taylor's character) that can stop Girard is being monopolized for that wedding.
Jay Novello as Padre Rodriguez is asked to "Let my People Go" (1967), a reference to the biblical Moses. In this story, Pacomino (Michael Keep) leads the enslaved tribe, the Chumash. But Mariano Valentin de Vargas challenges Pacomio's leadership.
Carol Nugent was cast as Nancy Drake in the 1957 episode, "The Calico Dog." In the story line, Nancy is at first jealous of Colonel, the dog of her fiancé, John Chapman (Warren Frost). The Colonel proves his worth by becoming a mail carrier between mining camps in the Death Valley country.
Carroll O'Connor was cast in the 1963 episode, "A Gun Is Not a Gentleman," as U.S. SenatorDavid C. Broderick, a California Democrat. In the story, Broderick, who has never used a gun, is challenged to a duel by former political ally, former California Supreme Court justice David S. Terry (Brad Dexter). Broderick was an abolitionist; Terry, pro-slavery. After he fatally shoots Broderick, Terry is tried, but the case was dismissed.
J. Pat O'Malley was cast as Stony Wilson in the 1968 episode, "The Secret of the Black Prince," a reference to a mine in Colorado. In the story line, Wilson uses his savings to buy an abandoned mine, but encounters difficulty finding the missing loot he had been told was on the property. He then schemes to get others to do the work. O'Malley played Pete Rohrer, a livery stable owner, in the 1968 episode, "The World's Greatest Swimming Horse," the story of a flim-flam for charity, with Jesse Pearson in the starring role of the charming Frank Ball, the owner of the horse.
P to Q
Gregg Palmer was cast in thirteen episodes. In 1958, he played the KentuckianWilliam Tell Coleman in the episode, "Empire of Youth." In the story line, Coleman fails as a prospector but shuns gambling and devotes his talents elsewhere and makes several fortunes in farming and mining borax. Palmer also appeared as Tom Horn in "Perilous Cargo" as John Brewster in "Perilous Refuge," and as Forty Steps Randall in "Forty Steps to Glory," all of which aired in 1959.
Fess Parker (pre-Davy Crockett) appeared as Curt Morrison, a cowboy/militia-marshal patrolling the New Mexico land rush of 1895, in the 1954 episode, "The Kickapoo Run." Nancy Hale played his romantic interest, Bonnie Carter, whom he meets again after the death of her husband. In the 1961 episode, "A Miracle at Whiskey Gulch," Parker portrayed the Reverend Joel H. Todd, who tries to instill Christian principles in a wild frontier community. Others in the episode were Eddie Firestone as Applejack Jim and George Kennedy, cast as Steamboat Sully, who engage in a brutal fistfight.
Michael Pate was cast as the Navaho Two Horses in the 1962 episode, "Experiment in Fear." In the story line, Two Horses (one of the first native police who were then legally unarmed) must use psychology when he is captured by the thieves he was sent to reconnoiter with Barney Phillips as the Indian agent who sends him out.
Dennis Patrick was cast as Patrick O'Dell in the 1958 episode, "The Red Flannel Shirt." O'Dell believes his special shirt will bring him luck in mining. Ewing Mitchell was cast as Fred Gerlock, a greedy mine owner.
Julie Parrish appeared as Mariana Jaramilio in the 1967 episode, "Along Came Mariana," the story of the unraveling of the peonage labor system in the New Mexico Territory. Carlos Romero played Jose de la Cruz Romero.
Hank Patterson made nine appearances, including "The Mule Mail," "Ten Feet of Nothing," "Husband Pro-Tem," and "The Blonde King."
George Paulsin (born July 12, 1949) made his screen appearance as a youthful Joaquin Miller in the series finale, "Early Candle Lighten." In the story line, a cook at a gold camp in the Arizona Territory faces hanging for stealing nuggets from the miners. His assistant, "Nat Miller," played by Paulsin, thinks he can save the cook's life by bringing the man's sister from Tucson. It was at this gold camp that Miller perfected his penchant for western poetry.
Jesse Pearson played Henry Windsor in the 1966 episode, "The Courtship of Carrie Huntington," set in the future Washington State. In the story line, Windsor is hired to take Carrie (Sue Randall) to her sister's wedding after she misses the stagecoach. Henry and Carrie engage in a mock wedding, but on the return trip, Henry wins her over after they are held by Indians, and Carrie nurses a sick child to health. Helen Kleeb plays Carrie's mother, with Dub Taylor as a station agent. In the 1970 episode, "The Mezcla Man," Pearson played Jess Ivy, who would propose marriage to a young woman, Sarah Ewing (Karen Carlson), were he on a sound financial footing. He then looks for hidden gold.
Larry Pennell, cast as detective Romer Maxwell, tries to catch Kate Hanson (Virginia Christine) for smuggling high-grade ore in the 1960 episode, "Queen of the High-Graders." Maxwell falls in love with Hanson's daughter Sarah (Wanda Shannon). Will Wright played mine owner Jim Barker, who hired Maxwell on the mission.
Gil Peterson and Susan Seaforth Hayes appeared as Jim Otis and his wife, Martha, in the 1967 episode, "Solid Foundation." In the story line, Otis has virtually abandoned his dream of finding a gold strike but instead encounters an unexpected bonanza in silver.
John M. Pickard appeared ten times on the series. He was cast as Silas St. John, a particularly skilled stagecoach driver in the 1958 episode, "The Jackass Mail." St. John carries passengers and the mail on the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line (1857-1861), better known as the "Jackass Mail." He maintains good relations with the Maricopa Indians and trains his mules so that they will work only for him. In the story line, he picks up a dishonest couple, Sam and Lita Walton (Frank Gerstle and Maura Murphy), who steal treasures from Indian graves and threaten the peace on the mail route. Pickard also played Sheriff McKittrick in "The Resurrection of Deadwood Dick" (1966) and rancher Lafe Ellsworth in "The Other Cheek" (1968).
Guy Prescott (1914-1998) played Barnaby Taylor who enters a contest to determine "The Longest Beard in the World," a 1956 episode. His friends want him to accent his beard as he runs in California for the United States House of Representatives, but his fiancé Francis Trent (Patricia Donohue) wants him clean shaven. When he loses the contest in Chicago by less than one inch in length, he shaves the beard and is still elected to Congress. However, The Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949 does not have information on any Representative Barnaby Taylor.
William Pullen (1917-2008) was cast as Alex Todd in the 1956 episode, "The Last Letter." In the story line, Todd is a failed prospector with a thriving business delivering the U.S. mail to miners in the Death Valley country who are starving for news from home. Clint Eastwood, before Rawhide, played John Lucas, who does not subscribe to Todd's service and nearly loses $2 million for his failure to do so.
Denver Pyle was cast seven times, the last of which was in the title role, "The Resurrection of Deadwood Dick" (1966), based on the legendary frontiersman, Deadwood Dick. He also directed several episodes of Death Valley Days.
Eddie Quillan was cast as Hill Beachy in the 1961 episode, "Trial by Fear." In the story line, Beachy seeks to prove that two hoodlums, Lowry, [Ed Peck]] and Romaine, robbed and murdered his fellow businessman, Lloyd Magruder (Phil Chambers).
John Raitt appeared in the 1960 episode, "The Man on the Road," as Jim Dandy, an itinerant peddler who befriends a boy, Pete Rawson (Kevin Jones), whose father, played by House Peters, Jr., has been jailed falsely for horse theft. The episode also stars Mort Mills as Holt, a leader in the efforts to lynch the suspect. Jim Dandy devises s scheme to find the real horse thief. Raitt also manages to sing one song in this episode.
Sue Randall appeared six times on the series, including the roles of Virginia Slade in the 1963 episode, "The Man Who Died Twice," with Don Collier as Jack Slade, and as Carrie Huntington in the 1966 segment, "The Courtship of Carrie Huntington."
Stuart Randall appeared as Judge Reed in the 1968 episode, "The Pieces of the Puzzle," another version of "The Baron of Arizona," played in this segment by host Robert Taylor.
Paula Raymond was cast as the Union Army spy Pauline Cushman in the 1964 episode, "The Wooing of Perilous Pauline." In the story line, set in Casa Grande, Arizona Territory, where the feisty Miss Cushman was operating a saloon, she is wooed by her future husband, Jere Fryer (Ray Danton), who makes a bet with a friend that he can convince her to marry him within one week.
Ronald Reagan, among his last acting roles in 1965, played the shrewd banker William Chapman Ralston, with Vaughn Taylor as financier Asbury Harpending, in "Raid on the San Francisco Mint" and AdmiralDavid Farragut, with June Dayton as Mrs. Virginia Farragut, in "The Battle of San Francisco Bay," the story of the 1856 seizure of power by the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance. Reagan was cast too in "No Gun Behind His Badge" as the historical Thomas J. Smith, the marshal of Abilene, Kansas, in 1869 and 1870, in which capacity he tried with fatal results to avoid the use of firearms in the line of duty. (However, as the article on Smith says "The television dramatization does not accurately depict the circumstances of Smith's death and decapitation." In particular Smith was using a gun at the time of the incident that killed him.) On September 30, 1965, Reagan played James B. Hume in "Temporary Warden," the story of a warden at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. In still another appearance, Reagan played U.S. SenatorGeorge Graham Vest, a Democrat from Missouri, in the 1964 episode "Tribute to the Dog." The episode focuses on Vest's famous defense of the dog as "man's best friend" in a lawsuit filed by a grandfather (Ralph Moody) and his grandson (Danny Flower) against Carter Johnson (Charles Cooper), a property owner who in a rage kills a playful dog trespassing on Johnson's property.
Rhodes Reason appeared as Peter Jeffries in the 1955 episode "California's First Ice Man." In the story line, Jeffries turns to the importation of ice from his native Boston, Massachusetts, rather than the exploration of gold, to revive his lost family fortune. He finds Sacramento under the grip of Phineas Colby (I. Stanford Jolley) while he is courting Colby's niece, Laura Colby (Donna Drew), who acts as a nurse seeking ice to relieve suffering of her patients in the heat of summer.
Paul Richards appeared as former prospector and bounty hunter Cash Powers in the 1959 segment, "Somewhere Beyond the Vultures." In the story line, Powers is hired by Elizabeth Hayward (Kathleen Crowley) to find her missing fiancé. Soon Powers developes his own interest in Elizabeth as they find that her fiancé had met foul play and death at the hands of Mort Graves (Frank Ferguson) in a non-existent gold mine.In 1962, Richards was cast as Dr. Max Richter in the episode "Bloodline." In that episode, despite reactionary opposition, Parley Baer, Dr. Richter seeks to use a blood transfusion to save the life of his patient--the daughter of a king Abraham Sofaer protected by his vizier Ben wright.
Host Dale Robertson was cast as the Irish-American postmaster of "The Biggest Little Post Office in the World" (1970), Jack Reardon, based in the now ghost town of Shermantown, Nevada. In a duel of wits, a postal inspector, Wesley Hull (Walter Brooke), comes to Shermantown to determine how Reardon can sell $1,500 worth of stamps per month, when the town has only three hundred residents, many of whom are illiterate. With Tol Avery.
Wayne Rogers and Harry Lauter were cast as George and Henry Schmidtlein in the 1960 episode, "Mission to the Mountains." While seeding mountain streams with trout, the Schmidtleins encounter a suspicious gold prospector named Crandel (John Hoyt) and his daughter, Amy (Wendy Wilde), who develops a romantic interest in George. Wayne Rogers also played the historical General Richard Henry Pratt in the 1965 episode "The Journey," the story of two different views on how to treat Native Americans.
Gilbert Roland played Dom Pedro II, the emperor of Brazil, who in the 1963 episode, "A Kingdom for a Horse." In the sory line, Dom Pedro in 1876 gets off his train to stretch his legs and is stranded near San Francisco. He comes across a widow (Patricia Huston) with a son (Butch Patrick) and a daughter (Andrea Darvi). The woman doubts his story, but her daughter is charmed by his wit and wisdom.
Cesar Romero played Agustin Olvera in the 1959 episode, "Olvera." In the story line, Olvera, a Mexican official, must decide between his caballeros and his obligation to the U.S. government during the annexation of California.
Ned Romero was cast as a priest, Father de la Cuesta, in the 1970 episode, "A Gift from Father Tapis." Father de la Cuesta has replaced the deceased Father Tapis and is curious why the padre ordered a hand organ for the mission. The priest refuses to leave when Joaquin and his renegades become a threat. They use the church organ to save the day.
Marion Ross was cast as Martha Sayles in the 1961 episode, "Death Ride," set in a town in the Arizona Territory. Robert Rockwell played lawyer William Thorne, who successfully defends Martha in the death of her stepson. The death was actually caused by Dr. Mitchell (Thayer Roberts) (1902-1968), who mistakenly gave the boy strychnine though he instead had hydrophobia. The townspeople had prejudged Martha until Thorne could find the truth.
Bryan Russell (1952-2016) was cast as a four-year-old future Army General Douglas MacArthur in the 1959 episode, "The Little Trooper," set at Fort Selden, New Mexico Territory, where Douglas' father, then Captain and later General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (Tom Palmer) (1912-1997), was stationed in the mid-1880s as the fort commander. The story focuses on Trooper Norkul (Leonard Bremen) (1915-1986), who takes a protective interest in young Douglas. Mary Munday was cast as Douglas' mother, Mary.
Jane Russell was cast as a widow, Mary Taylor, who supplies horses to the Union Army in the 1960 episode, "Splinter Station." Mary encounters a Confederate soldier, Caleb Luck (Claude Akins) who first threatens to kill her. However, Caleb has a change of heart when he decides to help Mary deliver a breached-birth that she names "Lucky" in his honor.
Ken Scott was cast in the 1963 episode "The Melancholy Gun" as Johnny Ringo, a gunslinger who despite his mysterious past seeks to lead a more respectable life. However, many want to make their reputations by challenging Ringo's shooting skills. Elizabeth MacRae was cast as his romantic interest, Myra Engles . Denver Pyle played a physician Scott subsequently played Virgil Earp in a 1964 episode, "Trial at Belle's Springs." In that story line, Earp goes undercover to break a robbery ring run by Berle Wilgus (Lynn Bari). The gang is suspicious when Virgil, using the name "Martin," arrives at their hideout, but he soon finds the information he needs. Patricia Huston (1929-1995) played Marie.
Johnny Seven played farmer Carlo Fareli in the 1962 episode, "The Last Shot." In the story line, Carlo buys a farm for the fair price incurring the wrath of the rich town bully; Fareli then eyes a beautiful saloon singer, Della (Grace Lee Whitney), as a wife, angering the bully further .
Harry Shannon was cast as frontier scout Jim Bridger in the 1958 episode, "Old Gabe," referring to a nickname of Bridger's. Ron Hagerthy played Bridger's grown son, Felix. In the story line, the aging Bridger returns home to find his wife has died in childbirth, and Felix is trying to keep their farm despite an unpaid mortgage. Despite his failing eyesight, Bridger sets forth on a last scouting expedition to make peace with the Sioux and thereby raise funds to retire the mortgage. Roy Engel played Colonel Henry B. Carrington.
Alex Sharp (1921-2008) was cast as Sheriff Pat Garrett in the 1956 episode, "Pat Garrett's Side of It," referring to the shooting death in New Mexico Territory of the outlaw, Billy the Kid, played by Joel Collins. In the story line, Garrett captures The Kid, who escapes, and then Garrett comes after him at the farmhouse of Pedro Menard "Pete" Maxwell, the father of The Kid's girlfriend. Mack Williams (1907-1965) played General Lew Wallace, and Tyler McVey was cast as cattle baron John Chisum. In addition, Sharp appeared as Juan Flaco, anglicized to John Brown, in the 1957 segment, "California's Paul Revere." When the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846, enemy Mexican forces besieged an American garrison in Los Angeles under Lieutenant Gillespie (Don C. Harvey). Calling for needed reinforcements, Gillespie sends Brown on what turned out to be a four-day ride to Stockton, then San Francisco, to warn of impending doom and obtain the transport of troops by sea. The ride saved Los Angeles from Mexican occupation.
Karen Sharpe played Linda in the 1953 episode, "Claim Jumpin' Jennie," opposite Irene Burton as Jennie and Wallace Ford as Buck Hansen.
Richard Simmons played W. Frank Stewart, a silver mining operator who served from 1876 to 1880 as a Nevada state senator for Virginia City (Storey County), in the 1969 episode entitled, "How to Beat a Badman." In the story line, Stewart is determined to gain at a bargain price a silver claim being worked by two young former outlaws. Simmons also played the historical John C. Fremont in the 1966 episode, "Samaritans, Mountain Style." In that story line, Fremont maps a trail to the American West, but his scouts, Kit Carson (Phillip Pine) and Frenchy Godey (Michael Pate) come across a man who has lost everything in an Indian raid. They decide to help the man before resuming their jobs Don Keefer played a newspaperman, Gilpin.
Penny Singleton was cast as Maggie Franklin in the 1963 episode "The Holy Terror," the story of a family feud and a disputed gold claim. Sharon Farrell played Maggie's daughter, Cara, whom the mother disowns after Cara marries Billy (Tom Simcox).
Hal Smith played the character John Wilson in the 1967 episode "The Man Who Didn't Want Gold."
William Smith was cast as John Richard Parker, brother of Cynthia Ann Parker, both taken hostage in Texas by the Comanche, in the 1969 episode, "The Understanding." In the story line, Parker contracts the plague, is left for dead by his fellow Comanche warriors, and is rescued by his future wife, Yolanda (Emily Banks), with whom he moves to her native Mexico. Smith also played the outlaw turned sheriff, Henry Newton Brown, a former associate of Billy the Kid, in the 1969 episode "A Restless Man." In the 1970 episode, "The Contract", Smith played Red Eagle with Arlene McQuade as his wife, Little Fawn. The two must utilize their legal wiles to win a freight contract against the unethical, then violent, tactics of their opposition. Richard Bull and Don Megowan also appeared in this episode.
Arthur Space was cast as failed gold prospector Herb Phinney in the 1954 episode, "The Rainbow Chaser." Kay Stewart (1919-2002) played Herb's long suffering wife, Lucretia, who takes over his job as a store clerk to make ends meet. When Herb begins to sit around the house all day with no attempt at working, Lucretia stakes him on another gold search just to be rid of him. Jimmy Hawkins played one of their two sons. Apparently, Herb never found any gold and dropped all contact with his family thereafter. Space was subsequently cast as Ben Hudson in the 1959 episode "Hang 'Em High," the story of the laying of the transcontinental telegraph across the western United States at the beginning of the American Civil War.
Jeffrey Stone, the inspiration for Walt Disney's Prince Charming, was cast as Dave Reid, a Philadelphian in the Death Valley country, in the 1961 episode, "The Salt War." In the story line, Reid tries to convince a rancher for whom he has romantic feelings, Rachel Emory (Lenore Roberts) (1929-1978), not to begin charging the public for salt on the Emory lands. Reid narrowly escapes a lynching as Rachel rides to his defense.
John Pickard's character has filed a mining claim which conflicts with that of Curry's which was sent in by mail: but Mrs. Pritkin Hope Summers alerts Phil Curry that his dad's mining claim may have been illegally help up which was about to result in a dueling "Feud at Dome Rock" (1962).
Robert Tafur (1915-2005), Tom Hernández, and Ernestine Barrier are cast as Antonio Fernandez, Young Antonio, and Old Isabella, respectively, in the 1955 episode, "The Valencia Cake." In the story line, a Spanish land-grant family faces the loss of its estate and one million acres of land in the New Mexico Territory unless the original deed granting them ownership can be found. Oddly, the deed turns up at the bottom of a cake baked by the staff.
Gloria Talbott appeared as Mary Kileen in the 1961 episode, "Queen of Spades," directed by Darren McGavin. In the story line, Mary preys upon men whose insecurity she uses to get them to fight over her. After one of the men is killed, Mary's blood-lust is further emboldened as she schemes for a gunfight between Billy Madsen (L. Q. Jones) and Billy Leslie (Tom Drake). In a 1965 episode, "Kate Melville and the Law," Talbott played Kate Melville, a temporary woman sheriff and the daughter of Sheriff Will Melville (Dick Foran), who clashes with a Judge Lander (Richard Anderson) over courtroom fairness and frontier justice.
Buck Taylor, already cast as Newly O'Brien on Gunsmoke, played a lumberjack, Will Zane, in the 1969 episode, "The Taming of Trudy Bell," with Valerie DeCamp as Trudy, the daughter of Zane's boss. When Zane spanks Trudy at a social gathering for her conceit, he expects to lose his job. Robert Anderson (1920-1996), played Trudy's father, H. J. Bell.
Lorna Thayer was cast as Jessie Benton Frémont, loyal wife of John C. Fremont (Roy Engel), in the 1960 episode "The Gentle Sword." In the story line, the Frémonts are in California during the gold rush. The couple becomes involved in a mining claim dispute; Mrs. Frémont stares down organized claim jumpers.
Marshall Thompson was cast in the 1964 episode, "The Streets of El Paso" as Mayor Ben Dowell, who proposes the sale of main street in El Paso, Texas, to finance a water system.
Peter M. Thompson (1920-2001) was cast as a minister, John Brownell, in the 1956 episode, "The Sinbuster." In the story line, Brownell tries to impact the moral atmosphere of the western town of Mojave in Kern County, California. He finds at least one friend in the community, Ellie Todd (Lyn Thomas), the organist. His first convert, Gideon Flack (Don O'Kelly), is accused of murder.
Kenneth Tobey was cast as Colonel Lake in the 1960 episode, "The Deserters." , Lake captures five deserters from the Union Army who would be shot. But Vince Dennis Patrick is grateful Lake had not killed his brother in the capture and agrees to help Lake. A regiment of rebels helps persuade the others to fight also. The men are re-classified as Away Without Leave, served six month sentences, and then volunteered to join Lake in the formation of a famous rescue squad.
Regis Toomey was cast as Gus Lammerson in the 1961 episode, "The Holdup-Proof Safe." Lammerson owns a store which contains a safe prematurely declared holdup-proof. Judson Pratt appeared as Sheriff Griswold.
Beverly Tyler and Mark Dana (1920-2015) were cast in the 1956 episode, "Escape" as Evelyn and Harry Neilson, a couple on the verge of divorce because Evelyn objects to living in remote military camps, where Harry is assigned. They are reconciled inadvertently when an escaped killer, Burke (John L. Cason), holds them hostage.
John Vivyan guest starred as Jeremy Whitlock in the 1962 episode, "Showdown at Kamaaina Flats," set in the Hawaii. In the story line, Whitlock devises a scheme to defy his captain (Lane Bradford), who ordered Whitlock to retrieve native peoples as slaves. Earlier, Vivyan played Ed Taylor in the 1961 segment, "The Lady Was an M.D.," with Yvonne DeCarlo in the title role.
Peter Walker (born 1927) was cast as Kit Carson, Gardner McKay as the villainous Pierre Shunar, and Iron Eyes Cody as a trapper in the 1958 episode, "The Big Rendezvous," a reference to the Rendezvous, an annual gathering of fur traders, trappers, and friendly Indians held in what is now Utah, the first of such reunions in 1825. Laurie Carroll (born 1933) was cast as the young Indian woman, Waa-Nibe, for whom Carson is smitten.
Patrick Waltz (1924-1972) was cast as Charlie Bates in the unusual 1957 episode, "Fifty Years a Mystery," set in the since ghost town of Bodie, California. In the story line, Bates in his sleep recalls the exact occurrences of a stagecoach robbery thirty-five miles from where he was sleeping. Years later, it is revealed that radio waves may have caused the bizarre phenomenon. Rosemarie Ace (1930-1996) played Bates' wife, the former Edith Anders, the daughter of his employer.
Alan Wells (1926-2008) portrayed Tom Powell in the 1955 episode, "The Seventh Day." In the story line, a wagon train splits in two when Powell, the captain, refuses to travel on Sundays. Frank Hitchcock (Michael Moore) leads the rival group which includes Powell's love interest, Mary Ann Jessup (Barbara Lang). The wagon train reunites after Powell proves that by resting on Sundays, which refreshed both the settlers and the animals, the party could still travel as far in six days as in seven.
Paul Wexler played Clem Scobie, a war hero, in the 1955 episode, "The Homeliest Man in Nevada." In the story line, Clem's looks at first discourage Mona Sherman (Patricia Joiner), who came to Nevada from Emporia, Kansas, from accepting his romantic gestures. When Clem is badly burned in a mining explosion, however, Mona rushes to his side and confesses her love for him.
Dennis Whitcomb (born 1941) played a young struggling author, Jack London, in the 1968 episode, "Prince of the Oyster Pirates." In the story line, London buys an oyster boat and then rescues a saloon girl, Mamie (Jane Zachary), from the clutches of French Frank (Ken Mayer) (1918-1985), the man who sold him the boat.
Peter Whitney was cast in the 1961 episode, "Who's Fer Divide?," as trapper Joseph Meek, who campaigns for the annexation of Oregon Territory despite a price Kittredge,(Frank Wilcox) has placed on his head (with Dabbs Greer). Whitney was cast as "Peter the Hunter," a mountain man, in the semi-comedic 1964 episode of the same name. In the story line, Peter has three daughters, the older of whom, Tulie (Julie Sommars), is smitten with Jim Beaumont (Anthony Costello) (1938-1983), a greenhorn from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who has failed at gold mining. Peter puts aside his reservations to allow the marriage. Whitney played Judge Roy Bean in the 1965 Death Valley Days episode "A Picture of a Lady," with Francine York as Lillie Langtry and Paul Fix as Bean's friend, Dr. Louis Lathrop. In the story line, the ailing Judge Bean idolizes Lillie's portrait. She visited Langtry, Texas, which Bean claimed to have named in her honor, but only after the judge's death.
Robert J. Wilke was cast as the courageous but aging Sheriff Tom McBain in the 1966 episode, "Brute Angel." In the story line McBain must arrest the young cut-throat Sam Bolt (Sherwood Price) and transport him for trial for murder in Denver. McBain prays for divine intervention; his friend Pony Cragin (Jim Davis) hears the prayer and removes bullets from Bolt's gun prior to the arrest attempt. Jean Engstrom is cast as McBain's wife, Esther.
Jean Willes played Amelia Monk in the 1967 episode, "Siege at Amelia's Kitchen," set in the Arizona Territory of the late 19th century. In the story line, Amelia must adjust to a teen-aged stepson, Warren Monk (Dennis Oliveri), the son of her husband, Titus Monk (George D. Wallace), particularly during an attack by rogue Indians on their ranch.
Don Wilson, the announcer for Jack Benny, appeared as a flim-flam preacher in the 1959 episode, "Gates Ajar Morgan." In the story line, Morgan promotes a false religious philosophy based on the novel The Gates Ajar. He must confess the sham to save his friend and benefactor from a lynch mob. The episode also features Chris Alcaide and Sue Randall.
Howard Wright (1896-1990) was cast in the 1959 episode, "Price of a Passport," as the historical fur trapper and Kentucky native, Sylvester Pattie (1782-1828), the first American to be buried in California. Donald Barton (1925-2002) played his son, James Ohio Pattie. In the story line, the Patties arrive in California to trap but are ordered to jail by a superstitious governor, played by Rodolfo Hoyos Jr. The character Carlotta (Arianne Ulmer) befriends them in jail. Ultimately, their medical knowledge benefits the community during an epidemic.
Than Wyenn was cast as the storekeeper Isaccs in the 1959 episode "A Town Is Born," referring to Nogales, Arizona Territory. Jean Howell played his wife, Ruth, and Jan Arvan (1913-1979) was cast as Mexican President Benito Juárez, who leads the fight against forces of the Emperor Maximilian. In the story line, Isaacs hides gold for the Mexican government to keep it out of the hands of Maximilian's agents.
Patrice Wymore appeared as Fay Morgan in the 1959 episode, "Forty Steps to Glory."
H. M. Wynant was cast as lieutenant (later General) Philip Sheridan in the 1961 episode, "The Red Petticoat," which Sheridan used as a symbol of the racist tendencies of the respective peoples Sheridan and his blood brother/scout Kahlu (Allan Jaffe) (1928-1989) had to fight in order to bring peace and prosperity to the Pacific northwest that was under Sheridan's protection.
Alan Young played consumptive John Batterson Stetson who goes west to either die or be healed in the 1962 episode, "The Hat That Won the West". With the help of the trapper he accompanies on a hunting trek Don Haggerty, he renews his health and love of life. After an avalanche ruins a season's worth of work, his ability to make his own hats promises him a prosperous future, with Lee Van Cleef in a supporting role.
Tony Young played Corbin in the 1963 episode, "Phanton Procession," the story of a man knocked unconscious when thrown from his horse who then is nursed back to health by an unusual family who relate ghost stories of the area.
Victor Sen Yung, who played Hop Sing, the ranch cook on Bonanza, was cast as the compassionate Chinese restaurant owner, Quong Kee, in Tombstone, Arizona, in the 1957 episode, "Quong Kee." In the story line, an aging Quong Kee recalls how in 1881 he brought together Art Gresham (Walter Kelley) and his mother, played by Mary Newton, both of Boston, with the saloon musician Ann Bailey (Eugenia Paul), who after a topsy turvy romance became Mrs. Art Gresham.
Robert Yuro played the outlaw Curly Bill Brocius in the 1968 episode, "A Mule ... Like the Army's Mule." Sam Melville was cast as Army Lt. Jason Beal and Luke Halpin as the young outlaw Sandy King, who was befriended by Beal. John Pickard portrayed Baldy Johnson. Yuro played the Texas gunfighter King Fisher in the 1970 episode, "King of the Uvalde Road," with Dale Robertson as host and actor in the role of "Harry." In the story line, Fisher tries to keep the mail from being delivered to Uvalde, Texas, from San Antonio. In another 1970 episode, "Pioneer Pluck," Yuro is cast as ranch hand Wynn Kinkead, a man with a criminal record who vows revenge when his love interest, Anabelle Colvin (Karen Carlson), is found to be flirting with him while she waits on another suitor, Frank Harris (Roger Ewing), to propose to her.
Shout! Factory (on behalf of Element 5 Media LLC and Rio Tinto), has released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1. Both seasons were released as Walmart exclusives. The third season was released on March 21, 2017 The thirteenth season was released on July 31, 2017 as a Walmart exclusive. Then, on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 the title "went wide" with a general retail release. The fourteenth season was released on January 2, 2018.
Ruth Woodman and Nat Perrin (For episode "The Great Lounsberry Scoop")
In the 1955-1956 season, NBC offered Frontier, an anthology Western series similar to Death Valley Days hosted by Walter Coy. Though Frontier, a springboard for the Western actor Jack Elam, was nominated for an Emmy Award, it was cancelled after a single season.