TV Westerns of 1958

Jefferson Drum

4/25/1958 – 4/23/1959 NBC
Black and White – 30 minutes – 26 episodes
April 1958-Sept. 1958 NBC Friday 8:00-8:30
Sept. 1958-Oct. 1958 NBC Friday 7:30-8:00
Oct. 1958-Sept. 1959 ABC Sunday 9:00-9:30

Jefferson Drum Cast

Jeff Richards as Jefferson Drum
Eugene Martin as Joey Drum
Cyril Delevanti as Lucius Coin
Robert Stevenson as Big Ed

Jefferson Drum was another newpaper fella who hoped the pen would resolve conflict. But when it didn’t, he was handy with a gun as well. A widower with a young son, he wanted to build a decent, law-abiding community. He was aided by his printer, Lucius and the town bartender, Big Ed.

Passings

Cyril Delevanti died in 1975 as did Robert Stevenson. Jeff Richards died in 1989

Jefferson Drum
From the Doug AbbottCollection

Northwest Passage

9/9/1958 – 9/8/1959 NBC
Black and White – 30 minutes
Produced by MGM TV

Northwest Passage Cast

Keith Larsen as Major Robert Rogers
Buddy Ebsen as Sergeant Hunk Marriner
Don Burnett as Ensign Langdon Towne
Philip Tonge as General Amherst

Major Rogers organized Rogers Rangers to help search for a route across America by water. Historically, considerable effort was really spent in this endeavor. The TV show, set during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1759) allowed for plenty of action.

Rogers was an experienced explorer and Indian fighter, as was Marriner. Towne was a Harvard graduate from a wealthy family who became the mapmaker.

Passings

Philip Towne died right after the show, in 1959. Buddy Ebsen died in 2003 of pneumonia he was 95

Northwest Passage
From the Doug Abbott Collection

Frontier Doctor

1958 Syndicated
Black and White – 30 minutes

Frontier Doctor Cast

Rex Allen as Dr. Bill Baxter
Chubby Johnson as the Sheriff

He was doctor in the Arizona Territory.

Passings

Allen died in 1999. Now, the story I heard was that he had a heart attack and fell down behind a parked car which then ran over him. Yikes!

Gray Ghost
Rex Allen
From the Doug Abbott Collection

MacKenzies Raiders

1957 – 1959 Syndicated
Black and White – 30 minutes – 39 episodes

MacKenzies Raiders Cast

Richard Carlson as Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie
Kenneth Alton as Raider
Morris Ankrum as Raider
Charles Boaz as Raider
Jim Bridges as Raider
Louis Jean Heydt as Raider
Brett King as Raider

Colonel Mackenzie, the commander of the 4th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Clark, Texas in 1873, has secret orders from President U.S. Grant and General Phil Sheridan to stop Mexican bandits from crossing the Rio Grande River into the U.S. or from returning to Mexico.

Passings

Carlson, who was better known for his portrayal of Herbert Philbrick in I Led Three Lives, died in 1977. Heydt died in 1960, Ankum died in 1964 of trichinosis, and King in 1999 of leukemia.

 - Rory Calhoun
Rory Calhoun
From the Doug Abbott Collection

Nine Lives of Elfego Baca

1957 – 1959 Syndicated
Black and White – 60 minutes

Nine Lives of Elfego Baca Cast

Robert Loggia as Elfego Baca
Skip Homeier as Ross Mantee

This story of a mild-mannered New Mexico lawman was one of several shows that ran under the Walt Disney Presents banner. Beginning in October of 1958, six episodes ran in the 1958-1959 season and more in the following year.

Texas John Slaughter

1958-1961 ABC
Black and White – 60 minutes – 13 segments

Texas John Slaughter Cast

Tom Tryon as T.J. Slaughter
Betty Lynn as Viola Slaughter
Brian Corcoran as Willie Slaughter
Harry Carey Jr. as Ben Jenkins
Annette Gorman as Addie
Onslow Stevens as General Miles
Pat Hogan as Geronimo
R.G. Armstrong as Billy Soto
Stafford Repp as Sheriff Hatch
Ross Martin as Cesario Lucero
Jim Beck as Burt Alvordi
Norma Moore as Adeline Harris

This show was one of several produced as part of Walt Disney Presents in an attempt to recreate the wild success of Davy Crockett.

Passings

Tom Tryon, who later enjoyed a career as an author, died in 1991 of cancer. Ross Martin, who we would come to love as Artemus Gordon in Wild Wild West, died in 1981.

Rough Riders

10/21958 – 9/24/1959 ABC
Black and White – 30 minutes
Oct. 1958 – Sept. 1959- ABC Thursday 9:30-10:00

Rough Riders Cast

Kent Taylor as Captain Jim Flagg
Jan Merlin as Lieutenant Cullen Kirby
Peter Whitney as Sergeant Buck Sinclair

Jan Merlin’s Horse: – Joker

After the Civil War three soldiers travelled across the West seeking a new life. Two were Union Army vets (Flagg and Sinclair) and one had been a Reb (Kirby). Naturally, they encountered many bad guys on the journey.

Passings

Peter Whitney died in 1972 of a heart attack. Kent Taylor died in 1987.

Webmasters Note:

I received a lovely email from Jan Merlin who is doing quite well, but who misses all the fun they had making this series! He has generously sent along some wonderful pictures from his collection.

CLICK HERE
Jan Merlin’s own pics
This page has a recent pic of him

Jan Merlin
Jan Merlin
From the Doug Abbott Collection

Union Pacific

1961 ABC
Black and White – 30 minutes

Union Pacific Cast

Jeff Morrow as Bart McClelland
Judson Pratt as Bill Kinkaid
Susan Cummings as Georgia

This, as you have surmised, was about the Union Pacific Railroad! McClelland was the district supervisor, Kincaid was a surveyor and Georgia ran the Golden Nugget Saloon which was located in a railroad car that traveled with the train.

Passings

Jeff Morrow died in 1993.

Webmasters Note:

I received a lovely email from Jan Merlin who is doing quite well, but who misses all the fun they had making this series! He has generously sent along some wonderful pictures from his collection.

CLICK HERE
Jan Merlin’s own pics
This page has a recent pic of him

Union Pacific
From the Doug AbbottCollection