Maverick debuted on television, September 22, 1957, and ran for 5 seasons. The final episode aired on April 22, 1962. The series was created by Roy Huggins. Ed Robertson published a book called "Maverick: Legend of the West" in 1994, the same year the Maverick movie came out. He provided a synopsis for each of the 124 episodes.
At first, there was only Bret Maverick, played by James Garner. As early as the 8th episode, "Hostage," Bret's brother Bart was introduced, played by Jack Kelly. Kelly went on to star in more shows than Garner, who left the show in 1960 to pursue a career in movies.
Saturday nights found me glued to the TV at 11pm for the only show that appealed to me: Maverick! It was entertaining down to its theme song: "Natchez and New Orleans, living on jacks and queens, Maverick is a legend of the west."
James Garner's episodes had the most humor. Jack Kelly's tended to be more serious, more the traditional western. But Kelly had a sense of humor, too. He was more of a ladies' man than Garner. The best episodes featured both brothers working together to turn the tables on some scoundrel. Shady Deal at Sunny Acres is an example.
In black & white, Maverick is dated by modern standards, which is part of what makes it good. There is no guilt over what white men did to the Injuns.
There was competition between the brothers, and there was seldom trust between them and their women. If Samantha Crawford, Modesty Blaine or Melanie Blake could make off with the money, they would generally do it. They exhibited the weaknesses of their gender.
Dandy Jim Buckley and Gentleman Jack Darby were the Mavericks without scruples. They were con men in the real sense. Even though Bret and Bart lived by their wits and avoided trouble whenever possible, they knew the difference between right and wrong.
My favorite quote from Bret is: "Naturally, I'm on the side of the law as a rule, but authority has a tendency to weigh me down."
As an actor, James Garner came across as likeable. He was a natural for the role of Bret Maverick. Easy-going, looking out for number one and making a living playing poker, Bret had little in common with Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke or the Cartwrights of Bonanza. Garner was born in Oklahoma in 1928. He fought in the Korean War and received 2 Purple Hearts.
Jack Kelly as Bart was almost a mirror image of Bret. Kelly was born into a show business family in 1927. Like Garner, he was in the military, but served in Alaska.
Bret and Bart drifted across the American west, conning those who tried to con them. They did not cheat at cards because they did not have to. Bart often showed up in the nick of time to help Bret out of a jam as in Duel at Sundown by posing as John Wesley Hardin. Part of the show's appeal was the way the brothers roamed from town to town. They were in Denver one week, San Francisco or Virginia City the next. Maverick was what a western should be! I liked those old stage coaches! The show won an Emmy in 1959, the first 2 seasons being the strongest.
Places where the Maverick brothers could be found: hotels, banks, casinos, saloons, restaurants, stores, ranches, mining camps, army posts & jails.
I wrote annotations for the 124 shows:
1 THE WAR OF THE SILVER KINGS aired on September 22, 1957. I had started the 6th grade. "I'm a gambler," Bret announces, and the first show begins with poker. He works out a deal between Phineas King and the miners of Echo Springs, but not before Phineas has him knocked in the head. Edie is taking care of Bret when he comes to. She is a young, romantic dreamer. It was Leo Gordon as Big Mike McComb who had Maverick bushwhacked. Leo became a recurring character and did some writing. Bret helps a judge regain his dignity.
2 POINT BLANK - Bret arrives at the Golden Chance Saloon after eluding a posse. He falls in love with Molly. Molly and her bank teller lover want to use Bret in their plan to embezzle money. Bret and the sheriff fight over this bad girl. Karen Steele is Molly, and she has a perverse interest in Bret from the get-go. She serves him breakfast, and he takes a job in the saloon. Right away, he spots card cheats. Bret and Molly ride out of town. They talk, and Bret admits to being a drifter. They kiss! Three men want Molly, and she is a hottie! She wants Bret and the stolen money both. But Bret is an honest man despite making a living by playing cards. He gets the reward and pins a thousand dollar bill inside his coat.
3 ACCORDING TO HOYLE - Con artist Samantha Crawford appears as early as the third episode. She uses an obscure rule regarding straights to beat Bret at poker. They cruise the Mississippi between St. Louis and New Orleans, finally making their way to Wyoming. Samantha is the prototype for subsequent females who harassed the Mavericks: Melanie Blake, Modesty Blaine and Marla. Samantha and Bret resume their game on the Stonewall Jackson riverboat, and that is when she resorts to Hoyle's Book of Games for 5 card stud, allowing a pair of 9s to beat Bret's straight. After double-crossing Bret, Sam realizes she likes him.
4 GHOST RIDER - Bret helps Mary Shane, who supposedly died several days before. She is the "ghost rider." She leaves Bret and the buggy and disappears with Bret's coat and the $1000 bill pinned inside. Bret finds his coat and his money in a cemetery on a stone with Mary's name on it. Bret calls on the undertaker, who was engaged to Mary. Bret follows him and is led to a rockslide. The undertaker is killed, and Bret is blamed. Lots of suspense and mystery! Bret returns to the rockslide to find Mary rummaging through rocks.
5 THE LONG HUNT - Fleeing sore losers, Bret is rescued by Lefty Dolan, who is waiting to rob a stage. Lefty assumes Bret is an outlaw. When the stage is finally held up, Lefty is killed. Dying, he sends Bret on an errand to clear an innocent man.
6 STAGE WEST - Bret and a widow are taken hostage by the rancher who murdered her husband. A gold mine is at stake, and Bret sells the rancher a worthless map. Dell Publishing issued Maverick comics at the height of the show's popularity. There were 18 issues, and Stage West was one of them. Kookie Byrnes plays a bad boy.
7 RELIC OF FORT TEJON - This is the one with the camel. The Mavericks had a weakness for accepting their poker winnings in others ways besides money. It always led to trouble, and Bret has difficulty selling Fatima. Bret learned something from Samantha and her rules according to Hoyle and insists on cutting the cards during the game. Why does everybody have to cheat?
8 HOSTAGE brought brother Bart into the series. My first impression of Bart is that he is young. He and Bret meet in New Orleans, and they are broke. Bret has an idea, to play poker on the River Princess with Creoles. They meet Henri, the boat owner, and try to gain passage. Henri is arrogant and protective of his daughter Yvette. She thinks she is being whisked away to her lover when, in fact, she is kidnapped and held for ransom. Bret and Bart pretend to join the kidnappers, and when the bad guys turn against each other, Yvette is freed.
9 STAMPEDE introduces Dandy Jim Buckley. Roy Huggins wanted to contrast Buckley, an all out grafter, with the gentle grafter Maverick. Dandy Jim and Bret are alike except that Dandy has no conscience. They trail a crooked gambler to Deadwood, where he showcases a fighter called Battling Krueger. Bret and Dandy chance upon the gentle giant Noah and talk him into fighting the Battler. When Noah backs out, Bret fights and wins by attacking the Battler's belly. The "stampede" is gold-hungry men headed for the Black Hills.
10 THE JEWELED GUN - Kathleen Crowley appears in Bart's second outing. Scripts were written with James Garner in mind, but the brothers were essentially the same person, and either Garner or Kelly could assume any role. Crowley hires Bart to pose as her husband while planning his demise. The women in Maverick are no good, out for themselves. The jeweled gun is Crowley's derringer.
11 THE WRECKER is based on a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Maverick brothers are in San Francisco, where they purchase a ship beached on Midway Island. Bret and Bart are interested in the ship's cargo of rice and silk until it turns out that there is opium on board as well as a log linking Paul Carthew to murder. Carthew is innocent, and Bart throws the opium overboard, proving that the brothers do the right thing when they have to. I noticed this episode featured no women except the one sitting on the sailor's lap. Bret rescues his brother drifting in a small boat on the Pacific Ocean. James Garner and Jack Kelly were perfect in their roles as Bret and Bart. They had the right looks and were the right age. Bart is as clever as his brother!
12 THE QUICK AND THE DEAD - Bret tracks robbers from whom he won stolen money. He ends up at the Red Front Casino, where he meets Johnny. Johnny has the reputation of having backed down Doc Holliday. Bret takes a job as a dealer, knowing that Johnny is one of the robbers. Suddenly, Doc Holiday appears, mistaking Bret as the one bragging about backing him down. It was in Wichita that Bret and Doc played poker, not in Fort Griffin. Doc is superstitious! He never kills a man while he is winning, and that is how Johnny backed him down. Bret gets Doc into a game of blackjack and lets him win. When Doc discovers the cards are marked, Bret is in trouble. Gerald Mohr is Doc.
13 THE NAKED GALLOWS - After hunting beaver in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Bart sets out to clear an innocent man. It is a familiar theme. Bart trapped 147 beaver and needs a shave. It almost seems out of character that a Maverick would be trapping beaver. There is a subplot involving a young woman with a tyrannical father determined to keep her away from men. The girl's mother had a roving eye, and Annie is attracted to Bart. He reminds her of the age difference. In an attack of conscience, Annie confesses to Bart that she is evil like her mother. The plots converge when the fanatical father turns out to be the killer.
14 COMSTOCK CONSPIRACY takes place in Virginia City, Nevada. Bret kills a debtor in self-defense, and confusion arises when his brother takes his place. Ruta Lee is Ellen, and Bret hiccups at the end of their picnic. Ellen and her timid father own a ranch in Carson City. Bret cannot stay out of other people's business. The Comstock Lode is a lode of silver ore discovered in Nevada's Virginia Range. It set off a silver rush. We should have been told that the brothers are twins.
15 THIRD RIDER - Bart is tested in Nevada. The sheriff believes he was in on a bank robbery and takes him into custody. Bart is tormented by 2 couples. Dolly and Red are the first. Blanche and Turk are the second. Blanche and Turk break Bart out of jail because they think he knows where the money is. Alone with Blanche, Bart turns her against Turk. Bart is sly, and Blanche is dumb and greedy. Did they really bury money in those days? I wondered, too, how cowboys could pick up trails in the middle of nowhere.
16 RAGE FOR VENGEANCE - Bret tells his story to a sheriff. He helped a lady with whom he was infatuated and got involved with counterfeit money. I felt Bret could do better. Bad hairdo! They took the stage to Montana, the 41st state. Denver is the hub of the series. Money talks!
17 ROPE OF CARDS - Bret is pressured into being on a jury. He thinks the young man is innocent. Tol Avery wanted the accused's fiance. Bret saves the day by displaying 5 pat hands in 25 cards. Maverick solitaire! That's a lot of money!
18 DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH - First line: "Here comes more money!" Bart is knocked in the head and put on a ship sailing from San Francisco to New Orleans. 5 months at sea! But he still has the thousand dollar bill pinned inside his coat and gets in with a Creole woman. The culprit is selling worthless stock in diamonds. Money is almost a character in Maverick. We are shown its importance in many episodes.
19 DAY OF RECKONING - When Bret is accused of cheating and called a "tinhorn," he responds that he believes in peace. When the marshal is murdered, a printer circulates an article and means to go to the governor. Trail hands threaten to destroy the town unless the printer is handed over. Bret wants to get out before hell breaks loose but is unable to. The scared printer regrets his actions, and Bret refers to himself a "fence-straddler." Jeanne Willes as Lil assures us that cowboys are nothing like they are portrayed in the east. Even in this serious episode, Bret's biting humor shines.
20 THE SAVAGE HILLS puts Bart and Samantha Crawford in the Dakota Territory, and they end up on an island besieged by Sioux Indians. Sam reveals her past! Her parents were killed by Arapahoe when she was 12, and she learned to survive on her own. Suddenly, Bart understands! Diane Brewster as Samantha is the main female in Maverick. She oozes charm with her fake southern accent. "Fiddle-dee-dee!" She lies! She sneaks into Bart's hotel room, thinking he is a Secret Service agent. He catches her on a riverboat, and she jumps overboard. Bart follows her into the water. They eat buffalo and kiss! Brewster is pretty with her hair down.
21 TRAIL WEST TO FURY - The Mavericks and Dandy Jim Buckley wait out a flood, and we learn why Bret and Bart cannot return to their home in Texas. They were framed for murder! Bret and Bart became Indian fighters after the Civil War to stay out of prison. They are trail bosses on a cattle drive in this episode. The nature of the brothers' characters precluded the series from running longer than 5 seasons, while Gunsmoke ran 20 and Bonanza 14. The Mavericks were gamblers, and although they were more human than Matt Dillon, a Puritan audience could tolerate them only to a point. Roy Huggins' "situational ethics" had its limits.
22 THE BURNING SKY - Bart is a passenger on a stagecoach wrecked by Mexican bandits. This is the Arizona desert, and it is hot! No water. The bandits want money taken out of Mexico by Letty French. Gerald Mohr is Ballero, a Mexican trying to get next to Letty when Bart intervenes and punches him because he took his horse. The passengers take refuge in a ruin, and Bart looks up at the blazing sun. It will go to 110! We see a Joshua tree, a symbol of the desert. Letty was a dance hall girl in Mexico City. Bart devises an explosive, which seems to magically blow up the bandits.
23 THE SEVENTH HAND - Bret meets Samantha Crawford in Kansas City. They have dinner, and Samantha offers to stake Bret in a poker game. After robbers come in and steal the money, Bret and Sam track one into Indian country. Diane Brewster as Samantha was the key female during the first 2 seasons. The shady ladies who followed were in her image. This installment begins with Sam telling Bret, "I was thinking of you the other day," and Bret asking, "How much did it cost me?" She asks about Bart and later pretends to be Bret's sister. As they head for Deadwood in a stagecoach, I recalled how beautiful the west can be. Pappyism: "Marriage is the only game of chance I know of where both people can lose."
24 PLUNDER OF PARADISE - Bart, Big Mike McComb & Grace Wheeler are in Mexico searching for treasure. Grace's husband located the fortune but was killed by bandits. Bart and company must deal with the bandits. Ruta Lee sings.
25 BLACK FIRE - Black Fire is a ranch. Impersonation has long been a literary device, and Bret passes himself off as Homer. Homer's relatives convene at Black Fire because their uncle is trying to determine whom he should leave his $2 million to. 2 million in the 1870s would have been a fortune. The uncle likes Bret even after discovering his identity and enlists him to help find out who is killing off the family. The butler did it!
26 BURIAL GROUND OF THE GODS - The burial ground in the Waconda Mountains of Wyoming is sacred to the Sioux. A scoundrel played by Claude Aikens takes a lady there to look for her husband, who is presumed dead. Bart is in pursuit because Aikens robbed him. Aikens is a character! He tells lie after lie, trying to gain sympathy with his grin. We have another convoluted plot with characters who have secrets and hidden motives. Bart finds the husband in a cave, and they manage to escape the Waconda in a sand storm. I was intrigued by the maid Bart took to dinner. Her name is Sandra Edwards, and she was a Las Vegas showgirl. Anything for money!
27 SEED OF DECEPTION - On his way to Yuma, Bret is mistaken for Doc Holliday. Bart shows up and is mistaken for Wyatt Earp. Adele Mara is a sexy dancer in on a bank robbery. "You like it, sheriff?" Bret asks. "Oh, Them Golden Slippers" takes us back! Believing Bret is Holiday, the townspeople invite him to a turkey dinner. It is a funny scene where the sheriff interrupts the Mavericks' breakfast to tell them gunfighter Mundy is in town. They want nothing to do with it. Adele is Mundy's wife pretending to be his cousin. Her skimpy costume brought criticism. Black & white TV was conservative! It is odd how gunplay and murder were permitted but overt sexuality was not. Bret and Bart split the reward, and the real Doc Holliday shows up.
28 THE DAY THEY HANGED BRET MAVERICK - The stone reads: "Bret Maverick, Born April 7, 1847." April 7 was James Garner's birthday. Of course, Bret is not hanged. Crooked sheriff Ray Teal comes up with a plan to fake a hanging because he wants the money Bret is accused of stealing. It begins with Wells Fargo being robbed and the robber framing Bret. Bret plays on the sheriff's greed to cheat the hangman. A similar scene occurred in Cat Ballou to save Jane Fonda. Whitney Blake shows up posing as Bret's widow. Bret kills Whitney's husband, and the sheriff goes to jail. Bret's stone says he died, September 21, 1876, the date this episode aired in 1958.
29 THE LONESOME REUNION - Lonesome is the name of the town. On a losing streak, Bret encounters a lady with a hat box and gets knocked in the head. Being knocked in the head must have been common in the 1870s. Returning her hat, Bret has his clothes stolen by robber Maxwell. He is a curious sight walking down the street in prison stripes. He washes dishes to earn money to get into a game, then goes after the convict who stole his clothes. A funny scene is Bret under the bed on which Maxwell is napping. $120,000 is buried, and Bret and Maxwell have a reunion at the Mills place.
30 ALIAS BART MAVERICK brings Bart and Gentleman Jack Darby together, and they make a comical pair. When Bart sees Darby's name on a wanted poster, he starts thinking reward. Darby frames Bart instead and uses "Bart Maverick" as his alias. Trailing Darby to Deadwood, Bart asks him how he stays so neat. Arlene Howell is Cindy Lou Brown, Darby's girl friend. She was Miss USA for 1958. Bart resorts to the thousand dollar bill pinned in his coat, and Cindy exclaims, "You carpetbagger!" She confides how she grew up poor and came west to make money. She wants to return to Louisiana in a silk dress and diamond tiara. Both Bart and Darby accompany her to the ball. Richard Long is wonderful as Gentleman Jack Darby.
31 THE BELCASTLE BRAND - Bret collapses in Wyoming and is rescued by stuffy British aristocrats. He works at Belcastle Manor, breaking horses and pitching hay. He says he wasn't cut out to be a cowboy. When he leads them on a safari, they are robbed and left to die in the desert. Bret explains that in Texas a maverick is a calf that has lost its mother and its father has run off with another cow.
32 HIGH CARD HANGS aired October 19, 1958. I was in 7th grade and quite naive. In the Black Hills of 1875, there is gold and Sioux Indians to be dealt with. Bart and Dandy Jim Buckley (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) wait in a mining camp for a poker game. They meet an old prospector, who has struck it rich! When the prospector is killed, Bart becomes a suspect. It turns out that the cook, an Indian woman, did it. All the episodes with Dandy Jim are good. Bart and Jim are friends, not Bret and Jim. Jim empathizes when Bart is accused and slips him a gun. The leader of the camp is baldheaded, and there are bald jokes.
33 ESCAPE TO TAMPICO - Bret travels to New Orleans by riverboat. On a losing streak, he loses the $1000 bill pinned inside his coat. He is hired to bring a killer back from Mexico, where he takes a job in La Cantina Americana. Bret gets his man after some twists and turns. Gerald Mohr as Corbett is the man who escaped to Tampico. Amy is a singer with her own agenda. When Bret rids the Cantina of card cheats, he is jumped in the street. Corbett saves his life, and the 2 men get close. In Corpus Christi, Bret does what he has to do. Corbett did not want to die in Mexico, anyway. Lincoln's portrait on the wall conveys a sense of the time period.
34 THE JUDAS MASK - This is the one with the enigmatic title. Bart is playing poker at the Bella Union and plans to buy half the hotel when a showgirl steals his money and heads for Mexico. Karen is the Norwegian can-can girl, and Bart follows her south of the border. A fiesta marking the death of the traitor Judas is in progress. There are fireworks, and a big statue of Judas will be burned. People wear masks, and there is dancing. Bart finds Karen and demands his $20,000, but she deposited it in the Wells Fargo Bank before leaving New Mexico. Ladies man Bart uncharacteristically gets rough with Karen. The Mavericks are not businessmen or hard workers, so it is a stretch to believe Bart would buy into a hotel.
35 THE JAIL AT JUNCTION FLATS - Dandy Jim Buckley comes up with a scheme to buy and sell horses when gold is supposedly found. There is no gold, but there sure are plenty of horses! Bret says, "I love money, but I hate jail!" Both Bret and Buckley do time in jail and break each other out. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was great at tongue-in-cheek comedy and was missed when he left the show. Buckley is Maverick without conscience! Bart may have been friends with Buckley, but Bret does not trust him. Junction Flats is in Wyoming and where Bret and Dandy Jim meet. Right away, Buckley asks for money.
36 THE 39TH STAR - It is the 4th of July, 1876, and the United States is celebrating 100 years of freedom. North Dakota is not named as the 39th state nor is the territorial capital of Yankton. Bart is "just passing through" and mentions that he is from east Texas. He is on his way to a poker game in Denver, the hub of the entire series. Jack Kelly was a great actor, as good as James Garner and better when it came to dramatic roles. Ed Robertson, in "Maverick: Legend Of The West," suggests Garner got the big movie career because of personality. Kelly went into real estate and local politics. Even though Marion Hargrove wrote The 39th Star, it is boring.
37 SHADY DEAL AT SUNNY ACRES - "I'm working on it!," Bret insists 10 times as Bart, Dandy Jim, Gentleman Jack, Big Mike, Samantha & Cindy Lou join in a sting against an unscrupulous banker. The gang is here, and this episode is a favorite among Maverick fans. Bret assures the town that he will get his $15,000 back. Bart arrives under the name "Mansfield" to initiate a scheme involving worthless stock. Samantha does her part, and Bart gives her a kiss. Ironically, the banker asks, "If you can't trust your banker, who can you trust?" When someone asks Bret if whittling is his hobby, he replies, "No, money is!" The Mavericks may not drink, but they smoke an occasional cigar. Produced by Roy Huggins, story by Douglas Heyes.
38 ISLAND IN THE SWAMP is one of my favorites! Bret ends up in bayou country, tied and set adrift in a boat. Arlene Howell is Ladybird. Erin O'Brien is sister Victoria. The locals are suspicious of Bret because of their secret. They are trading salvaged goods from a wrecked ship. Bret's dealings with the girls interest me. If Ladybird will untie him, he will show her how to use his cigar as bait. He cannot teach her to read because he is not a trained teacher. Victoria is a raven-haired beauty whom Bret uses a mirror to gawk at. Being shy, she runs away, then runs off with a Cajun.
39 PREY OF THE CAT - Bart's leg is broken when his horse is spooked by a mountain lion. A triangle develops between Bart and the couple who nurse him back to health. Kitty falls for Bart, albeit a one-way love. I was 12 when this episode aired and probably did not know what a "triangle" was. When they go hunting for the cat, Kitty's husband is killed with Bart getting the blame. The guilty Kitty goes insane. Bart has a taste for oysters and black coffee. Airing close to Christmas, there is a Christmas tree, and Jingle Bells is played. The image of the mountain lion is scary.
40 THE SPANISH DANCER is a favorite! Adele Mara as Elena hates gringos and wants money to buy her family's ranch back. She dances in a gold camp. Bart shows up, and Gentleman Jack Darby (Richard Long) is an auctioneer. Adele whirls, driving the miners wild! Maverick and Darby both want her, as does camp owner John Wilson. When Wilson offers Adele protection, she rejects him. Wilson and Bart play poker, and Wilson dumps a flooded mine on him. Bart and Darby concoct a plan to get even. Adele keeps dancing! She spins! Her skirt flies! She dances to a Spanish guitar while clicking castanets. Bart and Darby stage a fight, and Darby threatens to kill Maverick. Of course, it is fake. Bart runs the auction, and Darby disappears. The miners get suspicious, and rumors spread that Maverick murdered Darby and threw his body into the mine. There is a trial with Slim Pickens as the judge. When Bart is found not guilty, Wilson volunteers to drain the mine to find Darby's body. He wants to hang Bart! When the mine is drained, the only thing found is a sack full of rocks with a sign on it: "This mine drained by the courtesy of John Wilson." Everyone laughs, and Maverick and Wilson duke it out. Darby suddenly appears, claiming he went hunting. Quartz gold is discovered and everybody is rich! Elena has enough money to buy her father's ranch. Her bitterness is gone. Adele Mara was the wife of Maverick creator Roy Huggins.
41 HOLIDAY AT HOLLOW ROCK - There is a quarter horse race in Hollow Rock, and Bret is there to bet on a horse called Silver King. Maverick has its share of crooked sheriffs. Sandra Edwards was a looker! She left her husband when he became abusive and killed him with a shotgun when he broke into the house where she was staying. The shooting was ruled justifiable homicide, but it ended her career.
42 GAME OF CHANCE - Bart meets a Countess while bidding on a horse. Over dinner, her pearls fall on the floor, and he helps pick them up. He has them restrung, and the jeweler offers him $40,000. Bart loans the Countess $10,000 with the pearls as collateral. The Countess is a con artist and disappears. Bart's pearls are imitations! Bart relies on Bret to help him recover his money. They find the Countess, and she tries the same trick on Bret. The women in Maverick are connivers and will do anything for money. Things get complicated, but the brothers manage to get Bart's money. I am not drawn to episodes with European aristocrats, but the the ones featuring both brothers are interesting. James Garner and Jack Kelly complemented each other well.
43 GUN-SHY is a lampoon of Gunsmoke and the law-and-order ethic of Mort Dooley. Dooley, of course, is Matt Dillon. There are also caricatures of Miss Kitty, Doc & Chester. All reflect the apparent boredom of the Gunsmoke characters and their blank stares. Bret is drawn to Elwood, Kansas, to look for gold. Dooley hates card sharps and keeps running him out of town. After the third time, Dooley is ready to shoot Bret! Bret is out of range, and Dooley gets frustrated. The gold turns out to be Confederate money. Maverick is set in the 1870s when Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes were presidents. Gun-Shy was written by Marion Hargrove.
44 TWO BEGGARS ON HORSEBACK - While playing poker, Bret and Bart learn that the Gannet Express Company is broke. That means Maverick money down the drain! Jessamy informs them that the Gannet office in Deadwood remains open, but there is only enough money to cash one draft. The brothers compete! They race to Deadwood! Jessamy goes with Bart, then steals his horse. Then Bret's horse is stolen. Bart saves Bret and Jessamy from robbers, then Bret saves Bart and Jessamy from Indians. The brothers pull off a sting that enables them to cash both drafts. No one trusts anyone! There are only liars and deceivers. A sad comment on human nature!
45 THE RIVALS - Bret and Roger Moore trade names, allowing Bret to get into an exclusive hotel. Having read Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" helps because Pat Crowley wants a man like Sydney Carton. She wants a man with courage and a sense of adventure. She wants to marry Bret after discovering he is not rich, and we see them at Lovers' Leap. When a duel is fought, Crowley settles for Roger Moore, the man she belonged with in the first place. There is some witty dialog, possibly more than in any other episode. There is irony! It reminded me of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with its mistaken identities. Pat Crowley is a sweetie!
46 DUEL AT SUNDOWN - Bret's old friend uses him to come between Carrie and Clint Eastwood. Clint is the jealous type and wants to kill Bret. Bret beats him up despite Clint's outsized reputation. Clint has another woman and only wants the ranch. Carrie says to Bret, "You put money ahead of everything, don't you?" To which Bret replies, "No, there's breathing." Bret plays Maverick solitaire and says he promised Pappy he would marry at 38 and raise 12 Mavericks. Bret's adversaries have fun with his name, and Clint calls him "Maver-ack." Bart impersonates John Wesley Hardin to save his brother's life.
47 YELLOW RIVER - Bart becomes a trail boss, leading a herd to Kansas. A killer named Billy Young turns up dressed like a woman. Everybody is fooled! Abigail is a con artist in the tradition of Samantha Crawford. Tol Avery and Sam Buffington appear. Yellow River is the town.
48 THE SAGA OF WACO WILLIAMS - Waco wants his partner to give himself up. Bret wants the reward. Cattlemen versus homesteaders! Bret tries to keep Waco out of trouble. He wants to avoid fights and get the money. "I'm just a teensy bit mercenary," he confesses. I may not have known Waco was in Texas when this one aired on February 15, 1959. "The Saga Of Waco Williams" was the highest rated show in the series, and Maverick was at its peak! "Camptown Races" and "Oh! Susanna" are played.
49 THE BRASADA SPUR - Brasada Spur is a railroad company. Julie Adams, who appeared in "The White Widow," is Belle. She is the town boss, and Bart entertains her in order to get into an exclusive poker game. She realizes his motive and forces him to run the Brasada Spur. Adams was a bank president in "The White Widow," again playing a strong-willed woman.
50 PASSAGE TO FORT DOOM - Bart joins a wagon train headed for the Black Hills. Arlene Howell is Cindy Lou Brown, and she is running from an outlaw who put money inside a doll. The wagon train reaches Fort Doom only to find that most of the troops have died from a cholera epidemic. I googled cholera and found it to be a bacterial infection of the small intestine. When Indians attack the fort, Bart and his group fight. Cindy Lou was not the force Samantha Crawford was, but she was pretty and likeable.
51 TWO TICKETS TO TEN STRIKE has a great pappyism: "There's just about 3 reasons why most men do anything: greed, curiosity & anger." It is one ticket for James Garner, and one ticket for Connie Stevens. They are arriving from Tucson! Connie was famous and even had a hit record called "Sixteen Reasons." Here, she is a dizzy blonde named Frankie. After Bret carries her hats into the hotel, she helps herself to his tub of hot water. He makes her give him a dollar, then feels guilty and invites her to breakfast. Batman wants Bret out of town, and Frankie's father and benefactor wants her in town. Bret and Frankie make a good team and ride out of Ten Strike smooching! The shows usually begin with some mode of transportation. Here, it is the Overland Stage.
52 BETRAYAL - Pat Crowley and Ruta Lee co-star. Crowley is a pretty thing and wants her cousin's man. The show opens with Bart and the cousins in a stagecoach. Pat is looking for a man and flirts with Bart. Bart has dinner with the family, and Pat makes a play for Buck at the table. They dance at the social. Pat is the most comely of the 2 women, although Ruta is no slouch. Pat and Buck marry. Ruta wants Bart to kiss her to prove she is a woman. Then, it comes out that bad girl Pat is a bigamist. She goes to jail, and Bart punches Buck! "Swanee River" is played, a Stephen Foster song.
53 THE STRANGE JOURNEY OF JENNY HILL - Jenny is a singer whom Bret follows from town to town. He is trailing her because he thinks she will lead him to her husband, a suspected killer. I must say Jenny's songs are boring. Meanwhile, Bret is falling in love and kisses Jenny on a riverboat. Bret is trying to clear Big Mike McComb! It is not often that Bret falls in love, and the romance sours when the truth comes out. Bret follows Jenny to the place where she meets her husband and kills him.
54 PAPPY kicked off the third season. I found it entertaining even if it did diminish the pappy mystique. It is Troy Donahue who informs the Mavericks that pappy is about to marry an 18-year-old. James Garner plays pappy, and Jack Kelly shows up as Uncle Bentley. "Pappy" starts with Bret's 3 treys winning at poker. Bart, in jail, beats the sheriff with the same hand. The brothers go to Texas to check on their reprobate father, and Bret visits the Lady Gida Show Boat. Gida wants pappy and resents the 18-year-old. Bart is hired to kill his own father in a duel as the plot thickens. Duels were fought near oak trees.
55 ROYAL FOUR-FLUSH - Swindlers and con artists! Virginia City is booming! No, it is not in Virginia. It is in Nevada. I went there in 1980. Bart recognizes the "countess" as a New Orleans card dealer, then convinces a couple of old coots that he is a Untied States marshal. "I arrest you in the name of the United States government!" LOL! Roberta Shore is Judy, trying to protect her father from people who want his money. She was a cutie! A four-flush is a poker hand one card short of being a flush. A four-flusher is a liar. If human nature is the way it is portrayed in these shows, there is little hope for us. Pappyism: "Stay clear of weddings because one of them is liable to be your own." It was writer Marion Hargrove who came up with the idea of Pappy. Roy Huggins loved it because it provided a Maverick philosophy.
56 THE SHERIFF OF DUCK 'N' SHOOT - A quirk of fate leads to Bret becoming sheriff in the town with the strange name. When a trouble maker is knocked unconscious by a horse, the mayor thinks Bret did it. The Mavericks are forever being coerced into situations they do not like, and Bret has a problem with authority. As sheriff, he resorts to cheating at cards (something he never does) to keep Bimbo from destroying the town. Both Mavericks would rather use their brains than their guns. Pappyism: "The worst crime a man can commit is to interrupt a poker game."
57 YOU CAN'T BEAT THE PERCENTAGE - Bart and Gerald Mohr play poker while eating sandwiches. Bad girl Karen Steele was a bombshell, a Marilyn Monroe type. She has 4 men wanting her. I recall those 6-pointed badges worn by sheriffs. I played "Cowboys and Indians" and had one. It read "Texas Ranger" in blue. I also had toy guns and holsters and a Davy Crockett-style rifle, which my parents gave me. Pop, the gravedigger, is the one who says "You can't beat the percentage."
58 THE CATS OF PARADISE - Modesty Blaine wants to buy cats to sell to a mining town besieged by mice. Bret resorts to the thousand dollar bill pinned inside his coat. Naturally, Modesty cons Bret and even tries to have him Shanghaied. We learn that eights and aces are the "dead man's hand." Wild Bill Hickok supposedly held those cards when he was murdered in Deadwood. Pappyism: "A man who sticks his head in the sand makes an awfully good target."
59 A TALE OF THREE CITIES - Pat Crowley robs Bart so she can pay her father's debt. The 3 cities are Gold Flats, Brotherly & Hampton Center. The Ladies Aid in Brotherly has a luncheon, and each lady brings her specialty. Bart presents himself as a reformed gambler in order to get fed. He charms the women while recognizing Pat by her perfume and ring. Bart is a ladies' man and a good one to learn from! While incarcerated, the ladies bring him breakfast and a comfortable bed. They bring him an easy chair, cigars & a copy of "Lorna Doone." Pat Crowley is adorable: "Bart, I don't want you to get hurt!"
60 FULL HOUSE - Bret wins a tie pin and is mistaken for Foxy Smith, who is planning a job with Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Cole Younger, Sam Bass & Belle Starr. Sexy Jean Willes plays Belle! Bret is taken with her, and Younger is jealous. The reward money for the outlaws totals $73,000, and Bret the bounty hunter gets ideas. Belle comes to his room and wants to go to bed. She gives him a wet kiss! "Just call me Foxy!" Bret invents a plan to take over the Denver Mint. The bad guys pull off the robbery, but a posse rounds them up after Bret plays on the Kid's inexperience. A full house is 3 of a kind over a pair.
61 THE LASS WITH THE POISONOUS AIR - Bart rides the mare he won into Denver and becomes enamored with Linda, a devious lady with secrets. They meet regularly by a lake. It seems the Mavericks are forever being framed and that poker players never lose gracefully. Four 9s beat a full house. Not sure what Bart sees in Linda. She even kills her lover. Maverick women are bad seeds.
62 THE GHOST SOLDIERS - Sioux Indians pop up a lot in these stories. The Sioux were in the Dakotas, and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills led to conflict between Indians and white men. Bret is in trouble for messing with a Colonel's wife when the Sioux attack the fort. Bret manages to spook the superstitious Sioux by pretending to be a ghost. When he vanquishes Running Horse, the Indians turn tail. Indians were treated as savages when the Maverick series was on TV. Native American are now venerated. Things change!
63 EASY MARK - Bart comes across a Harvard man working on a paper about cacti. He impersonates him, which naturally leads to trouble. People keep getting thrown off the train. Nonetheless, cactus man arrives in time to save his father's company. He takes control of the train and pilots it to its destination. The conductor turns out not to have the ethics we thought. This is typical Maverick, a mix of humor and western drama. It is the humor that set Maverick apart from other westerns. Jack Kelly had all the charm in the world!
64 A FELLOW'S BROTHER - "When a fellow's brother's killed, it's up to the fellow's brother to get the fellow who killed the fellow's brother." "I've heard that!" Bret replies. The plot is familiar. Bret needs a stake to get into a poker game and sets out to collect debts. There is a bank robbery and a murder, and he is accused of both. Diane McBain is Holly. She achieved fame as a sexpot in 1961's Claudelle Inglish. It is significant that a western about poker playing drifters could run for 5 years and win an Emmy in an era of law and order westerns. Maverick did it because of the personalities of James Garner and Jack Kelly.
65 TROOPER MAVERICK - Bart is no fan of army life, being drawn to the fort because of the poker game. The Colonel threatens him with the stockade unless he joins the cavalry. This is the Dakota territory, and the Sioux are making trouble. The Colonel wants Bart to find out who is giving them guns. As expected, Bart makes a lousy soldier. It is KP and guard duty, then Bart gets into a slugfest with his sergeant. Bart appears bored as the cavalry and Indians engage in battle. Having turned 24 in basic training, I can attest to the rigors of army life.
66 MAVERICK SPRINGS - Bret fetches a tough old broad's brother from Saratoga Springs. He meets Kathleen Crowley as Melanie Blake and passes himself off as Colonel Maverick, a wealthy Texan. When the brother loses half of the family ranch, Bret devises a scheme to get it back. Bart participates. The brothers practiced what Huggins called "situational ethics." In other words, they only swindled swindlers. Pappyism: "If you're gonna drop names, drop 'em hard."
67 THE GOOSE DROWNDER - Bart and Gentleman Jack Darby are stranded in a ghost town during a torrential rain. They play poker! The girl is Stella, and Bart knew her as a dance hall girl. She stole his wallet. Now she is in with a half-breed robber who will die unless Bart is able to remove a bullet. There is no music in this one, just rain and thunder, and Jack Kelly's talent for dramatic acting is emphasized. One of the characters is named Red Herring, and Darby defines a red herring as something used to divert attention from something more important.
68 A CURE FOR JOHNNY RAIN - The plot here is far-fetched. A young guy has a drinking problem and robs stagecoaches when he blacks out. Jekyll and Hyde! He leads Bret to the money after Bret gives him a cure-all tonic. Johnny's girl friend encourages him to drink. Millie is married to a card cheat but uses Johnny to steal gold so she and her husband can flee to Mexico. The creators of Maverick had issues with women.
69 THE MARQUESA has a familiar theme. Bart wins a cantina when his 4 treys beat a full house. He travels to New Mexico territory only to learn the cantina has been closed because of a dispute over ownership. He reopens it with drinks on the house. This was the last of Adele Mara's 3 appearances, and she plays the Marquesa. She believes she is an impostor until it turns out that she is the rightful heir.
70 THE CRUISE OF THE CYNTHIA B. - Bret is one of the owners of a riverboat, and when they sail it down the Mississippi to Memphis to sell it, the owners meet mysterious deaths. Mona Freeman is Modesty Blaine. She was ruthless in The Cats Of Paradise, so when the ratings dropped, her character was cleaned up. Bret gets reacquainted with her when she becomes the last sucker to purchase the Cynthia B. He asks her if she is out on parole, then insults her cooking. The killer is the one who sold them the boat. Pappyism: "A man does what he has to do if he can't get out of it."
71 MAVERICK AND JULIET - The people behind Maverick knew Shakespeare, and made references to "Hamlet" and "MacBeth." For Maverick & Juliet, Bret is placed between feuding families: the Carterets and Montgomerys. The feud starts and ends with poker! Bret and Bart square off, representing opposing families and playing for their lives. Bret gets involved when trying to help the eloping lovers put a wheel on their buggy. The Carterets take him captive! Both fathers are religious fanatics, so the families never fight on Sundays and even attend the same church. The feud ends when Sonny and Juliet marry. I like it that the poker hands are what you might expect. Produced by Coles Trapnell.
72 THE WHITE WIDOW - Her name is Wilma White, and she is a widow. Thus, the title! When Bart puts his winnings in the hotel safe, they are stolen and he must apply for a loan. Wilma White is the bank president. She is not used to being turned down, but Bart says he doesn't "settle too well." There is suspense as the widow's life seems to be threatened. I will not say who is making the threats, but there are suspects. When the widow hires Bart to protect her, he is naturally knocked in the head. He was knocked in the head so many times, it is a wonder he did not have brain damage. Julie Adams is the white (black) widow.
73 GUATEMALA CITY - In San Francisco, Bret falls for Ellen, who keeps calling him "Bert." When Ellen disappears with some jewels, Bret follows her to Central America. He befriends a waif, who steals to live. Her name is Angelita, and she steals a watch as soon as Bret arrives. He covers for her, and she steals his watch too. Bret finds her in his hotel room and feeds her. She wants to go to America but changes her mind after realizing her amigos need her. When the real Bert says Ellen tried to poison him, Bret says, "She's a woman. They get upset!"
74 THE PEOPLE'S FRIEND - Bart enters politics! Can you imagine a Maverick holding public office? He runs for the State Senate against an unscrupulous politician named Cosgrove. When he draws a mustache on Cosgrove's poster, the sheriff confiscates his marker. Bart's speech wins votes, but he only wants to play poker. After Merry Anders as Penelope reminds him that he represents the Reform Party, she allows him one vice. They kiss and probably do more. When the election ends in a tie, Bart's vote decides it. He votes for Penelope's father. Jack Kelly served on the Huntington Beach city council.
75 A FLOCK OF TROUBLE - It is a flock of sheep giving Bret trouble. When he wins a sheep ranch in a poker game, he becomes involved in a war between cattlemen and sheepherders. I tend to take an interest in the women in Maverick. They are an age group, born in the early 1930s. Myrna Fahey as tomboy Dee Cooper is a romantic at heart! Bret buys her a fancy dress and sweet talks her. She twirls, feeling feminine and pretty. Bret and Dee kiss, and she buys his sheep.
76 THE IRON HAND - Bart loses at poker and takes a job on a cattle drive to Abilene. The foreman is a half-breed with an iron hand. Bart recognizes him from somewhere and finally associates him with a Wells Fargo robbery. The most forgettable scene is where Iron Hand kills the rattlesnake. Robert Redford was a fledgling actor in 1960, and Nobby Ned Wyngate is a poor substitute for Dandy Jim Buckley. "Red River Valley," the cowboy folk song, is heard in the background.
77 THE RESURRECTION OF JOE NOVEMBER - Poker and gambling in general attract shady characters. After losing $5000 to an imposter, she and her German "husband" hire Bret to unbury Joe. It turns out that stolen jewels are in his casket. Bret is in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras. The show opens on a riverboat. After all, the brothers were drifters. Bret and the German end up in a sword fight. Germans were often portrayed as Hitler types.
78 THE MISFORTUNE TELLER features Kathleen Crowly as Melanie Blake. When Bret is accused of murdering the mayor, Melanie comes to his rescue. Bret's superstitious lawyer is the culprit! I should have known, as one gets used to these twists. The door of the stagecoach opens and Crowley steps out, recognizable by her bottom lip. She wears one of those wacky hats ladies must have worn in the 1870s. She helps Bret break out of jail, using a woman's touch. In his memoir, James Garner cited Crowley as the leading lady whom he most vividly remembered. She appeared in 8 episodes. Roy Huggins and his writers displayed a cynical attitude toward women. The Maverick wit is endless!
79 GREENBACKS UNLIMITED - Bret's old friend and former bricklayer Foursquare Farley is taking money out of the Denver State Bank to deal blackjack. John Dehner is a safecracker, whose plans Bret and Foursquare foil. It is funny stuff as Bret and Foursquare move money back and forth from the bank vault. Bret quips, "You have to prove you don't need money to borrow money from a bank." When Bret loses to a player with 4 10s, I thought of a cheater I played poker with. He would call 10s wild and deal from the bottom of the deck.
80 THE BUNDLE FROM BRITAIN - Bart gets off the stage in St. Louis looking for cousin Beau. He does not even remember what Beau looks like. There is a long barroom brawl, a sign that the writing was going downhill by season 4. Beau was dubbed "the white sheep of the family" after getting his medal in the Civil War. Being from Texas, the Mavericks fought on the side of the south. Beau is kidnapped in this confusing episode. As hard as they try, the Mavericks cannot stay out of trouble. It may have something to do with being gamblers. My grandmother said a gambler never has anything. After a shaky start, season 4 got better.
81 HADLEY'S HUNTERS is a gem from the fourth season, and Warner Brothers used it to promote other shows. John Russell and Peter Brown from Lawman are here as is Edd "Kookie" Byrnes from 77 Sunset Strip. Rather than combing his hair, Kookie is combing a horse's mane. There is no end to the series' capacity to have fun. Hadley's deputies commit crimes and blame them on the innocent. Bart becomes "Mangler Maverick!" A lot of actors who became famous got their start on Maverick.
82 THE TOWN THAT WASN'T THERE - Towns competed for the railroad when it came west, and Silver City is one of those towns. It is the town that wasn't there, literally moved piece by piece to be near the railroad. Far out, I think! Anyway, Shanks is a crooked railroad man, trying to drive down the price of land. The plot twists and turns.
83 ARIZONA BLACK MARIA - An Indian tries to scalp Bart, but Bart keeps getting rescued. Joanna Barnes is the lady prisoner. A "black maria" is a covered wagon used to transport prisoners, and Bart calls it a "traveling hoosgow," "hoosgow" being Spanish for jail. Bart and Joanna kiss, and she wants him to help her escape. When he removes her ball and chain so she can bathe, she gets away. She returns to free the others, and they fall under attack. The Indian's persistence in trying to scalp Bart is silly and comes to a head when he tries to scalp a man wearing a toupee. Joanna played in 5 episodes.
84 LAST WIRE FROM STOP GAP - Bart and Beau are swindled by a phony telegraph company. Messages go no farther than a nearby cave. Olive Sturgess is Phyllis. There is a sameness about Maverick women. They dress alike, have the same hairdo and are of an age group. This is the one where the cousins cannot get any sleep. Pappyism: "Hard work never hurt anyone - who didn't do it."
85 MANO NERA - In one of the darker episodes, Italians are being murdered in New Orleans. Bart is there for the Mardi Gras, and stock footage from The Judas Mask is used. Gerald Mohr is Giacomo, a Bogart-type who appeared in 7 episodes. There is a noticeable lack of humor. Mano Nera means "black hand," and the handprint on the wall is creepy. Leo Gordon wrote the script.
86 A BULLET FOR THE TEACHER - Beau becomes half-owner of a casino. Kathleen Crowly is singer Flo Baker. When she shoots Beau's partner, Maverick gets the blame. The deceased partner's brother frames Beau because he wants the casino. Flo leaves town and becomes a school teacher, teaching spelling to young kids. Crowley has that Marilyn Monroe look popular among sex symbols of the Maverick era. One of her students is older and smitten. She tells him she is not teaching the birds and the bees.
87 THE WITCH OF HOUND DOG is a comedy in which Bart relates his supernatural tale to fellow poker players. When he encounters a witch in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, strange things happen. The witch's brothers give Bart a hard time before she clamps down on them. Thunder and lightning! Anita Sands makes a seductive witch, and the raven is an omen. When Anita rides into town with Bart, there is chaos! Jack Kelly looked good on a horse, and Anita tells him she cast a spell so he would come to her. She sits in a tree dangling her leg. "Nice night for courtin!" She wants Bart, but he wants to get back to Memphis.
88 THUNDER FROM THE NORTH - Beau is framed again, accused of killing the brother of Pale Moon, after she complained about bad flour. I sensed a rivalry between Pale Moon and the white girl. Kitty returns Beau's presents. The Indians are buying whiskey, and it was always said that Indians could not drink. In reality, no one can drink that stuff! Beau is captured and about to be decapitated when Pale Moon stops it. She chooses Beau as her husband, although he must pass a series of tests. Pale Moon is Andra Martin in real life, of Swedish descent, not an Indian at all. Beau is named after his uncle, Bret and Bart's pappy.
89 THE MAVERICK LINE - The brothers inherit a stagecoach line from Uncle Micah. It is the only time Micah is mentioned. The stagecoach line is broke, and the brothers want to sell it. Bret and Bart were the first anti-heroes. They were out for themselves and avoided trouble whenever possible. James Garner being wounded in Korea may have contributed to his portrayal of Bret. Still, Bret was no coward. This was Garner's final episode. Buddy Ebsen as Rumsey Plumb points the way to the Hillbillies.
90 BOLT FROM THE BLUE - This is Ed Robertson's favorite from season 4. Beau is mistaken for a horse thief, and we know what they did with horse thieves in those days. The title derives from prospector Ebenezer Bolt. Beau spends a good bit of time with a noose around his neck awaiting the "hanging judge," who rides along singing "The Hanging Tree." They must wait until midnight, however, because the law says a man cannot be hung on Sunday.
91 KIZ is Kathleen Crowley. She plays poker, smokes cigars and hires cousin Beau to protect her. Kiz's cousin wants her institutionalized so she can get her money. Kiz is a firebug, and a fire saves her life. She and Beau have sex, although it is only hinted at. She promotes a prize fight, betting on Gentleman Joe. Fire! Kiz gets her hat and dashes off, returning ecstatic and disheveled! She beats Beau at poker and orders him to report to her in the morning. Kiz may be a feminist, but she fears for her life.
92 DODGE CITY OR BUST - Bart learns a weird card game called "Jack and the Beanstalk." in which fives and one-eyed jacks are wild. He rescues Diana, then has to get her to Dodge City so she can send a telegram. Bart is fined for gambling on Sunday as humor morphs into comedy. The Maverick legacy is seen in movies like Cat Ballou and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
93 THE BOLD FENIAN MEN - The Fenians were real. They were a revolutionary band of Irishmen trying to win Ireland's independence from England by taking over a small part of Canada. Beau is forced to infiltrate them. They were finally sent back to Ireland. The Colonel toasts Bart: "To the bravest man I've ever met." Beau says he has gambled with every nationality in the world. Sharon Hugueny is Diedre. She was the Indian girl in The Devil's Necklace. I am not a fan of Irish music.
94 DESTINATION DEVIL'S FLAT aired on Christmas of 1960. By then, Maverick was starting to wear thin. James Garner was gone, and the plots, all of which revolved around money, were becoming noticeably similar. Still, Maverick was the best show on television. Jack Kelly and Roger Moore carried the series through its final 2 seasons. When Wells Fargo offers a reward for Clay Corey, Bart is interested. He is hungry and gets a meal at the mission, where he hooks up with a dealer he knew in San Francisco. It was always the personalities of the brothers that intrigued, not the plots.
95 A STATE OF SIEGE - Bart saves Don Felipe's life and is invited to his hacienda but shows up at a bad time. Felipe is trying to reclaim land once owned by his family but now belonging to the United States. Of course, the U.S. won the Mexican War in 1848 under president James K. Polk. Felipe is under siege and when he tells Maverick to leave, Bart says, "All I wanted was a good night's sleep." When Maverick was on television, there were no problems with Mexico. With the influx of millions illegal aliens, such is not the case now.
96 FAMILY PRIDE - It starts with Beau riding a stagecoach through New Mexico. Always moving! A fellow passenger tricks him regarding time zones. It is amazing how all these shows center around money. Beau is taken by con artists a second time, one of whom is sexy Anita Sands, the witch of Hound Dog. She and Beau make eyes, and she drinks water from his hands. It turns out that her grandmother was a Maverick, and she and Beau are kissing cousins! All the Mavericks had a way with the ladies. Beau whistles the Maverick theme while straightening his tie. Pappyism: "A Maverick outwitted is still worth 2 ordinary men."
97 THE CACTUS SWITCH - Beau is taking a lady to New Orleans and drops by to collect $1000 from Bart. Fay Spain is contemplating suicide, and the ever-present Edgar Buchanan threatens Bart. This has one of those inscrutable plots. I could not figure out how the episode got its name. The Mavericks were gregarious to a fault, living out of hotels and spending their time in casinos, saloons, banks & jails. White guys dress up as Indians, something that would be called "racist" today. The final 2 seasons foreshadow the silly comedies of the 1960s.
98 DUTCHMAN'S GOLD is based on a song by Walter Brennan. Beau, his partner Charlotte and a "prospector" known as the Dutchman search for gold at Superstition Mountain. The gold has a curse on it and when Beau wins his nuggets playing poker, the Dutchman warns him not to touch them. The Dutchman is killed by Apaches, and the cursed bandit dies from poison water.
99 THE ICE MAN - Bart gets mixed up in California politics, backing Calvin Powers of the Reform Party. When Powers' former partner is found frozen in ice on a glacier, it reminded me of the movie "The Thing From Another World" (1951) in which an evolved vegetable from outer space is frozen in ice. Bart and the ice cutting crew find the "iceman" while cutting blocks for Powers. When Powers' housekeeper sets the building on fire, we know something is wrong. Powers killed the "iceman" in self-defense and raised his daughter. This is the only episode in which the Mavericks' mother is mentioned.
100 DIAMOND FLUSH - In Colorado Springs, it is Beau's turn to be knocked in the head. Confusion arises over a diamond necklace. Which one is real? Beau dances with the countess, then whistles the Maverick theme. A diamond flush is 5 cards, all diamonds.
101 LAST STOP OBLIVION - Bart is holding 4 aces when the sheriff runs him out of town. It is a diverse group of passengers riding the stagecoach to the station run by Buddy Ebsen, who turns out to be a killer! "You're what I call a thinking man, Mr. Maverick." The woman on the stage is looking for her husband. When the kid slaps her, Bart throws him out of the moving coach. "Let's play cards!" When the undertaker disappears, Bart puts 2 and 2 together. Nobody likes to be called a "tinhorn."
102 FLOOD'S FOLLY - During a blizzard in Colorado, Beau stays in an old hotel where Sally Flood is in danger of being institutionalized by her greedy aunt. The "folly" is this isolated hotel. The entire series seems to revolve around Denver.
103 MAVERICK AT LAW - Bart and his fellow poker players continue undisturbed during a bank robbery and a shootout in the street. Bart poses as an attorney with the firm of Maverick, Benson & Bluel. Money is at the center of so many of these episodes. Gage Clarke and Tol Avery are regulars. Pappyism: "Don't play with strangers. The friends you have are dangerous enough."
104 RED DOG - At a cave site, Beau is suddenly surrounded by shady characters. The cast is the thing. Mike Road is Buckskin, and Lee Van Cleef rides in as Wolf. Van Cleef shot to fame in the spaghetti westerns of the late 1960s. He had a mean look. John Carradine plays the judge. Ed Robertson called Carradine one of the greatest actors ever known in the film industry. Sexy Sherry Jackson is "The Kid's" woman. Beau lets them think he is the outlaw known as Red Dog. Pappyism: Some men are afraid of the dark, and some are afraid to leave it.
105 THE DEADLY IMAGE - On his way to Cheyenne, Bart is mistaken for an outlaw with whom he is the spitting image. Cutie Dawn Wells as Caprice lives with her blind grandfather, Papa Rambeau. Bart and his "twin" meet face to face.
106 TRIPLE INDEMNITY - Bart wins money from the mayor only to be robbed. He takes out a life insurance policy. There is a cattle show. Pappyism: "No matter what a man does in his life, he always has a guilty conscience. But the smart man suffers his guilt pangs in luxury." Peter Breck played Doc Holiday in 5 episodes. He turned Doc into a comic character.
107 THE FORBIDDEN CITY - Robert Colbert as the younger Maverick brother Brent never caught on. He appeared in 2 episodes. Having him run out of town failed to make him a bona fide Maverick.
108 SUBSTITUTE GUN - Things get complicated when Bart runs into Smiley Drake, a gunman he met in St. Louis. Sisters compete for men, and gambling houses compete for business. As Smiley dies, he utters the words, "Get Blauvelt." The sheriff insists that Bart becomes the "substitute gun" and work for Blauvelt. Blauvelt's wife sent for the gunman because she wants her husband dead. Actors in the old days were men, unlike the Hollywood liberals of today.
109 BENEFIT OF DOUBT - Brent is accused of robbing the America Mail Company. The young Maverick clone is not convincing.
110, 111 THE DEVIL'S NECKLACE is a 2-parter centered around Fort Distress in Arizona. The fort is attacked by Apaches, and everyone is killed except Bart. He tells his story! It is 120 degrees in the shade and no water when John Dehner appears as Luther Cannonbaugh. He gives Bart a ride to the fort. Maverick runs into Angel, an "old friend" from New Orleans. Her husband, Captain Score, is up to no good! Bart buys Luther's wagon with intentions of going to St. Louis. When he searches the wagon, he finds illegal whiskey, a creepy necklace & an Apache girl named Tawny, whom Luther meant to sell into slavery. Bart hides Tawny, but she is discovered and Maverick is thrown into the guardhouse. Tawny is Bob Tallhorse's woman, and Tallhorse is stirring up the Apaches. Angel and her husband clash. She helps Bart escape so he can return Tawny. As Bart and Tawny head for Indian country, Captain Score stabs his wife and puts the blame on Bart. Maverick teaches Tawny to use soap, and they become friends. She kisses him! Oh oh! Luther shows up, and so does Tallhorse. Bart and Luther are tied up in a teepee. Tallhorse is willing to let Bart go, but is going to kill Luther until Luther convinces him that the bear tooth necklace is "strong medicine." To prove it, Luther puts the necklace around his neck and lets Tallhorse shoot him. Of course, the gun has blanks in it. The superstitious Indians fall for the trick. Tallhorse becomes jealous of Tawny's feelings for Bart and condemns him to death. Tawny frees Bart, and he takes her with him. When Bart falls from his horse, Tawny pulls him to safety. "Me friend!" Tawny rides to the fort, and Score shoots her. Luther shows Tallhorse how to get into the fort, and the Indians attack. It is a massacre, and only Bart survives. The Indians shoot Luther in the back! Bart fights Tallhorse and strangles him with the necklace. This is a movie! It may be the most poignant of all the Maverick episodes, given the bond between Bart and Tawny. At first, I thought Tawny died in Bart's arms. On second thought, I realized she must have lived to clear Bart of the murder charge.
112 DADE CITY DODGE kicked off season 5. Pearly Gates and his girl Marla are at a race track in New Orleans. Pearly is winning, and Bart is losing. Bart gives Pearly $5000 to place a bet for him, and Pearly splits. Bart's horse finishes last, so far behind that it would have lost the next race. Bart explains that Pearly got his name from the phony tie pin he wears, not from his chances of meeting Saint Peter. Marla tells us she is a Vermont girl and not from the south at all. They end up in Dade City, Texas, where Bart frames Pearly before having an attack of conscience.
113 THE ART LOVERS - When slick Jack Cassidy reneges on his promise to back Bart in a poker game, Bart becomes a servant to pay off his debt. Tycoon Sutton faces bankruptcy, but owns what he believes to be the stolen Mona Lisa. Maverick discovers that an art dealer is selling fake Mona Lisas to Sutton's associates. When Cassidy tries to have Bart Shanghaied, he gets Shanghaied. Maverick has been called the thinking man's western, and that is what it is. The plots show a world-class knowledge. Some are so intricate that it is best to leave them alone.
114 THE GOLDEN FLEECING - Bart is rescued by Quakers when the riverboat he is playing poker on sinks. The Quakers have found gold and want Bart to help them develop a mine. Bart gets involved in the stock market and with an unethical investment banker. As usual, he turns the tables on the swindlers. Too rich for my blood!
115 THREE QUEENS FULL parodies Bonanza! The Wheelwrights replace the Cartwrights. Hoss becomes Moose, & the Ponderosa becomes the Subrosa. Daddy Wheelwright hires Bart to chaperone 3 brides for his 3 sons. When they start robbing the house, Bart teaches them manners: "Tone down the wiggle!" After some intrigue and second-guessing, the girls marry the Wheelwright boys.
116 A TECHNICAL ERROR - Bart wins a bank, then finds out $20,000 are missing. The old lady has been juggling the books to prevent foreclosures. There is nearly a run on the bank. Doc temporarily saves the day by borrowing money from a crook named Blackjack Carney. Doc means to marry pretty Jolene Brand, a bank employee. The Gold Brick Stamps recall S&H Green Stamps. Things work out when Bart sells the bank back to the man he won it from. Where's the money?
117 POKER FACE - Yuma, Arizona! A motley group convenes in a stagecoach: a businessman, a missionary, a British noblewoman and an Asian lady. Bart boards the coach outside of town. Mexican bandits kidnap the passengers and hold them for ransom. The Asian lady and the lead bandit warm up to each other. Bart teaches the bandits how to play poker and plays the leader for the group's freedom. This is a tight, character-based episode! Jack Kelly starred in the more traditional westerns, while James Garner got the lighter, more humorous scripts.
118 EPITAPH FOR A GAMBLER - When Bart wins at roulette in Sunrise, Nevada, the casino cannot pay and gives him an IOU. No comedy here! Gun play! Sexy Marie Winsor spins the wheel and pays losing numbers because her boss Diamond Dan is being blackmailed. Marie ultimately kills the blackmailer, and Dan dies in his son's arms. Bart does not normally stick his neck out but shows up to join the fight. Bart tears up the IOU when Marie offers him ownership of the casino. An epitaph is a phrase on a tombstone.
119 THE MAVERICK REPORT - Doc Holliday shows up at a dental convention. He likes to keep track of his former classmates. This is the cigar-smokingest bunch I ever saw. Bart wins a newspaper and is sued for libel, after which he lets Doc become his partner. When Doc engages in a rowing contest, Bart sabotages his competition's boat so Doc can win. The Senator equips Doc with a dental office, and Doc pulls the Senator's tooth in a scene uncharacteristic of the early episodes.
120 MARSHALL MAVERICK - This is the kind of comedy the series resorted to toward the end. When the marshal is shot during a poker game, the mayor makes Bart the marshal until Wyatt Earp arrives. Funny man John Dehner shows up impersonating Earp. Dehner is hilarious when the outlaws try to kill him. The real Wyatt Earp appears, and Dehner comes clean. He wanted to feel important. Doc Holliday makes a cameo appearance. He and Earp were friends in real life.
121 THE TROUBLED HEIR - Pearly Gates and Marla get Bart into a poker game only to abscond with the pot after Marla smokes up the room. Bart and Big Jim Watson track the couple down, and Big Jim means to kill Pearly. Bart concocts a scheme to save Pearly's life. If Marla has a last name, we are not told what it is.
122 THE MONEY MACHINE - Bart is in Kansas City to meet cousin Jackie, whom he remembers as a shy, skinny girl. Of course, she has grown up, is beautiful, and has ambitions of becoming an actress. When gullible Jackie stumbles onto counterfeiters, she buys a money machine. Bart and Jackie trail Big Ed Murphy to Denver, where they con the con man. Bart builds his own machine! The Maverick series is about money, and the Denver Mint is mentioned. Cousin Jackie ends up buying a diamond machine, which happens to be real. Money! Money Money!
123 MR. MULDOON'S PARTNER - Bart encounters a leprechaun. This is the next to last episode, and Maverick is now low-comedy. The leprechaun is Mr. Muldoon, and he pops out of a bottle. He is 543 years old and speaks of himself in the third person. He grants Bart 5 wishes, the first of which is for money. Maverick gets his money, but with strings. It is stolen! We are told that it is the unselfish wish that works out for the best. Janet Lake is bad girl Bonnie, helping Bart's opponent cheat him at cards. Maverick women dressed to the 9s, wearing long full dresses that covered everything. Period costumes!
124 ONE OF OUR TRAINS IS MISSING - Kathleen Crowley is Modesty Blaine in Maverick's final episode, April 22, 1962. She tells Bart there has never been anyone else but him. She is engaged to a railroad man and wants Bart to get her out of it. When Bart is thrown out of town, he rides a train with Modesty, Doc Holiday & Diamond Jim Brady. There is a safecracker on board, but Modesty manages to get the $100,000 from the safe. There is a bet on whether or not the train will cross the state line before midnight. Ed Robertson calls Kathleen Crowley a "chameleon" because of her number of roles. There were only 13 episodes in the 5th season. Jack Kelly said he found out Maverick was canceled by reading it in the paper.
Bret and Bart drifted from town to town, living out of hotels and looking for games. They were immaculately dressed and in their prime. They got out of one mess after another. Their characters were impossibly romantic! I was 13 and enjoyed the escapism.
The Mavericks dressed in similar fashion. Bret wore a black coat, vest, ruffled shirt, string tie & white slacks. Bart wore a black coat, vest, short necktie & black pants.
The brothers constantly alluded to advice given by their pappy. It added to the laid-back humor: "Flattery is like perfume. It's okay to smell it, but don't swallow it."
Money was a key element. It had to be since the brothers were professional gamblers. The more familiar I became with Maverick, the more I realized the series was essentially about money. Banks were everywhere!
The Mavericks were born penniless and with an aversion to work. Fortunately, they were good poker players.
James Garner left the show after 3 seasons. He was involved in a lawsuit against Warner Brothers, which he won. Roger Moore as cousin Beau (named after Pappy) appeared in 14 episodes during the 4th season. Robert Colbert as younger brother Brent appeared in 2 episodes. Jack Kelly was the only Maverick left for season 5, which consisted of 13 episodes. Roy Huggins, the show's creator, left after the second season.
There were some beautiful women: Diane Brewster as Samantha Crawford and Kathleen Crowley as Modesty Blain. Pat Crowley, of no relation to Kathleen, was another stunner! Maverick women were a type. They looked alike, short hair up, no bangs on their foreheads. Much like the girls of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Almost every show involved money. Crooks swindled the Mavericks, and they tried to recoup. There was a lot of mistaken identity. There were murders for which the brothers were framed, and the twists and were endless! Plots were variations. The writing was brilliant, especially in the first 2 seasons.
Ed Robertson is partial to the first 2 seasons, lamenting the way humor evolved into comedy. Still, the last 3 seasons were enjoyable.
Watching the 4th and 5th seasons, I got used to Jack Kelly as Maverick. He was as good as Garner. The last episodes hold up. Season 4 ended with a 2-parter, the only one in the series, and Bart pulled it off, mixing drama and humor as well as his brother. Sharon Hugueny played the Indian girl who befriends Bart.
There were no blacks in Maverick. Whites killed whites. This is not surprising since the 1870s were not long after the Civil War in which 700,000 whites were killed by other whites.
Toward the end of the series, Maverick foreshadowed the silly comedies of the 1960s. Many of the actors and actresses who starred in 60s television got their start on Maverick.
Roy Huggins and Coles Trapnell got credit as producers with William T. Orr as the executive producer. Maverick stands alone in the history of television.
Linked to List of Maverick Episodes