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 like 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 were 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 - The first episode aired, September 22, 1957. I had started the 6th grade. "I'm a gambler," Bret announces, and the show begins with poker. Bret works out a deal between Phineas King and the miners of Echo Springs, but not before Big Mike McComb has him bushwhacked. Edie is taking care of Bret when he comes to. She is a young, romantic dreamer. Leo Gordon as Big Mike became a recurring character and even did some writing. Bret helps a judge regain his dignity.
2 POINT BLANK - Bret arrives at the Golden Chance Saloon after outrunning a posse. He falls in love with Molly. Molly and the bank teller mean to use Bret in a plan to embezzle money. Karen Steele is Molly, and she has a perverse interest in Bret from the start. She serves him breakfast, and he takes a job in the saloon. Bret and the sheriff fight over this bad girl. Bret and Molly ride out of town, and he admits to being a drifter. Three men want Molly! She wants Bret and the stolen money, too. But Bret is honest despite being a gambler. 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 before making their way to Wyoming. Samantha is the prototype for subsequent females who torment the Mavericks: Melanie Blake, Modesty Blaine & 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 a straight. After double-crossing Bret, Samantha 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 rock slide. The undertaker is killed, and Bret is blamed. Lots of suspense and mystery! Bret returns to the rock slide to find Mary rummaging through the 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 a 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 rule according to Hoyle. He insists on cutting the cards during the game. Why does everybody cheat?
8 HOSTAGE - Brother Bart enters the series. My first impression is that he is young. He and Bret meet in New Orleans, and they are broke. Bret has an idea, to play poker with Creoles on the River Princess. They meet Henri, the boat owner, and try to gain passage. Henri is arrogant and protective of his daughter. She thinks she is being taken to her lover when, in fact, she is being kidnapped and held for ransom. The bad guys turn against each other, and Yvette is freed.
9 STAMPEDE - We meet 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 named Battling Krueger. Bret and Dandy chance upon gentle giant Noah and talk him into fighting the Battler. When Noah backs out, Bret fights him 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, so either Garner or Jack 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 - 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 until it turns out 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. Bret rescues Bart drifting in a small boat on the Pacific Ocean. James Garner and Jack Kelly were perfect as Bret and Bart. They had the right looks and were the right age.
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, a man with 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 played poker with Doc, not in Fort Griffin. Doc is superstitious and never kills a man while he is winning. 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 trapping 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 is almost out of character that a Maverick would be trapping beaver. There is a subplot involving a girl 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 that she is evil like her mother. The plots converge when the fanatical father turns out to be the killer.
14 COMSTOCK CONSPIRACY - In Virginia City, Nevada. Bret kills a debtor in self-defense. Confusion arises when his brother impersonates him. Ruta Lee is Ellen, and Bret hiccups at the end of their picnic. Ellen and her timid father live on a ranch in Carson City. Bret cannot stay out of people's business. The Comstock Lode is silver ore discovered in Nevada's Virginia Range. It caused a silver rush!
15 THIRD RIDER - In Nevada, the sheriff believes Bart is a bank robber 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 clever, and Blanche is stupid and greedy. Did they really bury money in those days? I wondered, too, how they picked up trails in the middle of nowhere.
16 RAGE FOR VENGEANCE - Bret tells his story to a sheriff. Helping a woman with whom he was infatuated, he got involved with counterfeit money. I felt Bret could do better! They take 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 and believes 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!
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! He still has the thousand dollar bill pinned inside his coat and gets in with a Creole lady. The culprit is selling worthless stock in diamonds. Money is a character in Maverick. It dominates 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 writes an article and means to go to the governor. Trail hands threaten to destroy the town unless the printer is handed over. Bret tries to get out before hell breaks loose but is unable to. The scared printer regrets his actions, while Bret calls himself a "fence-straddler." Jeanne Willes as Lil says cowboys are nothing like they are portrayed in the east. Bret's biting humor shines even in a serious episode.
20 THE SAVAGE HILLS - This one puts Bart and Samantha Crawford in the Dakota Territory, where 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. Diane Brewster as Samantha is the main female in Maverick. She oozes charm with her fake southern accent. "Fiddle-dee-dee!" She sneaks into Bart's hotel room, thinking he is a Secret Service agent. He catches her on a riverboat, but she jumps overboard. Bart follows her into the water. They eat buffalo and kiss! Brewster looks nice 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 kept the series from running longer than 5 seasons while Gunsmoke ran 20. The Mavericks were gamblers, and although they were more human than Matt Dillon, a Puritan America 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 bandits. He is in 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 stole his horse. The passengers take refuge in a ruin, and Bart looks at the sun. It will go to 110! We see a Joshua tree, a symbol of the desert. Letty was a dance hall girl in Mexico. Bart devises an explosive, which magically blows up the bandits.
23 THE SEVENTH HAND - Bret meets Samantha Crawford in Kansas City. They have dinner, and Samantha offers to stake him in a poker game. After robbers come in and steal the money, Bret and Sam track one of them into Indian country. Diane Brewster as Samantha was the key female during the first 2 seasons. The bad 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 pretends to be Bret's sister. As they head for Deadwood in a stagecoach, I remembered how exciting the west is. 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 a fortune but was killed by bandits. Bart and company must deal with them. Ruta Lee sings.
25 BLACK FIRE - Black Fire is a ranch. Impersonation is a common literary device, and Bret passes himself off as Homer. Homer's relatives convene at the ranch because their uncle is trying to determine whom he should leave his $2 million to. $2 million in the 1870s was a lot of money. The uncle likes Bret even after discovering his identity and enlists his help in finding out who is killing off his 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 Akins takes a lady there to look for her husband, who is presumed dead. Bart is in pursuit because Claude robbed him. Claude is a character! He tells lie after lie, gaining sympathy with his grin. We have a convoluted plot with characters who have secrets and hidden motives. Bart finds the husband in a cave, and they manage to escape the Waconda during a sand storm. The maid Bart took to dinner is Sandra Edwards, a former Las Vegas showgirl.
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 brothers' breakfast to tell them gunfighter Jim 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 some criticism. Gunplay and murder were permitted but sexuality was not. Bret and Bart split the reward, and the real Doc Holliday appears.
28 THE DAY THEY HANGED BRET MAVERICK - The stone reads: "Bret Maverick, Born April 7, 1847." April 7 was James Garner's real 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 he thinks Bret stole. It begins with Wells Fargo being robbed and the robber framing Bret. Bret plays on the sheriff's greed to cheat the hangman. Whitney Blake pretends to be Bret's widow. Bret kills her 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 sleeps. $120,000 is buried, and Bret and Maxwell have a reunion at the Mills place.
30 ALIAS BART MAVERICK - This 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. Instead, Darby frames Bart 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. Bart resorts to the thousand dollar bill pinned inside his coat. 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. 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 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 while 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, unlike Bret and Jim. Dandy Jim sympathizes when Bart is accused and slips him a gun. The leader of the camp is bald-headed, 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 gets hired to bring a killer back from Mexico, where he takes a job in a cantina. Bret gets his man after some twists and turns. Gerald Mohr as Corbett is the man who escaped to Tampico. Amy is the singer with an agenda. When Bret rids the cantina of card cheats, he is jumped in the street. Corbett saves his life, and the men get close. In Corpus Christi, Bret does what he has to do. Corbett did not want to die in Mexico, anyway.
34 THE JUDAS MASK - Bart is playing poker at the Bella Union and plans to buy half of the hotel when a showgirl steals his money. 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. Bart finds Karen and demands his $20,000, but she deposited it in the Wells Fargo Bank in New Mexico. Bart uncharacteristically gets rough with Karen. The Mavericks are not businessmen or hard workers, so it is a stretch to believe Bart would buy a hotel.
35 THE JAIL AT JUNCTION FLATS - When gold is supposedly found. Dandy Jim Buckley comes up with a scheme to buy and sell horses. There is no gold, but there are plenty of horses! Bret says, "I love money, but I hate jail!" Both Maverick and Buckley spend 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 a conscience! Bart may have been friends with Buckley, but Bret does not trust him. Right away, Buckley asks for money! Junction Flats is in Wyoming.
36 THE 39TH STAR - It is the 4th of July, 1876, and the United States is celebrating 100 years of independence. North Dakota is not named as the 39th state nor is the territorial capital of Yankton. Bart is passing through and mentions that he is from east Texas. He is on his way to a poker game in Denver. Jack Kelly was a great actor, as good as James Garner when it came to dramatic roles. Ed Robertson, in "Maverick: Legend Of The West," suggests Garner got his movie career because of personality. Kelly went into local politics. Marion Hargrove wrote The 39th Star.
37 SHADY DEAL AT SUNNY ACRES - "I'm working on it!," Bret says 10 times as Bart, Dandy Jim, Gentleman Jack, Big Mike, Samantha & Cindy Lou join him in a sting against an unscrupulous banker. The gang is all here, and this episode is a fan favorite. Bret assures the town that he will recover his $15,000. 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 sure like cigars! Produced by Roy Huggins.
38 ISLAND IN THE SWAMP - It has got to be a favorite! 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 are interesting. 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 gawks at in a mirror. She 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 couple nurse him back to health. Kitty falls for Bart, albeit a one-way love. 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. Kitty is a cat preying on Bart.
40 THE SPANISH DANCER - Adele Mara as Elena hates gringos and wants money to buy her family's ranch back. She dances in a gold camp. Bart and Gentleman Jack Darby (Richard Long) are auctioneers. Adele whirls, driving the miners wild! Bart and Darby both want her, as does camp owner John Wilson. When Wilson offers Adele protection, she rejects him. Bart and Wilson 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 the 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 as 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. When the mine is drained, the only thing found is a sack full of rocks with a sign: "This mine drained by the courtesy of John Wilson." Everyone laughs, and Maverick and Wilson duke it out. Darby appears, claiming he went hunting. Quartz gold is discovered and everybody gets rich! Elena will buy her father's ranch. Her bitterness is gone. Adele Mara was married to Maverick creator Roy Huggins.
41 HOLIDAY AT HOLLOW ROCK - There is a quarter horse race at Hollow Rock, and Bret is there to bet a horse called Silver King. 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 stayed. The shooting was ruled justifiable homicide, but it ended Sandra's career. Maverick has its share of crooked sheriffs.
42 GAME OF CHANCE - Bart meets a Countess while bidding on a horse. Over dinner, her pearls fall on the floor. He picks them up. He has them restrung, and the jeweler offers him $40,000. Bart loans the Countess $10,000 with the pearls as collateral. Of course, the Countess is a con artist, and Bart's pearls are fake! Bart gets Bret to help him recover his money. The women in Maverick are connivers and will do anything for money. I am drawn to episodes which feature both brothers. James Garner and Jack Kelly complement each other well.
43 GUN-SHY - A parody of Gunsmoke and the law-and-order ethic of Mort Dooley. Dooley is Matt Dillon. There are caricatures of Miss Kitty, Doc & Chester. They reflect the boredom of the Gunsmoke characters with their blank stares. When Bret is drawn to Elwood, Kansas, to look for gold. Dooley keeps running him out of town. After the third time, Dooley tries to shoot Bret. He 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.
44 TWO BEGGARS ON HORSEBACK - While playing poker, Bret and Bart learn that the Gannet Express Company is broke. It means Maverick money down the drain! Jessamy informs them that the Gannet office in Deadwood is still 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 which enables them to cash both drafts. There are only liars and deceivers. No one trusts anyone!
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 they go to Lovers Leap. When a duel is fought, Crowley settles for Roger Moore, the man she was meant to be with. There is witty dialog, possibly more than in any other episode. I was reminded of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with its mistaken identities. Pat Crowley is a looker!
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 reputation. Clint 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 poke fun at his name, and Clint calls him "Maver-rack." 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 have roles. Yellow River is the town.
48 THE SAGA OF WACO WILLIAMS - Waco wants his partner to turn himself in. Bret wants the reward. Cattlemen versus homesteaders! Bret tries to keep Waco out of trouble just to get the money. "I'm just a teensy bit mercenary," he confesses. I probably did not know Waco was in Texas when this aired on February 15, 1959. "The Saga Of Waco Williams" was the highest rated show in the series! "Camptown Races" and "Oh! Susanna" get played.
49 THE BRASADA SPUR - Brasada Spur is a railroad company, and Julie Adams, who was 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 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 in her doll. The wagon train reaches Fort Doom only to find that most of the troops have died from cholera. 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 is not the force Samantha Crawford was, but she is pretty and likable.
51 TWO TICKETS TO TEN STRIKE - This 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 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. Frankie's father
wants her in town. Bret and Frankie make a good team and ride out of Ten Strike smooching! The shows always begin with travel. 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 episode opens with Bart and the cousins in a stagecoach. Bart has dinner with the family, and Pat makes her play for Buck. They dance at the social. They marry! Ruta asks Bart to kiss her to prove she is a woman. It finally comes out that bad girl Pat is a bigamist. She goes to jail. "Swanee River" is a Stephen Foster classic.
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 killer. Bret is trying to clear Big Mike McComb. Jenny's songs are boring, but Bret falls in love with her. Their romance sours when Bret follows Jenny to the place where she meets her husband and kills him.
54 PAPPY - Pappy kicked off the third season. It is entertaining even if it does diminish the pappy mystique. Troy Donahue informs the Mavericks that their pappy is about to marry an 18-year-old. James Garner plays pappy! The brothers go to Texas to check on their reprobate father, and Bret visits the Lady Gida Show Boat. Gida loves pappy and resents his 18-year-old. Bart is hired to kill pappy in a duel as the plot thickens. Duels were fought near oak trees.
55 ROYAL FOUR-FLUSH - Virginia City, Nevada, is booming! Karen and I spent time there in 1980. Bart recognizes the countess as a New Orleans card dealer. He then convinces a couple of old-timers that he is a Untied States marshal. "I arrest you in the name of the United States government!" Roberta Shore is Judy, trying to protect her father from swindlers. A four-flusher is a liar. Pappy was Marion Hargrove's idea. Roy Huggins liked it because it gave him a Maverick philosophy.
56 THE SHERIFF OF DUCK 'N' SHOOT - A quirk of fate leads to Bret becoming sheriff. When a trouble maker is knocked unconscious by a horse, the mayor thinks Bret did it. The Mavericks are forever being forced into situations they do not want to be in. Both Mavericks would rather use their brains than their guns. Bret has a problem with authority. 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 eat sandwiches while playing poker. Bad girl Karen Steele is a bombshell. 4 men want 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 had toy guns, holsters & a Davy Crockett type rifle, which my parents gave me. The gravedigger, called Pop, 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 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 off her father's debt. The 3 cities are Gold Flats, Brotherly & Hampton Center. The Ladies Aid in Brotherly has a luncheon, and Bart presents himself as a reformed gambler in order to get fed. He charms the women and recognizes Pat by her ring. Bart is a ladies' man! 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 is Belle, and Bret is smitten with her. The reward money for the outlaws totals $73,000, and Bret the bounty hunter has ideas. Belle comes to his room. She gives him a kiss! "Just call me Foxy!" Bret concocts a plan to take over the Denver Mint. The bad guys pull off the robbery, but a posse rounds them up with Bret exploiting 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 woman 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 kills her lover. Maverick women are bad seeds.
62 THE GHOST SOLDIERS - Sioux Indians pop up in these stories. The Sioux were in the Dakotas, and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills led to conflict between the Indians and white men. Bret is in trouble for messing with a Colonel's wife when the Sioux attack. He manages to spook the superstitious Sioux by pretending to be a ghost. When he vanquishes Running Horse, the Indians turn tail. Indians were still savages when the Maverick series was on TV.
63 EASY MARK - Bart comes across a Harvard man working on a paper about cactuses. He impersonates him, which 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 to be a bad guy. This is typical Maverick, a mix of humor and western drama. It is the humor that sets the series apart.
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. Diane McBain is Holly. She achieved fame as a sexpot in Claudelle Inglish. It is amazing that a western about poker playing drifters could run 5 years 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 poker. The Colonel threatens him with the stockade unless he joins the cavalry. This is the Dakota territory, and the Sioux make trouble. The Colonel wants Bart to find out who is giving them guns. Bart makes a lousy soldier. It is guard duty and KP. Then he gets into a slugfest with his sergeant. Bart appears bored when the cavalry and Indians engage in battle.
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 practice what Huggins called "situational ethics." In other words, they only swindle 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 drama is showcased. One of the characters is named Red Herring, and Darby defines it as something used to divert attention.
68 A CURE FOR JOHNNY RAIN - The plot is far-fetched. A young guy has an alcohol 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 and 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 - 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 thinks 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. When they sail it down the Mississippi to Memphis to sell it, several meet mysterious deaths. Mona Freeman is Modesty Blaine. She was ruthless in The Cats Of Paradise, and 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. The killer is the one who sold 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. They 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 the 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 Sunday and even attend the same church. The feud ends when Sonny and Juliet marry.
72 THE WHITE WIDOW - Her name is Wilma White, and she is a widow. 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. When the widow hires Bart to protect her, he is 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 Bret's watch as soon as he arrives. 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! 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 just wants to play poker. After Merry Anders as Penelope reminds him that he represents the Reform Party, she allows him one vice. They kiss! When the election ends in a tie, Bart votes for Penelope's father.
75 A FLOCK OF TROUBLE - It is a flock of sheep. When Bret wins a sheep ranch in a poker game, he gets involved in a war between cattlemen and sheepherders. I am interested in the women in Maverick. They are an age group, born in the early 1930s. Myrna Fahey as tomboy Dee Cooper is romantic at heart! Bret buys her a fancy dress and sweet talks her. She twirls, feeling feminine and pretty. She buys Bret's 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. Robert Redford was a novice in 1960, and Nobby Ned Wyngate is a poor substitute for Dandy Jim Buckley. "Red River Valley," the cowboy song, is played.
77 THE RESURRECTION OF JOE NOVEMBER - Poker attracts shady characters. After winning Bret's $5000, a female imposter and her German Baron hire him to unbury Joe November. It turns out that stolen jewels are in the casket. Bret is in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and the show opens on a riverboat. The brothers were drifters, always moving. Bret and the Baron engage in a sword fight. The Franco-Prussian War is mentioned.
78 THE MISFORTUNE TELLER - When Bret is accused of murdering the mayor, Kathleen Crowly as Melanie Blake comes to his rescue. Bret's superstitious lawyer is the culprit! I should have known, as one gets used to the twists and turns. 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. In his memoir, James Garner cited Crowley as the leading lady whom he most vividly remembered. She appeared in 8 episodes.
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 cheat I once knew.
80 THE BUNDLE FROM BRITAIN - Bart gets off the stage in St. Louis looking for cousin Beau. He does not remember what Beau looks like. There is a long barroom brawl, a sign that the writing has gone downhill by season 4. Beau was dubbed "the white sheep of the family" after getting a medal in the Civil War. Being from Texas, the Mavericks fought on the side of the south. Beau is kidnapped in this confusing episode. The Mavericks cannot stay out of trouble. It may have to do with being gamblers. My grandmother said a gambler never has anything.
81 HADLEY'S HUNTERS - A gem from season 4, Warner Brothers used it to promote other shows. John Russell and Peter Brown from Lawman are here as is 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 is Mangler Maverick! A lot of actors 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! Anyway, Shanks is a crooked railroad man, trying to drive down the price of land.
83 ARIZONA BLACK MARIA - An Indian tries to scalp Bart, but he keeps getting rescued. Joanna Barnes is the lady prisoner. A "black maria" is a covered wagon used to transport prisoners. 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 are attacked. The Indian finally tries to scalp a man wearing a toupee. Joanna was in 5 episodes.
84 LAST WIRE FROM STOP GAP - Bart and Beau are swindled by a phony telegraph company. Messages go no further 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. Giacomo is Gerald Mohr. 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 is half-owner of a casino. Kathleen Crowly is singer Flo Baker. When she shoots Beau's partner, Beau gets the blame. The deceased partner's brother frames Beau because he wants the casino. Flo leaves town and becomes a school teacher, teaching kids to spell. Crowley has that look popular among sex symbols of the Maverick era. One of her students is older and smitten. She says she is not teaching the birds and the bees.
87 THE WITCH OF HOUND DOG - Bart relates his paranormal tale to other poker players. When he encounters a witch in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, strange things happen. The witch's brothers torment him until the witch brings them in line. Thunder and lightning! Anita Sands is a seductive witch, and her raven is an omen. When Anita and Bart ride into town, there is chaos! Jack Kelly looks good on a horse, and Anita says 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 needs to get back to Memphis.
88 THUNDER FROM THE NORTH - Beau is framed, accused of killing the brother of Pale Moon, after she complains about bad flour. I sense a rivalry between Pale Moon and Kitty. The white girl returns Beau's presents. The Indians are buying whiskey, and we all know they cannot drink. Beau is captured and about to be decapitated when Pale Moon steps in. She chooses Beau as her husband, although he must pass a series of tests. Pale Moon is Andra Martin, of Swedish descent, and 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. This 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 Beverly 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 to horse thieves. Beau spends time with a noose around his neck waiting for the "hanging judge," who rides along singing "The Hanging Tree." They must wait until midnight, however, because the law says no man can be hung on Sunday. The title derives from prospector Ebenezer Bolt.
91 KIZ - Kathleen Crowley plays poker, smokes cigars & 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. Kiz promotes a prize fight, and bets 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.
92 DODGE CITY OR BUST - Bart learns a weird card game called "Jack and the Beanstalk" in which 5s 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 westerns like 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. Diedre is Sharon Hugueny, the Indian girl in The Devil's Necklace.
94 DESTINATION DEVIL'S FLAT - This aired on Christmas, 1960. By then, Maverick was wearing thin. James Garner was gone, and the plots, all of which revolved around money, were noticeably similar. Still, Maverick was the best show on television. Jack Kelly and Roger Moore took 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 meets a dealer he knew in San Francisco. It was 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. He shows up at a bad time. Felipe is trying to reclaim land once owned by his family and now belonging to the United States. 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 was no problem with Mexico. With the influx of millions of illegal aliens, such is not the case.
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 the 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 women! Beau whistles the Maverick theme. 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. The Mavericks were gregarious to a fault, living out of hotels and spending their time in casinos, saloons, banks & jails.
98 DUTCHMAN'S GOLD - 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 some nuggets playing poker, the Dutchman warns him not to touch them. The Dutchman is killed by Apaches, and the cursed bandit dies after drinking 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 was 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.
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 holds 4 aces when the sheriff runs him out of town. It is a diverse group 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 dead 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. Calling someone a "tinhorn" is an insult.
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 the hotel. The entire series seems to revolve around Denver.
103 MAVERICK AT LAW - Bart and 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 stories. 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 surrounded by bad characters. The cast is the thing. Mike Road is Buckskin, and Lee Van Cleef rides in as Wolf. He looks mean! 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 an 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 doppelganger 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 is Doc Holiday in 5 episodes. He makes Doc a comic character.
107 THE FORBIDDEN CITY - Robert Colbert as brother Brent never caught on. He appeared in 2 episodes. Running him out of town was not enough 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 killed.
109 BENEFIT OF DOUBT - Brent is accused of robbing the America Mail Company. The young Maverick is not convincing.
110 & 111 THE DEVIL'S NECKLACE - This 2-parter centers 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. Searching the wagon, he finds illegal whiskey, a creepy necklace & an Apache girl named Tawny. 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. The gun has blanks in it, and 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! 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 lived to clear him of the murder charge.
112 DADE CITY DODGE - 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. 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 it is. The plots show a world-class knowledge.
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 - It parodies Bonanza! The Wheelwrights replace the Cartwrights, Hoss becomes Moose, & the Ponderosa becomes the Subrosa. Daddy Wheelwright hires Bart to chaperone 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 saves the day by borrowing money from a crook named Blackjack Carney. Doc means to marry pretty Jolene Brand, a bank employee. Gold Brick Stamps recall S&H Green Stamps. Things work out when Bart sells the bank back to the man he won it from.
117 POKER FACE - Yuma, Arizona! A motley group convenes in a stagecoach: Bart, a businessman, a missionary, a British noblewoman & an Asian lady. 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 - Bart wins at roulette in Sunrise, Nevada, and has to accept an IOU. No comedy here! 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 for the fight. He tears up his IOU when Marie offers him ownership of the casino. An epitaph is a phrase on a tombstone.
119 THE MAVERICK REPORT - Doc Holliday goes to a dental convention. He likes to keep track of former classmates. This is the cigar-smokingest bunch ever. 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. 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 type of comedy the series adopted toward the end. When the marshal is shot during a poker game, Bart is made marshal until Wyatt Earp arrives. Funny man John Dehner shows up impersonating Wyatt. The real Wyatt Earp appears, and Dehner comes clean. He just wanted to feel important.
121 THE TROUBLED HEIR - Pearly Gates and Marla get Bart into a poker game only to abscond with the money when Marla smokes up the room. Bart and Big Jim Watson track the couple down, but Watson means to kill Pearly. Bart comes up with a scheme to save Pearly's life.
122 THE MONEY MACHINE - Bart is in Kansas City to meet his cousin Jackie, whom he remembers as a shy, skinny girl. She has grown up, is beautiful and wants to be an actress. When gullible Jackie gets in counterfeiters, she buys a money machine. Bart and Jackie trail Big Ed Murphy to Denver, where they con the con man. The Maverick series is about money, and the Denver Mint is mentioned. Jackie ends up buying a diamond machine, which happens to be real.
123 MR. MULDOON'S PARTNER - Bart encounters a leprechaun. By this time, Maverick is low comedy. Mr. Muldoon is 543 years old and speaks of himself in the third person. He grants Bart 5 wishes, the first of which is for money. Bart gets his money, but with strings. It is stolen! The unselfish wish works out for the best! Bad girl Janet Lake helps Bart's opponent cheat him at cards. Maverick women dressed to the 9s, wearing period costumes that covered everything.
124 ONE OF OUR TRAINS IS MISSING - Kathleen Crowley is Modesty Blaine in Maverick's last episode, April 22, 1962. She tells Bart there has never been anyone else. She is engaged to a railroad man and wants Bart to get her out of it. Bart rides a train with Modesty, Doc Holliday & Diamond Jim Brady. There is a safecracker on board, but Modesty manages to steal the $100,000. There is a bet on whether or not the train will cross the state line before midnight. There were only 13 episodes in season 5.
Bret and Bart drifted from town to town, living out of hotels and looking for games. They were immaculately dressed and in their prime. Their characters were impossibly romantic! They got out of mess after mess. 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 them 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 the 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 are everywhere!
Bret and Bart 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 season 4. Robert Colbert as younger brother Brent was in 2 episodes. Jack Kelly was the only Maverick left by 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 Blaine. Pat Crowley, of no relation to Kathleen, was a stunner! Maverick women were a type. They looked alike, short hair up, no bangs on their foreheads. Much like the women of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Virtually every show involved money. Crooks cheated 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 were endless! Plots were variations. The writing was clever, especially the first 2 seasons.
Ed Robertson is partial to the first 2 seasons, lamenting the way humor turned into comedy. Still, the last 3 seasons were good.
Watching the 4th and 5th seasons, I grew used to Jack Kelly as Maverick. He was as good as James 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 Brother Bret.
There were no blacks in Maverick. Whites killed whites, which is not surprising since the 1870s were not long after the Civil War.
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 with Maverick.
Roy Huggins and Coles Trapnell got credit as producers with William T. Orr as executive producer. Maverick is unique in the history of television.
Linked to "List of Maverick Episodes"