Best of the West
|Best of the West|
Leonard Frey and Joel Higgins
|Created by||Earl Pomerantz|
|Theme music composer||Earl Pomerantz
|Opening theme||"Best of the West" (sung by Rex Allen)|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Executive producer(s)||Earl Pomerantz|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Weinberger/Daniels Productions
|Original release||September 10, 1981 – August 23, 1982|
The Old West spoof featured the misadventures of Sam Best (Joel Higgins), a Civil War veteran who becomes a marshal in Copper Creek after accidentally scaring off an incompetent gunfighter called the Calico Kid.
Sam's family was made up of his Southern-belle wife Elvira (Carlene Watkins) and his smart-mouthed son Daniel (Meeno Peluce). The cast also included Leonard Frey as villain Parker Tillman, Tom Ewell as drunken town doctor Jerome Kullens, and Tracey Walter as Tillman's clueless but kind-hearted henchman, Frog Rothchild, Jr.
|Nº||Title||Directed by:||Written by:||Original air date|
|1||"Pilot"||James Burrows||Earl Pomerantz||September 10, 1981|
|Sam arrives in town intending to run the general store, then runs into all kinds of trouble after turning down the protection racket.|
|2||"The Prisoner"||Will Mackenzie||Michael Leeson,
|September 17, 1981|
|Sam must face a prisoner's outlaw brothers after the sheriff who was taking him in becomes ill on his way through town.|
|3||"Mail Order Bride"||Doug Rogers||Earl Pomerantz||September 24, 1981|
|Doc's mail-order bride has a vivid personality with a past to match it.|
|4||"The Calico Kid Returns"||Jeff Chambers||Mitch Markowitz||October 1, 1981|
|The Square Deal Saloon's new cook is the Calico Kid; he has sworn to never again kill anything he can't eat.|
|5||"The Reunion"||Ed. Weinberger||Chip Keyes,
|October 8, 1981|
|Elvira's die-hard Confederate father (Andy Griffith) stays at the Square Deal Saloon while he is in town. His wife is trying to patch things up with their daughter; she married a Yankee!|
|6||"They're Hanging Parker Tillman: Part 1"||Jeff Chambers||Earl Pomerantz||October 15, 1981|
|Sam goes out on a limb and manages to save Tillman from a lynch mob, but at the trial, his mixed-up testimony has him back at the end of a rope.|
|7||"They're Hanging Parker Tillman: Part 2"||Jeff Chambers||Earl Pomerantz||October 22, 1981|
|Sam infiltrates an outlaw band to try to prove Tillman is innocent of cattle rustling.|
|8||"The New Marshal"||Tom Trbovich||Mitch Markowitz||October 29, 1981|
|Sam loses his badge in a special election to Tillman's squeaky-clean candidate.|
|9||"Daniel's First Love"||James Burrows||Earl Pomerantz||November 5, 1981|
|Daniel is as surprised as anyone when a few innocent kisses lead to a shotgun wedding.|
|10||"Laney in Love"||Stan Daniels||Sam Simon||November 12, 1981|
|Laney is smitten with a smoothie who bids high for her at a social—but he turns out to be a low-down heel.|
|11||"The Railroad"||Howard Storm||Sy Rosen||November 19, 1981|
|Sam and Tillman try hard to convince the railroad to come to Copper Creek.|
|12||"The New Jail"||James Burrows||Michael Leeson||November 26, 1981|
|Sam's image as a lawman quickly loses its edge after he manages to shoot himself in the leg; the jail collapsing around him doesn't help.|
|13||"A Man, a Woman, and a Horse"||Howard Storm||Earl Pomerantz||December 17, 1981|
|Sam doesn't pay attention to signs of discontent from Elvira until the day he comes home to finds her packed to leave.|
|14||"Frog's First Gunfight"||Michael Lessac||Earl Pomerantz||January 7, 1982|
|Frog meets a woman who was recently jilted by her beau, but neither realizes he wants her back.|
|15||"The Calico Kid Goes to School"||Michael Lessac||Earl Pomerantz||January 14, 1982|
|The reformed Calico Kid decides he wants to be a U.S. Marshal. But he lacks one qualification: a third-grade education.|
|16||"Tillman Held for Ransom"||Howard Storm||Earl Pomerantz||January 21, 1982|
|Tillman has been kidnapped and the kidnappers are demanding a ransom, but the Copper Creek citizens have no intention of paying up.|
|17||"The Cave-In"||Howard Storm||David Lloyd||February 12, 1982|
|Elvira and her stepson explore an abandoned outlaw cave, unaware that it is booby-trapped to collapse.|
|18||"Daniel Fights a Bully"||Howard Storm||Earl Pomerantz||February 19, 1982|
|Daniel's refusal to fight a relentless bully leads to Sam having to fight the bully's father.|
|19||"The Pretty Prisoner"||Howard Storm||David Lloyd||February 26, 1982|
|Sam is handcuffed to his prisoner—a flirtatious female outlaw—for an overnight journey.|
|20||"Elvira's Old Beau"||Stan Daniels||Earl Pomerantz||June 7, 1982|
|Elvira's former fiance' comes to town, intent on taking her away with him.|
|21||"Sam's Life Is Threatened"||Stan Daniels||Earl Pomerantz||June 14, 1982|
|22||"The Funeral"||Ed. Weinberger||David Lloyd||June 21, 1982|
|Sam and Tillman try to foil a holdup by holding a funeral for Frog; the coffin contains the $20,000 the thieves are after.|
ABC delayed in renewing the series for a second season. Rather than waiting, Joel Higgins signed to star in the new series Silver Spoons on NBC. At that point, ABC announced that it had decided to renew but was cancelling due to the star's departure.
Noted guest stars
In its short run, the show managed to feature an array of guest stars. The list of noted actors and actresses who appeared include:
- Dixie Carter in Episode #19 – "The Pretty Prisoner"
- Andy Griffith in Episode #5 – "The Reunion"
- Al Lewis in Episodes #6 and #7 – "They're Hanging Parker Tillman, Parts 1 and 2"
- Christopher Lloyd in Episode #1 – "Pilot," Episode #4 – "The Calico Kid Returns," and Episode #15 – "The Calico Kid Goes to School"
- Richard Moll in Episode #2 – "The Prisoner"
- Slim Pickens in Episode #2 – "The Prisoner"
- John Randolph in Episode #11 – "The Railroad"
- Betty White in Episode #3 – "Mail Order Bride"