Law of the Plainsman
|Law of the Plainsman|
Michael Ansara as Sam Buckhart.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||30|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Picture format||Black and white (1959-1960)|
|Original release||October 1, 1959 – May 5, 1960|
Law of the Plainsman is a Western television series starring Michael Ansara that aired on the NBC television network from October 1, 1959, until May 5, 1960. The character of Native American U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart was introduced in two episodes ("The Indian" and "The Raid") of the popular ABC Western television series The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain.
Law of the Plainsman is distinctive and unique in that it was one of the few television programs that featured a Native American as the lead character, a bold move for U.S.network television at that time. Ansara had earlier appeared in the series Broken Arrow, having portrayed the Apache chief, Cochise. Ansara, however, was not Native American but of Syrian descent.
Ansara played Sam Buckhart, an Apache Indian who saved the life of a U.S. Cavalry officer after an Indian ambush. When the officer died, he left Sam money that was used for an education at private schools and Harvard University. After school, he returned to New Mexico where he became a Deputy Marshal working for Marshal Andy Morrison (Dayton Lummis). He lived in a boarding house run by Martha Commager (Nora Marlowe). The only other continuing character was 8-year old Tess Logan (Gina Gillespie), an orphan who had been rescued by Buckhart. Robert Harland, later of Target: The Corruptors! starred in seven episodes as Deputy Billy Lordan. Wayne Rogers, who went on to star in another Four Star western, Stagecoach West, and later, M*A*S*H, also played deputy Lordan in several episodes.
- Chris Alcaide appeared three times, including the role of Charlie Wolf in "Blood Trails" (1960).
- John Anderson appeared three times.
- Richard Anderson
- Lane Bradford
- Paul Carr
- Roberto Contreras appeared twice.
- Richard Devon
- Paul Fix
- William Fawcett
- Dabbs Greer
- Clegg Hoyt as Hungerford in "The Dude"
- Ray Kellogg appeared twice.
- Brett King appeared as Costello in the episode "A Matter of Life and Death" (1959).
- Scott Marlowe as Clancy Jones in "The Show-Off"
- Tyler McVey as Marshal Penrose in "The Imposter"
- John Milford appeared twice.
- Gene Nelson
- J. Pat O'Malley appeared twice.
- Michael Pate
- Joseph V. Perry appeared twice
- Denver Pyle
- Michael Raffetto as Father Robles in "Endurance" (1960)
- Robert F. Simon as Frank Keller in the episode "The Gibbet"
- Hope Summers
- Stephen Talbot as Stevie Mullen in the episode "Fear" (1960)
- Lee Van Cleef
- Robert Vaughn appeared as Theodore Roosevelt in "The Dude" and as Ross Drake in "The Innocents" (both 1959)
- Peter Whitney appeared three times.
- Robert J. Wilke
The show only lasted one season. For syndicated reruns it was grouped with three other short-lived Western series from the same company, Black Saddle starring Peter Breck, Johnny Ringo starring Don Durant and Sam Peckinpah's critically acclaimed creation, The Westerner starring Brian Keith, under the umbrella title The Westerners, with new introductions and wrap-ups by Keenan Wynn.
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