Wanted Dead or Alive western tv show is an American Western television series starring Steve McQueen as bounty hunter Josh Randall. Originally airing on CBS three seasons from 1958-1961.
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This black-and-white program was a spin-off of a March 1958 episode of Trackdown, a 1957-1959 western series starring Robert Culp. Both series were produced by Four Star Television in association with CBS Television. The series launched McQueen into becoming the first television star to cross over into comparable status on the big screen. Guest stars included Jay North, Noah Beery, Jr., Lon Chaney, Jr., James Best, James Coburn, John Dehner, Alan Hale, Jr., DeForest Kelley, Michael Landon, Warren Oates, Luana Patten, Suzanne Storrs, and William Schallert and many many more.
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Steve Mcqueen ( Josh Randall ) is a Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.
TV western series that launched Steve McQueen’s movie stardom holds up well even after 50 years. Guest stars among the best on TV at the time and the story lines are varied enough to keep your interest and different enough from competing series to stand out.
McQueen’s character of Josh Randall is a Confederate veteran and bounty hunter with a soft heart. He often donates his earnings to the needy and helps his prisoners if they have been wrongly accused. Randall carries a shortened Winchester Model 1892 carbine, called the “Mare’s Leg,” in a holster patterned after “gunslinger” rigs then popular in movies and television. Randall had the ability to draw and fire this gun with blazing speed, as fast as, or in many cases much faster than, his adversaries with handguns that were much smaller. Two Mare’s Legs were used in the series, differing in the shape of the lever, round versus oval.
For several episodes in 1960 Randall had a sidekick named Jason Nichols (Wright King) a former deputy sheriff turned bounty hunter. They worked very well together onscreen, sharing a brotherly chemistry audiences enjoyed. By the start of the third season, Nichols was no longer anywhere to be seen. The episode called, “The Partners”, where Nichols killed three men, much to the chagrin of Randall who felt the men could have been taken alive, has been speculated to be the episode that broke up the partnership, but was actually only the second episode where Wright King was shown and far from the last episode in which he appeared.
There are 94 half hour episodes of this classic captivating western TV show.