Wanted Dead or Alive (TV series)

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Wanted Dead or Alive (TV series)

(48) Classic TV Theme: Wanted Dead or Alive (Steve McQueen) – YouTube

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Wanted Dead or Alive
Title card
StarringSteve McQueen
Wright King
Theme music composerWilliam Loose (first season), Herschel Burke Gilbert (second and third seasons)
Opening themeWilliam Loose
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes94 (list of episodes)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time25 mins.
Production companiesFour Star Television
Malcom Enterprises, Inc
CBS Productions
DistributorCBS Films (original)
StudioCanal (current)
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 6, 1958 –
March 29, 1961
Followed byWanted: Dead or Alive
Related showsTrackdown

Wanted Dead or Alive is an American Western television series starring Steve McQueen as the bounty hunter Josh Randall. It aired on CBS for three seasons in 1958–61. The black-and-white program was a spin-off of a March 1958 episode of Trackdown, a 1957–59 western series starring Robert Culp. Both series were produced by Four Star Television in association with CBS Television.[1]

The series made McQueen, known for the concept of “cool” in entertainment,[1] a television star; he would later cross over into comparable status on the big screen, making him the first TV star to do so.[2]



Mare’s Leg and holster

Josh Randall (McQueen) 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 pleads with a mother (Virginia Gregg) to obtain medical treatment for her son. (1959)

Randall carries a shortened Winchester Model 1892 rifle called the “Mare’s Leg” in a holster patterned after “gunslinger” rigs then popular in movies and television.[3][self-published source] Randall can draw and fire his weapon with blazing speed. Three Mare’s Legs were used in the series, differing in the shape of the lever and the barrel.

Although Randall is a bounty hunter, he doesn’t chase and capture only men on wanted posters. He also settles a family feud, frees unjustly jailed or sentenced men, helps an amnesia victim recover his memory, and finds missing husbands, sons, fathers, a fiancée, a suitor, a daughter who had been captured many years earlier by Indians, an Army deserter, a pet sheep, and even Santa Claus. This variety, as well as his pursuit of justice and not just money, contributed to the show’s attraction and popularity.[4]

Except for a few episodes at the beginning of the series, Randall rode an energetic horse named Ringo.[3] Beginning with 1959/ Season I Episode 36- “Amos Carter”, actor (Wright King) would appear in a supporting role to Edgard Buchanan & Arthur Hunnicut.

Several later episodes in 1960 included a sidekick named Jason Nichols (Wright King), an eager young deputy sheriff turned bounty hunter. He and Randall worked well together on-screen, sharing a chemistry that many viewers enjoyed. By the start of the third season, Nichols had been dropped. The episode called “The Partners”, where Nichols killed three men that Randall felt could have been taken alive, is often considered the episode that broke up the partnership, although that was actually only the second episode with Wright King and long before the last episode he appeared in.[5]

Three hard mother-grabbin’ years, but I learned my trade and it gave me discipline. McQueen, commenting about his experience on the series.[6]


Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
136September 6, 1958May 9, 1959
232September 5, 1959May 21, 1960
326September 21, 1960March 29, 1961

Season 1 (1958–59)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11“The Martin Poster”Thomas CarrJohn RobinsonSeptember 6, 1958
Josh Randall tracks down two brothers (Michael LandonNick Adams) he witnesses shooting a sheriff. With John CliffDabbs Greer and Jenifer Lea.
22“Fatal Memory”Thomas CarrDon BrinkleySeptember 13, 1958
Colonel Sykes (Russell Thorson), Josh’s former commander, is listed as a wanted man on a counterfeit poster by a dead man’s wife (Joan Banks). With Gloria TalbotRalph Moody, and Victor Perrin.
33“The Bounty”Thomas CarrSamuel A. PeeplesSeptember 20, 1958
Josh clashes with a sadistic bounty hunter as they search for a reclusive old man with an Apache bodyguard wanted for a crime committed years ago.
44“Dead End”Thomas CarrGeorge F. SlavinSeptember 27, 1958
Josh is hired by a rancher to find a man wanted for grand theft and kidnapping.
55“The Passing of Shawnee Bill”Thomas CarrDavid LangOctober 4, 1958
A stranger offers to help Josh capture a fugitive for half the reward. With Alan Hale Jr.
66“The Giveaway Gun”Donald McDougallFrank D. GilroyOctober 11, 1958
Josh searches for a gunfighter identified by the way he draws his pistol. With Everett SloaneFrank FaylenLurene TuttleRichard DevonJohn Harmon and Addison Richard.
77“Ransom for a Nun”Donald McDougallFred FreibergerOctober 18, 1958
Josh offers to take a killer to Tucson since the sheriff is worried about a rescue attempt by the outlaw’s gang, who are holding a nun hostage.
88“Miracle at Pot Hole”Thomas CarrEllis MarcusOctober 25, 1958
Josh finds a suspected murderer, then begins to doubt the man’s guilt.
99“The Fourth Headstone”Donald McDougallFrank D. GilroyNovember 1, 1958
Josh tries to help a woman he suspects has been framed for murder.
1010“Til Death Do Us Part”Donald McDougallDon BrinkleyNovember 8, 1958
Josh tracks down a woman wanted for murdering her husband.
1111“The Favor”Thomas CarrJohn RobinsonNovember 15, 1958
Josh does a favor for a sheriff and embarks on a perilous journey to bring a murder suspect to justice. With Sam Buffington.
1212“Ricochet”Donald McDougallTony BarrettNovember 22, 1958
A woman hires Josh to find her husband, for whom she plans death.
1313“Sheriff of Red Rock”Thomas CarrPhilip SaltzmanNovember 29, 1958
Josh brings in a wanted man, who’s a member of a bounty hunter gang in cahoots with the local sheriff.
1414“Die by the Gun”Donald McDougallStory by : Lawrence Menkin
Teleplay by : Christopher Knopf
and Lawrence Menkin
December 6, 1958
Josh and his prisoner, wanted for robbery, are ambushed by killers. With Warren Oates.
1515“Rawhide Breed”Donald McDougallSamuel A. PeeplesDecember 13, 1958
A stagecoach carrying Josh and his prisoner is attacked by Indians.
1616“Eight Cent Reward”Thomas CarrStory by : John Robinson
Teleplay by : Christopher Knopf
December 20, 1958
Josh is given a most unusual assignment: bringing in Santa Claus. With Sam Buffington.
1717“Drop to Drink”Donald McDougallWells RootDecember 27, 1958
A pony-express company hires Josh to solve the mystery of a murdered rider and a stolen ring.
1818“Rope Law”Thomas CarrDonn MullallyJanuary 3, 1959
A lynch mob sets out to hang Josh’s prisoner, who has been falsely accused of his stepdaughter’s murder.
1919“Six-Up to Bannach”Thomas CarrJohn RobinsonJanuary 10, 1959
A stagecoach carrying Josh and his prisoner races against time to save an innocent man from an unjust hanging. With James Best and Sam Buffington.
2020“The Spurs”Donald McDougallDavid LangJanuary 17, 1959
Josh tracks down a bank robber in spite of reports claiming that the robber’s been murdered. With Betsy Drake and 1930s Western star Dick Foran.
2121“Reunion for Revenge”R.G. SpringsteenRichard H. LandauJanuary 24, 1959
Josh brings in a man wanted by the law and a group of escaped convicts who blame him for sending them to prison. With Ralph Meeker and James Coburn.
2222“Competition”R.G. SpringsteenDaniel B. UllmanJanuary 31, 1959
Josh meets two other evil bounty hunters he must take out of his way.
2323“Call Your Shot”Donald McDougallFred FreibergerFebruary 7, 1959
Josh is hired to find a drunk’s son.
2424“Secret Ballot”Donald McDougallDon BrinkleyFebruary 14, 1959
Josh tries to help the mayoral campaign of his friend Ned Easter. With DeForest Kelley and Bethel Leslie.
2525“The Corner”R.G. SpringsteenD.D. Beauchamp
& Mary M. Beauchamp
February 21, 1959
Josh is wrongly accused of murdering a friend.
2626“Eager Man”Donald McDougallRay BuffumFebruary 28, 1959
A fugitive is eager to let Josh take him in, but only if his wife is willing to share the reward.
2727“The Legend”Thomas CarrTony BarrettMarch 7, 1959
Josh finds himself up against a pair of desperadoes in a search for a legendary lost treasure. With Warren Oates.
2828“Railroaded”Thomas CarrD.D. Beauchamp
& Mary M. Beauchamp
March 14, 1959
Josh must prove that a young boy did not murder a detective. With Edgar Buchanan.
2929“Double Fee”Donald McDougallEllis MarcusMarch 21, 1959
An opera singer gets Josh involved in a kidnapping case. With Diane Brewster.
3030“The Kovack Affair”Thomas CarrStory by : John Robinson
Teleplay by : D.D. Beauchamp
& Mary M. Beauchamp
March 28, 1959
A friend turns to Josh for help when he’s pressured into relinquishing his controlling interest in a hotel. With James Coburn.
3131“Bounty for a Bride”Donald McDougallSamuel A. PeeplesApril 4, 1959
Josh fights a fierce Apache for the hand of an Indian princess.
3232“Crossroads”Donald McDougallDavid LangApril 11, 1959
A fugitive’s father attempts to stop Josh from capturing his son.
3333“Angels of Vengeance”R.G. SpringsteenCharles BeaumontApril 18, 1959
A religious cult seeks vengeance on Josh for murdering their leader’s son. With John Dehner.
3434“Littlest Client”Thomas CarrStory by : Ray Buffum
Teleplay by : John Robinson
and Ray Buffum
April 25, 1959
A child refuses to believe that her father is dead so she asks Josh to find him.
3535“The Conquerors”Thomas CarrFred FreibergerMay 2, 1959
A banker hires Josh to find his son, who has joined a gang of conquerors. With John Dehner.
3636“Amos Carter”Thomas CarrJohn RobinsonMay 9, 1959
Josh attempts to end a feud between two hillbilly families.

Season 2 (1959–60)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
371“The Montana Kid”Thomas CarrD.D. Beauchamp
& Mary M. Beauchamp
September 5, 1959
Josh uses a recently released youth called the Montana Kid to nab a gambler.
382“The Healing Woman”Donald McDougallStory by : Charles Beaumont
and Richard Matheson
Teleplay by : Charles Beaumont
September 12, 1959
Josh tries to rescue a sick child from a quack.
393“The Matchmaker”Frank MacDonaldFred FreibergerSeptember 19, 1959
Josh is forced to find a bride for the “ugliest man in town.”

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