My Cart
Return to Season 1 Index

The Sharpshooter
Episode 1
Writer: Sam Peckinpah
Director: Arnold Laven
Original Air Date 09/30/1958


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Guest Cast
Virginia Aldridge as Waitress

Virginia Aldridge appeared as the Waitress in THE RIFLEMAN pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter."   She also appeared in several other western series and films of the 1950s and 60s.

R. G. Armstrong as Sheriff Fred Tomlinson
R.G. Armstrong as Sheriff Fred Tomlinson

R. G. Armstrong was an American playwright and film and television actor.  Trained at the Actors Studio in New York, his filmography lists more than 180 credits spanning 50 years.  Armstrong made his first film appearance in "Garden of Eden" (1954).  While working on the television show "The Westerner," he met writer/director Sam Peckinpah, who cast him in several of his films, including "Ride the High Country" (1962), "Major Dundee" (1965), "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (1970) and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973).  Armstrong was also cast in three Warren Beatty films, including "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Reds" (1981) and "Dick Tracy" (1990), in which he played the villain Pruneface.  Other film credits include the role of Cap'n Dan in "The Great White Hope" (1970) and General Phillips "Predator" (1987).

Armstrong was best-known as a character actor in television Westerns.  He appeared in two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing Sheriff Tomlinson in the pilot episode "The Sharpshooter," which was written by Sam Peckinpah, and episode 4, "The Marshal," which was both written and directed by Peckinpah.  "The Marshal" introduced the title character played by Paul Fix after Armstrong's sheriff was killed by marauding outlaws.  Other TV series in which he guest-starred include "The Texan" (1958–1959), "Lawman" (1959), "Maverick" (1959–1960), "Bonanza" (1959–1966), "Cheyenne" (1960–1961), "Perry Mason" (1958–1962), "Laramie" (1960–1962), "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1960–1962), "Gunsmoke" (1961–1967), "Wagon Train" (1962), "The Virginian" (1963–1967), "The F.B.I." (1965–1967), "T.H.E. Cat" (1966), "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979–1983), "Dynasty" (1982), "Friday the 13th" (1987–1989) and "L. A. Law" (1992–1993).  R. G. Armstrong passed away on July 27, 2012 at age 95.

Charles Arnt as Wes Tippert

Charles Arnt appeared in THE RIFLEMAN pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter," as Wes Tippert, uncle of the young sharpshooter played by Dennis Hopper.  Arnt was a veteran character actor whose career spanned 30 years.

Sidney Blackmer as Judge Hanavan
Sidney Blackmer as Judge Hanavan

Sidney Blackmer was an American theater, film and television actor.  His career spanned 57 years, beginning in the silent film era.  He appeared in an uncredited role in "Perils of Pauline" (1914) and went on to spend the 1920s playing on Broadway, eventually debuting in talkies in 1929, in "The Love Racket."  In his prolific career, Blackmer appeared in scores of motion pictures—appearing in 12 movies in 1937 alone.  His film credits include two Edward G. Robinson classics, "Little Caesar" (1931) and "The Last Gangster" (1937), "Duel in the Sun" (1946), "High Society" (1956), "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957) and "How to Murder Your Wife"(1965).   He co-starred with THE RIFLEMAN's Paul Fix in "The High and The Mighty" (1954), playing the gun-toting idiot.  His best-remembered film role was playing Roman Castevet in Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby" (1968).

Beginnning in the 1930's, Blackmer portrayed President Theodore Roosevelt, a historical figure he played seven times in films and teleplays, including "This Is My Affair" (1937) , "The Monroe Doctrine" (1939), "Teddy the Rough Rider" (1940) and "My Girl Tisa" (1948).  In 1950, Blackmer won a Tony Award as Best Actor in a dramatic role for the Broadway production of "Come Back, Little Sheba."

Blackmer appeared in three episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing the recurring character of Judge Hanavan, who first appeared in the pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter."  He reprised the role of Judge Hanavan in "The Safe Guard" (episode 8) and "The Photographer" (episode 18).  Blackmer's numerous television credits include guest-starring roles in "The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse" (1949–1951), "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1952–1956), "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1952–1956), "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), "Bonanza" (1961–1968), "Dr. Kildare" (1962–1966), "Ben Casey" (1966), "The Name of the Game" (1968–1969).  Blackmer's last appearance on the Broadway stage was the 1963–64 production of "A Case of Libel," and his last acting role was in "Do You Take This Stranger? (1971).  Blackmer passed away two years later.

Leif Erickson as Big Jim Lewis

Leif Erickson was an American film and television actor.  Born as William Wycliffe Anderson, he appeared in numerous films and television series.   Erickson appeared in THE RIFLEMAN pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter," as Big Jim Lewis.  He later went on to star in his own TV Western, playing patriach Big John Cannon in "High Chaparral."  He and Chuck Connors also appeared together in "Branded."  Previously, the two actors co-starred with John Wayne in "Trouble Along the Way."   His film credits include "College Holiday," "Conquest," "Ride a Crooked Mile," "Sorry Wrong Number," "The Snake Pit," "Fourteen Hours," "Invaders from Mars," "On the Waterfront," "Twilight for the Gods," "A Gathering of Eagles," "Roustabout," and "The Carpetbaggers."  Perhaps his most notable role was playing Deborah Kerr's macho husband in the stage and film versions of "Tea and Sympathy."

Dennis Hopper as Vernon Tippert, the young sharpshooter
Dennis Hopper as Vernon Tippert

Dennis Lee Hopper was an American actor, filmmaker, and artist.  Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors Studio.  He made his first appearance as an actor in 1955, appearing in two films co-starring James Dean, "Rebel Without a Cause," and "Giant."  Over the next ten years, Hopper appeared frequently on television in guest roles, and by the end of the 1960's had played supporting roles in several films.  He directed and starred in "Easy Rider," winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival.  He also was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as co-writer of the film's script.  Hopper appeared in THE RIFLEMAN pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter," in the title role.  He also appeared in "Three-Legged Terror" (episode 30) as Johnny Clover.  By mid-career, he was unable to build on his early success for several years, until a feature role in "Apocalypse Now" brought him back to public attention.  He subsequently appeared in "Rumble Fish" and "The Osterman Weekend."   Hopper received critical recognition for his work in "Blue Velvet" and "Hoosiers," the latter film garnering him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  He directed "Colors," portrayed King Koopa in the film version of "Super Mario Brothers," and he played the villain in "Speed."  Hopper's latest work included a leading role in the television series "Crash."  Hopper was a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor whose works have been exhibited world wide.

Kathleen Mulqueen as Nancy Hanavan
Kathleen Simpson Mulqueen as Nancy Hanavan in The

Kathleen Mulqueen was an American character actress, working primarily in film and television in the 1950's and 60's.  Her film appearances include the Paddy Chayefsky film, "Marty" (1955), "Texas Lady" (1955), "These Wilder Years" (1956), "The Outsider" (1962) and "The Night Walker" (1965).  She appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN—"The Sharpshooter" (the pilot episode) as Nancy Hanavan, "The Angry Gun" (episode 12) as Mrs. Peterson, "Eddie's Daughter" (episode 46) as Woman and "The Actress" (episode 94) as Judge Hanavan's wife/sister/daughter.  She appeared in dozens of television series of different genres, notably, playing the semi-regular character, Grandma Wilson, in "Dennis the Menace" (1959–1963).

Mickey Simpson as Carl Lamprey
Mickey Simpson as Carl Lamprey

Mickey Simpson appeared in THE RIFLEMAN pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter," as Carl Lamprey.  He also appeared in "The Indian" (episode 21) as Tub.  Over his long career in film and television, he appeared in many westerns, frequently cast as the villain.

Lucas and Mark arrive in the North Fork area looking for a ranch to purchase.  They find a place to their liking, and Lucas enters the town’s annual Turkey Shoot for a payment on the ranch. Lewis, the town villain who runs things pretty much to suit himself, threatens to harm Mark because he bet a great deal of money on another man in the Turkey Shoot.  To protect Mark, Lucas deliberately loses the match, but Lewis provokes a subsequent gunfight and is killed, and the town welcomes Lucas and Mark as new settlers.