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Honest Abe
Episode 118
Writer: Michael Morris
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Original Air Date 11/20/1961


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Guest Cast
Charles Cooper as Matt Yordy

Charles Cooper made four guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode. He played Hank Fulton in "End of a Young Gun" (episode 3), Rudy Crofts in "The Stand-In" (episode 114), Matt Yordy in "Honest Abe" (episode 118), and Larsen, the Bartender in "I Take This Woman" (episode 148).

Royal Dano as Abe
Royal Dano as Abe in Honest Abe

Royal Dano was an American actor whose career in film and television spanned four decades.  Born in New York, he purportedly ran away from home at the age of 12 and ever restless, lived in various places ranging from the east to west coast, including Florida, Texas and California.  Eventually, he made an agreement with his father to continue his education on the condition he would still have the freedom to travel.  Eventually, Dano attended New York University.  His performing career began as part of the 44th Special Service Provisional Company during World War II.  He soon branched out to the New York stage and made his Broadway debut with a small role in the hit musical "Finian's Rainbow."  Dano was nominated by the New York Critic's Circle as one of the Promising Actors of 1949.

Tall and lean with gaunt features, a thatch of dark hair, a rangy build and a distinctive deep croaky voice, Dano usually was cast both in movies and television shows as gloomy or sinister characters. &nsp;He appeared most often in westerns and worked several times with James Stewart and director Anthony Mann.  He made his film debut in "Undercover Girl" (1950).  Among his best-remembered supporting roles in the western genre were film appearances as a sickly bookworm bad guy in "Johnny Guitar," (1954), a cattle rustler in "The Culpepper Cattle Company" (1972), and Ten Spot in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976).  He also made numerous television appearances, including the western series, "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "Wagon Train," "The Virginian," and "Little House on the Prairie," among many others.  Dano also had memorable roles as Elijah in "Moby Dick" (1956) and President Abraham Lincoln, whom he portrayed several times in his career, including in the "Honest Abe" episode of THE RIFLEMAN.  Dano made five guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode, including Frank Blandon in "The Sheridan Story" (episode 16), Jonas Epps in "A Matter of Faith" (episode 34), Aaron Wingate in "A Case of Identity" (episode 57), Abe in "Honest Abe" (episode 118), and Jamison in "Day of Reckoning" (episode 138).

Dano continued to work in film and television until his death at age 71, in 1994.  Some of his later work in television included guest spots in "Ben Casey," "Lost in Space," "Night Gallery," "Route 66," "Planet of the Apes," "Cannon," "Little House on the Prairie," "Kung Fu," "CHIPs," "Quincy M.E.," "Fantasy Island," "Twin Peaks," "Amazing Stories."  Among his more memorable later roles in films were his portrayals as a coroner in "Electra Glide in Blue" (1973), a profanity-spewing preacher in "Big Bad Mama" (1974), a minister in "The Right Stuff" (1983), a stuffy high school teacher in "Teachers" (1984), rascally zombified old-timer Gramps in "House II: The Second Story" (1987), a cantankerous farmer in "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" (1988), and in his last role, a cemetery caretaker in George Romero's "The Dark Half" (1993).

Joe Higgins as Nils Swenson
Joe Higgins as Nils Swenson

Joe Higgins was an American actor working primarily in television and commercials from the 1960's through the 1980's.  His acting career began at age nine and while attending the University of Dayton in Ohio, he worked in radio.  He became a prolific character actor who often portrayed a sheriff in commercials, public service announcements and in print ads.  He won the CLIO award on two occasions for his acting in commercials.  His portrayal as a sheriff, "You in a heap o' trouble, boy!," in a series of memorable Dodge car commercials in the 1970's became his iconic signature role.

Higgins appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN playing different characters, and he played the semi-regular character, Nils Swenson, the Blacksmith, in 16 episodes.  He played recurring roles on other television series in addition to THE RIFLEMAN, including "Arrest and Trial" and later, he co-starred again with Chuck Connors in "Flipper" and "Geronimo."

Rex Morgan as McKeever

Rex Morgan made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying McKeever in "Honest Abe" (episode 118).

Pam Smith as Susan

Pam Smith appeared in five movies and television shows in four decades.  She portrayed Maureen Beebe in the family drama "Misty" (1961), starring David Ladd, and Mrs. Stewart in the family drama "Owd Bob" (1998), starring James Cromwell, Colm Meaney and Jemima Rooper.  She guest-starred in the family comedy "Leave It to Beaver" (1957–1963).  Smith made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying the young girl Susan in "Honest Abe" (episode 118).  She also guest-starred in the western "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts.

K. T. Stevens as Emma Lincoln

K. T. Stevens was an American actress whose career in films and television spanned 70 years.  She debuted in her first film role at age two in a silent film classic directed by her father, Sam Wood, in "Peck's Bad Boy" (1921), which starred Jackie Coogan.  Stevens also worked on the stage and in radio, eventually retiring from acting, but later returning to the screen as a character actress, primarily in television.  She appeared five episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Muriel Chase in "Heller" (episode 62), Molly Fenway in "The Fourflusher" (episode 72), Nancy Clay in "Face of Yesterday" (episode 95), Emma Lincoln in "Honest Abe" (episode 118), and Granny Mede in "End of the Hunt" (episode 162).

Pick Temple as Guitarist, "Jimmy Cracked Corn"

Pick Temple was an American cowboy folksinger.  Various accounts report that in the 1930s he rode the rails and listened to the melancholy ballads inspired by the hard scrabble lives of the people he met during the Great Depression, which he later recorded for the Library of Congress music archives; however, during this period through the early 1950s, he had a long-term regular job as an economic statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau.  After a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he returned to the Baltimore area where he grew up and wrote, produced, and performed a series of programs on folk music for Washington D.C. station WTTG.  He went on to host a long-running children's show "The Pick Temple Giant Ranch" (1948–1961), which was produced for various stations from Baltimore, Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia.  After the show was cancelled, he returned to his earlier civil service career.  Temple made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying the guitarist in "Honest Abe" (episode 118); he sang the tune "Blue-tailed Fly."

Steve Warren as Joe

Steve Warren appeared in more than 20 films and television shows during a decade-long career.  He had a few film roles, including minor parts in the war drama "Friendly Persuasion" (1956), starring Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire and Anthony Perkins; and the musical drama "Jailhouse Rock" (1957), starring Elvis Presley.

Warren made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Joe in "Honest Abe" (episode 118).  He guest-starred in the family comedy "Mister Ed" (1958–1966), with most of his other television credits for westerns, including "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), starring John McIntyre and Ward Bond; "Bat Masterson" (1958–1961), starring Gene Barry; "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), starring James Arness; "Death Valley Days" (1952–1975), hosted by Robert Taylor; "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), starring Richard Boone; and "Laramie" (1959–1963), starring John Smith and Robert Fuller.

Abe, a kindly neighbor of Lucas', has suffered a mental shock during the Civil War, and as a result believes he is President Abraham Lincoln.  Because he is harmless and well-liked, the people of North Fork good-naturedly go along with his impersonation; however, Abe innocently gets into trouble when a brutish stranger derides his innocent masquerade and calls him "crazy."  Lucas tries to help Abe, but finds himself and Mark subjects of the stranger's hostility.