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The Coward
Episode 53
Writer: Philip Saltzman and Clair Huffaker
Director: James Neilson
Original Air Date 12/22/1959


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Guest Cast
Robert Bice as Ben Smith
Robert Bice

Robert Bice made five guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode.  He played Joe Hallager in "The Mind Reader" (episode 40), Ben Smith in "The Coward" (episode 53), The Warden of New Mexico Territory in "Seven" (episode 79), and Len Richards in "Deadly Image" (episode 138).

Carleton Carpenter as George Collins

Carleton Carpenter is an American stage, film and television actor, as well as a magician, author and songwriter.  He has appeared in nearly 40 movies and television shows in a career spanning more than 30 years.  Prior to signing to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Carpenter worked on Broadway, both as a magician and an actor.  He appeared in many films starring movie and stage legends such as Ray Bolger in "Three to Make Ready," Bert Lahr and Angela Lansbury in "Hotel Paradiso" and Judy Garland in the film "Summer Stock" (1950).  Carpenter had starring roles in "Fearless Fagan" (1952), co-starring Janet Leigh, and "Sky Full of Moon" (1952), with Jan Sterling.  Carpenter appeared in several popular series of the 1950s and 60s, including "G.E. True Theater" (1953–1962) and "Perry Mason" (1957–1966).  He made one guest appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying George Collins in "The Coward" (episode 153).

Carleton had many talents besides acting; they included composing songs and writing novels.  Among his hits compositions were "Christmas Eve," "Cabin in the Woods" and "Ev'ry Other Day."  During the 1970s and 80s, Carpenter became a best-selling mystery novelist.  One of his more popular books, "Deadhead" (1974), was adapted to a Broadway musical.  He also authored several short stories, which were featured in the Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines.

Donald Elson as the Printer

Donald Elson is an American film and television actor.  He has appeared in nearly 50 movies and television shows in a career spanning more than 50 years.  He has guest-starred in various popular shows, including the gothic horror series "Thriller" (1960–1962), starring Boris Karloff, the campy take on the comic book hero "Batman" (1966–1968), starring Adam West, the crime drama "Ironside" (1967–1975), starring Raymond Burr as a wheelchair-bound detective, the classic family drama "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1983), starring Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon, who also directed, and the tongue-in-cheek whodunit "Murder, She Wrote" (1984–1996), starring Angela Lansbury.  Elson made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying the printer in "The Coward" (episode 53), and Aaron the liveryman in "Outlaw's Shows" (episode 141).  He also guest-starred in the westerns "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon, and also "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), starring James Arness.

John Milford as Dub
John Milford

John Milford was an American actor, whose long career, primarily in television, included more than 164 acting roles spanning five decades.  His first big break came with an uncredited appearance in the 1956 Oscar awarding winning film "Marty," starring Ernest Borgnine.  Milford appeared in every television genre, from crime dramas, including "The F.B.I." (1965–1974) and "Mannix" (1967–1975), among many others, to sci-fi adventures, including "The Six Million Dollar Man" (1974–1978) and its spin-off "The Bionic Woman" (1976–1978).  He appeared in many of the most popular series of their eras, including the sci-fi thriller "The Invaders" (1967–1968), sci-fi mini-series "The Planet of the Apes (1974), the family dramas "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1983) and "Highway to Heaven" (1984–1989), and the sci-fi mystery "The X-Files" (1993–2002).

Milford played recurring roles in several series, including Ike Clanton for one season in "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955–1961), Sgt. Kagey in "The Lieutenant" (1963–1964), Lt. Paul Hewitt in "The Bold Ones: The Lawyers" (1969–1972), and a co-starring role as Captain Dempsey in the action comedy "Enos" (1980–1981).  In addition to the Wyatt Earp series, Milford appeared in many of the most popular western series of the 1950s through '70s, including "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "The Virginian" (1962–1971) and "The Big Valley" (1965–1969).

John Milford made eleven appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Ross Porter in "The Blowout" (episode 43), Dub in "The Coward" (episode 53), Jonas Winters in "The Horsetraders" (episode 60), Bro Hadley in "A Time for Singing" (episode 64), Morgan in "Meeting at Midnight" (episode 74), Marsh Watson in "The Pitchman" (episode 80), Hadley in "Baranca" (episode 82), Jack Solby in "Dark Day at North Fork" (episode 100), Reade in "The Clarence Bibs Story" (episode 104), Jess Grady in "The Journey Back" (episode 115) and Lt. Price in "The Assailants" (episode 149).  Milford also appeared in two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN spin-off "Law of the Plainsman" (1959–1960).

Milford ran the Chamber Theatre on Cahuenga Blvd. West in Hollywood, where he helped many young actors get a start in the entertainment industry.  He is also credited with the original design for the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bill Quinn as Sweeney, the Bartender
Bill Quinn as Sweeney, the Bartender

Bill Quinn was an American actor whose early career began in the 1920's in silent films and ended with the 1989 science fiction film, "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."  Perhaps, his best-known role was Mr. Ranseleer, Archie Bunker's blind friend in "All In The Family" (1971-1978).  He also was a regular character in the Carroll O'Connor spin-off, "Archie Bunker's Place."  Quinn's other television credits include roles in "The Odd Couple" (1970-1975), "McHale's Navy" (1962-1966), and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970-1977), in which he play Mary Richard's father.  In 1971, he appeared in Universal Pictures' "How to Frame a Figg" starring Don Knotts.  Quinn was a regular character in THE RIFLEMAN, appearing in 40 episodes as Sweeney, the Owner/Bartender of the North Fork Saloon.

Steve Rowland as Buddy Link

Steve Rowland, born Stephen Jacob Rowland, is an American television and film actor, in addition to being a singer, columnist and record producer.  During the 1960s, Rowland relocated to London, where he produced 13 Top Ten hits for Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.  He also produced hits for P.J. Proby and The Pretty Things.  He received a gold album and an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers during the 1970s.  While serving as the creative manager for Ariola Records, Rowland discovered and signed The Cure and the Thompson Twins, in addition to handling Boney M and Japan.

Rowland had several film roles, including an uncredited role in the romantic western "The Moonlighter" (1953), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray; Glasses in the crime drama "Crime in the Streets" (1956), starring John Cassavetes, Sal Mineo and James Whitmore; and Eddy in the war drama "Battle of the Bulge" (1965), starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews.  Outside of film, Rowland has appeared almost exclusively in westerns, including having a recurring role as Phin Clanton in "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), starring Hugh O'Brian.  Rowland made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Billy Lehi in "Home Ranch" (episode 2) and Buddy Link in "The Coward" (episode 53).  He guest-starred in several other westerns, including "Hopalong Cassidy" (1952–1954), starring William Boyd; "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), starring Dale Robertson; "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), starring John McIntyre and Ward Bond; "Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958–1961), starring Steve McQueen; and "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts.

Lucas becomes involved in a revenge fight when he takes pity on a young Easterner who has come west to be a writer.  The tenderfoot has incurred the wrath of a cocky bragging trail boss, who turns his temper on Lucas when he finds McCain sheltering the boy.