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The Deserter
Episode 65
Writer: Albert Aley
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Original Air Date 03/15/1960


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Guest Cast
Richard Alexander as Nels/Nils Swenson/Swensen/Svenson, the Blacksmith
Richard Alexander

Richard Alexander was an American actor who worked in film and television for nearly 50 years.  Most of his roles were uncredited, but he appeared in numerous films, including "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930), "Flash Gordon" (1936, 1938), "Zorro Rides Again" (1937) and "Requiem for a Gunfighter" (1965).  He also made numerous television appearances, frequently in Westerns, including "The Lone Ranger" (1950–1953), "The Gene Autry Show" (1950), "Dick Tracy (1950), "Hopalong Cassidy" (1952), "Death Valley Days" (1952) and his final role in "Petrocelli" (1971).

Alexander appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN and was one of seven actors to play Nels/Nils Swenson/Swensen/Svenson, usually also listed in the credits as the Blacksmith.  He appeared in "The Deserter" (episode 65), "Smoke Screen" (episode 68), "Meeting at Midnight" (episode 74) and "The Martinet" (episode 83).

Baynes Barron as Trooper Kirk

Baynes Barron was an American actor.  He appeared in more than 100 television shows and movies over a 30–year career.  Many of his roles were uncredited.  He appeared in many popular western series, including "The Adventures of Kit Carson" (1951–1952), "Death Valley Days" (1954–1955), "Annie Oakley" (1956–1957), "Lawman" (1959–1962), "Bonanza" (1959–1973) and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975).  Barron also performed in several popular series of the 1960s, including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), "The Loretta Young Show" (1953–1961) and "The Untouchables" (1959–1963).  He made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Gus 'Gustav' Kelso in "The Spiked Rifle" (episode 49) and Trooper Kirk in "The Deserter" (episode 65).  He also appeared in an episode of "Branded" (1965–1966), which starred Chuck Connors in his second hit TV western series.

Harry Carey, Jr. as Lt. Paul Rolfe

Harry Carey, Jr. is a prolific American film and television character actor.  He has appeared in more than 150 movies and television shows in a career spanning 65 years.  He has been a familiar fixture in westerns, but has appeared in a wide range of genres, from popular series of the 1960s, including the crime drama series "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), to cult classic films of the 1980s, including "Gremlins" (1984), in which he played Mr. Anderson, and "Back to the Future Part III" (1990), in which he made a cameo appearance as a saloon old-timer.  Carey and his father both appeared in the classic Howard Hawks western, "Red River" (1948); although, they did not share any scenes together.  He also was associated with the so-called John Ford Stock Company, appearing in many of the legendary director's films, including "3 Godfathers" (1948), "Wagon Master" (1950), "Rio Grande" (1950), "The Long Gray Line" (1955) and "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964).

Carey appeared in virtually every major western series of his era; although, he is perhaps most often recognized for his recurring role as Bill Burnett in the original, as well as the movie and the various reboots of "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" (1955).  He appeared in "Lawman" (1958–1962), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "The Virginian" (1962–1971) and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975).  Carey made two guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Lt. Paul Rolfe in "The Deserter" (episode 65) and Lieutenant Vaughn in "The Journey Back" (episode 115).  In 1987, Carey received a Golden Boot for his contributions to the western genre, and in 2003, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Carey also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Robert Cornthwaite as Major Damler

Robert Cornthwaite was a prolific American stage, film and television actor.  He appeared in more than 160 movies and television shows during his 55-year career.  Cornthwaite became interested in acting after being forced to recite a line for a school production.  He attended Long Beach City College and served as an intelligence officer in the Army Air Force during World War II.  Following his military service, Cornthwaite earned a degree from the University of Southern California, after which he then moved to Hollywood, where he finally began pursuing his dream of becoming an actor.  Despite a somewhat slow start, Cornthwaite was eventually working regularly, type-cast as intellectual characters in movies and television shows until his death in 2006.  He was a highly versatile actor, appearing in crime dramas, including "Cavalcade of America" (1952–1957); "The Untouchables" (1959–1963); "Perry Mason" (1957–1966); "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964) and "Murder, She Wrote" (1984–1996); as well as the horror series "Thriller" (1960–1962), hosted by Boris Karloff; Rod Serling's sci-fi thriller series, "Twilight Zone" (1959–1964); the family comedy "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960–1968); the war drama "Combat!" (1962–1967), starring Vic Morrow; and the adventure series "The Fugitive" (1963–1967), starring David Janssen.  Cornthwaite also had a few recurring roles, especially toward the end of his career, including the part of Professor Windish in the Buck Henry spy spoof "Get Smart" (1965), Allan A. Dale in "Batman" (1966–1968), starring Adam West, Judge Edward P. Langdon in the night-time soap "Dynasty" (1981–1989), Hives in the long-running comedy series "Cheers" (1982–1993) and Howard Buss in the drama "Picket Fences" (1992–1996).

Cornthwaite's roles playing intellectual characters followed him from TV to fims, including a several science fiction movies.  He portrayed Dr. Arthur Carrington in "The Thing from Another World" (1951), starring James Arness from "Gunsmoke" ; Dr. Zoldeck in the comedy sci-fi "Monkey Business" (1952), starring Marilyn Monroe; Dr. Pryor in the sci-fi classic "The War of the Worlds" (1953); and Dr. Shelby in the Oscar-winning thriller "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.

Cornthwaite guest-starred in one episode of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Major Damler in "The Deserter" (episode 65).  Cornthwaite made guest appearances in numerous other westerns, including "Maverick" (1957–1962), starring Roger Moore, "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood, "The Virginian" (1962–1971), "Bonanza" (1959–1973) and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975).

Ron Hagerthy as Ben Haskell

Ronald F. "Ron" Hagerthy is an American actor who has worked primarily in television.  He has appeared in nearly 80 movies and television shows in a career spanning just two decades.  Primarily a television actor, Hagerthy also appeared in several films, including his acting debut in "I Was a Communist for the FBI" (1951), in which he portrayed Dick Cvetic, the romantic war drama "Force of Arms" (1951), in which he played Minto, and the musical "Starlift" (1951), in which he portrayed Rick Williams.  Although he appeared mostly in TV westerns, Hagerthy guest-starred in other genres, as well, including the anthology drama "Fireside Theatre" (1949–1955), the crime dramas "The Untouchables" (1959–1963) and "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964), the comedy series "The Jack Benny Program" (1950–1965), and the long-running family drama "Lassie" (1954–1974).  His most memorable role was portraying Clipper King in the modern western series "Sky King" (1951–1959), starring Kirby Grant and Gloria Winters.

Hagerthy made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Ben Haskell in "The Deserter" (episode 65).  Hagerthy guest-starred in dozens of the most popular westerns of the 1950s and 60s, including "Hopalong Cassidy" (1952–1954), "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1954–1959), "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), "The Lone Ranger" (1949–1957), "Annie Oakley" (1954–1956), "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "The Texan" (1958–1960), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), and "Rawhide" (1959–1966), "The High Chapparal" (1967–1971), and many other shows.

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.

A wounded young man appears at the McCain ranch.  Lucas starts to give him temporary medical aid, but is interrupted when a patrol of Army Cavalry arrives and announces that the boy is a deserter and proceeds to take him into custody.  The next day in town, Lucas and the Marshal meet the boy's commanding officer, a bitter, harsh disciplinarian, who is determined to have the boy executed for desertion. Lucas' intervention helps to save the boy's life, and brings the Army's attention to the officer's disciplinary harshness.