My Cart
Return to Season 2 Index

The Prodigal
Episode 71
Writer: Robert Sherman
Director: Don MacDougall
Original Air Date 04/26/1960


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Guest Cast
Kevin Hagen as Billy St. John/William Havercourt

Kevin Hagen, born Donald N. Hagen, was an American actor who worked primarily in television.  He appeared in 120 movies and television shows in a career spanning more than 30 years.  Born to ballroom dancers, Hagen led a varied life, first serving in the navy, then attending UCLA to study law while teaching ballroom dancing on the side, and finally settling on acting as his career.  He was discovered while performing in a production of Eugene O'Neill's play "Desire Under the Elms," published in 1924 and widely regarded as an American classic.  Subsequently, Hagen became a prominent presence in television, especially in crime dramas and westerns.  He had a few recurring roles, including the role for which he is best-remembered, Dr. Hiram Baker, in the long-running family drama "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1983), as well as John Colton in the western "Yancy Derringer" (1958–1959) and Inspector Dobbs Kobick in the sci-fi series "The Land of Giants" (1968–1970).  He guest-starred in many other popular shows of the 1950s through the 80s, including the crime dramas "M Squad" (1957–1960), "Dragnet" (1951–1959), "The Untouchables" (1959–1963), "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964), "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), "Ironside" (1967–1975) and"Mannix" (1967–1975), the sci-fi series "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), "The Time Tunnel" (1966–1967), and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964–1968), as well as the family drama "Lassie" (1954–1974), the undercover police series "Mod Squad" (1968–1973), the comedy "M*A*S*H" (1972–1983) and the ongoing daytime drama "General Hospital" (1963– present).  In addition to television, Hagen had a few film roles, including a rebel deserter in the western war drama "Shenandoah" (1965), starring James Stewart, and a poker player in the biographical action film "The Hunter" (1980), starring Steve McQueen.

Hagen made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Billy St. John/William Havercourt in "The Prodigal" (episode 71) and Harry Devers in "The Decision" (episode 116).  He also guest-starred in many other westerns of the 1950s and 60s, including "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), "The Deputy" (1959–1961), "Bat Masterson" (1958–1961), "Cheyenne" (1955–1963), "Rawhide" (1959–1966), "Maverick" (1957–1962), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "Branded" (1965–1966), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "The Virginian" (1962–1971), "The Big Valley" (1965–1969), "The Guns of Will Sonnett" (1967–1969), and "Daniel Boone" (1964–1970).

Rodolfo Hoyos (Jr.) as Luis

Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., was a prolific Mexican actor who worked primarily in television.  He appeared in 170 movies and television shows during a career spanning nearly 40 years.  He had a few film roles, including Capt. Ortega in the thriller "Seven Days in May" (1964), starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March and Ava Gardner; and a minor part in the romantic drama "Gilda" (1946), starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford.

Hoyos starred in the short-lived comedy series "Viva Valdez" (1976), portraying Luis Valdez.  He guest-starred in many popular television shows of the 1950s through the 70s, including the classic family sitcom "I Love Lucy" (1951–1957), the Disney adventure series "Zorro" (1957–1959), the adventure series "Sea Hunt" (1958–1961), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), the private detective series "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964), the medical drama "Dr. Kildare" (1961–1966), the western action adventure series "The Wild Wild West" (1965–1969), the legal drama "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), the adventure drama "The Fugitive" (1963–1967), the espionage thrillers "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1964–1968) and "Mission Impossible" (1966–1973), the adventure drama "It Takes a Thief" (1968–1970), the police drama "Adam-12" (1968–1975) and the anthology series "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" (1954–1990).

Hoyos made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Pablo in "Home Ranch" (episode 2) and Luis in "The Prodigal" (episode 71).  He guest-starred in many other westerns, including "The Cisco Kid" (1950–1956), starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carillo; "Maverick" (1957–1962), starring Jack Kelly and James Garner; "Zane Grey Theater" (1956–1961), starring Dick Powell; "Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958–1961), starring Steve McQueen; "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), starring Hugh O'Brian; "Death Valley Days" (1952–1975), hosted by Robert Taylor; "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts; and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), starring James Arness.

Josephine Hutchinson as Christine St. John

Josephine Hutchinson was an American film and television actress.  She appeared in more than 70 movies and television shows during a career spanning nearly 60 years.  She made her film debut as a teenager in the silent film adaptation of "The Little Princess" (1917), starring Mary Pickford.  She attended the Cornish School of Music and Drama in Seattle, then moved to New York to work in theater.  Meanwhile, she succeeded in making the transition from silent films to talkies.  She signed a contract with Warner Bros. and relocated to Hollywood, where she made her second film debut as Joan Bradford in the romantic musical "Happiness Ahead" (1934), in which she appeared opposite Dick Powell.  She spent most of her career playing supporting roles; although, among her more memorable screen characters were Elsa von Frankenstein in the sci-fi horror "Son of Frankenstein" (1939), starring Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill; Mrs. Townsend in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "North by Northwest" (1959), starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason; and Mrs. Elvira McCanles in the western "Nevada Smith" (1966), starring Steve McQueen.  She also guest-starred in several popular television shows, including the legal drama "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), the crime dramas "Arrest and Trial" (1963–1964) and "Mannix" (1967–1975), the medical drama "Dr. Kildare" (1961–1966), the police drama "Mod Squad" (1968–1973) and the family drama "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1983).

Hutchinson made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Christine St. John in "The Prodigal" (episode 71).  She guest-starred in several other westerns, including "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), starring John McIntyre and Ward Bond; "The Deputy" (1959–1961), starring Henry Fonda; "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood; "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), starring James Arness; and "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts.

Warren Oates as Santos
Warren Oates

Warren Oates was an American actor who began his acting career in 1957, starring in a live New York production of the television series "Studio One."  He moved to Los Angeles and appeared in numerous television western series.  Oates made four appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Andrew Shelton in "The Marshal" (episode 4), Jud Malackie in "Bloodlines" (episode 42), Santos in "The Prodigal" (episode 71), Marty Ryan in "Miss Milly" (episode 84), Will Breen in "Day of Reckoning" (episode 139).  He met Sam Peckinpah working on THE RIFLEMAN, which began a collaborative relationship on later film projects.  He was a prolific actor best-known for his roles in the Peckinpah classics, "The Wild Bunch" (1969) and "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" (1974).  His most critically acclaimed role was playing GTO in the 1971 Monte Hellman cult classic "Two-Lane Blacktop."  Oates passed away in 1983 and a decade later, in 1993, Tom Thurman produced a documentary tribute film honoring his career, "Warren Oates: Across the Border."

Hope Summers as Hattie Denton, Owner of the General Store
Hope Summers as Hattie Denton, Owner of the Genera

Hope Summers was an American actress of the stage, radio, film and television.  Her acting career began in the 1930's, when she worked primarily in community and stock theater and radio.  Her career was most active in the 1950's and 1960's, when she appeared in numerous films and television shows.   Her film credits include "Zero Hour!" (1957), "Inherit the Wind" (1960), "Spencer's Mountain" (1963), "The Hallelujah Trail" (1965), "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (1966), "The Shakiest Gun in the West" (1968), "Rosemary's Baby" (1968), "Charley Varrick" (1973) and her last movie, "Foul Play" (1978).

Summers began working in television in the 1950's, guest-starring in a wide variety of genres, but especially Westerns.  Her television credits include "The Loretta Young Show" (1956–1959), "Maverick" (1957) and "Wagon Train" (1957), "Gunsmoke" (1958–1963), "Dennis the Menace" (1959), "Petticoat Junction" (1963) and "The Phyllis Diller Show" (1966).  She played numerous memorable recurring roles in many hit television series, including "Hawkins Falls: A Television Novel" (1950).  Her best-known role was Clara Edwards, Aunt Bee's gossipy neighbor, in "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-1968) and its spin-off, "Mayberry R.F.D." (1968–1971).  Summers appeared in 16 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN as Hattie Denton, owner of the General Store.  Hattie was first introduced in "Eight Hours to Die" (episode 6).  Her last regular television role was playing Olive in "Another Day" (1978).

Lee Van Cleef as Stinger
Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef was an American actor born in Somerville, New Jersey.  He was one of the great movie villains, whose distinctive hawk nose, steely glint in his eyes and perpetual snarl in the turn of his mouth destined him to play the heavy in some of the most memorable Westerns and action pictures of the 1950's and 60's.  Van Cleef appeared in 90 films and over 100 television series spanning nearly four decades.  Before breaking into films, during World War II, Van Cleef served in the United States Navy aboard minesweepers and subchasers.  Later, he had a brief career as an accountant and became involved in amateur theatrics in his spare time.  An audition for a professional role led to a touring company job in "Mr. Roberts."  His performance was seen by Stanley Kramer, who cast him as henchman Jack Colby in "High Noon" (1952), a role that brought him great recognition, despite having no dialogue in the film.  Over the next decade, he played a string of memorably villainous characters, primarily in Westerns but also in crime dramas such as "I Cover the Underworld" and "The Big Combo," both released in 1955.  He played another outlaw henchman in John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962).  In 1965, Sergio Leone cast him as the tough but decent Colonel Mortimer opposite Clint Eastwood in the Spaghetti Western, "For a Few Dollars More."  The following year, he portrayed the character Sentena/Angel Eyes in Leone's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (1966).  The roles revitalized his flagging career, but now as a western hero, or at least an anti-hero, and he became an international star.  His later films, however, were of lesser quality.  In the 1980's he moved into action and martial-arts movies.

Lee Van Cleef appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Dan Maury in "The Deadly Wait" (episode 26), Stinger in "The Prodigal" (episode 71), Wicks in "The Clarence Bibs Story" (episode 104), Johnny Drago in "Death Never Rides Alone" (episode 147).  He also co-starred with Chuck Connors in "Trial by Fear," an episode of "The DuPont Show with June Allyson" (1960), and in two episodes of Chuck Connors' later series, "Branded" (1965-1966).  Of his career, Van Cleef once quipped, " Being born with a pair of beady eyes was the best thing that ever happened to me."

Rhys Williams as Doc Burrage
Rhys Williams as Doc Burrage

Rhys Williams was a Welsh character actor in movies and television, whose career spanned the 1940's through 1970.  He made his film debut in "How Green Was My Valley" (1941).  Rural Wales was the setting of this John Ford classic film, and it featured a large cast of Welsh characters; although, it was actually filmed in Hollywood with American, Irish and Scottish actors.  Williams, who was the only genuine Welshman in the cast, originally was hired as a dialect coach for the other actors, but director John Ford gave Williams a role in the film.

Williams is recognizable to fans of the television series "Adventures of Superman," in which he played a sadistic character in one of the show's early episodes, "The Evil Three."  Other television appearances included CBS's anthology series, "The DuPont Show with June Allyson," co-starring Steve Allen in the 1960 episode "Play Acting," and five episodes of General Electric Theater between 1956 and 1961.  Williams also appeared in "The Donna Reed Show" (1958), "Temple Houston" (1963), "77 Sunset Strip" (1964), "Twelve O'Clock High" (1964-1966), "The F.B.I." (1966), "The Wild Wild West" (1966), "Mission Impossible" (1967), the "Andy Griffith Show" (1967), "Mannix" (1969), "Here Comes the Brides" (1969), among many other shows.  Williams appeared in six episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, one of six actors to portray the regular character, Doc Burrage.   He appeared in "Blood Brothers" (episode 35), "Bloodlines" (episode 42), "Letter of the Law" (episode 50), "A Case of Identity" (episode 57), "Sins of the Father" (episode 70), and "The Prodigal" (episode 71).

Lucas and Mark are held prisoner in their own home, when a bank-robbing gunman decides to hide out at their ranch.  Complications ensue when the gunman's mother, who knows nothing of her son's criminal life, arrives with the impression that her son owns the ranch and that Mark is her grandson.  The truth is revealed to her in a startling manner—when the rest of the bank robbers appear and demand the stolen money.