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The Jailbird
Episode 73
Writer: Frederic Conrad
Director: Don Taylor
Original Air Date 05/10/1960


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Guest Cast
Charles Briggs as Eli Manse

Charlie Briggs was an American actor who worked primarily in television, particularly in the western genre.  He appeared in more than 60 television shows and movies in a career spanning 25 years.  He made his debut as an actor in the western series "Maverick" (1957–1962), playing the role of Little Jeb Plummer.   He appeared in the Disney film, "The Absent-Minded Professor" (1963), Clint Eastwood's Civil War Southern Gothic, "The Beguiled" (1971), the Charles Bronson crime drama, "Charley Varrick" (1973), Natalie Wood's last film, "Brainstorm" (1983) and the oscar-winning film, "Norma Rae" (1973).  Briggs made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Eli Manse in "The Jailbird" (episode 73) and Artie Quint in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103).  Other western series in which he guest-starred include "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "The Virginian" (1962–1971) and "Bonanza" (1959–1973).

Molly Dodd as Bessie Steele Weaver

Molly Dodd was an American actress who primarily worked in television.  She appeared in 40 movies and televisions shows in a career spanning more than 20 years.  She guest-starred in numerous popular shows, including the crime drama, "M Squad" (1957–1960), starring Lee Marvin as Lieutenant Frank Ballinger; Rod Serling's sci-fi anthology series, "Twilight Zone" (1959–1964); and the award-winning family drama "The Waltons" (1971–1981), with an ensemble cast of veteran actors, including Will Geer, Ellen Corby, Ralph Waite and Michael Learned, and newcomers, notably Richard Thomas.  Dodd also appeared in the family comedies "Dennis the Menace" (1959–1963), "My Three Sons" (1960–1972), "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960–1968), "Bewitched" (1964–1972) and "The Brady Bunch" (1969–1974).  Dodd made one guest appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Bessie Steele Weaver in "The Jailbird" (episode 73).

Donald Elson as Man at the Livery Stable

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.

Dabbs Greer as Farley Steele Weaver
Dabbs Greer as Farley Steel in The Jailbird

Dabbs Greer was an American actor who had a prolific career spanning more than 50 years.   A highly recognizable character actor—the quintessential everyman—he played a wide range of supporting roles in film and television.  Originally from Missouri, his southern accent lent authenticity to the rural characters he often portrayed, especially in Westerns.  Frequently cast as a minister, his most memorable role may have been Reverend Alden in "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1983).

Greer made his film debut in the 1938 feature "Jesse James."  He appeared in the 1958 film noir "I Want to Live" and reprised a similar role in the 1999 film, "The Green Mile," in which he played the Tom Hank's character, Paul Edgecomb, as an elderly man.  

Greer appeared in several recurring roles in popular television series in the 1950's and 1960's, including THE RIFLEMAN, in which he guest-starred eight times: he portrayed Marcus Trimble in "Outlaw's Inheritance" (episode 38), Sam Elder in "Boomerang" (episode 39), Brett in "Panic" (episode 47), Farley Steele Weaver in "The Jailbird" (episode 73), Jack Scully in "The Promoter" (episode 87), Finny in "The Wyoming Story, Parts I and II" (episodes 96 and 97), and Taylor, a prison guard in "The Stand-In" (episode 114).

Greer's recurring roles in other popular TV series included "Hank" (1965–1966), in which he played track coach Ossie Weiss, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" (1968-–1970), as Sheriff Norris "Norrie" Coolidge, and in"Gunsmoke" (1955–1975) as storekeeper Wilbur Jonas.

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.

Karl Swenson as Chris Manse
Karl Swenson

Karl Swenson was an American actor of theater, radio, film and television whose career spanned more than 35 years.  He met his second wife, stage and radio actress Joan Tompkins, while working in radio, and they performed together in various media, including film and television, throughout their careers.  Swenson's long career began on the stage and in radio, appearing in numerous serials, including "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" (1941–1952), and the title roles in "Lorenzo Jones" (1937–1949) and the detective serials, "The Adventures of Father Brown" (1945) and "Mr. Chameleon" (1948–1953).

Beginning in the 1950's, Swenson guest-starred in 160 films and television shows.  A fair-haired, strapping man of Swedish ancestry, Swenson was frequently typecast in roles playing Scandinavian characters.  Usually appearing in minor parts, his film credits include "Kings Go Forth" (1958), "North to Alaska" (1960), Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" (1963) and "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965).  He had a prolific career in television, frequently appearing in Westerns; his many TV credits include "Gunsmoke" (1957–1971), "The Texan" (1958–1959), "Zane Grey Theater" (1958–1959), "Bachelor Father" (1958–1960), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1963), "Bonanza" (1959–1967), "Perry Mason" (1962–1965), "The Virginian" (1962–1969), "Lassie" (1962–1972), "Dr. Kildaire" (1965), "The Big Valley" (1965–1967) and "The Mod Squad" (1970–1972).

Swenson appeared in two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing the recurring character of Nils Svenson (variously Swenson, Swensen), the Blacksmith in "The Vision" (episode 66) and Chris Manse in "The Jailbird" (episode 73).  Swenson is probably best remembered for his role playing lumber mill owner Lars Hanson in "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1978).  He had met actor/writer/producer/director Michael Landon on the set of "Bonanza" (1959), and remembering him when casting his successful "Little House" franchise, Landon gave Swenson a recurring role, which the veteran actor played until his death in 1978.

Charles Tannen as Josh Moore, Storekeeper at the Hardware Store
Charles Tannen as Josh Moore, Storekeeper at the H

Charles Tannen, born Charles David Tannen, was an American television and film actor who appeared in more than 200 movies and television shows during his 30-year career.  He had uncredited roles in numerous films, including the romantic drama "The Dark Angel" (1935), starring Fredric March and Merle Oberon; the biographical drama "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939), starring Henry Fonda; the crime drama "The Street with No Name" (1948), starring Mark Stevens and Richard Widmark; the landmark sci-fi drama "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal; and the sci-fi horror film "The Fly" (1958), starring David Hedison and Vincent Price.  Although his uncredited roles outnumber the credited ones, Tannen was cast in significant parts in several Henry Fonda films, including Charles Ford in the westerns "Jesse James" (1939) and "The Return of Frank James" (1940), and Joe in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940).

Tannen guest-starred in many television shows of the 1950s through the 70s, including the family comedy "Father Knows Best" (1954–1960), the crime drama "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964), the mystery action series "Peter Gunn" (1958–1961), the family comedy "Mister Ed" (1958–1966), the legal drama "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), the long-running family drama "Lassie" (1954–1974), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series, "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), and the comedy "Petticoat Junction" (1963–1970).  Tannen made six guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Barney the barber in "The Boarding House" (episode 22), the bartender in "Sins of the Father" (episode 70), Josh Moore in "The Jailbird" (episode 73) and "Woman from Hog Ridge" (episode 78), Mr. Penn in "Miss Milly" (episode 84), and Jack Carson in "The Actress" (episode 94).  He guest-starred in many other westerns, including "The Roy Rogers Show" (1951–1957), "Maverick" (1957–1962), "Zane Grey Theater" (1956–1961), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "Death Valley Days" (1952–1975), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "Cheyenne" (1955–1963) and "Rawhide" (1959–1966).

Bessie, the sweet, well-liked proprietor of the North Fork Cafe, welcomes her husband home after his three-year absence away in prison.  He is determined to start a new law-abiding life, and Lucas gives him a job on the McCain ranch.  Lucas soon finds himself changed from employer to defender, however, when the man is accused of robbery and murder.