Sunday, August 11, 2013


Because of the recent death of Michael Ansara, we're looking at episodes of the second series in which he had the starring role, 'Law Of The Plainsman'.  Ansara played Sam Buckhart, a Harvard-educated Apache who was the deputy U.S. Marshal in the New Mexico territories.  The show ran for one season.

This week:

[27] Law of The Plainsman: AMNESTY
  07Apr60 NBC Thur  
Written by: Lee Berg
Director: Robert Gordon
Starring: Michael Ansara

Guest Cast:
Chris Alcaide ................. Conroy
Robert Warwick ................ Gen. Lew Wallace
(General Lew Wallace, author of novel Ben-Hur),
Biff Elliott .................. Mike Williams
Paul Sorenson ................. Ludwig
Natalie Norwick ............... Clara
Fred Graham ................... Joe Graham

Amnesty is declared by the territorial governor, and a vicious killer escapes a
murder rap.  Then Sam Buckhart hires him as a lawman.

[Thanks to the CTVA - link to the left, Range Riders!]

From Wikipedia:
In the Autumn of 1878, the president appointed Lew Wallace, a former Union Army general, as Governor of the New Mexico Territory. In an effort to restore peace to Lincoln County, Wallace proclaimed an amnesty for any man involved in the Lincoln County War who was not already under indictment.

I've written about Lew Wallace twice before - once as the daily Tiddlywinkydink, and the other time when he was inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

When we first met Sam Buckhart on 'The Rifleman', those two episodes took place after 1881.  That was the year the McCains settled on a ranch outside of North Fork, New Mexico.  So 'Law Of The Plainsman' begins a few years earlier in order to facilitate the inclusion of General Wallace's real-world history.

Governor/General Lew Wallace is one of those historical characters who have been seen several times in Toobworld, and always recast with different actors.  It's easy enough to dismiss the stand-alone TV movies and specials - they can be banished to alternate TV dimensions.

These would include:
  • The Andersonville Trial (TV movie) Played by Cameron Mitchell 
  • Billy the Kid (1989) (TV) Played by Wilford Brimley 
  • Longarm (1988) (TV) Played by Rene Auberjonois
  • Der Andersonville-Prozess (1972) (TV) Played by Alexander Hegarth
In fact, that last production must be from German Toobworld, the alternate TV dimension in which the Nazis won WWII.

Two other portrayals of General Lew Wallace can be found in anthology TV series:

"Death Valley Days"
– Shadows on the Window (1960) Played by Dayton Lummis

"The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse"
    - The Death of Billy the Kid (1955) Played by Matt Crowley

And that means they could also be transported into other TV dimensions.  Or, in the case of the 'Death Valley Days' episode, we could just be seeing the dramatization of a story told by the Old Ranger.

But when an historical character appears in more than one regular series, recastaways can be a thorny issue.  We want to keep as many of those shows in Earth Prime-Time as possible.  So one splainin used to account for the different looks to an historical character would be that each one is how the main character of the show perceives him or her.

So that's what we're using here in the case of Lew Wallace.  Each of these appearances are of the televersion of the General/Governor.  However, the details differ because of how each was seen by the main character.  (The historical character most often associated with Wallace is Billy the Kid, and his splainin for the recastaways is different.  Clu Gulager is the Toobworld Billy McCarty, and all the other portrayals are of wannabes trying to cash in on his name.)

Oddly enough, it was in the Clu Gulager series 'The Tall Man' in which we got two different actors playing Wallace.  It could be that Pat Garrett's opinion of him changed since their first meeting.  Or it could be that one televersion is Pat Garrett's point of view while the other is Billy the Kid's.  Or even farther out there, the General was replaced by a Quantum Leaper from the future.

Here are the episodes in which Lew Wallace has a televersion:

    - A Destiny Which Made Us Brothers (1966) TV episode, Played by Len Hendry

"The Tall Man" 
  - The Great Western (1961) TV episode, Played by Frank Ferguson
    - The Black Robe (1962) TV episode, Played by Robert Burton

"Law of the Plainsman"
    - Amnesty (1960) TV episode, Played by Robert Warwick

    - Death of an Outlaw (1960) TV episode, Played by Forrest Lewis

"Colt .45"
    - Amnesty (1959) TV episode, Played by Willis Bouchey

"Tales of Wells Fargo"
    - Billy the Kid (1957) TV episode, Played by Addison Richards

Well, enough about that!  Let's get on with the episode!


No comments: