The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
Hugh O
Written byFrederick Hazlitt Brennan
John Dunkel
Daniel B. Ullman
Directed byPaul Landres
Frank McDonald
Roy Rowland
Sidney Salkow
StarringHugh O'Brian
Morgan Woodward
Ray Kellogg
William Tannen
Douglas Fowley
Myron Healey
Mason Alan Dinehart
Fred Coby
Damian O'Flynn
Ray Boyle
John Anderson
Ross Elliott
Bill Cassady
ComposersHerman Stein
Ken Darby
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes229
Executive producersLouis F. Edelman
Robert Sisk
ProducerRoy Rowland
CinematographyHarold E. Wellman
Howard Schwartz
Henry Cronjager Jr.
Robert B. Hauser
EditorJohn Durant
Running time30 mins.
Production companiesWyatt Earp Enterprises
Desilu Productions
DistributorABC Films
SFM Entertainment
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 6, 1955 (1955-09-06) –
June 27, 1961 (1961-06-27)

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp is the first Western television series written for adults,[1] premiering four days before Gunsmoke on September 6, 1955.[2][3] Two weeks later came the Clint Walker western Cheyenne. The series is loosely based on the life of frontier marshal Wyatt Earp. The half-hour, black-and-white program aired for six seasons (229 episodes) on ABC from 1955 to 1961, with Hugh O'Brian in the title role.


The first season of the series purports to tell the story of Wyatt's experiences as deputy town marshal of Ellsworth, Kansas (first four episodes), and then as town marshal in Wichita. In the second episode of the second season, first aired September 4, 1956, he is hired as assistant city marshal of Dodge City, where the setting remained for three seasons. The final episode set in Dodge City (Season 5, Episode 1 - "Dodge City: Hail and Farewell") aired on September 1, 1959. Beginning the next week on September 8, 1959 (Season 5, Episode 2 - "The Trail to Tombstone"), the locale shifted to Tombstone, Arizona Territory, for the remainder of the series.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

On September 25, 1956, Myron Healey played a drunken gunfighter Clay Allison, who comes into Dodge City to confront the Earp legend. In the story line, Pete Albright, a storeowner played by Charles Fredricks, tries to hire Allison to gun down Earp because the marshal is fighting crime in the town and costing merchants business in the process. Allison makes a point of not taking money, but is willing to challenge Earp until he is overcome by his own drunkenness.[4] Mike Ragan played Clay Allison in a 1957 episode, "The Time for All Good Men".[5]

Other notable performers were Rachel Ames (in the 1958 episode "The Schoolteacher"), Jim Bannon (three times), Roy Barcroft (three times), Lane Bradford (six times, including the role of the Cheyenne Chief Two Moon in the 1957 episode "Indian Wife"[6]), Robert Bray (three times), Virginia Christine, Andy Clyde (as Billy Buckett), Tris Coffin, Elisha Cook, Jr. (as gunsmith "Guns" McCallum in "The Equalizer"), Carolyn Craig (as Edna Granger in "County Seat War"), Francis De Sales (three times), Richard Devon (twice), Tiger Fafara, Ron Foster (as Johnny in "Arizona Lottery"), Robert Fuller, Connie Gilchrist (in "Pinkytown", the story of an outlying saloon community which resists annexation into Dodge City), Ron Hagerthy, Robert Harland, and Brad Johnson (twice, as Bat Masterson's brother Ed Masterson in the 1957 episode "The Nice Ones Always Die First" and as the artist Hurley Abbott in the 1958 segment "The Underdog").[7]

Still more guest stars included Ed Hinton, Jonathan Hole (twice), Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., I. Stanford Jolley (six times, including "A Papa for Butch and Ginger"), Brett King (twice), Jimmy Lydon (twice), Walter Maslow (as the outlaw Blackie Saunders), Francis McDonald (in "Old Jake", a story of revenge stemming from the Sand Creek massacre),[8] Tyler McVey (seven times), Carol Ohmart (as actress Cora Campbell), Gregg Palmer (five times as Tom McLowery), House Peters, Jr. (four times as Wichita saloon owner Dave Bennett), John M. Pickard (three times, once as the gunfighter Johnny Ringo), Paula Raymond, Grant Richards (as gunfighter and saloonkeeper Luke Short), Roy Roberts (as the Texas cattle baron Shanghai Pierce[9] ), Thayer Roberts (as General William Tecumseh Sherman), Bing Russell (twice), Stuart Randall (seven times), Isabel Randolph (as Grandma Wilkins in "Wyatt Earp Rides Shotgun"), Glenn Strange (five times), Gloria Talbott, John Vivyan, Gloria Winters, Sheb Wooley (twice), and Anna May Wong. Frank Stillwell was portrayed by John Baxter in season 5.[7]



The series was produced by Desilu Productions and filmed at the Desilu-Cahuenga Studio. Sponsors included General Mills, Procter & Gamble, and Parker Pen Company. Off-camera the Ken Darby singers, a choral group, sang the theme song and hummed the background music. The theme song "The Legend of Wyatt Earp" was composed by Harry Warren. Incidental music was composed by Herman Stein.


O'Brian was chosen for the role in part because of his physical resemblance to early photographs of Wyatt Earp.

The series had a large supporting cast of more than 30 actors during its six-year run. Jimmy Noel was cast in 144 episodes as an unnamed, uncredited townsman; Buddy Roosevelt appeared similarly in 65 episodes of the series. William Tannen played Deputy Hal Norton in 56 episodes which aired between 1956 and 1958; in some of the segments he was uncredited, and in most his role was tangential to the script. Randy Stuart was cast in 12 episodes in the 1959–1960 season as Tombstone saloon and hotel owner Nellie Cashman, a romantic interest for Earp. Earlier she played Nellie Dawson, a widow living on a ranch, in "Little Gray Home in the West".[10]

In five episodes, John Anderson played Earp's brother, Virgil Earp; in four other episodes, including "Big Brother Virgil" and "The Trail to Tombstone", Ross Elliott played the part of Virgil. In 15 segments from 1956 to 1961, Ray Boyle, then using the stage name "Dirk London", portrayed another brother, Morgan Earp. Between 1958 and 1961, Morgan Woodward, later on CBS's Dallas in the role of Marvin "Punk" Anderson and a frequent guest star on Gunsmoke, as well, played folksy loyal deputy "Shotgun" Gibbs in 42 episodes.

Douglas Fowley and Myron Healey were cast 49 and 10 times, respectively, as Earp's close friend John H. "Doc" Holliday, whom Earp had met in Texas prior to 1880. Carol Montgomery Stone played Kate Holliday or "Big Nose Kate", Holliday's common-law wife, in 10 episodes of the series in the 1957–1958 season. Collette Lyons played Big Kate in two 1958 episodes and "Rowdy Kate" in two other segments in 1955 and 1956. At times Holliday seemed affectionate toward Kate; at other time, he seemed oblivious to her existence.[11]

Earlier, on September 25, 1956, Healey played a drunken gunfighter Clay Allison, who comes into Dodge City to confront the Earp legend. In the story line, Pete Albright, a storeowner played by Charles Fredricks, tries to hire Allison to gun down Earp because the marshal is fighting crime in the town and costing merchants business in the process. Allison makes a point of not taking money, but is willing to challenge Earp until he is overcome by his own drunkenness.[12]

Mason Alan Dinehart, or Alan Dinehart, III, son of film stars Alan Dinehart and Mozelle Britton, was cast in 34 episodes between 1955 and 1959 as Bat Masterson, a role filled on the NBC series of the same name by the late Gene Barry. Dinehart played Masterson from the ages of 19 to 23.[7]

The bearded Paul Brinegar in 33 episodes played James H. "Dog" Kelley, a veteran of the Union Army, the owner of the Alhambra Saloon, and a city council member and then the mayor while Earp is the deputy marshal in Dodge City. Their paths in history crossed for no more than one year. In the second and third episodes of the second season of the series, set in Dodge City and titled "Dodge City Gets a New Marshal" (September 4, 1956)[13] and "Fight or Run" (September 11, 1956), Kelley is the hold-out vote on the city council regarding Earp's plan to require gun owners to check in their weapons upon entering town. The Big T Cattle Company, angry with Earp for trying to clean up Dodge City and reduce business from the cowboys, enlists Kelley's help in arranging an ambush of Earp. Kelley is depicted as a reluctant "good guy"/"bad guy" split personality in many of the episodes in which he appears.[14]

Paul Brinegar subsequently played the cantankerous cooks Wishbone and Jelly Hoskins on the CBS Westerns, Rawhide and Lancer. In three episodes, Margaret Hayes was cast as Dora Hand, the popular dance-hall actress and singer who had a romantic interest in Mayor Kelley. She is inadvertently shot to death in October 1878 by a rival suitor, James W. "Spike" Kenedy, a son of the South Texas rancher baron Mifflin Kenedy.[15] In "It Had to Happen" (April 1, 1958), after Masterson is slightly wounded from a gunshot fired by a man whom Earp had struck in the shoulder to avoid killing him, Mayor Kelley orders Earp to "shoot to kill" when apprehending lawbreakers. Earp, however, has always used restraint and tried to avoid killing those who would fire upon him. When Earp kills a culprit, he has second thoughts about his role as a lawman.[16]

Don Haggerty was cast in the role of Wichita newspaperman Marsh Murdock in 21 segments of the first season. Trevor Bardette was cast 21 times as the unscrupulous Newman Haynes Clanton, known as Old Man Clanton, when the setting of the series moved to Arizona, but Bardette appeared in earlier episodes, too, under other names. John Milford appeared in eight episodes as the historical Ike Clanton. In seven episodes in 1959 and 1961, Carol Thurston played the fictitious Emma Clanton, daughter of Old Man Clanton and an unlikely romantic interest for Earp. Thurston also was cast in different roles in four earlier episodes before she landed the continuing role as Emma Clanton. James Seay was cast 16 times as Judge Spicer, who became a close friend of Earp's.

William Phipps in 16 episodes played the gunman and rustler Curly Bill Brocius. In the episode "The Clantons' Family Row", Brocius is facing a potential gunfight with Johnny Ringo (Peter M. Thompson), who is irate that Brocius accidentally shot and killed Ringo's horse, though he replaced the animal with another. Earp works to stop the gunfight from happening, and Doc Holliday proceeds to take bets on the outcome.[17] In "Let's Hang Curly Bill", an older marshal, Fred White (Sam Flint), is mortally wounded when he takes the gun from a drunken Curly Bill, who is celebrating his birthday in a saloon in Tombstone. A town mob demands that Curly Bill be hanged, but Earp places dynamite under the main street to protect his prisoner until the trial. Earp must defend Curly Bill in court because White accidentally caused Curly Bill's gun to discharge; White signed a statement attesting to the facts prior to his death. Doc Holliday noted at the end of the episode that Earp could have merely let Curly Bill hang for past crimes had he not been a just marshal.[18]

Steve Brodie played the dishonest Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan in 9 episodes from 1960 to 1961; Lash La Rue played him in eight other segments, one uncredited. La Rue first appeared in the October 20, 1959 segment, "You Can't Fight City Hall" as an agent of territorial Governor John Charles Frémont.[7]

Damian O'Flynn, a Boston native, was cast in a combined 60 episodes, as Judge Tobin in the Dodge City segments and as Dr. Goodfellow, when the setting shifts to Tombstone; in the Wichita episodes, he plays Doc Fabrique. Many episodes show Douglas Fowley as playing the part of Doc Fabrique when he actually is not in the episodes. O'Flynn was left off the credits most of the time. – Correction: Douglas Fowley not Damian O'Flynn played Dr Fabrique, as per the original credits– In "Frontier Surgeon" (January 19, 1960), Dr. Goodfellow must obtain a truce with Marshal Earp, who is apprehending a wounded outlaw. The man will die if moved after surgery, but he does not wait the three days to recuperate out of distrust of Earp and the protection of the $15,000 loot his gang and he have taken from Wells Fargo.[19]

Walter Coy appeared twice on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, as Henry Mason in "The Doctor" (1960) and as Ben Thompson in "Dodge Is Civilized" (1959). In eight other episodes beginning at the start of the series, Denver Pyle had portrayed Ben Thompson, the gunfighter who was Earp's sometimes rival and reluctant friend, and who later became the marshal in Austin.[7] Pyle was cast as Thompson beginning with the second episode of the series. In "Bill Thompson Gives In" (September 20, 1955), Earp uses a pair of Indian scouts, rather than a posse, to help capture Ben Thompson and his brother, Billy Thompson (Hal Baylor), who when inebriated killed the previous Ellsworth sheriff, Chauncey Whitney.[20] The killing was subsequently ruled accidental.

In "Marshal Earp Meets General Lee", Earp uses creativity to defuse a tense situation involving a former Confederate officer and cattle drovers who threaten to tear down Ellsworth. Earp simply declares January 19, 1874, the 67th birthday of General Robert E. Lee, as "Robert E. Lee Day" in Ellsworth and pays respect to Lee as a defeated warrior.[21]

Bob Steele played Wyatt's deputy, Sam, in four episodes in 1955 during the Wichita period.[22]

The two actors who portrayed Earp's Cheyenne friends and informers were Rico Alaniz, a native of Mexico, Mr. Cousin in 19 episodes between 1955 and 1959, and Rodd Redwing as Mr. Brother in eight episodes. The role of Mr. Brother ended with the 1958 episode "One" because the character is killed by four outlaws called the Dry Gulch Gang. Earp spent several subsequent episodes entitled "Two", "Three", and "Four" apprehending the gang.[23]

Use of Buntline Special

In the show, O'Brian openly carried a Buntline Special, a pistol with a 12-inch barrel, which triggered a mild toy craze at the time the series was originally broadcast. No credible evidence has been found that Wyatt Earp ever owned such a gun. The myth of Earp carrying a Buntline Special was created in Stuart N. Lake's best-selling 1931 biography Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, later admitted by the author to be highly fictionalized.[24]

Historical Accuracy

The real Wyatt Earp was appointed as an assistant marshal in Dodge City around May 1876, spent the winter of 1876–77 in Deadwood, Dakota Territory,[25]: 31  and rejoined the Dodge City police force as an assistant marshal in spring 1877. He resigned his position in September 1879.[26] Earp is depicted as the town marshal in Tombstone, although his brother Virgil Earp was Deputy U.S. Marshal and Tombstone City Marshal.[27]: 28  As city marshal, Virgil made the decision to enforce a city ordinance prohibiting carrying weapons in town and to disarm the outlaw cowboys that led to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Wyatt was only a temporary assistant marshal to his brother.[28]

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
133September 6, 1955 (1955-09-06)April 17, 1956 (1956-04-17)
239August 18, 1956 (1956-08-18)June 4, 1957 (1957-06-04)
339September 17, 1957 (1957-09-17)June 10, 1958 (1958-06-10)
437September 16, 1958 (1958-09-16)May 26, 1959 (1959-05-26)
541September 1, 1959 (1959-09-01)June 7, 1960 (1960-06-07)
637September 27, 1960 (1960-09-27)May 25, 1961 (1961-05-25)


Season 1 (1955–56)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Wyatt Earp Becomes a Marshal"Lewis R. FosterFrederick Hazlitt BrennanSeptember 6, 1955 (1955-09-06)
22"Mr. Earp Meets a Lady"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanSeptember 13, 1955 (1955-09-13)
33"Bill Thompson Gives In"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanSeptember 20, 1955 (1955-09-20)
44"Marshal Earp Meets General Lee"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanSeptember 27, 1955 (1955-09-27)
55"Wyatt Earp Comes to Wichita"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanOctober 4, 1955 (1955-10-04)
66"The Man Who Lied"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanOctober 11, 1955 (1955-10-11)
77"The Gambler"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanOctober 18, 1955 (1955-10-18)
88"The Killer"Frank McDonaldFrederick Hazlitt BrennanOctober 25, 1955 (1955-10-25)
99"John Wesley Hardin"Frank McDonaldStory by : Frank Gruber
Teleplay by : Frederick Hazlitt Brennan
November 1, 1955 (1955-11-01)
A number of notable actors had parts in the series. Glenn Strange, before being cast as bartender Sam Noonan on Gunsmoke, had an uncredited role in this episode, in which Phillip Pine played the outlaw John Wesley Hardin. In the story line, Hardin arrives in Wichita to avenge Earp for having run out of a town a friend of Hardin's. The Hardin character unveils tricks he has learned with his revolvers. Earp is suspicious when Hardin kills a man in the saloon who drew first according to witnesses, including the unnamed man played by Glenn Strange. Barbara Bestar portrays Hardin's wife, Jane Hardin, who encourages him to head north to Nebraska.[29] Three months later, Strange played Jeff Pruitt, a corrupt theater manager, in "The Frontier Theatre" (February 7, 1956), with Joan Freeman as Jeannie Harlow, the 14-year-old daughter of a competing theater operator.[30]
1010"The Bank Robbers"UnknownUnknownNovember 8, 1955 (1955-11-08)
1111"King of the Cattle Trails"UnknownUnknownNovember 15, 1955 (1955-11-15)
1212"The Big Baby Contest"UnknownUnknownNovember 22, 1955 (1955-11-22)
1313"Frontier Journalism Was Fearless"UnknownUnknownNovember 29, 1955 (1955-11-29)
1414"Trail's End for a Cowboy"UnknownUnknownDecember 6, 1955 (1955-12-06)
1515"Rich Man's Son"UnknownUnknownDecember 13, 1955 (1955-12-13)
1616"The Buntline Special"UnknownUnknownDecember 20, 1955 (1955-12-20)
1717"Ben Thompson Returns"UnknownUnknownDecember 27, 1955 (1955-12-27)
1818"Marshal Earp Plays Cupid"UnknownUnknownJanuary 3, 1956 (1956-01-03)
1919"The Assassins"UnknownUnknownJanuary 10, 1956 (1956-01-10)
2020"A Wise Calf"UnknownUnknownJanuary 17, 1956 (1956-01-17)
2121"Mr. Cousin and Mr. Brother"UnknownUnknownJanuary 24, 1956 (1956-01-24)
2222"The Bribe"UnknownUnknownJanuary 31, 1956 (1956-01-31)
2323"The Frontier Theatre"UnknownUnknownFebruary 7, 1956 (1956-02-07)
2424"Killing at Cowskin Creek"UnknownUnknownFebruary 14, 1956 (1956-02-14)
2525"The Englishman"UnknownUnknownFebruary 21, 1956 (1956-02-21)
2626"The Desperate Half-Hour"UnknownUnknownFebruary 28, 1956 (1956-02-28)
Barry Truex, son of actor Ernest Truex, appears as Lonnie McVey, or the young outlaw called the Kansas Kid, in this episode. In the story line, the Kid returns to his parents' home in Wichita for refuge. Earp learns that the Kid is wanted for robbery, but not murder as claimed by a sheriff, played by Trevor Bardette. George Chandler plays the discouraged father, John McVey.[31]
2727"The Necktie Party"UnknownUnknownMarch 6, 1956 (1956-03-06)
2828"One of Jesse's Gang"UnknownUnknownMarch 13, 1956 (1956-03-13)
In this episode, Angie Dickinson plays Ann Drew, who slips a gun to her jailed husband, Harry (John Craven), a former associate of the Jesse James gang. Having vowed never to return to prison, Harry is killed while escaping.[32]
2929"The Pinkertons"UnknownUnknownMarch 20, 1956 (1956-03-20)
In this episode, Douglas Evans plays detective agency head Allan Pinkerton, who is seeking to recover $40,000 in stolen money, but interferes with Marshal Earp's attempt to catch the entire gang of Crummy Newton (Richard Alexander).[33] Lloyd Corrigan played the western author Ned Buntline in three episodes.[7] In the episode "King of the Frontier" (November 11, 1958), Buntline arrives in Dodge City after writing a book which proclaims Earp "King of the Frontier". Buntline claims that Earp can beat any cowboy in a variety of competitive activities, including shooting. Miles Breck (Grant Withers) of the Lazy Q outfit bets Buntline $10,000 that his men can beat Earp in selected challenges.[34]
3030"The Suffragette"UnknownUnknownMarch 27, 1956 (1956-03-27)
Linda Stirling plays Joan Laramie in this episode, a story about woman's suffrage in the American West. In this 1956 episode, Marshal Earp, who admits his sympathy with the suffragettes, tries to keep the peace between the women and the supporters of a Kansas state senator who leads the opposition.[35]
3131"Hunt the Man Down"UnknownUnknownApril 3, 1956 (1956-04-03)
3232"The War of the Colonels"UnknownUnknownApril 10, 1956 (1956-04-10)
3333"Bat Masterson Again"UnknownUnknownApril 17, 1956 (1956-04-17)

Season 2 (1956–57)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
341"Wichita Is Civilized"August 18, 1956 (1956-08-18)
352"Dodge City Gets a New Marshal"September 4, 1956 (1956-09-04)
363"Fight or Run"September 11, 1956 (1956-09-11)
374"The Double Life of Dora Hand"September 18, 1956 (1956-09-18)
385"Clay Allison"September 25, 1956 (1956-09-25)
396"Wyatt's Love Affair"October 2, 1956 (1956-10-02)
407"A Quiet Day in Dodge City"October 9, 1956 (1956-10-09)
418"The Almost Dead Cowhand"October 23, 1956 (1956-10-23)
429"The Reformation of Jim Kelley"October 30, 1956 (1956-10-30)
4310"So Long, Dora, So Long"November 13, 1956 (1956-11-13)
4411"Bat Masterson Wins His Star"November 20, 1956 (1956-11-20)
4512"The Lonesomest Man in the World"November 27, 1956 (1956-11-27)
4613"Take Back Your Town"December 4, 1956 (1956-12-04)
4714"Nineteen Notches on His Gun"December 11, 1956 (1956-12-11)
4815"The Hanging Judge"December 18, 1956 (1956-12-18)
4916"Justice"December 25, 1956 (1956-12-25)
5017"Shootin' Woman"January 1, 1957 (1957-01-01)
5118"The Man Who Rode with Custer"January 8, 1957 (1957-01-08)
5219"Wyatt and the Captain"January 15, 1957 (1957-01-15)
5320"Witness for the Defense"January 22, 1957 (1957-01-22)
5421"The Sharpshooter"January 29, 1957 (1957-01-29)
5522"Siege at Little Alamo"February 5, 1957 (1957-02-05)
5623"Vengeance Trail"February 12, 1957 (1957-02-12)
5724"Command Performance"February 19, 1957 (1957-02-19)
5825"They Hired Some Guns"February 26, 1957 (1957-02-26)
5926"Bat Masterson for Sheriff"March 5, 1957 (1957-03-05)
6027"Hang 'Em High"March 12, 1957 (1957-03-12)
In this episode, Earp and Masterson (as the newly elected sheriff of Ford County) tangle with secreted vigilantes called the White Caps after a judge orders the hanging of Dal Royal (Darryl Hickman), who refuses to defend himself in court for fear the gang will murder his girlfriend, the daughter of a prominent rancher. The story line includes a fake hanging and burial to smoke out the gang.[36]
6128"The Vultures"March 19, 1957 (1957-03-19)
6229"Young Gun"March 26, 1957 (1957-03-26)
6330"The Nice Ones Always Die First"April 2, 1957 (1957-04-02)
6431"Old Jake"April 9, 1957 (1957-04-09)
6532"The Equalizer"April 16, 1957 (1957-04-16)
6633"Wyatt Meets Doc Holliday"April 23, 1957 (1957-04-23)
6734"Beautiful Friendship"April 30, 1957 (1957-04-30)
6835"Dull Knife Strikes for Freedom"May 7, 1957 (1957-05-07)
Actor Ian MacDonald played Dull Knife, a Cheyenne chief, in this episode. In the story line, Dull Knife leads his tribe from its reservation in Oklahoma Territory to their homeland in Montana, to which they claim the U.S. government had promised them. Steve Pendleton appeared as Army Major Benteen. Pendleton also appeared in four additional series episodes as Benteen and in seven others as Thacker.[37]
6936"The Gold Brick"May 14, 1957 (1957-05-14)
7037"The Wicked Widow"May 21, 1957 (1957-05-21)
In this episode, Earp investigates a series of mysterious shootings near the home of Myra Malone (played by Gloria Saunders), a widowed dressmaker. He finds that Myra is harboring Nettie Barnes (Lyn Guild), a wanted member of the Larson gang and former Confederate who dislikes northern law.[38]
7138"They Think They're Immortal"May 28, 1957 (1957-05-28)
7239"The Time for All Good Men"June 4, 1957 (1957-06-04)

Season 3 (1957–58)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
731"Call Me Your Honor"September 17, 1957 (1957-09-17)
742"The Big Bellyache"September 24, 1957 (1957-09-24)
753"Pinkytown"October 1, 1957 (1957-10-01)
764"Shoot to Kill"October 8, 1957 (1957-10-08)
775"Wells Fargo vs. Doc Holliday"October 15, 1957 (1957-10-15)
786"Warpath"October 22, 1957 (1957-10-22)
797"Hung Jury"October 29, 1957 (1957-10-29)
808"Little Pistol"November 5, 1957 (1957-11-05)
819"The Magic Puddle"November 12, 1957 (1957-11-12)
8210"Mr. Buntline's Vacation"November 19, 1957 (1957-11-19)
8311"Fortitude"November 26, 1957 (1957-11-26)
8412"The Good and Perfect Gift"December 3, 1957 (1957-12-03)
8513"Indian Wife"December 10, 1957 (1957-12-10)
8614"Woman Trouble"December 17, 1957 (1957-12-17)
In this episode, Earp encounters a group of outlaws posing as True Light missionaries, who dispatch a young woman named Jennie Brandt (Nancy Hadley) into Dodge City to seek Earp's affection and to learn the details of a pending Wells Fargo gold shipment. Earp, however, has done his homework on the True Light movement and detects that something is amiss.[39]
8715"Shadow of a Man"December 24, 1957 (1957-12-24)
8816"Bad Woman"December 31, 1957 (1957-12-31)
8917"One-Man Army"January 7, 1958 (1958-01-07)
9018"The General's Lady"January 14, 1958 (1958-01-14)
9119"The Manly Art"January 21, 1958 (1958-01-21)
9220"Sweet Revenge"January 28, 1958 (1958-01-28)
9321"The Imitation Jesse James"February 4, 1958 (1958-02-04)
9422"The Kansas Lily"February 11, 1958 (1958-02-11)
9523"Wyatt Earp Rides Shotgun"February 18, 1958 (1958-02-18)
9624"Wyatt Fights"February 25, 1958 (1958-02-25)
9725"Ballad and Truth"March 4, 1958 (1958-03-04)
9826"The Schoolteacher"March 11, 1958 (1958-03-11)
9927"When Sherman Marched Through Kansas"March 18, 1958 (1958-03-18)
10028"Big Brother Virgil"March 25, 1958 (1958-03-25)
10129"It Had to Happen"April 1, 1958 (1958-04-01)
10230"County Seat War"April 8, 1958 (1958-04-08)
10331"One"April 15, 1958 (1958-04-15)
10432"The Underdog"April 22, 1958 (1958-04-22)
10533"Two"April 29, 1958 (1958-04-29)
10634"Doc Holliday Rewrites History"May 6, 1958 (1958-05-06)
In this episode, Professor Jordan, a traveling photographer and historian (Robert Nichols) arrives in Dodge City to take pictures and write the biographies of interested citizens, who pay in advance the purchase price of the book that he produces. All kinds of troubles result when Doc Holliday (Myron Healey) takes over the writing of the local biographies and according to premature reports, is most unflattering to the townspeople, including Mayor Kelley.[40]
10735"Three"May 13, 1958 (1958-05-13)
10836"Dig a Grave for Ben Thompson"May 20, 1958 (1958-05-20)
10937"Four"May 27, 1958 (1958-05-27)
11038"The Frame-Up"June 3, 1958 (1958-06-03)
11139"My Husband"June 10, 1958 (1958-06-10)

Season 4 (1958–59)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
1121"The Hole Up"September 16, 1958 (1958-09-16)
1132"The Peacemaker"September 23, 1958 (1958-09-23)
1143"The Bounty Killer"September 30, 1958 (1958-09-30)
1154"Caught by a Whisker"October 7, 1958 (1958-10-07)
1165"The Mysterious Cowhand"October 14, 1958 (1958-10-14)
1176"The Gatling Gun"October 21, 1958 (1958-10-21)
In this episode, Earp and his Indian guide, Mr. Cousin (Rico Alaniz), follow orders from General William Tecumseh Sherman to recover a Gatling gun captured by the Nez Perce. Richard Garland plays the part of the compassionate Chief Joseph, who laments the state of war between the Indians and a militia of land grabbers. Marshal Earp uses his conversation with Chief Joseph to decry the treatment of the Indians and to proclaim his Christian belief that all will obtain fair treatment in the hereafter if not in this life. The episode is set in Idaho, far from Dodge City.[41]
1187"Cattle Thieves"October 28, 1958 (1958-10-28)
1198"Remittance Man"November 4, 1958 (1958-11-04)
1209"King of the Frontier"November 11, 1958 (1958-11-11)
12110"Truth About Gunfighting"November 18, 1958 (1958-11-18)
12211"Frontier Woman"November 25, 1958 (1958-11-25)
12312"Santa Fe War"December 2, 1958 (1958-12-02)
12413"Plague Carrier"December 9, 1958 (1958-12-09)
12514"Kill the Editor"December 16, 1958 (1958-12-16)
12615"Little Brother"December 23, 1958 (1958-12-23)
12716"The Reformation of Doc Holliday"December 30, 1958 (1958-12-30)
12817"A Good Man"January 6, 1959 (1959-01-06)
Denver Pyle appeared as the "Reverend" Oliver Tittle, an unlikely crusader against gambling in this episode. In his crusade against the vice, Tittle come into conflict with saloon owner Ganly, and Earp must intervene to keep the peace between the two antagonists.[42] In the first episode of 1960, Pyle returned to the series to play Dobie Jenner, who appears in Tombstone after a four-year imprisonment to find his former partner in crime, George McKean (Carleton G. Young), married to Phoebe (Rachel Ames), the woman Jenner loves.[43]
12918"Death for a Stolen Horse"January 13, 1959 (1959-01-13)
13019"Last Stand at Smoky Hill"January 20, 1959 (1959-01-20)
13120"The Muleskinner"January 27, 1959 (1959-01-27)
13221"Earp Ain't Even Wearing Guns"February 3, 1959 (1959-02-03)
13322"Bat Jumps the Reservation"February 10, 1959 (1959-02-10)
13423"The Truth About Rawhide Geraghty"February 17, 1959 (1959-02-17)
In this episode, Earp agrees to ride shotgun for the retiring 69-year-old stagecoach driver Rawhide Geraghty, played by Eddy Waller, also of Casey Jones, who is making his last run for Wells Fargo from Tucumcari, New Mexico Territory, to Amarillo. The trip is hazardous with bandits and hostile Apache, and Rawhide fears he will not complete the run.[44]
13524"She Almost Married Wyatt"February 24, 1959 (1959-02-24)
In numerous episodes, Earp is identified as a deacon in his church in Dodge City, including this one, with Ann Daniels as Cathy Prentice.[45]
13625"Horse Race"March 3, 1959 (1959-03-03)
This episode, with Paul Picerni as Chief Bullhead, espouses the theme that the Indians must accept the white man's system of justice which seeks truth regardless based on the evidence in each case.[46]
13726"Juveniles – 1878"March 10, 1959 (1959-03-10)
This episode attempts to address the occurrence of juvenile delinquency on the American frontier. Earp discovers that a 17-year-old runaway who arrives in Dodge City with ready cash and wanting to purchase a pistol may be from a well-to-do family; he manages to locate the youth's father, a judge back east.[47]
13827"One Murder – Fifty Suspects"March 17, 1959 (1959-03-17)
13928"How to Be a Sheriff"March 24, 1959 (1959-03-24)
14029"The Judas Goat"March 31, 1959 (1959-03-31)
14130"Doc Fabrique's Greatest Case"April 7, 1959 (1959-04-07)
14231"The Actress"April 14, 1959 (1959-04-14)
14332"Love and Shotgun Gibbs"April 21, 1959 (1959-04-21)
14433"Dodge Is Civilized"April 28, 1959 (1959-04-28)
14534"Little Gray Home in the West"May 5, 1959 (1959-05-05)
14635"The Cyclone"May 12, 1959 (1959-05-12)
14736"Kelley Was Irish"May 19, 1959 (1959-05-19)
14837"Arizona Comes to Dodge"May 26, 1959 (1959-05-26)

Season 5 (1959–60)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
1491"Dodge City: Hail and Farewell"September 1, 1959 (1959-09-01)
1502"The Trail to Tombstone"September 8, 1959 (1959-09-08)
1513"Tombstone"September 15, 1959 (1959-09-15)
1524"Wyatt's Decision"September 22, 1959 (1959-09-22)
1535"Lineup for Battle"September 29, 1959 (1959-09-29)
1546"The Nugget and the Epitaph"October 6, 1959 (1959-10-06)
1557"The Perfidy of Shotgun Gibbs"October 13, 1959 (1959-10-13)
1568"You Can't Fight City Hall"October 20, 1959 (1959-10-20)
1579"Behan Shows His Hand"October 27, 1959 (1959-10-27)
15810"The Ring of Death"November 3, 1959 (1959-11-03)
15911"Wyatt Wins One"November 10, 1959 (1959-11-10)
16012"The Fugitive"November 17, 1959 (1959-11-17)
16113"The Noble Outlaws"November 24, 1959 (1959-11-24)
James Coburn portrayed Buckskin Frank Leslie in this largely comedy episode. In the story line, Ned Buntline visits Tombstone to meet with the Clantons to gain information for a new book, but Earp asks Leslie to teach Buntline that outlaws are anything but "noble".[48]
16214"The Paymaster"December 1, 1959 (1959-12-01)
16315"The Clantons' Family Row"December 8, 1959 (1959-12-08)
16416"The Matchmaker"December 15, 1959 (1959-12-15)
16517"Get Shotgun Gibbs"December 22, 1959 (1959-12-22)
16618"Wells Fargo Calling Marshal Earp"December 29, 1959 (1959-12-29)
16719"A Murderer's Return"January 5, 1960 (1960-01-05)
16820"The Big Fight at Total Wreck"January 12, 1960 (1960-01-12)
16921"Frontier Surgeon"January 19, 1960 (1960-01-19)
17022"Let's Hang Curly Bill"January 26, 1960 (1960-01-26)
17123"Silver Dollar"February 2, 1960 (1960-02-02)
In this episode, a young blonde saloon girl called Silver Dollar arrives in Tombstone to work at the Alhambra. While she can charm most men and take their money, Marshal Earp suspects serious questions exist about her past, and sends a wire to find out for sure. Silver Dollar is played by Dusty Anders, whose entire acting career was confined to five network appearances between 1959 and 1960.[49]
17224"The Case of Senor Huerto"February 9, 1960 (1960-02-09)
17325"The Arizona Lottery"February 16, 1960 (1960-02-16)
17426"Don't Get Tough with a Sailor"February 23, 1960 (1960-02-23)
In this episode, Earp encounters Captain David Rowland (John Litel), a wealthy rancher and United States Navy veteran, who with a group of his former sailors, maintains his own law near the Mexican border, complete with his own jail. When Rowland incarcerates the duplicitous Sheriff Johnny Behan, Earp must intervene despite his admiration for the captain and Mrs. Rowland (Madge Kennedy).[50]
17527"The Scout"March 1, 1960 (1960-03-01)
17628"The Buntline Special"March 8, 1960 (1960-03-08)
17729"China Mary"March 15, 1960 (1960-03-15)
17830"His Life in His Hands"March 22, 1960 (1960-03-22)
17931"Behan's Double Game"March 29, 1960 (1960-03-29)
18032"The Salvation of Emma Clanton"April 5, 1960 (1960-04-05)
18133"John Clum, Fighting Editor"April 12, 1960 (1960-04-12)
18234"The Judge"April 19, 1960 (1960-04-19)
18335"The Court vs. Doc Holliday"April 26, 1960 (1960-04-26)
18436"Roscoe Turns Detective"May 3, 1960 (1960-05-03)
18537"The Posse"May 10, 1960 (1960-05-10)
18638"The Confidence Man"May 17, 1960 (1960-05-17)
18739"The Toughest Judge in Arizona"May 24, 1960 (1960-05-24)
18840"My Enemy – John Behan"May 31, 1960 (1960-05-31)
18941"Wyatt's Bitterest Enemy"June 7, 1960 (1960-06-07)

Season 6 (1960–61)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
1901"The Truth About Old Man Clanton"September 27, 1960 (1960-09-27)
1912"The Doctor"October 4, 1960 (1960-10-04)
1923"Johnny Behind the Deuce"October 11, 1960 (1960-10-11)
1934"Shoot to Kill"October 18, 1960 (1960-10-18)
1945"Study of a Crooked Sheriff"October 25, 1960 (1960-10-25)
1956"Big Brother"November 1, 1960 (1960-11-01)
1967"Woman of Tucson"November 15, 1960 (1960-11-15)
1978"The Fanatic"November 22, 1960 (1960-11-22)
1989"He's My Brother"November 29, 1960 (1960-11-29)
19910"The Too Perfect Crime"December 6, 1960 (1960-12-06)
20011"Johnny Ringo's Girl"December 13, 1960 (1960-12-13)
20112"Miss Sadie"December 20, 1960 (1960-12-20)
20213"Winning Streak"December 27, 1960 (1960-12-27)
20314"Billy Buckett, Incorporated"January 3, 1961 (1961-01-03)
20415"Horse Thief"January 10, 1961 (1961-01-10)
20516"Terror in the Desert"January 24, 1961 (1961-01-24)
20617"Old Slanders"January 31, 1961 (1961-01-31)
20718"Loyalty"February 7, 1961 (1961-02-07)
20819"Johnny Behan Falls in Love"February 14, 1961 (1961-02-14)
20920"Casey and the Clowns"February 21, 1961 (1961-02-21)
In this episode, Earp devises a unique plan to locate $50,000 stolen from the Bank of Tombstone by the Harlequins gang, whose members wear clown masks and outfits to disguise their identity. Earp convinces the president of the Arizona Bank to transfer emergency funds to the Bank of Tombstone to prevent a bank run, as customers demand their cash. Earp goes undercover and dons a clown outfit to infiltrate the gang to find where the money has been stashed. L. Q. Jones makes his only appearance on the series in the role of Tex, the leader of the Harlequins. Willard Sage portrays Bill Casey, one of the gang members, who is captured and awaits release by the gang.[51]
21021"Doc Holliday Faces Death"February 28, 1961 (1961-02-28)
21122"Apache Gold"March 7, 1961 (1961-03-07)
21223"The Good Mule and the Bad Mule"March 14, 1961 (1961-03-14)
21324"Clanton and Cupid"March 21, 1961 (1961-03-21)
21425"Wyatt Takes the Primrose Path"March 28, 1961 (1961-03-28)
21526"The Convict's Revenge"April 4, 1961 (1961-04-04)
21627"Until Proven Guilty"April 11, 1961 (1961-04-11)
21728"The Shooting Starts"April 18, 1961 (1961-04-18)
21829"Wyatt Earp's Baby"April 25, 1961 (1961-04-25)
21930"The Law Must Be Fair"May 2, 1961 (1961-05-02)
22031"A Papa for Butch and Ginger"May 9, 1961 (1961-05-09)
22132"Hiding Behind a Star"May 23, 1961 (1961-05-23)
22233"Requiem for Old Man Clanton"May 30, 1961 (1961-05-30)
22334"Wyatt's Brothers Join Up"June 6, 1961 (1961-06-06)
22435"Just Before the Battle"June 13, 1961 (1961-06-13)
22536"Gunfight at the O.K. Corral"June 20, 1961 (1961-06-20)
22637"The Outlaws Cry Murder"June 27, 1961 (1961-06-27)



The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp finished number 18 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1956–1957 season, number six in 1957–1958, number 10 in 1958–1959, and number 20 in 1959–1960.[52]


The series received two Emmy nominations in 1957. Hugh O'Brian was nominated for Best Continuing Performance by an Actor,[53] and Dan Ullman earned a nomination for Best Teleplay Writing - Half Hour or Less.[54]

Home media

Infinity Entertainment Group released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 for the first time on April 21, 2009.[55] This release has been discontinued and is now out of print. On October 28, 2011, Inception Media Group acquired the rights to the series. It subsequently re-released the first season on DVD on December 13, 2011.[56] Season two was released on March 12, 2013.[57]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 33 December 13, 2011
Season 2 39 March 12, 2013

Related shows

O'Brian recreated the role of Earp in two episodes of the CBS television series Guns of Paradise (1990) alongside Gene Barry as Bat Masterson and again in 1991 in The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, also with Barry as Masterson. An independent movie, Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone, was released in 1994 featuring new footage of O'Brian as Earp mixed with flashbacks consisting of colorized scenes from the original series.[58] The new sequences co-starred Bruce Boxleitner (who had himself played Earp in the telefilm I Married Wyatt Earp), Paul Brinegar (who later joined the Rawhide cast), Harry Carey, Jr. (who had, a year earlier, played Marshal Fred White in Tombstone), and Bo Hopkins.

With the emergence of television in the 1950s, producers spun out a large number of Western-oriented shows. At the height of their popularity in 1959, more than two dozen "cowboy" programs were on weekly. At least five others were connected to some extent with Wyatt Earp: Bat Masterson, Tombstone Territory, Broken Arrow, Johnny Ringo, and Gunsmoke.[59]

Episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp are rebroadcast on the cable television network, Grit. Two episodes of the show are aired daily on Cozi TV.


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