Friday, December 11, 2020

THE MARIE WINDSOR BLOGATHON: Maverick, The Quick and the Dead, 1957

Toby Roan at 50 Westerns from the 50s is hosting the event we have been waiting for - The Marie Windsor Blogathon. The tributes to the actress can be found HERE. The blogathon runs from December 11th to the 15th.

Written and directed by Douglas Heyes
Aired: Sunday, December 8, 1957

James Garner as Bret Maverick

See that face? That is the face of a man who has just been introduced to Cora played by Marie Windsor. Our mostly amiable roving gambler Bret Maverick is in trouble and has come to town to extricate himself from that trouble.

"I'm not trying to solve the crime. I'm just trying to get out from under it."

Bret had been arrested for being in possession of five $100 bills that were part of a hold-up. He escaped to track down Parker, the man who lost that money to him in a card game. The man provided a lead of three names, Shields, Kane, and Johnny. Parker declined the offer to return with Maverick to the Marshal at Qualary and died in a struggle over a gun. Bret's trouble keeps getting more troublesome.

Marie Windsor as Cora

See that face? That is the face of a woman who has just been introduced to James Garner as Bret Maverick. Cora is the boss at the Red Front Casino. By all accounts, she is a fair boss and indications are that she would hire Bret in a heartbeat.

John Vivyan as Stacey Johnson aka "Johnny"

This is the face of a wary man, a man who is jealous. He is jealous of the boss and he is jealous of his reputation as a man who once made Doc Holliday back down. Stacey Johnson goes by the nickname, to his close friends, of "Johnny." Bret is looking a Johnny who has a habit of twisting his gold pinky ring for luck. Bingo!

Gerald Mohr as Doc Holliday

Lo and behold, who should come to town but Doc Holliday himself. This is indeed the face of a man who says "There are two types of people in the west, the quick and the dead."

Like Bret, he is looking for Johnny. Unlike Bret, he does not need Johnny to clear his name. Doc wants to even the score with Johnny for impugning his reputation. Doc and Bret have crossed paths before, but Doc doesn't remember this Mr. Martin, as Bret calls himself, and wastes a good deal of time threatening Bret for gossip spread by Johnny. Their intentions are definitely at cross-purposes.

James Garner, Marie Windsor, John Vivyan

Bret has concluded that Doc must have been on a winning streak when he ran into Johnny. Doc doesn't like to kill anyone while on a winning streak. He's funny that way. Johnny recalls that those were the circumstances. Bret proposes Cora provide him with a thousand dollars and a deck of marked cards. If he can keep Doc winning, he may be able to keep Johnny alive. Bret needs to keep Johnny alive.

Marie Windsor, John Vivyan

Cora is the boss in more than the Red Front Casino. She sets up the jobs that Johnny, Shields, and Kane pull. Johnny figures he takes most of the risks and wants a bigger cut. Their personal and professional relationship is becoming complicated. Cora is weighing her options.

Sam Buffington as Ponca Brown

Here is the face of a sweep who drinks too much. He was disappointed in not seeing a showdown between Doc and Johnny. His alcoholic haze made him brave enough to pull a gun on Doc Holliday's back. Bret saves both Ponca and Doc, hopefully putting something in the Doc owes him column.

"You're a very dishonest man. You've been cheating me, Mr. Martin, with marked cards!"

At the very least it gives Bret the benefit of not being directly in Doc's sights when Doc takes offense at being cheated, even if that cheating was to his financial benefit. All Bret has to do now is stay out of Doc's way while Johnny remains target number one.

Marie Windsor

Cora likes what she sees in the way Bret handled Doc and how he handled the Ponca situation. She offers Bret a spot in her gang as Johnny's replacement. Cora is very happy with how she has solved her problem. Bret is very happy at how he has solved his problem. Their intentions are at cross-purposes.

Marie Windsor

Nonetheless, Bret still requires proof for that pesky Marshal back in Qualary. It takes hours to crack Cora's office safe for those consecutively marked bills, but it is accomplished while "She was asleep now. Looking as sweet and innocent as a newborn vulture."

Marie Windsor, James Garner

Cora wants to celebrate with her new partner. Hence the welcoming tilt of her face. Cora also doesn't completely trust what her new partner was doing in her office at this early hour of the day. Hence the gun in her hand. 

James Garner, Marie Windsor

When Bret leaves to arrange a celebratory breakfast, he means to leave town but instead runs into the Marshal from Qualary, who had captured Shields and Kane. Their story cleared Bret and implicated Cora and Johnny. Bret is very happy that his troubles are over.

Bret offers a final farewell to the boss lady, who is not having the good day she anticipated.

James Garner, John Vivyan

Bret is hoping to get out of town before running into Doc. Instead, he runs into Johnny who observed Bret speaking with the Marshal. He assumes Maverick is a lawman who must be eliminated. Look at Johnny's face. It is the face of a man who has been called out by Doc Holliday. Johnny, even with his gun out of his holster is not one of "the quick."

Gerald Mohr, James Garner

Between the evening's disagreement and the morning's killing, Doc has remembered where and when he met Maverick. Congeniality rules as the pair decide to ride together to Dodge where Doc heard they got a pretty good game going.

The Quick and the Dead was one of two episodes where Mohr played Doc Holliday. The other was Seed of Deception. In all, he guested in seven episodes of Maverick.

Some Warner's publicity that has nothing to do with the episode but is fun for us and, we hope, fun for Marie as she kissed the hubby and kid goodbye and headed to the daily grind.


Writers Guild of America, 1958
Nominee: TV Western, Douglas Heyes
Maverick: The Quick and the Dead

Winner: Gene Roddenberry
Have Gun - Will Travel: For Helen of Abajinian

Primetime Emmy Awards, 1958
Nominee: Best Editing of a Film for Television, Robert Sparr
Maverick: The Quick and the Dead

Winner: Michael Pozen
Gunsmoke: How to Kill a Woman


  1. Reading about that card game made me think of an ep of GUNSMOKE where MISS KITTY tries to help a young prisoner played by JON VOIGHT. (Jon had done two earlier episodes.) This ep also had RAMON BIERI and NED GLASS. Do you recall this ep?

    1. I do indeed. Voight appeared on two or three episodes of Gunsmoke. It was a series that gave many a leg-up to up and coming actors.

  2. JON VOIGHT and JAMES GARNER have both played CAPTAIN WOODROW F. CALL. TOMMY LEE JONES played the part first in LONESOME DOVE. Then Jon in RETURN TO LONESOME DOVE. Later James played the part in STREETS OF LAREDO.

  3. Didn’t know Roddenberry was a WGA winner.

    1. You learn something new every day. He wrote 24 episodes of Have Gun - Will Travel. It is a very interesting and entertaining program. Not as fun as Maverick though.

  4. I enjoyed your post very much, especially this: "See that face? That is the face of a woman who has just been introduced to James Garner as Bret Maverick. Cora is the boss at the Red Front Casino. By all accounts, she is a fair boss and indications are that she would hire Bret in a heartbeat." It made me chuckle. And I just love Marie Windsor and James Garner. What a great pairing.

    1. Thanks. I'm glad you got a chuckle. Marie and Jim made a great pair and this episode is top-notch.

  5. I always enjoy your Maverick reviews. I don't recall this one, but I'd love to see Gerald Mohr as Doc Holliday. He certainly looks the part in your photo. Such a fun TV series!

  6. I'm not surprised to see all those smiling faces in this Maverick TV episode, not with glamorous Marie Windsor around! Though it's surprising to me how many well established Hollywood film actors in the 1950s appeared on TV shows, but both the work and the pay must have been not too bad. Per her Wikipedia bio, Windsor played the real-life Belle Star on a TV episode of Stories of the Century, so it sounds like the roles on 1950s TV might have been pretty good, too.

    1. I know there is a hierarchy to entertainment, but a good story or role is where you find it and that should be the main thing. We're lucky we get to see these things.

  7. "The Quick and the Dead" is a fun episode, in a large part because of Marie Windsor and Gerald Mohr. James Garner could easily carry episodes of Maverick on his own, but it is more fun with guest stars of the calibre of Miss Windsor and Mr. Mohr! I have to confess I had forgotten that Gene Roddenberry had written "The Quick and the Dead." But then I tend to associate him more with Have Gun--Will Travel.

    1. Shake hands fellow The Quick and the Dead fan.

      Oops. I didn't mean to be misleading. Douglas Heyes was nominated for writing The Quick and the Dead and lost to Gene Roddenberry for - wait for it - a Have Gun--Will Travel episode.

  8. It's been quite a while since I saw this episode and I loved revisiting it thanks to your post! It was such a great show, which introduced me to many actors -- I suspect that episode was my first exposure to the great Marie Windsor!

    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks, Laura.

      Yes. There is always our introduction to these actors that become so much a part of our family that it feels as if they were always there.

  9. When you said this about Marie W.: "That is the face of a woman who has just been introduced to James Garner", you nailed it, sister. That's exactly how I would look, too, if I'd ever met him.

    As for Marie herself, how come she wasn't a bigger movie star? She was beautiful and talented, and every time I see her in a film I ask that same question.

    1. Marie is one of those gals. Her appreciation among her many fans is solid, but it didn't translate in the tough world of stardom.

  10. One of these days, I'm just going to sit down and start watching Maverick episodes and not quit for like a month. I really want to see the ones with Doc Holliday in them, including this one!!!

    BTW, I tagged you with a Christmasy tag :-) Play if you want to!

    1. A month of Maverick. Sounds like a plan.

      Thanks for the tag. I'll check it out and start thinking.

      Merry Christmas!



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