Wanted: Dead or Alive
Wanted: Dead or Alive

Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) is a Confederate veteran and bounty hunter with a soft heart. He often donates his earnings to the needy and helps his prisoners if they have been wrongly accused.

Randall carries a shortened Winchester Model 1892 carbine called the "Mare's Leg" in a holster patterned after "gunslinger" rigs then popular in movies and television. Randall can draw and fire his weapon with blazing speed. Three Mare's Legs were used in the series, differing in the shape of the lever and the barrel.

Except for a few episodes at the beginning of the series, Randall rode a horse named Ringo.

Although Randall is a bounty hunter, he doesn't chase and capture only men on wanted posters. He also settles a family feud, frees unjustly jailed or sentenced men, helps an amnesia victim recover his memory, and finds missing husbands, sons, fathers, a fiancée, a suitor, a daughter who had been captured many years earlier by Indians, an Army deserter, a pet sheep, and even Santa Claus. This variety, as well as his pursuit of justice and not just money, contributed to the show's attraction and popularity.

Several episodes in 1960 included a sidekick named Jason Nichols (Wright King), a deputy sheriff turned bounty hunter. He and Randall worked well together on-screen, sharing a chemistry audiences enjoyed. By the start of the third season, Nichols had been dropped. The episode called "The Partners", where Nichols killed three men that Randall felt could have been taken alive, is often considered the episode that broke up the partnership, although that was actually only the second episode with Wright King and long before the last episode he appeared in.

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