Home Television Drama Deputy, The

Deputy, The

1 9 5 9 – 1 9 6 1 (USA)
76 x 30 minute episodes

Deputy Clay McCord (Allen Case, pictured above) was ordinarily a mild-mannered storekeeper, but he had been duped into his role as a Deputy in turbulent Silver City, Arizona, during the 1880s by Marshal Simon Fry (Henry Fonda, pictured below), because of Clay’s ability as a crack-shot.

Clay undertook dangerous missions each week, such as going undercover to learn the plans of a gang of outlaws, trekking into Apache territory on a peace mission or protecting a citizen from a hired gunman.

He was assigned his missions by Marshal Fry, although Fonda only featured in half-a-dozen full episodes. The rest of the time he appeared at the beginning of the show to send McCord on his mission and at the close to congratulate him on a job well done.

Fran McCord (Betty Lou Keim) was Clay’s sister, Sergeant Tasker (Read Morgan) the US Cavalry agent assigned to Silver City and Herk Lamson (Wallace Ford) the general store owner.

Inspired by the 1957 movie Tin Star (starring Fonda and Anthony Perkins), this NBC show is also notable for giving a TV debut to a young Robert Redford.

Allen Case went on to co-star in the 1965 western series The Legend of Jesse James as outlaw Frank James. Sadly, he died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

The Deputy was created by Norman Lear, who would go on to develop some of the biggest TV comedy hits of the 1970s, including All in the FamilySanford and Son and Maude.

Deputy Clay McCord
Allen Case
Marshal Simon Fry
Henry Fonda
Sgt Hapgood Tasker
Read Morgan
Fran McCord
Betty Lou Keim
Herk Lamson
Wallace Ford