1 9 7 1 – 1 9 7 2 (USA)
24 x 60 minute episodes
This NBC series stars James Garner as the titular Nichols, a violence-weary drifter who wanders back into Nichols, Arizona (his family founded the town) in 1914 after 18 years in the army and is forced to become the sheriff in order to pay for $300 in damages he causes while fighting in the Salter House Bar.
Nichols’ primary concern is money, not law, and he doesn’t like to fight.
He refuses to carry a gun as he takes on bank robbers, Apaches, con artists, banditos and more, armed with only his wits and his charm. He also rides an Indian motorcycle instead of a horse.
The cast is great. In addition to Garner, there is Stuart “Angel” Margolin, Neva Patterson, John Beck, and a pre-Lois Lane Margot Kidder as the local barmaid, Ruth.
In the final episode, Nichols is killed while trying to stop a barroom brawl and his twin brother, Jim (also Garner obvs) – a less sleazy good guy – arrives to take his place.
Unfortunately, Nichols only lasted a year and only 24 episodes were filmed.
Bertha (saloon keeper)
Deputy Mitch Mitchell
Ma Sara Ketcham
Salter (bar owner)
Gabe McCutcheon (general store owner)
M. Emmet Walsh