|Wanted: Dead or Alive
|1958 - 1961
Steve McQueen starred as Josh Randall, a
frontier bounty hunter working in the Old West
of the l870s. Josh's motto is "If he's got a
price on his head, I've got an empty pocket."
Tracking down a criminal is hard enough work,
but trying to get the money due for bringing in
a prisoner ("Dead or Alive") could be a problem,
but Josh respects the lawmen he encounters and
it pays off with mutual respect and prompt
payment whenever possible.
At times, the lawmen envy Josh and sometimes
turn their heads when Josh employees methods
that might not be considered the letter of the
law. That said, Josh has a compassionate side
and will cut a prisoner a break if he feels they
deserve it. But if the prisoner mistake Josh's
compassion for a sign of weakness, they will be
in for a deadly surprise if they try to escape.
Josh carried a sawed-off carbine
which he affectionately called "Mare's
According to Josh, "It's kinda like a hog's leg
but not quite as mean. If I have to use it. I
want to get the message across."
Further down the trail, Josh temporarily joined forces
with a deputy named Jason Nichols (Wright King)
who wanted to be a bounty hunter.
Jason's had a canine sidekick that he called
Listen to Theme
Here are some of Josh's exploits:
- An opera singer hires Josh to retrieve her
sister who is being held for a $5,000 ransom.
- Josh helps an amnesia victim seeking to
discover his true identity.
- An ruthless elephant trainer is using his
animals to terrorize and plunder frontier
- Josh tracks a Korean wanted for murder.
His weapon: Karate.
- Josh is hired to protect a man's deaf-mute
daughter while he's away on business.
- Josh learns that the bank robber he is
tracking turns out to be an escape artist
named "The Great Bartolo."
- A wealthy Missouri rancher, now blind and
dying, hires Josh to find his son.
- Josh is hired to rehabilitate a alcoholic
so he can appear to reputable when he meets
his estranged brother who is traveling to his
- Josh must recapture three men after a
tornado destroys a jail, kills a sheriff and
sets loose its prisoners.
- Josh accompanies a photographer who hopes
to shoot a photo of "El Gato," a famous
Mexican bandit who is Josh's friend.
- Josh must track down and hopefully
recapture Johnny Haywood, a childhood friend
who after claiming he was innocent of a bank
robbery, escaped from jail
- Josh is hired by a Japanese woman named
Yoshika Nakamura to find a man who promised to
marry her while he visited Japan.
- A man sentenced to hanged is needed to
testify in a trial, so Josh's new partner
Jason Nichols volunteers to be a hostage until
the man is returned to serve out his
- Josh kills a young man in self defense and
must face the wrath of the boy's father who
orders the followers of his religious cult to
find and kill Josh in retribution.
- A 10 year-old girl hires Josh to find her
father whom she firmly believes is still
- Josh is hired to find the son of a banker
who has joined a band of Mexican
- Josh Randall brings in the wrong man and
receives nothing for his effort. So he's off
again to find the real killer.
- Josh goes undercover so he can convince a
criminal to break out of prison and lead him
to $50,000 stolen from a bank.
- Josh helps the wife of the man accused of
murder (whom Josh has been tracking) save her
husband from a vigilante lynch mob.
- Josh volunteers to be a condemned
murderer's hostage so that a wounded sheriff
can get medical help.
- A business man who placed a bounty on the
man for killing his son, refuses to pay Josh
when he captures the man and returns him alive
(instead of dead as he expected).
- An Army commanding officer reinstated a
deserter and then refuses to pay Josh his
bounty for returning the soldier.
- Josh travels to hostile Indian Territory
to capture Charley Red Cloud who was accused
of murdering a man's brother.
- A corrupt sheriff arrests Josh on a minor
charge and the put him to work in a chain gang
that is digging ore in a local mine.
- Job is hired by a banker (whose bank was
robbed) to escort additional bank funds from
Santa Fe to the town of Pinto, but when Josh
is robbed, angered town folk want to lynch the
banker for once again loosing their money.
The 94-episode series is a spin-off of the western TRACKDOWN
(episode "The Bounty Hunter" 03/07/1957).
WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE was originally filmed in
black and white but a colorized version was
created for syndication in the late 1980s.
The1987 film Wanted: Dead or Alive
as Nick Randall, the
grandson of Josh Randall. He proudly displayed
his grandfather's Mare's Leg in his office.
Similar Mare's Leg type weapons have appeared on
the TV series THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY,
JR (carried by bounty hunter Lord Bowler), THE
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (used by gunfighter Vic
Tanner); and FIREFLY (wielded by space mercenary
Zoe Alleyne Washburne).
Obituaries: Steve McQueen: 11/07/1980;
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