Best of the West

Best of the West is an American sitcom[1] that aired on ABC from September 1981 through August 1982.

Best of the West
Leonard Frey and Joel Higgins
Created byEarl Pomerantz
StarringJoel Higgins
Carlene Watkins
Meeno Peluce
Leonard Frey
Tom Ewell
Valri Bromfield
Tracey Walter
Theme music composerEarl Pomerantz
Roger Steinman
Opening theme"Best of the West" (sung by Rex Allen)
Country of originUSA
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Executive producer(s)Earl Pomerantz[1]
Producer(s)David Lloyd
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Weinberger/Daniels Productions
Paramount Television
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 10, 1981 
August 23, 1982


The Old West spoof featured the misadventures of Sam Best (Joel Higgins), a Civil War veteran who becomes a marshal in Copper Creek after accidentally scaring off an incompetent gunfighter called the Calico Kid (Christopher Lloyd).

Sam's family was made up of his Southern-belle wife Elvira (Carlene Watkins) and his smart-mouthed son Daniel (Meeno Peluce). The cast also included Leonard Frey as villain Parker Tillman, Tom Ewell as drunken town doctor Jerome Kullens, and Tracey Walter as Tillman's clueless but kind-hearted henchman, Frog Rothchild, Jr.



No. Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
1"Pilot"James BurrowsEarl PomerantzSeptember 10, 1981 (1981-09-10)
Sam arrives in town intending to run the general store, then runs into all kinds of trouble after turning down the protection racket.
2"The Prisoner"Will MackenzieMichael Leeson,
Earl Pomerantz
September 17, 1981 (1981-09-17)
Sam must face a prisoner's outlaw brothers after the sheriff who was taking him in becomes ill on his way through town.
3"Mail Order Bride"Doug RogersEarl PomerantzSeptember 24, 1981 (1981-09-24)
Doc's mail-order bride has a vivid personality with a past to match it.
4"The Calico Kid Returns"Jeff ChambersMitch MarkowitzOctober 1, 1981 (1981-10-01)
The Square Deal Saloon's new cook is the Calico Kid; he has sworn to never again kill anything he can't eat.
5"The Reunion"Ed. WeinbergerChip Keyes,
Doug Keyes
October 8, 1981 (1981-10-08)
Elvira's die-hard Confederate father (Andy Griffith) stays at the Square Deal Saloon while he is in town. His wife is trying to patch things up with their daughter; she married a Yankee!
6"They're Hanging Parker Tillman: Part 1"Jeff ChambersEarl PomerantzOctober 15, 1981 (1981-10-15)
Sam goes out on a limb and manages to save Tillman from a lynch mob, but at the trial, his mixed-up testimony has him back at the end of a rope.
7"They're Hanging Parker Tillman: Part 2"Jeff ChambersEarl PomerantzOctober 22, 1981 (1981-10-22)
Sam infiltrates an outlaw band to try to prove Tillman is innocent of cattle rustling.
8"The New Marshal"Tom TrbovichMitch MarkowitzOctober 29, 1981 (1981-10-29)
Sam loses his badge in a special election to Tillman's squeaky-clean candidate.
9"Daniel's First Love"James BurrowsEarl PomerantzNovember 5, 1981 (1981-11-05)
Daniel is as surprised as anyone when a few innocent kisses lead to a shotgun wedding.
10"Laney in Love"Stan DanielsSam SimonNovember 12, 1981 (1981-11-12)
Laney is smitten with a smoothie who bids high for her at a social—but he turns out to be a low-down heel.
11"The Railroad"Howard StormSy RosenNovember 19, 1981 (1981-11-19)
Sam and Tillman try hard to convince the railroad to come to Copper Creek.
12"The New Jail"James BurrowsMichael LeesonNovember 26, 1981 (1981-11-26)
Sam's image as a lawman quickly loses its edge after he manages to shoot himself in the leg; the jail collapsing around him doesn't help.
13"A Man, a Woman, and a Horse"Howard StormEarl PomerantzDecember 17, 1981 (1981-12-17)
Sam doesn't pay attention to signs of discontent from Elvira until the day he comes home to finds her packed to leave.
14"Frog's First Gunfight"Michael LessacEarl PomerantzJanuary 7, 1982 (1982-01-07)
Frog meets a woman who was recently jilted by her beau, but neither realizes he wants her back.
15"The Calico Kid Goes to School"Michael LessacEarl PomerantzJanuary 14, 1982 (1982-01-14)
The reformed Calico Kid decides he wants to be a U.S. Marshal. But he lacks one qualification: a third-grade education.
16"Tillman Held for Ransom"Howard StormEarl PomerantzJanuary 21, 1982 (1982-01-21)
Tillman has been kidnapped and the kidnappers are demanding a ransom, but the Copper Creek citizens have no intention of paying up.
17"The Cave-In"Howard StormDavid LloydFebruary 12, 1982 (1982-02-12)
Elvira and her stepson explore an abandoned outlaw cave, unaware that it is booby-trapped to collapse.
18"Daniel Fights a Bully"Howard StormEarl PomerantzFebruary 19, 1982 (1982-02-19)
Daniel's refusal to fight a relentless bully leads to Sam having to fight the bully's father.
19"The Pretty Prisoner"Howard StormDavid LloydFebruary 26, 1982 (1982-02-26)
Sam is handcuffed to his prisoner—a flirtatious female outlaw—for an overnight journey.
20"Elvira's Old Beau"Stan DanielsEarl PomerantzJune 7, 1982 (1982-06-07)
Elvira's former fiance' comes to town, intent on taking her away with him.
21"Sam's Life Is Threatened"Stan DanielsEarl PomerantzJune 14, 1982 (1982-06-14)
22"The Funeral"Ed. WeinbergerDavid LloydJune 21, 1982 (1982-06-21)
Sam and Tillman try to foil a holdup by holding a funeral for Frog; the coffin contains the $20,000 the thieves are after.


ABC delayed in renewing the series for a second season. Rather than waiting, Joel Higgins signed to star in the new series Silver Spoons on NBC. At that point, ABC announced that it had decided to renew but was cancelling due to the star's departure.

Noted guest stars

In its short run, the show managed to feature an array of guest stars. The list of noted actors and actresses who appeared include:

  • Dixie Carter in Episode #19 – "The Pretty Prisoner"
  • Andy Griffith in Episode #5 – "The Reunion"
  • Al Lewis in Episodes #6 and #7 – "They're Hanging Parker Tillman, Parts 1 and 2"
  • Christopher Lloyd in Episode #1 – "Pilot," Episode #4 – "The Calico Kid Returns," and Episode #15 – "The Calico Kid Goes to School"
  • Richard Moll in Episode #2 – "The Prisoner"
  • Slim Pickens in Episode #2 – "The Prisoner"
  • John Randolph in Episode #11 – "The Railroad"
  • Betty White in Episode #3 – "Mail Order Bride"

DVD release

On October 3, 2017, the Complete Series was released on manufactured-on-demand DVD by CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount). [2]


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