Law of the Plainsman

Law of the Plainsman is a Western television series starring Michael Ansara that aired on the NBC television network from October 1, 1959, until May 5, 1960.

Law of the Plainsman
Michael Ansara as Sam Buckhart.
StarringMichael Ansara
Gina Gillespie
Robert Harland
Dayton Lummis
Nora Marlowe
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes30
Running time25 minutes
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack and white (1959-1960)
Original releaseOctober 1, 1959 
May 5, 1960

The character of Native American U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart was introduced in two episodes ("The Indian" and "The Raid") of the popular ABC Western television series The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain.As with The Rifleman, this series was produced by Four Star Productions in association with Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions .[1]

Law of the Plainsman is distinctive and unique in that it was one of the few television programs that featured a Native American as the lead character, a bold move for television at that time. Ansara had earlier appeared in the series Broken Arrow, having portrayed the Apache chief, Cochise. Ansara, however, was not Native American but of Syrian descent.


Ansara played Sam Buckhart, an Apache Indian who saved the life of a U.S. Cavalry officer after an Indian ambush. When the officer died, he left Sam money that was used for an education at private schools and Harvard University. After school, he returned to New Mexico where he became a Deputy Marshal working for Marshal Andy Morrison (Dayton Lummis). He lived in a boarding house run by Martha Commager (Nora Marlowe). The only other continuing character was 8-year old Tess Logan (Gina Gillespie), an orphan who had been rescued by Buckhart. Robert Harland, later of Target: The Corruptors! starred in seven episodes as Deputy Billy Lordan. Wayne Rogers, who went on to star in another Four Star western, Stagecoach West, and later, M*A*S*H, also played deputy Lordan in several episodes.


Main cast

Guest cast



The series was produced by Four Star Television and was filmed at CBS Studio Center.

Syndication as The Westerners

The show only lasted one season. For syndicated reruns it was grouped with three other short-lived Western series from the same company, Black Saddle starring Peter Breck, Johnny Ringo starring Don Durant and Sam Peckinpah's critically acclaimed creation, The Westerner starring Brian Keith, under the umbrella title The Westerners, with new introductions and wrap-ups by Keenan Wynn.


  • McNeil, Alex. Total Television (1996). New York: Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-024916-8
  • Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (1999). New York: Ballantine Books ISBN 0-345-42923-0
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