Final episode guest stars Lon Chaney as villainous Sergeant Macfin
KLONDIKE was a short lived Western series that debuted in the fall of 1960, after the release of John Wayne's "North to Alaska," and seemed like a solid change from the dusty West to an Alaskan locale called Skagway. Ralph Taeger took the top spot as Michael Halliday, with support from James Coburn, Joi Lansing, and Mari Blanchard, but survived barely half the season, the same fate that befell Taeger's later teleseries, ACAPULCO (8 episodes, also with Coburn) and HONDO (another 17 episodes). "The Hostages" (Feb 13 1961) turned out to be the last of KLONDIKE's 17 episodes, guest starring Lon Chaney as Sergeant Macfin, leader of a band of renegade Union soldiers who escaped from a guard house, invading Skagway with a stolen Gatling gun, intent on robbing the First National Bank of all its gold. The manager cleverly shares the safe combination with two volunteers, including Michael Halliday, but after a brief skirmish only Halliday remains alive and goes into hiding. Unable to ferret out their only hope to retrieve the gold, Sergeant Macfin resorts to taking hostages, lined up to be mowed down by the feared Gatling gun, unless Halliday gives himself up and opens that pesky safe. The gruff Chaney is well cast as a smiling villain, another notch on his belt during a lucrative decade of TV roles (he would be reunited with Ralph Taeger in the A. C. Lyles Western "Stage to Thunder Rock"). James Coburn is absent from this final episode, but Joi Lansing and Mari Blanchard are still aboard, both suffering a sad cancerous death within two years of each other, barely a decade afterwards.
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