A boxing promoter comes to Dodge City challenging men to fight "Champ" Starbuck for money. Local businessman Moresby is willing to pay the promoter $500 if the "Champ" fights Earp and severely injures him while a youngster wants a chance.

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(as Dan Ullman)
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Frank Burroughs
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Starbuck
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Bob Fitzsimmons
Ed Hinton ...
Moresby

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Storyline

A boxing promoter brings "Champ" Starbuck to Dodge City to fight all callers. Stay in the ring with him for one round to win $100 ($10 to enter) or win $1000 if you beat him. While listening to the promoter talk, Masterson and Earp tell a small but interested young man to stay out of the ring or risk being disfigured. Unknown to everyone local businessman Moresby has promised the promoter $500 if the "Champ" fights Earp and severely injures or kills him. The day of the promotion several men fight the "Champ" but Earp declines at Bat's urging even after being goaded by everyone. Moresby convinces the promoter to stay one more day even though the financial reward has been poor. The next day the young man has the $10 and wins a round. Fearing a loss the promoter gives the "Champ" brass knuckles causing him to break the young man's ribs. The man tells Earp the "Champ" cheated. Earp takes over and in the end he and Bat learn the name of the young challenger. Written by Anonymous

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Western

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21 January 1958 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Later in life Bat Masterson covered boxing as a columnist for over 20 years and once handled a fight involving Bob Fitzsimmons in Mexico along the Texas border. See more »

Soundtracks

The Legend Of Wyatt Earp
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Performed by The Ken Darby Singers
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User Reviews

 
"It was a lot of fun while it lasted, I'll have to admit that".
20 October 2016 | by (Florida, New York) – See all my reviews

Ordinarily I wouldn't review an otherwise nondescript episode of an old TV Western, but this was a boxing story, and I've set the precedent with similar episodes from 'The Roy Rogers Show' and 'Laramie'. As I think about it, any Western that went more than a couple of seasons probably wound up with a similarly themed show, so I'll continue to stay attentive to that. This one was interesting in more ways than one, which I'll get to in a minute.

As for the main story, a barnstorming heavyweight boxing contender named Starbuck (Morgan Woodward) makes his way to Dodge City with his manager and a hundred dollar challenge to anyone who can stay in the ring with him for one round. An unscrupulous outlaw offers the men five hundred dollars if the boxer would take out Wyatt Earp. For once, Wyatt's friend and Dodge City sheriff Bat Masterson (Mason Alan Dinehart) attempts to reason with him so as not to get involved with a foolhardy challenge by a professional fighter.

After Starbuck knocks out a young challenger (Ron Haggerthy) using a set of brass knuckles hidden in his glove, Earp intervenes and decides to take on the heavyweight (who didn't look all that heavy with a lanky frame). Series star Hugh O'Brian gets to do a relatively rare beefcake scene and handily defeats the boxer, with a warning to both him and his manager to get out of town. The story closes with the young boxer who was knocked out by Starbuck revealing his name, stating that he has ambitions of becoming a boxer himself. His name was Bob Fitzsimmons.

The fact that the real Bob Fitzsimmons went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 1897 works for the story up to a point, but for that to occur, the Haggerthy character would have to have been around sixteen at the time he got in the ring in this story, but he looked more like Haggerthy's actual age of twenty six at the time. Fitzsimmons was born in 1862 and the setting here was Dodge City in 1878.

My real fascination with this story has to do with what took place after it was over. Historically, Fitzsimmons had a scheduled match against a Peter Maher in Langtry, Texas in 1892, but a posse of Texas Rangers was summoned to prevent the match from taking place. Territorial Judge Roy Bean, a friend of the promoter, proposed a ring be set up across the border in Mexico for the bout. On hand was Bat Masterson with guns drawn to discourage troublemakers from interfering. Fitzimmons knocked out Maher in just over a minute in a fight that took more effort to set up than it was worth for those who attended. But there's more...

On December second of the same year, Fitzsimmons was disqualified in the eighth round of a bout against boxer Tom Sharkey in San Francisco. He knocked Sharkey down with a perfect body punch, but the referee called it a low blow, giving the match to Sharkey. The referee of that bout was - Wyatt Earp!

For the record, Bob Fitzsimmons did eventually win the Heavyweight Championship on March 17th, 1897, defeating Gentleman Jim Corbett in the fourteenth round of a match using a solar plexus punch. By that time, Fitzsimmons was thirty five years old.

Getting back to this show for a minute, Morgan Woodward would return in the fourth season of the series as a recurring character named Shotgun Gibbs. The revelation of a future famous name would be repeated in a 1959, first season episode of the TV Western series "The Rebel", starring Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma. The show was titled 'Misfits', in which Yuma befriends three young boys by keeping them out of trouble. At the end of the show, one of the boys states his name as William Bonney, who a few years later grew up to become Billy the Kid!


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