Maverick (1957–1962)
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War of the Silver Kings 

We first glimpse Bret unshaven & dirty, lugging a rifle, trying to register at a classy hotel. Using the $1000 bill pinned inside his jacket, and adding some dollar-size strips cut from a ... See full summary »



(teleplay), (book)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Phineas King
Judge Joshua Thayer
Carla Merey ...
Edie Stoller
Richard Bixby
Robert Griffin ...
Fred Sherman ...
John Stoller
Walter Jackson


We first glimpse Bret unshaven & dirty, lugging a rifle, trying to register at a classy hotel. Using the $1000 bill pinned inside his jacket, and adding some dollar-size strips cut from a newspaper, Bret cadges a room via a bulging envelope for the guest safe. Changing into his gambler's duds for a poker game including the company town's silver baron Phineas King, Bret (James Garner) wins - and only Bret hints that King is a card cheat. King's casino manager, Big Mike McComb has Bret beaten, but won't have him killed. Big Mike (screenwriter/ex-con Leo Gordon) becomes a memorable recurring character in the series. After King still takes a crack at having Bret iced, Bret runs an ad in King's paper: "King did NOT try to kill me - today. See this space tomorrow !" Directed by one of the best Western specialists, Budd Boetticher. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Western




Release Date:

22 September 1957 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Leo Gordon would work with James Garner again in the Rockford Files, 4 episodes, and the feature film, Maverick 1994. See more »


Bret Maverick commits a serious breach of poker etiquette. It is in the first hand of the first poker game. Maverick drops a card into his lap. When reaching to retrieve it he is holding all five cards under the table. See more »


[first lines]
Hotel Clerk: [to guest checking in] Thank you, sir.
Hotel Clerk: [to Bret] Don't bother to sign, we haven't anything.
Bret Maverick: I'd like something comfortable in the front, with a view of the street.
Hotel Clerk: We're completely out of accommodations. I suggest you try one of the miner's boarding houses.
Bret Maverick: I wonder if you'd mind, uh, keeping this in a safe for me, please.
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User Reviews

Off to a Good Start
21 July 2010 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Like a rider coming over the horizon, already we see signs of the classic Maverick to come. It's a battle of wits all the way as Bret takes on the town tyrant Phineas King (great name). After donning his trademark dude's outfit, Bret locks horns with the smooth-talking slickster in what else but a crooked poker game. After that the shenanigans fly thick and fast right up to the cleverly satisfying climax involving ownership of a silver lode.

It's a fine cast for this first episode—silent screen star Edmund Lowe as King, muscular roughneck Leo Gordon as Big Mike, and familiar face John Litel as the judge. Look fast too for cowboy star Bob Steele in a supporting role. And I especially like someone's judgment in casting a plain-faced Carla Merey as the girl, instead of the usual glamorous type. Also, cult director Buddy Boetticher is in charge of the action. Clearly, producer and Hollywood veteran Roy Huggins knew what he was doing in putting this together.

Garner plays it pretty straight except for a couple of brief moments when the classic character peeks out, like from under the bed covers as the girl leaves his room. However, this trademark humorous side would take a little time to develop. But it's not hard to see even from this first entry that something special is on the way.

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