The Apple Dumpling Gang stars Bill Bixby as Russell Donovan, a slick frontier gambler. In Runyon-esque fashion, he is compelled to look after three precocious oprhaned kids. He can't handle the responsibilities alone, so he agrees to an in-name-only marriage to hoydenish stagecoach driver, Magnolia Dusty Clydesdale (Susan Clark). Fortuitously, they discover that a mine belonging to the kids' late father is worth millions. This brings several disreputable characters into the storyline: bumbling "nice" bandits Theodore Ogelvie and Amos (Don Knotts and Tim Conway), and deadly "bad" bandits headed by Frank Stillwell (Slim Pickens). Based on a novel by Jack M. Bickham, The Apple Dumpling Gang was successful enough to spawn a sequel-not to mention several future screen teamings for Don Knotts and Tim Conway.
by Hal Erickson synopsis