Though he has occasionally written screenplays and acted in feature films, Robert Totten was best known as a director. Totten made his directorial debut with the war drama The Quick and the Dead (1963). A versatile television director, he helmed shows ranging from 27 episodes of Gunsmoke to Kung Fu to The Wackiest Ship in the Army. As an actor, Totten made his screen debut playing a bit part in Trauma (1962). At the time of his death in early 1995, Totten was preparing to direct Lonesome Dove, The Series.