Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Introduced in pilot form as an episode of Trackdown in March of 1958, Wanted: Dead or Alive launched its first weekly season in the fall of that year. The opening episode, "The Martin Poster," finds bounty hunter Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) tracking down the murderers of a sheriff -- one of whom is played by a pre-Bonanza Michael Landon. Guest stars in subsequent episodes include Everett Sloane ("The Giveaway Gun"), Alan Hale Jr. ("Shawnee Bill"), J. Carrol Naish ("Ricochet"), James Coburn ("Reunion for Revenge"), and Edgar Buchanan ("Railroaded"). Also, Wright King, who would join the series in the regular role of Jason Nichols during the third season, is cast as Seth Blake in the first season finale, "Amos Carter." Prominent among the series' writers this season are two future science fiction specialists: Charles Beaumont, who penned several episodes of Twilight Zone, and Fred Freiberger, later the executive producer of Star Trek's third season. Of the ten top-rated TV programs during the 1958-1959 season, seven were Westerns. Wanted: Dead or Alive didn't make the Top Ten during its inaugural season, but it managed to rank in 16th place, far above such established favorites as Perry Mason, The Perry Como Show, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.