Well known gambler and con artist Bret Maverick rides into Sweetwater for a big, well-publicized poker game and a way-too-public-one for his tastes. Surrounded by shady characters and stripped of his weapons, the question becomes whether he'll be able to ride out again like the sheriff wants and if he wants to keep riding.
After the game, Maverick decides to settle down and enjoy the easy life in Sweetwater. But before he can, he has to head out to the Badlands to hunt down the thieves who stole all his money. As Sheriff Tom Guthrie is a bit preoccupied trying to save his job, Bret hooks up with the only help he can get...the devious Philo Sandeen, who sells himself as a guide by claiming to be General Custer's former chief scout!
Mary Lou Springer
Sheriff Mitchel Dowd
Jack The Bartender
The later weekly opening credits montage, with Ed Bruce singing the theme over a series of black and white pictures of the show's stars, is absent in this premiere episode. Instead, an extended version of Bruce's recording is played over a montage of black and white stills depicting the big poker game Bret came to town for. At the end of the episode, for the only time, James Garner sings the song, complete with additional, special lyrics.
In this episode, the character of Doc Holiday is portrayed as being an older man, whereas the historical Doc Holiday was actually only 36 when he died of tuberculosis in 1887. However, in the original Maverick series, Doc Holiday, played here by John McLiam, evolved into a purely mythical character. While Gerald Mohr played him seriously in his two appearances, Peter Breck took the character way over the top to wonderful comedic effect.
Philo: Hey, don't take the picture 'til I get in!
Cy: Oh, if brains was leather, Philo Sandeen couldn't saddle a bug.
Tom: You know, I gotta admit, you're…givin' me a fair shake. Mandy Packer tells me that, uh…in a good week The Ox here takes in…$2,000?
Bret: Well-l-l, uh…before expenses, I imagine, yeah. Uh, but I imagine that, uh, most of that's eaten up from the, uh...mortgage payments...most of it.
Tom: What? Mortgage payments?
Bret: Oh, uh, Crow holds a $50,000 mortgage on the place...uh...and you ownin' 75% interest, you'd be obligated to pay...uh...what'd that be...uh...37,500, yeah.
Tom: A minute ago I was only broke! Now I'm 37 thousand dollars in debt!?
Bret: 37,500 - Hey, but livin' in debt is the American way. Yeah, hey, you're gonna be livin' rent-free. Yeah, a new profession, a new life.
Tom: I've only been in business with you two minutes and I'm already...flim-flammed!
Bret: Well, don't only think'a yourself. Hey, this is your chance to...stay in the service of the community that you love.
Bret: Alright, Bass. We're only the advance party. There's sixty more right behind us.
Tom: Gambler, you sure got a hair trigger on your tall tales.
Bass: No dust on your back trail, Maverick. I'll be wearin' your ears on my belt before the sun goes down.
Tom: Can you two keep 'em busy while I work around in back and come in on top of 'em?
Bret: We can try but…I don't have a lot of ammo.
Tom: Well, I don't imagine you'll run out of mouth for the next hundred years or so. It..is our only chance.
Tom: Mind if I ask you a personal question?
Bret: Depends on the question.
Tom: What's so important about this money that you'd risk your life to try to get it back?
Bret: Well, I don't know. I always figured that money was just a way of keepin' score, but this time...I dunno, it's more'n that.
Tom: Why? Another town, another game, you're good enough...you're bound to hit again.
Bret: Yeah, sure, and pretty soon it's time to crawl up in some pest-hole and die. I'd just rather it didn't work out that way.
Tom: I had to get out of town. If I had to listen to one more of Dowd's speeches, I'd a killed him myself...and that wouldn't do for a man runnin' for Sheriff.
Bret: Think he's gonna win that election?
Tom: I hear it's bought and paid for.
Bret: Could be. Be easy to stuff the ballot box while you're out here.
Tom: Well, I got a couple of deputies supposed to be watchin' for that, but I think they're spendin' Crow's money already, so who knows?
Bret: You know, I know it's bad manners, but...uh...mind if I ask you a personal question?
Tom: Depends on the question.
Bret: About you and Mary Lou...I detect a sort of..uh..history...if you get my drift?
Tom: THAT was the wrong question, gambler.
Bret: (about Marry Lou) What's she doing out here?
Tom: I made the mistake of tellin' 'er she couldn't come.
Philo: You had me worried there for a minute, Pilgrim.
Bret: Just don't press it again, eh?
Philo: My people have a custom. When you save a life...you own that life. I am your servant. I am your brother.
Bret: I already have a brother and I don't want a servant...particularly some bogus Indian who thinks he's Sitting Bull.
Bret: I know I'm gonna regret this.
Philo: You won't regret it, I promise!
Bret: My pappy always told me to stay clear of men who promise no regrets...and here I am throwin' a rope to one.
(Bret finds Philo buried in quicksand, screaming for help)
Bret: Well, looks like that mule of yours just stops as fast as he starts.
Philo: The great spirit has saved me again! Come on! Get me out of here! I beg of you!
Bret: And a "hawk-a-hay" to you too, "Standing Bum".
Philo: But I saved your life!
Bret: There were no Apaches.
Philo: There coulda been Apaches! Doesn't that count for something!?
Bret: Well, I got a dilemma. My head tells me one thing, my heart tells me another.
Philo: Could I put in a word for the heart?
Bret: Sure. My head tells me to shoot you before you go under, my heart tells me to let you go down on your own.
Bret: Boy, it's gettin' bad when ya gotta con your own horse for a ride.
Philo: I'll shoot next to your head and take off. They'll think I killed you and come after me...not a bad plan, hey?
Bret: I think a better plan'd be I kill you and then I ride off.
Philo: ON THE GROUND, I SAY! (lower's voice) It won't work, your horse is too slow. You laughed at me for riding a mule, but the fact is they can go from a standing start to beyond arrow range in under 10 seconds.
Bret: Apaches don't use arrows anymore.
Philo: (pulling a gun) Get down, gringo dog!
Bret: Aw, come on, don't tell me this whole thing was a set-up for $500? I've been taken by a greedy banker, a lifelong friend and now some "cutthroat" who's about 12 biscuits shy of a dozen. I must be gettin' old.
Bret: I want my money back! You know I don't believe a word you say. You lived with the Comanches, studied their medicine, know their laws...NONE OF IT! Uh, you throw twigs in the air, you...you chant. You…find meaning in flat, grey rocks. You get us hopelessly lost! I want my m…
Bret: What are we listening for?
Philo: I hear a voice in the wind.
Bret: (holds a wet finger up) There's no wind.
Philo: Because your ears have been stopped by the silence of the white man. I am Standing Bear, he who sows for the Sioux...and I am one with the land.
Bret: In a minute, you're gonna be layin' on it.
Mary Lou: So you're just gonna let him ride out there like that?
Tom: No law against bein' a fool.
Mary Lou: There was a time when you would've gone with him, Tom.
Tom: I'm smarter than I used to be.
Phil: ...considering the nature of your quest, I'll be collecting my fee in advance...$500.00.
Bret: That's all I've got left to my name.
Philo: You can keep your name. 'Course, it's your business, you want to go out there alone. Most men...never return...never.
Bret: Alright, Sandeen, looks like I don't have much choice.
Philo: And if you do get your money back, there was some mention of a reward.
Bret: We'll cross that trail when we come to it...you ready to ride?
Philo: I was born ready, pilgrim.
Philo: Most folks know me as Philo Sandeen. The Comanches call me Standing Bear, the Utes call me In The Wind. But you're lucky I happened by. You're in need of my services.
Bret: (looking skeptical) Which are?
Philo: Professional guide.
Bret: You know the Badlands?
Philo: Like the inside of my mouth. I've been a pathfinder, provisioner and army scout. Fact is, I was...General Custer's chief scout. (Bret looks alarmed) Oh. I tried to warn him, just as I'm warning you...it's the devil's own maze out there.
Pappyism: Stay clear of men who promise no regrets.
Pappyism: Trust your fellow man to be exactly what he is.
Pappyism: Men who claim they just wanna talk generally have more than just words on their mind.
Boy: You are Maverick, aren't ya?
Bret: That's right, son, I am.
Boy (to friend): Told ya so! You gonna win, Mr. Maverick?
Bret: I didn't come all this way to lose, son.
(Mary Lou helps Bret up after causing his horse to throw him) Mary Lou: Oh! I'm...I'm really sorry about this. Bret: Not nearly as sorry as I am, lady.
Rodney: You know, I've read just about everything's ever been written about you?
Bret: Don't have much regard for what you do with your time, do you, son?
Bret: Lady, I don't like photographs of myself.
Mary Lou: Aw, that's because you've never been photographed by M.L. Springer.
Bret: I try to limit myself to one blinding a day.
Protester: Some people have no shame.
Bret: That's cause the others have enough for everybody.
Mandy: I tell ya, Tombstone's about through. Big Bonanza's all played out...miners and farmers. Oh, I tell ya, boys, times are changin' faster than a new girl on Saturday night. Bret: Well, there's one thing that hasn't changed, Mandy, you still look great. Mandy: And you're still a liar.
Bass: I was worried you wouldn't make it, Maverick.
Bret: Well, Bass, now you can start worryin' that I did.
Mandy: Oh, and, Maverick...good luck tomorrow. Bret: Luck has got nothin' to do with it.
Bret: Look, pal, I don't know you, I never met you before and it was a black queen. Where do I get a towel with a shower? Lucas: Who do you think you are turnin' your back on me!? You're too good for me, is that it? You're nothin' but a card-markin', deck-stackin', bottom dealin'... Bret: Whoa, what happened to the best in three territories? Lucas: You ain't spit...an' that red queen come outta your boot. I saw it. (As Bret turns to walk away, the drunk pulls a gun that is half stuck in his coat) Bret: I wanna remind you that I was minding my own business. Lucas: You're just about ready to get your damn business blow'd off!
Bret: I didn't bring the plague, Sheriff, I just came here for a little game of cards.
Tom: You want me to accompany you back to the Red Ox, make sure you don't have any more problems?
Bret: The day I need your protection, Sheriff, that's the day I hang up my hat.
Holiday: You come far for this game? Bret: Oh, a...thousand miles. Like you said, it's a big game. Holiday: Yeah. Yeah, maybe my last. Bret: Come on, Doc, you're too rotten to die. Holiday: (chuckling) Thanks, Maverick. I consider that a compliment. But the fact is, all I need to be a cadaver is a tall, white candle and a place to lie down.
Tom: Before y'all start, I have an announcement which probably won't be too popular. Nevertheless, I'll be checkin' all your weapons at the door.
Mandy: Why, Tom Guthrie, you can check my weapons any time you want.
Bret: Can't we just skip this? I only carry one gun in self-defense. I..uh..never pull it in anger. I hate violence.
Tom: Hand it over. (Bret hands it over) I'll take that... uh... Sharps four-barrel you pulled on Lucas yesterday. Right sleeve. (Bret hands it over) I read a newspaper account... uh... how you pulled a Colt .41 on Wyley Cooter.
Bret: Well, only after he shot me in the leg.
Tom: Left sleeve, I believe.
Bret: Damn newspapers. (Bret hands it over)
Tom: I read another account where you... uh... won a set of matched Bricbottoms from Zlotof the Russian. I'll take those, too. (laughter as Bret hands 'em over) Now, I'll take that Barnes 50-caliber you're said to carry in your boot. (more laughter and "Wows" as Bret hands it over) 'Told you sometimes keep a palm gun in the crown of your hat?
Bret: Aw..no. I quit doin' that...gave me headaches. No... uh... I think you got everything but my suspender button and my pocket watch, so...
Tom: No! No, I don't have the belly gun you pulled in Meeker last year... Denver Star.
Bret: For a sheriff, you sure do read a lot. (laughter as Bret hands it over)
Tom: I guess you gotta be kinda careful not to fall in a pond. Bass tells me that you sometimes keep a holdout gun in the small of your back. You know the procedure by now. (Bret turns around and Tom takes the gun) For a man who hates violence you come pretty well-heeled.
Bret: With Ramsey Bass around, I don't want any of that violence happenin' to me. (to the crowd) Never felt so naked in my life!
Tom: Maybe I better take a look inside your hat.
Bret: I told ya I don't pack that one anymore!
Tom: Well you won't mind takin' off your hat then. (the hat lands on the table with a thud and Tom takes out the palm gun) Is that all?
Bret: Of course that's all.
Tom: How about your pocket watch?
Bret: I promise not to throw it at anyone.
Tom: Let me see it. (Bret pulls out a derringer on a chain and hands it over) Is that all?
Bret: No... think I'll strangle someone with my string tie.
Bret: Sheriff, since you're so set on havin' an honest game, that blue-eyed killer back there is a known associate of Mr. Bass. They got more signals than the Southern Pacific. I don't want him standin' behind me.
(Mary Lou sets off another blinding photo flash "explosion")
Bret: Are you gonna keep doing that?
Mary Lou: Well, of course!
Bret: Mandy why don't you kick her out? Kinda like playin' cards in an artillery range.
Bass: (pointing a gun) Now...now I got you beat...just call.
Bret: You're holdin' the rule book, Bass. I'll call.
Bass: Full house...(turning over cards) cowboys over nines.
Bret: (turning over his cards) Four deuces.
Bass: (cocks gun) Your luck just ran out.
Bret: Luck's got nothin' to do with it, Bass. You just got greedy. Like to give you a little advice.
Bass: Be the last words you'll ever say.
Bret: It's not what I got aimed at you that's gonna bother you, Bass. It's what I got it aimed at.
Bass: (laughs) Who do you think you're bluffin'? I saw the Sheriff take ten guns off you. You couldn't have another one.
Bret: Well, I never met a lawman yet that'd look for a second derringer up the same sleeve. Now, you're out of the game, Bass. Fold your gun, let the rest of us get on with it. This little pepper pot has got a hair trigger and my hand's gettin' a little shaky.
Bass: Mister, you are bluffin'.
Bret: Then you just call it...but no matter what happens, this cannon's gonna go off and you're gonna be tweetin' like a bird for the rest of your unnatural life.
Bret: Well, there's a hundred thousand dollars and a saloon in the middle of the table...and both of you are tapped out. I could buy this pot for ten dollars. Holiday: Not and live to tell about it. Bret: But, since we're all such...good and old friends, I'll just call.
Bret: (to Mary Lou) Look, there is one thing I am sure of...I do not wanna become a regular feature in your newspaper. So why don't you just go out and cover the elections or somebody's newborn baby or somethin' worth a whit and leave me alone?
Tom: There's no law against buyin' votes. Some of the folks around here need the money more than the choice. That's just the way it's done. Now, if you'll excuse me... Rodney: Well, M. L. says...you should give longer speeches. Tom: So she's told me more than once. But speechmakin' and handshakin' don't have anything to do with bein' a good Sheriff. When I came to this town they didn't even have elections. I ran off the Banovich gang and they hired me, it's as simple as that. Now a man's gotta...kiss babies...among other things.
Tom: Son, it's bad manners to press a personal question. Now, you're talkin' to a man who hasn't eaten in 24 hours...and if you don't get out of my way, I just may start with your drumstick.
Cy: (shooting his gun) Turn around! I don't allow no bankers on my property! Bret: I'm not a banker, I'm a gambler. (Cy shoots again) Cy: That don't cut no hay with me...gambler's just two notches above a banker!
Originally airing as a two hour NBC movie, it would later be split into two parts for syndication.
It has also been shown in an edited version on local television as Bret Maverick: The Lazy Ace and as simply Bret Maverick.
Stuart Margolin, who directed this premiere episode, would also appear in front of the cameras in the recurring role of Philo Sandeen. Margolin had previously appeared with James Garner on The Rockford Files.
The main title theme song was written by co-star Ed Bruce, his wife Patsy and Glenn Ray. It is sung by Ed Bruce himself, an accomplished country singer and songwriter.
Philo: I was born ready, pilgrim.
Philo calls Bret "Pilgrim" throughout the two-hour premiere episode, alluding to the line impersonators most often use to bring John Wayne to mind. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Wayne's character, Tom Doniphon, uses the word "Pilgrim" 23 times.
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