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The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 1 Episode 1

The Night of the Inferno

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Sep 17, 1965 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
37 votes

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Episode Summary

The Night of the Inferno
Jim is set up as a renegade as a cover for him and Artie to sneak into Texas and track down General Juan Manolo, who is trying to take over the region.

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  • In this episode, we begin our four year journey following the lives of our two dashing heros of the Secret Service, Jim and Artie. Unknowing to us now, we will soon fall in love with this crime fighting team of the Old West.moreless

    We are first introduced to James T. West as he is being pulled off a train as a prisoner; unknowing to us he is one of the United States' top Secret Service agents. At this time, we are also introduced to Artemus Gordon, dressed in a way we will soon learn to love, in disguise. Throughout the episode James West shows us, the audience, all the gadgets he has working as a Secret Service agent, including his famous sleeve gun. However, West isn't his normal self in this episode as we soon see when he is captured by the villian of the episode Juan Manolo. West seems to have trouble fighting off two guys as he is being held captive. However, in future episodes, West shows us that he can knock out six guys, without even breaking a sweat, while Artemus lays unconscious in a corner, which was not to Ross Martin's liking.

    We do get a feel for Artemus's role in the team, but we would get a better understanding of it in future episodes. Besides disguising himself as a drunk solider in the opening sequence, he also adopts the disguise of a Mexican peasant in the town of Quemada.


    Throughout the episode, all the twist and turns and action keeps the aduience on the edge of their seats. Especially when the viewers are told that the Juan Manolo that they were told was Juan Manolo really isn't Juan Manolo. Instead it is brought to our attention, with the help from West, that the sweet, large, Chinese man, Wing Fat, is in fact Juan Manolo.

    I really enjoyed this pilot episode and I am looking forward to what is in store for our two crimefighters of the Old West.moreless
Victor Buono

Victor Buono

Wing Fat/Juan Manolo

Guest Star

Nehemiah Persoff

Nehemiah Persoff

Juan Manolo/General Cassinello

Guest Star

James Gregory

James Gregory

President Ulysses S. Grant

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • After Jim runs into Lydia, she gets angry with him and shoots at him with her pistol. When she fires at him she fires seven bullets, but she is shooting with a standard six chamber pistol, which means she should have only six bullets.

    • In the opening credits, we see Jim kissing the woman who attempts to knife him, but she remains standing. At the end of act 1, we see her sitting on the floor. How did she get there? [The original opening showed West punching her, knocking her to the floor, but this was changed before broadcast. The artwork at the end of act 1 was not changed to match it.]

    • When Jim throws the exploding billiard ball at Juan Manolo, the pool cue has already turned into the hidden spear, but after Jim throws the billiard ball there is a closeup of Jim turning the pool cue into the spear.

    • Disguises: Drunken soldier and Mexican peasant

  • QUOTES (6)

    • (Jim and Artie arrange to meet at a cemetery and Jim's silent arrival startles Artie)
      Artie: What are you doin'?
      Jim: Trying to find out why freight wagons are lighter after they pass through the cemetery.
      Artie: A lot of wagons are lighter after they pass through a cemetery.

    • Artie: (talking about Manolo and the snakes) Maybe I ought to throw him in the pit, huh? With some of his little friends.
      Jim: He'd probably poison them.

    • Jim: What are you going to do with the girl?
      Manolo: When you talk, I will decide.
      Jim: When you decide, I will talk.

    • Jim: (indicating the snakes) See anyone you know?
      Artie: The one with the blue eyes looks familiar.

    • Jim: It wasn't your money.
      Lydia: It was... until you made me give it back.

    • Jim: Juan Manolo. Ever heard of him?
      Artemus: Yeah. The name's bandied about at funerals and such.
      Jim: How about a town called Quemada?
      Artemus: That's where they usually hold the funerals.

  • NOTES (6)

    • James Gregory is credited as Special Appearance by.

    • Victor Buono appears in this The Wild Wild West pilot (as Wing Fat) and in the final original The Wild Wild West project, the 1980 reunion movie "More Wild Wild West" (as Dr. Messanger) -- as well as in the second season as Count Manzeppi.

    • There are at least three versions of the scene where Suzanne Pleshette shoots at the bottles. In the VHS/DVD version, she fires 4 shots and we see the bullets hit the first 2. In the original version, also seen on the DVD, she fires 3 shots and we see all 3 bottles get hit. In the syndication version, 4 shots are heard and we see 3 bottles get hit.

    • This is the only episode in which James Gregory portrays President Ulysses S. Grant. Roy Engel assumes the role later in the season.

    • For the only time in the series, commercial break art replaces the cowboy at the center of the opening tableau; the teaser follows the show open rather than vice versa. In syndication it is resequenced to match the other episodes with the teaser first, but even then the title is shown at the very beginning rather then at the episode proper. Main production credits are listed at the end, unlike future episodes.

    • Commercial breaks: Jim rides off, Lydia shoots at Jim, Manolo confronts Jim, the real Manolo dies, the Wanderer departs.