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Law of the Plainsman is a Western television series starring Michael Ansara that aired on the NBC television network from October 1, 1959, until May 5, 1960. The character of Native American U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart was introduced in two episodes of the popular ABC Western television series The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain.

Law of the Plainsman is distinctive and unique in that it was one of the few television programs that featured a Native American as the lead character, a bold move for television at that time. Ansara had earlier appeared in the series Broken Arrow, having portrayed the Apache chief, Cochise. Ansara, however, was not Native American but of Syrian descent.

Ansara played Sam Buckhart, an Apache Indian who saved the life of a U.S. Cavalry officer after an Indian ambush. When the officer died, he left Sam money that was used for an education at private schools and Harvard University. After school, he returned to New Mexico where he became a Deputy Marshal working for Marshal Andy Morrison. He lived in a boarding house run by Martha Commager. The only other continuing character was 8-year old Tess Logan, an orphan who had been rescued by Buckhart. Robert Harland, later of Target: The Corruptors! starred in seven episodes as Deputy Billy Lordan. Wayne Rogers, who went on to star in another Four Star western, Stagecoach West, and later, M*A*S*H, also played deputy Lordan in several episodes.

Series Cast

  1. Michael Ansara as Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart

    Michael Ansara

    Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart

    30 Episodes

  2. Gina Gillespie as Tess Wilkins

    Gina Gillespie

    Tess Wilkins

    15 Episodes

  3. Wayne Rogers as Frank Anderson and Deputy Billy Lordan

    Wayne Rogers

    Frank Anderson, Deputy Billy Lordan

    4 Episodes

  4. Peter Whitney as Knappe, Trigger Strelling, and John Wesley

    Peter Whitney

    Knappe, Trigger Strelling, John Wesley

    3 Episodes

  5. Joseph V. Perry as Egan and Ben

    Joseph V. Perry

    Egan, Ben

    3 Episodes

  6. Chris Alcaide as Dan, Wolf, and Conroy

    Chris Alcaide

    Dan, Wolf, Conroy

    3 Episodes

  7. John Milford as Jason and Elijah Wesley

    John Milford

    Jason, Elijah Wesley

    3 Episodes

  8. John Anderson as Clyde Santee, Matthew Bannock, and Jeb Wicken

    John Anderson

    Clyde Santee, Matthew Bannock, Jeb Wicken

    3 Episodes

  9. Wayne Tucker

    French, Bunsing, Dort

    3 Episodes

  10. View More

Full Cast & Crew

Last Season

Season 1

1959 • 30 Episodes

Season 1 of Law of the Plainsman premiered on October 1, 1959.

Trojan Horse

(1x30, May 5, 1960) Season Finale

View All Seasons

Law of the Plainsman


Status Ended


  • See more TV shows from NBC...

Type Scripted

Original Language English


Content Score 


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  • Created by credit
  • Regular cast members (4 or more)
  • Backdrop
  • Video

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