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01. Maverick (1957 – 1962), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

03. Maverick, War of the Silver Kings (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

04. Maverick, According to Hoyle (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

05. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

Big Mike McComb

Portrayed by Leo Gordon

McComb, Big Mike


Irish saloon keeper.[1] (December 2, 1835December 26, 1913)[2]


Like many Irishmen in the mid-nineteenth century, Michael McComb came to America to seek his fortune. By 1868, he had arrived in Utah Territory. Working on the crew building the Union Pacific Railroad in the vicinity of the mining camp of Echo Springs, McComb stopped into a saloon for a drink. While there, a fight broke out amongst some of the customers which threatened to wreck the bar. In the melee, McComb’s beer was knocked out of his hand. With this, he’d had had enough and took steps to end the brawl. As big a man as McComb was, and used to fighting with his fists, he made quick work of the brawl’s instigators.[2]


Seeing how quickly McComb was able to stop the fight, the owner of the establishment, Phineas King, offered McComb a job as overseer. His easy suppression of the fight earned him the affectionate nickname of “Big Mike." He quit his job on the railroad and soon, McComb was also serving drinks and getting to know the citizens of Echo Springs.[2]


After working for King for a few months, McComb caught the manager of the saloon stealing money from the cash box. He knocked the manager out with a single blow and carried him bodily across the street to King’s office and threw him on the floor at King’s feet. The manager was immediately run out of town and King gave McComb the job of running the saloon.[2]


As King’s confidence in Big Mike grew, the Irishman was given more and more duties, sometimes of a questionable nature when a profit was to be made or a rival of King’s needed to be discouraged. With the added responsibilities came added privileges.[2]


War of the Silver Kings: In 1870, Bret Maverick came to Echo Springs to play in King’s regular Saturday-night poker game. Big Mike was overseeing the game when Bret called for a cut as King was dealing. The audacity of Bret’s request impressed Big Mike, and the two became fast friends. Events led to a falling out between Big Mike and King, so upon Bret’s departure, Big Mike rode out of town with him.[3]


The two eventually came to the small cattle town of Wagon Wheel, Wyoming Territory. They naturally gravitated to its only gambling hall, Joe Riggs' Golden Bucket Saloon and Casino. Bret quickly discovered that every game in the place, from blackjack to roulette, was crooked. With no other gambling house in town, Bret considered opening his own gambling house in partnership with Big Mike to give the folks in Wagon Wheel an honest game.[4] But still searching for the Tall Man,[5] Bret decided he needed to move on. Big Mike, however, liked the town and it’s people and chose to settle there.[4]


According to Hoyle: In 1876, Bret Maverick ran into Joe Riggs aboard the Stonewall Jackson en route from New Orleans to St. Louis. In need of money and reminded of Joe Riggs' brace joint in Wagon Wheel, Bret partnered with Samantha Crawford to establish honest competition and put the Golden Bucket out of business. Big Mike, still living in Wagon Wheel, agreed to help. Upon Bret and Samantha's arrival, Mike introduced Bret to Ma Braus, who had a vacant building in town to rent and open the Square Deck gambling house. Before they got started, Samantha double-crossed Bret, giving the gambling equipment to George Cross and negotiating a separate deal with Riggs himself. Bret and Big Mike were forced to simply walk into the Golden Bucket and expose Riggs as a cheat in front of his customers. Realizing the Golden Bucket was nothing but a brace joint, the townsfolk smashed the place to bits. Ma Braus bought the new gambling equipment from Riggs and hired Big Mike to open and operate the Square Deck, ensuring Wagon Wheel would finally have an honest casino.[4]


Big Mike McComb congratulates Bret Maverick for being the first to best Phineas King in his own poker game. Echo Springs, Utah Territory, 1870.[3]

Bret Maverick introduces Big Mike McComb to Samantha Crawford. Wagon Wheel, Wyoming Territory, 1876.[4]

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