"Stage West" was based on the 1952 short story, "That Packsaddle Affair" by famed Western author Louis L'Amour, writing under the pen name of Jim Mayo. It first appeared in the pages of the Western genre pulp magazine Texas Rangers, in its June 1952 edition.
L'Amour's hero, Red Clanahan, was a red-headed outlaw, but a "good badman." The character was adapted to become Bret Maverick in "Stage West." Set in the Arizona Territory rather than near Sioux country, there is no mention of trespassing on Indian land.
A lot of liberty was taken with L'Amour's story to make it fit into a Maverick mold, but many of the basics are there: A lost mine, of which only the hero knows the true location, and is willing to sell it to the bad guys for $15,000. A girl, the daughter rather than wife of the dead miner. And the miner's dead partner, propped up in the back of the Packsaddle Station to appear to be asleep.
By the time "That Packsaddle Affair" was made into a Maverick episode, several of Louis L'Amour's works had been adapted for film or television. The best known at the time was 1953's "Hondo," starring John Wayne, which was not only filmed in color, but in 3-D. Based on another 1952 short story, "The Gift of Cochise," it helped to solidify L'Amour as one of the most popular Western authors of the 20th century. The movie itself led full-circle to L'Amour's book "Hondo," which was a novelization of the film.
Though the original publication of the Texas Rangers magazine featuring "That Packsaddle Affair" is hard to come by, the short story itself is widely available in the Louis L'Amour anthology "The Outlaws of Mesquite."
Season 1, Episode 6
October 27, 1957
Based on the short story "That Packsaddle Affair"
by Louis L'Amour (as Jim Mayo)
Emile Avery (uncredited)
Danny Sands (uncredited)
Carl Berger, A.S.C.
Gordon Bau, S.M.A
Director of Photography
Supervising Film Editor
01. All credits, unless otherwise noted: Maverick, Stage West (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
02. Robertson, Ed, Maverick: Legend of the West (1994), Pomegranate Press
03. Maverick: Stage West — Full Cast & Crew; International Movie Database
04. Texas Rangers; June 1952; Better Publications, Inc., New York
ABOVE: The title page illustration by Joseph Dreany from the June 1952 issue of Texas Rangers for Louis L'Amour's "That Packsaddle Affair."
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