A thinking man’s TV series, Maverick ran on ABC from 1957 to 1962. Brothers Bret and Bart Maverick aspired to live by their wits whenever they could, which made sense, since they were professional gamblers.
Unfortunately they were always getting punched, robbed, conned or bested; for a couple of smart guys, gambling was not a wise career choice.
In the first season of the series, the two Texas-born brothers become galvanized Yankees, allowed out of a Union prison to fight Indians. After the Civil War, the Mavericks lose their ranch and wind up wanted for murder, which is why they refuse to return to Texas. How they turn to gambling is still a mystery, but the greater mystery is how these two con artists manage to hold on to their sense of honor, in episode after episode; their virtue is without dispute.
The first season was among the best in this great series. Perhaps that’s because the series was partly engineered by Budd Boetticher, who directed the first three episodes. Boetticher was, at the same time, in the middle of directing some of the best Randolph Scott Westerns ever made—Seven Men from Now, The Tall T—and he was at the peak of his career at that time.