The Best of the West TV show was a 30 minute western/comedy series on ABC. While the terms western and comedy might seem at odds, The Best of the West was actually a "spoof" of the serious western series of the 1970s. It was about a civil war veteran and store owner named Sam Best who moved his family to the wild west in 1865. Sam was your typical "dude" from the city and knew little of the ways of the west. He certainly knew nothing about gun fighting or fist fighting for that matter. Then when he and his family arrived in a town with no law whatsoever, Sam accidentally scares off a gunfighter and the townspeople railroad him into becoming the town Marshall! Somehow, Sam would have to deal with Parker Tellman who thought that he was running the town from his saloon with the help of hired bad guys!
Best of the West Cast
Joel Higgins .... Marshal Sam Best
Carlene Watkins .... Elvira Best
Meeno Peluce .... Daniel Best
Leonard Frey .... Parker Tillman
Valri Bromfield .... Laney Gibbs
Macon McCalman .... Mayor Fletcher
Tom Ewell .... Jerome "Doc" Kullens
Tracey Walter .... Frog Rothchild Jr.
Best of the West Trivia
The name of the town where Sam became Marshall was, "Copper Creek". The name of the gunfighter that Sam accidentally scared off when he arrived in Copper Creek was, "The Calico Kid". No one in town knew it, but the Calico Kid only thought he was a tough guy. He actually couldn't hit the side of a barn at ten paces with a six gun.
Many fans remember Joel Higgins fondly from his days on the series, "Silver Spoons". Most don't realize, however, that Joel was also a pretty decent songwriter on the side! He wrote commercial jingles for major products including "Kool-Aid" and "M&M's". He even composed the theme song for the series, "Life With Lucy" which was Lucille Ball's final TV project! Unfortunately, that series only stayed on the air for six episodes.
Joel also co-starred with Andy Griffith on a series titled, "Salvage 1". They got a chance to work together again when Andy Griffith guest-starred on the fourth episode of The Best of the West titled, "The Reunion". Andy played the role of Sam Best's father-in-law.
1981 was the perfect time for a western spoof series. The great westerns shows of the 1960s and 70s like "The Big Valley", "Bonanza", "Gunsmoke", "Rawhide", and "The Virginian", to name a few, had definitely lost their appeal to audiences. It was actually kind of "in style" to put down westerns as inferior entertainment, making the atmosphere perfect for a spoof.
If the type of comedy on The Best of the West reminds you of the series, "Cheers" or "Taxi", there is a good explanation. Several writers worked on all three series including David Lloyd, Earl Pomerantz, and Sam Simon.
Meeno Peluce wasn't out of work for one minute after The Best of the West went off the air! He scored a starring role the very next season as "Jeffrey Jones" on the series, "Voyagers".
Episodes List With Original Air Dates
The First And Only Season
- Pilot Episode (9/10/1981)
- The Prisoner (9/17/1981)
- The Calico Kid Returns (10/1/1981)
- The Reunion (10/8/1981)
- They're Hanging Parker Tillman - Part 1 (10/15/1981)
- They're Hanging Parker Tillman - Part 2 (10/22/1981)
- The New Marshal (10/29/1981)
- Daniel's First Love (11/5/1981)
- Laney in Love (11/12/1981)
- The Railroad (11/19/1981)
- The New Jail (11/26/1981)
- A Man, a Woman, and a Horse (12/17/1981)
- Frog's First Gunfight (1/7/1982)
- The Calico Kid Goes to School (1/14/1982)
- Tillman Held for Ransom (1/21/1982)
- Mail Order Bride (1/28/1982)
- The Cave-In (2/12/1982)
- Daniel Fights a Bully (2/19/1982)
- The Pretty Prisoner (2/26/1982)
- Elvira's Old Beau (6/7/1982)
- Sam's Life Is Threatened (6/14/1982)
- The Funeral (6/21/1982)
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