Original Airdate: November 17, 1957
Synopsis. Bret teams with Dandy Jim Buckley to settle the score with Tony Cadiz, a cadaverous gambler who took the both of them for $12,000 (and left Bret for dead). Cadiz is traveling to the South Dakota mining town of Deadwood, where he plans to make a fortune by showcasing Battling Kreuger, the bare-fisted pugilist whom he manages. Cadiz offers to pay 2-to-1 odds to any man who can last ten rounds with “the Battler.” After staking themselves to $4,000 (their reward for recovering two bags of gold stolen from the Wells Fargo Bank), Bret and Jim meet Noah Perkins, a giant of a man who seems the perfect opponent for Battling Kreuger. Bret and Jim set up a high-stakes showdown between Noah and Kreuger. When Noah bows out at the last minute, however, Maverick must take his place.
Roy Huggins originally intended Dandy Jim Buckley as a one-shot character, but he ended up bringing him back four more times because he so thoroughly enjoyed what Efrem Zimbalist Jr. brought to his portrayal. Zimbalist, for his part, considered working with James Garner to be among the highlights of his career.