The Wanted: Dead or Alive finale is the last time Steve McQueen acted on TV

A famous director and a beautiful locational made for a fond farewell.

By 1961, Steve McQueen was already a movie star. The Magnificent Seven saw to that. The thrilling 1960 Western, a remake of the Japanese classic Seven Samurai, turned McQueen into a true action hero. But McQueen was still performing on TV, as bounty hunter Josh Randall on Wanted: Dead or Alive. (For younger generations, this was akin to how Bruce Willis did another season of Moonlighting after Die Hard.)

One could argue that McQueen was a movie star when Wanted kicked off in 1958 — he was on theater marquees as the star of The Blob the same week that Wanted premiered. So, by the time the Western reached its finale, "Barney's Bounty," in the spring of 1961, McQueen was undeniably too big for the small screen. Remember, this was a time when television was seen as a significant step down in fame from movies. This is why "Barney's Bounty" turned out to be McQueen's final TV role. He continued acting for another two decades, until his death in 1980.

But if "Barney's Bounty" was to be McQueen's farewell to television, at least he went out with cinematic flair. In fact, one of the great directors of Hollywood helmed the episode. Richard Donner was the visionary behind the camera in this fantastic finale, showing off his chops years before he directed The Omen, Superman, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon.

The setting, in particular, helped this Western tale stand out. In fact, it as "West" as you can get — the showdown takes place on the beaches of California. One rarely sees the ocean in TV Westerns, and Donner makes great use of the location, a gorgeous, rocky stretch of sand in Malibu. Actually, it's probably not far from where Jim Rockford lived on The Rockford Files, or where Charleton Heston discovered the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes.

Donner makes effective use of high, overhead angles, as the sun flickers off the rippling waves. Like any good cowboy finale, there is a "sunset," only John Randall does not ride into it — it's a sunset over the Pacific waters. The "Barney" of the story is neither Fife nor Flintstone, but rather Barney Durant, played by Noah Beery Jr., who, coincidentally, went on to be a regular in The Rockford Files.

There's even more for Western fans to be found here. Richard Alexander turns up in the episode as a blacksmith named "Nels Svenson" — which is funny, because he played the blacksmith Nils Swenson on The Rifleman! So, does this mean that Josh Randall and Lucas McCain exist in the same universe?

Watch Wanted Dead or Alive on MeTV!

Saturdays at 4:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


jaelinsmith40652 40 months ago
I'm wondering one thing about Steve Mcqueen's Rifel. We want to know what kind of Winchester Rifle did he just used in every episode of Wanted: Dead or Alive.
Pdls 40 months ago
Steve McQueen had a gift in that he could speak without words, just using his eyes, and make you feel for him. He may not have been the classic "Tall, dark, and handsome" but when on-screen it was very difficult to look at anyone else - for me, at least. I guess he had that indefinable quality known as "charisma". If anyone hasn't seen him in Alfred Hitchcock's "Man from the South", with Peter Lorre, I strongly suggest you do!
dangler1907 40 months ago
Obviously, typos and other clerical errors discredit the entire article. lol
Mac2Nite 40 months ago
That's "Josh" Randall... not "John" 🧐
"Younger generation" referring to Bruce Willis? LOL😂 Would have been better to say Johnny Depp still starring in 21 Jump Street long after he was already a movie star.😉
Banger 40 months ago
It's not Barney Flintstone, it's Barney Rubble. Geesh!
F5Twitster 40 months ago
"In fact, it as 'West' as you can get — the showdown takes place on the beaches of California. One rarely sees the ocean in TV Westerns, and Donner makes great use of the location, a gorgeous, rocky stretch of sand in Malibu. Actually, it's probably not far from where Jim Rockford lived on The Rockford Files, or where Charleton Heston discovered the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes."

You mean it's as FAR west as you can get.

And that's CHARLTON (no "e") Heston.

"Donner makes effective use of high, overhead angles, as the sun flickers off the rippling waves. Like any good cowboy finale, there is a 'sunset,' only John Randall does not ride into it — it's a sunset over the Pacific waters."

Lastly, it's JOSH Randall.
MarkSpeck 40 months ago
The same company produced The Rifleman and Wanted: Dead or Alive (Four Star Television), so I would think that Josh Randall and Lucas McCain existed in the same universe.
texasluva 40 months ago
Hallelujah, Hallelujah we have an awesome winner. We can thank MrsPhilHarris For this viewing. Congrats MPH!

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 2 hr 45 min
Director: Sergio Leone
Henry Fonda
Charles Bronson
Jason Robards
Claudia Cardinale
Woody Strode
Jack Elam
Keenan Wynn

Once at address it will take around 15 sec before it starts after entering. Wonderful film and in my opinion its as good as Good Bad and The Ugly. Drama all the way through.
Load previous comments
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 40 months ago
I'm looking for my harmonica. Oh there it is. Charles Bronson
frances3agape texasluva 40 months ago
WOW - Awesome quiz, TL!
Well, obviously your stuff is WAYYY out of my league.
But, who knows - maybe once in a million times, I might luck out
texasluva frances3agape 40 months ago
You mean I can bet a buck and win a million . All guesses are welcome. Even if your in the nose bleed section just yell it out (post), no problemo. Tks for looking. the movie is the site right below the Cast-copy paste into browser. click a couple of times and you have a awesome movie. Looks good on a 24 inch monitor screen. Hope to catch you next week.
justjeff 40 months ago
MeTV, let's get our facts straight... It's not "...John Randall does not ride into it — it's a sunset over the Pacific waters. The "Barney" of the story is neither Fife nor Flintstone," - it's JOSH Randall and Barney RUBBLE! Sheesh!
Banger justjeff 40 months ago
I'm a day late making the same Barney comment. And I said geesh when you said sheesh. Thumbs up.
texasluva 40 months ago
Movie Quiz of the Week.

If your looking for a movie to watch this be the one. Seen it or not it's easily in most folks top 100. Probably top 10-20 for me. This was not easy to find being the dearly departed relatives are keeping their clutches a hold of copyright greed 50 plus years later. Don't you just hate that.

Let's start off touting not only the movie but actors in this movie. One of the best of the times. One playing just about every type of part. Another mostly a tough guy wanting to get revenge. A woman who played pretty much these type of movies because of her origin. Also other stars backing up the big ones with clout. These were tough times in the past. People got what they needed by varying means. Some worked, some worked the working and took whatever they could by every means possible. Don't turn your back. This has so many different awesome parts to it. Just when you figure the coast is clear up pops the bad guy and cohorts. Not only that but the movie sound track works wonders to the settings. The most important thing to guessing this is please for the sake of cinema watch this and save it. The copy is great (3.2G). Run Time long.

One actor is near the top of the totem pole in fame. Not many TV shows but some. Over 100 credits and putting out a lot of blockbusters during eras (decades). Another one mostly a supporting actor with awards and also with a few TV spots. Our co-star actor who is usually in lead spots and many TV shows early in career then turns in to a mega monster star. Always seems to be near by when needed. He is one of the two main stars here. Well there's a woman too and she is also the main focus in this movie. She's the go to gal in many foreign movies also. Then comes the back up, back up guys. You see them all the time during this period of cinema. They usually don't last long but fill into some though spots.

For those that do not have time to guess no problem. Come on back. See the winner and grab the movie. Maybe even a thanks to the Movie King or Queen Quiz winner. No two ways about it. We are here to have fun.
Load previous comments
Moody MrsPhilHarris 40 months ago
You're welcome!
texasluva Moody 34 months ago
Ha! Late to the party and nosed out by seconds. MPH did it to you again. Remember this one? Looks like I did no bonus movies nor entertainment on this one. What month did you return from hiatus, self exile .
texasluva Moody 34 months ago
Boy Moody had all the clues but MPH was waiting to strike just before he answered.
Moody texasluva 34 months ago
LOL! Yeah I seem to get beat to the punch by somebody on these quizzes. There are some pretty good movie buffs playing so the competition is tough. I think I returned to the "forum" a week or so before this quiz. I'm glad I did come back. It's been fun!
texasluva 40 months ago
texasluva texasluva 40 months ago
I was just following the footsteps of Steve McQueen. He hit the big time after his TV shows. Now since Batman has left the scene I too am taking over. Here I come Gotham City and MeTV. That is no Joke
Pacificsun 40 months ago
Steve McQueen's credits didn't stop with TV's Wanted Dead or Alive, as the article points out. Here are a few other blockbusters and that which sums him up very nicely.

"His antihero persona, emphasized during the height of the counterculture of the 1960s, made him a top box-office draw during the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles. His other popular films include The Cincinnati Kid, Love With the Proper Stranger, The Thomas Crown Affair, Le Mans, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillon, as well as the all-star ensemble films The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and The Towering Inferno."

Whatever he was in was memorable, in spite of his paranoid sense of insecurity and inferiority complex (as measured against his contemporaries). Probably giving him his drive and sense of intense focus. Nobody wanted to be a Star more deeply.

Sadly he died at only 50 yrs, and yet his likeness will always be frozen in time, not suffering the ravages of aging as do so many other beloved icons.
texasluva Pacificsun 40 months ago
It's not 8-830 CT yet. Some come on about that time. Plus I do not know what happened below my Joker. It is half whited out. I am going to reboot PC and check it again. I have refreshed 10 times. So you want a head start eh?
texasluva Pacificsun 40 months ago
I am not sure what has happened. Below my pic of the Joker 50% of the comments are cut off on the right hand side. I have never seen this before. I cant even reply to your question below. No reply icon there.
Pacificsun texasluva 40 months ago
No, I just can't tell time!
Pacificsun texasluva 40 months ago
Strange, it looks like the comments have been resorted. More like MeTV's issue than yours. No worries, your quiz was a hit, and brought enjoyment to those who participated. Congratulations to MPH.

You know I posted a quiz for you as well. It's hiding over somewhere, but I replied to one of your posts with the link in it to announce it. Hope you can find it, then you can let me know where I put it. LOL!! Actually I'll run through you comments to catch up.
Pacificsun texasluva 40 months ago
Here's a quiz for you at this link:
Kiyone57 Pacificsun 40 months ago
The statement is that the "Wanted" finale was McQueen's last "TV" credit. Yes he did lots of movies, and the titles you're giving are all movies.
Pacificsun Kiyone57 40 months ago
If I'm allowed to digress, it was to demonstrate through those movie titles how great a talent he was because of their popularity, in order to impress the quality of Wanted Dead or Alive, yes a mere television series.
BrittReid 40 months ago
Captain Hilts. Richard Donner directed TZ episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet".
Pacificsun BrittReid 40 months ago
RD directed 4 MFU episodes in Season One.
MarkSpeck Pacificsun 40 months ago
Donner directed DOZENS of TV shows from the late '50s to the mid '70s.
MarkSpeck Pacificsun 40 months ago
He also made a cameo appearance in one of his Uncle episodes, along with Sam Rolfe (the series creator and first producer) and Joseph Calvelli (the episode's writer).
Pacificsun MarkSpeck 40 months ago
I forgot that he did until you reminded me (thank you!) and know exactly to which scene you're referring.
Deleted 40 months ago
This comment has been removed.
Pacificsun 40 months ago
Where is the Quiz, I don't see it above The Joker?

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?