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Temple Houston


NBC Network
1963 - 1964
60 Minutes

Jeffrey Hunter starred as Temple Houston, a circuit-riding attorney who traveled through the Southwest of the 1880s with the aid of George Taggart (Jack Elam), an over-the-hill gunslinger turned lawman. 

Houston's cases were the typical "falsely accused" or "cheated out of their rights or property" variety where Temple believed in his client and did his best to get their charges dropped. But, even if Houston sensed his clients were guilty, he did his best to win the case.

One of Temple's Houston most unusual cases involved his buddy  George Taggart who paid a large livestock feed and freight bill for some livestock that he inherited. But the "livestock" turned out to be a four-ton elephant named Big Annie.

Temple was not only a good lawyer but he was good with a gun. So he was a double threat to anyone who wanted to harm his clients.

Jeffrey Hunter as TEMPLE HOUSTON

Temple's friends and colleagues included:

  • Frank Ferguson as Judge Gurney
  • Chubby Johnson as Concho
  • Mary Wickes as Ida Goff
  • James Best as Gotch

Other cases and exploits of Temple Houston included:

  • A woman hires Temple Houston to defend her two brothers accused of murder who become the target of a lynch mob.
  • Miners recruit Temple Houston to defend their squatters rights from hired gunmen who want them off their land.
  • Houston and Taggart intervene in a despute between two ranchers who have been feuding for twenty years.
  • Houston takes a case presided over by a "hanging judge."
  • Houston protects a family of pacifists from outlaws.
  • Houston is convinced by a priest to defend an accused youth.
  • Houston helps a rancher who lost his land to a gambler.



TRIVIA NOTE: The 26-episode series was based on the life of Temple Houston (1860-1905), a real circuit-riding lawyer whose father was the celebrated Sam Houston. The novel Cimarron, written by Edna Ferber, was based on Temple Houston.

The real Temple Houston was famous for saying "Your honor, the prosecutor is the first man that I've ever seen that can strut while sitting down." The phrase was also heard in the film Inherit the Wind (1960) -  spoken by Gene Kelly as reporter E.K. Hornbeck.

The series pilot never aired on television, but was released to theaters as The Man from Galveston (1963). The film followed a character re-dubbed Timothy Higgins (Jeffrey Hunter) as he defended a former girlfriend falsely accused of murdering her extortionist.

When the series was canceled, it was replaced by DANIEL BOONE starring Fess Parker on which Jeffrey Hunter later appeared as Roark Logan on the episode "Requiem for Craw Green" (12/01/1966).

Jeffrey Hunter may be best remembered as Captain Christopher Pike from the original STAR TREK pilot that was reedited in the two-part episode "The Menagerie" (flash once for "yes" and twice for "no").

Obituaries: Jeffrey Hunter: 05/27/1969; Jack Elam: 10/20/2003;

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