The Tall Man

The Tall Man

About The Tall Man

(1960-1962, NBC)

“Odds are they’re gonna shoot it out someday,” a character says about Pat Garrett (Barry Sullivan) and Billy “The Kid” Bonney (Clu Gulagher) in The Tall Man, a Western series set in New Mexico in the late 1870s.

If you know your history, you know he’s right. Garrett shot Bonney in 1881, dispatching the outlaw in one of the most infamous bounty killings of the Old West. But this light-hearted, 30-minute series tells tales of the duo’s earlier days, when they still had a tentative but genuine friendship.

Sullivan was a veteran of Broadway, radio and 100 films. His Garrett – the titular “Tall Man” at 6’2” –  is a by-the-books lawman who’s not immune to emotion. (A powerful early episode depicts the killing of his bride on their wedding day). Gulager portrays a wild-eyed Billy, reigned in only by Garret’s mentorship.

Andy Clyde, a veteran of early silent comedy shorts, is a semi-regular as the always-tipsy Pa McBean. Pa’s nieces June (Judy Nugent) and May (Olive Sturgess) also add levity to a series that deftly balances comedy, drama and action. And Mexican composer and band leader Esquivel provides the delightfully distinctive score.

Sullivan later appeared in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), which depicted the dark final chapter of the story.

Notable guest stars:

Leonard Nimoy, Martin Landau, Nancy Reagan, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Ellen Corby, Coleen Gray, George Macready, R.G. Armstrong, Jim Davis, Vic Morrow, Iron Eyes Cody, Ed Nelson, Regis Toomey, Patricia Barry, Edgar Buchanan, Jeanne Cooper, Faith Domergue, Stafford Repp, Harry Carey Jr., X Brands, Barbara Parkins, Denver Pyle

Created by Samuel A. Peeples


Barry Sullivan, Clu Gulager, Andy Clyde, Judy Nugent, Olive Sturgess, Marianna Hill, Mark Tapscott