Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958–1961)
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Die by the Gun 

A sadistic pair of killers escape from prison who have no qualms about killing. They hijack the stagecoach Josh is riding with a young prisoner by felling a tree on its path. They decide to use Josh and the prisoner as hostages.


Don McDougall (as Donald McDougall)


Lawrence Menkin (story), Christopher Knopf (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


Episode complete credited cast:
Steve McQueen ... Josh Randall
John Larch ... Howie Kale
Warren Oates ... Jesse Cox (as Warren Oats)
Ray Teal ... Nebro
John Wilder ... Joe Sands
Jan Brooks Jan Brooks ... Ellie Cameron
Russ Bender ... Sam Cameron
Forrest Lewis ... Prospector


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In the rain two men wearing shackles find a lone prospector under a canvas with a fire. Realizing his gun is not reachable he offers the men what they want but the younger Cox strangles him to death as Kale watches. They use his mining tools to break the shackles. Meanwhile, Josh with his young prisoner Joe Sands are the only passengers on the stagecoach with driver Nebro who is carrying wanted posters for Kale and Cox who escaped from a deputy. They are leaving El Pasitio, Arizona and have one stop before arriving at their destination. On the trail they find a tree felled onto the road. As they prepare to move it, Kale and Cox pop up and tell them to drop their weapons. Once learning who Josh is, Kale has Cox remove the firing pin from Josh's gun and return it to Josh. Cox rides as shotgun while Kale acts like he is Josh's prisoner while Sands is told to say he is traveling alone. The three men are hostages and they must get past the stop at Camerons for fresh horses. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Did You Know?


At 7:20 into the episode, Kale tells Cox to remove the firing pin from Josh's gun. Cox opens the lever and bolt on Josh's modified Winchester 1892, reaches inside with his fingers and removes the firing pin in a few seconds. The actual process requires a screwdriver, a small pin punch, and hammer and it takes about 10 minutes. Remove the rear stock, then the main spring, the hammer, and the lower tang with trigger. Remove the lever and locking bars and then the bolt can be removed. Drive the retaining pin from the side of the bolt with a pin punch and then the firing pin can be removed. See more »


(at around 10 mins) The stagecoach and a wagon pass one another. In the far distance is a high tension power line tower. See more »


Howie Kale: [Commenting to Josh on young Joe's addressing him as "mister" and "sir."] You don't find respect like that no more. Kids these days, all punks, swaggering down the streets, crowding the walks, think they're tough. I wouldn't waste my spit on any one of 'em.
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User Reviews

excellent, well acted
18 October 2009 | by asinyneSee all my reviews

I loved this episode. John Larch was fabulous as the evil, but nearly likable bad man. This reminded me a lot of Petrified Forest, the old Bogart film. I believe the actor who played the stage driver was the same fellow who played the Sheriff in many Bonanza episodes. He was also outstanding as was a very youthful looking Warren Oates.

I agree with the other comment that the story was somewhat standard western fare but it was elevated in my eyes by the wonderful cast and superb production. The opening scene was magnificent as the two hard edged escaped convicts played by Larch and Oates bushwhack a lonely prospector as the rain falls in torrents. This was one of the better done scenes that I have ever seen in a western, any western. It plays almost like an old thirties horror film...very cool. I knew it was going to be a special film just from that great opening. I also found it very interesting that the Larch character was anything but a one dimensional character. That was certainly not always the case during those days in Hollywood westerns.

Another plus was the entirely realistic shootout at the end of the episode. Very well done. Overall, I gave this one a ten! Darn near a perfect little film. Larch and McQueen were awesome.

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Release Date:

6 December 1958 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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