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Cason Thomas and his lovely daughter Laura

In the pilot episode Case Thomas is the local drunk in Velardi, a town rife with lawlessness and dominated by an evil saloon owner and his cronies.  As a joke, Case has been made the town's deputy.  Johnny Ringo is hired by the mayor and town committee to clean up Velardi.  When he finds no able support among the law-abiding citizens, he makes a leap of faith and appoints the drunken old man his legal deputy...much to the amusement of the bad guys.  

His feisty daughter Laura challenges Johnny to treat him seriously.  The wiry white-haired man with an Irish lilt in his voice sobers up for the job, but is no match for the villains.  He has been gunsmithing a special weapon, however.  He said he "got the idea from Colonel LeMat."  The gun has an extra barrel for a deadly shotgun round, and he presents it to Sheriff Ringo.

It turned out to be the shot that saved the day when Ringo surprises the last two bad guys with the blast.  Planning to ride off into the sunset, Johnny instead accepts the mayor's offer to remain as sheriff.

In the first episode after the pilot, a show wagon arrives in Velardi carrying a young trick-shot artist, "Kid Adonis."  His real name is William Charles, Jr., but he asks his friends to call him "Cully."  He believes his father was killed by Ringo.  The crooked manager has staged the meeting, hoping to get rich when the Kid defeats Ringo.  He has rigged a gun in his camera to ensure Ringo's death. At the last moment, Cully shoots the manager instead and is wounded by Ringo.

Realizing Johnny needs a younger deputy, Cason decides to buy the General Store and happily turns his badge over to Cully.

By the half-season point it was clear to some the carefully-designed demographic appeal of the four regulars was not working as planned.  Don and Mark were receiving a lot of fan mail. Aaron Spelling and Karen Sharpe disagreed on how her character should be played.  Lovable Terence DeMarney was much like his counterpart, and Don laughingly recalls that scenes with him "had to be shot before lunch."

Whatever the reasons, Case and Laura were hastily and unceremoniously written out in the (3/17/60) episode BORDER TOWN.  This show was done as a pilot, and in the opening Case is shot down in his store.  Johnny hits the trail of the killers, but he returns to find Laura has "gone back East."  In the following episode, THE GUNSLINGER [which is my favorite and one of Don's], Ringo confides to Cully how they were the only people who cared for him.  Shortly thereafter he is seriously wounded in a gunfight, and calls out Laura's name just before the doctor goes digging for the bullet in his chest.

No other "love interest" is brought in for Johnny Ringo, although he is allowed to smile big at Dyan Cannon's character in SOFT CARGO.  The General Store is taken over by George Haig, played nicely by JR regular Michael Hinn.

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TERENCE DeMARNEY