Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958–1961)
2 user 1 critic

The Empty Cell 

Randall is rooked out of his bounty by crafty criminal Hunt Willis and his accomplice. Not one to accept defeat, Josh turns detective to rout the outlaws, his investigation dogged by the suspicious sheriff, a cousin to Willis.


Thomas Carr

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode complete credited cast:
Steve McQueen ... Josh Randall
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Sheriff Lon Paulson (as Lon Chaney)
Jack Kruschen ... Hunt Willis
DeForest Kelley ... Ollie Tate
Eddy Waller ... Pop Cole
Olan Soule ... Telegraph Operator (as Olan Soulé)


A bone tired Josh rides into Cottonwood to the Sheriff's office at midnight with the prisoner Hunt Willis. The Sheriff confirms that the man is Willis but says the $1000 bounty for him hasn't arrived. The tired Josh is happy to let it go until the next morning after a good nights sleep and even happier when the Sheriff offers to take care of both horses for him. As soon as the Sheriff verifies Josh is gone, he lets Willis out of the cell and they leave. The next morning Josh arrives at the office to find a different Sheriff who says he is Lon Paulson, was gone the day before, and there has been no prisoner in a month nor does he believe Josh's story. Josh decides to check at the stable for his horse only to find his horse is stolen since no horses were stabled the night before. After checking with the telegraph office and the bank he learns his reward was collected by the fake Sheriff the day before saying he was Josh. A clue from the telegrapher says his quarry may be in Hode's ... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

17 October 1959 (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 »

Did You Know?


There is a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the bank lobby. The show depicts the 1870s era, and should have a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant. See more »


Pop Cole: Advice is free, son; funerals ain't.
See more »

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User Reviews

A Decent "Whodunnit'
4 September 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Josh is the victim of a scam right off the bat as he brings in a prisoner late at night, the sheriff locks the man up, Josh comes back the next day and discovers a shocking revelation. That wasn't the real sheriff, his prisoner is gone and the real sheriff doesn't know what Randall is talking about. Not only that, he's hostile because someone called him away from the jail last night with a cock-and-bull story and now he thinks Randall is the guilty party.

Obviously, someone knew Josh was coming in with his "bounty." Randall does detective work to find out what exactly is going on, interviewing various folks about whether the reward was sent, who picked it up, who was in town and who wasn't, etc. The director of this episode, meanwhile, deliberately fools us - the audience - but I can't say how without having to resort to spoilers.

One good quote in here:

"You don't like the answers, don't ask the questions," -- Pop (Eddie Waller) says to sheriff Lon Paulsen, played by veteran horror actor Lon Chaney, Jr.

These DVD transfers, by the way, look outstanding: very sharp with excellent lighting. Of course, that's easier to do when you shoot almost all of it in a studio lot instead of on location. Nonetheless, they look great.

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