The Iron Butterfly

The Iron Butterfly

Air Date: November 28, 1971

Written by: Harold Swanton

Directed by: Leo Penn

Guest Stars: Mariette Hartley (Lola Fairmont), Stefan Gierasch (Grady), Peter Whitney (Senator Carson Bennett), Ray Teal (Sheriff Roy Coffee)

A man is hellbent on revenging his son’s death and sets out to ruin the Cartwrights.

Trivia: This was Mariette Hartley’s fourth and final appearance in the series.

This was Peter Whitney’s third and final appearance in the series. A well known character actor, he switched from movies to television in the mid 50’s, when he was featured in about every popular western and crime drama there was including Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Perry Mason and Peter Gunn. He finally cut loose a bit and spoofed his own grubby rube image with guest turns on such bucolic series as Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies, the latter playing a greedy ne’er-do-well fellow rustic. His obesity may have triggered an early fatal heart attack at age 55 in 1972.

This episode was rerun on May 14, 1972 – the day after Dan Blocker’s death. NBC did include a ten second tribute at the end of the episode that evening.