Monday, May 17, 2021

Western Movie Nostalgia - Maverick 1994 by Kaye Spencer #westernfictioneers #westernmovies

The television show Maverick starring James Garner and Jack Kelly ran five seasons from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962. I adored this show, although I was too young to watch it until it made it to the rerun stage. I was an only child for 13 years, so I found all sorts of ways to entertain myself, and play-pretending that I was Bret Maverick was one of them. ;-)

'Maverick' tv show - Public Domain

Maverick - tv show and movie - is about a card playing con artist/cardsharp whose secondary talent is getting himself in all sorts of scrapes, tight places, and compromising situations.

When the movie Maverick hit the theaters on May 20, 1994, I was giddy with anticipation (Holy Moly - 27 years ago... My how time flies...) I was not disappointed. The tongue-in-cheek humor from the tv show was woven throughout the movie. Mel Gibson as Bret was a perfect fit. James Garner playing the father to his original character was just about too much fun for me to bear. Jodie Foster as the female antagonist pitting father and son against each other was the stuff of romance novels (more on that below).

'Maverick' movie poster - Fair Use

The song for the movie, A Good Run of Bad Luck, co-written and recorded by country music artist Clint Black, was released in February 1994. The song reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks and Canada Country Tracks. 

This is the music video/trailer for the movie. I've listed the url for your viewing convenience if the video doesn't appear on your device.

The cameos of actors, actresses, and singers in the movie are many. Next time you watch the movie, you might spot a few familiar faces in brief appearances (not a full list): Corey Feldman, Deb Taylor, Reba McIntire, Vince Gill, William Smith, Margot Kidder, Denver Pyle, Waylon Jennings, Doug McClure, Henry Darrow, John Fogerty, Jamers Drury, Robert Fuller, Clint Black, Paul Brinegar, Will Hutchins, Kathy Mattea, and Carlene Carter.

Another trivia tidbit is the screenwriter for the movie Maverick was William Goldman. He wrote the book The Princess Bride as well as the screenplay for the movie. Two of his notable screenwriting credits are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men.

In my western romance, Gambling with Love, I borrowed the high-stakes poker scene idea from the movie Maverick and wrote my version of a high-stakes poker game for the heroine, Lainie Conrad, whom I pitted against the man who killed her gambler husband.

Gambling with Love excerpt

Ford put the cards down and took the cigar from his mouth. With his free hand, he reached inside his vest and came up empty-handed. “I don’t seem to find my matches.” He patted other pockets. “Could I trouble someone?” An overeager spectator came forward to meet Ford’s request. The man struck a match and held it to the end of the cigar. With smoke circling around his head, Ford stood and shook the man’s hand. It was in that diverting movement that Ford ringed-in the cold deck.

Lainie saw him do it, because she was watching for it. It was a slick, fluid move that was lost to the untrained observer. Ford resumed the deal. 

The waiting was over. Every sacrifice she’d made, every tear she’d cried, every time she’d cursed Ford’s name came down to this moment. The months of endless traveling, the lonely days and nights away from her son, the guilt for leaving Nick without explanation in New Orleans— All of it would be forever in her past in a few minutes. She promised herself even if she didn’t leave this table with Seaton’s watch in hand, she would have it in her possession before the sun rose on another day. 

Gambling with Love book video (

Available on Amazon

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

writing through history one romance upon a time

Look for Kaye here:


  1. Replies
    1. Vicky,

      Those vintage/classic tv westerns were of an era we won't see again. So glad for dvd sets. haha

  2. James garner as Maverick was tied with Richard Boone's Paladin as my favorites back in the day.

    1. Frank,

      Richard Boone as Paladin is another great series. The theme songs for Paladin and Maverick are so catchy that they almost qualify as earworms. I love them both. :-)

  3. What a fun post! Now I want to watch the Maverick movie again to look for all the vignettes you mention.

  4. Caroline,

    When you re-watch the movie, keep a sharp eye out during the actual poker game. That's where you'll get the most glimpses of the cameo appearances.

  5. I loved and still watch the show. Like you I enjoyed the movie and noticed most cameos.

    Thank you for the trip down memory lane and loved the excerpt. It was perfect.

    1. Doris,
      I watch for the cameos in the movie every time I watch it. haha The movie is cheesy fun, just like the tv show. I particularly enjoy Alfred Molina in anything he does. He was great as a bad guy in Maverick.

  6. I have a computer again, and I can NOW COMMENT! LOL My phone does not cooperate. Anyhow, just wanted to say what a great post this is--jogged my memory and reminded me why I love Clink Black so much. He had a TON of great songs and this one ranks right up there!

    I loved the excerpt from your book, too. This is a fave story of mine (of yours!) and it kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering how in the world it was all going to work out. You did a great job with that!

    Ah, Maverick. Love James Garner. He was from Norman, Oklahoma, just a hop, skip, and a jump from where I live in Oklahoma City. He always made me smile!

    1. Cheryl,

      Clint Black is one of the few country singers/artists in what I call 'new country' that I enjoy listening to. He has enough classic country in his songs to appeal to the classic country snob in me. hahaha

      Got to love James Garner. He didn't seem to take himself too seriously and I loved that about him.

  7. Thanks, Kaye. I must re-watch the film. Still working through the B&W Maverick TV series. Recommend James Garner's The Garner Files; reviewed here:

    1. Nik,
      Maverick, Have Gun, Will Travel, Lancer, High Chaparral, Bonanza, Gunsmoke... I loved them all.

  8. Gosh, they don't make them like that nowadays. Maverick was a real favourite. Happy memories. Thanks, Kaye.

  9. I also grew up on the "old" Westerns ... Maverick, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, etc. I loved James Garner's trickster - not as fond of Jack Kelly's character back then, but I was a raw youngster. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!