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Full Name: James West and Artemus Gordon
Nationality: American
Organization: U.S. Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Michael Garrison, Gilbert Ralston
Time Span: 1965 - 1999


Jim West and Artemus Gordon are agents of the U.S. Secret Service.

Officially, the Secret Service, formed in 1865 tasked with ferreting out counterfeiters, is not an intelligence organization but a law enforcement bureau attached to the Treasury Department (since moved to Homeland Security). The missions that West and Gordon are asked to go on, however, go far beyond their official duties.

West was born in the summer of 1842. After attending college, he joined the Union Army during the War Between The States, rising to the rank of Captain. Where he went after the hostilities ended is not known but his love of the West likely made that his destination. Wherever it was, it ended when President Grant specifically made a request for him to return to active duty for a special mission. How Grant knew of West and came to chose him is also a mystery but the young man must have made a lasting impression for the General to think of him nearly a decade later.

Decidedly a man of action, West, while intelligent and logical, is a hands-on kind of operative. Fists-on is more honest. If there were letters handed out in bare-knuckle brawling in college, West earned one. He is also terrific with a long gun and can hold his own in any fast-draw gunfight where being second meant being last. Horse training must also be one of his gifts because he has his incredibly well trained.

And then we come to the most enjoyable aspect of West's skills and that is the ladies. He adores them and his charm, debonair moves, and actual chivalrous attitude towards them, as well as his tremendous good looks, makes him a magnet for the fairer sex. Even when they sometimes feel it necessary to drive a knife in his back, they usually are quite chagrin.

Artemus Gordon is, without a doubt, Jim West's best friend. While some might mistakenly think of him as a sidekick, that thought would never occur to either of them for Gordon was West's equal and partner across the board.

Where he went to school and what he did between college, which someone of his keen intellect and inventiveness surely had to have gone, is a mystery but his creativity is renown and the small odds and ends and clever trinkets that he created have saved both their lives many times.

Gordon does not shirk a melee if it comes around but his is a subtler skill. Disguise and mimicry is second nature to him and he routinely fools his way into a villain's lair snooping out tidbits to help find a way to bring the miscreant down. His fighting and shooting skills are not at the level of West but that does not mean he is without ability as many henchmen has found out the fatal way.

For nearly a decade, these two adventurers will travel the width and breadth of America, both in states and territories, using as their road the rail system and as their vehicle the train dubbed the Wanderor. Comprised of an engine with coal bin, a long train car which houses their horses, supplies, and probably an exercise area, and the main car which has the living area for the two men.

They will face more than their share of criminals but their specialty is the bizarre, the outrageous, and the maniacal. Mad scientists, despots, warlords, power-hungry politicians, embittered generals, and so on all tried their hand at mischief and West and Gordon would be there to stop them.

And then find time to charm the ladies.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1998

       At the high point of the series' popularity, one paperback was released, a novelization based on the second episode filmed.
       While the television series ran from 1965 to 1969, the next three books based on the show did not get written until nearly three decades later as the new version of the concept starring Will Smith was being prepared.
       The books were not based on the movie, luckily, but on the original series with Robert Conrad. Whether the writer actually watched any of those shows, though, is debatable.

1 The Wild Wild West The Wild Wild West
Written by Richard Wormser
Copyright: 1966

Adaptation of the television episode Night of The Double-Edged Knife, the first filmed after the pilot (though the ninth shown). Indians are holding a railroad hostage, threatening to kill some workers each day until a good amount of gold is paid.

2 The Wild Wild West The Wild Wild West
Written by Robert Vaughan
Copyright: 1998

Jim West and Artemus Gordon must go up against a madman who has amassed an army to take over the western territory.

3 Night of the Death Train Night of the Death Train
Written by Robert Vaughan
Copyright: 1998

Onboard the fast locomotive yet made as it strives to break the speed record, Jim West is trying to get a young girl to New York for an operation while saboteurs are out to destroy the train.

4 Night of the Assassin Night of the Assassin
Written by Robert Vaughan
Copyright: 1998

Jim West and Artemus Gordon are in Texas investigating counterfeiting but instead discover a plot to create a new Civil War by assassinating Garfield.


Number of Movies:3
First Appearance:1979
Last Appearance:1999

       Three movies were made based on the popular television show.
       The first two were made-for-TV movies starring the original actors and taking place some years after the events of the TV shows.
       The third was a, IMHO, very poor, unintelligible rip-off of a fun series turning two close friends into enemies and making an action series into a slap-stick. Despite having two great actors in lead roles, it was a mess and cannot be considered at all a part of any "canon". It is listed here rather than in the Parodies, Satires, and Pastiches section only to make it easier to look up.

1 The Wild Wild West Revisited The Wild Wild West Revisited
Director: Burt Kennedy
Writer: William Bowers
Actors: Robert Conrad as Jim West, Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon, Paul Williams as Loveless, jr., Harry Morgan as Robert T. Malone
Released: 1979

Years after they had retired, West and Gordon are pulled back into service to track down the son of their nemesis, Miguelito Loveless.

2 More Wild Wild West More Wild Wild West
Director: Burt Kennedy
Writers: William Bowers, Tony Kayden
Actors: Robert Conrad as Jim West, Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon, Jonathan Winters as Albert Paradine II, Harry Morgan as Robert T. Malone
Released: 1980

Albert Paradine II is a mad scientist out to use clones of himself to throw off the authorities as he makes use of an invisibility formula to help take over the world.

3 The Wild Wild West The Wild Wild West
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock
Actors: Will Smith as Jim West, Kevin Kline as Artemus Gordon, Kenneth Branagh as Dr. Arliss Loveless, Salma Hayek as Rita Escobar
Released: 1999

West and Gordon, strangers who take an instant dislike to each other, are forced to work together to fight a megalomaniac using revolutionary machinery to take over the country. A truly bad treatment of a fine action-comedy despite having the wonderful Salma Hayek in it.
Note: This is NOT in the canon but is placed here for reference only! (Obviously I feel strongly about this.)


Number of Episodes:104
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1969

Robert ConradJim West [ 1-4 ]
Ross MartinArtemus Gordon [ 1-4 ]

       'James Bond in the West' was how the man who created the concept pitched it to the network and to those tasked with writing the episodes. Considering how popular the Bond movies were just becoming, complete with Q's wonderful bag of tricks, the idea seemed a natural. Westerns were still incredibly popular and now so were spy action films. Put them together and you might have a hit.
       It was a hit. It perhaps did not make the top 10 any of the 4 years it was on but it was a hit enough to keep it coming back. According to several sources, it would likely have gone on longer than the 4 seasons had not Congress, out to show they were doing something about the rise in violence on television, made it the poster-child of excessive fisticuffs and explosions.
       While Bond always worked alone, the television show had to main characters. Jim West was most definitely the head guy and the one to be dubbed the Western Bond. He was the man of action, leaping from his horse or swinging across a room on a chandelier, taking on six guys at once. His partner, Artemus Gordon, was definitely not a sidekick but an equal and while he might not be so ready to jump into a fray, he more than held his own. Gordon's expertise was in disguise and infiltration.
       In addition to a steady supply of henchmen to combat, what really made this show so different was the terrifically good bad guys. It was steampunk long before steampunk existed. The devices often dreamt by the numerous mad scientists and would-be dictators were incredible and just almost-believable to be a hoot.
       And of course there were a steady supply of drop-dead gorgeous women. Not an episode went by without there being at least one and often two or three lovely ladies to grace the screen. Some of them were seductive femme fatales ready to charm the life, literally, out of the hero. Others were Paulines always in peril and needing Jim West to save them from their doom. And sometimes the viewer was not sure from one minute to the next which of the two types a woman might turn out to be.
       Just as Bond had his share of cool gadgets to confound and defeat the bad guys, and they had their own devices to wield, so did Jim West. Smoke pellets from hidden pockets in his suit vest. A derringer attached to a spring-loaded wrist 'harness' popped into action over and over, often being used as a propellant to shoot a grappeling hook across a room or a street. Kick the boot just so and a knife slid into view beneath the toes, useful for cutting ropes holding West captive. Those were some of the normal ones seen often but many adventures came with their own, one-shot widgets.
       Lots of action in every episode, beautiful women, handsome men, daring do's, over-the-top bad guys, outlandish plots. It was terrific fun each and every week. No wonder the old fogey do-gooders and political buttinskis hated it so much.
       Teenagers especially loved the excitement (I was one and I certainly did).

Note: Wikipedia's information on the series and the data on the episodes and movies is fantastic and is the source for most of the fact I have included here. This is especially true of the plotlines. Those in [ ]'s are straight from Wikipedia as I gradually put them into my own words. If you want more, and better, background on this show, check out that site.


Number of Stories:11
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1991

       There were two sets of comics put out on The Wild Wild West. The first was when the original series was running and it came from Gold Key lasting 7 issues. The second came out much later and had just one long story arc, told in 4 issues, which came from Millennium Comics.

1 Outlaw Empire Outlaw Empire
Published by Gold Key

Copyright: 06/01/1966

An outlaw gang is controlling a territory doing as they please until J/A show up to stop them.

2 The Phantom From The Past The Phantom From The Past
Published by Gold Key

Copyright: 11/01/1966

West and Gordon help as an army colonel goes in search of a Civil War criminal thought already dead.

3 The Stolen Empire The Stolen Empire
Published by Gold Key
Contributors: Sal Trapani (inker and penciler)
Copyright: 06/01/1968

West and Gordon are tasked with keeping alive a Russian archduke who is not very friendly towards them.

4 Montezuma's Gold Montezuma's Gold
Published by Gold Key
Contributors: Sal Trapani (inker and penciler)
Copyright: 12/01/1968

Jim West is understandably surprised when Montezuma returns from the dead but West is not thrilled to be chosen for a sacrifice to the gods.

5 The Night Of The Tongs The Night Of The Tongs
Published by Gold Key
Contributors: Sal Trapani (inker and penciler)
Copyright: 04/01/1969

To stop a series of kidnapping, Jim West must go up against the Tong of San Francisco.

6 Maximilian's Treasure Maximilian's Treasure
Published by Gold Key
Contributors: Sal Trapani (inker and penciler)
Copyright: 07/01/1968

While seeking a man smuggling guns into Mexico, West and Gordon come up against a hunt for treasure and a firing squad.

7 The Night Of The Buccaneer The Night Of The Buccaneer
Published by Gold Key
Contributors: Sal Trapani (inker)
Copyright: 10/01/1969

Heading to New Orleans, West and Gordon must find out what happened to three cargo vessels which just disappeared.

8 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 1 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 1
Published by Millennium
Contributors: Mark Ellis (writer), Paul Davis (writer), Darryl Banks (artist)
Copyright: 10/01/1990


9 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 2 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 2
Published by Millennium
Contributors: Mark Ellis (writer), Paul Davis (writer), Darryl Banks (artist)
Copyright: 11/01/1990


10 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 3 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 3
Published by Millennium
Contributors: Mark Ellis (writer), Paul Davis (writer), Darryl Banks (artist)
Copyright: 12/01/1990


11 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 4 The Night Of The Iron Tyrants - Part 4
Published by Millennium
Contributors: Mark Ellis (writer), Paul Davis (writer), Darryl Banks (artist)
Copyright: 01/01/1991



Number of Entries:3
First Appearance:1999
Last Appearance:1999

1 Wild Wild West Wild Wild West
Contributors: Bethke, Bruce (author)
Copyright: 1999

Novelization of the movie starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline with the two main characters just meeting, and not liking each other, as they tackle a plot to take over the country using steam-punk technology.

2 Mild Mild Mess Mild Mild Mess
Published by EC
Contributors: Dick DeBartolo (writer), Mort Drucker (artist)
Copyright: 08/1999

From Mad Magazine 384. Parody-Satire of the movie where they shoot it down.
Click here to read the story.

3 The Wild Wild Mess The Wild Wild Mess
Published by Globe Communications Corp
Contributors: Lou Silverstone (writer), Lou Motson (writer), Walter J. Brogan (artist), Don Orehek (artist)
Copyright: 09/1999

From Cracked Magazine #337.
Parody of the the movie done with some horsing around.
Click here to read the story.


Number of Games:1
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1966

1 Wild Wild West: The Frontier Agent Game Wild Wild West: The Frontier Agent Game
Board Game
Copyright: 1966

A game for up to 4 players. West's train has been seized by outlaws and needed to be saved. Players acted as West trying to get the train back by shooting at the outlaws. Each of the cardboard train cars (4 in all) are set up 1 to a side on the game board. Shooting at the outlaw cards was the object of the game, it being kind of like pool with a spring loaded cue stick and marble. Also included in game were the game board, 4 West figures (cardboard), 16 outlaws cards, 12 bullets and 1 die. Winner was the player with the most outlaw cards at game's end.


Number of Collectibles:2
First Appearance:1969
Last Appearance:1969

1 The Wild Wild West Thermos The Wild Wild West Thermos
Copyright: 1969

A thermos that any Western Federal Agent serving for President Grant would think it quite the spy gear. As a cold drink would stay cold and hot drink would stay hot, that is for awhile. The illustrations depict sketch type drawings of James "Jim" West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), plus parts of the animated beginning of the TV series.The black lid cover (Thermos Topper) made a handy cup and the lid was the color of the thermos.

2 The Wild Wild West Lunch Box The Wild Wild West Lunch Box
Lunch Box
Copyright: 1969

What lad watching the TV series didn't wish they were West or Gordon, the two Western Federal Agents working for President Grant. Taking this lunch box each day to school may have fueled their daydreams and with the thermos above it was thought of as spy gear giving energy to any mission imagined. The illustrations on it are as follows;
Front (Lid Side) - Depicts West (Robert Conrad) and Gordon (Ross Martin) riding horses to catch their own train that has been taken by bad guys.
Back - Depicts West and Gordon with a third man with a fire burning near. West is leaping over the fire and trying to take-out the third man.
Top (Handle Side)/Sides (Right & Left)/Bottom - The illustrations around depict a number of faces and other things. Just take a look to see what they are for yourself and be the Western Federal Agent you always wanted to be.


Number of Books:1
First Appearance:1996
Last Appearance:1996

1 Inside The Wild Wild West Inside The Wild Wild West
Written by R. M. Cangey
Copyright: 1996

While Robert Conrad did most of his own stunts in the first three years of the series, an injury forced him to give more duties to his excellent stuntman. This book is written by that professional and details his experiences.

2 Hero-A-Go-Go! Hero-A-Go-Go!
Written by Michael Eury
Copyright: 2017

This book is subtitled "Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters & Culture Of The Swinging Sixties." It mentions and gives details on a number of Spy Series within! Welcome to the Camp Age when spies liked their wars cold and their women warm and good guys beat bad guys with a pun and a punch. Celebrate the Camp Craze of the Swinging Sixties when just about everyone was a secret agent.

3 Wandering The Wild Wild West Wandering The Wild Wild West
Written by Don Presnell
Copyright: 2021

This book provides in-depth critical analysis of this unique, eclectic series, considered one of the primary influences on Steampunk subculture.


Oh, how I loved the Wild, Wild West. I never missed an episode and in those years of no VCR and so many episodes each year not all could be re-run, that meant planning. Now, I never pretended I was Jim West, but I wished I could have been. And I did take a car trip with a friend from Rapid City, SD to Cheyenne, WY to attend the Frontier Days rodeo because I had heard Robert Conrad was putting on a show in the corral during intermission.

What a show it was! He rode out on his magnificent horse and did a lot of fun tricks (other stunt riders did even more thrilling acts) and he had a very loud and exciting gun battle with several bad guys ending up with a good melee. Then he walked along the railing and shook hands with all the young people who were mesmerized by him. I was one - maybe a tad older than the majority of 10 year olds but I did not care.

So I was a huge fan of the show. I was overseas in the military when the two reunion movies came out although I watched them when I got back. I was not as big a fan of them but still I was glad I saw them.

The books were less welcome. The first was a rehash and not that terrific a one. The other three were disappointments as well.

Perhaps they were setting me up for the biggest let down of all, the horrible, incredibly insulting movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline, both of whom I loved and respected, and the terrific Salma Hayek who is, well, terrific. Let's take a concept of two awesome characters, bosom bodies from way back, and make them first not know each other and then not like each other. Stupid! I read Barry Sonnenfeld once said he did not want to make "just another episode." He succeeded by making a travesty. You probably sense I was not happy with it.

Luckily for the world, the original episodes are available on DVD and I have them and I have returned to those days more than once. If you can and you want a great time, you should do so, too.


My Grade: B

Your Average Grade:   A+


wonellion A+ 4/10/2015 6:12:15 AM

very good series

S Blackoak A+ 11/22/2015 5:58:02 PM

There was also a good, very steampunkish (more than the series' budget would allow), comic book miniseries put out by Millennium in 1990 or 1991. The four part story was called "Night of the Iron Tyrant" and featured everyone's favourite criminal genius Dr. Loveless. (And to be hones my A++ rating is for the actual tv series because I have never come across any of the novels.)

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