The Rifleman

 North Fork's Blacksmith



First name.....Nils/Niles/Nels 
Last name.....Swenson/Svenson aka "The Blacksmith"

  How many actors played Nils or was it Niles or Nels?  Was it Swenson/Swensen or was it Svenson?  There were seven different actors who played Nils or Niles or Nels. 

Here is a list of all of the actors who played the blacksmith and any conflicts in the episodes - to who's who????? 

*Any questions/comments ~ I sure would like to hear them!


John Dierkes
— 1958

'Duel of Honor' as Nels Svenson

'The Sister' the Blacksmith's sign reads - Nels Svenson.  (See above)
The credits name him as Blacksmith Nels 

This picture and the one above is from 'The Sister'


*When Lucas says his name in 'The Sister' it sounds like he's saying Niles?


Frank Hagney — 1959

 In the beginning of the episode 'The Money Gun' Sanderson says.....
"Care for a drink Nels/Nils?"
The credits list him as Blacksmith


Henry Rowland — 1959

as Nels in 'The Baby Sitter'

Karl Swenson — 1960 (check out the last name)

'The Vision' — The credits list him as Svensen
'The Jailbird' — as Chris Mance

  I think this is where some of the confusion comes in with the Nils/Niles/Nels  Last name..... Swenson/Svensen ~ This is Nils Svensen ~ Farrier & Veterinarian ~ in this episode Nils has a Mrs. Svensen.




These pictures are from 'The Vision'


Joe Higgins — 1960 - 1963

'Dark Day at North Fork' as Nils Swenson
'First Wages' as Nils Swenson
'Honest Abe' as Nils Swenson
'Long Gun from Tucson' as Nils Swenson
'Gunfire' as Nils Swenson
'Man from Salinas' as Nils Swenson
'The Day a Town Slept' as Nils Swenson
'Quiet Night, Deadly Night'
as Nils Swenson



'Death Never Rides Alone' as Nils Swenson
'I Take This Woman' as Nils Swenson
'The Assailants' as Nils Swenson
'The Anvil Chorus' as Nils Swenson
'Suspicion' as Nils Swenson
'The Sidewinder' as Nils Swenson
'End of the Hunt' as Nils Swenson
'Old Man Running' as Nils Swenson

You would think Nils would know how to spell his own name, wouldn't you?  But then again on the sign above it reads
Nils Swenson.

How many times has Joe Higgins appeared on "The Rifleman?" 
Do you think this breaks any records?

Joe also appeared in 4 other episodes as a different character.

'Strange Town' (25 October 1960) - Bartender
'The Wyoming Story' - part 2 (7 February 1961) - Rafe (uncredited)
'Short Rope for a Tall Man' (28 March 1961) - Henry Schneider (uncredited)
'Stopover' (25 April 1961) - Scotty the Stagecoach Driver

*'Stopover' was the only episode to run one day over schedule.

Richard Alexander — 1960

'Smoke Screen'  as Nels
'Meeting at Midnight' as Nels
'The Martinet' as Swensen
 'The Deserter' as Nels

In 'The Deserter' ~ when the Lieutent comes over to arrest Lucas ~ there is a man fixing a wagon wheel.  It sure looks like this man.  He even has a derby on like this.  No speaking part and no credit given.

What do The Rifleman and Wanted Dead or Alive have in common?

Robert Foulk — 1959 - 1961

'Lost Treasure of Canyon Town' as Herbert Newman
'Outlaw's Inheritance' as Toomey
'The Raid' as Johannson
'Three Legged Terror' as Blacksmith (1959)
'The Second Witness' as Toomey

*According to the credits in 'The Three Legged Terror'
— Toomey
 is also a Blacksmith—See Arnold Laven's comments on this in
"The Producer's Corner"



Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and wondered who is that guy?

Tragedy Among the Stars

Dianna's Blacksmith collage

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