The Rifleman
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 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

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
 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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