After getting offered the chance to star in The Magnificent Seven (1960), McQueen found out that the only way he could do the film, which was being shot simultaneously with "Wanted: Dead or Alive", was to fake an accident or illness and get a medical leave from the series. According to his first wife, Neile, McQueen accomplished this feat by "faking" a car crash in which he merely crashed his car into a tree, receiving minor cuts, muscle pulls, and bruises, and getting his medical leave. The series' production went on temporary hiatus while McQueen filmed "The Magnificent Seven".
Steve McQueen's characterization of a sympathetic bounty hunter was first tested in an episode of the Western series, Trackdown (1957) which starred Robert Culp as a Texas Ranger.
Initially, the creators of the series had a hard time selling the show because bounty hunters were thought to be unsavory characters and have been portrayed as such in numerous western shows and movies. The creators overcame this obstacle by having Josh Randall give most, sometimes ALL, of his earnings to help people such as the families of people murdered by the men Randall brings in, thus making Randall a sympathetic and likable character.
Steve McQueen was hired after Jack H. Harris, who was producing The Blob (1958) gave him a glowing reference to Dick Powell (the head of Four Star Productions). Powell also asked for, and was granted, the opportunity to view a rough cut of that film.
The Mare's Leg weapon carried by Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) is a cut down Winchester model 1892 carbine in 44-40 caliber, but the bullets in his cartridge belt are 45-70 caliber rounds used in the larger, more powerful rifles of the day. The producers wanted to use the 45-70s because they were more visually impressive than the relatively small, pistol sized rounds actually used in the 1892 carbine. The use of the 1892 carbine is itself an anachronism as the series is set in the 1870s.
According to several episodes, Josh Randall was a war veteran having served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
According to the A&E Biography profile of Steve McQueen (featured in the Season ONE DVD Set), McQueen took the role of Josh Randall because his prospects for acting in movies were drying up. When the series started becoming hit, McQueen began getting more and more noticed by the film industry. So much so that director John Sturges, who'd used McQueen in the war movie Never So Few (1959) cast McQueen in the western hit The Magnificent Seven (1960), the movie that launched McQueen's rise to stardom. After making "Mag-7", McQueen began to get more and more movie offers again and decided to quit the show to pursue his film career, thus canceling the series.
The "Mare's Leg" firearm is a model 1892 Winchester (although the series is set in the 1870's) with shortened barrel and cut-off shoulder stock, a product of the era of "gimmick" guns in Westerns of the 1950's. Several firearms manufacturers produce firing replicas of this firearm and its holster. It is too short to be fired like a rifle and if fired like a handgun requires an awkward and uncomfortable angle on the wrist. Although visually striking, from a practical standpoint it is almost useless for self-defense.
Just an observation, check out how many times he touches, adjusts his hat. The same upstaging technique he uses in the film "The Magnificent Seven".
In Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Woody Strode used a sawed down Winchester Model 1892 rifle, "Mare's Leg" as his weapon at the opening duel in a tribute to the Western series, Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-1961).
In "My Name Is Nobody" (1973) two of the headmen of the "Wild Bunch" gang carry a "Mare's Leg" firearm (A Model 1892 Winchester), in a tribute to the Western series, Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-1961), in which Steve McQueen's bounty hunter used as a main weapon.
In The Magnificent Seven (TV Series 1998-2000) - Vin Tanner (Eric Close) carries a Winchester Model 1892 "Mares Leg" Rifle as his main weapon, in a tribute to the Western series, Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-1961), in which Steve McQueen's bounty hunter used as a main weapon. Eric Close plays the character Steve McQueen played in the original film.
In Catlow (1971), Leonard Nimoy plays a bounty hunter who carries a Winchester Model 1892 "Mares Leg" Rifle as his main weapon, in a tribute to the Western series, Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-1961), in which Steve McQueen's bounty hunter used as a main weapon.
The mare's leg cutdown was created by Kenny Howard, aka Von Dutch, the pinstriper, mechanic, tin-knocker, gunsmith, knifesmith, and Kustom Kulture visionary in LA. McQueen initially collaborated with Howard on this weapon for an episode in the earlier Robert Culp series "Trackdown" and continued with it in the spinoff series "Wanted: Dead or Alive". The DVD boxed set includes a clip of McQueen pinching the heck out of one his fingers, camera rolling, while handling the mare's leg. Ouch!
In Westworld (TV series 2016), a robot "bad guy villain" carries a Winchester Model 1892 "Mares Leg" Rifle as his main weapon in a rifle holster on his back. The rifle has been modified with more modern touches, but is basically the same model that Steve McQueen used in the Wanted: Dead or Alive TV Series.
The Assay Clerk or any Store Keep or Bartender would have a Pair of Sleeve Stockings to protect his shirt sleeves. These were used to keep your shirt sleeves and cuffs clean in a time when laundering was not done on a daily basis, as we do today. A pair of these really adds to the image of a general store clerk, or a newspaper editor on the early frontier. These were also worn by Fancy Dan Gamblers to protect their ruffled cuffs and white shirts. When the store clerk loaded the old wood stove soot around the door was bound to dirty even the most careful. These are black or dark brown cotton with elastic arm bands.