‘The Rifleman’ Star Chuck Connors’ Son Jeff Got a Nice Payday for His First Guest Appearance

by Taylor Cunningham

The Rifleman creators paid Chuck Connors’ son Jeff a pretty penny to guest star in a 1959 episode of the classic TV Western.

The young actor made his television debut in the episode titled Tension. The story followed a rancher named Sid Halpern, who seemed completely normal to the North Fork townsfolk. But he reveals to Lucas that he’s hiding an outlaw’s past. And eventually, that past catches up to him when he ends up in a gunfight with a band of bounty hunters.

After the shootout, Sid winds up dead, but Lucas decides it’s best to keep the criminal dealings a secret. So he decides not to tell Sid’s wife, Mary, and son, Toby.

Chuck Connors’ son Jeff played Toby, but he only got a small part on screen. In fact, he only said a total of 21 words.

When Lucas offers his condolences at the funeral, he tells Toby that he’s the man of the house now and the young boy replies with, “I know sir. I’ll try to do my best.”

Then, Toby turns to his mother and says, “Ma, we better hurry if we don’t want to miss our stage.”

Despite the fact that he only uttered three sentences, the show paid him an impressive $300. And while that doesn’t sound like much, remember that Jeff Connors earned the money in the 1950s. Today, that amount would translate to $3,000.

Chuck Connor’s Son Had to Get a Workers Permit to Star on ‘The Rifleman’

Rifleman fansite posted a vintage pic of the Connors boys working on the set of the episode. And in a caption, it shares that the seven-year-old “cowboy” had to get a California permit to take the gig, which isn’t surprising considering the pay. The site also noted that the young star practiced his “two-line part” like crazy.

Because Chuck Connors’ son enjoyed himself so much —and got paid handsomely to do so —he returned to the set twice more.

The following year, he played an uncredited schoolboy in The Schoolmaster. In that episode, Jeff’s brothers, Mike, Steve, and Kevin also joined him on screen.

Then in 1961, he returned again for First Wages and also played an uncredited role. Aside from The Rifleman, Chuck Connors also brought his son along to make a cameo in his 1973 film The Mad Bomber.

But while the pay was great, little Luke didn’t go on to be a famous Hollywood star like his old man. The kid never appeared in a project that wasn’t alongside the legendary Chuck.

His older brother Mike, however, did go on to have a successful career in the film industry. But instead of being a screen side star, he worked as a dolly grip in 47 movies like Lincoln Lawyer, As Good as it Gets, and Wedding Crashers.