Trail Tales Cast Interview with Billy Joe Patton
Appeared in EIGHT Episodes of
'The Young Riders'
A Man of Many Faces.... literally!
My Questions and Comments in gold
Billy Joe in white
How were you cast in the show?
I was called in for an audition by the local casting agent, Holly Hire.
Once she saw me, then the LA casting people would make the final
*Now, when I first spoke to Mr. Patton.. he
told me that he had been in EIGHT episodes, but had 'kicked the bucket'
in SIX of them. So, I had to find out WHICH EIGHT? Wouldn't you?*
END of INNOCENCE: "I played a
soldier that was kidnapped by the Indians and they had to cut my leg
off. There was a Captain that was causing problems, they found him out
at the end and everything came out all right. Virgil Vogel directed
that episode, a great western director. He was a fine man. He was a
classic western director, there aren't that
many people out there that know how to direct a western anymore.
What are the qualities of a 'Western'
You have to know what looks good, what's right. Know how to deal with
horses. How to take advantage of the outdoors, the scenery. The overall
look of a western is different. Hire the right people for the tack.
a lot involved in a western.
I was shoot off my horse in one episode...Monty doubled me on that one.
There was the episode with David Carradine... [GHOSTS
] He shot me and they put a bungee chord/jerk line on me. Jerked me off
my feet, a serious deal, they had pads all over me, but I landed on the
only spot that didn't have any pads. Right in the small of my
It really hurt, but lucky there were no rocks or anything... there
any damage. They really go for it... you go flyin' when you do that.
That sounds scary
Yea, and David Carradine was SCARY! He played a guy they called
'Buzzard Eater'... I was the Deputy. He killed me, took my badge.
*I tried to make screen captures
of Billy being pulled off of his feet, but the footage is too dark from
the night shoot.*
Do you remember which of the actors you
worked with the most?
Well I worked with all of them.. it was kind of funny though, Ty,
I think, I worked a lot more with him. In fact I did two fights where
beat me up... and it's funny cause on the second one, I came on the set
the cast for that one part and he saw me and said 'OH NO!' He
'How many times are they gonna believe me beatin' you up?' You see,
a bit smaller than me... and he says 'They're not gonna buy this! I
you up again?' To the audience, I'd have different wardrobe,
facial hair, so they don't recognize you, that you've been there
Then you have fans, who *ahem* shall remain
nameless, who watch it enough on tape that they recognize the repeat
My own mother didn't recognize me once. I was a mormon preacher, and
I'd shaved my mustache and just had a beard, no mustache. I think that
one was UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
Then one time I doubled a guy that was over 300 lbs. They stuffed me
all full of pillows and stuff. There are always ways to get away
with working so much. We worked about every four episodes. I had
friends that worked
a lot more than I did cause they were in outlaw gangs. They'd be
riding a lot and they'd be in the whole show. I'd be... for example on
where I was the Dad [BLOOD MONEY] my character was the main concern of
over all program, but I just worked like three days, where they would
the whole week... 'cause they're on horses riding around, with the
riders chasing after them back and forth... so they would actually make
more money than I would, but they would get less exposure. I don't know
what 'exposure' is worth.
It's sometimes interesting how that works out.
Bloopers or Outakes?
Mostly dropped lines... I don't remember anything drastic... but there
was that time, Don wouldn't like me tellin' you this but there was one
time when he was on a horse one time.. he lost a pedal, as they say, he
foot out of a stirrup and fell off his horse.
Stuff like that always happens. The horse doesn't always agree and you
can't get them in the right position. Then you have to get your
dialogue down.. mostly it's a lot of - you know, one time Ty hit
me in the nose during a fight. That kind of stuff just happens.
Most stuntmen don't like doin' fights with actors.
Because they're not completely trained?
Right, they want a double, but then some actors are very prideful, they
don't want to be doubled. That's not Ty's case. He's just a great guy,
really... always enjoyed working with him. It's just one of those
things, he messed up. In the fight he's got a lot of other things on
his mind, where a stunt man is always thinkin'.. about the moves... how
it's choreographed.. like a dance and they're used to doing that...it's
what they do. So, he just forgot what he was doin' at some point and it
He was probably more surprised than
BLOOD MONEY: Billy Joe played DYSON
in the episode. DYSON was the unfortunate gentleman who tried to steal
Kid's horse... and you know what they say about a man and his horse..
well, esp. THIS man and his horse... We never 'saw' this death.
Billy says it was
more of a 'set up'. It was also the first time he'd had his name in TV
Yeah...yeah... In fact, I have it on a reel, on a tape, where you can
see him go. 'Darn it.' Just keep going.. keep going... so it's kind of
funny. Mostly, it was verbal stuff... but occasionally some
physical things, but that always happens.
Who else from the show did you work with
Oh yeah.. I liked the first season when Brett Cullen and Melissa Leo
were on and I really liked both of them a lot. They were very
personable. It was kind of a shock... when last minute.. before the
second season, they dropped them. Nobody was expecting that. I
never really got to work much with Melissa's replacement. Josh
and I worked together well, he was really good... and all of them...
yeah... Gregg was really good. Baldwin
was always pulling stuff [jokes] that he thought was funny.
was a big movie star and I talked to him a few times.
Did you work on all three seasons?
I worked on the first two, then Jim Keach he was a producer of the
third season and, he had been the director of the episode I had done
with Carradine, but he never hired me for the third season.
The first episode I did was.... I was Hickok's father in a flashback of
his dad abusing his mom... GUNFIGHTER
What other directors did you work with?
Joe Scanlon was one of the best. I worked for him on two of 'em. *Joseph Scanlon directed Pride and Prejudice &
Blood Money & Starlight Starbright* I worked for Virigil on
three of them *A Good Day to Die & Decoy
& Dead Ringer & Blood Moon & The Littlest Cowboy &
Requiem for a Hero & Kansas & Talisman...etc* . James
Keach was an excellent director. This other guy, Bill Gerrity
was another one... they stand out in your mind for different reasons.
I was in GATHERING CLOUDS... Lee Katzen, directed that, he's an
old time director. I was a corporal.. a bad guy looking like a good guy.
*Billy is the officer on the RIGHT*
|Then I have the EXCHANGE down.... as a
Captain. A Cavalry Captain.
I was a bad guy in SONG OF ISIAH. I was a bad guy in that one too.. I
think I was shot. They put some squib hits on that one.. they
in the episode.
You know, I love to do the stunt parts. The riding stuff, but I don't
usually come across mean enough to be a bad guy. Don't get that many
parts. One time I was told my eyes weren't menacing enough. I can get a
mean as I can get... think I'm really mean.. and they're like.. 'okay,
next!' They don't take me seriously.. I'm not MEAN.
It can be a good thing, I remind him... you'll just have to be the hero.
True.. but I just love the stunts, getting shot.. of course I used to..
I was younger than .it's easier to do it when you're younger. Fights
aren't bad, that's something pretty straightforward. Standard practice.
We had some great wrap parties. The end of the first season, Brett
Cullen was good friend of Dennis Quaid and Dennis Quaid is a great
musician.. so he got his band to play for the first year wrap party.
They were hot... rock 'n' roll.. it was a huge deal! Every year they
have a wrap party.. but the first year was really the best with the
band. It was at a local bar that they had rented for the night.
Just for the private party... It was
by the university, a popular college bar. The next year it was a
different bar, but I haven't been in town for awhile, so I don't
remember which one.
Billy asked me if I'd spoken to any of the
other guys and put me in touch with Ed Adams. Ed had taught Billy about
stunt work and the two had worked together on and off for years. Check
back on the
main index page and watch for Ed's interview to be posted.
Talk about Fun!!! Mr.
Patton was a doll... and thanks to him, the Tucson connections have
started pouring in! Such a gentleman indeed! - Raye