Tombstone Territory debuted October 16, 1957, as one of five new ABC Westerns, including Warner Bros. products Sugarfoot, Maverick, and Colt .45. Historian Christopher Anderson argues that this year marks a transitional period between sponsor control of production and the emergent network control that relied more heavily on Hollywood production.7 Though the Western programming trend was clearly underwritten by the economic incentives of Hollywood's excess production capacity in the face of a contracting theatrical market, Ziv executive Richard Dorso preferred to emphasize the mythic appeal of these programs, calling them "The closest modern reflection of classical Greek tragedy, in which you did not control your fate; it was inevitable - death stood waiting for you ... You have the same sort of inevitability when two men face each other on the street of a frontier town and are forced to shoot it out ... It's Oedipus meeting his father; it's inevitable, it must happen."8 Similarly, star Pat Conway, who played Sheriff Clay Hollister, argued for the importance of Shakespeare to the Western drama, while on University speaking tour during the show's first season.9 Lofty dramatic aspirations aside, Tombstone Territory was also about letting the public know of the hygiene and convenience offered by sponsor Bristol-Myers' new Ipana Plus, liquid dentifrice, i.e. toothpaste that is not pasty but instead liquid.10 Tonight's first episode "Revenge Town" aired during this first, sponsored season on November 6, 1957. It aired on Wednesdays, 8:30 EST, led-in by Disneyland and followed by The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.
Tombstone Territory only ran for one full season on ABC but was picked up for a partial run in Spring and Summer of 1959.11 After Tombstone Territory concluded its second network run on October 9, 1959, Ziv produced another year's worth of programs for syndication.12