James Neilson served as director for a wide variety of television programs over the span of nearly two decades. His career began with such programs as "Father Knows Best", but by the mid-'50s, Neilson was working on actor showcases including "The Ford Television Theatre", "Celebrity Playhouse", and "G.E. True Theater" (for which he was nominated for an Emmy). This led to directing a dozen episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and considerable work in the western genre; along with the James Stewart vehicle "Night Passage" in 1957, Neilson helmed such Old West series as "Wagon Train", "The Rifleman", and "Have Gun, Will Travel". His dalliance with the western continued into the '60s with "Bonanza", but Neilson also found time to direct episodes of "The Fugitive" and "Batman", and his film credits at the time include the Hayley Mills feature "Summer Magic" along with the westerns "Return of the Gunfighter" and "The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin". He appeared to leave cowboy hats and saloons behind permanently during the '70s, when his directorial credits featured such contemporary crime dramas as "Ironside" and "Adam-12". Neilson's last credit prior to his death in December 1979 was a television movie version of "Tom Sawyer".