Mark's girlfriend in The Rifleman also stole Beaver's heart in Leave it to Beaver
Karen Sue Trent appeared in two iconic shows during her short Hollywood career.
The very last episode of The Rifleman opens with Mark riding alongside a friend, Lorrie, who only appears this one time. She challenges Mark to a race and the two gallop away together through the trees, jumping over logs and bushes as they go.
The role was fitting for child actor Karen Sue Trent. She got her start in TV Westerns like Death Valley Days and Wagon Train before playing a tomboy in the show she is most famous for, Leave it to Beaver.
She debuted on Beaver at 11 years old as an unnamed cowgirl who lets Larry and Beav ride her "awful tall horse," Whiskers. Her tough talk and can-do attitude impress the boys.
She evidently made a good impression on the show’s producers as well, because she came back the next season as Beaver's new class rival, Penny Woods. Jeri Weil, who played Beaver's first nemesis, Judy Hensler, appeared in a few episodes alongside Trent before leaving the show.
Penny and Judy were similar in that both were know-it-all tattletales, but Penny was more pretentious with her horse shows and high aspirations. The relationship between Penny and Beaver also had another dimension revealed near the end of her time on the show.
In the episode "Farewell to Penny," Beaver calls his antagonist a "zombie" and refuses to attend her party. But the fact that it's a going-away party changes things a bit. Beaver realizes he might actually miss Penny when she's gone. She calls him cute and he lets slip that he likes her! When Penny decides to stay with her grandmother through the end of the year, Beaver is mortified. They go back to insulting each other, but Beaver's smile hints at the true feelings behind the animosity.
Lorrie and Mark's relationship in The Rifleman finale also went beyond friendship. The two share a moment talking about marriage and how they might be a good fit. Because it's the end of the show, fans can only speculate what the future held for the young pair.
The episode, titled "Old Tony" after a grouchy hermit whom Mark and Lorrie get to know, takes a dramatic turn in the end. While out looking for arrowheads, near a lake familiar to fans of The Andy Griffith Show, Lorrie gets caught in quicksand. The perilous scene reportedly injured Karen Sue Trent so badly that she never acted again.
Though her time in showbiz was short, Trent appeared in two iconic shows. She also stole the hearts of two of TV's most famous kids!