The Oregon Trail (TV series)
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|The Oregon Trail|
|Written by||E. Jack Neumann|
|Directed by||Bill Bixby|
Gina Marie Smika
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||One-half|
|No. of episodes||20 (6 not aired)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||September 21, 1977 – November 30, 1977|
The Oregon Trail is a 14-episode NBC western television series starring Rod Taylor as the widower Evan Thorpe, who leaves his Illinois farm in 1842 to take the Oregon Trail to the Pacific Northwest. The show also starred Andrew Stevens, Tony Becker, and Gina Marie Smika as Thorpe's children. Darleen Carr starred as Margaret Devlin, one of the passengers on the wagon train, and Charles Napier portrayed Luther Sprague, a frontier scout recruited by Thorpe. The series was filmed in the Flagstaff, Arizona area.
Of the fourteen episodes produced, only six were aired:
- "Hard Ride Home and the Last Game", September 21 (Wilford Brimley)
- "Trapper's Rendezvous", October 12 (Claude Akins)
- "Hannah's Girl", October 26 (Stella Stevens, mother of Andrew Stevens, as Hannah Morgan)
The following are seven unaired episodes:
- "The Man Who Wouldn't Die"
- "Return of the Baby" (again Mills, Shatner, and Bixby)
- "Suffer the Children"
- "Wagon Race".
The series followed another western-themed program, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams on the NBC Wednesday schedule. It aired at 9 p.m. Eastern opposite the CBS Wednesday Night Movie and ABC's detective series, Charlie's Angels. Michael Gleason was the executive producer; Richard Collins, the supervising producer; Carl Vitale, the producer for NBC Universal Television. Bill Bixby also directed two episodes. The series pilot aired on January 10, 1976.
The budget for the series was a reported $380,000 an episode.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 629
- Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood (Bear Manor Media, 2010) p198