Branded (TV series)
Connors as Jason McCord and guest star Anna Morrell, 1965
|Created by||Larry Cohen|
|Opening theme||"Branded" by Dominic Frontiere and Alan Alch|
Richard Markowitz (1.13)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||48|
|Executive producer(s)||Harris Katelman (1965)|
|Producer(s)||Cecil Barker (1965)|
Andrew J. Fenady
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Branded Company (1965)|
CBS Television Distribution
|Original release||January 24, 1965 –|
September 4, 1966
Branded is an American Western series that aired on NBC from 1965 through 1966. It was sponsored by Procter & Gamble in its Sunday night, 8:30 p.m. Eastern time period. The production is staged in the post Civil War old west. The show starred Chuck Connors as Jason McCord, a United States Army cavalry captain who had been court-martialed and drummed out of the service following an unjust accusation of cowardice.
The opening title credits of each episode in the series feature a depiction of McCord's cashiering and drumming out of the military. He is then sent out of the fort where this ceremony occurred, and the gates are closed behind him. Although the exact date of McCord's cashiering is never given, events and people depicted in episodes place the events of the series itself as sometime during the first administration of President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-72) and after William Seward negotiated the Alaska purchase. The name and location of the fort are also not given; but since Bitter Creek, where the battle that caused McCord's discharge took place, is in southern Wyoming, the location of the fort is presumably within what was in 1869 the Wyoming Territory. U.S. military forts known to be in operation at that time in the territory included Fort Bridger, Fort Fetterman and Fort Laramie.
In the pilot episode, "The Vindicator," McCord is confronted by a newspaper reporter (Claude Akins) who wants a follow-up story on the Bitter Creek massacre. McCord refuses to coöperate. He knows that General James Reed, McCord's mentor, was on a peace mission to meet representatives of the Apache nation at Bitter Creek. His unit of 31 men was attacked by a group of renegade Indians known as Dog Soldiers. During the attack, McCord realized that the old general had taken leave of his senses. McCord assumed command, but it was too late. McCord was wounded in the battle and left for dead, the only survivor. He remained in a coma for 10 days after the attack. McCord was later charged with desertion, convicted at court-martial, and cashiered out of the Army.
The reporter tracks down a widow of the Bitter Creek massacre (June Lockhart). Her husband was third in command and had written several letters questioning Reed's mental state. Those letters would have been enough to grant McCord a new trial and possibly exonerate him, but McCord convinced the widow to burn the letters to protect Reed's reputation. McCord feared that if Reed's reputation were damaged, certain people in Washington, DC, would try to start a new war with the Apaches. McCord chose never to speak about what really happened at Bitter Creek.
McCord retained the handle of his broken saber with attached pommel. He had the remaining blade sharpened into a long knife, which he used in many episodes. He traveled throughout the Old West, continually confronted by people who refused to believe his innocence, requiring him to prove them wrong.
John M. Pickard appeared in six episodes as General Phil Sheridan. Other notable guest stars included Chris Alcaide, Russ Conway, Don Collier, Burgess Meredith, John Carradine, Pat Conway, Alex Cord, Janet De Gore, Dolores del Rio, Chad Everett, I. Stanford Jolley, Martin Landau, June Lockhart, Gregg Palmer, Larry Pennell, Burt Reynolds, and Lee Van Cleef.
Created by Larry Cohen, the show was co-produced for most of its run by Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions in association with Sentinel Productions, Inc. Goodson-Todman was primarily known for game and panel shows such as What's My Line?, The Price Is Right, and Match Game; those are under Fremantle now. Present-day U.S. rights to Branded came into the ownership of King World before it became CBS Television Distribution. Many stations that carry Branded today usually schedule the program alongside others about drifters in the Old West including Aaron Spelling's The Guns of Will Sonnett, which starred Walter Brennan and Dack Rambo.
The series followed Connors' series The Rifleman, but it did not have that show's longevity, lasting only 48 episodes over two seasons. The first season was shot in black and white (with the exception of the three-part story "The Mission," which was shot in color), and the second season of 32 episodes was made in color.
Season 1 (black and white)
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1-1||"Survival"||January 24, 1965|
|1-2||"The Vindicator" (pilot)||January 31, 1965|
|1-3||"The Test"||February 7, 1965|
|1-4||"The Rules of the Game"||February 14, 1965|
|1-5||"The Bounty"||February 21, 1965|
|1-6||"Leap Upon Mountains..."||February 28, 1965|
|1-7||"Coward, Step Aside"||March 7, 1965|
|1-8||"The Mission" (part one)*||March 14, 1965 (Color)|
|1-9||"The Mission" (part two)*||March 21, 1965 (Color)|
|1-10||"The Mission" (part three)*||March 28, 1965 (Color)|
|1-11||"The First Kill"||April 4, 1965|
|1-12||"Very Few Heroes"||April 11, 1965|
|1-13||"One Way Out"||April 18, 1965|
|1-14||"That the Brave Endure"||April 25, 1965|
|1-15||"Taste of Poison"||May 2, 1965|
|1-16||"Price of a Name"||May 23, 1965|
Parts One, Two, and Three of the color episode "The Mission" were later released as a movie titled Broken Sabre, with new footage. According to Western Clippings, the re-edited movie version ends with Jason "regaining his commission and resuming his army career", thus giving an ending to the series. It also ends with Jason asking a woman to marry him and she says yes. The movie was released to theaters on May 30, 1965.
Season 2 (color)
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|2-1||"Judge Not"||September 12, 1965|
|2-2||"Now Join the Human Race"||September 19, 1965|
|2-3||"Mightier Than the Sword"||September 26, 1965|
|2-4||"I Killed Jason McCord"||October 3, 1965|
|2-5||"The Bar Sinister"||October 10, 1965|
|2-6||"Seward's Folly"||October 17, 1965|
|2-7||"Salute the Soldier Briefly"||October 24, 1965|
|2-8||"The Richest Man in Boot Hill"||October 31, 1965|
|2-9||"Fill No Glass For Me" (part one)||November 7, 1965|
|2-10||"Fill No Glass For Me" (part two)||November 14, 1965|
|2-11||"The Greatest Coward on Earth"||November 21, 1965|
|2-12||"$10,000 For Durango"||November 28, 1965|
|2-13||"Romany Roundup" (part one)||December 5, 1965|
|2-14||"Romany Roundup" (part two)||December 12, 1965|
|2-15||"A Proud Town"||December 19, 1965|
|2-16||"The Golden Fleece"||January 2, 1966|
|2-17||"The Wolfers"||January 9, 1966|
|2-18||"This Stage of Fools"||January 16, 1966|
|2-19||"A Destiny Which Made Us Brothers"||January 23, 1966|
|2-20||"McCord's Way"||January 30, 1966|
|2-21||"Nice Day for a Hanging"||February 6, 1966|
|2-22||"Barbed Wire"||February 13, 1966|
|2-23||"Yellow For Courage"||February 20, 1966|
|2-24||"Call To Glory" (part one)||February 27, 1966|
|2-25||"Call To Glory" (part two)||March 6, 1966|
|2-26||"Call To Glory" (part three)||March 13, 1966|
|2-27||"The Ghost of Murietta"||March 20, 1966|
|2-28||"The Assassins" (part one)||March 27, 1966|
|2-29||"The Assassins" (part two)||April 3, 1966|
|2-30||"Headed For Doomsday"||April 10, 1966|
|2-31||"Cowards Die Many Times"||April 17, 1966|
|2-32||"Kellie"||April 24, 1966|
Timeless Media Group released both seasons of Branded on DVD in Region 1 in 2004-2005. Season 1 was released on August 3, 2004, and season 2 was released on February 8, 2005. On February 16, 2010, Timeless Media Group released Branded: The Complete Series, a six-disc box set featuring all 48 episodes of the series and several bonus features. Three minutes, however, are missing from each segment. Broken Saber (the film re-editing of "The Mission Parts One, Two, And Three") is not included.
- D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
- "Branded: Season One". Timelessvideo.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- "Branded: The Complete Second Season". Timelessvideo.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- "Branded DVD news: Announcement for Branded - The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
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