List of Then Came Bronson episodes

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Michael Parks and Bonnie Bedelia in the pilot of Then Came Bronson

The two-hour pilot of the Then Came Bronson television series aired on NBC in March 1969, followed by a single season of 26 episodes airing Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. The show was in color, and ran 60 minutes with commercials.

Episodes are listed in order of their air-dates.

Pilot[edit]

# Episode Title Overview Original air-date
P Pilot: "Then Came Bronson" Nick (Martin Sheen), a friend of Jim Bronson, commits suicide after asking Bronson to buy back his motorcycle from his soon-to-be widow Sheree North. Bronson had originally owned and customized the bike, then sold it to Nick when he became a reporter. Nick's tragedy makes Bronson think about the meaning of his life and soon decides to quit the "rat race." He then takes to the road on the motorcycle to discover what life would put in his path. Song: "Wayfarin' Stranger" (sung by Parks and Bedelia). 4/24/69

First Season[edit]

# Episode Title Overview Original air-date
1 "The Runner" In the season opener, Jim Bronson takes a temp job at Hanrahan School, a summer camp for disturbed children run by noted therapist Edward Hanrahan (Jack Klugman) and his daughter Doris who is an old girlfriend of Bronson. He becomes interested in an autistic student John (Mark Lester) known as "the runner" because to his penchant to flee. Edward Hanrahan gives Bronson wide latitude in dealing with John. Song: "Softly And Tenderly" (Parks). 9/17/1969
2 "The Old Motorcycle Fiasco" When Bronson's motorcycle is inadvertently damaged by a careless gasoline attendant, a grizzled old-timer named Alex (Keenan Wynn) lets Bronson use his ranch to make repairs. Alex shows Bronson his old bike, a 1937 Rudge Ulster, that had been in storage for years. Soon, both are riding again and, since Alex had promised his wife Nora to abandon motorcycles, it leads to complications in his marriage. Song: "Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again" (Parks).
  • Other Actors: Meg Wyllie
  • Note: Meg Wyllie portrayed the androgynous Keeper, where she was seen in full alien make-up, in the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie" (1966).
9/24/1969
3 "A Famine Where Abundance Lies" Bronson is hired by lonely widow Monica to work on her ranch. Her teenage daughter Lori soon becomes smitten with Bronson and Monica finds Bronson's demeanor captivating as well. Bronson's dilemma: how to deal with the attention of both women without causing them emotional injury. Songs: "Sunshine Showers", "Ride 'Em Cowboy" (Parks). 10/1/1969
4 "A Circle of Time" Bronson ends up in a ghost town whose sole resident is Hattie Calder (Elsa Lanchester). She piques Bronson's interest with her vitality and tales of surviving the Titanic disaster. Hattie has an ongoing quarrel with Abner Hotchman who is secretly looking for a silver vein in the area. Her one remaining wish in life: to be buried next to her husband in a nearby plot. Song: "I Think Of You" (Parks). 10/8/1969
5 "Where Will the Trumpets Be?" Bullfighter Miguel (Fernando Lamas) approaches motorcycle riding using the same aggressive methods that he uses to fight bulls. Bronson is reluctant when Miguel tries to imbue Bronson with his same values and suggests that he use similar methods. In the meantime Bella and Morgana (Jessica Walter), two beautiful sisters, compete for the attention of both men. 10/15/1969
6 "Amid Splinters of the Thunderbolt" Bronson travels to Colorado to find an old friend named Bucky O'Neill (Bruce Dern): a priest with a crisis of conscience. Bucky has fallen in love with Mary Draper and yet leaving the priesthood torments him. Mary is tortured as well and blames herself for Bucky's problem. She believes she's destined to die giving childbirth. When she refuses medical help Bronson is forced to make a decision. Song: "Wayfarin' Stranger" (Parks).
  • Other Actors: James Doohan
  • Note: Doohan, who played the doctor in this episode, is well known for his portrayal of starship engineer Scotty in the television show Star Trek a few years earlier.
10/22/1969
7 "The 3:13 Arrives at Noon" Clay Turner is a bank robber and former local hero who has been imprisoned for years. After being paroled he returns to his hometown and it causes three people anxiety. The reasons: Turner had made revenge threats to Ed Hemmings for turning him in many years ago and Earl Braeden is now married to Turner's former girlfriend Charlene Braeden. Charlene (Gloria Grahame) preens herself for Turner's return as if she were his current paramour. Amongst all this anxiety, Bronson finds Turner's return affects him as well in this modern age Western confrontation.
  • Note: Gloria Grahame acted in many films noir in the 1940s and 1950s. In this episode, like in many noir films, she plays the role of a femme fatale.
10/29/1969
8 "Old Tigers Never Die—They Just Run Away" Bronson stays at the home of Oliver (Will Geer) a retired pressman who loves to talk. Russ Faber learns that Bronson plans to enter a local motorcycle race and becomes obsessed with defeating Bronson in the race.
  • Other Actors: Diane Ladd, Iron Eyes Cody
  • Note: Will Geer had been acting since the 1930s but became blacklisted during the 1950s because he refused to testify at the HUAC hearings and to "name names." Later he became well known when he played the part of grandpa in the series The Waltons.
11/5/1969
9 "Your Love is Like a Demolition Derby in My Heart" Bronson arrives in a small town and asks Leona out on a date. She has a brother, Darryl, whose excessive protection of her causes her dismay. Bronson helps Leona enter a demolition derby that puts Bronson in a predicament with her brother. 11/19/1969
10 "Two Percent of Nothing" Bronson accepts a percentage of an oil well that is possibly ready to blow, in lieu of cash for work done for Royce MacLeod (Steve Ihnat). MacLeod faces foreclosure on the land if he can't beat the target date specified on a promissory note owned by Mac Keller. 11/26/1969
11 "All the World and God" Bronson befriends a nurse, Barbara Timmons (Lois Nettleton), who mourns the death of a doctor she worked for. Timmons considers quitting her job because of her grief but is uncertain because she worries about her patients care. Bronson admires Timmons' work as a nurturing caregiver, yet finds helping her a challenge. 12/3/1969
12 "A Long Trip to Yesterday" Bronson helps a reluctant biker in distress, Henry Tate, with a loan when his bike breaks down on the road. In order to repay him Tate takes Bronson to his family's home where he has not visited since he left many years ago. Tate's homecoming causes tribulation for all. 12/10/1969
13 "The Spitball Kid" The arrogant William Lovering (Kurt Russell) is regarded as a great pitcher in a local bush league baseball team. When Bronson rides into town and takes a job as a ball player he soon finds he's able to hit the ball off Lovering at will. Bronson tries to prepare Lovering for a try out with major league scout Art Gilroy (Don Drysdale).
  • Note: Don Drysdale, playing the scout Art Gilroy, was the renowned baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1969, the year this episode aired, he retired from baseball.
12/17/1969
14 "Against a Blank Cold Wall" Native American Tony Wade (Robert Loggia) has taken his family into bleak country to perform his Vision Quest in order to reclaim his spirit. Bronson, an old friend of Tony, locates him and his family and finds them in dire straits. Even though Tony, his wife Linda and son, are underfed and malnourished, Tony still demands that Bronson leave. Linda urges Bronson to stay and reveals a secret she has not told Tony. Song: "Oklahoma Hills" (Parks). 12/24/1969
15 "Sybil" Bronson is charmed by Sybil who fancies herself a witch and is part of a band of occultists led by cult-leader Hermes. Bronson at first is entertained by her beliefs but later recoils at her lifestyle. Ultimately, Sybil has to determine the greater meaning of the supernatural, and in the process, life. Song: "Sunshine Showers" (Parks). 12/31/1969
16 "A-Pickin' an' A-Singin'" Bronson becomes part of a singing duo with Billy Mulavey in order to compete in a song contest and land a job at a highway honky-tonk. Johnny Dell (Skip Homeier), a greedy local disk jockey, signs songwriter Billy to a restrictive contract, but Billy has running on his mind. Betty, the waitress who loves Billy, and Bronson wonder about Billy's veracity when Mickey Rand claims ownership of the songs written by Billy. Songs: "Big T Water", "Summer Days", "Mountain High" (all sung by Parks). 1/14/1970
17 "The Gleam of the Eagle Mind" When eccentric painter Juan Longorio (Jay Novello) paints a mural of a naked woman on the side of a barn it places him and Bronson in trouble with the owner, Sid Casper, and the city locals. Still, more problematic than defacing private property, the painting causes emotional anguish to Sid, the deputy sheriff Hud McCarver, and Will Hudson, because they all think the painting is a picture perfect representation of their respective wives. 1/21/1970
18 "That Undiscovered Country" When Bronson arrives in an Amish community his tales of the "outside world" captivate a young man and woman, Harold Mueller and Dorothy Hofer, who are betrothed. Soon, Harold becomes jealous of Dorothy's attraction towards Bronson and heads out to see the world he has been missing. In the city, Harold meets the model Jan and, in the meantime, back in the Amish community, Dorothy ponders about love and the future. Songs: "Wonderin' Where I'm Wanderin'", "I'm Bound For The Mountains And The Sea" (both sung by Keil Martin). 1/28/1970
19 "Lucky Day" Bronson travels to see his cousin Eve Bronson in Reno, Nevada. Eve is engaged to Len and both decide to marry while Jim Bronson is in town. Jim gives his cousin money to buy a wedding dress but Eve impetuously chooses to gamble with the money at a nearby casino and catches "the fever." Eve's absence delays the wedding plans and Len confides to Bronson about his upcoming marriage and life. 2/4/1970
20 "Mating Dance for Tender Grass" Bronson and Native American Boise Idaho both vie for the attention of beautiful Tender Grass (Buffy Sainte-Marie) by entering a cross-country motorcycle race. At first, Bronson is against the idea, but after constant provoking by Boise Idaho and his nefarious accomplices, Spare Parts One and Spare Parts Two, he decides to prove his courage and impress Tender Grass in the process. Song: "The Piney Wood Hills" (sung by Buffy Sainte-Marie).
  • Note: Buffy Sainte-Marie was a well-known folkie in the 1960s and 1970s, renowned for voicing the Native American perspective in her singing and songwriting.
2/11/1970
21 "The Mountain" The elder Wilson Ford (James Whitmore) is a renowned novelist with a secret that motivates him to act with abandon. In order to hone his writing skills and to prove his mettle, he constantly puts his courage to trial by performing daring, bold, and often foolish acts. Against his wife's wishes, Ford cajoles Bronson into a mountain hike that pits Ford against a youthful Bronson in a dangerous trek. 2/18/1970
22 "Still Waters" Harve Traine (John Colicos), publisher of "The Pacific Grove Press," warns his community in a series of editorials about the ecological havoc industrial pollution is causing the local bay and surrounding ocean. Parochial financial concerns who advertise with Harve's newspaper cause Harve emotional hardship and possible financial disaster. His daughter, Petey Traine (Veronica Cartwright) and Jim Bronson both believe in Harve's cause. Does Harve stick to his editorial guns and face monetary ruin or does he acquiesce to the wishes of his advertisers and in the process lose the respect of his daughter and Bronson? Songs: "Softly And Tenderly" (Parks); "Still Waters" (sung by John Bahler) 2/25/1970
23 "The Forest Primeval" In this environmental narrative, Bronson takes a ride in the Los Padres National Forest and runs into trouble after his motorcycle falls down an embankment. Bronson decides to ride out of the forest by following the contour of the terrain. In the process, the trip imbues Bronson with a deep respect for nature and the environment. 3/4/1970
24 "The Ninety-Nine Mile Circle" Much like the vagabond Bronson, widower Isadore Katz left his business in New York City and took to the road in a camper to experience new realities and meet new people. Bronson helps Isadore when he runs out of gas but later it is Isadore who helps Bronson after his bike needs repairs. In the process they share the beauty of the terrain and a friendship develops. Songs: "Every Time", "Tomorrow Calls My Name" (both sung by Gary Jayson). 3/11/1970
25 "The Mary R" Bronson helps his uncle Herman and his cousin Carl repair and restore a fishing boat. Carl is passionate about restoring the boat because it reminds him of his late mother yet Uncle Herman would prefer to sell the boat. When Beth (Beverly Garland), Herman's fiancée, demands that Herman choose between the boat or her, it forces Herman to make a decision. Songs: "Mary R", "Sail On" (both sung by Gary Jayson). 3/25/1970
26 "What's an Ark Without Centaurs?" In the final episode of the series, Gus Samos (Morgan Woodward) hires Bronson to work on his yacht. Samos and his daughter Vhea are not communicating well because of their conflicting lifestyles and values. When Vhea leaves to see friends in a Buddhist community Bronson follows her. In the process both father and daughter question his motivations. Song: "My Lady's A Wild Flying Dove", sung by Michael Parks, but never released by him on any single, LP or CD. This last episode originally aired on April 1, 1970, implying that the entire series had been an April Fool Joke. 4/1/1970

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