|Written by||Stephen Alexander
Robert Leslie Bellem
Milton S. Gelman
Charles B. Smith
A. Sanford Wolfe
Jim Thompson (writer)
|Directed by||Derwin Abrahams
|Narrated by||Art Gilmore|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||39|
Charles Van Enger
|Editor(s)||Charles L. Freeman
|Running time||30 mins. (approx)|
|Production company(s)||Ziv Television Programs|
Peter Rodgers Organization
|Original release||October 1, 1958 – 1959|
Mackenzie's Raiders is an American Western television series starring Richard Carlson that aired thirty-nine episodes in syndication between 1958 and 1959. The series is narrated by Art Gilmore, and was produced by Ziv Television Programs.Carlson had previously starred in another series for Ziv, the successful I Led Three Lives, a few years before .
Carlson played Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie, commander of the U.S. 4th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Clark near Brackettville in Kinney County in southwest Texas, during the 1870s. The real Mackenzie was a nephew of Confederate States of America diplomat John Slidell and the brother of Union Navy Lieutenant Commander Alexander Slidell MacKenzie.
In the series story line, Colonel Mackenzie receives secret orders from U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant and Secretary of War William W. Belknap to stop bandits from crossing the Rio Grande into the United States or from returning to Mexico.
According to screenwriter Warren Douglas, Richard Carlson, who held a Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, perceived himself to be "rather superior intellectually and culturally to most of his peers ... and he was." Following service in the United States Navy during World War II Carlson continued his acting career.
Each episode begins with a standard introduction from Art Gilmore, slightly edited here: "From the archives of the United States Cavalry, the true story of Colonel Ranald Mackenzie and the Cavalrymen he led - Mackenzie's Raiders. His secret orders from the President of the United States - clean up the Southwest ... make it a fit place for Americans to live ... wipe out renegades, outlaws, and murderers. If necessary cross the Rio Grande, knowing capture means hanging by the enemy ... discovery, court martial by the United States Army".
The series is based on the 1955 book The Mackenzie Raid by Colonel Russell "Red" Reeder. Cavalry raids into Mexico during the 1870s meant risking international incident, but under secret orders from President Grant, Mackenzie pursued maurauding bandits, gun runners, and renegade Apache. If caught he knew he would be left without support by his own government. Each episode ends with Gilmore narrating: "Mackenzie's Raiders did ride again ... and again, carrying out the secret orders of the President ... [to] do whastever necessary to make [the Southwest] a decent place to live."
Several mostly unknown actors played various "raiders" or officers, including the former attorney and economics professor Morris Ankrum, the former journalist Louis Jean Heydt, Brett King, and Jack Ging. Doug McClure, four years before he began his role as Trampas on NBC's The Virginian, appeared twice as Corporal Adam Davis; one episode is entitled "The Court Martial of Trooper Davis".
- Richard Carlson as Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie (39 episodes)
- Kenneth Alton as Raider (11 episodes)
- Morris Ankrum as Raider (12 episodes)
- Charles Boaz as Corporal Dixon (11 episodes)
- Jim Bridges as Private Lewis (11 episodes)
- Louis Jean Heydt as Raider (11 episodes)
- Brett King as Raider (11 episodes)
- John Archer
- Jim Bannon
- Jeanne Bates
- Rand Brooks (multiple appearances)
- Harry Carey, Jr.
- Iron Eyes Cody
- Walter Coy
- Ted de Corsia
- John Doucette
- Jack Elam
- Jack Ging (multiple appearances)
- Virginia Gregg
- Brett Halsey (as Lt. Summers)
- Robert Karnes
- DeForest Kelley
- Gail Kobe
- Bethel Leslie (as Lucinda Cabot)
- Forrest Lewis
- Judy Lewis
- Steve London
- Walter Maslow
- Robert McQueeney
- Dennis Moore (multiple appearances)
- Burt Mustin (as Mr. Devin)
- Leonard Nimoy
- Vic Perrin
- Glenn Strange
- Joe Turkel
- John Vivyan
- H. M. Wynant
Mackenzie's Raiders was filmed at the former Fort Apache set in what is now Corriganville Regional Park near Simi Valley in Ventura County, California. Beginning in October 1958, Mackenzie's Raiders aired thirty-nine black-and-white episodes via syndication from Ziv Television Programs (subsequently MGM Television). Rebroadcasts continued after production cease. Episodes were still being shown in the Dallas market into the 1980s. In the spring of 1960, Mackenzie's Raiders also established a comic book and a rare gun and holster set.
Prior to Mackenzie's Raiders, Richard Carlson had previously starred in another, more successful Ziv Productions series, "I Led Three Lives" from 1953-1956.
The series was produced by Lou Breslow and Elliott Lewis. Series star Richard Carlson also served as a writer and director.
The series is currently being shown on T.H.I.S. over the air channel.
- Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 112-113
- TMG's Package Art for 'The Television Series' on DVD
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., ISBN 0-14-024916-8
- Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (1999). New York: Ballantine Books ISBN 0-345-42923-0