Sierra (TV series)
Behind-the-scenes photo of how Cruncher the bear, a show regular, was filmed.
|Created by||Jack Webb|
|Starring||James G. Richardson
|Theme music composer||Lee Holdridge and
|Composer(s)||John Denver (additional music by)
Lee Holdridge (1.1, 1.5)
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||14 (13 + 1 movie)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jack Webb
Robert A. Cinader
|Location(s)||California (Yosemite Nat. Park)
|Running time||60 mins.|
|Production company(s)||Mark VII Limited
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1.33 : 1 color|
|Original release||12 September –
24 December 1974 (full-length movie; series actually cancelled on 12 December 1974)
Sierra is a 1974 television crime drama series focusing on the efforts of National Park Service rangers to enforce federal law and to effect wilderness rescues. The program aired on NBC and was packaged by Jack Webb's Mark VII Limited for Universal Television. The show's theme song was written by Lee Holdridge (music) and John Denver (lyrics). Robert A. Cinader, executive producer of Mark VII's Emergency! (which partially inspired this show), handled this program also; Bruce Johnson produced.
The show derived its name from its setting, the fictional Sierra National Park, a part of the U.S. National Park Service. In reality, exteriors were filmed at Yosemite National Park. The tenth episode, "The Urban Ranger", established that the park also existed within the same fictional world populated by the characters of Emergency!, its sister Mark VII show. The series was spun off as a backdoor pilot episode of Emergency!. The two paramedic characters from Emergency!, played by Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth, also appeared in an episode of Sierra.
Like many Mark VII Limited television dramas, the show centered on a pair of leads in a public service job, backed up by a supporting cast of characters from within the same organization. In this case, the leads were James G. Richardson as Ranger Tim Cassidy and Ernest Thompson as Ranger Matt Harper. The cast was rounded out by their boss, Chief Ranger Jack Moore (Jack Hogan), and fellow rangers Julie Beck (Susan Foster) and P. J. Lewis (Michael Warren).
The show was cancelled after three months, one of the first casualties of the 1974-75 television season. This occurred largely because of the popularity of The Waltons, which was its direct competition on CBS. The ABC entry in the same time slot, Paper Moon also failed at midseason. Unusually, the final series episode aired on Christmas Eve as a modified version of its previously-unaired pilot episode, The Rangers.