Stagecoach West (TV series)
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|Composer(s)||Herschel Burke Gilbert|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||38|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Picture format||Black and white (1960-1961)|
|Original release||October 4, 1960– June 27, 1961|
Stagecoach West is an American Western drama television series which ran for thirty-eight episodes on the ABC network from October 4, 1960, until June 27, 1961. Characters Luke Perry (played by Wayne Rogers) and Simon Kane (Robert Bray) operate the Timberland Stage Line from fictitious Outpost, Missouri to San Francisco, California. Simon's 15-year-old son, David "Davey" Kane (played by Richard Eyer), joins the two as they face stagecoach robbers, murderers, inclement weather, and human interest stories. Perry and Kane, who are both deputy U.S. marshals, had been on opposite sides of the American Civil War; Kane, a captain in the Union Army, while Perry had fought for the Confederate States of America. The one-hour black-and-white program was offered at 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesdays opposite NBC's Thriller, hosted by Boris Karloff, and CBS's The Red Skelton Show.
Rogers became well-known a dozen years later on M*A*S*H, and Bray later portrayed the forest ranger Corey Stuart on Lassie from 1964–1969, both on CBS. Child actor Richard Eyer had starred in a number of films in the 1950s, including Friendly Persuasion and Desperate Hours.
Stagecoach West was produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television. It is believed that the series was cancelled despite the high quality of its production because of the glut of westerns on television at the time that it aired. The same fate had fallen on CBS's Johnny Ringo, a 1959 one-season spin-off of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater.
In the debut episode called "High Lonesome", Simon meets a man at a stagecoach way station who has been hired to kill him. James Best guest stars in the segment as Les Hardee. Best later became known as bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on CBS's The Dukes of Hazzard. In the second episode on October 11, 1960, "The Land Beyond", a young couple from the East, played by Gigi Perreau and Robert Harland, ride the stagecoach as they plan for an elopement, but a mysterious stranger named Dawson, portrayed by Richard Anderson, is following them.
In "The Unwanted" (October 25, 1960), Luke in self-defense kills an irascible passenger in a gunfight and then feels obligated to care for his widow, Mary Kelly, played by Bethel Leslie, and the young daughter, Sara, portrayed by Tammy Marihugh. Luke also must kill Ben Marple, played by Gerald Mohr, who tries to abscond with Mary. For a time, it appears that Luke will adopt Sara after Mary abandons her child and turns to drinking. When Mary is rehabilitated and finds love with a respectable farmer, she is reunited with Sara. Semiregulars John Litel and James Burke appear in this episode as Dan Murchison and Zeke Bonner, respectively.
In "Red Sand" (November 22, 1960), Kane and son are trapped in a sandstorm in a frontier house with two outlaws, Tanner and Brady, played by Harold J. Stone and Dean Jones, respectively, who are sought by the United States Army for armed robbery and the death of two guards. The young woman of the house, Martha Whitlock, played by Diana Millay, was recently deserted by her husband who had failed at farming. She becomes interested in Brady, who considers himself a failure since he was orphaned at an early age. Edgar Buchanan plays eccentric storekeeper Lum Jensen. In the story line, Jones' character is not guilty of the robbery and shooting of the guards but is involved in accessory after the fact as well as the spending of a small part of the stolen money at Jensen's store. Dean Stockwell plays an Army sergeant in this episode.
In "The Saga of Jeremy Boone" (November 29, 1960), Ben Cooper plays the title role of a wealthy young Texan seeking to establish his own ranch in the Midwest and who claims descent from frontiersman Daniel Boone. He is smitten by Felicia Sparks, a beautiful conwoman some ten years his senior, played by Marti Stevens. Steve Brodie plays Deuce Stone, Felicia's estranged partner, who tries to kill Jeremy for the $40,000 in his money belt. Joe Conley, more than a decade before The Waltons, makes a brief appearance as a livery stable owner in this segment. Wayne Rogers as Luke Perry races to keep Deuce from killing Jeremy.
In "The Orphans", two children from Spain come west to seek their father but soon find him dead. In "Three Wise Men", Dick York plays a dying criminal who asked that he be allowed to see his wife and children on Christmas Eve.
In the episode entitled "The Arsonist" (February 14, 1961), James Dunn portrays Jethrow Burke, the retiring bookkeeper at a paint store, who agrees to help his boss destroy the factory in return for insurance money. Instead, the owner is killed in a failed robbery carried out by the nefarious Jack Craig, played by James Best in his second appearance in the series. Craig has a seeming romantic interest in Burke's much younger wife, Sally, played by Adela Mora. Craig joins the Burkes on Luke Perry's stagecoach en route to San Francisco and tries to steal the $5,000 that the store owner had given Burke as a retirement gift.
In "Songs My Mother Told Me" (February 21, 1961), Arthur O'Connell portrays Matt Dexter, an aging Irish drifter who flees when he witnesses a shooting and is sought as a material witness to a crime. Two criminals, one of whom is played by Richard Devon, also seek Dexter's whereabouts to make sure that he never testifies in court. Young Davey Kane sneaks food and clothing to Dexter, who kills a rattlesnake that had threatened Davey and his dog, Hannibal. Dexter also teaches Davy new songs on his harmonica.
In "The Outcasts" (March 7, 1961), Don Dubbins is cast as Ken Rawlins, a young lawman with a shady past who turns in his badge after he kills his own outlaw brother while trying to foil a bank robbery; he then heads west and takes a job as a handyman. Then thirty-two, Dubbins delivers a gripping performance as one of an unlikely group of people facing personal challenges who are gathered at the Timberline stagecoach station. Joanna Moore portrays Ruby Sanders, a woman for whom Rawlins wants to borrow $200 so that she can return to her hometown and escape the clutches of an unscrupulous man who has been following her. Lyle Talbot portrays a widower attracted to a mail order bride, Cora Temple, played by Hollis Irving, who is pledged to another man in the community.
In "The Remounts" (March 14, 1961), outlaws pose as Army soldiers in a brazen attempt to steal cavalry remount horses rounded up by the hard-working Clete Henry and Hutch Barnett, played by James Beck and Don Burnett, respectively. When Davey Kane is held hostage by the outlaws, his father Simon must devise a daring plan to rescue him. Chris Alcaide, James Griffith, Don C. Harvey, and Mort Mills are among guest stars in this episode.
In the series finale, "The Marker", Luke helps a beautiful woman named Jenny Forbes, played by Ruta Lee, hide from her former boyfriend, a gambler called Mingo. When Mingo learns of the developments, he sends Luke a tombstone as a present.
Other guest stars
Besides the ones aforementioned, notable guest stars on Stagecoach West included:
- "Stagecoach West" (1960)
- Wayne Rogers (I)
- Robert Bray (I) - Biography
- Richard Eyer: Information and Much More from Answers.com
- Stagecoach West - TV.com
- "Stagecoach West: "The Unwanted"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Stagecoach West: "Red Sand"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- "Stagecoach West: "The Saga of Jeremy Boone"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Stagecoach West: "The Arsonist"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Stagecoach West: "Songs My Mother Told Me"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Stagecoach West: "The Outcasts"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Stagecoach West: "The Remounts"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- The High Chaparral TV Stagecoach West