The Dakotas (TV series)
Allan A. Buckhantz
|Theme music composer||Harold Levey
Kenneth S. Webb
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||20 (1 unaired) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||William T. Orr|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Original release||January 7– September 9, 1963|
The Dakotas is an ABC/Warner Brothers western television series starring Larry Ward and featuring Jack Elam broadcast during 1963. The short-lived program is considered a spin-off of Clint Walker's Cheyenne.
The Dakotas is perhaps most notable for the fact that it was cancelled one week after heavy viewer protest over an objectionable scene.
The series follows the efforts of U.S. Marshal Frank Ragan (Larry Ward) and his three deputies, J. D.Smith (Jack Elam), Vance Porter (Mike Greene), and Del Stark (Chad Everett) as they try to keep order in the Dakota Territory during the Gilded Age prior to statehood in 1889.
All four characters initially appeared in an April 1962 episode of Cheyenne entitled "A Man Called Ragan".
However, the degree to which this episode makes The Dakotas a spin-off of Cheyenne is debatable. In the pilot on Cheyenne, the titular character of Cheyenne Bodie never appears. Also, the episode had followed five consecutive weeks of Bronco episodes, broadcast as a part of the wheel series that Cheyenne had effectively become. Moreover, the length of time between pilot and series—almost eight months—further weakened the link between Cheyenne and The Dakotas. The biggest tip-off to viewers as to the parentage of the series was that it had assumed the Monday 7:30 p.m. ET time slot previously occupied since 1959 by Cheyenne.
Among the many guest stars, George Macready appeared as Captain Ridgeway, with Jeanne Cooper as Rebecca Ridgeway, in the third episode, "Mutiny at Fort Mercy". Chris Robinson was cast as Chino in "Red Sky over Bismarck", with Andrew Duggan as Colonel Winters and Kevin Hagen as a preacher. Warren Stevens and Karen Sharpe played Cain and Angela Manning in the episode, "Crisis at High Banjo"; Robert J. Wilke was cast in the same episode as Judge Markham.
Other guest stars included:
The program would only last there long enough to finish out Cheyenne's abbreviated seventh season. When viewers saw the eighteenth episode, "Sanctuary at Crystal Springs", they were shocked by a scene that depicted the lawmen killing two outlaws in a church, one of whom had caused injury to a pastor, played by Charles Irving, before dying. Calls for The Dakotas to end its run were answered virtually overnight. After just one more episode, the show was pulled. A twentieth episode, entitled "Black Gold", had been completed, but was never shown.
Several episode titles refer to geographic place names in the Dakotas.
|Episode #||Episode Title||Original Airdate|
|1||"Return To Dryrock"||January 7, 1963|
|2||"Red Sky Over Bismarck"||January 14, 1963|
|3||"Mutiny at Fort Mercy"||January 21, 1963|
|4||"Trouble at French Creek"||January 28, 1963|
|5||"Thunder In Pleasant Valley"||February 4, 1963|
|6||"Crisis at High Banjo"||February 11, 1963|
|7||"Requiem at Dancer's Hill"||February 18, 1963|
|8||"Fargo"||February 25, 1963|
|9||"Incident at Rapid City"||March 4, 1963|
|10||"Justice at Eagle's Nest"||March 11, 1963|
|11||"Walk Through the Badlands"||March 18, 1963|
|12||"Trial at Grand Forks"||March 25, 1963|
|13||"Reformation at Big Nose Butte"||April 1, 1963|
|14||"One Day In Vermillion"||April 8, 1963|
|15||"Terror at Heart River"||April 15, 1963|
|16||"The Chooser of the Slain"||April 22, 1963|
|17||"Feud at Snake River"||April 29, 1963|
|18||"Sanctuary at Crystal Springs"||May 6, 1963|
|19||"A Nice Girl From Goliath"||May 13, 1963|
On March 24, 2015, Warner Bros. released The Dakotas- The Complete Series on DVD via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.
- The Boys Western Television and Film Annual (Purnell & Sons Ltd 1963)