The Oregon Trail (TV series)

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The Oregon Trail
GenreWestern drama
Created bySamuel A. Peeples
Michael Gleason
Written byE. Jack Neuman
Nicholas Corea
Directed byBill Bixby
StarringRod Taylor
Andrew Stevens
Darleen Carr
Charles Napier
Tony Becker
Gina Marie Smika
Opening theme"Oregon Bound" performed by Danny Darst
Composer(s)Don Costa
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (7 unaired)
Production
Producer(s)Carl Vitale
Michael Gleason
Richard Collins
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Universal Television
Release
Original networkNBC
Picture formatColor
Original releaseSeptember 21 (1977-09-21) –
October 26, 1977 (1977-10-26)

The Oregon Trail is an American western television series that aired on NBC from September 21 until October 26, 1977, starring Rod Taylor as widower Evan Thorpe who leaves his Illinois farm in 1842 to take the Oregon Trail to the Pacific Northwest. The show also stars Andrew Stevens, Tony Becker, and Gina Marie Smika as Thorpe's children. Darleen Carr stars as Margaret Devlin, one of the passengers on the wagon train, and Charles Napier portrays Luther Sprague, a frontier scout recruited by Thorpe. The series was filmed in the Flagstaff, Arizona area.[1]

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

NBC cancelled the show after six episodes, but the remaining seven episodes were later aired on BBC 2 in the UK,[2] and the entire series was shown in the UK on BBC1, from November 1977 to January 1978.

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
TVM"The Oregon Trail"Boris SagalMichael GleasonJanuary 10, 1976 (1976-01-10)
1"Hard Ride Home"Burt Brinckerhoff & Herb WallersteinMichael Gleason & Eugene PriceSeptember 21, 1977 (1977-09-21)
2"The Last Game"Herb WallersteinEugene PriceSeptember 21, 1977 (1977-09-21)
3"The Waterhole"Virgil W. VogelTeleplay by: Nicholas J. Corea
Story by: Parker Browning
September 28, 1977 (1977-09-28)
Guest stars: Lonny Chapman and Kim Hunter
4"Trapper's Rendezvous"Hollingsworth MorseTeleplay by: Nicholas J. Corea
Story by: William Kelley & Robert Boxberger & Nicholas J. Corea
October 12, 1977 (1977-10-12)
Guest star: Claude Akins
5"The Army Deserter"Herb WallersteinTeleplay by: Eugene Price
Story by: Stanley Roberts & Eugene Price
October 19, 1977 (1977-10-19)
Guest stars: Clu Gulager and Kevin McCarthy
6"Hannah's Girls"Don RichardsonNicholas J. CoreaOctober 26, 1977 (1977-10-26)
Guest star: Stella Stevens
7"Return from Death"Richard BenedictTeleplay by: Robert Pirosh
Story by: John W. Bloch
UNAIRED
8"The Scarlet Ribbon"Bill BixbyTeleplay by: Nicholas J. Corea
Story by: E. Jack Neuman
UNAIRED
Guest stars: Richard Jaeckel, Donna Mills, Bill Bixby and William Shatner
9"The Gold Dust Queen"William WiardRichard CollinsUNAIRED
Guest star: Susan Howard
10"Return of the Baby"Alan J. LeviTeleplay by: S.S. Schweitzer
Story by: Lester William Berke & S.S. Schweitzer
UNAIRED
Guest stars: Kim Darby and Gerald McRaney
11"Evan's Vendetta"Paul StanleyNicholas J. Corea & John Austin
Based on a novel by Burt & Budd Arthur
UNAIRED
Guest star: William Smith
12"Suffer the Children"John C. ChampionTeleplay by: Robert Hamilton
Story by: Norman Jolley & Richard H. Bartlett & Robert Hamilton
UNAIRED
Guest star: Robert Fuller
13"Wagon Race"Lewis AllenElizabeth V. WilsonUNAIRED
Guest stars: Mariette Hartley and Andrew Prine

Production[edit]

The series followed another western-themed program, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams on the NBC Wednesday schedule. The Oregon Trail aired at 9 p.m. Eastern opposite the CBS Wednesday Night Movie and ABC's detective series, Charlie's Angels. Michael Gleason was the executive producer; Richard Collins, the supervising producer; and Carl Vitale, the producer for NBC Universal Television. Bill Bixby directed two episodes. The series pilot aired on January 10, 1976.[1] Terry Wilson (Bill Hawks in Wagon Train) served as production supervisor on the series, and series stars Rod Taylor and Charles Napier co-wrote the theme song, "Oregon Bound", with singer Danny Darst.

The budget for the series was a reported $380,000 an episode.[3]

Home media[edit]

On April 13, 2010, Timeless Media Group (TMG) released the show on six DVDs, running 750 minutes. The set includes 14 original episodes, including the feature-length pilot and the six episodes that did not air on NBC.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 629
  2. ^ "The Oregon Trail". CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  3. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood (Bear Manor Media, 2010) p198
  4. ^ Lambert, David (March 12, 2010). "The Oregon Trail - The '70s NBC Show Starring Rod Taylor Comes to DVD with Unaired Episodes". TV Shows on DVD. TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.

External links[edit]