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Stagecoach West
Format Western
Starring Wayne Rogers
Robert Bray
Richard Eyer
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 38
Production
Running time 60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format Black and white (1960-1961)
Original run October 4, 1960 – June 27, 1961

Stagecoach West is a highly-acclaimed 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 Missouri to San Francisco. 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 less sensational events as well.[1] Stagecoach West was somewhat similar to the Wagon Train series on NBC and later ABC. 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.[2]

Rogers later became popular a dozen years later on M*A*S*H[3], and Bray later portrayed the forest ranger Corey Stuart on Lassie from 1964-1969, both on CBS.[4] Child actor Eyer had starred in a number of films in the 1950s, including Friendly Persuasion and Desperate Hours.[5]

Stagecoach West was a spin-off of CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. It was produced by 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. The same fate had fallen on CBS's Johnny Ringo in 1960.[1]

In the debut episode called "High Lonesome", Simon meets a man at a way station who has been hired to kill him. Kentucky native James Best starred in the segment as Les Hardee. He would later become known as bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on CBS's The Dukes of Hazard. In the second episode, a young couple, played by Gigi Perreau and Robert Harland, is eloping, and a mysterious stranger named Dawson is following them.[6]

In a heart-warming episode called "The Orphans", two children from Spain come west to seek their father, but when they locate him, they find him dead. In the eleventh episode entitled "Three Wise Men", Denver Pyle played a dying criminal who asked that he be allowed to see his wife and children on Christmas Eve. In "The Outcasts", Deputy Ken Rawlins, played by Don Dubbins, fires upon a fleeing gang of robbers and kills his own brother, who is one of the bandits.[6]

In the final episode called "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.[6]

Notable guest stars on Stagecoach West included Chris Alcaide, James Coburn, Ben Cooper, Jack Elam, Beverly Garland, Virginia Grey, Robert Harland, Jack Lord, Darren McGavin, Warren Oates, Cesar Romero, and Robert F. Simon. Alcaide and Garland had appeared together in the 1956 film Gunslinger.[7]

Here is the refrain from the Stagecoach West theme song:

When you’re feeling lowdown

And you need some rest

Leave that eastern town

Take the Stagecoach West.[7]

References

External links

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