Tag Archives: TV Westerns

TV Westerns

My series of posts about visiting the American West has reminded me of my post about TV Westerns .

I thought I might recycle it here…

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

How many of these cowboys do you remember?

I always wanted to be Flint McCullough from Wagon Train.  He was played by actor Robert Horton.  Later he was replaced by Robert Fuller as Cooper Smith who also played the Part of Vin in the film  ‘Return of The Magnificent Seven’

Postcard From The USA – Bryce Canyon


I quickly formed the view that this was probably the most amazing and scenic National Park that we had visited so far and looking out over the canyon the red, orange and white hues of the vertical rock formations tinted with other subtle variations of colour provided spectacular views that simply have to be seen to be believed.

From the visitor centre we walked along the Canyon Rim Trail and came across one marvellous spectacle after another. I couldn’t possibly describe them adequately here but the names give clues to their magnificent splendour, Fairyland Canyon, Rainbow Point, The Pink Cliffs, Sinking Ship and The Tropic Valley. We certainly didn’t have time to walk all of the eighteen mile trail but what we saw was enough to make me put it on my ‘to come back to someday‘ list and I sincerely hope that I will.

Bryce Canyon Cedar Breaks

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TV Westerns

Dale Robertson Wells Fargo

On page two of Dad’s Scrap Book is a newspaper cut out picture of TV Western actor Dale Roberston who was the star of the show Wells Fargo.

Dad like TV westerns, so naturally I did too.  One of my favourites was Bonanza. Bonanza was a wholesome, good always triumphs over bad, TV western but for me had some unanswered questions as well.

For a start this was a men only show where three grown up brothers lived on a Ranch with their Pa and never changed their clothes!

It’s absolutely true – they always wore the same outfits: Ben Cartwright: Sandy shirt, tawny leather vest, grey pants, cream-coloured hat, Adam Cartwright: Black Shirt, black trousers, black hat. Hoss Cartwright: White shirt, brown suede vest, brown trousers, large beige flat-brimmed, ten-gallon hat. Little Joe Cartwright: Beige, light grey shirt, green corduroy jacket, tan trousers, beige hat.

Ben Cartwright was the wise and intelligent father, the eldest son Adam was the smart one who had designed and built the Ponderosa Ranch, Hoss by contrast was hopelessly dim but as strong as an ox and the youngest son, Little Joe was a romantic with a fiery temper.  Because they didn’t have a woman about the ranch to do the chores the Chinese cook, Hop Sing, completed the household personnel and there must have been a cleaner somewhere because for a house shared by five men the ranch was always spotlessly clean.

Now, in 1950’s and 1960’s westerns the characters had manly names like Cheyenne Body, Rowdy Yates, Bronco Lane, Flint McCullough, some had only one name like Paladin in Have Gun Will Travel and some were so tough they didn’t have a name at all, like the Virginian. Inexplicably Hoss’ real name was Eric!  Who’s ever heard of a cowboy called Eric for goodness sake?

It was hardly surprising that Ben wasn’t married anymore because each of the sons had a different mother and they had all come to a premature end.   Adam’s mother was Elizabeth, who died in childbirth.  Hoss’ mother Inger was killed by Indians, and Little Joe’s mother, Marie, died after falling off her horse.

Poor old Little Joe inherited this misfortune from his father because there was always one thing that you could be sure of in Bonanza and that was that if he met a woman and fell in love the unfortunate actress had only got a one episode contract and was sure to die!

Another of my favourite westerns was the Lone Ranger and there are a couple of things have always intrigued me about Kemo Sabe as well:

Firstly, why was he called the Lone Ranger when he was never alone?  He was accompanied everywhere by his loyal Indian friend Tonto (real name Jay Silverheels).  Perhaps native Americans didn’t count in the 1950’s?

Secondly, the most baffling thing about the Lone Ranger was that he wasn’t the sort of guy you would miss easily in a crowd.  He wore a powder blue skintight costume  and a broad brimmed white Stetson, wore a black mask to conceal his face, had a deep baritone voice and rode in a black buckled saddle on a magnificent white stallion called Silver. Tonto’s horse was called Scout by-the-way.

It was surprising therefore that no one could ever recognise him!  Now I’d have thought that word would have got out about someone as characteristic as that.  Interestingly the only thing that gave him away usually came at the end of the show and when asked who he was by a cerebrally challenged lawman he would pass the inquirer a silver bullet and then the penny would finally drop.  “That was the Lone Ranger,” they would announce as the masked stranger and Tonto galloped off at an impossibly high-speed to the sound of Rossini’s William Tell overture.

Other favourite TV westerns of mine ( mostly from the Scrap Book, but not all) were:

Alias Smith & Jones

Bronco Lane





Have Gun will Travel

High Chaparral




Overland Trail

Range Rider




The Dakotas


The Virginian

Wagon Train

  Robert Fuller Wagon Train  John McIntire

Wells Fargo

Has anyone got a favourite TV Western?

More Leif Ericson – The Answers

A few days ago I set a TV western challenge to name the actors from their birth names:

Here are the answers:

Marion Mitchell Morrison – the one and only John Wayne


James Scott Bumgarner – James Garner (Bret Maverick)

James Garner Maverick

Jack Carlton Moore – Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger)

His companion Tonto was played by actor Jay Silverheels who was a genuine First Nations Mohawk but whose real name was a disappointing Harold J. Smith!

Buddy Lee – Robert Fuller (Wagon Train)

Robert Fuller Wagon Train

Norman Eugene Walker – Clint Walker (Cheyenne Body)

Clint Walker Cheyenne Body

Leonard Franklin Slye – Roy Rodgers

Roy’s horse was called Trigger but its real name was Golden Cloud.

Roy Rodgers and Trigger

Lyon Himan Green – Lorne Green (Ben Cartwright, Bonanza)

Bonanza Ben Cartwright

Eugene Maurice Orowitz – Michael Landon (Little Jo, Bonanza)

Little Joe

Orison Whipple Hungerford – Ty Hardin (Bronco Lane)

Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg – Jane Seymour (Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman)

Jayne Semour Medicine Woman

How did you do?

7-10    Blazing Saddles

4-7      How the West was Won

0-3      Custer’s Last Stand

More Leif Ericson – The High Chaparral

Leif Erikson

When I was a boy I used to like to watch TV Westerns.

Leif Erickson (real name William Wycliffe Anderson) played John Cannon in the High Chaparral  which I have to say was never one of my big favourites. This seems to me to be a strange alternative name to choose, he wasn’t even from Minnesota and Will Anderson sounds like a perfectly good name for a cowboy actor to me.

Challenge – Here are the birth names of ten more western actors – Do you know what they changed them to and how they became better known?

Marion Mitchell Morrison (an easy one to start with)

James Scott Bumgarner

Jack Carlton Moore

Buddy Lee

Norman Eugene Walker

Leonard Franklin Slye

Lyon Himan Green

Eugene Maurice Orowitz

Orison Whipple Hungerford

and finally Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg (just one TV western series but a famous actress)

I’ll give the answers in a day or two…

Coach Trip – USA National Parks, Lake Powell and Kanab

Lake Powell

After breakfast and check out we returned to the South Rim Visitor Centre to spend some more time at the Canyon to see it in the daylight.  It was a bit of a disappointment therefore that the weather was slightly overcast and without the stimulating sunlight to create shadows and contrasts this seemed to leech the colours and the life from the rocks.

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Coach Trip – USA National Parks, Mese Verde National Park and Cortez

Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the ancient Pueblo people. It is best known for several spectacular cliff dwellings which are structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs, including the Cliff Palace, which is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.  This unique treasure remained undiscovered for six hundred years until on a snowy December day in 1888, while two ranchers were searching Mesa Verde’s canyons for stray cattle, they unexpectedly came upon Cliff Palace for the first time since it had been abandoned.

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