Cheyenne is a western television series of 108 black-and-white episodes
broadcast on ABC from 1955 to 1963. The show was the first hour-long
western, and in fact the first hour-long dramatic series of any kind, with
continuing characters, to last more than one season. It was also the first
series to be made by a major Hollywood film studio which did not derive
from its established film properties, and the first of a long chain of
Warner Brothers original series produced by William T. Orr.
The series began as a part of Warner Brothers Presents, a program
that alternated three different series in rotation. In its first
year, Cheyenne traded broadcast weeks with Casablanca and King's
Row. Thereafter, Cheyenne was overhauled by new producer Roy
Huggins and left the umbrella of WBP. The show starred
Walker, a native of Illinois, as Cheyenne Bodie, a physically
large cowboy wandering the American West.
The first episode, about robbers pretending to be Good Samaritans,
is entitled "Mountain Fortress" and features James Garner as a
guest star. The episode reveals that Bodie's parents were
massacred by Cheyenne Indians, who then reared him. Bodie
maintained a positive and understanding attitude toward the
Cheyenne ran from 1955 to 1963, except for a hiatus when Walker went
on strike for better terms (1958–1959); among other demands, the
actor wanted increased residuals, a reduction of the 50-percent
cut of personal appearance payments that had to be turned over to
Warner, and a release from the restriction of recording music only
for the company's own label.
The interim saw the introduction of a virtual Bodie-clone called
Bronco Layne, played by Ty Hardin, a native of Texas. Hardin was
featured as the quasi main character during Bodie's absence. When
Warners renegotiated Walker's contract and the actor returned to
the show in 1959, Bronco was spun off as a show in its own right
and became independently successful.
The two series alternated in the same time slot from 1958 to 1962,
with Bronco as the junior partner (only a snippet of his theme
song was heard in the opening credits, as a kind of aural footnote
to Cheyenne's). Occasionally both Cheyenne and Bronco appeared
together in the same episode, both deadly serious as they worked
together. Even after returning to the program — having been
prohibited from seeking other work during the long contract
negotiation — Walker was unhappy continuing to play a role he felt
he had exhausted, complaining to reporters that he felt like "a
Though Cheyenne aired for seven years, the series had only 108
episodes because it was in repeated alternation with other
programs and was out of production for many episodes during Clint
Walker's contract dispute with Warner Brothers.
At the conclusion of the sixth season, a special episode was aired.
Called "A Man Named Ragan", it was a pilot for a program called The
Dakotas, starring Chad Everett, Jack Elam, and Larry Ward,
that would replace Cheyenne in the middle of the next season.
However, because Cheyenne Bodie never appeared in "Ragan", the two
programs are only tenuously linked.
Walker reprised the Cheyenne Bodie character in 1991 for the
TV-movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw and
also played Cheyenne in an episode of Kung Fu: The Legend
Continues in 1995.
Guest stars on Cheyenne included:
appeared as Deputy Hack in "Star in the Dust" (1956) and as
Harry Thomas in "The Quick and the Deadly" (1962).
appeared as Pete in "Land Beyond the Law" (1957) and as Deputy
Sam in "Noose at Noon" (1958)
(billed as Ellen McCrae) appeared as Emmy Mae in "Day's Pay"
John Carradine appeared as
Delos Gerrard in "Decision at Gunsight" (1957)
as Alice Wilson in "Test of Courage" (1957)
appeared as the devious southern belle Mary "Mississippi"
Brown in the episode "Fury at Rio Hondo", set in Mexico (April
17, 1956), and as Amy Gordon in "The Spanish Grant" (1957)
appeared as Marshal Stort in the 1958 episode "Ghost of
Richard Crenna appeared as
Curley Galway in "Hard Bargain" (1957)
Edd Byrnes appeared as
Clay Rafferty in "The Brand" (1957)
Walter Coy appeared in
various roles in four different Cheyenne episodes, "The Bounty
Killers," "Town of Fear", "Apache Blood", and "Savage Breed"
between 1956 and 1960.
a child actor, appeared as Roy Barrington in the 1963 episode
"One Way Ticket".
Francis De Sales guest
starred twice in 1957, as Lieutenant Quentin in "Land Beyond
the Law" and as a sheriff in "The Brand".
Angie Dickinson appeared
as Jeannie Trude in "War Party" (1957)
appeared three times, including as Yellow Knife in the episode
"Quicksand" (1956) and as Little Chief in "The Broken Pledge"
later to play Bret Maverick on "Maverick" and Jim Rockford on
"The Rockford Files," appeared as Lt. Forsythe in "Mountain
Fortress" (1955), the first episode of the series, as Lt.
Rogers in "Decision" (1956), episode eight and also appeared
as Rev. Bret Mailer in "The Last Train West" (1956), which was
episode fifteen of season one. He also appeared as Peake in
"War Party" (1957) in season two.
(later of NBC's Outlaws) as Johnny McIntire in "Incident at
Dawson Flats" (1961)
as Colonel Bell in "Gold" and "Glory" (1960)
as Sheriff Frank Day in "The Empty Gun" (1958) and as Rafe
Donovan in "The Greater Glory" (1961)
(later of The Everglades) as Durango in "Town of Fear" (1957)
made his screen debut as Doc Pardes in "The Brand" (1957).
appeared as an arrogant young gunfighter, the Utah Kid, in the
episode "Quicksand"; in the story line, he gave Cheyenne Bodie
no choice but to kill him in a gunfight.He also appeared in an
episode called "The Iron Trail" in season two (1957) as Abe
Larson, the leader of a gang of youths planning to kidnap the
President of the United States.
Ron Howard played "Timmy"
(uncredited) in "Counterfeit Gun", Season 5, Episode 2 (1960).
appeared as Sheriff Dan Blaisdell in the 1960 episode "Home Is
I. Stanford Jolley
appeared seven times, the last having been as Ezra in "The
Quick and the Deadly" (1962).
appeared three times, the last having been as Walt Taylor in
"The Vanishing Breed" (1962).
Christopher Olsen, as
Chris Olsen, appeared as Kenny in the episode, "Incident at
Indian Springs" (1957).
appeared as Gary Owen in "Big Ghost Basin" (1957)
cast a year later on Wagon Train, made a brief appearance in
the same episode as a ranch foreman, John Pike, who is killed
by the Comanches. (1956)
(a regular on NBC's crime drama The Lawless Years) as Matt
Walsh in "Man Alone" (1962)
Michael Landon appeared as
White Hawk, a young man whose history was similar to
Cheyenne's in that he was raised by the Comanche after his
parents were killed by them in "The White Warrior". Also as a
trooper in "Decision" (1956).
Dayton Lummis appeared as
Frank Collins in "The Young Fugitives" (1961). Richard Evans
played his son, Gilby Collins, a burgeoning outlaw. Anne
Whitfield portrayed Nita, Gilby's new-found girlfriend, who
convinces him to turn himself in to authorities.
Scott Marlowe as Mickey
Free in "Apache Blood" (1960)
Patrick McVey appeared
three times as law enforcement officers between 1957 and 1961.
appeared as Henry Toland in the 1960 episode "Gold, Glory, and
as Madaline De Vier in the episode "Cross Purpose" (1961)
(earlier of NBC's Fury and later on Walt Disney's Wonderful
World of Color) as Billy in "Sweet Sam" and as Gabe Morse in
"The Idol" (both 1962)
appeared as Dillard in the 1961 episode "The Frightened Town".
John M. Pickard guest
starred as Ben Cask in "Dark Decision" (1962).
(I Dream Of Jeanie) appeared as Major George Early in "The
Long Winter" (1956)
appeared as Ringo in "The Mutton Punchers" (1957) and as Price
in "Trouble Street" (1961).
Robert F. Simon
appeared as Chad Wilcox in the episode "Born Bad" and as Hub
Lassiter in the segment "Prisoner of Moon Mesa".
as Clancy and Edward Andrews as Duncan in "The Argonauts"
(November 1, 1955). Gold dust miners are the best of friends
until they strike it rich, only to have Indians attack and
cast their dust to the wind.
later the sheriff on Bonanza, appeared in "Julesburg" (October
11, 1955) as a ruthless cattle baron. Cheyenne comes to the
lawless town to aid honest settlers.
appeared as Sarah Claypool in "Lone Patrol" (1961)
ABC televised the show from 1955 to 1962: September 1955-September
1959 Tuesday 7:30-8:30 P.M.; September 1959-December 1962, Monday
7:30-8:30 P.M.; April 1963-September 1963, Friday 7:30-8:30 P.M.
In its last season, Cheyenne still drew good ratings that forced the
cancellation of the new comedy/drama It's a Man's World
on NBC, co-starring Glenn Corbett, Michael Burns, Ted Bessell, and
Randy Boone. In the spring of 1960, Cheyenne outdistanced singer
Kate Smith's return to television on CBS's The Kate Smith Show,
which was canceled after some six months on the air.
Cheyenne was a co-winner of the 1957 Golden Globe Award for