Simon Kane:  Robert Bray
David Kane:  Richard Eyer  
Luke Perry:  Wayne Rogers  

There weren’t a great many westerns which dealt with the stage drivers on the stage lines connecting civilized America with the Wild West, but this series was perhaps the best of the lot.  It dealt with the Timberland Stage Line running from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco during the 1860’s.  Luke Perry and Simon Kane owned the line and were the drivers, and they encountered all sorts of hooligans and outlaws along the route.  Young Davy Kane, Simon’s twelve-year-old son, usually went along to keep them company.  It premiered on Tuesday night, October 4, 1960 with “High Lonesome,” where Simon Kane meets a man at a way station, who has been hired to kill him, and it ended at the end of the season with “The Marker” on June 27, 1961, this time with Luke Perry the target of a killer.  The episodes were in black and white and were 60 minutes in length.

Most of the stories in this series revolved around surly passengers, outlaws and holdup men, and bad weather.  There was the occasion romance, but mostly the stories were about the determination of the two drivers to keep the stage running in spite of the encroaching railroad companies.

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood were guest stars on this series.  Names like John Dehner, Jack Lord, Darren McGavin, Lee Van Cleef, DeForest Kelley, Cesar Romero, Barbara Luna, Warren Oates, Jack Elam, Dick York, and Denver Pyle made appearances, but it wasn’t enough to keep it in the ratings.  After 38 episodes, ABC pulled the plug.  Today, it is mostly remembered for it’s catchy song, the refrain of which goes:


When you’re feeling lowdown  
And you need some rest  
Leave that eastern town  
Take the Stagecoach West.

  Robert Bray died March 7, 1983.

(Text and photo courtesy of Sandy Sturdivant)

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