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Westerns
Broken Arrow

Title Card - BROKEN ARROW

ABC Network
1956 - 1960
Drama
30 Minutes

Set in the Tucson, Arizona territory of the late 19th century,  Michael Ansara starred as Cochise, the Chief of the Chiracahuas and John Lupton as Tom Jeffords, an ex-military scout  and Cochise's blood brother. Jeffords was married to an Apache maiden named Sonseeahray (Rita Moreno/Sue England) who died at the hands of a white man.

The friendship between Jeffords, and Cochise began when Tom entered the Apache village alone and unarmed to negotiate the peaceful right away of Pony Express Riders and stagecoaches carrying mail through Apache territory.  Up to this point, many people had been killed attempting such crossings.

John Lupton as Tom Jeffords and Michael Ansara as Cochise - BROKEN ARROW
Tom Jeffords and Cochise

Cochise rewarded Tom's bravery with his promise to allow passage through his lands if Tom agreed to be the Indian Agent for the tribe's  reservation. To symbolize his commitment, Cochise picked up an arrow and broke it as a sign of peace.

Although Jeffords and Cochise held a strong respect for one another, there were many who did not respect the truce that Jeffords had brokered. Such offenders (renegade Indians, prejudiced homesteaders, land grab schemers or corrupt politicians) were responsible for the many incidents that threatened the tenuous peace between the Apaches and the "White Eyes."

Listen to Theme Music

Tom Jeffords Greets Cochise - BROKEN ARROW

Other incidents that caused tensions on the reservation included:

  • Warpath is imminent when two white men kidnap a white boy raised on the Apache reservation.
  • During a small pox epidemic, the Apaches distrust for the White Man's doctor threaten the lives of their people.
  • An Apache Indian working as a scout for the US Army is torn between loyalties when his brother who fights with the renegade Indians led by Geronimo.
  • Cochise faces the Army officer responsible for a massacre of his people that left Cochise the sole survivor.
  • To increase trade and influx of customers, a general store owner conspires to create conflict with the Indians to lure more soldiers into his business.
  • During a bleak winter, Cochise requests more supplies for his starving tribe, but the regional general refuses his plea.
  • Cochise protects the life of a wanted man after the man saves his life from a mountain lion attack.
  •  A plan by an ex-general to move the Apaches from their reservation to make room for white settlers motivates Cochise's son, Nachise to kidnap Tom Jeffords and the general in hope of ending such an endeavor.
  • Cochise's life is threatened when Jeffords hears of a plot to assassinate the Apache leader.
  • Cochise informs Jeffords of Geronimo's plan to attack the military installation.
  • Cochise and Jeffords track down white men in Mexico who are killing Apaches for their scalps.
  • Cochise rallies his tribe to save Jeffords from outlaws.
  • A battle to the death ensues when a white settler challenges an Apache suitor for the affection of a Indian maiden.
  • Recovering from a wound received in battle, Cochise selects a temporary leader for his tribe, but Cochise soon learns his chosen man is hungry for war.
  • Jeffords intervenes when a general plans to occupy the Chiracahua reservation in violation of their treaty.
  • Cochise and Jeffords track down an outlaw whose illegal sale of whiskey to the Indians caused the death of several.
  • A brutal Indian Agent who temporarily replaced Tom Jeffords while he was out of the territory provokes rebellion among the Apache Indians.

Screen Credits - BROKEN ARROW


Memorabilia

Dell Comic - BROKEN ARROW

TRIVIA NOTE: The series (narrated by John Lupton) was based on the novel "Blood Brother" by Elliot Arnold and the 1950 movie of the same name starring James Stewart as Tom Jeffords and Jeff Chandler as Cochise. Jeff Chandler later portrayed Cochise in the films Taza, Son of Cochise and The Battle at Apache Pass

Michael Ansara who played Cochise is actually of Syrian decent.

Obituaries: John Lupton: 11/03/1993; Tom Fadden: 04/04/1980; Ricardo Montalban: 01/14/2009 (played Cochise in original TV pilot)


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