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The Dakotas

Title Card - THE DAKOTAS

60 Minutes

Set in the days following the Civil War, Larry Ward starred as US Marshal Frank Ragan who maintained law and order with the assistance of three deputies (who earned $40 dollars a month).

These lawmen were responsible for keeping the peace in the Black Hills/Badlands region of the Dakota Territory that covered both North and South Dakota, Idaho, and a great deal of Montana and Wyoming.

The deputies in the Marshall's employ included:

  • Jack Elam as Deputy J.D. Smith, a cynical ex-gunfighter
  • Mike Greene as Deputy Vance Porter, the hot-tempered one
  • Chad Everett as Deputy Del Stark, the idealistic one


Listen to Theme Music

The lives of the Dakotas lawmen included these adventures:

  • Deputy J.D. Smith investigates the murder of an old loyal friend.
  • Marshal Ragan helps a woman with a troubled half-bred son.
  • The deputies find prisoners treated inhumanely as Fort Mercy
  • A ruthless mine owner hires gunslingers to control labor force.
  • Marshal Ragan tracks the kidnappers of a rancher's daughter.
  • Marshal Ragan confronts the man who killed his wife years ago.
  • A town posse kills a man allegedly accused of murder.
  • A town sheriff runs his town like a feudal state with him as king.
  • Spoiled food poisons soldiers and the Cavalry wants justice.
  • A feud between farmers and cattlemen must be settled.
  • Marshal Ragan investigates a Countess who killed her husband.
  • J.D. Smith's old gang leader tries to lure him back to crime.
  • Marshall Ragan escorts a Sioux Indian chief to a peace signing.
  • Hungry, unpaid railroad workers seek help from Heart River.
  • Deputies Del and Vance shoot a man in self defense and then are sentenced to be hanged. Can the Marshall find a witness?
  • Marshall Ragan confronts a man who is running  farmers off their land so that he can become wealthy
  • A grieving brother takes a church pastor hostage to get revenge on Del and DJ for killing his two brothers.


TRIVIA NOTE: Angry fan mail pulled the plug on this oater. The problem? During episode No.18 “Sanctuary at Crystal Springs,” which aired on 6 May 1963 there was a gun fight in a church involving a man who took the preacher hostage. When the gun smoke settled, thousands of irate viewers voiced their concern over violence in a house of God.

Obituaries: Larry Ward: 02/16/1985; Jack Elam: 10/20/2003;

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