|1968 - 1970
Set in California's San Joaquin Valley of the
1870s, this was the story of Murdoch Lancer
(Andrew Duggan), a gruff, widowed rancher who
operated a 100,000 acres cattle and timber
Murdoch came to America from Inverness,
Scotland in the late 1840s. In Boston, he met
and married Catherine Garrett. Together, they
trekked to a ranch in California. Sadly,
Catherine died giving birth to their first son,
Scott who was later sent back east to live with
his wealthy maternal grandfather, Harlan
After a suitable mourning period, Murdoch
married a Mexican girl named Maria in Matamoras.
Within a couple of years, however, she fell in
love with a gambler and ran off with him and her
young son, Johnny.
Murdoch, Scott, Teresa, Johnny and
Listen to Theme Music
Twenty year pass and Murdoch, now much older, realized that the challenges and encroachment by outsiders
were making it too difficult to manage his
holdings alone, and so he enlisted the aid of
the Pinkerton Detective Agency to deliver a
proposal to each of his grown sons, namely an
all-expenses-paid trip to California plus $1,000
for one hour of their time.
Subsequently, both Johnny (James Stacy) and Scott
(Wayne Maunder) listen to
Murdoch's terms - one third ownership each in the
Murdoch estate - and decide to stay and rescue the
||C'mon. You've been chewing it
around long enough, old man. Spit it out, I don't care.
||Maybe that's it. Maybe you don't
care--not enough anyway. But you'd better. Because you signed
on for a third of the responsibility for this ranch.
|| I'd do just fine if you
didn't push so hard.
||I don't have time to break you in
But the two sons were polar opposites. The
cynical, rebellious Johnny had lived as
gunslinger Johnny Madrid along the Mexican
border and was hardened by the
open range. A gun for hire, Johnny's luck almost
ran out when he was captured by Mexican police
and scheduled for execution by firing squad
until a Pinkerton Detective negotiated his
release with a bribe.
Scott, on the other hand, had lived
the privileged life of a Harvard educated
gentlemen in Boston. In his 20s, Scott was a
Lieutenant in the Union Cavalry. He fought in
the Civil War and spent a year as a prisoner of
war in a Confederate compound before heading to
Despite their difference, the two estranged
brothers eventually bonded and became a mighty
force in Murdoch's defense of his (their) land.
Other residents at the Murdoch ranch included:
- Elizabeth Baur as Teresa O'Brien, Murdoch's ward. She
the daughter of Murdoch's ranch foremen, Paul O'Brien, who had
been killed by "Land Pirates." Murdoch adopted Teresa when she was
abandoned by her mother, Angel Day (Cloris Leachman) who years
later (as a saloon entertainer) tried but failed to regain custody
of her daughter.
- Paul Brinegar as Jelly Haskin, a soft-hearted old
codger who worked as the ranch foreman.
- John Beck as Chad Lancer, a hillbilly relative from
Kentucky who took up residence at the ranch.
Obituaries: Andrew Duggan: 05/15/1988; Paul Brinegar:
03/27/1995; William Kerwin: 10/27/1989; William Bryant:
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