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Westerns
The Monroes

Title Card - THE MONROES

ABC Network
1966 - 1967
Drama
60 Minutes

Frontier adventure about five orphaned children (ranging from 18 to 6 years of age) who struggled to make a home in the Wyoming Territory of 1876 after their parents were drowned in the rapids of the Snake River.

Members of the Monroe clan included:

  • Russ Conway as Albert Monroe, the father of the family who drowned with his wife, Mary (Marilyn Moe) as they traveled from their farm in Illinois to the land in Bear Valley near the town of Paradox that he had staked out ten years earlier by marking the property boundaries with rock piles. He hid his army belt buckle and his claim to the land beneath the stones which his son Clayt found just where he was told to look. Clayt registered the claim in Greenwood City but not before some objections from a local rancher who was using the land for cattle grazing.
  • Michael Anderson, Jr. as Clayt Monroe, 18, the older brother who held the family together. He refused to sell his land and instead tried to make his mark on this rugged wilderness which he called "Pa's Valley".
  • Barbara Hershey as Kathy, 16,  the oldest daughter.
  • Keith Shultz as Jefferson, 12, a.k.a. "Big Twin"
  • Kevin Shultz as Fennimore, 12, a.k.a. "Little Twin"
  • Tammy Locke as Amy, 6, the younger sister. 
  • Snow, the family 's white dog.

"Now we were orphans. I kept wondering what Pa would do. We didn't have a farm to go back to. And up ahead there was nothing by wilderness - and one valley Pa had marked with a pile of rocks. But I was Pa now and I had no choice. I had to find that valley for him. All I had to guide me was a map that Pa had made ten year before."


Besides the constant pressures from the local land barons to sell their property, the Monroe's faced other hardships, including:

  • Bad weather.
  • An unseen creature called the Forest Devil.
  • Little Twin bitten by a rabies infected wild animal.
  • Amy stricken with a fever
  • Indian raids.
  • A thieving trapper who steals the family dog.
  • Claim jumpers who threaten Clayt's gold mine.
  • Falsely accusations for killing one of Mapoy's cow.

Listen to Theme Music

Cast of THE MONROES

Neighbors of the Monroe's included:

  • Liam Sullivan as Major Mapoy, a British cattle baron who wanted to add the Monroe homestead to his holdings. He hoped the harsh life in the valley would send the Monroe's packing and then he could lay claim to their abandoned claim.
  • Ron Soble as Dirty Jim, a renegade Sioux Indian and friend of the Monroe family. He was almost killed by a lynched mob on charges he murdered a man. 
  • Ben Johnson as Sleeve
  • James Westmoreland as Ruel Jaxon, Mapoy's hired hand and a friend of the Monroes.
  • Robert Middleton as Barney Wales, a rival horse rancher  who also wanted to buy the Monroe homestead. He has a mute daughter named Lorna (Lisa Jak) and two rowdy sons, Dalton (James Brolin) and Billy Dan (Tim O'Kelly).
  • Buck Taylor as John "Brad" Bradford, Mapoy's hired hand and friend of the Monroes.

Memorabilia


TRIVIA NOTE: Filmed on location in the Grand Tetons National Park, the series plot is similar to the rivalry in the motion picture The Big Country (1958) where two ranchers carry on a blood feud for the rights to the water and land in the region.

The drowned parents scenario in the series also appeared in the motion picture How the West Was Won (1962) when pioneer parents Zebulon and Rebecca Prescott (Karl Malden and Agnes Moorehead) were killed in river rapids on their way West.

Their two daughters Eve and Lilith (Carroll Baker/Debbie Reynolds) were forced to survive on their own. Lilith "Lily" left the land for a career as a saloon hall singer/dancer, while Eve stayed and made a homestead where her parents were buried. She married frontiersman Linus Rawlings (played by Jimmy Stewart).

This western series is not to be confused with another program entitled THE MONROES/ABC/1995 - a 60 minute drama about the tribulations of a Kennedy-esque political family.

Obituaries: Liam Sullivan: 04/18/1998; Ron Soble: 05/02/2002; Ben Johnson: 04/08/1996; Robert Middleton: 06/14/1977; Dub Taylor: 10/03/1994;


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