|1966 - 1967
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
- 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
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.
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
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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