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The Oregon Trail


NBC Network
60 Minutes

Set in 1842, this was the story of the Thorpes, an Illinois family who trekked west by wagon train to find a new home in Oregon.

Members of the wagon train included:

  • Rod Taylor as Evan Thorpe, a widower
  • Andrew Stevens as Andrew Thorpe, the 17-year-old son.
  • Tony Becker as William Thorpe, the 12-year-old son.
  • Gina Mari as Rachael Thorpe,  the 7-year-old daughter.
  • Darleen Carr as Margaret Devlin, a wagon train passenger.
  • Charles Napier as Luther Sprague, a gruff frontier scout hired by Thorpe to get the wagon train to the Northwest.

The Thorpe Family with Luther Sprague the Scout

Along the way, the Thorpes and the other passengers on the westward bound wagon train encountered many hardships and strangers, including:

  • A group of alleged mail order brides who turnout to be showgirls looking for a new life. Hanna Morgan, the leader of the girls cared for Evan's daughter when she got cholera.
  • Gun runners who supplied rifles to the Indians.
  • Making the mistake of entering sacred Indian burial grounds
  • Caring for an injured man who turns out to be a deserter
  • Searching for new sources of water for the wagon train passengers, their horses and livestock.
  • A stranger accused of murdering a member of the wagon train. Evan Thorpe takes up the man's case and cause.

TRIVIA NOTE: Only six of the thirteen produced episodes were aired before the series was cancelled. A TV movie pilot preceded the series in 1976 in which Blair Brown played Jessica, Evan's wife.

Scenes from the series were used as flashback footage on the episode "Birthday" on Rod Taylor's 1986 CBS western series  OUTLAWS. See also The Chisholms.

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