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Westerns
Overland Trail

Title Card - THE OVERLAND TRAIL

NBC Network
1960
Drama
60 Minutes

The story of the Overland Stage Line, the first transport line to run from Missouri to California.

Stagecoach personnel included:

  • William Bendix as Frederick Thomas Kelly, an ex-cavalry soldier/civil engineer and superintendant of the Overland Stage.
  • Doug McClure as Frank "Flip" Flippen (Doug McClure), Kelly's rambunctious young sidekick.  He was raised by Indians.

Cast of OVERLAND TRAIL
Passenger, Kelly and Flip

Listen to Theme Music

On the stagecoach's maiden run, the Kelly and Flip men carried outlaw Cole Younger to be hanged accompanied by a lawmen. Unfortunately, one of the female passengers turned out to be Belle Starr, Cole's girlfriend who gained access as a passenger by claiming she was ill and had to get home to her family. And if that wasn't bad enough the stagecoach was attached by hostile Indians.

Other adventures of the Overland Stage Line included:

  • While transporting $20,000 in gold to Nevada, the stage is attacked by the Sabine Kid and his gang.
  • Despite the threat of hostile Sioux Indians, the Overland must maintain a timely schedule or fear losing their mail franchise.
  • Kelly and Flip go undercover as notorious outlaws to identify the mastermind planning a series of Overland Stage robberies.
  • The boys compete in a race to be the first stage into Denver so they can win a mail franchise and a kiss from Calamity Jane.
  • Kelly helps a crusty old prospector friend named Annie Tatum travel across rugged Indian infested terrain after she was trampled while rounding up horses for the stage line.
  • Kelly and Flip help a land swindler make amends to a farmer he swindled. The fact that the man is in love with the farmer's daughter had a lot to do with his sudden change of heart.
  • Kelly, a former railroad worker, joins forces with General Palmer to build a branch line to Leadville that will be used to transport President Grant. Competitors of the railway hire an assassin to stop the Denver and Rio Grand line from getting to Leadville on time and thus winning a coveted franchise. When they get down to wire, President Grant volunteers to stoke the train's engine so they can win the competition.

TRIVIA NOTE: This series marked the TV acting debut of Doug McClure who later played detective Jed Sill on CHECKMATE and Trampas on THE VIRGINIAN.

In the 1950s, film veteran William Bendix starred as Chester A. Riley on the sitcom THE LIFE OF RILEY. His catchphrase was "What a revoltin' development this is!" See also "Stagecoach West"

Obituaries: William Bendix: 12/14/1964; Doug McClure: 02/05/1995;


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