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Stoney Burke


ABC Network
1962 - 1963
60 Minutes

Contemporary western about Stoney Burke (Jack Lord), a professional rodeo rider who struggled to attain "The Golden Buckle," the highest award of the rodeo circuit.

Stoney was a member in good standing with the Rodeo Cowboys Association. As Stoney tells it, "I've paid my entry fee and I'm riding."


During his career as a rodeo rider, Stoney had many female admirers and a few that turned out to be trouble. A wealthy heiress who was used to getting her way, tried to lure Stoney into web of love but he refused her overture and then had to suffer her vengeance.

Amy Jensen, a college girl with a crush, romanced Stoney and she, too, had marriage on her mind, but, once again, Stoney adeptly avoided that roundup.

Although a difficult fellow to lasso into a relationship, Stoney did appreciate the fairer sex and sometimes went out of his way to help a damsel in distress, like the time he came to aid of  pregnant woman who wanted to locate her father before she delivered her baby. Stoney also helped Donna Weston, the spoiled daughter of an old friend (who was deeply in debt) to regain control of her life.

Occasionally, Stoney did fall for a gal. While on a vacation in Mexico, Stoney was thrown head over heels for a mysterious woman. But  unfortunately, she was just using him as alibi for her involvement in an assassination attempt on a European dignitary.

Besides women, wealthy and influential men seemed to run to Stoney for help. Rich Byron Latimer asked Stoney for help in corralling his out-of-control son, David. An oil baron placed a million dollar betting that Stoney would  win a bronc riding event. And Senator Lockridge, one of Stoney's old friends asked him to promote his upcoming political campaign, until Stoney realized the man he knew had changed for the worse.

Boot, Spur and Rope - STONEY BURKE

Despite Stoney's love for the rodeo life, it could be a dangerous one. Sometimes, it was fighting a bunch of rowdy barroom customers who didn't like rodeo riders, and other times it was just the sheer danger of the profession that brought harm, like a rodeo rider who tied his body so tightly to a raging Brahma bull that the animal's wild contortions killed the man.

The rodeo riders weren't the only ones in danger on the circuit. The spectators were at risk, as well. Once, Stoney's horses broke through a fence and injured Loreen Julian, a female spectator who then sued for damages.

One such uncontrollable horse was a stallion named Megaton. This fiery horse was responsible for killing EJ's brother, Harland in a rodeo mishap. Months later when Stoney was recovering from an accident that injured his leg, he took a job hauling old nags to the slaughter house. The once mighty Megaton was among the many equine passengers in his truck. This gave Stoney pause to think about his own life and where he was going.

Other characters in Stoney's rodeo world included:

  • Robert Dowdell as Cody Bristol, half-brother of Harland Bristol who died in a chute accident. He blamed Stoney, but eventually become his close friend.
  • Bruce Dern as E.J. Stocker, Cody's best friend.
  • Cloris Leachman as Eunice Stocker, EJ's cousin who aspires to be a rodeo  trick rider. According to EJ she is the "most ornery, black-tempered, loud-bellowing, ugly as a mud hen female that you'd ever want to see in your whole life." When she came to visit, EJ palmed her off on Stoney.
  • Warren Oates as Ves Painter, Stoney's on/off friend..
  • Bill Hart as Red.
  • Buck Taylor as Mule.
  • George Mitchell as Cal Bristol.
  • Bill Gunn as Bud Sutter.
  • Casey Tibbs as Himself., a veteran rodeo champion.
  • John Anderson as Bruce Austin.
  • Lex Connelly as Cowboy.
  • Ted de Corsia as Burlington.

Screen Captures


TRIVIA NOTE: The series was filmed on location in the Southwest. Dominic Frontiere composed the "The Stoney Burke Theme."

Casey Tibbs, the founder of the Rodeo Cowboys Association acted as consultant for the series. See also "Wide Country"

Obituaries: Jack Lord: 01/21/1998; Warren Oates: 04/03/1982;

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