|1962 - 1963
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- John Anderson as Bruce Austin.
- Lex Connelly as Cowboy.
- Ted de Corsia as Burlington.
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
Obituaries: Jack Lord: 01/21/1998; Warren Oates:
Back to Top