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Wagon Train

Title Card - Wagon Train

NBC/ABC Network
1957 - 1965
60/90 Minutes

The story of the people who traveled west by wagon train from St. Joseph, Missouri to California in the days following the Civil War.

These hopeful pioneers faced all sorts of trials and tribulations along the trail, including rough terrain, hostile Indians, bandits, torrential rain, blinding blizzards and dwindling supplies. But through it all, the wagon train always arrived at it destination with the help of a hardy wagon train crew.

The employees of the wagon train were:

  • Ward Bond as Wagonmaster Major Seth Adams who shouted his signature catchphrase "Wagoooons HO!"
  • John McIntire as Wagonmaster Christopher Hale (who replaced Major Seth Adams)
  • Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks, assistant Wagonmaster
  • Robert Horton as Flint McCullough, frontier scout who rode ahead of the wagon train scouting the frontier for hazards and possible places the wagon train could stay for the night. When Flint left the services of the wagon train, he was replaced by Duke Shannon and Cooper Smith.
  • Scott (Denny) Miller as Duke Shannon, frontier scout
  • Robert Fuller as Cooper Smith, frontier scout
  • Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster, the trail cook 
  • Michael Burns as Barnaby West, a tagalong 13-year-old orphan heading west who was found along the trail.

Ward Bond and Robert Horton - WAGON TRAIN
Seth Adams and Flint McCullogh

Smith, Hale, Hawks, West and Wooster

Listen to Opening Theme

Theme Song Lyrics

"Roll On Wagon Train"
Music by Sammy Fain,
and lyrics by Jack Brooks,

Roll along Wagon Train.

Rollin over prairie where there ain’t no grass,
Rollin over mountain where there ain’t no pass.
Sittin on a board eye in the weather,
Prayin to the Lord we stay together
Side by side on the Wagon Train.
Wagon Train, roll along.

Pickin up a passenger in every town,
Wonderin if he’s ever gonna shoot you down.
Lookin for a pal, ain’t it a pity,
Lookin for a gal, needn’t be pretty
If she’ll ride on the Wagon Train.
Wagons ho!

Gotta keep em on the run.
Time to go! And follow the sun.
Roll along Wagon Train.

Never had a cabin near a general store,
Only had a wagon and a forty four.
Sittin on a board. Eyein the weather
Prayin' to the Lord we stay together


TRIVIA NOTE: The 284 episode series was inspired by John Ford's western feature film Wagon Master (1950) starring Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., and Ward Bond.

During the seventh season, the show ran for 90 minutes. Except for the seventh season (which expanded to 90 minutes during the 1963-64 season  the entire show's run was filmed in black and white. The show was  filmed on location in California's San Fernando Valley.

Most titles for each episode used the words "The" and "Story" such as "The Stagecoach Story," "The Conchita Vasquez Story, " or "The St Nicholas Story." Ernest Borgnine  appeared in the first episode, "The Willie Moran Story." There were  exceptions to the formula, including "A Man Called Horse, "The Hide Hunters," "Those Who Stay Behind," "Little Girl Lost," and "Wagon Train Mutiny."

Some episodes focused on the wagon train employees, including "The Major Adam Story,"  "The Flint McCullogh Story, "The Odyssey of Flint McCullogh," "The Christopher Hale Story," "Charlie Wooster, Wagonmaster," "Alias Bill Hawks," and "The Barnaby West Story."

There were three "Wagon Train" themes: the first (no lyrics) was written by Henri Rene and Bob Russell, The second theme "Roll Along Wagon Train" written by Sammy Fain and Jack Brooks and sung by Johnny O'Neill aired during the second season; and the final version aired (during the third season) introduced. "Wagons Ho!" written and conducted by Jerome Moross. This version would remain for the rest of the series.

When the episodes featuring Ward Bond were syndicated as MAJOR ADAMS TRAILMASTER in 1963, the old theme song was replaced with a "Trailmaster" theme song written and conducted by Stanley Wilson.

For more programs that featured wagon train travel check out these links: Dusty's TrailThe Oregon Trial and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.

Obituaries: Ward Bond: 11/05/1950; Frank McGrath: 05/13/1967; Terry Wilson: 03/30/1999; John McIntire: 01/30/1991;

External Links


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