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A western series that deserved success
on 8 January 2013
For every successful tv western series created in the 1960s, there were several others that failed. Some deservedly so, others not so: Overland Trail, which ran for 17 episodes in 1960, was one of the latter, its demise undoubtedly due to strong opposition (Maverick and Disney) on the competitive channels.
Overland Trail starred one-time forties noir hardman William Bendix (then fresh from his lengthy "Life of Riley" sojourn) as Fred Kelly, the crusty superintendent of the Overland Stage Company, often conning his young assistant Frank "Flip" Flippen, played by Doug McClure in his first major role. The pair complimented themselves well and the series possessed, for the most part, tongue-in-cheek humour, although the final episodes took on more dramatic scenarios. The tales were varied, from Indian attacks to Mexican diplomats, gold mining to an attempted Presidential assassination, with convincing action scenes mainly directed by Hollywood veterans Tay Garnett and William Whitney. Plus there was also a well assembled lineup of guest stars that included Claude Akins, Mercedes McCambridge, Ron Randell, Gerald Mohr, Sean McClory and Harry Guardino.
Thanks to Timeless Video this otherwise forgotten series has resurfaced - a highly entertaining series that deserved to remain on screen for a far longer period.