|Also known as||Warner Bros. Presents ... Cheyenne|
The Cheyenne Show: Bronco and Sugarfoot
|Developed by||Roy Huggins|
|Theme music composer||William Lava|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
(including the first season on Warner Bros. Presents)
|No. of episodes||108 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||William T. Orr|
Arthur W. Silver
William L. Stuart
Oren W. Haglund (production manager)
|Running time||48 mins.|
|Production company||Warner Bros. Television|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 20, 1955 –|
December 17, 1962
|Preceded by||Warner Bros. Presents|
|Followed by||The Dakotas|
Cheyenne is an American Western television series of 108 black-and-white episodes broadcast on ABC from 1955 to 1962. The show was the first hour-long Western, and was the first hour-long dramatic series of any kind, with continuing characters, to last more than one season. It was also the first series to be made by a major Hollywood film studio which did not derive from its established film properties, and the first of a long chain of Warner Bros. original series produced by William T. Orr.
The show starred Clint Walker, a native of Illinois, as Cheyenne Bodie, a physically large cowboy with a gentle spirit in search of frontier justice who wanders the American West in the days after the American Civil War. The first episode, "Mountain Fortress", is about robbers pretending to be Good Samaritans. It features James Garner (who had briefly been considered for the role of Cheyenne but could not be located until after Walker had already been cast) as a guest star, but with higher billing given to Ann Robinson as Garner's intended bride. The episode reveals that Bodie's parents were killed by Indians, tribe unknown. He was taken by Cheyenne Indians when he was 10 years old, who then raised him, and he left them by choice when he was 18 years old. In the series, the character Bodie maintains a positive and understanding attitude toward the Native Americans, despite the death of his parents.
Cheyenne was aired from 1955 to 1962. In Season 5, Episode 1 "The Long Rope", which originally aired on September 26, 1960, Cheyenne returns to the town where he was raised by a family whose father/husband was lynched when he was a youth. This causes some confusion with the viewer as it was always said that Cheyenne was raised by a Cheyenne tribe after unknown Indians had killed his parents.
After returning to the town, he is elected sheriff. He seeks to arrest a murderer even though this brings back bad memories for everyone, including Cheyenne himself. Johnny Kent is wrongly accused of the murder.
The series began as a part of Warner Bros. Presents, a "wheel program" that alternated three different series in rotation. In its first year, Cheyenne traded broadcast weeks with Casablanca and Kings Row. Thereafter, Cheyenne was overhauled by new producer Roy Huggins and left the umbrella of that wheel.
Cheyenne ran from 1955 to 1963, except for a hiatus when Walker went on strike for better terms (1958–1959); among other demands, the actor wanted increased residuals, a reduction of the 50% cut of personal appearance payments that had to be turned over to Warner Bros., and a release from the restriction of recording music only for the company's own label.
The interim had the introduction of a virtual Bodie-clone called Bronco Layne, played by Ty Hardin, born in New York City, but raised in Texas. Hardin was featured as the quasi main character during Bodie's absence. When Warner Bros. renegotiated Walker's contract and the actor returned to the show in 1959, Bronco was spun off.
Even after returning to the program — having been prohibited from seeking other work during the long contract negotiation — Walker was unhappy to continue to play a role which he felt he had already exhausted. He told reporters that he felt like "a caged animal." Though Cheyenne aired for seven years, the series made only 108 episodes because it was in repeated alternation with other programs and was out of production during Clint Walker's contract dispute.
Main article: List of Cheyenne episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||15||September 20, 1955||May 29, 1956|
|2||20||September 11, 1956||June 4, 1957|
|3||20||September 24, 1957||June 17, 1958|
|4||13||September 21, 1959||March 14, 1960|
|5||13||October 3, 1960||May 15, 1961|
|6||14||September 25, 1961||April 23, 1962|
|7||13||September 24, 1962||December 17, 1962|
ABC televised the show from 1955 to 1963: September 1955-September 1959 on Tuesday at 7:30-8:30 pm; September 1959-December 1962, Monday 7:30-8:30 pm; and April 1963-September 1963, Friday 7:30-8:30 pm. The series finished at number 13 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1957-1958 season, number 18 for 1958-1959, number 17 for 1959-1960, and number 28 for 1960-1961.
In its last season, Cheyenne still drew good enough ratings to force the cancellation of the new comedy/drama It's a Man's World on NBC, co-starring Glenn Corbett, Michael Burns, Ted Bessell, and Randy Boone. In the spring of 1960, Cheyenne outdistanced singer Kate Smith's return to television on CBS's The Kate Smith Show, which was cancelled after some six months on the air.
As of September 2015, Cheyenne was being shown twice every weekday on STARZ!’s Encore Westerns channel. Cheyenne episodes with the Bronco character aired on Cozi TV.
As of December 2016, Cheyenne was being shown on the H&I: Heroes & Icons network.
'Cheyenne' currently airs on INSP.
Warner Home Video released a "Best of..." single disc featuring three individual episodes (from three separate seasons) on September 27, 2005, as part of their "Television Favorites" compilation series. The featured episodes were "The Storm Riders" (from season one), "The Trap" (from season two) and "The Young Fugitives" (from season six).
Warner Home Video has released the first season on DVD in Region 1. Seasons 2-7 have been released via their Warner Archive Collection. These are manufacture-on-demand releases on DVD-R discs. The seventh and final season was released on November 12, 2013.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||15||June 6, 2006|
|The Complete Second Season||20||July 5, 2011|
|The Complete Third Season||20||January 10, 2012|
|The Complete Fourth Season||13||October 16, 2012|
|The Complete Fifth Season||13||March 5, 2013|
|The Complete Sixth Season||14||July 30, 2013|
|The Complete Seventh Season||13||November 12, 2013|
Cheyenne was a co-winner of the 1957 Golden Globe Award for Television Achievement.
For most of their runs, Cheyenne, Bronco, and Sugarfoot, starring Will Hutchins, alternated in the same time slot. Cheyenne was the senior partner of the three. Only a snippet of the Bronco theme song was heard in the opening credits, as a kind of aural footnote to that of Cheyenne.
Occasionally Cheyenne, Bronco, and Sugarfoot appeared together in the same episode of each other's series. In the Cheyenne episode "Duel at Judas Basin" (1961), Walker, Hardin, and Hutchins join forces to stop a trapper (Jacques Aubuchon) from selling guns to the Sioux Indians. The trapper had also framed Tom "Sugarfoot" Brewster for murder.
At the conclusion of the sixth season, a special episode was aired, "A Man Named Ragan", the pilot for a program called The Dakotas, starring Larry Ward, Chad Everett, Jack Elam, and Michael Greene, that was to have replaced Cheyenne in the middle of the next season. However, because Cheyenne Bodie never appeared in "Ragan", the two programs are only tenuously linked.
Walker reprised the Cheyenne Bodie character in 1991 for the TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw and also played Cheyenne in an episode of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues called "Gunfighters" in 1995.