Show Type: Western

First Telecast: February 12, 1978

Last Telecast: April 23, 1979

Broadcast History:

February 1978 May 1978, Sunday 8:00-9:00 on ABC

July 1978 August 1978, Sunday 8:00-9:00 on ABC

January 1979 April 1979, Monday 9:00-11:00 on ABC


Zeb Macahan..... James Arness

Aunt Molly Culhane..... Fionnula Flanagan

Luke Macahan..... Bruce Boxleitner

Laura Macahan..... Kathryn Holcomb

Josh Macahan..... William Kirby Cullen

Jessie Macahan..... Vicki Schreck


James Arness, Marshal Dillon of the long-running Gunsmoke series, returned to TV screens in 1978 in this mixture of Western adventure and soap opera.

Zeb Macahan was a rugged mountain man who had spent ten years in the Dakota Territory before returning to Virginia, where his brother's family was preparing to make the long trek west. No sooner had they set out than the Civil War broke out. Zeb's brother Timothy returned east and his wife Kate was subsequently killed in an accident, leaving the four Macahan children in Zeb's care. Luke, the eldest, had killed three men in self-defense and was a fugitive from the law; Laura was pretty and ready for woman-hood; Jessie was the tomboyish 12-year-old; and teenager Josh was exuberant and anxious to become the man of the family. Aunt Molly, Kate's widowed sister, came from Boston to help them on the long journey, through dangers hardships caused by Indians, renegades, nature, and other perils of an untamed West.

After an initial run in 1978, the series returned in early 1979 with 11 new two-hour episodes depicting the Macahans as they homesteaded a ranch in the Tetons, and began to raise Appaloosa horses.

Adding to the epic scope of the series was the spectacular setting: the program was filmed on location in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Southern California. The executive producer was John Mantley, who had also been the producer of Gunsmoke. The series was loosely based on the 1963 motion picture of the same name, which was directed by John Ford and featured an all-star cast, including John Wayne.