Sierra (TV series)

Sierra is a 1974 television crime drama series focusing on the efforts of National Park Service rangers to enforce federal law and to effect wilderness rescues. The program aired on NBC and was packaged by Jack Webb's Mark VII Limited for Universal Television. The show's theme song was written by Lee Holdridge (music) and John Denver (lyrics). Robert A. Cinader, executive producer of Mark VII's Emergency! (which partially inspired this show), handled this program also; Bruce Johnson produced.

Behind-the-scenes photo of how Cruncher the bear, a show regular, was filmed.
Genrepolice drama
Created byJack Webb
StarringJames G. Richardson
Ernest Thompson
Susan Foster
Jack Hogan
Michael Warren
Theme music composerLee Holdridge and
John Denver[1]
performed by
Denny Brooks[2]
Composer(s)John Denver (additional music by)
Lee Holdridge (1.1, 1.5)
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes14 (13 + 1 movie)
Executive producer(s)Jack Webb
Robert A. Cinader
Producer(s)Bruce Johnson
Production location(s)California (Yosemite Nat. Park)
Camera setupmulti-camera
Running time60 mins.
Production company(s)Mark VII Limited
Universal Television
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Picture format1.33 : 1 color
Audio formatmonoaural
Original release12 September 

24 December 1974 (full-length movie; series actually cancelled on 12 December 1974)
Related showsEmergency!


The show derived its name from its setting, the fictional Sierra National Park, a part of the U.S. National Park Service. In reality, exteriors were filmed at Yosemite National Park.[3] The tenth episode, "The Urban Ranger", established that the park also existed within the same fictional world populated by the characters of Emergency!, its sister Mark VII show. The two paramedic characters from Emergency!,[4] played by Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth, also appeared in Sierra "The Urban Rangers".[5]


Like many Mark VII Limited television dramas, the show centered on a pair of leads in a public service job, backed up by a supporting cast of characters from within the same organization. In this case, the leads were James G. Richardson as Ranger Tim Cassidy and Ernest Thompson as Ranger Matt Harper. The cast was rounded out by their boss, Chief Ranger Jack Moore (Jack Hogan), and fellow rangers Julie Beck (Susan Foster) and P. J. Lewis (Michael Warren).

Episode list

Title Original air date
1"Cruncher"September 12, 1974 (1974-09-12)
2"Panic at Cathedral Creek"September 19, 1974 (1974-09-19)
3"Taking Cody Winslow"September 26, 1974 (1974-09-26)
4"The Poachers"October 3, 1974 (1974-10-03)
5"The Urban Rangers"October 24, 1974 (1974-10-24)
6"Holiday"October 31, 1974 (1974-10-31)
7"Tails, You Lose"November 7, 1974 (1974-11-07)
8"The Trek"November 14, 1974 (1974-11-14)
9"Time Off"November 21, 1974 (1974-11-21)
10"The Giant"December 5, 1974 (1974-12-05)
11"The Fawn"December 12, 1974 (1974-12-12)
12"The Rangers"December 24, 1974 (1974-12-24)


The show was cancelled after three months, mainly due to the popularity of The Waltons,[1] which was its direct competition on CBS. The series finale aired on Christmas Eve as a modified version of its previously-unaired pilot episode, The Rangers.[6]


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