The Dakotas (TV series)

The Dakotas is an ABC/Warner Bros. western television series starring Larry Ward and featuring Jack Elam, Chad Everett , and Michael Greene, broadcast during 1963. The short-lived program is considered a spin-off of Clint Walker's Cheyenne.

The Dakotas
Diane Brewster as the wife, Jody Fargo, of a double-dealing lawman played by David Brian in the episode "Fargo" (1963)
Directed byAllan A. Buckhantz
Stuart Heisler
Paul Landres
Charles R. Rondeau
Robert Totten
Gordon Bau (make-up)
StarringLarry Ward
Jack Elam
Chad Everett
Mike Greene
Theme music composerHarold Levey
Kenneth S. Webb[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes20 (1 unaired) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)William T. Orr
Producer(s)Anthony Spinner
Production location(s)California
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Warner Bros. Television
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseJanuary 7 (1963-01-07) 
September 9, 1963 (1963-09-09)
Related showsCheyenne

The Dakotas was cancelled one week after heavy viewer protest over an objectionable scene.


The series follows the efforts of U.S. Marshal Frank Ragan (Larry Ward) and his three deputies, J. D.Smith (Jack Elam), Vance Porter (Mike Greene), and Del Stark (Chad Everett) as they try to keep order in the Dakota Territory during the Gilded Age prior to statehood in 1889.[2]

Series history

All four characters initially appeared in an April 1962 episode of Cheyenne entitled "A Man Called Ragan".

However, the degree to which this episode makes The Dakotas a spin-off of Cheyenne is debatable. In the pilot on Cheyenne, the titular character of Cheyenne Bodie never appears. Also, the episode had followed five consecutive weeks of Bronco episodes, broadcast as a part of the wheel series that Cheyenne had effectively become. Moreover, the length of time between pilot and series—almost eight months—further weakened the link between Cheyenne and The Dakotas.[3] The biggest tip-off to viewers as to the parentage of the series was that it had assumed the Monday 7:30 p.m. ET time slot previously occupied since 1959 by Cheyenne.

Guest stars

Among the many guest stars, George Macready appeared as Captain Ridgeway, with Jeanne Cooper as Rebecca Ridgeway, in the third episode, "Mutiny at Fort Mercy". Chris Robinson was cast as Chino in "Red Sky over Bismarck", with Andrew Duggan as Colonel Winters and Kevin Hagen as a preacher. Warren Stevens and Karen Sharpe played Cain and Angela Manning in the episode, "Crisis at High Banjo"; Robert J. Wilke was cast in the same episode as Judge Markham.

Other guest stars included:


When viewers saw the program's eighteenth episode, "Sanctuary at Crystal Springs", they were shocked by a scene that depicted the lawmen killing two outlaws in a church, one of whom had caused injury to a pastor, played by Charles Irving, before dying. Calls for The Dakotas to end its run were answered virtually overnight. After just one more episode, the show was pulled. A twentieth episode, entitled "Black Gold", had been completed, but was never shown.[4]


Several episode titles refer to geographic place names in the Dakotas.

Episode #Episode TitleOriginal Airdate
1"Return To Dryrock"January 7, 1963
2"Red Sky Over Bismarck"January 14, 1963
3"Mutiny at Fort Mercy"January 21, 1963
4"Trouble at French Creek"January 28, 1963
5"Thunder In Pleasant Valley"February 4, 1963
6"Crisis at High Banjo"February 11, 1963
7"Requiem at Dancer's Hill"February 18, 1963
8"Fargo"February 25, 1963
9"Incident at Rapid City"March 4, 1963
10"Justice at Eagle's Nest"March 11, 1963
11"Walk Through the Badlands"March 18, 1963
12"Trial at Grand Forks"March 25, 1963
13"Reformation at Big Nose Butte"April 1, 1963
14"One Day In Vermillion"April 8, 1963
15"Terror at Heart River"April 15, 1963
16"The Chooser of the Slain"April 22, 1963
17"Feud at Snake River"April 29, 1963
18"Sanctuary at Crystal Springs"May 6, 1963
19"A Nice Girl From Goliath"May 13, 1963

DVD release

On March 24, 2015, Warner Bros. released The Dakotas- The Complete Series on DVD via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available through Warner's online store and[5]


  • The Boys Western Television and Film Annual (Purnell & Sons Ltd 1963)


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