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Indian agent Tom Jeffords (John Lupton) and Indian Chief Cochise (Michael Ansara) joined forces in Tuscon, Arizona, in the early 1870s to fight the bad guys in this half-hour western adventure series from ABC.
Jeffords was originally an army officer given the assignment of getting the US Mail safely through Apache territory in Arizona via the Pony Express. Adopting an approach of befriending the Indians instead of shooting at them, Jeffords soon became blood brothers to Cochise.
Army officials, seeking to open the territory to settlers, acquired through Jeffords efforts, a treaty with the Apache and a Broken Arrow – the Indian symbol of peace, friendship and understanding.
Together Jeffords and Cochise fought renegades from the Chiricahua Reservation and dishonest “white eyes” who preyed upon the Indians.
Stuart Randall (Russ Bender) was the town marshal; Duffield (Tom Fadden) was Tom’s friend, and Geronimo (Charles Horvath) was Cochise’s nemesis who opposed the peace treaty.
When the show was cancelled after two years the public demanded it be returned to the airwaves, and – after a two-year absence – ABC obliged and began to play repeats of earlier shows.
Michael Ansara’s naturally swarthy complexion saw him typecast as an Indian, but in spite of the series having made him known nationally, he did not feel the Cochise character presented Native Americans in a very flattering light.
In a TV Guide interview, Ansara (who was married to Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie between 1958 and 1973) said; “Cochise could do one of two things . . . stand with his arms folded looking noble, or stand with arms at his sides, looking noble”.
The show was adapted from an adventure novel called Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold which was made into a movie in 1950.
Lupton went on to play Dr Tommy Horton Jr in the long-running daytime soap, Days Of Our Lives.
Marshal Stuart Randall