1 9 6 1 (USA)
17 x 60 minute episodes
This Western drama series from NBC – a mid-season replacement for Riverboat – was set during the American Civil War and told the tale of young brothers, Ben (Darryl Hickman) and Jeff Canfield (Dick Davalos).
The two brothers who grew up in Harpers Ferry, then in the state of Virginia, were faced with a major decision when Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861.
Jeff, the younger brother, somewhat impetuous and rebellious, decided to fight in the Virginia Militia – soon to become part of the Confederate Army. Ben, the elder brother, was torn between loyalty to his home state and loyalty to the Union.
After their father died in a fire during the first episode, Ben swam across the Potomac river to Maryland and enlisted in the Union Army.
Each brother was showcased on alternate weeks throughout the run of the series. Out of their diverse experiences emerged a rounded picture of a nation struggling through its darkest hour to a new plateau of understanding and achievement.
The series, inspired by the James Warner Bellah novel The Valiant Virginians, screened on Monday nights at 7:30 PM between 23 January and 11 September 1961.
Guest stars included Lee Marvin, Jack Elam, Brian Keith, Kathleen Crowley and Robert Redford.