1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
48 x 30 minute episodes
Branded told the tale of Captain Jason McCord (Chuck Connors), a Civil War officer and former star pupil at West Point, who is the only white survivor of the Battle Of Bitter Creek, a Little Big Horn-like massacre.
It is (falsely) alleged that McCord’s survival was due to cowardice and after a court-martial, he is stripped of his rank and forced to leave the army.
This is explained in the series’ theme song which accompanied a scene of McCord being dishonourably discharged – including having his epaulettes ripped off and his sword snapped in two.
All but one man died
there at Bitter Creek
and they say he ran away
Branded – marked with a cowards’ shame
what do you do when you’re branded?
well you fight for your name.
Exiled from the fort (and the army) McCord wanders the Wild West, moving from job to job – often working as a surveyor – while running from his undeserved reputation as a coward. Wherever he goes, however, it seems that his reputation has preceded him.
Over the course of this NBC series, many who start out hating McCord end up admiring him, or at least giving him the benefit of the doubt.
This is primarily as a result of his frequently demonstrated courage and determination in the face of taunts and more deadly threats.
A former friend and colleague, Colonel Snow (Jon Lormer), refuses to believe the accusations surrounding Bitter Creek and often engages McCord to perform covert activities for President Ulysses S. Grant (William Bryant).
Branded premiered on US television in January 1965.
President Ulysses S Grant