1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
27 x 50 minute episodes
Ben Quick (Roy Thinnes) returns to his Southern US hometown of Frenchman’s Bend, Mississippi, to claim his inheritance and soon runs afoul of local town “Boss” and patriarch, powerful banker Will Varner, played by Edmond O’Brien initially, and then Dan O’Herlihy.
O’Brien withdrew from the show in October 1965 over a “difference of opinion” on how to play the character. No explanation was given to viewers for the change of faces.
The handsome Ben attracts the attention of the local women but Will’s young son Jody Varner (Paul Geary) is resentful of his attributes. Nancy Malone played Varner’s beautiful but disenchanted daughter, Clara.
Deciding to rebuild his father’s farm, Ben approaches Will for a loan. Although Will dislikes Ben, he grants him the loan – on the proviso that he leaves Clara alone.
Ben agrees but complications set in when Clara discovers what her father has done and sets her goal to win Ben’s love.
Episodes comprised stand-alone stories rather than a continuing narrative in serial format. The series – airing on the ABC network – was based on characters and stories created by author William Faulkner.
The 20th Century Fox-produced series lasted only a few months due to poor scripts and general discontentment by the actors. Thinnes moves directly onto the infinitely more successful The Invaders.
‘Boss’ Will Varner
Edmond O’Brien (1)
Dan O’Herlihy (2)
Sheriff Harve Anders