1 9 7 8 (USA)
2 x 140 minute episodes
10 x 90 minute episodes
This 26-hour, $32 million period drama miniseries from NBC/Universal tracked the evolution of the town of Centennial, Colorado, following the hardy frontiersmen and the events that shaped the American West, beginning in Indian-ruled days and making it’s way to the present day, all topped off with a murder mystery that takes 100 years to solve.
Part fiction, part history and part ecology lesson, the series was based on the best-selling novel by James A Michener and starred Robert Conrad as Pasquinel, a French-Canadian trapper – the first white man to come into the area.
Conrad had not been first choice for the role. The studio wanted Robert Blake, who declined as he had just completed Baretta, and then approached Charles Bronson, who wanted more than the $1 million on offer.
Richard Chamberlian played his partner, McKeag – a red-bearded Scot who flees to America after killing a Highland lord. Their story occupied the first five hours with Sally Kellerman, Raymond Burr and Barbara Carrera co-starring.
Subsequent stories starred Chad Everett, Richard Crenna, Brian Keith, Lynn Redgrave, Donald Pleasence, Dennis Weaver and David Janssen.
The series was filmed on location in Colorado, Ohio and Kentucky, with the cattle drive sequence filmed in Texas.
Major Maxwell Mercy
Colonel Frank Skimmerhorn
Sheriff Axel Dumire
Charlotte Buckland Seccombe