1 9 7 9 (USA)
12 x 20 minute episodes
The combination Western/science fiction story was set in Wyoming in the 1880s. Marshal Jim Donner (Geoffrey Scott) was tracking down a series of gold-shipment thefts by a group of desperadoes known as the Phantom Riders when he stumbled upon the entrance to the hidden underground kingdom of Chimera.
The people of Chimera were visitors from another planet, living in futuristic splendour marred only by the dictatorial rule of the evil Emperor Thorval (Mark Lenard) who maintained control over his subjects with the use of the “Compliatron” – a device that enslaved minds and was powered by the gold stolen by his soldiers.
Thorval’s seductive daughter, Princess Tara (Diane Markoff initially, and Stepfanie Kramer in the final few episodes), was spoiled and self-indulgent, and his aide, Hator (David Opatoshu), was almost as power-hungry as he was.
Struggling to free their people from the rule of Thorval was a group known as the Partisans, led by Roe (Peter Tomarken) and the beautiful Maya (Pamela Brull).
Most of the folks around the town of Cheyenne had no idea about their alien neighbours – only Donner’s friends Millie (Carlene Watkins) and Billy (Tiger Williams) and gold miner Jess Keller (Peter Breck), who planned to provide Thorval with gold in exchange for an army of slaves to take over the surface world.
The daring marshal tried to help the Partisans overthrow Thorval and stop the gold robberies on the surface.
In the last episode aired, Donner was chased into the generator room in Chimera, where there was an explosion. In true cliff-hanger fashion, “To be continued . . . ” was flashed on the screen. Unfortunately, the series – aired against Happy Days on ABC – was cancelled and the audience never found out if the marshal had survived.
Scenes set in the West were filmed in black and white, with scenes in the futuristic world of Chimera shot in colour.
Marshal Jim Donner
Diane Markoff (1)
Stepfanie Kramer (2)