Branded

Branded

1965 - United States

This Western series starring Chuck Connors as ex-West Point graduate, Captain Jason McCord, who is cashiered out of the US Army for cowardice, was in fact created by Larry Cohen as an allegory of the McCarthy political black listings of the 1950's. McCord had lost consciousness and somehow survived as the only survivor of the Indian massacre at the Battle of Bitter Creek in Wyoming. However, the top brass believed that he had fled the scene of conflict and kicked him out of the force, leaving him forever branded. 

The series followed his exploits as he tried to prove his innocence, wandering through the country with a broken sabre, the symbol of his shame. He managed to find work as an engineer and mapmaker in a variety of jobs and occasionally unearthed evidence in his favour, although the end of the series left his ultimate fate unresolved. Connors, already famous on US television in The Rifleman (1958-63), was the only regular in the series - although his father, General Joshua McCord (John Carradine), did appear in several episodes. Creator Cohen went on to devise another never-ending series, The Invaders. Most of season one's 16 episodes (early 1965) were in black & white (save for a three-part episode that was filmed in colour).  

Published on November 30th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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