15 October 2007 | patmyhill
One of the greatest TV westerns
Well what does one say, others have said it all! Like the other contributors I saw The Dakotas in my mid teens, thought it was the best western to date, and, of course it was the great Jack Elam that made the show! J D Smith could have been a good feature film story. Oh if only Peckinpah had used Jack Elam more (in Pat Garrett & ...) and earlier - imagine Jack partnering Warren Oates, especially in The Wild Bunch as the Gorch brothers.
But to details. Now, in Oct 2007 I have realised an old ambition and got hold of all 20 episodes that were shown. Look on ebay if you want them.
A little research shows there is a fair bit of misinformation around, but Wikipedia is a good start, together with this site and Classic TV Archive.
21 episodes were made in all, the last, number 20, Black Gold was not transmitted in the US. The first, number 0, A Man Called Ragan was first shown in the US in 1962 as part of Cheyenne.
But what about the UK? I'm sure it was on Sat night, 8 or 9pm and that the series started with number 0, possibly retitled as The Dakotas. So all the web info appears to relate to the US. I recall complaints in the UK about the violence, but was the series terminated early in the UK as well? Or was it all shown. what happened in the UK, was it bought, leased/rented/syndicated or is there a copy, maybe of the full set lying in a vault somewhere? 16mm versions of some episodes are available on US ebay, suggesting that is how Warners distributed it. So is there a Warner Bros archive? So you guys in the UK try and remember when you saw it, it might be traceable. You guys in the US, what about it? These 16mm versions came from somewhere. The thought of a full set of high quality print DVDs is tantalising.
This series is probably the greatest memorial and testament to one of the west's finest character actors, so for Jack's sake...........