DANIEL BOONE was star Fess Parker's production company's project to recapture the success and popularity of the DAVY CROCKETT episodes he did for the Disney anthology series of the 1950's. However, the Davy Crockett franchise was owned by Disney, and Disney was unwilling to sell their rights, so they had to come up with something else along the same lines, and thus DANIEL BOONE was born. Basically they recast the earlier character and much of the light-hearted, folk-tale-inspired stories and feel of the earlier show, and even appropriated the coon-skin cap he had made so popular in DAVY CROCKETT (I suppose Disney didn't have a monopoly on that mode of headgear). Then they updated the story concepts and themes to mid-1960's. Once you realize this (and assuming you've seen DAVY CROCKETT, OLD YELLER, or any of the standard Disney weekly television fare of the era) you'll understand where this series was coming from. In terms of story themes, it was mid-60's morality play TV, where good always ultimately triumphed over evil, the ending was generally a happy one, and traditional American idealistic values as well as some newer ones, like opposing racism, were upheld. Thus, it was no different than anything else of that era -- BONANZA, THE RIFLEMAN, THE BIG VALLEY, THE HIGH CHAPARRAL, you name it, and it was just as popular, with a rendition of the theme song expanded and sung by Fess Parker himself being played on Top 40 radio.
What was uniquely fun about this show, though, was the 1950's Disneyesque TV humor, some of which revolved not the least around Fess Parker's sidekicks, in particular, the inimitable Mingo, played by baritone singer Ed Ames. Styled as a Cherokee (and therefore, "friendly") Indian, Mingo was actually half-English and educated at no less an institution than Oxford, after which he returned to resume his Cherokee lifestyle while communicating with whites in the King's English. This became a running joke in the show, for when the pair met up with any of the vast population of guest stars portraying various strangers from week to week, Daniel or the other white frontiersman would say something like, "downright happy t' know ya", while Mingo, looking from head to toe like any Indian from James Fenimore Cooper, would in crisp, perfect English and a deep sonorous voice, intone something like, "the pleasure and honor are all mine, sir," often to the stunned amazement of the stranger. Moreover, he was not only an expert Cherokee tracker with a store of knowledge of other tribes, but a true classically-educated intellectual aware even of much of the latest scientific knowledge. Don't be surprised to see Mingo respond to some down-home philosophical question with a Latin metaphor, in Latin. He's practically the original Mister Spock (a whole year before Star Trek debuted).
Fess Parker himself was perfect in this, doing a classic portrayal of an easygoing, exceptionally cool-headed, and slow-to-anger backwoodsman who also has no problem decking somebody with a crashing right or mowing them down with "Ticklicker", his Kentucky long rifle, once events escalated to that level. Thus, he is most often able to defuse a situation and prevail by disarming his opponent in a competition of wits, avoiding bloodshed with down-home wisdom, wilyness, and manly eyeball-to-eyeball negotiating, true to the DAVY CROCKETT tradition. (For the uninitiated, Crockett was also played by John Wayne in THE ALAMO where Crockett's death at that battle in real life is portrayed.) Here Parker is the living embodiment of Theodore Roosevelt's admonition, "speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far." In this sense, he might remind the 60's TV aficionado of Andy Griffith in his show of the same name (even if the latter character and the show were typically better written. In this regard, the reviewer who attacks Parker's masculinity so prominently in this string is difficult to comprehend in her remarks.
Probably the worst thing about this show were some fairly contrived, not entirely plausible plot devices and even whole story lines at times, as well as a pace that was sometimes a little slow even by the standards of the day. Also trying to the modern viewer are the 1960's production values, which while perfectly standard then still didn't convey the outdoor sequences that made up most of the scenes in this show as well as one would prefer today, being that they were mostly shot indoors on a sound stage.
That said, I have a season of this on DVD and it really takes me back to my childhood to watch it. In fact, I still remember the Saturday night I was in church (the show was still current right about the time the Catholic Church decided you could go to mass on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning, your option) where the priest caught somebody looking at his watch and announced, "don't worry, everybody, I want to get home in time to watch DANIEL BOONE, too". Today I enjoy it very much as a classic example of mid-60's American action-drama TV.