4 May 2006 | roghache
Engaging Western series portrays frontier town's lady doctor
While I was not a faithful devotee of the series, I tuned in whenever the opportunity presented itself and invariably enjoyed the stories revolving around a frontier town's lady doctor. I view the program strictly as entertainment, and missed too many episodes to comment accurately on any social issues depicted or historical liberties taken. However, I will note that the show does justifiably denounce racism and tends to cast native people in a sympathetic light.
Set just after the Civil War, the series portrays the ongoing story of a lovely young Boston doctor, Michaela Quinn, who following the death of her own physician father, moves to the frontier town of Colorado Springs. There Dr. Mike sets up her medical practice, to the consternation of those upset at the novel prospect of a female physician. Byron Sully, a rugged mountain man (and friend to the Cheyanne) helps her adjust to frontier life, and naturally the pair develop a mutual attraction. She is aided by a midwife, Charlotte Cooper, who on her deathbed following a snake bike, places her three children (Colleen, Brian, and the older Matthew) in Dr. Mike's care. Thus the doctor takes upon herself the responsibility of three adopted children. Later Dr. Mike marries Sully and they have a baby of their own, little Katie, to add to their previously existing foster family.
The beautiful British actress, Jane Seymour, is radiant, appealing, and sympathetic as the frontier doctor. Dr. Quinn certainly displays an admirable strength of wit and character, tackling both a challenging career and an instant family in this rugged pioneer setting. Yet she also reveals a touching vulnerability. The chemistry is electric between her and Sully (charismatically played by actor Joe Lando) and that factor is probably responsible for much of the show's success. On the whole, it's an engaging series and when it first aired, proved from my perspective superior to much of that era's TV programming.