Production Notes - Season 3
Production Notes- Season 3
Entering its third season, the multiple Emmy and award- winning MGM Television western series THE YOUNG RIDERS returns in a new time slot on Saturdays at 9:00.p.m. (EST) on ABC. This year brings a new production team, cast changes and a new fictional locale. Currently the only Western series on television, THE YOUNG RIDERS will feature bold new storylines filled with fresh and provocative angles, and will focus on the romantic as well as political topics which faced the real Pony Express riders in the early 1860s.
THE YOUNG RIDERS's third season opens in 1861 -- a turbulent year of violence and dissent for the adolescent United States as the first shot of the Civil War was fired in Fort Sumter, S.C. Teaspoon Hunter (series star Anthony Zerbe) has been reassigned as marshal of Rock Creek, Neb., where freestaters have armed themselves against slavers in the fight over the right to own slaves. Bringing the Riders with him, they will attempt to maintain order in this discordant territory. The Riders find adventure in this new town, confronting situations which are both enjoyable and difficult. However, eventually they acclamate to their new surroundings and to the inevitable changes within their close-knit group.
Joining THE YOUNG RIDERS this season will be Christopher Pettiet ("Point Break"), who plays 14-year old Jesse James, a rebellious youngster and trouble maker who is taken in by the Riders and Teaspoon to help around the waystation. Pettiet recently guest-starred as a young murder suspect in the Emmy-winning "L.A. Law," and has appreared in such series as "Doogie Howser," "Empty Nest," "Lifestories" and "Star'Trek: The Next Generation." He has also co-starred in the television movies "Fatal Exposure," "Dreamer of oz" starring John Ritter, and "An Enemy of the People."
Scott Shepherd joins THE YOUNG RIDERS as executive producer from the CBS series "Over My Dead Body" for Universal Television, where he served as supervising producer. His additional supervising producer credits include the NBC series "Quantum Leap" and "Miami Vice," and the CBS series "The Equalizer," all for Universal Television. Shepherd also produced the CBS pilot "Hearts and Souls" and the ABC pilot "The Best of Enemies" also for Universal Television.
"The stories this season will be emotionally rooted and filled with romance, while continuing to maintain historical accuracy," says Shepherd. "It was an amazing time, as no one knew that war was really looming in the not-so-distant future, and people were forced to confront volitile issues: slavery, territoriality, vigilantism and outlaw violence."
Another new addition to THE YOUNG RIDERS production team is James Keach, who will serve as producer along with Ray Hartung and Steve Baum. An accomplished director, writer, actor and producer, Keach directed several episodes of THE YOUNG RIDERS during the 1990-91 season, and will direct additional episodes during the 1991-92 season. Keach served as executive producer and writer of the acclaimed Western drama "The Long Riders" for United Artists, which starred his brother actor Stacey Keach. He produced and wrote the films "Single" and "The Experts" for Paramount Pictures, as well as "Armed and Dangerous" for Columbia Pictures.
THE YOUNG RIDERS cast:
Stephen Baldwin plays William (Buffalo Bill) Cody, a good-natured young man,, who, despite his comical and carefree exterior, is cunning, competent and possesses an uncanny marksman's eye. - Cody is quick to pull a joke on his fellow Riders and is the first to come to the rescue in times of need.
Josh Brolin plays James Butler (Wild Bill) Hickok, the fearless, iron-willed and dangerous "bad boy," who is fast becoming one of the most feared gunmen in the west. He is unpredictable but loyal and likeable.
Travis Fine plays Ike McSwain, a gentle-natured youth who became mute after witnessing the brutal deaths of his parents. Communicating only in sign, Ike is befriended by all the riders but is closest to Buck who, like Ike, is considered "different" because of his background.
Don Franklin portrays Noah Dixon, a.free-born black man who is appalled by the racial predjudice surrounding them even in Nebraska territory. Noah has never forgotten that his parents were killed defending their right to keep the land they owned, and Noah himself feels the need to stand against injustice wherever he sees it.
Ty Miller plays The Kid, a brave, kindhearted moralistic, young orphan with a natural ability for leadership. The Kid is still confused by his occasional feelings of jealousy, the aftermath of his year-long relationship with Lou. But while the two are no longer romantically involved, they remain the best of friends.
Christopher Pettiet plays young Jesse James, a rebellious 14-year-old boy who will someday become one of the West's most notorious outlaws. But Jesse is still young and impressionable, and finds the world of the riders to be filled with both companionship and adventure.
Gregg Rainwater plays Buck Cross, a skillful and mystical half-breed Kiowa indian who struggles to find out where he belongs. Caught between two cultures, Buck has fortunately found a new home among the riders. Insightful, alert and wisebeyond-his-years, Buck should never be underestimated.
Yvonne Suhor plays Lou McCloud, a tough and determined young woman who masquerades as a young man so she can belong to the Pony Express. The gutsy Lou is an expert horseperson who can hold her own with the Riders. But she is still a woman, who still feels emotional pangs at the loss of her relationship with The Kid.
Clare Wren portrays Rachel Dunn, the beautiful and mysterious house mother to the riders. Hired by Teaspoon, the arrival of the earthy yet calculating Rachel immediately piqued the interest of the boys at the way station.
Anthony Zerbe plays Teaspoon Hunter, the waystation manager and newly appointed town marshal of Rock Creek, Neb. He's a wise, self-educated man with a highly eccentric view of life. He's experienced a lot of life and he delights in sharing those experiences with his young charges.
THE YOUNG RIDERS is executive produced by Scott Shepherd. Ray Hartung, Steve Baum and James Keach are the producers. Charles Grant Craig is the coproducer. The series is an Ogiens/Kane Company Production in association with MGM/UA Television Production Group, a division of MGM-Pathe Communications Co.
THE YOUNG RIDERS THIRD SEASON
Airdate and time: Season Premiere, Saturday, September 28, 9:00-10:00 pm (EST)
Format: A one-hour action/adventure western series set in the 1860s, filmed on location in Mescal, Ariz., about the historical Pony Express days and the courageous young riders who risked their lives to deliver the mail through the perilous Old West.
The Pony Express
THE PONY EXPRESS WAS THE FASTEST WAY TO GET NEWS ACROSS THE UNTAMED OLD WEST FROM 1860 TO 1861
The Pony Express existed from April 3, 1860 to October 26, 1 861, for exactly 18 months and 23 days. This was the period in history when rickety stagecoaches were the most modern form of transportation, when Indian attacks were frequent and when the wild Old West was just that - wild. Created by the freighting firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell, the Pony Express carried 'mochilas' or pouches of official documents and mail by horseback along a 2,000 mile route between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California. The lives and relationships of the young riders who rode for the Pony Express will be the basis for "The Young Riders," a new hour-long action/adventure series debuting, September 20 at 8:30 pm on ABC.
Before the existence of the Pony Express, the quickest time ever made across the continent was 21 days by the Butterfield Stageline. The Pony Express cut this time in half. Not only did it never once fail to cross the treacherous terrain of old West in 10 days, it more than once surpassed any other courier record in history. It carried President Buchanan's last message the 2,000 miles from St. Joe to Sacramento in seven days and 19 hours; and the news of Lincoln's inaugural across the
country in seven days and 17 hours.
In its conception, the Pony Express was never intended to turn a profit or become the phenomenon of its time. However, once the word was out, the venture of Russell, Majors and Waddell was billed as "The Greatest Enterprise of Modern Times" On April 3, 1860, excited crowds gathered in St. Joseph and Sacramento to witness the spectacular ceremony. To mollify an exicted crowd during a delay, a Pony Express rider's horse was put on display in St. Joseph. The enthusiastic observers began to pluck hairs from the poor beast for souvenirs, this prompting a reporter from the St. Joseph Weekly West to observe "The little pony was almost robbed of his tail." if the reporter had looked more closely, he would of noticed that she was in fact a fine bay mare.
The first mail-bearing daredevil riders to leave from Sacramento and St. Joseph that day were William Russell (no relation to the Pony Express firm) and Johnny Fry. They, as all riders after them, were to gallop full tilt for 35 to 75 miles, then pass the mail to the next relay rider, speeding through daylight-and darkness without stopping. There was no allowance for nasty weather or the failures of muscles or nerves. The 10 day runs started from each terminus once a week, and continued year round.
The mail for the first historic run consisted of 49 letters, some copies of Eastern newspapers, five private telegrams and numerous telegraphic dispatches for California newspapers. Together, all of the items in the first batch weighed less than 15 pounds, And even the high delivery charge of five dollars for a half ounce didn't begin to cover the cost of the service. The mail was locked into three pockets on the mochila and a fourth was left empty to collect mail along the way.
Russell, Majors and Waddell placed "Orphans Wanted" advertisements soliciting riders for the Pony Express in local towns throughout the country. Each competent applicant was sworn in and, issued a specially bound copy of the Bible. The riders became local heroes at the over 190 mail exchanging way stations that dotted the route. Crowds of people, including many a pretty girl, continually gathered to cheer them off. They were adventurous young kids with nothing to lose and dreams of adventure and glory spurring them on. Soon to be historical legends William (Buffalo Bill) Cody and James Butler (Wild Bill) Hickok were both Pony Express Riders.
The Pony Express came to a halt as telegraph lines were completed from coast to coast. One of the most romantic periods in our history was over -- many newspapers had expressed their mourning for the Pony Express. The California Pacific stated it as well as any: "A fast and faithful friend has the Pony been to our far-off state. Summer and winter, storm and shine, day and night, he has traveled like a weaver's shuttle back and forth til now his work is done. Goodbye Pony!"