In the 1880s Jason McCord travels the country trying to prove he's no coward. He needs to do this because the military career of this West point graduate came to an end when he was thrown out of the army after being accused of cowardice.
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In this Western series, Jason McCord, the only survivor of the Battle of Bitter Creek, is court-martialed and kicked out of the Army because of his alleged cowardice. Rather than demean the good name of the Army commander who was actually to blame for the massacre, McCord travels the Old West trying to restore his good name and reputation. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
This follow-up to Chuck Connors' fondly remembered series "The Rifleman" isn't even in the same league as that show, though it had far more production values, bigger casts, and did a lot of location work, as opposed to "The Rifleman," which was shot almost entirely in a studio. The stories in "The Rifleman" were what really made the show, and the relationship between Lucas McCain and his son. In "Branded," Connors' character, Jason McCord, doesn't have any kind of relationship with anybody; he drifts from town to town and from situation to situation, and the viewer really has no clear idea as to what exactly he's doing or where he's going. "The Rifleman" had a core story: an ex-gunfighter trying to make a life for himself and his son on a small ranch, and running into people and situations which, in one way or another, tried to prevent him from doing that. In "Branded," Jason McCord is cashiered from the army for cowardice--which, we're told, was untrue--and pretty much drifts around the west. He doesn't try to gather facts to prove his innocence, or find people who can testify for him, or anything that you'd think a person falsely accused of cowardice would try to do. He just wanders around, making you wonder exactly what the point of this show is. Apparently the producers didn't quite know, either; in one multi-part episode, they had McCord working as a secret agent for President U.S. Grant and trying to break up an organized crime ring!
Connors did his best, but the trite story lines and the general aimlessness of the show finally did it in. It only lasted two seasons. That was enough.
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