Wagon Train: Season 4, Episode 9

The Colter Craven Story (23 Nov. 1960)

TV Episode  |   |  Western
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Dr. Craven feels he can't perform surgery any longer. When he joins the wagon train and his services are desperately needed, he realizes he may be wrong after Major Adams gives him a history lesson.



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Episode cast overview:
Flint McCullough (credit only)
Frank McGrath ...
Terry Wilson ...
Dr. Colter Craven
Mrs. Allyris Craven
Paul Birch ...
Kyle Cleatus
Cliff Lyons ...
Creel Weatherby
Chuck Hayward ...
Quentin Cleatus
Dennis Rush ...
Beula Blaze ...
Jamie's Mother
Mr. Grant
Park Cleatus
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (as Michael Morris)


The wagon train passes through a drought stricken area on the way to Fort Mescalero where they plan to restock the water supply. They spot the drunk Dr. Colter Craven and his wife stranded with a broken axle and wheel. The doctor was asked to leave Fort Mescalero but the couple is forced to go there with the wagon train. Adams soon discovers the doctor is an alcoholic but still has some medical skills. At Fort Mescalero the owner Park Cleatus wants to gouge the train for water asking $25 per barrel. Adams decides to only water the stock continuing on to the river. Cleatus is hoping the train will abandon property on the way which he can collect. Hawks finds a steep but passable shortcut to the river saving the train. Creel Weatherby has a pregnant wife about to give birth but she needs a C-section to save her and the baby. Dr. Craven says he is unable to operate due to mental stress he suffered in the Civil War at Shiloh. Adams tells him a story about a friend who had a drinking ... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

23 November 1960 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Much of the footage in this episode was taken from John Ford's western Wagon Master (1950). Ward Bond's costume in this episode is identical to the one he wore in that film so that the re-used footage would match the newly shot scenes. See more »

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User Reviews

Ward Bond Hosts His Friends
1 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The week that Ward Bond died TV Guide was to feature an article about this Wagon Train episode. Bond got his mentor John Ford to direct this episode of Wagon Train which concerned an alcoholic doctor played by Carleton Young traveling on the Wagon Train.

This must have been a proud day for Bond. John Wayne, John Ford, and Ward Bond had been like the three musketeers ever since Ford spotted both these guys working as prop men and gave them their start in films.

For Bond however he was the odd man out. Either he and Wayne worked on a Ford film together or they worked on a film with another director, but with Wayne the star and Bond one of the supporting cast.

But due to Wagon Train, Bond was now THE STAR and Wayne and Ford worked for him. Wayne has an unbilled unseen cameo as General William T. Sherman during a flashback sequence during the Civil War. I still remember you see Wayne in silhouette in the background, but his voice is unmistakable.

Wayne is billed under his real name of Marion Michael Morrison in the cast and the cast of the episode itself reads like a John Ford movie.

It would have been one of the best received Wagon Train episodes in any event, but Bond's death made it a classic.

I wish I had saved that TV Guide with the rollicking story about Ford and Wayne working for Bond on the Wagon Train set and the heartfelt obituary for Bond in the same issue. In the obituary it was explained that they wanted to run the cover story as well as the obituary side by side, such was the place that Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams had in the affections of the American public.

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