The Quest (1976 TV series)
|Created by||Tracy Keenan Wynn|
|Directed by||Bernard McEveety|
|Theme music composer||Richard Shores|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||15 (4 unaired)|
|Executive producer||David Gerber|
|Producers||James H. Brown|
|Running time||44 mins.|
|Production companies||David Gerber Productions|
Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Domestic Television|
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 22 –|
December 29, 1976
|Preceded by||The Quest|
The pilot episode aired as a television movie on May 13, 1976.
Two brothers Morgan (Kurt Russell) and Quentin Bodine (Matheson) are seeking the whereabouts of their long-lost sister, Patricia, thought to be held by the Cheyenne. The siblings were separated after their parents were killed during an "Indian massacre". Morgan, known as "Two Persons", was a captive of the Cheyenne for eight years until he was freed by the United States Army. Quentin was taken to San Francisco, where he was educated as a physician.
- Kurt Russell as Morgan 'Two Persons' Beaudine
- Tim Matheson as Quinton Beaudine
- Brian Keith as Tank Logan
- Keenan Wynn as H.H. Small
A pilot movie aired on May 13, 1976 as a preview of the upcoming series; it received strong ratings, placing in the top 20 programs for the week. The first regular series episode was broadcast on September 22 with an extended 90 minute runtime to recap events from the pilot.
The Quest aired at the 9/10 p.m. Wednesday timeslot, deliberately targeting an adult audience after the failure of the family-oriented western Sara earlier in 1976. It ran opposite Charlie's Angels on ABC, also debuting that fall, and The Blue Knight on CBS.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|Pilot||"The Quest"||TBA||Tracy Keenan Wynn||May 13, 1976|
|Two brothers, one raised in the city and the other by Indians, are searching the Old West for their sister with the assistance of a former gunslinger-turned-cattle rustler. Guest starring Brian Keith, Keenan Wynn, Will Hutchins, Neville Brand, and Cameron Mitchell.|
|1||"The Captive"||Barry Shear||Mark Rogers||September 22, 1976|
|After eight years apart, the Beaudine brothers embark on the quest to find their sister, who they believe is held captive by the Cheyenne; they accompany an Army raid on an Indian village to rescue a young white woman. Guest starring Bibi Besch, Dennis Cole, Christopher Connelly, Susan Dey, Royal Dano, Richard Egan, and Russ Tamblyn.|
|2||"The Buffalo Hunters"||Earl Bellamy||Paul Savage||September 29, 1976|
|The Beaudines are taken captive by buffalo hunters while rescuing a native woman. Guest starring Alex Cord, John Quade, and Linda Redfearn.|
|3||"Shanklin"||Corey Allen||Charles A. McDaniel||October 13, 1976|
|Texas Ranger Shanklin is assisted by the brothers in pursuing a gang of murdering rapists into Mexico. Guest starring Mariette Hartley and Don Meredith.|
|4||"Day of Outrage"||TBA||TBA||October 27, 1976|
|The Beaudines seek shelter from a storm with Cattle Kate, played by Amanda Blake. Also guest starring Don "Red" Barry, Severn Darden, George Gaynes, Steve Kanaly, James Keach, Lance Kerwin, Pamela Sue Martin, and Don Matheson.|
|5||"Seventy-Two Hours"||Alf Kjellin||Anthony Lawrence||November 3, 1976|
|Tragedy ensues after a local marshal allows cattle drovers to run wild. Guest starring Maria Elena Cordero, Howard Keel, Cameron Mitchell, Aldo Ray, and Mitch Vogel.|
|6||"Prairie Woman"||Bernard McEveety||Earl W. Wallace||November 10, 1976|
|The Beaudines are forced to make a tough choice after encountering a woman and her sick child. Guest starring Jim Davis, Ty Hardin, and Laraine Stephens.|
|7||"Welcome to America, Jade Snow"||Bernard McEveety||Anthony Lawrence||November 24, 1976|
|The Beaudines work to defuse a tense situation after Chinese workers are brought in to break a mine strike. Guest starring Gary Collins, George Lazenby, Irene Yah-Ling Sun, and Jason Wingreen.|
|8||"The Longest Drive: Part 1"||Bernard McEveety||Katharyn Powers and Michael Michaelian||December 1, 1976|
|The Beaudine brothers help a rancher muster a crew of cattle drovers.|
|9||"The Longest Drive: Part 2"||TBA||TBA||December 8, 1976|
|A determined rancher keeps pushing a cattle drive despite numerous setbacks. Guest starring Dan O'Herlihy, Keenan Wynn, Woody Strode, Erik Estrada, and John Rubinstein.|
|10||"Portrait of a Gunfighter"||TBA||TBA||December 22, 1976|
|After Quentin teaches an orphan how to use a gun in self-defense, the boy turns into a cold-blooded gunfighter. Guest starring Morgan Brittany, Jack Colvin, John Ireland, and Andrew Stevens.|
|11||"The Freight Train Rescue"||Michael O'Herlihy||Sean Baine||December 29, 1976|
|The Beaudines team up with Nelson Story to rescue government surveyors. Guest starring Monte Markham.|
|12||"The Last of the Mountain Men"||TBA||TBA||UNAIRED|
|The Beaudines team up with two old trappers against a mountain man. Guest starring Leif Erickson, Douglas Fowley, and Pernell Roberts.|
|13||"Dynasty of Evil"||TBA||TBA||UNAIRED|
|A feud between homesteaders and a cattle baron entangles the Beaudines. Guest starring Howard Duff, Gary Graham, David Ladd, Joan Prather, and Robert J. Wilke.|
|14||"The Seminole Negro Indian Scouts"||TBA||TBA||UNAIRED|
|The Beaudines help Black Seminole Scouts under attack from a racist sheriff. Guest starring Henry Brown, Hal Miller, Bill Overton, Stack Pierce, and Bill Williams.|
|15||"Incident at Drucker's Tavern"||TBA||TBA||UNAIRED|
|The Beaudines are stranded in a town where a gambler and his pregnant wife are hiding from the father of a man killed by the gambler. Guest starring Julie Cobb, Scott Hylands, and Morgan Woodward.|
Background and productionEdit
The series was created by Tracy Keenan Wynn, son of Keenan Wynn, who also made two appearances on the series. David Gerber served as the executive producer. Gerber intended to duplicate the "gritty realism, ... attention to detail, character and authenticity" of Police Story in the first prime time western since the end of Gunsmoke. It was the only western scheduled for the upcoming fall 1976 television season.
Much of the filming was in Arizona.
Consistently low ratings, coupled with the fact that Westerns had fallen out of favor with networks and audiences, contributed to the demise of the series. NBC confirmed reports that The Quest had been canceled during its first season on December 7, 1976, and the final episode aired on December 29, 1976. Four of the fifteen episodes produced never aired in the US.
While the entire series has not been released on DVD, a two-part episode, "The Longest Drive", was released on Region 1 DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2005. The television film which served as the series' pilot episode was also released on DVD by Sony in 2011.
David Eden, reviewing the series for the Albuquerque Journal, compared the chemistry between Russell and Matheson to Starsky and Hutch and praised the acting, script, and production, but concluded the series was not refreshing because it repeated "too many tired story lines from old Westerns".
One episode, "Hatcher's Drive" won a Spur Award in 1976 from the Western Writers of America for script writers Katharyn Powers and Michael Michaelian. The writers tied with "The Macahans" by Jim Byrnes for How the West Was Won on ABC.
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One of these years, westerns again will rule the TV roost. But apparently this isn't the season. TV's lone current sagebrusher, NBC's The Quest, is drawing consistently anemic ratings. It's a goner, boys ...
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