Broken Arrow is a Western series which ran on ABC-TV in prime time from 1956 through 1958 on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Repeat episodes were shown by ABC on Sunday afternoon during the 1959–60 season. Selected repeats were then shown once again in prime time (on Sunday evenings) during the summer of 1960.
Broken Arrow is a fictionalized account of the historical relationship between Indian agent Tom Jeffords, played by John Lupton, and the Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise, portrayed by Michael Ansara.
Anthony Caruso, John Lupton as Tom Jeffords and Michael Ansara as Cochise, 1957.
The series was based on the novel Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold, which was made into the movie Broken Arrow in 1950. The television pilot aired on May 1, 1956 on CBS’s The 20th Century-Fox Hour, with Lupton in the title role. The series, which began on September 25, 1956, was produced by TCF Television Productions, the TV division of 20th Century-Fox and was filmed at 20th Century-Fox Studios. The series was syndicated under the title Cochise.
Broken Arrow was one of the few westerns to portray Native Americans in a positive light, but Michael Ansara found the role unchallenging. Ansara told TV Guide magazine in a 1960 interview: “Cochise could do one of two things–stand with his arms folded, looking noble; or stand with arms at his sides, looking noble.”
Tom Fadden (1895-1980) played the character Duffield in seventy episodes of the series. Early in his career, Sam Peckinpah was among the writers on the series.
In the second season opener, “White Man’s Magic” (October 1, 1957), Peter Hansen appears as Captain Farrell, whose fiance, Peggy, portrayed by Nan Leslie, is kidnapped in a stagecoach attack by Apache renegades led by Geronimo, portrayed in this segment by Ric Roman and later in film by Chuck Connors. Jeffords and Cochise succeed in freeing Peggy by making Geronimo think he is facing death from a bullet that has actually been successfully extracted from his body.