Bronco is a Western series on ABC from 1958 through 1962. It was shown by the BBC in the United Kingdom. The program starred Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne, a former Confederate officer who wandered the Old West, meeting such well-known individuals as Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Theodore Roosevelt, Belle Starr, Cole Younger, and John Wesley Hardin (the last played by Scott Marlowe).
Bronco premiered in the fall of 1958 when Warner Brothers executives and actor Clint Walker clashed over Walker’s contract on the series Cheyenne. Walker had walked out on his show over such stringent clauses as a requirement that he return half of all personal appearance fees to Warner Brothers, and that he only record for Warner music labels. When the two sides came to an impasse, the network hired newcomer Ty Hardin to play the new character of Bronco Layne, but kept the title of Cheyenne.
When Walker came back to his series, Bronco became a spin-off of Cheyenne. Bronco at first alternated with another Western series, Sugarfoot, featuring Will Hutchins. In 1960, the two began alternating with Cheyenne under the Cheyenne title. Sugarfoot was dropped in 1961, leaving only Bronco and Cheyenne to alternate. Other Warner Brothers westerns in production around this time included Maverick with James Garner, Jack Kelly, and Roger Moore, Colt .45 with Wayde Preston, and Lawman with John Russell; series characters occasionally crossed over into each other’s series.
According to the theme song, Bronco came from the Texas Panhandle, but episodes of the series are set throughout the West.
In the eighth episode, “Freeze-Out” (December 30, 1958) a writer calling herself Mary Brown, played by Grace Raynor, hires Bronco to escort her to a ghost town in the high country, where they encounter three men amid the isolation. As it develops, Mary is not interested so much in story ideas but in the body of a man buried in a nearby glacier and missing gold. Some four years before the debut of his The Virginian, James Drury plays the part of John Smith, who develops a romantic interest in Mary. Edgar Stehli (1884-1973) plays the part of “Pancake” Riddle.