Pioneers of Television [series info]
Known everywhere as the quintessential American cultural identity, Westerns filled small screens across the country night after night and were some of the most successful television shows in history. Fess Parker's portrayal of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett channeled the bravery, independence, honesty and rugged individualism of a young nation - and made Walt Disney enough money to build an empire. Westerns also gave viewers James Garner, who starred in the giant television hit "Maverick," where he developed the reluctant hero character that would cement his successful TV and film career. Parker and Garner tell their stories, and Linda Evans recalls how two strong female characters emerged with her onscreen interaction with Barbara Stanwyck in "The Big Valley." This episode also examines the success of Robert Conrad in "The Wild Wild West," the popularity of "Bonanza" and the creation of the classic series "Gunsmoke" with James Arness - one of the longest-running television series of all time.