Old TV Shows From The Beginning Through 1969

Brave Eagle

Western 1955-1956

Arthur Rush was a successful artists' manager and was previously a senior executive in RCA Records. He was also the manager and best friend of the legendary Roy Rogers. It was Rush who had the idea of creating a western from the point of view of the American Indian (or Red Indian as was the terminology of the day). This ground-breaking idea was put to Roy Rogers who offered up his ranch as the filming location and funded the project through his newly formed Frontier Productions company. Art Rush produced the series initially and was helped later by Michael North. The experienced Paul Landres was appointed director and Keith Larsen was cast as the hero in the title role. Larsen had previously starred in The Hunter.

Keith Larsen was clearly was not from American Indian descent. However, two of his co-stars were: Keena Nomkeena played Keena, Brave Eagle's adopted son. Keena Nomkeena was a real American Indian, originating from the Hopi and Klamath (or Karok) tribes. Kim Winona who played Morning Star was a Souix Indian by descent.

The Format:
Image: Brave Eagle with Morning StarThe storylines centre around Indian chief Brave Eagle's tribulations as he leads hisCheyenne tribe. He cares for his adopted son Keena and is joined by "the wise one" Smokey Joe (played by Bert Wheeler), his daughter Morning Star and Black Cloud (played by Pat Hogan).

This must be one of the earliest examples of a male lone parent in a tv drama. Brave Eagle was a genuine attempt to see life through the American Indian point of view and was set in the Cheyenne Tribe. Rather than emphasising the struggle with the white man, this was more a story set amongst American Indians, with plots centering on various issues surrounding the Cheyenne. In many episodes his tribe is seen as friendly to the white man and even in co-operation with the local fort. The Cheyenne's main enemy is actually the Apache tribe.

Keith Larsen went on to star in tv's popular Northwest Passage and later became a director and producer.