September 13, 1959 to January 2, 1961
Sunday, September 13, 1959; 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Twenty episodes ran at this time period. Beginning with episode #21,
"Path of the Eagle," (February 1, 1960), the series was moved to Monday night at 7:30-8:30PM.
Incidentally, this was the last episode Burt
Reynolds appeared in.
31 episodes first season (two of which Darren
Regular cast first season:
Darren McGavin - Grey Holden
Burt Reynolds - Ben Frazer
Dick Wessell - Carney
Jack Lambert - Joshua
Mike McGreevey - Chip
John Mitchum - Pickalong
Bart Patton - Terry
13 episodes second
Regular cast second season:
Darren McGavin - Grey Holden
Noah Berry, Jr. - Bill Blake
Early Promo (1959)
"John James Audubon, the noted ornithologist was decidedly put out when
Internal Revenue officers took a flask of whiskey away from him while he was
riding a Missouri riverboat through "dry" territory.
And Charles Dickens, who traveled the Mississippi aboard
another riverboat, summed up the cruise with a terse "uncivilized."
On the other hand, artist George Catlin so thoroughly enjoyed
his riverboat roaming that he talked dozens of foreign dignitaries into taking
the "grand tour" of the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
Because they rode the boats, some of history's most noted
figures will be portrayed in this years NBC-TV's RIVERBOAT, a full-hour weekly
program dealing with the romantic, colorful and sometimes uncomfortable life
The famous names will be worked into the storylines but they
will not be entire episodes in and of themselves.
Young Philippe of France is one likely person
encountered. He and his two brothers traveled from Pittsburgh to New
Orleans and created a legend in so doing. Story has it the barge they were
on got stuck. One of the boatmen yelled into their cabin, "Hey, you
kings there, get yourselves up and shove this...barge off the bar!"
And, according to tale-teller, the royal gentry did just that.
William Cullen Bryant toured as a newspaper correspondent of
sorts and a young Captain of Volunteers named Abraham Lincoln was one of the
persons he interviewed. Port Bryant described himself as enchanted by
Lincoln's "quaint and pleasant speech."
And Walt Whitman, who is somewhat better remembered as a poet
than a newsman, also made the tour as a reporter. He didn't like it much
better than did Dickens, however, since his principal recorded observation is
that there "was not room to turn and people sleep at night on the saloon
Many theatrical greats traveled by riverboat to New Orleans
to perform. Among them were Tyrone Power (great-grandfather of the late
movie star), the Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind and dancer Lola Montez, also
famed, too, for her romance with Ludwig, "the king of Bavaria."
William S. Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, steamed by
riverboat to the Mississippi Valley, looking for Aaron Burr, in the expectation
of challenging him to a duel to avenge his father. The quest failed,
however, when Burr refused to duel him.
Series stars Darren McGavin as Captain Grey
(Episodic reviews taken or adapted from "Television
Westerns Episode Guide, All United States Series, 1949-1996," by Harris M.
09/13/59 "Payment in Full"
For a price, simple-minded Hunk Farber is only happy to reveal the whereabouts
of his boss, Monte, who accidentally killed a senator's son. The reward in
his pocket, Hunk heads for Captain Holden's riverboat. There, he is eager
to impress a young lady aboard the Enterprise.
Barbara Bel Geddes
09/20/59 "The Barrier"
Young Jefferson Carruthers has been assigned to a new post as an Indian
agent. He and his wife board the Enterprise to travel to their new
home. Also on board is Vance Muldoon, who plans to offer Carruthers money
if he will smuggle liquor to the Indians.
"About Roger Mowbray"
Wealthy Roger Mowbray's marriage is threatened when an old sweetheart intimates
that Roger married for money. Because he really loves his wife, Roger is
doubly upset to discover that his father seems to be involved in the scheme to
break up the marriage.
"Race to Cincinnati"
John Jenkins has placed a large down payment on land owned by three ruthless
farmers. Jenkins is planning to deliver a shipment of peaches, via the Enterprise,
to Cincinnati, as a final payment for the land. But the farmers plot to
block the boat so the shipment of peaches will be spoiled.
Riverboat pilot John Murrell plans to hijack a shipment from rival pilot Dan
Simpson. Murrell arranges to have Lela Candida take a job on Simpson's
boat as a dancing girl, so that she can signal his raiders when to attack.
"The Fight Back"
Ansel Torgin hires the Enterprise for his daughter's wedding. Captain Grey
Holden recognizes the bridegroom as a drifter he once threw off his riverboat.
William D. Gordon
"Escape to Memphis"
Laura Sutton is forced to kill her husband in self defense. Laura's
brother-in-law, Jarrett Sutton, witnesses the shooting and tries to blackmail
"Witness No Evil"
Otto Justin, dealer in wild animals, is escorting a shipment of his captured
beasts to St. Louis aboard the Enterprise. Widow Abby Saunders and
her young son Paddy are both impressed with Justin's manner.
"A Night At Trapper's Landing"
French playboy Andre Devereaux has become an American lieutenant. Assigned
to lead some troops into Indian Territory, he finds that the normally peaceful
Indians have been provoked to violence.
Prisoner Paul Drake is being returned to custody by a prison guard.
Because Drake has already tricked him once, the guard shackles his prisoner to a
deckhouse on the Enterprise.
"The Boy From Pittsburgh"
Tommy Jones, a young stowaway, is discovered aboard the Enterprise.
Also on board is a pair of thieves, who plan to blow up the boat to collect
insurance on some diamonds they are shipping to St. Louis.
Lt. Perry Quinn, an officer in Sam Houston's Texas Army, hires the Enterprise
to deliver a cargo of lead down river. Captain Grey Holden is warned
that Santa Ana's agents may try to sabotage the shipment.
Actress Lorna Langton wants to charter the Enterprise and a skeleton crew
for a trip to St. Louis. The actress has been told that her young son,
kidnapped some years before, is being held in another town.
William D. Gordon
Lee Van Cleef
12/20/59 "Guns for Empire"
Anthony Lorrimer charters the Enterprise to deliver a cargo of farm machinery to
his thriving community of Lorrimer City. Captain Grey Holden is unaware
that the cargo is actually arms and ammunition.
"Face of Courage"
The Enterprise steams upriver with a cargo of arms and recruits for the Fort
Union outpost. At Akins Landing, Grey Holden is told by Homer Atkins that
the Sioux have been watching the boat and are planning an uprising.
A group of volunteer teachers who have gone to the island of Diablo Corozan off
the coast of Tampico are imprisoned when Spain conquers the island. The
corrupt Spanish officials allow Joan Marchland, one of the teachers, to return
to the United States to raise a ransom for the rest.
The Enterprise, tied up overnight, is boarded and highjacked by a vicious
crew, who kill the three men left to guard the boat. Captain Grey Holden
and Ben Fraser return to the scene in time to see their craft heading down the
river. They set out overland to head her off.
Kay E. Kuter
Captain Grey Holden and his crew get into a street brawl over Martha Crane and
land in jail. Martha agrees to bail them out on the condition that Grey
will transport a supply of gunpowder up river to her father.
Directed by Darren McGavin
James R. Scott
While the Enterprise makes a stop for wood, a group of Cajuns board the
vessel and hijack a part of the cargo. Two people are shot during the
Louise Harrison and her boy friend, the only survivors of a boat tragedy, do
some quick thinking. Realizing that a fortune in jewels went down with the
ship, they appeal to their rescuer, Grey Holden, to help them retrieve Louise's
Series moved to Monday night, 7:30-8:30 PM
"Path of the Eagle"
A trip to Independence, Missouri brings back memories of a bitter adventure to
Grey Holden. Holden tells the story to Chip and Joshua.
"The Treasure of Hawk Hill"
Bank robbers have a falling-out over some hidden loot. One of the men
manages to give a map of the hiding place to his son, before he is killed.
The boy heads up river on a raft to deliver it to his uncle.
"Fight At New Canal"
Grey Holden is chosen to represent riverboat captains in seeking a
government-subsidized canal. Preliminary surveys and work must be
completed before Congress will approve the project. Opponents of the canal
set out to sabotage the project.
"The Wichita Arrows" *Darren was not
in this episode*
Betty Lou Keim
*Darren was not in this episode*
Ronnie Rondell, Jr.
The crew of the Enterprise planned a big night on the town. But
when they dock, they find the place completely deserted, except for three new
27)03/21/60 "Hang the Men
A young passenger on the Enterprise has been accused of murder by his
dying father. An aroused posse set out to drag him off the Enterprise and
serve up their own brand of justice.
"The Night of the Faceless Man"
The Enterprise makes a wood stop at a small river town. But there
is no wood for sale to strangers.
"The Long Trail"
An Army colonel warns the Cherokee to take the long trail to a new settling
place. Pillagers burn the Indian village to make sure the Cherokee have no
reason to stay.
"The Quick Noose"
A noose is about to tighten around Carney's neck. Visiting his brother in
Wingate, the riverboater is charged with murder.
The Enterprise is badly in need of repairs and Holden has got to accept
Nick Logan's offer. He will repair the boat, if afterward, he and his
partner can use it.
"End of a Dream"
Fast talking Martinus Van der Brig persuades Holden and Bill Blake, the
riverboat's new pilot, to transport a group of pioneers to some new territory,
recently purchased from Mr. Van der Brig.
Robert C. Wilke
"That Taylor Affair"
Milton Frome, Holden and Blake have an idea for making the Enterprise famous by
shanghaiing President Zachary Taylor. They get some help from a girl named
"The Two Faces of Grey Holden"
To Captain Holden, his romance with Marie Tourette was just a pleasant
interlude, until he discovers she is passing him off as her fiancÚ. While
her family is in on the deception, they expect Grey to follow through and marry
Gentleman Dan Muldoon is backing Dublin Boy against Gunner Stagle for the
bare-knuckle championship of the river. Before the fight, Dublin Boy
proves to have a glass jaw, when flattened by Grey, thus forcing the captain to
take his place in the ring. Grey triumphs and becomes "river
"No Bridge on the River"
There was no bridge on the river to Captain Holden's
knowledge, but someone has constructed a railroad trestle over the water.
When the Enterprise runs into its pilings, Holden sues for damages, finding
himself in court against a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln.
"Trunk Full of Dreams"
Sir Oliver Garnett and Juliet, his young companion, are shipwrecked
actors. Captain Holden fishes them out of the river and books them as
entertainers aboard the Enterprise.
Mary Tyler Moore
"The Water of Gorgeous Springs"
The feuding families of Jennings and Cox are going to a fair, and Holden
unwittingly books both families on the Enterprise. Now he has to
act as peacemaker or have the riverboat wrecked by gunfire.
"Devil in Skirts"
If Grey will lure a belle named Lucinda away from Colonel Ashley's son Tony, the
colonel will provide a profitable cotton cargo for the Enterprise.
Unfortunately, Lucinda overhears the proposition.
Army Sgt. Dan Phillips is trying to recruit new members for his platoon.
Using a convincing argument - a hit on the head - he has filled all but two
spots in his quota. And he has eyes on Phelan, one of Grey's crewmen, for
one of those spots.
The Enterprise arrives at Chicota Landing with a cargo of gunpowder for
the Army. Before they can unload it, the boat is taken over by a gang of
Mexican bandits bed by Juan Cortilla.
"Duel on the River"
Brian Cloud monopolizes all the cotton crop in the area, and Laurie Rawlings,
the wife of a cotton planter, doesn't like being under Cloud's thumb.
In town to have an aching tooth removed, Carney stops at the saloon for a
bolstering drink. This makes him late for the dentist, so Blake undertakes
to separate Carney from his tooth.
"Listen to the Nightingale"
Norwegian songbird Julie Lang wants to take her troupe to New Orleans for an
engagement, but she has no money. Grey finally agrees to take the troupe
aboard the Enterprise, for an IOU
against their New Orleans
receipts. Along the way, a future crewman of another famous ship
steals her jewelry.