This is the range country where the pounding hooves of untamed horses still thunder in mountains, meadows and canyons. Every herd has its own leader, but there is only one Fury - Fury, King of the Wild Stallions. And here in the wild west of today, hard-riding men still battle the open range for a living - men like Jim Newton, owner of the Broken Wheel Ranch and Pete, his top hand, who says he cut his teeth on a branding iron... FURY!..The story of a horse..and a boy who loves him.
So began each episode of Fury, a weekly dramatic TV series set in the then contemporary American West, which aired on NBC from 1955-1966 and later in syndication through the 1970's (retitled as Brave Stallion). Fury starred Peter Graves as Jim Newton, the recently-widowed owner of the Broken Wheel Ranch in California, Bobby Diamond as Jim's adopted son Joey Clark Newton, and William Fawcett as ranch hand Pete Wilkey.
As depicted in the first episode of the series, Jim Newton first meets orphan Joey Clark when he sees a group of young boys playing baseball in the streets of a small town, and the boys wrongly blame Joey for an errant baseball that breaks a nearby shop window. Jim attends the court hearing where Joey is to be held responsible for breaking the window and tells the judge, who happens to be a friend of his, that Joey is innocent. Jim offers to take the orphan Joey home to live with him at the ranch, and the judge lets Joey go free.
Once at the ranch, Jim introduces Joey to Fury, a captured wild stallion that no one seems able to tame. Fury seems drawn to Joey as a kindred spirit and allows Joey to ride him. From then on, Joey and Fury become fast friends. Subsequent episodes of the show usually revolved around a guest star who would find him or herself in danger, usually due to their own reckless behavior, and Fury and Joey would ride to their rescue. Jim would also usually play a part in helping to resolve the situation and set things right, even if it meant taking part in a fist fight or two.
Fury was one of a number of dramatic series in the 1950's, like Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, My Friend Flicka, and Sky King, that were set in the West and involved kids and horses or dogs (or airplanes) rescuing people. The children in these series were usually orphans or only distantly related to the adults they lived with. These shows were aimed at a family audience, and they combined action and adventure with clear moral lessons about right and wrong. The starring adults were depicted as kind and nurturing but also strong and fearless, and always ready to right a wrong, rescue a hapless victim (even if they had gotten themselves into trouble through their own bad judgment), and capture a bad guy. The kids served as the adults' assistants and apprentices, learning important values and moral lessons along the way. The horses and dogs in these shows were depicted as proud, innocent, wise, and brave creatures who had a natural bond with children who, unlike some adults, were inherently good and innocent themselves.
Peter Graves, the actor who played ranch owner Jim Newton, later went on to star in other TV series, most notably Mission Impossible. Sadly, he passed away on March 15, 2010.
You can watch Fury on DVD in the Fury 2-Pack (Vol. 1 and 2), which includes ten episodes from the original series.
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.