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The Chisholms (1980)

Character Name: Gideon Chisholm

The Chisholms was a three-part miniseries adapted by Evan Hunter from his own novel. Covering the years 1842 through 1844, the dramatization follows the westward trek of the Chisholm family. Patriarch Robert Preston is driven from his midwestern homestead by a feud. Starting down the Ohio river, Preston and his family head for the greener pastures of Oregon. In Part Two, a romantic angle is introduced thanks to young lovers Stacey Nelkin and Charles Frank, while the Chisholms’ safety is threatened by thieves and hostile lawmen. Several deaths impede the family’s progress in Part Three, which brings the pilgrims to Wyoming. Spread out over four weeks (from March 29 through April 19, 1979), this miniseries version of The Chisholms served as the precursor to a weekly TV series, which did without the services of Robert Preston (who was unceremoniously knocked off in the first episode).

Still heading toward the Oregon Territory in 1844 after losing their Virginia farm in a legal dispute, the Chisholm family continue their arduous journey by wagon train led by crusty pioneer Cooper Hawkins, who eventually became the family’s de facto patriarch after father Hadley passes away en route.