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The Young Riders was a Western TV series that ran on ABC 1989-1992. It focused on a group of Pony Express Riders under the care of a quirky former Texas Ranger called Teaspoon Hunter. The show played some liberties with history, and the Western legends to-be Wild Bill Hickock (Jimmy), Buffalo Bill (Cody), and Jesse James were all among the main characters. During the show, hothead Jimmy Hickok became increasingly troubled by his reputation, while class clown Cody could be seen starting his showbiz career in tiny steps by acting in a theater production and writing stories about his rider friends. Jesse James joined the group in season 3 as a young boy.
The other riders were Kid (unrelated to "Billy The..."), who at least to begin with provided the show's moral compass, disguised girl Lou, Indian half-breed Buck, his mute best friend Ike, and by the second season Noah, the first black regular on a Western TV show. The station house was cared for by housekeeper Emma Shannon in the first season and Rachel Dunne in the second and third. US Marshal Sam Cain also featured in the first season.
The characters spent more time fighting bad guys than delivering mail, a course of action facilitated in the second season when Sam left the show and Teaspoon took over his job as marshal, deputizing the riders whenever he needed to.
Now available on Hulu.
This show provides examples of:
- Conveniently an Orphan: Historically correct, since the Pony Express policy stated "orphans preferred;
- Dark and Troubled Past: Everyone.
- Dumb Struck: Ike.
- Girl of the Week / Cartwright Curse
- Grand Finale
- Halfbreed: Buck.
- Historical Domain Character: Jimmy, Cody, Jesse,
- Hollywood History
- Killed Off for Real: Ike and Noah.
- No Name Given: Kid.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Too often to count.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Cody.
- Pony Express Rider
- Put on a Bus: Sam and Emma, with Emma getting a Hotter and Sexier replacement in Rachel.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: Kid.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Lou.
- US Marshal: Sam.
- The Wild West
- Young Gun: Jimmy.
Episodes of this series provide examples of:
- Abusive Parents: "Bad Blood."
- The American Civil War: "Till Death Do Us Part."
- Bar Brawl
- City Slicker: "Bulldog."
- Femme Fatale: "Blind Love."
- Haven't You Seen X Before?: When Kid has to remove Lou's pants to tend to a bullet wound in her leg:
Lou: What's the matter, Kid? Ain't you ever seen a girl before?
- Littlest Cancer Patient: "The Littlest Cowboy."
- Miscarriage of Justice (Hard Time)
- Miss Kitty
- Raised by Natives: "Pride and Prejudice."
- Rape as Drama: "Bad Blood, The Keepsake."
- Skinny Dipping: How Teaspoon discovered that Lou was really Louise.
- Taking the Bullet: "In the Presence of Mine Enemies."
- You Killed My Father: "Old Scores."