“Daniel Boone was a man/ yes, a big man” as the theme song goes, and he became an American folk hero when the stories of his exploits during the frontier days before and after the American Revolution were told.
The sixth and final season of Daniel Boone aired from 1969-1970, Thursday nights on NBC. The series starred Fess Parker, who had made a name for himself a decade earlier playing another American folk hero, Davy Crockett. It was set before the Revolution in Boonesborough, Kentucky. Barney Rosenzweig, best known as the executive producer of Cagney & Lacey, was a producer.
The two episodes made available for review are “Mama Cooper” and “Hannah Comes Home;” both tell interesting, socially conscious stories about the times. “Mama Cooper” is the story of runaway slave Gabe Cooper, played by former football player Rosie Grier, who goes in search of his mother whom he was separated from by a plantation owner back when Cooper was 12 years old. His quest is complicated because the trail will take him through slave country. Although Cooper doesn’t want any help, Boone accompanies him.
“Hannah Comes Home,” directed by Parker, presents a tale about a family separated by an attack by Chickasaw Indians. Jonas thought Hannah had been killed and Hannah thought the same about Jonas. She eventually embraced the Chickasaw lifestyle, married a Chickasaw man who was later killed, and had a child with her new husband. Boone finds Hannah 15 years later and brings her back home. The episode deals with Hannah and her husband attempting to reunite with each other as well as Hannah’s son’s integration into the white man’s world. It’s disappointing that the main Chickasaw roles are played by white men, but the characters are treated respectfully.
A 20-minute feature presents a roundtable discussion at Parker’s Santa Barbara winery between Parker, Daniel Boone Fan Club President Karen Dusik, Superfan Mike Almeida, and Darby Hinton, who played Boone’s son Israel. Most of the information would only appeal to other superfans. The most interesting bit of trivia was learning that the network wanted to continue adventures of Davy Crockett, but Walt Disney vetoed that idea, so they went with Daniel Boone.
The final season is available in a seven-disc set that contains approximately 22 hours of material. It features a number of guest stars including a very young Jodie Foster, country singer Roger Miller, and heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson. A number of familiar faces from television also played roles: The Waltons’ Will Geer, Star Trek’s James Doohan, and The Jeffersons’ Isabel Sanford. The episodes have been remastered and the colors look very good.