Wagon Train (1957–1965)
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The Eli Bancroft Story 

Eli Bancroft became an outlaw looking for revenge raising his three sons as such after a town's citizens banded together and forced his entire family to uproot, fearing they would catch their illness. Coop and others become his victims.


R.G. Springsteen


Steven Ritch


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John McIntire ... Christopher Hale
Robert Fuller ... Cooper Smith
Frank McGrath ... Charlie Wooster
Terry Wilson ... Bill Hawks
Denny Miller ... Duke Shannon (as Scott Miller)
Leif Erickson ... Eli Bancroft
Randy Boone ... Noah Bancroft
Carl Reindel Carl Reindel ... Adam Bancroft
Bruce Dern ... Seth Bancroft
Parley Baer ... George Talley
Rachel Ames ... Emily Dawson
David Carradine ... John Mason
Patricia Lyon Patricia Lyon ... Rose Mason
Nestor Paiva ... Money Joe
Elisabeth Fraser ... Abby Carter


Eli Bancroft lives with his two sons and expectant wife who is sick near Pineville. Fearing the wife's sickness the local town members led by Frank Collins drive the entire family from the area and burn down their farm to kill the sickness. The mother dies during childbirth leaving Eli with his two boys Adam and Seth and the baby boy Noah. Seventeen years later the boys are now adults with Eli raising them as outlaws under the guise of looking for revenge for their family. They rob small groups leaving them stranded in the plains with no water or horses. On the wagon train Cooper Smith is to guide two wagons to a town 75 miles away where one young couple is starting a trading store and a woman and her young daughter, Milly, who has a crush on Coop are also going. Eli rides into the wagon train posing as a sheriff looking for three outlaws to scout the situation. Learning about Coop's planned trip, he finds it an ideal target. He and his three boys strike leaving the group to walk with... Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Western








Release Date:

11 November 1963 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Revue Studios See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bruce Dern and David Carradine make their western debut and were associated with the genre for the next ten years or so.Dern is shot and killed and is also shot and killed in in what is probably his last western 'The Hateful Eight' 52 years later which must be a record. See more »

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User Reviews

Bancroft Family Values
31 May 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This Wagon Train episode has Robert Fuller going to meet a couple of Wagons to join the main body of the Wagon Train when they encounter the Bancroft family. They're an outlaw family with father Leif Erickson who has taught his sons Carl Reindel, Bruce Dern, and Randy Boone to hate all the respectable folks that are coming west. Some 17 years earlier the Bancrofts got burned out of their home by some good citizens acting as a mob and the mother killed. Now they take it out on one and all.

The Bancroft modus operandi is to move in slow, appear friendly and Erickson has a good line of con to do that. Then they're stripped of everything and forced out in the wilderness. That's what happens to the settlers that Fuller is meeting and Fuller himself. He survives and of course seeks the Bancrofts out.

Leif Erickson is brilliant as the crafty killer con man head of this dysfunctional family. Reindel and Dern are faithful followers of dear old Dad, but Boone shows signs of a conscience and he proves they're undoing.

There's also a nice performance by Nestor Paiva as a real bottom feeding Indian trader who buys all the Bancrofts can scavenge. Down in the cast as a Bancroft victim is David Carradine.

Nice job all around.

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