Here Come The Brides is not a TLC show about women battling it out for severally discounted wedding gowns. This was a Western series from the end of the ‘60s that dared to have a feminine touch to the wild frontier living. There had cowboy shows with female characters, but they were extra tough women. Miss Kitty didn’t take any lip when running her bar (and maybe brothel) on Gunsmoke. Victoria Barkley was tougher than her sons on The Big Valley. Here Come The Brides didn’t need to show a rough side to its female characters.
The premise was that the lumber operation in Seattle was losing workers and lumberjacks because they needed female companionship. Jason Bolt (Robert Brown) makes a promises to recruit 100 women willing to move West in the hopes of marrying his employees. The first season had sawmill operator Aaron Stempel (Star Trek’s Mark Lenard) contributing to the cause with a minor stipulation. If the women head back east before a year is up, Stempel takes over a big bulk of the Bolt’s operation. Here Comes The Brides: The Complete Second Season answers the outcome of the wager.
“Far Cry from Yesterday” admits that the grand experiment has worked so the Bolts won’t be moving out of Seattle anytime soon. There was even a woman for one of the Bolt boys. Jeremy Bolt (Bobby Sherman) is ready to pop the question to Candy (Bridget Hanley). He’s waiting for the supply ship to arrive with the ring. Also on board are Candy’s brother and sister. They bring with them an extremely sad letter that might sink Jeremy’s news. What’s interesting about this episode is Match Game vet Scoey Mitchell playing the sheriff. He pioneered the premise of Blazing Saddles. “The Richest Man in Seattle” has the ship’s captain’s brother arrive. Turns out he’s a Catholic priest (Titanic’s Bernard Fox). Will he be forced to marry more of the brides? “The Soldier” brings another surprise to Clancey. He gets mauled by a bear. This might have been the episode that instilled a major hatred of bears into a young Stephen Colbert.
The most exciting episode is “The Legend of Bigfoot.” This aired when Bigfoot-mania was just getting started in America. The legend would peak when he battled Steve Austin on The Six Million Dollar Man. This episode isn’t quite as dynamic since Bobby Sherman and David Soul (Starsky and Hutch) don’t double team the creature. Or is it really a hairy person since Ed Asner (Mary Tyler Moore Show) is the guest star. “Two Women” wraps up the show with Jason Bolt’s old flame come back to town. Trouble is she really is a fire starter. Will Seattle burn like a Starbucks in Greece?
Why did Here Comes the Brides end after two seasons? How could a show vanish so fast with two Tiger Beat all-stars in Soul and Sherman? Turns out a lot of vocal critics were turned off by the prospect of fictional women getting married on TV. Nearly 70 of ABC’s affiliates refused to carry the show. While it did well enough the first season, Brides moved to the deadly Friday night slot. This is a shame since the show did balance a rough western with a female edge. Strange when you think that ABC’s major franchises now are The Bachelor and The Bachelorette where real people go on TV to find a spouse. People were such prudes during the era of Free Love.
“Far Cry from Yesterday,” “The Wealthiest Man in Seattle,” “The Soldier,” “Next Week,” “East Lynne,” “A Wild Colonial Boy,” “Hosanna’s Way,” “The Road to the Cradle,” “The Legend of Big Foot,” “Land Grant,” “The Eyes of London Bob,” “The Fetching of Jenny,” “His Sister’s Keeper,” “Lorenzo Bush,” “A Bride for Obie Brown,” “Break the Bank of Tacoma,” “Debt of Honor,” “The She-Bear,” “Another Game in Town,” “Candy and the Kid,” “Two Worlds,” “To the Victor,” “How Dry We Are,” “Bolt of Kilmaren,” “Absalom,” “The Last Winter” and “Two Women.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The color transfers bring out the green and the grain of the fake Seattle atmosphere. The audio is mono. The levels are fine for the stunning opening theme that pays tribute to Seattle. Did Pearl Jam ever record this song?
Introductions by author Jonathan Etter on select episodes. He wrote Gangway, Lord, (The) Here Come the Brides Book. He does a fine job setting up the show.
Here Comes The Brides: The Complete Second Season wraps up a series that dealt with a real issue of frontier life. How does one find a wife when you’re in the middle of nowhere hoping to strike it rich? While the original year long bet is over, the show doesn’t drop off in quality. Bigfoot comes to town. Plus the show answered a bigger question: Where did Bobby Sherman come from?
Shout! Factory presents Here Comes The Brides: The Complete Second Season. Starring: Robert Brown, Bobby Sherman, David Soul, Bridget Hanley, Joan Blondell and Mark Lenard. Boxset Contents: 26 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released on DVD: February 28, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.