Scout Flint McCullough provided Wagon Train with a hero. Portrayed by Robert Horton, McCullough rode out ahead of the train looking for trouble.
McCullough found plenty of danger along the trail. Not a man to be messed with, he met trouble head on. Now, some of that trouble was women, with whom he had a great rapport. Onscreen Robert Horton romanced Barbara Stanwyck, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming, Felicia Farr, Susan Oliver and Nina Foch.
FINALLY! The Studio has released some episodes on DVD:
The Complete First Season (1957-58)
The Complete Season 2 (1958-59)
The Complete Third Season (1959-60)
The Complete Season Four (1960-61)
The Complete Season Five (1961-62)
The Complete Season Seven (1963-64)
Also Wagon Train
The Complete Color Season
The 1963 color season – (32) 90 minute episodes
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Robert Horton created an atypical cowboy. Unlike others in the genre, Horton’s scout never said, “they went thataway, ma’am.”
In Horton’s capable hands, Flint McCullough became the thinking man’s cowboy. He was educated, well-spoken and thoughtful without Horton’s ever sacrificing the toughness expected of a wagon train scout.
To prepare for the role, Robert Horton got in his car and drove the route that the wagon trains actually traveled to get a feel for the terrain.
Once the show began filming he realized that nobody had made any attempt to define the character’s history. As a professional, Horton realized that this could cause inconsistencies between different screenwriters. So Horton wrote a biography of Flint McCullough.
According to Robert Horton’s biography of Flint McCullough, the scout was born in 1839 in Virginia. His family moved to Salt Lake City in 1850, thus giving the young McCullough an early familiarity with the westward crossing.
As his father passed away while he is still a boy, McCullough is forced to grow up quickly. He met the legendary Jim Bridger who became mentor to the young McCullough. And it is through Bridger that Robert Horton’s scout learned the ways of the West and it’s indigenous population of Indians.
In the mid-1850s Bridger and McCullough returned East, again traversing the plains. At the outbreak of the Civil War, McCullough joined the Confederate Army.
After the war, Flint McCullough returned to the West.
From the Megan Herring Collection
No story of a Wagon Train scout could be complete without mention of his trusty steed. Robert Horton owned this Appaloosa. He named him Stormy Night, describing the night he bought him in Idaho.
After five seasons of riding the trail, Robert Horton left Wagon Train in 1962 to pursue his career in the musical theatre. The producers offered huge sums of money for him to stay on, but his heart belonged to Broadway.
Robert Horton passed away peacefully in his sleep in 2016 at 91 years old.