Coward of Bitter Creek, The

Pejorative nickname given to Cavalry officer and West Point graduate Captain Jason McCord (Chuck Connors) on the western adventure BRANDED/NBC/1965-66.


Jason McCord was the lone survivor (knocked unconscious) at the Indian battle of Bitter Creek. When he awoke, McCord found all of his fellow soldiers killed. But, the military court martial conducted by a Cavalry colonel (John Howard) disbelieved his sole survivor story, and labeled him a coward. To protect the honor of his now dead commanding officer, McCord never revealed the massacre was due to that officer’s blunder.

For his alleged desertion in the face of fire, McCord was drummed out of the service. This included the humiliation of having his hat, Captain’s rank, and buttons ripped from his uniform in front of the presiding troops and his sword snapped in half and thrown out of the fort into the dirt.

As McCord exited the fort, the stockade gates were closed behind him in a final act of banishment. After bending down to retrieve his broken sword, Jason stood erect, surveyed the horizon and contemplated where he would go, and what he would do with the rest of his life. One thing for sure, Jason would try his best to prove his innocence and remove the scandalous moniker “The Coward of Bitter Creek.”


Wandering the Old West of the 1880s, McCord used his training in engineering and mapmaking to find employment. But, where ever he traveled, there was always someone who knew his secret and voiced their opinion on his disgrace.

Theme Song Lyrics for BRANDED

All but one man died,
There at Bitter Creek,
And they say he ran away …
Marked with a coward’s shame.
What do you do when you’re branded,
Will you fight for your name?
He was innocent,
Not a charge was true,
But the world will never know …
Scorned as the one who ran.
What do you do when you’re branded,
And you know you’re a man?
And wherever you go
for the rest of your life
You must prove …
You’re a man!

Note: Born in Brooklyn, NY on April 10, 1921, Chuck Connors died of lung cancer and pneumonia on November 10, 1992. Earlier in his career, Connors starred in the classic western series THE RIFLEMAN/ABC/1958-63.


See alsoBranded TV Series Opening @ You Tube


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Insulting Nicknames, Westerns

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