Man Called Shenandoah, A

A Man Called Shenandoah/ABC/1965-66 (Amnesia)

Shenandoah (Robert Horton), a survivor of a shooting found near-dead on the prairie. The man was hauled to a nearby town by buffalo hunters and nursed back to health by a saloon girl named Kate (Beverly Garland).


When the man realized he had amnesia, a doctor suggested he call himself Shenandoah (which means “land of silence”) and so the man adopts the name and wanders the frontier in search of his identity. Ironically, before leaving town, Shenandoah is forced into a gunfight and kills the one person who could have told him who he is.

Beginning his quest on a newly-purchased horse, Shenandoah is accused of killing the horse’s former owner. Found innocent of the horse theft charges, Shenandoah continues his journey to an Army outpost where he seeks a sergeant who supposedly recognized his image on a photograph, but again our lonely wanderer has a run of bad luck when he is accused as an accomplice in the sergeant’s treason charge.

Freed from the fort, Shenandoah is again falsely accused, this time of murder, and the only witness to the crime is a little girl who is so traumatized that she can’t speak. Eventually, the girl identifies the real killer and Shenandoah is off again.

Down the road a piece Shenandoah meets a man who recognizes him from the war. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the bad news is that Shenandoah allegedly killed the man’s brother.

After resolving his last predicament, Shenandoah continues his trek to self discovering. Along the way he is:

  • Waiting at a stagecoach station for a judge who may have a clue to his identity.
  • Privy to a safe deposit box that leads Shenandoah to a town, a treasure map, and a former partner who once tried to kill him.
  • Identified by a bank robber who then tries to kill him.
  • Believed to be the long-lost brother of rancher Julia Riley.
  • Accused of killing the founder of Eldridgeville, Louisiana four years earlier.
  • Thought to be the long-lost son of a dying cattle baron.
  • Searching for a clown who flees the circus tent when he spots Shenandoah in the audience.
  • Thought to be the former boyfriend of the wife of an aging and jealous rancher.
  • Identified – via a photograph – as being Lt. Neal Henderson, an Army deserter who ran off during an Indian attack.

Finally, in an effort to unravels his past history, Shenandoah seeks help from a psychiatrist who extracts that Shenandoah was a Lieutenant in the Union Army (formerly from Fort Todd) operating on the western frontier with the Second Regiment at Fort Smith…and that is all we learn about The Man Called Shenandoah. (The series ended after 34 episodes and we never learned who shot Shenandoah).

Theme Song Lyrics  “Oh Shenandoah”
(Sung by Robert Horton)

Oh Shenandoah,
You’re doomed to wander
On beyond this land so lonely
Oh Shenandoah
You’re doomed to wander
So roam in search of home
Across this land so lonely

Been ridin’ hard
Since dawns a breakin’
Cross this barren land so lonely
Perhaps today
I’ll end my roaming
My name, I’ll learn my name
Before the days a going

The man I thought they would bury
Deep within this land so lonely
Oh Shenandoah you’re doomed to wander
So roam in search of home
Cross this land so lonely

Note: In the 1990s, actor Robert Urich starred in a similar western called LAZARUS MAN/UPN/1996-97 about a man who roamed the western frontier trying to piece together his past, a past possibly linked to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

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