Ward Bond did his research on wagon masters before he appeared in Wagon Train

Bond was a student of the West.

NBC/Universal

When you're depicting a setting right out of history, it's important that, as an actor, you do your research. The American West has long been heralded as a touchstone of American culture. Let's be honest, when people from different countries think of an American, they're most likely picturing a cowboy.

As Americans, we don't take issue with it; cowboys are bold and brave, with a desire for freedom in wide open spaces. We can appreciate that lifestyle, and while television and film aren't necessarily known for their honesty, we can also appreciate the depiction of the West in entertainment, no matter how romanticized it is.

As an actor, Ward Bond felt that it was his job to do his homework in order to prepare for a role, and when he was cast as Wagon Master Major Seth Adams in Wagon Train was no different. According to an interview with the Los Angeles Mirror, Bond revealed that he had done extensive research on the very real job of his fictional character.

"I guess you could say I'm my own technical adviser on Wagon Train," Bond said. "I read a lot of Western stuff myself and the job of wagonmaster is historically true. Settlers heading west were usually organized into trains of fifty wagons or more. It afforded more protection. Then they paid a guide and wagonmaster to lead them."

Other facets of Bond's training had been happening since he was a young child. For example, Bond himself was an avid horserider, even as a young man. With years of experience, the actor was critical of those who talked the talk of Westerns but didn't walk the walk, so to speak. "Some of these guys look like I would look flying a B-36. I saw one on TV who mounted like an old woman."

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2 Comments

tootsieg 17 days ago
Just yesterday I went to the library and got out some books on the Wild West. I always wondered what it was really like traveling with a wagon train.
Runeshaper 25 days ago
Ward Bond was AWESOME as Wagon Master Major Seth Adams in Wagon Train! It's cool that he did his research. I'm sure that helped him play the part so well.
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