RELIC OF FORT TEJON (November 3rd, 1957) – Here’s something a little different from the usual for Balladeer’s Blog’s Forgotten Television category. The 1950s James Garner series Maverick was an all-time classic, but this particular episode is often overlooked.
The subject matter deals with a camel supposedly left over from the ill-fated American Camel Corps that the U.S. Army tried launching in the 1800s. The project fell through in the end, but the dozens of camels from the experimental program – and their offspring – wound up roaming the deserts of the southwest for decades afterward.
Previously, I’ve examined the James Garner western One Little Indian (1973) in which his soldier character winds up using a camel to flee an unjust mutiny charge, and the legendary Red Ghost of Arizona, a Camel Corps leftover which was sighted multiple times in the 1880s to 1890s and was mistaken for a monster.
In Relic of Fort Tejon, Garner’s iconic Bret Maverick, a gambler/ gunslinger, wins a camel named Fatima from a fellow gambler who conned him into thinking he was using an Arabian stallion as part of a poker wager. Continue reading