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Remembering ‘The Outcasts’ – Featuring Maybe Primetime TV’s “Angriest” Black Man

Remembering 'The Outcasts' – Featuring Maybe Primetime TV’s "Angriest" Black Man

Thinking about what TV shows I would like to bring back if I could, my immediate answer was: "The Outcasts."

This was THE SHOW! No ifs or buts about it. A good friend of mine and I still talk and reminisce about the show, and the impact it had on us as young kids.

Once, as I was speaking to another friend on the phone, when, somehow, "The Outcasts." came up. And when I hung up, a white guy sitting next to me who overheard what I was talking about, said to me: “You were talking about ‘The Outcasts’?? God, I LOVED that show!” 

When a program made over 40 years ago still has that kind of impact, then you know it was something really special.

The western series aired on ABC starting in the fall of 1968, with a premise that was deadly simple and effective. It dealt with two bounty hunters; white Southerner and former slave owner, Earl Corey, played by Don Murray, who had lost everything during the Civil War and was reduced to being a bounty hunter for a living. And his partner, a former slave named Jamal David, played by Otis Young (who passed away in 2001), who worked as a bounty hunter with his newly won freedom. However this was no love-thy-brother, “why-can’t-we-all-get-along” sappy relationship. Suffice it to say, David and Corey despised each other, but they were forced to stay and work together for survival, in a cold, brutal and unforgiving environment.

The show was blunt about racial tension. There were episodes, for example, in which David got into trouble, and Corey had to decide whether he should side with the white guys, or to defend his partner, despite the fact that he hated his guts.

David, on the other hand, was angry. I mean, he was one pissed off brother. I still remember one particular episode during which the pair wound up on an old former plantation, where there was an ex-slave played by Roscoe Lee Browne, still rooting for the Confederacy. The hate and contempt David had for Browne burned a hole through the screen.

Needless to say, the show only lasted ONE season and was canceled after 30 episodes. It was all-too real, and too raw for audiences at the time to take. And, considering it premiered just months after the assassinations of Marin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, as this country was boiling over with riots, watching American soldiers being killed in Vietnam every night on the network news, "The Outcasts" was not the show that people wanted to see at the time.

However, audiences are even more timid today, and there’s NO WAY a network would ever consider making a show like that again. Not even perhaps HBO. It was a hard reflection of the turbulent times that this country was going through. People today would rather watch NeNe Leakes than something that would really challenge them. And that’s our loss.

But "The Outcasts" is a show that begs to be released on DVD, or, at least syndicated on some cable network for people to discover it again. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Here’s an opening sequence from the show with Otis Young and I dare you to tell me that you don’t want to see the rest of this episode.

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Sergio have a Thing for Nostalgic Alpha Black males. I suspect this is a fetish. Keep dreaming bud. None of these MEN would even respect you. Why? Your perspective is in align with the dominant society. Even though they show you every day they don't even like you. Like in the starbucks line


I actually think Bounce TV is one of the few networks that could actually show this (if they have the backbone) because they're independently owned (as in no Viacom or Time Warner), right? Even a marathon sometime…they should truly consider it. Every now and then they do show one or two under-the-radar films, so why not them?


FINALLY! Some one talks about this show. Otis Young was the truth….and a sadly underrated actor too.


Ha!..Sergio i feel you on this one…just look at the cinema landscape…NeNe Leakes, starring in the Tyler Perry's "The Age of Ignorance"…

Erik W.

Loved Otis Young's performance in "The Last Detail."


No way a show like this could be on the Broadcast Networks because people in middle America would be outrage! However, this show could have a future on cable like FX, FXX, AMC, HBO, SHOWTIME, and others. I will be honest with you I was into this show just reading the synopsis. I WOULD DEFINITELY WATCH IT!!!!!

G. Boney

Never heard of this show. Definitely interested in seeing it now.


'68 was a very good year, good in the sense that societal turmoil is the prerequisite for change. Reminds me of Hell on Wheels on AMC with Common. I need to see this show…how to make that happen? Hmmm….


Lets just say that a majority of the audience is timid as well as the big 4 networks. The brave audiences have to go to HBO, IFC, SHO, etc, to get the edgier films and shows.

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