Can you remember the TV Series, “Death Valley Days?"

Olivia Cantor

Image: Syndication

About This Quiz

There are TV shows about cowboys, and then there’s Death Valley Days. This show about “Western” stories and legends became a legend itself, setting standards and influencing other shows for years to come. Take the Death Valley Days Quiz to refresh your memories, or find out more about the show!

Before Death Valley Days became a TV show, how was it first showcased to the public?

Death Valley Days started as a radio show. There were a few years that it was off the air, before it came back as a television series.

Death Valley Days had actor Stanley Andrews as the first TV host. What was his wise, experienced character known as?

Stanley Andrews played an elderly cowboy gentleman. He was The Old Ranger, and he introduced the episode, and spelled a bit of the background out, if necessary.

Death Valley Days started with an episode that explained the series. What was the first episode all about?

The first episode of Death Valley Days was about how the valley earned its name. It's a dangerous valley to travel through, and men had died from trying.

Death Valley was a difficult, dangerous place. What was the atmospheric reason why the valley got that name?

Death Valley's known as one of the hottest places in the country, and because of that, one of the driest, too. Anyone trying to cross it was at risk of dehydration or heat exhaustion.

One prominent politician became a host for Death Valley Days. Who was this influential '80's figure?

Before Ronald Reagan went into politics, he was one of the hosts for Death Valley Days. In fact, his appearances in the show in 1964 and 1965 were his last as an actor, before going into politics.

In 1975, this famous country singer provided hosting duties for Death Valley Days. Who was this singer, who sang about Kentucky gamblers?

Merle Haggard was a “big name” host for Death Valley Days. He would also be the last host of the show, as it signed off in 1975.

Death Valley Days had a memorable opening theme. What was the signature "morning" musical instrument?

A bugle's used for the opening theme of Death Valley Days. It's almost a standard for cowboy and Civil War movies and TV shows.

Aside from being hosts, two of the hosts did some other work for Death Valley Days. What did they do?

Ronald Reagan and Robert Taylor were known in particular for being more than hosts. They also played characters in the various stories. Ronald Reagan went on to act in 21 episodes.

Where did they shoot most of the show during the first few years?

The Death Valley Days show was definitely for real when it came to the shoots. The shows were filmed on location in Death Valley as much as possible.

Some of the characters in Death Valley Days dug for minerals that could be sold. What do you call the job of these tunnel-loving guys?

Miners were a popular character type in Death Valley Days. It may have had something to do with the show's commercial sponsor being 20 Mule Team Borax.

What kind of women are usually featured in the Death Valley Days stories?

Many of the female characters in the various episodes were widows. Stories could revolve around them finding the right man again, or just surviving as strong-willed women.

Ronald Reagan was undeniably the most famous host of Death Valley Days. What was his biggest achievement in life?

Ronald Reagan is, so far, the only actor to become a president of the United States. His stint as the Death Valley Days host probably helped his popularity when he went into politics.

In Death Valley Days, what do you call a group of wagons going through the trail?

Groups of wagons were called trains back in the Old West. This was how many people traveled then.

Why did many poor people in the old Death Valley Days go to the West?

Many stories of the Wild West are about people building a new life, seeking new opportunities. Death Valley Days played on this idea a lot.

If you were a prospector in Death Valley Days, what were the minerals you were usually looking for?

Prospectors were a special kind of miner or riverside worker. They looked for precious metals, specifically silver and gold.

This kind of Death Valley Days character served the drinks, and knew everybody. What was he?

Bartenders are the guys who knew everything, and served drinks, too. In Death Valley Days, if the story were set in town, you'd probably see one of them as a main character or an extra.

It's always lost, and people are looking for it. What was this frequent subject of a Death Valley Days story?

Lost treasure has been the subject of more than one Death Valley Days story. In fact, this goes all the way back to the radio era of the show.

In Death Valley Days, why are men called cowboys?

Cowboys are your Wild West shepherds. Instead of herding sheep, they keep cows in line while they're on the way to where they'll be sold.

One popular character type in Death Valley Days was the wagon master. What is he, exactly?

Wagon masters were the lead figures for wagon trains. They acted like captains, making sure all the people under them got from one point to the other alive and hopefully unharmed.

Who is usually the face of the law in Death Valley Days stories?

Out in the frontier towns as we see them in Death Valley Days, the sheriff is usually the face of the law. It tends to get them in a lot of trouble, too.

In Death Valley Days, what are the disobedient outsiders called?

Outlaws are a constant source of trouble in Death Valley Days. How normal, law-abiding people deal with them are great stories in themselves.

Media men also appear in the show. How do they bring the news to people?

In the show, it seems that some towns (usually the big ones) and cities have newspapermen. In fact, one of the famous stories in Death Valley Days is about the Hearst family’s history.

"Saloon girls" also appeared in some of the episodes. What's their real job, though?

Saloon girls may be called waitresses, bartenders or dancers in polite company, but they’re actually engaged in services that classify them as prostitutes. This being the old days of TV, they usually became the beautiful hired help onscreen.

This kind of bar regular sure loves to play cards on the show. What kind of western character is he?

Gamblers are special case for the old western shows like Death Valley Days. They can be nasty guys, but at the same time, some of them can also have a hidden good side.

Rustlers are a special kind of criminal seen on the show. What do they usually steal?

Rustlers are just a fancy name for cattle thieves. With Death Valley Days being a western show, quite a few of them are bound to show up in the stories.

In the days of the Old West, what did they call Native Americans, as seen in the show?

Native Americans, or Indians, were common in Death Valley Days episodes. They weren’t always portrayed sensitively, but at least they were there.

For some characters in Death Valley Days, this social contract was important if you wanted a family. What was it?

Quite a few stories from Death Valley Days were about marriage. This could go two ways, from women looking for the right man, and the other way around.

This type of money-minded criminal always goes after this financial institution. What is it?

Many of the big thieves that didn’t deal in cattle were usually bank robbers. It was a sweet deal -- if you could get away with it. They're the legends of Death Valley Days.

Death Valley Days didn’t mind mining the Western legends for episodes. Which famous real-life Western figure appeared in the episode entitled "After the OK Corral?"

Jim Davis played Wyatt Earp in Death Valley Days. The episode looked at what happened after the shootout.

In the 1966 episode entitled "Hugh Glass Meets the Bear," we are introduced to a trapper named Thomas. What's a trapper?

Trappers are a special kind of hunter. They usually lay traps to corner or immobilize animals. This is because they usually hunt animals for fur.

This historic Apache chief also made an appearance in Death Valley Days. Who was this get-going guy?

John Doucette played Chief Geronimo in one Death Valley Days episode. It was titled "Gamble with Death."

Gloria Talbot played Kate Melville, and she was an unusual government girl at that time. What was she?

In the Death Valley Days episode "Kate Melville and the Law," Kate's an actual female sheriff. It certainly spoke a lot about how women helped win the west, too.

Death Valley Days had stories that were Western classics. However, what was the geographical limit for the stories?

Many of the cowboy stories told in Death Valley Days were about stories that happened in or near Death Valley. Otherwise, the name would certainly be problematic if it took place way outside the area.

Some of the show's stories deal with the aftermath of this conflict in California with another country. What was this Spanish-speaking country?

Some Death Valley Days stories showed the after-effects of the Mexican-American War. But many politically sensitive issues were never really touched upon.

Death Valley Days was originally sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company. They produced the 20 Mule Team Borax brand. What was borax used for?

Borax is a cleaning product. It can be used for most household chores, from aiding laundry detergent to cleaning up practically everything in the kitchen.

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