By Alan Le May
Dramatised for radio by Adrian Bean
Episode one of a new adaptation of the classic western novel, upon which the famous film was based.
Texas, 1848. When Comanches attack the Edwards family's settlement on the Texas plains, they kidnap two girls - seventeen year-old Lucy and ten year-old Debbie. So Amos Edwards sets out on the dangerous mission to recover his two nieces, with the help of his nephew Mart and a rag-tag bunch of searchers. Their epic mission will last six years. The concluding episode is at the same time next week.
Alan Le May's 1954 novel is a timeless work of western fiction and a no-holds-barred portrait of the real American frontier. It explores the fear and the hatred that underpinned the lives of both the white settlers and the Native Americans. And what emerges is a violent account of a creeping genocide, as one culture inevitably triumphs over the other.
John Ford's 1956 film, based on the novel, starred John Wayne as Ethan Edwards (called Amos in the book and radio adaptation). Ford's film was named the Greatest Western Movie of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008.
Radio 4 investigates the story behind the novel with 'In Search of the Real Searchers' at 1.30pm on Sunday 26th October. And for more western drama, a new adaptation of Glendon Swarthout's 'The Shootist' is broadcast Saturday 25th October at 2.30pm.
Directed by James Robinson
A BBC Cymru/Wales Production.