The BEST Episodes of The Young Riders

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 25, 2021

Network: ABC (US)

Set just before the American Civil War, this series presented a highly fictionalized account of the heyday of the Pony Express. Its focus was a group of young Express riders based at the waystation in Sweetwater, Kansas. Running the station was ex-Texas Ranger and all-around eccentric Teaspoon Hunter. The role of cook, housekeeper and mother hen was filled first by Emma and later by Rachel. The riders included the future "Buffalo Bill" Cody and James Butler ("Wild Bill") Hickok, as well as Ike, a mute, Buck, a half-White/half-Kiowa scout and the Kid, a quiet Southerner. Their final member was Lou, a young woman who lived and worked with the riders disguised as a boy. In second season, their group was joined by Noah Dixon.

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The Keepsake

#1 - The Keepsake

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 14, 1989

Teaspoon is given claim to a small fortune, but he may lose it to a young woman he thinks is his lost daughter, and to a crooked gambler willing to kill for the cash.

star 8.57
7 votes

#2 - Gunfighter

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 21, 1989

Hickok projects the demons of his childhood onto a bullying hired gun and decides only a showdown with the gunslinger will exorcise them.

star 8.47
32 votes
Directors: Max Tash
Writers: Ed Spielman
False Colors

#3 - False Colors

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 9, 1989

Kid enjoys a reunion with his brother Jed, who seems to have found a niche in the Army, but is really leading a gang that is posing as cavalry to steal gold for the budding Confederacy.

star 8.38
16 votes
The End of Innocence

#4 - The End of Innocence

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 30, 1989

Hickok discovers hidden feelings for Emma on a venture to an Army outpost commanded by a captain with a passion for cruelty.

star 8.30
10 votes
Pride and Prejudice

#5 - Pride and Prejudice

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 27, 1990

Buck finds Tompkins' long-missing wife and child assimilated into the Sioux tribe which took them.

star 8.14
7 votes
Writers: Christopher Thinnes
Ten-Cent Hero

#6 - Ten-Cent Hero

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 2, 1989

A dime novelist creates the legendary gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok, and Hickok faces the consequences when a gunfighter arrives for a showdown with the fastest gun in the West.

star 8.07
15 votes
Black Ulysses

#7 - Black Ulysses

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 26, 1989

The riders stand up for a runaway slave who is pursued by Missouri state militiamen committed to bringing down the fugitive.

star 8.06
16 votes
Lady for a Night

#8 - Lady for a Night

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 18, 1990

Dressed as a lady for a night, Lou meets a vicious brute who develops an obsession for her, while he masterminds a series of heists in the territory.

star 8.00
9 votes

#9 - Decoy

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Feb 8, 1990

On a wild ride to deliver a top-secret Government message, Cody helps a mortally wounded mountain man, who asks Cody to care for his pet bear. Meanwhile, back in Sweetwater, the other riders look after an abandoned baby.

star 8.00
8 votes
Directors: Virgil Vogel
Writers: Paul Jackson, Tony Blake
Daddy's Girl

#10 - Daddy's Girl

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired Feb 15, 1990

A new girl in town has Buck in her sights, but he is caught in the cross-fire between her, her tyrannical father and her cruel suitor.

star 8.00
7 votes
Directors: George Mendeluk
Writers: Janet Himelstein
Then There Was One

#11 - Then There Was One

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired Apr 5, 1990

Teaspoon sets out for Texas with an old comrade in arms to warn three other veterans that someone has been murdering the last men who truly remember the Alamo.

star 8.00
5 votes
Blood Moon

#12 - Blood Moon

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 13, 1990

Fear of a cholera outbreak turns the citizens of Sweetwater into a mob intent on lynching a deaf-mute boy suspected of being the carrier.

star 8.00
7 votes
Directors: Virgil Vogel
Writers: Christopher Thinnes, Dierdre Le Blanc

#13 - Jesse

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 5, 1991

The riders befriend a young man named Jesse, who seeks vengeance against a gang of outlaws that kills his guardian.

star 8.00
5 votes
The Presence of Mine Enemies

#14 - The Presence of Mine Enemies

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 9, 1991

Ike meets and falls hard in love with Emily Metcalfe (Kelly Williams). Emily's father is murdered by a card cheat, Neville. Emily seeks to avenge her father's murder. Ike goes after Emily to save her and takes the bullet meant for her himself. As the riders bid a tearful farewell to their friend, Buck seeks ultimate vengeance against Neville.

star 8.00
5 votes
Fall from Grace

#15 - Fall from Grace

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Jan 4, 1990

Hickok has a falling-out with Teaspoon, and he falls in with a gang of outlaws who are after a store of Army guns and ammunition.

star 7.91
11 votes

#16 - Initiation

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 25, 1991

Jimmy captures Jesse's brother Frank James after a bank robbery. Jesse feels that he owes his brother his loyalty and so he breaks him out of jail forcing Teaspoon and Jimmy to track them.

star 7.83
6 votes
Between Rock Creek and a Hard Place

#17 - Between Rock Creek and a Hard Place

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 26, 1991

Noah meets Quinn and his sister Casey, the only other black people in the town. At the same time he fights with an army recruiter. When the recruiter turns up dead, Noah is suspected.

star 7.80
5 votes
The Kid

#18 - The Kid

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 20, 1989

This was the pilot episode. We meet Kid first, he gets into a fist fight to get his horse, Katy. Later he joins the Pony Express where we are introduced to Emma Shannon the station mistress, Teaspoon Hunter the shaggy station master, Buck, Jimmy, Ike, Cody, and Lou. Later in the episode we also meet the continuing character Sam Cain, the marshal of Sweetwater.

star 7.79
42 votes
The Littlest Cowboy

#19 - The Littlest Cowboy

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 3, 1990

Ike, bitter after being beaten by men who take advantage of his handicap, befriends Arthur, a terminally ill boy.

star 7.78
9 votes
Directors: Virgil Vogel
Writers: Steven Baum
Bad Blood

#20 - Bad Blood

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 12, 1989

Lou returns to the orphanage to retrieve her younger brother and sister, but her estranged father, a gunrunner, gets to them first.

star 7.77
26 votes
Home of the Brave

#21 - Home of the Brave

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 28, 1989

When the Kiowa begin to attack white settlements and civilians, Buck must decide between loyalty to his Kiowa brother and to the obligations and friendships he has found with the Pony Express. In the meantime, Lou, Hickok and Cody get into a fight with Tompkins and his men because of the shopkeeper's insults against Buck.

star 7.77
30 votes
Directors: Dan Lerner
Matched Pair

#22 - Matched Pair

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 8, 1990

Hickok helps a friendly rival search for their gunfighting mentor's kidnapped daughter, who actually has escaped with evidence of her dad's corruption.

star 7.67
6 votes
Star Light, Star Bright

#23 - Star Light, Star Bright

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 15, 1990

At Chrismastime the riders believe they own half a gold mine as repayment for Hickok's kindness to old prospector Cyrus.

star 7.67
6 votes
Directors: Joseph Scanlan
Writers: Raymond Hartung
Hard Time

#24 - Hard Time

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 11, 1990

Kid is sentenced to hard time on a trumped-up charge by a small-town sheriff carrying out the policies of the sadistic man who keeps the town under a cloud of fear.

star 7.58
12 votes
A Good Day to Die

#25 - A Good Day to Die

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 16, 1989

Kid finds a young warrior at the scene of a way-station massacre, and although the warrior denies any wrongdoing, Kid hauls him back through Indian territory to face justice in Sweetwater.

star 7.53
15 votes
Directors: Virgil Vogel