This is a series set back in the time not long after the Civil War was fought.
A woman doctor, Michaela Quinn, (Jane Seymour) who lives in Boston, Massachusetts as a member of a prominent and wealthy family, decides to go out west and try to forge a new life for herself by setting up her own practice after the death of her beloved mentor and father, Dr. Josef Quinn. She is determined to make it on her own, but soon after her arrival in the town of Colorado Springs, she is gifted with a dying friend’s three children, Matthew, (Chad Allen) Colleen (Erika Flores and Jessica Bowman) and Brian (Shawn Toovey). She has also formed a tentative relationship with a man whom most in the town consider to be a little wild; this man is Byron Sully, (Joe Lando). A friend to the Cheyenne Indians, Sully is still coping with the loss of his wife and baby from childbirth and is therefore not all that friendly at first. And though both Michaela and Sully are hesitant to enter into a relationship, neither can they deny the chemistry that is slowly building between them. Although the townspeople are reluctant to trust Dr. Mike, (as she is soon nicknamed) they slowly come to accept her and rely on her medical expertise. The town consists of many different characters, all of which play an essential role in the series and without whom the show simply would not be the same.
Dr. Michaela Quinn (Jane Seymour)-Dr. Mike is the fifth daughter in a family consisting of all girls. She followed in her father’s footsteps and became a doctor against all convention. After her father’s death, she finds that their once thriving practice has become almost non-existent, prompting her to once again defy convention and head out West to start a new life. Upon her arrival in the town of Colorado Springs, she finds that they were mistakenly expecting a male doctor and have no intention of accepting one who is not. She refuses to go home however, and proceeds to start her life there, setting up a practice and renting a home from one of the few people willing to accept her presence there, Byron Sully. Though Sully, (as he is always called) is still grieving for his wife and child and Dr. Mike is hesitant to enter into a relationship with anyone after the death of her fiancé during the war, the chemistry between them is evident from the beginning. Soon after she arrives in town, the one person with whom she became friends, Charlotte Cooper, (Diane Ladd) the town midwife, is bitten by a rattlesnake and dies, leaving three children behind. On her deathbed she asks Dr. Mike to take care of them. Wanting to keep her word, Dr. Mike does her best, but immediately finds problems setting in. Eventually though, her and the children do bond and manage to grow into a family. And over time, the townspeople come to accept her as well.
Byron Sully (Joe Lando)-Sully is the handsome, rugged mountain man with a somewhat distant nature, who is also a friend of the Cheyenne Indians. Upon her arrival, Dr. Mike sees him almost immediately but does not quite know what to make of him. She is given some information by Charlotte, who tells her that despite all her efforts, she lost both Sully’s wife and his baby during childbirth. Sully was married to the storekeeper’s daughter, Abigail. After her death, he simply could not seem to live his life the way that he previously had been living it, leading him to his eventual friendship with the Cheyenne. They help him to look at and live his existence in a different and more spiritual way than before, changing him forever. Sully is well-known as a man of his word, honest and forthright. He tries to make peace in all situations, even when the people he deals with do not seem to want it, as well as constantly making himself available when someone is in need of rescuing, especially if it is Dr. Mike or her children. And despite having no intention of becoming involved with another woman again, Sully is inexplicably drawn to Dr. Mike’s beauty and compassion, making her irresistible to him.
Matthew Cooper (Chad Allen)-Matthew is the oldest of Charlotte’s three children. Brave and honest, he tries to act like a man well before his time. First, because of the desertion of his father to the family, and then, because of the premature death of his mother. He is a caring and decent young man who loves his siblings and over time grows to love Dr. Mike as well. He falls in love early on with a girl named, Ingrid, (Jennifer Youngs) and his goals in life are simple. Take care of the ones you love.
Colleen Cooper (Erika Flores and Jessica Bowman)-Colleen is the only daughter of Charlotte and becomes close to Dr. Mike by assisting her in her work as a physician. As their relationship goes on, Colleen decides that she too wishes to become a doctor. She is intelligent and a good cook, something which is gratefully noted by Dr. Mike, as she is not very experienced in the area of cooking. She is kind, intelligent and caring, which sometimes puts off the boys but does not change her behavior, especially after Dr. Mike tells her that it was the same way for her growing up.
Brian Cooper (Shawn Toovey)-Brian is the youngest of the three and the one who seems to miss Charlotte the most at first. He is a sweet boy, but at first simply cannot accept that his mother is gone. It isn’t long however, before he looks upon Dr. Mike as his mother and begins to calls her that. He also gets extremely close to Sully very quickly, despite Sully’s somewhat distant nature, which actually helps them both to come out of the shells they have created due to the deaths of people close to them. Brian also becomes close to the storekeeper, Loren Bray, (Orson Bean) who is also in a deep depression after losing his daughter and then his wife.
Loren Bray (Orson Bean)-Loren is the owner of the mercantile in town and its storekeeper. He is also the former father-in-law of Sully. Although after Abigail had married him against Loren’s wishes, he disowned his daughter and had nothing but contempt for Sully. Shortly after Dr. Mike comes to town, Loren’s wife, Maude (Verna Bloom) suffers a heart attack and dies. Always a gruff man, after his wife’s death, he becomes withdrawn and bitter. But after some time passes, Brian Cooper manages to worm his way into the old storeowner’s heart, bringing out a kinder and gentler side of him. This also leads to Loren’s eventual forgiveness towards Sully.
Jake Slicker (Jim Knobeloch)-Jake is the barber in town. He is a man who is known to enjoy the company of prostitutes and the satisfying quench of alcohol in large amounts. Until Dr. Mike arrived, Jake was considered the town “doctor”. His only real qualification being that he had seen a number of different medical problems and had managed to fix a few things here and there. One other thing about Jake is that despite the fact that he owns his own business and dabbles in the medical field, he is unable to read.
Robert E. (Henry Sanders)-Robert E. is the blacksmith. Generally known to be handy at fixing a multitude of things, he is called upon often for help. However, as a former slave, he does not always get the respect that he deserves from some of the townspeople. Dr. Mike and her family, as well as Sully, do treat him properly and try to get everyone else to also, and over time he is eventually looked upon as a relative equal. He is all alone until a woman named, Grace, (Jonelle Allen) comes to town and he falls in love with her almost immediately.
Horace Bing (Frank Collison)-Horace is the sweet, simple and friendly telegraph operator. He is not your typically attractive man and is somewhat bashful when it comes to talking to the ladies. But early on, he develops a relationship with one of the prostitutes in town named, Myra, (Helene Udy). Although they come from totally different worlds, Hank and Myra form a bond and a long-lasting relationship.
Hank Lawson (William Shockley)-Hank is the owner of the local saloon. A man who is definitely not interested in any long term relationships or commitments, he is tall and handsome with a devilish smile and an arrogant attitude. Many look down on him for his choices in business as well as in life, but he ignores them all, runs his bar and keeps his prostitutes. And although he doesn’t show it often, he is truly a kind man at heart.
Reverend Timothy Johnson (Geoffrey Lower)-Reverend Johnson is of course the town’s spiritual leader. He runs the church and cares for the inhabitants of the town and their problems, religious or otherwise. He is a kind man who at times goes to great lengths in order to help someone, even when it occasionally goes against his own beliefs.
Cloud Dancing (Larry Sellers)-Cloud Dancing is the kind and amazing, Cheyenne Indian on whom Sully, Dr. Mike and several others come to rely upon and respect. They also become extremely close friends as well. Cloud Dancing is a medicine man, and he and Dr. Mike often discuss different remedies for cases, both agreeing that sometimes the white man’s way is better and sometimes the Indian’s. He is married to Snowbird (Tantoo Cardinal) who also becomes close friends with Dr. Mike and they have one son.
Grace (Jonelle Allen)-Grace runs the town’s only restaurant, “Grace’s Cafe”. She is an excellent cook and is wonderful with children. She and Robert E. are in love with each other and form a long-lasting relationship, which is tested when she finds out that despite their desire, she is unable to have children. Regardless, she is a kind and strong woman who forges ahead and tries to conquer her fears in every way possible.
Dorothy Jennings (Barbara Babcock)-Dorothy is the sister of Loren’s wife, Maude. She arrives in town one morning after leaving her husband due to his physical abuse. She is subsequently accused of murdering him, but is cleared of the charges soon after. She then decides to stay in Colorado Springs and fulfill her dream of becoming a writer by starting a town newspaper called, “The Gazette”. She stays with Loren in his home, which makes him very happy as he was in love with her many years ago and still feels the same way now.
Myra Bing (Helene Udy)-Myra is a prostitute at the saloon in town. She is however, very sweet and loving, and soon finds herself in love with the telegraph operator, Horace. Despite many obstacles and trouble from Hank, they eventually do marry. And over time, the rest of the town comes to respect and care for her as a regular citizen and not a former prostitute.
If you like stories about the old west, romance, friends and family, as well as historical references, this series is for you. It is interesting, entertaining and well worth your time. The list of actors and guest stars is distinguished and long. But best of all, you want to keep coming back to it, show after show. In fact, my only real problem with this series is that they ended it after only six seasons. I would gladly have watched it for many more years. I give it 10 out of 10.
Dr. Michaela Quinn-Jane Seymour
Byron Sully-Joe Lando
Matthew Cooper-Chad Allen
Colleen Cooper- Erika Flores (seasons1 thru mid-season 3) and Jessica Bowman (mid-season 3 thru 6)
Brian Cooper-Shawn Toovey
Loren Bray-Orson Bean (except for pilot episode when it was played by Guy Boyd)
Jake Slicker-Jim Knobeloch (except for pilot episode when it was played by Colm Meaney)
Robert E.-Henry G. Sanders (except for pilot episode when it was played by Ivory Ocean)
Horace Bing-Frank Collison
Hank Lawson-William Shockley
Rev. Timothy Johnson-Geoffrey Lower
Cloud Dancing-Larry Sellers
Myra BIng-Helene Udy
Dorothy Jennings-Barbara Babcock
Chief Black Kettle-Nick Ramus
Emily Donovan-Heidi Kozak
Olive Davis-Gail Strickland
Ingrid-Jennifer Youngs (except for character’s first appearance played by Ashley Jones)
Becky Bonner-Haylie Johnson
Elizabeth Quinn-Georgann Johnson (was also played by Mary Gregory and Jane Wyman)
Marjorie Quinn-Alley Mills
Rebecca Quinn-Elinor Donahue
Emma Morrison-Charlotte Chatton
Teresa Morales-Michelle Bonilla (played by Alex Meneses in season 6)
Daniel Simon-John Schneider
Preston A. Lodge III-Jason Leland Adams (he also played General Custer in season 3)
Andrew Cook-Brandon Douglas
Katie Sully-Alexandria, McKenzie and Megan Calabrese
Anthony-Brandon Hammond (played by Brenden Jefferson for four shows in season 4)
Charlotte Cooper-Diane Ladd
Sergeant O’Connor-Patrick Kilpatrick
Jon-Christopher Keene Kelly
Sergeant McKay-David Beecroft
Sergeant-Tim De Zarn
Walks On Cloud-Zahn McClarnon
Major’s Wife-Mary Rings
Jared McAllister-Johnny Moran
Kid Cole-Johnny Cash
Black Moon-Gregory Cruz
Dr. Cassidy-Jerry Hardin
Sister Ruth-June Carter Cash
Ethan Cooper-Ben Murphy
Jane Seymour’s (Michaela Quinn) real life pregnancy was actually written into the season four storyline.
Dr. Quinn was the last successful western series on television until 2004, when the HBO series, “Deadwood” premiered.
Joe Lando (Byron Sully) insisted on doing nearly all of his own stunt work. He said that not only did it make the character feel more real to him, but things such as eating worms or running on the top of moving trains were things that he would probably never have the opportunity to do again.
William Shockley (Hank Lawson) graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in political science.
Jane Seymour has been the official spokesperson for UNICEF, the International Ambassador for Childhelp USA and the Honorary Chairperson for City Hearts.
Jim Knobeloch (Jake Slicker) had a significant role in the movie, “King Kong” in 2005.
Orson Bean (Loren Bray) was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950’s due to his outspoken and liberal views.
Geoffrey Lower did a guest spot on an episode of the series, “Friends“, where he played the boyfriend of Monica Geller (Courteney Cox).
When Frank Collison (Horace Bing) was just a boy, he played the part of the young Tad Lincoln for the centennial celebration of President Lincoln’s first inauguration in Washington, D.C. Collison’s father, John, was actually chosen to play the part of Abraham Lincoln himself.
Henry G. Sanders (Robert E.) was in the film, “Rocky Balboa” in 2006.
Joe Lando and Jane Seymour actually dated briefly, before Seymour met and married actor/director, James Keach.
Dr. Quinn was one of only a few shows that would allow fans to have full access to their filming sets. Additionally, fans were sometimes even invited to watch the shows being filmed each week and members of the cast were known to sign autographs and talk with the fans in between shooting breaks. In the final season, a website was created which is still active today.
Barbara Babcock (Dorothy Jennings) went to Wellesley College where she and actress Ali MacGraw, were classmates.
Chad Allen (Matthew Cooper) has been with his partner Jerry Glazer (who is also an actor) since 2005.
Joe Lando’s first job as an actor was as a patrolman in the movie, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”.
Jane Seymour’s mother, Mieke Frankenberg, had a stroke in 2007, and sadly, passed away. She was 92 years old. During World War II, she spent three and a half years in a Japanese concentration camp.
Jonelle Allen (Grace) made her debut on Broadway as a very small child in a play called, “The Wisteria Trees”, with Ossie Davis and Helen Hayes. Hayes told Allen’s aunt that she should, “Keep the child in the theatre. She has a natural gift.” Twenty years later, Allen saw Hayes again in person. She was sure that the famed actress would not remember her after so much time had gone by, but she recounted to Hayes the story and what she had told her (Allen’s) aunt. Hayes then took Allen’s hand in hers and very simply said, “See…I was right.”
Three women played Michaela’s mother on the show. The second, Jane Wyman, was said not to have gotten along with Jane Seymour. The character was then played for the rest of the series by, Georgann Johnson.
Jessica Bowman (Colleen Cooper #2) was the valedictorian of her graduating class. However, the graduating class only consisted of eight people.
Despite its extreme popularity, due to certain cast issues and demographics, the show was cancelled after six seasons. Fans were so distraught by this that they created a campaign to save the show. Not since trying to save “Star Trek” in the 1960’s, was a show fought for the way that Dr.Quinn was. What resulted instead of another season, were two made for T.V. movies that were somewhat less well received than everyone hoped.
Erika Flores’ (Colleen Cooper #1) last television or film job was a guest spot on an episode of the series, “House” in 2009.
Though Helene Udy (Myra Bing) was born in New Mexico, she is a dual citizen with a British passport.
William Shockley was doing theatre in 1986, in Dallas, Texas, when he was unexpectedly cast in the film, “Robocop” by Paul Verhoeven. After that, he made the only decision that he could, he moved to Los Angeles.
Geoffrey Lower (Rev. Timothy Johnson) started out intent on becoming a lawyer, until his love for acting took over and he transferred to the Juilliard School in New York City.
In 2000, Jane Seymour was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Frank Collison lives with his wife, Laura Gardner and their three children in Los Angeles, California. His youngest son, Gabe, is a member of the Crescenta Valley track team, commonly known as the “dream team”.
Both of Shawn Toovey’s (Brian Cooper) parents were full-time truckers.
Joe Lando’s long hair on Dr. Quinn was actually a part of his contract.
Executive Producer of the show, Beth Sullivan and Jim Knobeloch were married in real life.
Orson Bean had a recurring role on the popular series, “Desperate Housewives” as Roy Bender.
There were some historical facts actually written into the series. For example, the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania truly did exist and today it is a part of Drexel University College of Medicine. Chief Black Kettle and General Custer were both real people and the battle of Washita actually did take place, though in another state. Another noted historical figure written into the show was the poet, Walt Whitman.
Chad Allen has a twin sister named, Charity.
Jane Seymour was the only member of the cast that appeared in every single episode. Followed closely by Shawn Toovey and Chad Allen.
Barbara Babcock has not done any television or film roles since the year 2004.
Chad Allen, who has a position on the Honorary Board of Directors for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, joined Shepard’s mother, Judy and around 800 others in a peaceful demonstration outside of (coincidentally) Colorado Springs, Colorado. This was at the headquarters of “Focus on the Family”, a Christian organization.
Larry Sellers is not only an actor, but also a translator, stuntman and technical advisor. In addition, he has also become a historical consultant, educator and historian, by drawing on his Osage/Cherokee/Lakota Indian heritage.
Jane Seymour’s husband, James Keach, guest starred in one episode. He also produced and directed several other episodes. In fact, it was while working on Dr. Quinn that Seymour and Keach first met.
Jane Seymour’s real name is, Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg. She took the name Jane Seymour, after the third wife of King Henry III.
William Shockley was actually given a development deal by CBS for a spin-off of the Dr. Quinn series. It was to be called, “California”, and was centered on the character of Hank Lawson. The pilot for the series was filmed but never shown.
Jane Seymour achieved international fame, as a “Bond” girl, in the movie, “Live and Let Die”. She played the character, “Solitaire”, and was ranked 10th in a Top 10 Bond Babes list.
Two of Jane Seymour’s children, (twin boys with husband James Keach) Johnny Stacy and Kristopher Steven, were named after friends of the family, Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeves, as well as Keach’s brother, Stacy. Reeves was also the godfather of her son, Kristopher, for whom he was named, and Johnny Cash was the godfather of his namesake as well. (After 20 years together, Keach and Seymour announced they were divorcing in April of 2013.)
In 1993, People Magazine named Joe Lando one of its “50 Most Beautiful People”.
Jim Knobeloch and Beth Sullivan, like Jane Seymour and James Keach, also have twins. Their names are Jack and Tess. And also like Seymour and Keach, Knobeloch and Sullivan are no longer together.
Helene Udy spent three days in an L.A. jail because her car was stolen and involved in an accident and the police thought she was the driver. They let her out after three days, but she had no car and ended up having to take a bus to get to the Dr. Quinn interview.
Orson Bean (born Dallas Frederick Burrows), is a first cousin, twice removed of President Calvin Coolidge.
Though Joe Lando always looked very tan on the show, in reality, it was nothing but make-up. He said that naturally he is as white as a ghost.
It was not common knowledge that Chad Allen was gay until 1996, when the tabloid newspaper, The Globe, published photographs of him kissing another man. Since then, he has become a strong activist of the LGBT community and has appeared many times in the LGBT magazine, The Advocate.
Jane Seymour was only given the script to read one day before production on the pilot was to begin. After reading it, Jane Seymour said that she was moved to tears by the script and that she was literally born to portray Michaela Quinn.
Orson Bean and Alley Mills (Marjorie Quinn) whose characters on the show had a relationship, married in real life in 1993 and are still married today.
Jonelle Allen grew up in Harlem’s, Sugar Hill, with neighbors like Duke Ellington and Sonny Rollins.
Henry G. Sanders was in the U.S. Army, served in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart as well as a Combat Infantry Badge.
William Shockley is in a band called, “Seedy Side”.
Frank Collison was born on Valentine’s Day and had his first acting role at the age of six months. He was a “theatre mascot” at a tent theatre.
Geoffrey Lower worked on Broadway in the play, “Happy Ending”, for which he won a Drama Critics Award.
Jane Seymour has written several books, as well as co-authored some children’s books with her former husband, James Keach for “This One ‘N That One” book series.
Joe Lando has four children with his wife, Kirsten Barlow.
While filming the movie, “Live and Let Die”, Seymour went to a psychic who told her that she would marry three more times in her life. Seymour who had just recently married her first husband, Michael Attenborough, found this thought shocking. But in the end, the psychic proved to be correct.
Throughout the series, there were some tensions on the set between the actors themselves, but also between the writer’s and the members of the cast. One of the bigger and more documented problems came during the show’s fifth season and involved Joe Lando. Lando was unhappy with the direction that his character was heading as well as that of the show and very seriously considered leaving for good. Because of this, John Schneider was asked to return for the next season with the intent of his character, (Daniel Simon) possibly becoming Dr. Quinn’s new love interest. The fans however, wanted no part of this and created a campaign known as “Save Our Sully”. Thankfully, Lando returned, though he was given part-time status after that, but did remain until the end of the series.
Chad Allen only signed on to play Matthew Cooper in the series pilot. He just needed the money to help pay for his tuition for college and never thought that the series would be picked up.
Jessica Bowman won Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Dramatic Series in 1996, for her portrayal of Colleen Cooper.
Jane Seymour has one brown eye and one green eye.
Shawn Toovey is a founding member of the “Audrey Hepburn Hollywood for Children Foundation”. He is also involved with the “Juvenile Diabetes Foundation”, “The Braille Institute”, “Meals on Wheels”, “Camp Ronald McDonald” as well as several other child abuse prevention organizations.
Barbara Babcock spent a lot of her childhood in Tokyo, Japan, as her father was a general in the U.S. Army. She learned to speak Japanese before she learned to speak English.
Erika Flores was replaced with Jessica Bowman as Colleen Cooper midway through the third season. All the other actors on the show had signed a five year contract with the exception of Flores. She wanted either a shorter contract or more money and when CBS would not give her either, she was then removed from the show.
Joe Lando first gained attention for his role as Jake Harrison on the daytime soap opera, “One Life to Live”.
William Shockley is a partner in a restaurant in Austin, Texas, called “Cafe Josie”.
Orson Bean’s father was the chief of campus police at the distinguished Harvard University.
Helene Udy is an acrobat in her spare time. Her disciplines are partner hand balancing and aerial silks.
Larry Sellers (Cloud Dancing) heritage includes Osage, Cherokee and Lakota Indian. His spiritual beliefs come from his Lakota heritage, (Lakota Pipe Beliefs) and he has participated in the “Sun Dance” (also known as the Wiwang Wacipi) for the past 17 years.
Jane Seymour became a United States citizen in 2005.
Jim Knobeloch was the real prankster of the Dr. Quinn cast, even going so far as to use horse manure on several occasions.
Jonelle Allen has been married and divorced twice and has no children.
Barbara Babcock had a recurring role on the well-known and beloved series, “Dallas“, as Liz Craig.
Dr. Quinn was aired in more than 100 countries.