Cade's County starred well-known Hollywood actor Glenn Ford as Sam Cade, the sheriff of the fictional Madrid County, a vast and sparsely populated desert area that was apparently located well inland in the American Southwest. The state in which it was located was never mentioned; it could have been California (where much of the location filming took place), Utah, Nevada, New Mexico or Arizona. Cade made occasional references to going to "Capital City" for hearings and meetings. There is a town named Madrid, New Mexico, however, it is pronounced "MAD-rid", and is not a county seat.
Cade's character was complex and interesting, though never fully developed. He came from a socially prominent and well-to-do family in the county, had served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot — there was one reference to the Korean War — and had been an FBI agent, after which he returned to Madrid County to become sheriff. There were no references to a wife or close family in the series.
His chief deputy was J.J. Jackson, portrayed by the character actor Edgar Buchanan. While Cade had traveled the world, and had modern law enforcement training, Jackson had apparently spent most of his life and career in Madrid County. Writers avoided the stereotypical combination of "resistant-to-change veteran" and "newly hatched expert" – Jackson was a capable and competent right-hand man, Cade firmly in control but trusted by his people, who called him "Sam".
Together they fought to maintain law and order against violent miners, cattle thieves and other lawbreakers who, for the most part, would have seemed at home in Westerns set in any era. Cade usually drove a jeep, as many of the roads in his jurisdiction were apparently little more than tracks across the sand.
|Glenn Ford||Sheriff Sam Cade||1|
|Edgar Buchanan||Senior Deputy J.J. Jackson||1|
|Taylor Lacher||Arlo Pritchard||1|
|Victor Campos||Rudy Davillo||1|
|Season One||September 19, 1971||April 9, 1972||24|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series