Here Come the Brides is an American comedy Western series from Screen Gems that aired on the ABC television network from September 25, 1968 to April 3, 1970. The series was loosely based upon the Mercer Girls project, Asa Mercer's efforts to bring civilization to old Seattle in the 1860s by importing marriageable women from the east coast cities of the United States, where the ravages of the American Civil War left those towns short of men.
The producers said the show was inspired by the movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in an interview with "LA Times" TV critic Cecil Smith.
As a television western, set shortly after the end of the Civil War, the series rarely featured any form of gunplay, and violence was generally limited to comical fistfights. This was in keeping with the restrictions on television violence at the time. Stories highlighted the importance of cooperation, racial harmony, and peaceful resolution of conflict. Plots were usually a mix of drama and humor. Being one of the first shows targeted at young women, most of the humor was at the expense of the men, but not particularly bitingly so.
In the pilot episode, smooth-talking, charismatic logging company boss Jason Bolt (Robert Brown) is faced with a shutdown of his operation as lonely lumberjacks are ready to leave Seattle due to the lack of female companionship. He promises to find 100 marriageable ladies willing to come to the frontier town (population 152) and stay for a full year. Sawmill owner Aaron Stempel (Mark Lenard) puts up much of the expense money as a wager that Bolt won't succeed, with the three Bolt brothers betting their mountain (home to their logging company).
The Bolts travel to New Bedford, Massachusetts, recruit the women, then charter a mule-ship to take them back to Seattle. The local saloon owner, Lottie (Joan Blondell) takes the women under her wing and becomes a mother figure to them, while Bolt desperately works to keep the women from leaving at the next high tide. Eventually, the women decide to give Seattle and the loggers a chance. The ship's captain, Clancy (Henry Beckman), develops a relationship with Lottie and becomes a regular character in the series.
Much of the dramatic and comedic tension in the first season revolved around Stempel's efforts to sabotage the deal and take over the Bolts' holdings. Stempel became more friendly in the second and final season, which focused more on the development of individual characters and the conflicts associated with newcomers and with people just passing through. One running theme is the importance of family, as the Bolt brothers show through the closeness of their relationships, that by sticking together, democratically taking family votes, they can overcome the surprising obstacles life presents.
Bobby Sherman and David Soul were propelled to pop stardom as Jason's brothers, Jeremy and Joshua. Jeremy took a prominent role, not only as the boyfriend of Candy Pruitt (Bridget Hanley), the beautiful, unofficial leader of the brides, but also as a young man struggling with a conversation-stopping stammer. In one episode, he is temporarily cured of his impediment, following coaching by a traveler who has come to Seattle. Upon discovering that his benefactor is actually a con artist, his faith is shaken so deeply that the stammer returns.
The show addressed many social issues — racism, ethnic discrimination, treatment of the handicapped and mentally impaired, business ethics, ecology. The Bolt brothers replanted the trees they cut down.