Introduction   I Sam. 18:29


During the 80's a popular TV program was aired called Branded. Branded was the story of a Calvary Officer that was striped of rank and kicked out of the military for failing to obey orders. He was also branded on the neck to show all he was a coward, this mark branded him for life unjustly. The events that lead this hero to make a bad decision was a gross miscalculation but under no circumstances was this a sign of his lack of leadership of bravery. Expound on the story 


1.      Branded  (I Sam 18:29)

·        David became a fugitive that was branded by the existing King Saul, 1Sam 19:15-18

·        David was branded an enemy of the state yet he was a faithful Servant of God, Hero expound

·        King Saul was threaten by David and instead of doing the right thing sought to eliminate the threat.

  i.    David was on the run because he was a marked man, life not always is fair.

ii.     This was published throughout the Kingdom of Israel, I Sam 25:4-11

iii.    Nabal makes a true statement about David the runaway slave, he was branded

iv.     No matter what good David did (Goliath, 200 philistines etc) he was know as Saul's foe.

v.      Have you been branded? Whether justly or not? it is a terrible feeling to have been marked.

vi.     Acts 8:1-4 - Paul was a branded man because of his deeds. Acts 9:26-27 were afraid

·        It is save to say that being branded by society will have it's toll on your life.

·        Paul like David faced this same problem a marked man by the sinners and the church itself

·        What will you do when your branded and you know your a man?


2.      Inner Struggle

·        A branded individual can escape by simple justification, he will arrange what course he will take.

·        (I Sam 21:10-15) - David doesn't get a break he is branded on both sides of the war effort

·        Achish knew David's testimony that of righteousness yet David let Saul's assault get the better of him

    a. Made himself as a mad man before the King of Gath

    b. Sometimes the brand will lead us to places of failure and cause us to compromise the Kingdom of God

  • Because of persecution David escapes to the enemy but finds himself with more problems
  • His testimony follows him, we need to look at that because even when your branded people know the truth about your character as the King of Gath did.
  • In the mind of the branded they are defeated to the sinner your a testimony, tens of 1000
  • Being branded changed David's actions but his character was in tact, David had God's heart
  • (1Sam 17:33-37) - David to fight Goliah
  • David wanted to avenge Saul and recover the bodies of his brothers



3.      A Call To Fight Again  (1 Sam 1:14-27)

·        The children of Israel are defeated King Saul and sons are killed - great distress Davis arises

  i.      The branded King sees they state of God's people and takes command

·        Being branded does not change the character of those who love God and his people

   i.      David was anointed King by Samuel, this had not changed

 ii.      (Gal 6:8-9) -  Never stop serving God even when circumstances are bad towards you

·        (Job 1:9-12) God allows Satan to curse Job, God was proud of Job and allowed this he too was branded

·        (Phil 4:11-14) Being branded is a state of mind we must learn to be happy

  i.      ( I Jn. 4:4 ) God's knows the heart of men being branded is not the end of the world, God knows you

ii.      The time is today to rise up and be counted to do the work of God, Chuck, Paul, David

iii.      (Jn 6:26-29) -  God commands us branded people to labor for him and trust his word of life eternal



1 Sam 18:29
29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David's enemy continually.

1 Sam 19:15-18
15 And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.
16 And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster.
17 And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?
18 So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.

1 Sam 25:4-11
4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9 And when David's young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
10 And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?

Acts 8:1-4
8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Acts 9:26-27
26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.


1 Sam 21:10-15
10 And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.
14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?
15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?

1 Sam 17:33-37
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

2 Sam 1:14-27
14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?
15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.
16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD's anointed.
17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
18(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.
22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou was slain in thine high places.
26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

Gal 6:8-9
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Job 1:9-12
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD

Phil 4:11-13
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

1 John 4:4
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

John 6:26-29
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.




"All but one man died
There at Bitter Creek
And they say he ran away.

Branded, marked with a coward's shame,
What do you do when you're branded,
Will you fight for your name?"

Captain Jason McCord (Chuck Connors) is a West Point graduate who is the sole survivor of a massacre at Bitter Creek. He is judged to have been a coward in the battle and is dismissed in disgrace.

In the opening sequence, we see McCord's commanding officer rip the rank designations and decorations from his uniform. He breaks McCord’s sabre in half, tossing the bottom half out of the fort gate.

Now McCord must wander the West in the 1880s hoping to establish his innocence but never telling the story of what really happened at Bitter Creek. Some he encounters believe him to be a coward, while others find his character beyond such transgressions.

If you were old enough to remember Branded as a kid, then you also probably remember singing this song:

"Stranded, Stranded on the toilet bowl,
What do you do when you're stranded, and you don't have a roll?"

Ah, yes, the simple joys of a 1960's childhood. You'll be humming that tune all day, you know you will!

This article is about a television series. For the Dad's Army episode, see Branded (Dad's Army episode).

Branded was a Western series which aired on NBC from 1965 through 1966 and starred Chuck Connors as Jason McCord, a United States Army Cavalry captain who had been drummed out of the service following an unjust accusation of cowardice. The show was produced by Goodson-Todman Productions, who are primarily known not for Westerns or dramatic shows, but for almost exclusively producing game shows such as The Price is Right.

The opening scene of the series was memorable, with McCord's epaulets being ripped off, his uniform having its buttons cut off, and his sabre being broken, while a drum played. He was then sent out of the gates of the fort where this occurred, which were then closed behind him. This scene was repeated each week as the theme song, which also told the background story, and the opening credits, were played, in part so that new viewers could easily be brought in on what had been going on, a very common device at the time used in many other programs as well.

In the series, McCord traveled throughout the Old West, trying to prove his innocence. He encountered people who believed in him and those who did not.

The series followed Connors's highly popular series The Rifleman, but had nowhere near the previous show's success.

Branded was a minor thematic element in the Coen brothers' film, The Big Lebowski.

The show's opening and theme was also parioded in a episode of "Married...With Children" in which Al Bundy is disgraced by his alma mater after the football he used to win the school the state championship is stolen while on watch as a security guard

...what do you do when you're BRANDED

“Branded” starring Chuck Connors premiered as a mid-season program in January of 1965. “Branded” is the saga of Jason McCord, a Civil War officer who is the lone white survivor of the Battle Of Bitter Creek, a Little Big Horn-like massacre brought on by the mental deterioration of the General in command. It is commonly believed that McCord’s survival was due to cowardice, and after a court-martial, he is stripped of his rank and forced to leave the army. The premise of “Branded” is similar to the plot of a “Rifleman” episode titled “The Journey Back”, wherein a neighbor of Lucas McCain is wanted by the army for having deserted, after finding himself the lone survivor of a similar famous massacre--in this case, “Willow Creek”, and believing that he would be accused of cowardice if found alive. The “Branded” premise is recounted in each episode during the program’s introduction. In the theme song by Dominic Frontiere (lyrics by Alan Alch), the tale is told of McCord’s survival of the Bitter Creek massacre and how he was unfairly accused. The song plays over the scene of the ceremony in which McCord is literally stripped of his rank, as his commander rips the decorations from his uniform and breaks McCord’s sabre in half, tossing the bottom half out of the fort gate. McCord stoically exits the fort. As the gates close behind him, he picks up the broken sabre and examines it closely as he ponders his fate. Essentially exiled, McCord travels the west from job to job, putting to use his army training as an engineer. Throughout, McCord is in a sense running from his undeserved reputation as a coward, but wherever he goes, it seems that his reputation has preceded him. Martyr-like, he suffers the outrages and attacks in silence, refusing to tell the story that could redeem him in the eyes of the public. Over the course of the series, many who start out hating McCord end up admiring him, or at least giving him the benefit of the doubt, as they witness him demonstrate courage and determination in the face of taunts and more deadly threats. Often McCord encounters individuals who are themselves facing situations that require courage and ultimately it is McCord whose actions inspire them to do the right thing. From time to time McCord encounters old friends who have not lost faith in him. In “The Mission”, it is in the form of Colonel Snow (Jon Lormer) who refused to believe the accusations surrounding Bitter Creek. The Colonel introduces McCord to President Ulysses S. Grant (William Bryant). President Grant would call upon McCord several times to go undercover, usually putting his reputation and dismissal from the army as a means to gain admission with groups who are at odds with the government in some manner. In “The Coward Steps Aside”, Johnny Crawford appears as a young deputy who isn’t about to take lessons in courage from Jason McCord when his town is threatened. This was the first dramatic reunion of Connors and Crawford since “The Rifleman”, and it would be some 25 years before the next. Johnny Crawford recalls the experience: “We were very fond of each other. He was the reason I was doing the show. He saw an episode that I could do and he said, ‘I want Johnny to play that part’. It was just fun playing a different role with him”. The creator of the show, Larry Cohen stated, “Chuck Connors wanted to give himself an entirely different look from “The Rifleman”, which I agreed was a good idea. Connors said ‘We’ve got to come up with something like the rifle. A weapon that I can play with’. So I came up with the broken sabre, which was cut down so he’d be able to throw his sabre, use that in fights, and give us something that would be symbolic for the show”. “Branded” had been a top ten show and still was in the top twenty when it was cancelled, something unheard of today. The competition against “Branded” was formitable. CBS had Ed Sullivan, which was still a powerhouse and ABC had “The FBI”. The last show was telecast September 4, 1966. (Article taken from “The Television Chronicles”, Issue #11, October 1997).


1/14/1965 - 8/4/1966
NBC 30 minutes
Black and White - 48 episodes
(Jan. 1965 - Sept. 1966 Sunday 8:30-9:00)

Chuck COnnors
Chuck Connors

Branded Cast

Chuck Connors as Jason McCord
William Bryant as President Ulysses S. Grant

Branded Theme Song

"Branded" music by Dominic Frontiere, lyrics by Alan Alch

  Branded Tidbits

"All but one man died
There at Bitter Creek
And they say he ran away.

Branded, marked with a coward's shame,
What do you do when you're branded,
Will you fight for your name?"

Captain Jason McCord (Chuck Connors) is a West Point graduate who is the sole survivor of a massacre at Bitter Creek. He is judged to have been a coward in the battle and is dismissed in disgrace.

In the opening sequence, we see McCord's commanding officer rip the rank designations and decorations from his uniform. He breaks McCord’s sabre in half, tossing the bottom half out of the fort gate.

Now McCord must wander the West in the 1880s hoping to establish his innocence but never telling the story of what really happened at Bitter Creek. Some he encounters believe him to be a coward, while others find his character beyond such transgressions.

Along the way, he is introduced to President Grant (William Bryant), who engages McCord to asist in undercover operations for the government.


Chuck Connors died in 1992 of lung cancer and William Bryant in 2001 of cancer.

TV Western - Branded - Chuck Connors
Chuck Connors
From the Doug Abbott Collection

TV Western - Chuck COnnors - Branded
Chuck Connors
From the Doug Abbott Collection