The Young Riders was a Western TV series that ran on ABC 1989-1992. It focused on a group of Pony Express Riders under the care of a quirky former Texas Ranger called Teaspoon Hunter. The show played some liberties with history, and the Western legends to-be Wild Bill Hickok (Jimmy), Creator/BuffaloBill (Cody), and UsefulNotes/JesseJames were all among the main characters. During the show, hothead Jimmy Hickok became increasingly troubled by his reputation, while class clown Cody could be seen starting his showbiz career in tiny steps by acting in a theater production and writing stories about his rider friends. Jesse James joined the group in season 3 as a young boy.
The other riders were Kid (unrelated to "Billy The..."), who came from a small farm in Virginia, disguised girl Lou, Indian half-breed Buck, his mute best friend Ike, and by the second season Noah, the first black regular on a Western TV show. The station house was cared for by housekeeper Emma Shannon in the first season and Rachel Dunne in the second and third. US Marshal Sam Cain also featured in the first season.
The characters spent more time fighting bad guys than delivering mail, a course of action facilitated in the second season when Sam left the show and Teaspoon took over his job as marshal, deputizing the riders whenever he needed to.
Now available on [[http://www.hulu.com/the-young-riders Hulu]].
!! This show provides examples of:
* BarBrawl: And barn brawl, and store brawl... pretty much every building in Sweetwater gets busted up at one point or another.
* BerserkButton: Jimmy's gets triggered by any man who WouldHitAGirl.
* CloudCuckooLander: Teaspoon can be rather... eccentric. He's introduced by [[EstablishingCharacterMoment rising soaking-wet out of a watering trough and drying his face with a horse's tail.]]
* CluelessDeputy: Barnett
* ConvenientlyAnOrphan: Historically correct, since the Pony Express policy stated "orphans preferred".
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Everyone.
* DumbStruck: Ike.
* GirlOfTheWeek / CartwrightCurse
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Jimmy, [[Creator/BuffaloBill Cody]], UsefulNotes/JesseJames
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler: Ike and Noah.]]
* LongLostRelative: Considering the riders are all orphans, Emma was once married, and Teaspoon has had his, er, dalliances, one of these will crawl out of the woodwork from time to time. [[StatusQuoIsGod Don't expect these characters to last long.]]
* LoveTriangle: Sam and Emma begin the series already romantically involved, but Jimmy still has the hots for her.
* MissKitty: Rachel, Charlotte
* MixedAncestry: Buck's mother was Kiowa, but [[ChildByRape his father was white.]] He was raised in his mother's village with her family. Less friendly characters (Thompkins, for example) often use the slur "half-breed" describe him.
* NoNameGiven: Kid. Not even his brother calls him by his first name.
* OurLawyersAdvisedThisTrope: Several episodes, especially in the first season, begin with a disclaimer that it is ''not'' based on the film ''Film/YoungGuns''.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Too often to count, many times [[InvokedTrope said word-for-word.]]
* PluckyComicRelief: Cody. A combination of HoistByHisOwnPetard and ButtMonkey.
* PonyExpressRider: Well, yah.
* PutOnABus: Sam and Emma, with Emma getting a HotterAndSexier replacement in Rachel.
* RetiredOutlaw: Elias Mills
* SweetOnPollyOliver: Kid.
* SweetPollyOliver: Lou cut her hair, dressed in men's clothing and adopted the name "Lou" in place of "Louise" so she could get a job on the Pony Express and save up enough money to buy a house for herself and her two siblings. The boys find out pretty early on, and Emma figures it out on her own sometime later. Teaspoon finds out eventually.
* TeamDad: Teaspoon.
* TeamMom: Emma, and later Rachel.
* USMarshal: Retired hitman Sam. In seasons two and three, Teaspoon.
* TheWildWest: Gunfights, saloons, wild Indian chases, mail delivery...
* WretchedHive: Like a lot of Old West towns in real life, Sweetwater can come across this way at times.
* YoungGun: Jimmy.
!! Episodes of this series provide examples of:
* AbusiveParents: "Bad Blood."
* ACupAngst: Lou and Rachel don't get along at first, due to Lou resenting the guys ogling Rachel.
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar: "Till Death Do Us Part."
* BearsAreBadNews: "Decoy", starring Bart the Bear AsHimself.
* CitySlicker: "Bulldog"
* FemmeFatale: "Blind Love" "Fall from Grace"
* GambitPileup: In "Star Light, Star Bright", it's difficult to tell who's conning who until the end. In a ChristmasEpisode, no less.
* HaventYouSeenXBefore: When Kid has to look under Lou's shirt to tend a bullet wound:
-->'''Lou''': What's the matter, Kid? Ain't you ever seen a girl before?
* LittlestCancerPatient: "The Littlest Cowboy."
* MiscarriageOfJustice: "Hard Time" "Blood Money"
* MissKitty: "Goodnight, Sweet Charlotte"
* RaisedByNatives: "Pride and Prejudice"
* RapeAsDrama: "Bad Blood" "The Keepsake" "Goonight, Sweet Charlotte"
* SelfSurgery: "The Man Behind the Badge" - Sam uses a hot blade to cauterize a bullet-wound in his thigh after he goes on the run from Van Dorn.
* ShaggyDogStory: "Decoy"
* SkinnyDipping: How Teaspoon discovered that Lou was really Louise.
* TakingTheBullet: "In the Presence of Mine Enemies" "Fall From Grace"
* YouKilledMyFather: "Old Scores."