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Branded is an American Western series that aired on NBC from 1965 through 1966, starring Chuck Connors as disgraced former US Army captain Jason McCord.

Jason McCord, the only survivor of the Battle of Bitter Creek, is court-martialed and kicked out of the Army because of his alleged cowardice. Rather than demean the good name of the Army commander who was actually to blame for the massacre, McCord travels the Old West trying to restore his good name and reputation.

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Tropes used in Branded include:

  • Clear My Name: Subverted when McCord meets the widow of one of his fellow officers, who has proof that McCord is innocent. McCord tells her to burn the letters that would exonerate him, fearing that if the truth came out it would be used by the Army to start another military campaign against Native Americans.
  • Expository Theme Tune:
    All but one man died
    There at Bitter Creek
    And they say he ran away!
    Branded! Scorned as the one who ran.
    What do you do when you're branded, and you know you're a man?
    Wherever you go, for the rest of your life
    You must prooooove you're a man.''
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: The opening title sequence show the hero going through this ritual, complete with Expository Theme Tune
  • MAD: Their parody was called "BrandXed".
  • Mark of Shame: Jason McCord is (unjustly) dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army for cowardice; his mark of shame is a broken sabre.
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  • Reforged Blade: McCord has his broken cavalry saber remade into a long knife.
  • The So-Called Coward: The whole series happens because Jason McCord was branded one of these by the Army.
  • Sole Survivor: Jason McCord was the sole survivor of the Bitter Creek Massacre.
  • Taking the Heat: McCord chose to be marked as a coward rather than dishonor the memory of his commanding officer by admitting he was at fault for the Bitter Creek Massacre.
  • Verbed Title
  • Walking the Earth: Jason wanders the frontier helping people because of being drummed out of the Army.
  • Wrecked Weapon: As part of the Insignia Rip-Off Ritual, McCord's saber is broken. He takes it and has it remade into a knife.

 
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Branded Opening

The opening of the show Branded explains why this trope is happening: a false charge of cowardice.

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Example of:

Main / InsigniaRipOffRitual

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Main / InsigniaRipOffRitual

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