The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams is a short-lived, but beloved, 1970s Western series about the adventures of James "Grizzly" Adams, a fugitive who fled to the mountains after being wrongfully accused of a crime.
Along the way, he rescues an orphan grizzly bear cub who becomes his closest companion, Ben. Even as Ben grows into a massive adult, Adams learns that he has an uncanny link to the local wildlife who have no fear of him and interact as part of their world. Adams has human friends too, the trader Mad Jack and Nakoma who are sworn to keep his existence secret.
After the series' initial feature film appearance, the TV series typically has Adams meeting visitors in his mountain wilderness home while keeping a wary eye out for bounty hunters coming for him. For drama, the series makes it clear that the wilderness is a dangerous place for amateurs to live in and Adams and company often have to come to the rescue when the visitors inevitably get in trouble.
The series concluded in 1982 with the Grand Finale TV movie, The Capture of Grizzly Adams, where a bounty hunter uses Adams' hitherto unmentioned daughter to draw him out of hiding. In the end, Adams saves the day and proves his innocence.
Very loosely based on the story of the real James Adams.
- Bears Are Bad News: In the episode "The Storm", when Adams sets out to find a lost Native American girl named Talitha, they are attacked by an enormous grizzly bear known as "Molock".
- Beary Friendly: Provided you are not threatening Adams, Ben is as cuddly and heroic a grizzly bear as you will ever encounter.
- Friend to All Living Things: Adams is like this. Large predators seem to be the exception, but Ben is easily able to make them back off.
- Grumpy Old Man: Mad Jack is cantankerous and grouchy a vast majority of the time.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mad Jack may be an abrasive misanthrope, but his heart is very much in the right place. At the end of it all, he wants to help Adams out whenever he can.
- Mountain Man: The titular character, naturally.
- Nature Hero: Adams, again.
- Nature Is Not Nice: Adams and his friends are the first to note that the mountains is a dangerous area to live if you don't know what you're doing. For instance, one episode, "Tenderfoot Theodore," had a young and naive Theodore Roosevelt try living in the mountains and proved hopeless at it. This especially applies when he tries to chop down a tree using a book's instructions while Mad Jack's narration makes it clear that this is a dangerous task for a beginner and should be done under the instruction of a more experienced person. As expected, the tree promptly falls on Theodore, pinning him down while being threatened by a rattlesnake and has to be saved by Grizzly Adams and Mad Jack.
- Nice Guy: Adams is cordial, kind-hearted, friendly and helpful to both man and beast alike.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The real James Capen Adams was never accused of murder. On the contrary, he was actually a very famous mountain man and showman who captured animals for zoos and menageries, and also spent time working for P.T. Barnum.
- Wild Wilderness: No one outside the woods knows Adams or his exploits.
- Wrongly Accused: Open narration begins with "Wanted for a murder he did not commit..."