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Fort Courage, Home Of F-Troop
Fort Courage is a modern Trading Post just off of Interstate 40 in Houck, Arizona that was inspired by the television show F-Troop. Supposedly, the Fort Courage Trading Post is the "Home of F Troop" from the 60's TV series. However, the entire show was actually shot on the Warner Brother’s back lot in Southern California. But the inspiration to create a trading post on the F Troop theme was a brilliant one. One would imagine there may have been legal controversies over the name, but in any case It's still a thriving enterprise today.
I remember big picture poster advertisements proclaiming we were nearing the place on many of my family’s trips and naturally we always made rest stops there. There were many other similar Indian type trading posts along I-40 but that’s the one I remember best.
We Always Stopped There
Historic Route 66, which runs parallel to the newer route, also had many before the new interstate was built. But they all eventually closed due to competition and loss of traffic.
It was a great place to visit in the 60’s and 70’s. They had all the usual Indian souvenirs like head bands and toy tomahawks. There was even a buffalo that was kept next to an old mud and log hut that is now well over 100 hundred years old.
Since those days things have changed somewhat. Buildings in the rear were converted into apartments. But the guard tower still stands and is open to visitors. Those of us who remember how it was in its’ beginning will always remember it that way.
The TV Series
The F Troop TV show was a 30 minute situation comedy series on aired on ABC about a Private who is given a field promotion to Captain and command of a Fort. The theme of the show centers around the fact he got his promotion and command because he “accidentally” led a cavalry charge in the wrong direction.
Fort Courage was manned by a compliment of incompetent soldiers which comprised F Troop and was set in Kansas, during the final days of the Civil War. The group is led by the bumbling Captain Parmenter, a descendent of a long line of military heroes. Sgt. O'Rourke is the ranking NCO who also runs a business on the side with the Hikawi Indian tribe. The Hikawis are a nonviolent, peaceful tribe.
Corporal Agarn is O’Rourke’s right hand man and fellow business partner. Other characters in the cast included Wrangler Jane who runs the local general store and post office, is sweet on Captain Parmenter. She also shoots better than any of the soldiers at the fort.
The Hikawi Indians were led by Chief Wild Eagle and his second in command Crazy Cat, two of the most non-war like warriors of the Wild West. The series ran for only two seasons.
As funny as the show was it was, however, full of historical inaccuracies.
The Surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, on April 9, 1865 didn’t, end the Civil War. It didn’t officially end until June 23, 1865. So, it’s possible when Captain Parmenter arrived at Fort Courage, the Civil War may have been in its final throes.
The character Dobbs, being a Southerner, should not have even been in the U.S. Army.
Little Bighorn was mentioned from time to time in the series. However, the Battle of Little Bighorn wouldn’t happen for another ten years.
One scene shows Captain Parmenter receiving The Silver Star, an award that would not be created until 1918 and then known as The Citation Star. It didn’t become a medal until 1932.
In one episode entitled, Lt. Mark Harrison repeats a line from the song, "Jeepers creepers” to Wrangler Jane."Jeepers Creepers" would not be written until 1938.
Duffy couldn’t have been wounded at the Alamo in 1836, as no white adult males survived the battle.
There were many more historical mistakes made in filming the show. But, apparently viewers didn’t mind. The show was just as popular in reruns as it was when it premiered. The public wanted laughs, not history lessons.