August 01, 2009
Drunken Indian in Laredo
An excerpt from Mercurie's The Invisible Minority: Native Americans on American Television Part One:
Much more common than the portrayal of Native Americans as the single minded savages was another offensive stereotype, that of the "drunken Indian." More often than not, the drunken Indian is treated purely as a source of comedy. A prime example of this was the premiere episode of the Sixties series Laredo, "Lazyfoot, Where Are You." In the episode Texas Rangers Bennett (Neville Brand), Cooper (Peter Brown), and Smith (Joe Riley) are sent out to capture the Native American Lazyfoot, more known for his boozing than his raiding settlements. Although generally played for laughs as in "Lazyfoot, Where Are You," drunken Native Americans were sometimes portrayed as malevolent savages as well. An example of this is the episode of Branded entitled "The Test," in which Jason McCord (Chuck Connors) saved a priest from an attack by whiskey loving Comanche.Comment: For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.