"The Pioneers"

(Original air date 09/20/74)


Steve and Rudy come to the rescue of two scientists, whose experiment in
outer space failed


Story: Katey Barrett

Teleplay: Bill Svanoe

Director: Christian I. Nyby II

Station 7, Alaska, a dot on the radar screen indicates a falling object is about to crash in Minnesota. They contact the head of the project "Pioneer", Oscar Goldman, who's disheartened to learn that his and Rudy's (Alan Oppenheimer)experiment ran aground.

The shuttle crashes in the midst of a forest in North of Minnesota with on board the bodies of scientists David Tate (Mike Farrell) and Nicole Simmons (Joan Darling) kept in hibernation inside cryogenic containers as part of an experiment with a serum used in cell regeneration.

The crash-landing seriously damaged David's container, accidentally injecting him with an overdose of the serum.


Rudy and Oscar call Steve to the rescue but they remain silent as to the details of his assignment. Seeing Oscar's dejection, Steve doesn't ask questions and willingly follows Rudy.

Inside the shuttle, David's physical condition is altered by the serum, providing him with a formidable strength to break the latch open and run free into the forest.

On the military aircraft flying them to their destination, Steve badgers Rudy to brief him on the mission but Rudy remains evasive about the top secret experiment. Once Steve spots the location of the shuttle with his bionic eye, they both parachute down.


David surprises a couple of campers (Justin Wilde and Angelo De Meo). With his growling and roaring, he scares them away and steals their food.

Steve and Rudy get to the shuttle and realize that it's not intact. The door has been smashed from the inside and liquid nitrogen is still leaking out. Steve breaks open the other container where Nicole Simmons lies frozen.

Oscar arrives on the surveillance camp site to meet with coordinator Ted Walker (Vince Howard), but remains tight-lipped as to the reason of their deployment.


As Rudy proceeds to use the atomic power of Steve's bionic arm to thaw Nicole's body, he lets him on Oscar's "Pioneer" project. A hush-hush experiment on cell regeneration following hibernation. A serum developed by Drs. Tate and Simmons who insisted on carrying out the tests on human beings, despite the obvious hazards. If word of this should reach Congress, it would ruin Oscar's career and all who are involved.

The town sheriff (Robert F. Simon)is outraged at the Army for setting up camp on his territory without having been advised. Oscar reassures the lawman that it's merely an exercise in survival and that they won't be a bother. The sheriff informs Oscar about a UFO sighting in the area that he must investigate.

Slowly, Nicole emerges from unconsciousness. Rudy orders her to remain still until the thawing process is completed. She realizes that Steve's arm is the power supplying the energy and concludes that it must be bionic. Seeing how they are both the results of Oscar's scientific experiments, she instantly feels drawn to Steve, a kinship that only both share.


David catches up with Rudy and Steve, after discovering their parachutes. Steve is urged to sit still for the slightness move might jeopardize the process. David has a brief moment of lucidity before he loses it completely and smacks Rudy in the face. He blacks out and David runs away.

Slowly, Rudy regains his senses and instructs Steve on how to remove the connecting wires and tubes from his arm without resulting in dire consequences for Nicole. He asks Steve to go after David, whose body will be prone to occasional seizures. Nicole insists on accompanying Steve.


Steve and Nicole finally catch up with David and find him face down on the ground. As she proceeds to administer him a dose of anticoagulant, he awakes feeling poorly. His entire nervous system is out of whack and has no control over his movements.

Oscar's men show up with their rifles, ready to shoot David if necessary. Steve waves them back as he contacts Oscar on his radio. David panics and lunges at Steve and the men and makes his escape into the woods. Steve goes after him.


Perched on a branch, David waits for Steve to walk underneath and jumps down on him. David runs and Steve catches up with him near a river. Both engage in a fierce fight. At some point, David breaks a metal beam against Steve's right arm, damaging it badly.

Oscar shows up with the sheriff. David is dying and asks Steve to bring him into the water, which appears to be soothing his delirium. Steve holds him while he deplores the failure of the project he and Nicole worked so hard at.


At Andrews Air Force Base, Steve awaits news on Nicole's condition. Afterwards, he goes see Oscar who is wallowing in self-pity. Steve tries to mitigate his grief by commending his work in the scientific field. David and Nicole were aware of the risks involved and that despite Oscar's warnings, they went ahead with the project. Steve knows Oscar is a visionary, always pushing the limit of possibilities. For proof: where would he be without him?


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