"It's a dramedy. Or maybe a comerama."

Joel Fleischman is a cocky New Yorker who signed away a slice of his life to the State of Alaska. He agreed to work there as a doctor for four years. In return, the state agreed to give him $125,000 to get through Columbia Medical School. When he arrived in Anchorage, eager to move into a new condominium and set up some semblance of a cosmopolitan life, the state fathers told Fleischman they had other plans for him. They were sending him instead to Cicely, Alaska, population 839. One long, jarring plane ride later, he found himself among the most improbable group of people: Maurice Minnifield, former astronaut and Cicely's patriarch; Maggie O'Connell, plane pilot; Holling Vincoeur, the tavern owner, Chris Stevens, KBHR's disc jockey; Shelly Tambo, former Miss Northwest Passage; Ed Chigliak,  shaman and filmmaker; Marilyn Whirlwind, Dr. Fleischman's receptionist; and Ruth Ann, the storekeeper.

Episode 1.7 A Kodiak Moment

Depressed by the death of his brother, Maurice, the last male to bear the name "Minnifield" decides to adopt someone who will carry on his legacy. After careful consideration he decides Chris Stevens will become heir to the Minnifield Empire.


Maurice Minnifield. For 6 years (1990-1995), Barry played the crusty former NASA astronaut who dreams of Cicely becoming the jewel of a future Alaskan Riviera. Maurice orbited the earth in a NASA capsule. Outer space, his home state of Oklahoma and his adopted Alaska are probably the only places big enough to contain Maurice's ego and ambition. He came to Cicely about 20 years ago and bought the local radio station, KBHR; the local newspaper, and 15,000 "acres of opportunity". Now he drives through Cicely's snow-covered streets in a 1960 gold Cadillac convertible given to him by a Houston car dealer in appreciation for orbiting the earth. Maurice needs so much breathing room that when he drives his Caddy around town, he keeps the top down, even in the winter. When he sweeps his hands around the virgin forests he sees "Burger Kings, 31 flavors, resorts, mini-malls."

Click to visit the Maurice Minnifield website

Commentary by Barry: "Maurice is only happy on the edge of civilization -happy in the space, happy in the wild. He has a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. He's the best traveled person in the world because he's been out of this world. He's very literal-minded, but he would love to be instinctive. That's the part that's missing. He's in anguish over the fact that it's missing."


CHRIS : Who were those guys? What's going on?
MAURICE : Malcolm, um...bought it.
CHRIS : I'm, uh...sorry to hear that. Um, who is Malcolm?
MAURICE : My brother.
CHRIS : Oh, Maurice. I'm really sorry. I didn't even know you had one.
MAURICE : I had a brother. Malcolm P. ...damn Minnifield. The last of the footloose flyboys.

MAURICE : (Exhaling)
JOEL : You sound fine.
JOEL : But given your family history you should consider going into Anchorage for stress tests.
MAURICE : You know, Joel. Over the years I've managed to accumulate quite a bit of wealth. Now with Malcolm gone, I hate to think the federal government's gonna be the beneficiary of my good fortune.

MAURICE : What I need is an heir. Somebody who will carry the Minnifield name.
JOEL : I'd offer my services but unfortunately there's this elderly couple in Queens who have dibs on me.
MAURICE : That's too bad. Well, thanks, Joel.

MAURICE : Where'd you say you were from, son?
CHRIS : Wheeling. West Virginia.
MAURICE : Yeah. The "almost heaven" state. You got any family there?
CHRIS : Um, no, no. My mother and father...They're gone.
MAURICE : For good?
CHRIS : Yeah, they died.
MAURICE : Good. Do you have any problem with insanity in your family?

MAURICE : This is all mine, son. As far as the eye can see. 15,000 acres. 15,000 acres of opportunity, planned communities, resorts, roads, mini-malls.
CHRIS : Vineyards. You know, grapes. Vino.
MAURICE : You got boozers hanging in your family tree, son?

MAURICE : I got a problem, Chris.
CHRIS : What kind of problem?
MAURICE : I need a son, son.
CHRIS : What?
MAURICE : I need somebody to carry on the Minnifield family name; somebody who will seize the keys to the kingdom and use them to unlock the future.
After careful consideration I've decided that person is you.

MAURICE : Look at all this. The Minnifield empire could be yours. Consider that.
CHRIS : Maurice, come on! I mean, the whole notion of you and me as father and son. Doesn't that strike you as a little off?
MAURICE : Hell, no! You've worked for me. I've known you for a while. What do you say, Chris?
CHRIS : What the hell. I'll give it a try.
MAURICE : That's my boy. Welcome to the family.

MAURICE : Uh, Chris.
CHRIS : Yes, sir?
MAURICE : Don't call me that.
CHRIS : What?
MAURICE : "Sir." Don't call me "sir."
CHRIS : Okay, Maurice.
MAURICE : That too.
CHRIS : What "too"?
MAURICE : Maurice.
CHRIS : That's your name!
MAURICE : I know. Look, Chris...uh...Do you think that you could...call me, uh, "dad"?

MAURICE : Well, time for a toast. To fathers and sons; to ties that bind; and to bonds that cannot be broken.

MAURICE : I know, I know. Roy Rogers had Trigger. The Lone Ranger had Silver. I've got my Caddy. But I've got something those guys didn't have. I've got a son.

MAURICE : Now, no disrespect intended, but, you were spawned by a couple of brier-hoppers. Now, when you step up to the Minnifield line, it's a whole different matter. Step up to the ball, whack it, and see if it doesn't make your blood feel a little bluer.

MAURICE : The Minnifield empire will not bear fruit in one man's lifetime.
JOEL : Yeah. I heard it didn't work out with you and Chris.
JOEL : I'm sorry. You know, maybe you can start a trust. The Minnifield foundation. It worked for the Rockefellers and the Gettys.
MAURICE : No. I've come up with something else, Joel.
JOEL : Really, what's that?
MAURICE : I've decided to live forever.




  • 1.7 - A Kodiak Moment.
Original Air Date
  • Thursday, August 23, 1990.
  • TV-Series / Drama / Comedy / Romance.
Directed By
  • Max Tash.

Executive Producers

  • Joshua Brand.
  • John Falsey.

Produced By

  • Robert T. Skodis.


  • Universal City Studios.



Main Cast

  • Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleischman.

  • Barry Corbin as Maurice Minnifield.

  • Janine Turner as Maggie O'Connell.

  • John Collum as Holling Vincoeur.

  • Darren E. Burrows as Ed Chigliak.

  • John Corbett as Chris Stevens.

  • Cynthia Geary as Shelly Tambo.

  • Elaine Miles as Marylin Whirlwind.

  • Peg Phillips as Ruth Ann Miller.

Filming Locations

  • Washington State.
  • Redmond, Washington State.
  • Roslyn, Washington State.

Running Time

  • 1 Hour.


  • TV-PG.

Related Pictures






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