'McCloud' was one of the "4-in-1" program, four different mystery movies shown once a month on television between 1970 and 1977. Dennis Weaver played Marshal Sam McCloud . He observed at the time, "The power of television is enormous. TV heroes are influential. I think viewers...try to emulate them."
In 1989, 'The Return of Sam McCloud' went on air. "There's a generation of viewers who grew up on some of these shows and I guess there’s a nostalgia factor the networks are leaning on. Maybe people just like to remember TV's good old days." He also made the observation, "It doesn't seem like 12 years ago...Like it had never stopped."
"McCloud has humor and is philosophical about life," Dennis explained. "You always try to inject all of life into a role. Even the most serious aspects of life have a humorous side...He doesn't like red tape and takes the bull by the horn. He's a fish out of water. He’s a man from one background thrust into another, trying to do things and solve them in his own way. McCloud comes from the same background, which is rural, as Chester, but that’s as far as it goes. Chester was a follower and McCloud is a leader. He’s a doer and Chester was a watcher."
Chester Goode was a character in the TV series, 'Gunsmoke' which ran between 1955 and 1975. "In the old days," Dennis remembered in 1971, "we used to make 39 episodes of 'Gunsmoke' each season – that left only 13 weeks for reruns. Now most series are turning out 22 shows a year – some are down to 18 – which leaves 30 or more weeks for reruns." He also made the comment, "There is a tendency to avoid offending, so there is a sameness about the product – no digging or exploring. I think it is wrong when a market as big as television fails to reach out to minority interests."
Before 'McCloud', "My other series were dependent upon other elements. In 'Gunsmoke', I was just one of several characters. In 'Kentucky Jones' most of the stories were written about the Chinese boy. In 'Gentle Ben' there was the bear and the boy...they could have replaced the father anytime." But 'McCloud', "there’s no question of who’s the central character. It is the first series in which I am the essential character...Without McCloud there isn’t any series. The series lives or dies on the way the character is accepted."
In 1989, “When they asked me if I would revive the character, I told them only if we had something significant to say about what is going on in the world today. So we decided to make Sam a U.S. Senator (from New Mexico). Personally, Dennis Weaver wanted to make a statement through Sam McCloud. It would make a good platform for me to say something about the environment. In Sam’s first scene he was on the floor of the Senate making an impassioned plea for his ecology bill...I wanted something to parallel my own growth and that’s with the environment."
Dennis shared, "I live right here on Santa Monica Bay in Malibu, and they tell us we shouldn’t eat any fish that come out of these waters. Even so, it isn’t as bad as what’s happened to the Great Lakes. They’re practically dead. It’s tragic what we’ve done to our home, the world. They say a good planet is hard to find. We’ve got to stop living as if there is another one close at hand." In 1993, the Institute of Ecolonomics was formed which was devoted to environmental projects with the aim of reconciling the economy and the environment.
Dennis made known in 2003, "I want people to become aware of the importance of relating to the earth; to become aware of what we're doing to it now. Scientists are telling us in no uncertain terms that we are now in the process of destroying what we have. But we have the technology to make a veritable Garden of Eden in this place we live." In 2009, Ray Villard wrote, "Earth’s ultimate fate 5 billion years from now is a death spiral into the sun...In one billion years earth will become more like Venus with a thick carbon dioxide atmosphere...The first homesteaders on earth, the extremeophiles, will also be its last surviving inhabitants. The meek truly will inherit the earth...Knowing that our world will inevitably succumb to the sun’s evolution, a far advanced civilization on earth could undertake an extraordinary engineering project to keep earth inhabitable for the next 5 billion years...."