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Meet the McLaughlin Family

McLaughlin Family autographed
The McLaughlins: Ken with Flicka, mother Nell, and father Rob
(Photo autographed by Gene Evans)


Young Ken McLaughlin lives on the Goose Bar Ranch with his parents, Rob and Nell.  Their ranch hand Gus Broeberg lives on the ranch as well.  The Goose Bar Ranch is in the beautiful ranchlands of southern Wyoming, and it is right at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  Ranch life back in those days was still filled with hard work, strife and danger.  My Friend Flicka is the story of the McLaughlin family’s struggle to make a living on their Goose Bar Ranch.  Father Rob runs the ranch by capturing, breaking and training wild horses.  One roundup, he let his son pick out his very own horse from several wild mustangs.  The boy settled on a beautiful sorrel filly with large white face markings.  Ken patiently worked with the horse and eventually gained her complete confidence, taming her.  After that, she wouldn’t let anyone but Ken ride her.  He named this horse Flicka—Swedish for “little girl.”  The idea for the name came at the suggestion of Gus Broeberg, the family’s Swedish-American ranch hand.


The McLaughlins become intertwined into many interesting situations with their neighbors, with many intriguing strangers, and with the unpredictability of nature.  Then, of course, there are the infernal “bad guys” who seem to have a habit of showing up at the worst times!  It seems like there are always some people who want to get by the easy way—at the expense of others.  In some episodes, the McLaughlins would visit their local town, Coolee Springs, but often trouble would find them right at home on the Goose Bar Ranch.    

Nell and Rob
Anita Louise and Gene Evans

Well, Ken’s wonderful and brave horse Flicka gets him out of a lot of scrapes during the series—and he helps her out of many as well.  Throughout all of the different episodes of My Friend Flicka, Ken, his family, and Flicka get in and out of a lot of exciting adventures together.   Rob McLaughlin is of Scottish ancestry and is a former Army officer.  Perhaps these facets are what make him a pretty authoritative father.  Some think that he’s a little too stern on Ken at times, but back in those days children—especially boys—had to be taught to develop a lot of self-discipline and strength (both physical strength and inner strength) in order to survive the hard life in store for them as an adult.

The McLaughlins
Anita, Gene and Johnny take a break in costume during filming


McLaughlin Family Album

The McLaughlin Family
Ken, Nell, Rob and Gus on the front porch of the ranch house


Gus and Rob
Gus and Rob in the living room, discussing some ranch issues


Ken McLaughlin
Ken having lunch at the kitchen table


Rob and Nell
Rob and Nell talk about a situation on the ranch


Nell welcomes Rob and Ken back from a ride


Ken with Flicka
Ken smiles after reading his letter from President Teddy Roosevelt to Flicka


Nell with Ken
Nell gives some advice to Ken


Ken with Flicka
Ken with his best friend in the world


Ken with Flicka
Another photograph of Ken with Flicka


Ken with Gus
Ken with ranch hand Gus Broeberg



Gus and Rob
Gus and Rob at the horse corral


Ken and Hildy
Ken and Hildy watch Flicka romp


Flicka wearing her silver saddle at the corral


Another photograph of Flicka by the ranch’s corral


Ken with Flicka
This photograph doesn’t even need a caption, does it?


Ken catches a ride with father Rob


Ken, Gus, Nell and Rob at the corral


Rob and Gus in the ranch barn


Ken talks to his dad and Gus


Ken with Flicka


The main street in Coulee Springs
The main street in Coulee Springs


Gus and Ken
Gus and Ken talk in town as Ken leads Flicka


Gus and Ken talk in Coulee Springs
Gus and Ken talk in Coulee Springs


Family Album

Double Horsehoes


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