In the 1850s, a farmer named James Adams was accused of a crime he didn't commit. To escape sure injustice, he reluctantly left his young daughter, Peg in the care of his sister, and fled into the mountains. There, he rescued and cared for an abandoned grizzly bear cub who grew to become his own powerful adult companion named 'Ben.' In addition, Adams learned that he had an uncanny kinship with the wild animals of the region, who interacted with him without fear or aggression. Having realized this about himself, "Grizzly" Adams (played by Dan Haggerty) learned to survive in the wilderness with only two human neighbors; an old trader named 'Mad Jack' (played by Denver Pyle) and a Native American named Nakoma (played by Don Shanks.) However, while living there he also came to meet and sometimes help a variety of visitors. They were unused to the dangers of mountain wildlife, but they were always impressed with the way Adams adapted to his environment, and how he managed to create his own harmonious existence with nature. Unfortunately, as Adams protected the wildlife he grew to cherish from harm, he still needed to be watchful for bounty hunters, who were always looking to collect the price on his head.
During the show's successful run from 1977 to 1979, a variety of well known guest-stars appeared in different episodes. They included Slim Pickens, Ken Berry, Norman Fell, Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Russ Tamblyn, Keenan Wynn, Jack Elam, Walter Burke, Dan Galloway, Ronny Cox, Hank Kendrick, Gene Conforti, Edward Andrews, Jack Kruschen, James Wainwright, Charles Martin Smith, Royce Applegate, Ned Romero, Patrick Wayne, Roger Mosely, Tiffany Bolling, and Betty Ann Carr among them.