The Discovery Channel has been developing its first scripted project, in the form of a hearty miniseries titled Klondike and based upon Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich In The Klondike. This week the upcoming series adds actor Sam Shepard to it’s cast.

The actor who played Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff in 1983 also happens to be quite the author, playwright and screenwriter. Among his accolades are a Pulitzer Prize win for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. In Klondike, Shepard will be replacing another great actor, Mr. Chris Cooper. Cooper pulled out of filming just last to “attend to a personal matter” reported Deadline. I think if you can’t have Cooper, Shepard is a terrific second choice. Both men bring grit to their parts. The role is for “Father Judge”, a man who journeys to the Klondike hoping to save souls. Like any new frontier, you can bet the area will see its share of lost ways, sins and crime, especially with that golden carrot of wealth looming over the heads of gold seekers. Father Judge’s motive is also to make amends for his own violent past.

We previously reported that actors Richard Madden, also known as Robb Stark on Game Of Thrones, and Augustus Prew of Charlie St. Cloud were cast as leads. Don’t worry about how this will affect the ever popular HBO fantasy series, Klondike is a miniseries. Abbie Cornish, Ian Hart, Johnny Simmons and Conor Leslie will also appear.

In addition to an atoning man of the cloth, other characters include Cornish’s Belinda, who practically owns and runs the town called Dawson City. There are gold seekers of course and there’s a writer hanging out by the name of Jack London. Imagine that.