The Rifleman TV Show
TV Show Details
|Original Air Dates||1958 - 1963|
|Key Cast||Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, |
Chuck Connors stars in “The Rifleman” as Lucas McCain – A man with a strong sense of morality and a rifle to back him up!
“The Rifleman” is an action-packed western series about a tough, stalwart widower named Lucas McCain (played by Chuck Connors) and his son, Mark McCain (played by Johnny Crawford.) Lucas packs a mean weapon – a Winchester rifle with a special feature that lets him fire six bullets within four-tenths of a second.
McCain is not a gunslinger. He never looks for trouble. He’s a local rancher with a strong sense of morality and even stronger desire to uphold the law and protect others. (It helps that he has the special rifle!)
McCain lives on the outskirts of a town named North Folk in New Mexico with his son Mark. He is a widower and struggling homesteader. His son Mark works with him on the ranch and always seems to learn something new about life from his father’s experiences.
The Old West town of North Folk gets its share of trouble. Outlaws, bullies, cattle rustlers and others of the same notorious ilk always seem to make their way into town. The town marshal, Micah Torrance (Paul Fix), can’t handle the problems by himself which is why he often depends on Lucas McCain to help save the day.
The bond between the father and son is one of the elements of this western that makes it special. Every episode of “The Rifleman” is full of rifle-action, but the gun-slinging always ends with a teachable moment for Lucas to share with his son Mark.
“The Rifleman” aired on television for five years from 1958 to 1963. During this time, it was one of the top-rated shows on television, becoming a favorite for western TV show fans.
• Chuck Connors was a professional athlete before he became an actor. He played basketball for the Boston Celtics as a center from 1946-1947. He also played professional baseball for a few years, primarily with farm teams. His crowning achievement in baseball was playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949. Chuck Connors began acting in 1952 after he was discovered by a casting director who was also a baseball fan. He played roles in a number of western television shows before finally being cast as the star of “The Rifleman” in 1958. After “The Rifleman,” Chuck Connors continued to have a successful and lengthy acting career on television and in film.
• Johnny Crawford, who played the son Mark McCain, was a child star who began acting at the age of eight years old. He had performed in a number of television programs, including westerns, before being cast in “The Rifleman.” One of Crawford’s most notable early TV roles was as a Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club.” After starring in “The Rifleman” Crawford continued to act on television, but also started a singing career.
• Movie director Sam Peckinpah wrote six of the episodes for “The Rifleman” including the very first episode named “The Sharpshooter.” Sam Peckinpah is famous for writing and directing these classic western movies: “Ride the High Country”, “The Wild Bunch” and “The Ballad of Cable Hogue.”
• The inspiration for “The Rifleman” television show came from a 1958 episode of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre. The episode was written by legendary western director Sam Peckinpah, starred Chuck Connors and was titled “The Sharpshooter.”
The Rifleman TV Show DVD
“The Rifleman” is a great, classic western TV show, but for some unfortunate reason, the program has not been released (in full) on DVD. You can, however, purchase this DVD which has three episodes from the show.
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