Rifleman, The


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

The Rifleman is an American Western television program that starred Chuck Connors as homesteader Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1880s in the fictitious town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. The show, filmed in black-and-white, ran on ABC, from September 30, 1958 to April 8, 1963, a production of Four Star Television. It was also the first series ever to have a widowed parent raise a child.

The black-and-white program starred former athlete Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, a widower, Union veteran of the Civil War (lieutenant in the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment), and a homesteader. McCain and his son Mark (singer Johnny Crawford) lived on a ranch outside the fictitious town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory.

The pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter", was originally telecast on CBS on Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater on March 7, 1958, and was repeated, in slightly edited form, as the first episode of the series on ABC. Regulars on the program included Marshal Micah Torrance (Paul Fix) (R. G. Armstrong was the original marshal for two episodes, the first and the fourth), Sweeney the bartender (Bill Quinn), and a half-dozen other denizens of North Fork (Hope Summers, Joan Taylor, Patricia Blair, John Harmon, and Harlan Warde were regulars). Fifty-one episodes of the series were directed by Joseph H. Lewis, the director of the classic film noir Gun Crazy (1950), which accounts for some of the show's virtuoso noir lighting and dark, brooding quality. Ida Lupino directed one episode, "The Assault". Connors wrote several episodes himself. Robert Culp of CBS's Trackdown, wrote one two-part episode.

The February 17, 1959, episode of The Rifleman proved to be a spin-off for an NBC series, Law of the Plainsman starring Michael Ansara in the role of Marshal Sam Buckhart. In the story called "The Indian", Buckhart came to North Fork to look for Indians suspected in the murder of a Texas Ranger and his family.

 

Created by Sam Peckinpah

Starring

Chuck Connors

Johnny Crawford

Paul Fix

Composer(s)

Herschel Burke Gilbert

Country of origin United States

Language(s) English

No. of seasons 5

No. of episodes 169

Production

Producer(s)

Arthur H. Nadel

Levy-Gardner-Laven

Production company(s)

Four Star-Sussex

Broadcast

Original channel ABC

Picture format Black-and-white

Audio format Monaural

Original run September 30, 1958 – April 8, 1963

More from Wikipedia...

Highlights
Arthur Gardner on his involvement in The Rifleman
08:57
Robert Culp on meeting and working with Sam Peckinpah (on The Westerner episode "Line Camp")
11:09
Who talked about this show

Robert Culp

View Interview
Robert Culp on meeting and working with Sam Peckinpah (on The Westerner episode "Line Camp")
11:09

Richard Donner

View Interview
Richard Donner on various episodic television shows he directed in the '70s
11:18

Arthur Gardner

View Interview
Arthur Gardner on his involvement in The Rifleman
08:57

Herschel Burke Gilbert

View Interview
Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for The Rifleman
04:11
Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for features produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on them going into television with The Rifleman
06:44

Arthur Hiller

View Interview
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman
03:52
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman starring Chuck Conners and Johnny Crawford
04:18

Lee Rich

View Interview
Lee Rich on packaging The Rifleman
00:50

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