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Popular Western TV Shows
A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.
Follow the violent world of the Dutton family, who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. Led by their patriarch John Dutton, the family defends their property against constant attack by land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park.
Have Gun – Will Travel
Have Gun – Will Travel is an American Western television series that aired on CBS from 1957 through 1963. It was rated number three or number four in the Nielsen ratings every year of its first four seasons. It was one of the few television shows to spawn a successful radio version. The radio series debuted November 23, 1958. The television show is presently shown on the Encore-Western channel. Have Gun – Will Travel was created by Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow and produced by Frank Pierson, Don Ingalls, Robert Sparks, and Julian Claman. There were 225 episodes of the TV series, 24 written by Gene Roddenberry. Other contributors included Bruce Geller, Harry Julian Fink, Don Brinkley and Irving Wallace. Andrew McLaglen directed 101 episodes and 19 were directed by series star Richard Boone.
Based on the graphic novel, _Wynonna Earp_ follows Wyatt Earp's great granddaughter as she battles demons and other creatures. With her unique abilities, and a posse of dysfunctional allies, she's the only thing that can bring the paranormal to justice.
Maverick is an American Western television series with comedic overtones created by Roy Huggins. The show ran from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 on ABC and stars James Garner as Bret Maverick, an adroitly articulate cardsharp. Eight episodes into the first season, he was joined by Jack Kelly as his brother Bart, and from that point on, Garner and Kelly alternated leads from week to week, sometimes teaming up for the occasional two-brother episode. The Mavericks were poker players from Texas who traveled all over the American Old West and on Mississippi riverboats, constantly getting into and out of life-threatening trouble of one sort or another, usually involving money, women, or both. They would typically find themselves weighing a financial windfall against a moral dilemma. More often than not, their consciences trumped their wallets since both Mavericks were intensely ethical. When Garner left the series after the third season due to a legal dispute, Roger Moore was added to the cast as their cousin Beau Maverick. Robert Colbert appeared later in the fourth season as a third Maverick brother, Brent Maverick. No more than two of the series leads ever appeared together in the same episode, and usually only one.
Longmire is a crime drama television series that is based on the "Walt Longmire" series of mystery novels written by best-selling author Craig Johnson. The show centers around Walt Longmire, a Wyoming county sheriff who returns to work after his wife's death. Assisted by his friends and his daughter, Longmire investigates major crimes within his jurisdiction, whilst campaigning for re-election.
Hell on Wheels
Hell on Wheels tells the epic story of post-Civil War America, focusing on Cullen Bohannon, a Confederate soldier who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who killed his wife. His journey takes him west to Hell on Wheels, a dangerous, raucous, lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, an engineering feat unprecedented for its time.
Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama television series, starring Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Karen Grassle, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s. The show is an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's best-selling series of Little House books. Television producer and NBC executive Ed Friendly became aware of the story in the early 1970s. He asked Michael Landon to direct the pilot movie, who agreed on the condition that he could also play Charles Ingalls. The regular series was preceded by the two-hour pilot movie, which first aired on March 30, 1974. The series began on the NBC network on September 11, 1974, and ended on May 10, 1982. During the 1982–83 television season, with the departure of Michael Landon and Karen Grassle, the series was broadcast with the new title Little House: A New Beginning. In 1997, TV Guide ranked the two-part episode "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away" #97 on its 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
Wanted: Dead or Alive
Wanted: Dead or Alive is an American Western television series starring Steve McQueen as the bounty hunter Josh Randall. It aired on CBS for three seasons from 1958–61. The black-and-white program was a spin-off of a March 1958 episode of Trackdown, a 1957–59 western series starring Robert Culp. Both series were produced by Four Star Television in association with CBS Television. The series launched McQueen into becoming the first television star to cross over into comparable status on the big screen.
A ruthless outlaw terrorizes the West in search of a former member of his gang, who’s found a new life in a quiet town populated only by women.
Firefly is set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new star system and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a "Firefly-class" spaceship. The ensemble cast portrays the nine characters who live on Serenity.
Cheyenne is an American western television series of 108 black-and-white episodes broadcast on ABC from 1955 to 1963. The show was the first hour-long western, and in fact the first hour-long dramatic series of any kind, with continuing characters, to last more than one season. It was also the first series to be made by a major Hollywood film studio which did not derive from its established film properties, and the first of a long chain of Warner Brothers original series produced by William T. Orr.
The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1880s in the town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. The show was filmed in black-and-white, half-hour episodes. "The Rifleman" aired on ABC from September 30, 1958 to April 8, 1963 as a production of Four Star Television. It was one of the first prime time series to have a widowed parent raise a child.
Deadwood is the story of the early days of Deadwood, South Dakota; woven around actual historic events with most of the main characters based on real people. Deadwood starts as a gold mining camp and gradually turns from a lawless wild-west community into an organized wild-west civilized town. The story focuses on the real-life characters Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen.
Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre, sometimes simply called Zane Grey Theatre, is an American Western anthology series which ran on CBS from 1956 to 1961.
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. The central character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad on radio and James Arness on television.
Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959 to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series, and the fourth longest running episodic series in U.S broadcast history: Gunsmoke, The Simpsons, Law and Order, Bonanza, Ozzie and Harriet. It continues to air in syndication. The show centers around the Cartwright family, who live in the area of Virginia City, Nevada, bordering Lake Tahoe. The series stars Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, and later, David Canary. The title "Bonanza" is a term used by miners in regard to a large vein or deposit of ore, and commonly refers to The Comstock Lode. In 2002, Bonanza was ranked No. 43 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, and in 2013 TV Guide included it in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time. The time period for the television series is roughly between 1861 to 1867 during and shortly after the American Civil War. During the summer of 1972, NBC aired reruns of episodes from the 1967-1970 period in prime time on Sunday evening under the title Ponderosa.
The Big Valley
The Big Valley is an American western television series which ran on ABC from September 15, 1965, to May 19, 1969. The show stars Barbara Stanwyck, as the widow of a wealthy nineteenth century California rancher. It was created by A.I. Bezzerides and Louis F. Edelman, and produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven for Four Star Television.
The Virginian is an American Western television series starring James Drury and Doug McClure, which aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. It was a spin-off from a 1958 summer series called Decision. Filmed in color, The Virginian became television's first 90-minute western series. Immensely successful, it ran for nine seasons—television's third longest running western. It follows Bonanza at fourteen seasons and 430 episodes, and Gunsmoke at twenty seasons and 635 episodes.
Lonesome Dove is a Western television miniseries based on Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, Lonesome Dove was originally broadcast by CBS on February 5, 1989, drawing a huge viewing audience, earning numerous awards, and reviving both the television western and the miniseries. An estimated 26,000,000 homes tuned in to watch Lonesome Dove, unusually high numbers for a Western at that time. The western genre was considered dead by most people, as was the miniseries. By the show's end, it had earned huge ratings and virtually revamped the entire 1989–1990 television season. A favorite with audiences, as well as critics, Lonesome Dove garnered many honors and awards. At the 1989 Emmy Awards, the miniseries had 18 nominations and seven wins, including one for director Simon Wincer. Another miniseries of significantly lower TV ratings and less critical acclaim, War and Remembrance, won the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries. Yet, Lonesome Dove found success later, when it won two Golden Globes, for Best Miniseries and Best Actor in a Miniseries. The film was deemed Program of the Year by the National Television Critics Association, as well as Outstanding Dramatic Achievement. It received the D.W. Griffith Award for Best Television Miniseries, and CBS was presented with a Peabody Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. In a 2003 TRIO Network Special, TRIO ranked Lonesome Dove third in a list of ten outstanding miniseries, beginning from the time the format was created.
The Wild Wild West
The Wild Wild West is an American television series that ran on CBS for four seasons from September 17, 1965 to April 4, 1969. Two television movies were made with the original cast in 1979 and 1980, and the series was adapted for a motion picture in 1999. Developed at a time when the television western was losing ground to the spy genre, this show was conceived by its creator, Michael Garrison, as "James Bond on horseback." Set during the administration of President Ulysses Grant, the series followed Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon as they solved crimes, protected the President, and foiled the plans of megalomaniacal villains to take over all or part of the United States. The show also featured a number of fantasy elements, such as the technologically advanced devices used by the agents and their adversaries. The combination of the Victorian era time-frame and the use of Verne-esque style technology have inspired some to give the show credit for the origins of the steam punk subculture. These elements were accentuated even more in the 1999 movie adaptation. Despite high ratings, the series was cancelled near the end of its fourth season as a concession to Congress over television violence.
Trigun revolves around a man known as "Vash the Stampede" and two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees, Meryll and Milley, who follow him around in order to minimize the damages inevitably caused by his appearance. Most of the damage attributed to Vash is actually caused by bounty hunters in pursuit of the sixty billion double dollars bounty on Vash's head for the destruction of the city of July. However, he cannot remember the incident due to retrograde amnesia, being able to recall only fragments of the destroyed city and memories of his childhood past. Throughout his travels, Vash tries to save lives using non-lethal force. He is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who, like Vash, is a superb gunfighter with a mysterious past. As the series progresses, more about Vash's past and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke is revealed.
Laramie is an American Western television series that aired on NBC from 1959 to 1963. A Revue Studios production, the program originally starred John Smith as Slim Sherman, Robert Fuller as Jess Harper, Hoagy Carmichael as Jonesy and Robert L. Crawford, Jr., as Andy Sherman.
Seth Davenport is masquerading as a small town Iowa preacher in the hopes of starting a full-blown insurrection against the status quo, unaware that an industrialist tycoon has hired a professional strikebreaker to stop the uprising by any means necessary. An epic saga of the secret history of the 1930’s American heartland, chronicling the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden, God and greed, charlatans, and prophets.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is an American Western drama series created by Beth Sullivan and starring Jane Seymour who plays Dr. Michaela "Mike" Quinn, a physician who leaves Boston in search of adventure in the American West and who settles in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The television series ran on CBS for six seasons, from January 1, 1993 to May 16, 1998. In total, 150 episodes were produced, plus two television movies which were made after the series was cancelled. It aired in over 100 countries. Since 1997, reruns have been shown in syndication and on ABC Family, Ion Television, the Hallmark Channel, gmc, Eleven, CBS Drama and INSP.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., often referred to as just Brisco or Brisco County, is an American Western/science fiction television series created by Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse. It ran for 27 episodes on the Fox network starting in the 1993–94 season. Set in the American West of 1893, the series follows its title character, a Harvard-educated lawyer-turned-bounty hunter hired by a group of wealthy industrialists to track and capture outlaw John Bly and his gang. Bruce Campbell plays Brisco, who is joined by a colorful group of supporting characters, including Julius Carry as fellow bounty hunter Lord Bowler and Christian Clemenson as stick-in-the-mud lawyer Socrates Poole. While ostensibly a Western, the series routinely includes elements of the science fiction and steampunk genres. Humor is a large part of the show; the writers attempted to keep the jokes and situations "just under over-the-top". A large number of episodes involve the Orb, a powerful device from the future. John Astin plays Professor Wickwire, an inventor who assists Brisco with anachronistic technology including diving suits, motorcycles, rockets, and airships. The search for new technology and progressive ideas, what the writers of the show called "The Coming Thing", is a central theme throughout the series.
Zorro is an American action-adventure drama series produced by Walt Disney Productions. Based on the well-known Zorro character, the series premiered on October 10, 1957 on ABC. The final network broadcast was July 2, 1959. Seventy-eight episodes were produced, and 4 hour-long specials were aired on the Walt Disney anthology series between October 30, 1960 and April 2, 1961.
The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok is an American Western television series which ran for eight seasons from 1951 through 1958. The Screen Gems series began in syndication, but ran on CBS from 1955 through 1958, and, at the same time, on ABC from 1957 through 1958.
American Heroes Channel's new series Gunslingers reveals the infamous tales of survival and courage from the Wild West. Exposing little-known facts about America’s first villains and heroes, the six-part series features the stories of Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, John Wesley Hardin and Tom Horn. Juxtaposed with vivid reenactments, expert commentary is layered throughout each episode to ensure the authenticity and historical accuracy of each story. Contributors include: David Milch, the creator of Deadwood; Bob Boze Bell, the executive editor of True West Magazine; and actor Kurt Russell (Tombstone).
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp is a western television series loosely based on the life of frontier marshal Wyatt Earp. The half-hour black-and-white program aired for 229 episodes on ABC from 1955 to 1961 and featured Hugh O'Brian in the title role.
The Man from Snowy River
The Man from Snowy River is an Australian television series based on Banjo Paterson's poem "The Man from Snowy River". Released in Australia as Banjo Paterson's The Man from Snowy River, the series was subsequently released in both the United States and the United Kingdom as Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. The television series has no relationship to the 1982 film The Man from Snowy River or the 1988 sequel The Man from Snowy River II. Instead, the series follows the adventures of Matt McGregor, a successful squatter, and his family. Matt is the hero immortalized in Banjo Paterson's poem "The Man from Snowy River", and the series is set 25 years after his famous ride. The first season was very much a soap opera with several story arcs, but the primary one concerns the arrival of Matt's American nephew, who's bent on revenge, certain Matt cheated his father out of the station Matt now owns. In subsequent seasons, there were shorter story-arcs, often featuring guest stars over a few episodes, and some episodes stood entirely on their own. Stars and guest stars of the series included notables and future notables Andrew Clarke, Guy Pearce, Josh Lucas, Victoria Tennant, Olivia Newton John, Tracy Nelson, Lee Horsley, Dean Stockwell, Chad Lowe, Jane Badler, Wendy Hughes, Hugh Jackman, and Frances O'Connor.
Centennial is a 12-episode American television miniseries that aired on NBC from October 1978 to February 1979. It was based on the novel of the same name by James A. Michener. The miniseries was produced by John Wilder. The miniseries follows the history of the area of the fictional town of Centennial, Colorado from the late 18th century to the 1970s. Its star-studded cast includes Michael Ansara, Raymond Burr, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Conrad, Barbara Carrera, Richard Crenna, Timothy Dalton, Sharon Gless, Andy Griffith, Mark Harmon, Gregory Harrison, David Janssen, Alex Karras, Brian Keith, Sally Kellerman, Stephen McHattie, Lois Nettleton, Donald Pleasence, Adrienne La Russa, Lynn Redgrave, Clive Revill, Robert Vaughn, Dennis Weaver, Anthony Zerbe, Stephanie Zimbalist, and numerous other well-known actors. The miniseries was one of the longest and most ambitious television projects ever attempted at the time. It had a then huge budget of US$25 million, employed four directors and five cinematographers, and featured over 100 speaking parts spanning 26 hours of television viewing time. Centennial was released on DVD on July 29, 2008.
Into the West
Into the West is a 2005 miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks, with six two-hour episodes. The series was first broadcast in the U.S. on Turner Network Television on six Fridays starting on 10 June 2005. It was also shown in the UK on BBC2 and BBC HD from 4 November 2006, and in Canada on CBC Television. The series also aired in the U.S. on AMC during the summer and fall of 2012. The miniseries begins in the 1820s and is told mainly through the third person narration of Jacob Wheeler and Loved By the Buffalo, although episodes outside the direct observation of both protagonists are also shown. The plot follows the story of two families, one white American, one Native American, as their lives become mingled through the momentous events of American expansion. The story intertwines real and fictional characters and events spanning the period of expansion of the United States in the American West, from 1825 to 1890. The show has a large cast, with about 250 speaking parts. The series features well known performers including Josh Brolin, Gary Busey, Michael Spears, Tonantzin Carmelo, Skeet Ulrich, Steve Reevis, Rachael Leigh Cook, Wes Studi, Irene Bedard, Alan Tudyk, Christian Kane, Russell Means, Jay Tavare, David Midthunder, Keri Russell, Graham Greene, Tom Berenger, Gil Birmingham, David Paymer, Raoul Trujillo, Eric Schweig, Lance Henriksen, Simon R. Baker, Tyler Christopher, Tatanka Means, Tokala Clifford, Gordon Tootoosis, Sheila Tousey, and Will Patton.
Yancy Derringer is an American Western series that ran on CBS from 1958 to 1959, with Jock Mahoney in the title role. The show was produced by Derringer Productions and filmed in Hollywood by Desilu Productions. Derringer Productions consisted of half interest for Warren Lewis and Don Sharpe as executive producers, and a quarter interest to Jock Mahoney for starring in the series, and a quarter interest to Richard Sale and Mary Loos, husband and wife, as creators. Desilu had just completed the 1956 series The Adventures of Jim Bowie which was also mostly set in New Orleans. The show's sponsor was Johnson Wax, now S. C. Johnson, and CLEAR floorwax was a regular sponsor. The Sales based the series on a 1938 short story that Richard Sale had written. In the 1930s, Sale was one of the highest paid pulp writers. Which story was never mentioned, but it was about a destitute aristocrat and troublemaker who returns to New Orleans three years after the Civil War. In the story, Derringer has no first name; "Yancy" was added for the TV series.
Dead Man's Gun
Dead Man's Gun was a western anthology series that ran on Showtime from 1997 to 1999. The series followed the travels of a gun as it passed to a new character in each episode. The gun would change the life of whomever possessed it. Each episode was narrated by Kris Kristofferson. The executive producer was Henry Winkler.
The High Chaparral
The High Chaparral is an American Western-themed television series starring Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell which aired on NBC from 1967 to 1971. The series, made by Xanadu Productions in association with NBC Productions, was created by David Dortort, who had previously created the hit Bonanza for the network. The theme song was also written and conducted by Bonanza scorer David Rose, who also scored the two-hour pilot.
The lives of two childhood best friends, Bill and Epstein, in the late 1890s as they flock to the gold rush capital in the untamed Yukon Territory. This man-versus-nature tale places our heroes in a land full of undiscovered wealth, but ravaged by harsh conditions, unpredictable weather and desperate, dangerous characters including greedy businessmen, seductive courtesans and native tribes witnessing the destruction of their people and land by opportunistic entrepreneurs.
The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger is an American western television series that ran from 1949 to 1957, starring Clayton Moore with Jay Silverheels as Tonto. The live-action series initially featured Gerald Mohr as the episode narrator. Fred Foy served as both narrator and announcer of the radio series from 1948 to its finish and became announcer of the television version when story narration was dropped there. This was by far the highest-rated television program on the ABC network in the early 1950s and its first true "hit".
Trackdown is an American Western television series starring Robert Culp that aired on CBS between 1957 and 1959. More than seventy episodes of this series were produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television and filmed at the Desilu-Culver Studio. The series was itself a spin-off of Powell's anthology series, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater.