The most classic western tv shows.
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A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. The story revolves around a futuristic theme park staffed by robots that help guests live out their fantasies. The park breaks down, however, and two guests taking a Wild West adventure find themselves stalked by a gun-slinging android.
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. When aired in the UK, the television series was retitled Gun Law.
The radio version ran from 1952 to 1961, and John Dunning writes that among radio drama enthusiasts "Gunsmoke is routinely placed among the best shows of any kind and any time." The television version ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and was the United States' longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes. In 2010, Law & Order tied this record of 20 seasons. At the end of its run in 1975, Los Angeles Times columnist Cecil Smith wrote "Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey, created from standard elements of the dime novel and the pulp western as romanticized by Buntline, Harte, and Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Based on the IDW Comic, 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rawhide is an American Western series starring Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood that aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes. The series was produced and sometimes directed by Charles Marquis Warren, who also produced early episodes of Gunsmoke.
Spanning seven and a half years, Rawhide was the fifth-longest-running American television Western, exceeded only by eight years of Wagon Train, nine years of The Virginian, fourteen years of Bonanza, and twenty years of Gunsmoke.
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.
Lawman is an American western television series originally telecast on ABC from 1958 to 1962 starring John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop and featuring Peter Brown as Deputy Marshal Johnny McKay. The series was set in Laramie, Wyoming during 1879 and the 1880s. Warner Bros. already had several western series on the air at the time, having launched Cheyenne with Clint Walker as early as 1955. The studio continued the trend in 1957 with the additions of Maverick with James Garner and Jack Kelly, Colt .45 with Wayde Preston, and Sugarfoot with Will Hutchins. One year later, Warner Bros. added Lawman and Bronco with Ty Hardin.
Prior to the beginning of production, Russell and Brown and producer Jules Schermer made a pact to maintain the quality of the series so that it would not be seen as "just another western." At the start of season two, Russell and Brown were joined by Peggie Castle as Lily Merrill, the owner of the Birdcage Saloon, and a love interest for Dan.
Riverboat is a 44-episode western television series starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds broadcast on the NBC television network from September 13, 1959 until January 2, 1961. It was produced by Revue Studios.
The Young Riders was an American Western television series created by Ed Spielman that presents a fictionalized account of a group of young Pony Express riders based at the Sweetwater Station in the Nebraska Territory during the years leading up to the American Civil War. The series premiered on ABC on September 20, 1989 and ran for three seasons until the final episode aired on July 23, 1992.
Bronco is a Western series on ABC from 1958 through 1962. It was shown by the BBC in the United Kingdom. The program starred Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne, a former Confederate officer who wandered the Old West, meeting such well-known individuals as Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Theodore Roosevelt, Belle Starr, Cole Younger, and John Wesley Hardin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tombstone Territory is an American Western series starring Pat Conway and Richard Eastham. The series' first two seasons aired on ABC from 1957 to 1959. The third and final season aired in syndication from 1959 until 1960.
The Gene Autry Show is an American western/cowboy television series which aired for 91 episodes on CBS from July 23, 1950 until August 7, 1956, originally sponsored by Wrigley's Doublemint chewing gum.
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.
Bat Masterson is an American Western television series which showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy Bat Masterson. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961. The series was produced by Ziv Television Productions, the company responsible for such hit series as Sea Hunt and Highway Patrol.
A 10-hour event series that details the Texas Revolution and the rise of the Texas Rangers.
In 1836, west of the Mississippi was considered the Wild West and the Texas frontier was viewed as hell on earth. Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes—no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna. The heroic General Sam Houston, the rag tag Rangers and the legendary “Yellow Rose of Texas” lead this story of the human will to win against insurmountable odds. At the end, the Texas flags stood tall and victorious, claiming a piece of history for all eternity.
Lancer is an American Western series that aired on CBS from September 1968, to May 1970. The series stars Andrew Duggan, James Stacy, and Wayne Maunder as a father with two half-brother sons, an arrangement similar to the more successful Bonanza on NBC.
Outlaws is an NBC Western television series, starring Barton MacLane as U.S. marshal Frank Caine, who operated in a lawless section of Oklahoma Territory about Stillwater. The program aired 50 one-hour episodes from September 29, 1960, to May 10, 1962. The first season was shot in black-and-white, the second in color. Co-starring with MacLane in the 1960–1961 season was Don Collier as deputy marshal Will Foreman. In the second season, MacLane left the program, and Collier was promoted to full marshal, with Bruce Yarnell joining the cast as deputy marshal Chalk Breeson. Jock Gaynor appeared in the first season as deputy Heck Martin, the on-screen nephew of Will Foreman. Slim Pickens appeared as "Slim" in the second season. Judy Lewis also appeared the second season as Connie Masters, an employee of the Wells Fargo office in Stillwater.
The dog who appeared in Walt Disney's Old Yeller was also cast in The Outlaws.
Others who appeared on the program on at least three occasions were Vic Morrow, Cliff Robertson, Pippa Scott, and Harry Townes. In addition, John Anderson, Edgar Buchanan, Jackie Coogan, Bruce Gordon, Robert Harland, Robert Lansing Cloris Leachman, Robert Karnes, Brian Keith, Larry Pennell, Chris Robinson, William Shatner, Ray Walston, Jack Warden, and David Wayne each appeared twice in the series.
Laredo is an American Western television series that aired on NBC from September 16, 1965, to April 7, 1967. Laredo stars Neville Brand, William Smith, Peter Brown, and Philip Carey as Texas Rangers. It is set on the Mexican border about Laredo, Texas. The program was produced by Universal Television.
The pilot episode of Laredo aired on NBC's The Virginian under the title, "We've Lost a Train". It was released theatrically in 1969 under the title Backtrack. Three episodes from the first season of the series were edited into the 1968 feature film Three Guns for Texas.
Alias Smith and Jones is an American Western series that originally aired on ABC from 1971 to 1973. It stars Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Jedediah "Kid" Curry, a pair of cousin outlaws trying to reform. The governor offers them a conditional amnesty, as he wants to keep the pact under wraps for political reasons. The condition is that they will still be wanted— until the governor can claim they have reformed and warrant clemency.