Showdown with Rance McGrew

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"Showdown with Rance McGrew"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 85
Directed by Christian Nyby
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Stock
Production code 4812
Original air date February 2, 1962
Guest actors

Larry Blyden: Rance McGrew
Arch Johnson: Jesse James
Robert Cornthwaite: Director
Robert Kline: T.V. Jesse James
William McLean: Property Man
Troy Melton: Cowboy #1
Jay Overholts: Cowboy #2
Robert J. Stevenson: T.V. Bartender
Hal K. Dawson: Old Man
Jim Turley: T.V. Double for Rance
Robert McCord: Man in Saloon (uncredited)
Alvy Moore: Man on stool (uncredited)
Chalky Williams: Man in Saloon (uncredited)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Hunt"
Next →
"Kick the Can"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Showdown With Rance McGrew" is episode 85 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Mr Serling's Opening Narration[edit]


TV cowboy star Rance McGrew is ready to shoot a scene—in which Jesse James shoots him in the back. As the scene starts shooting, he says, "I guess you know that I know that Jesse James is on his way here looking for me....There's something else I know that you don't know. That you don't know that I know that you know Jesse James." He goes on to say he will be right there waiting for him.

The movie Jesse enters and says his lines. A fight ensues in which Rance keeps calling for a stuntman every time the action gets the least difficult. The man playing Jesse says shooting Rance in the back is not how Jesse would have done it, but Rance insists on the scene playing that way. Suddenly, Rance finds himself in a real Old West saloon. The real Jesse James walks in and confronts Rance, saying, "So you don't shoot, you don't ride, and you don't fight. You just strut around wearing a phony badge goin' through the motions of killin' fellows like me." He continues to criticize Rance and explains that he, Billy the Kid, and other famous outlaws are not pleased with the way that they are portrayed on McGrew's show.

James then challenges Rance, who has never shot a gun in his life, to a showdown, with no stuntman, just Rance and Jesse. Rance attempts to flee, but James corners him. Rance drops to his knees, pleading. He says that he will do anything if James will only spare him. James accepts ("We may be stiffs up there...but we're sensitive."). Rance finds himself back on the set, and his agent is announced. The agent turns out to be Jesse James himself, in Hollywood garb (wearing a beret and a loud sport shirt), come to ensure that outlaws get their due, beginning with the TV bad guy throwing Rance out the saloon window.

Mr. Serling's Closing Narration[edit]


The real Jesse James was in fact left-handed whereas in this episode he is shown to draw and hold his gun with his right hand.


  • Amory, C. (1966, January 15-21). Review: The Loner. TV Guide, p. 2
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0


Zicree, Marc Scott. The Twilight Zone Companion, Bantam Books, 1982. ISBN 0-553-01416-1

External links[edit]