The Loner

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For other uses, see The Loner (disambiguation).
The Loner
Lloyd Bridges The Loner 1965.JPG
Lloyd Bridges as William Colton, 1965.
Genre Western
Created by Rod Serling
Written by Ed Adamson
Les Crutchfield
Milton S. Gelman
Norman Katkov
Robert Lewin
Gerald Sanford
Rod Serling
Andy White
Directed by Leon Benson
James B. Clark
Tay Garnet
Norman Foster
Paul Henreid
Alex March
Allen H. Miner
Larry Peerce
Joseph Pevney
Allen Reisner
Don Taylor
Starring Lloyd Bridges
Theme music composer Jerry Goldsmith
Composer(s) Alexander Courage
Jerry Goldsmith
Nelson Riddle
Fred Steiner
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 26
Executive producer(s) William Dozier
Producer(s) Bruce Lansbury
Andy White
Running time 30 mins.
Production company(s) Greenway Productions, in association with Interlaken Productions and 20th Century Fox Television
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Original run September 18, 1965  – April 30, 1966

The Loner is an American western series that ran for less than one season on CBS from 1965 to 1966, under the alternate sponsorship of Philip Morris and Procter & Gamble.


The series was set in the years immediately following the American Civil War. Lloyd Bridges played the title character, William Colton, a former Union cavalry captain who headed to the American west in search of a new life. Each episode dealt with Colton's encounters with various individuals on his trek west.

Rod Serling was the series' creator. Longtime TV Guide critic Cleveland Amory wrote that Serling "obviously intended [The Loner] to be a realistic, adult Western," but the show's ratings indicated it was "either too real for a public grown used to the unreal Western or too adult for juvenile Easterners." Serling had expressed an open distaste for some of the television Westerns of the time in an editorial that set up the premise for "Showdown with Rance McGrew," an episode of The Twilight Zone in which a primadonna Western actor encounters the ghost of Jesse James; in that editorial, he is quoted as saying: "it seems a reasonable conjecture that if there are any television sets up in cowboy heaven and any of these rough-and-wooly nail-eaters could see with what careless abandon their names and exploits are being bandied about, they're very likely turning over in their graves - or worse, getting out of them."

The Loner aired Saturday nights at 9:30 Eastern. It debuted on September 18, 1965; the final episode aired March 12, 1966; selected repeats continued through April 30th.

Episode list[edit]

Episode # Episode title Original airdate
1-1 "An Echo of Bugles" (pilot) September 18, 1965
Colton stands-up for a Confederate veteran who is being taunted by a young man, leading to the young man challenging Colton to a duel. Colton reluctantly accepts the duel, but is deeply saddened by the possibility that he might kill the young man. Flash backs to Colton's time during the Civil War are shown which reveal some of the motives for Colton's behavior.
1-2 "The Vespers" September 25, 1965
Colton visits an old friend who once saved his life during the war. This man is now a minister and has renounced the use of violence. Colton tries to defend the minister and his family from a band of men who are coming to avenge an earlier killing by the minister. Guest starring Jack Lord.
1-3 "The Lonely Calico Queen" October 2, 1965
1-4 "The Kingdom of McComb" October 9, 1965
1-5 "One of the Wounded" October 16, 1965
1-6 "The Flight of the Arctic Tern" October 23, 1965
1-7 "Widow on the Evening Stage" October 30, 1965
Colton helps to collect the dead following a massacre of locals by Indians. One of the dead was someone he knew in the war and Colton befriends the man's father. Complications ensue when the dead man's wife arrives in town and is an Indian woman with an infant son. Colton tries to speed the Indian woman out of town as the locals are intent on killing Indians to avenge the massacre, but she has other ideas.
1-8 "The House Rules at Mrs. Wayne's" November 6, 1965
1-9 "The Sheriff of Fetterman's Crossing" November 13, 1965
1-10 "The Homecoming of Lemuel Stove" November 20, 1965
Brock Peters plays a black Union soldier returning home to see his father. The soldier makes it back to his hometown only to learn his father had been lynched the previous evening by members of a Klan-like group.
1-11 "Westward, the Shoemaker" November 27, 1965
1-12 "The Oath" December 4, 1965
Barry Sullivan plays a surgeon who lost the use of his right hand and had to give Colton verbal directions on how to remove a gunfighter's ruptured appendix.
1-13 "Hunt the Man Down" December 11, 1965
1-14 "Escort for a Dead Man" December 18, 1965
1-15 "The Ordeal of Bud Windom" December 25, 1965
1-16 "To the West of Eden" January 1, 1966
1-17 "Mantrap" January 8, 1966
1-18 "A Little Stroll to the End of the Line" January 15, 1966
1-19 "The Trial in Paradise" January 22, 1966
1-20 "A Question of Guilt" January 29, 1966
1-21 "The Mourners for Johnny Sharp" (part one) February 5, 1966
1-22 "The Mourners for Johnny Sharp" (part two) February 12, 1966
1-23 "Incident in the Middle of Nowhere" February 19, 1966
1-24 "Pick Me Another Time to Die" February 26, 1966
1-25 "The Burden of the Badge" March 5, 1966
1-26 "To Hang A Dead Man" March 12, 1966


  • Amory, C. (1966, January 15-21). Review: The Loner. TV Guide, p. 2
  • Brooks, T. & Marsh, E. (1979). The Complete Directory To Primetime Network TV Shows. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 357

External links[edit]