Talk:The Rifleman

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"did not lend themselves to violent solutions"? Huh?[edit]

I feel that this may be inaccurate. I distinctly recall McCain shooting Mark's cruel teacher 9 times in the face. I think there needs to be some fact checking if we are ever going to see this page reach "Bestest Article Ever" status.Drunkboxer 19:40, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Memory can prove inaccurate. As a lifelong student of The Rifleman, I have to say that this incident never took place. For the most part, Mark had sweet ladies for his teachers. One man, Mr. Grizzwald in "The Schoolmaster" displayed a cruel streak, but Lucas handled the conflict in his usual wise and measured way. He did not shoot any of Mark's school teachers, and he didn't shoot anyone, not the lowest outlaw, in such a manner. "The Schoolmaster" from Season 3 is available on the second volume of "The Rifleman" from MPI videos. Other episodes with significant roles for the school teacher, Miss Adams, include, "The Woman" (MPI Video, "The Rifleman" vol. 4) and "Three-legged Terror" (MPI Video,"The Rifleman" vol. 2). While adept with a Winchester, Lucas McCain's main aim in life was to make a good home for his son and a brighter future for the town of North Fork. He repeatedly expressed a hope for a time when guns would not be used to solve problems, and educated Mark to such an end. (talk) 18:27, 29 November 2007 (UTC)Mercy Rose McCain

McCain NEVER shot anyone 9 times, let alone in the face. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:30, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

But to the point, the show is good for kids, and my wife is a devoted fan with the popular reruns. We long for the days of 'white knight' values. -- Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 21:32, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

The Rifleman[edit]

How many episodes did the 'Rifleman' play each year?Kmacintyre 18:26, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

They aired as follows: Season One: 40 episodes Season Two: 36 episodes Season Three: 34 episodes Season Four: 32 episodes Season Five: 26 episodes

There were 168 episodes in all, with two of them, "The Wyoming Story" in Season Two, and "Waste" in Season Five being two-part espisodes.

(see "Television Chronicles, April, 1995) (talk) 18:54, 29 November 2007 (UTC)Mercy Rose McCain


1871 seems to be a significant year for this show. Everytime a year is mentioned, it's 1871. One episode shows it as the current year, one as a year that is 7 years prior, and another this is 10 years prior.

Could it be that it's the year that the Nation Rifle Association was granted its charter? :)

I don't know about the NRA charter, but actually, the most significant year for events in North Fork was 1881. This is the year that Lucas and Mark arrived and rebuilt the ranch house after it was burned to the ground by Oat Jackford's cowhands. The cornerstone on the house reads, "This home rebuilt by Lucas McCain and his son Mark. Aug, 1881. God bless our home." (see the two-part episode, "The Wyoming Story" MPI Video of "The Rifleman" vol. 2). That Mark was ten years old at that time ("Home Ranch" MPI, vol. 1) we may presume that 1871 was the year of his birth and thus of significance to McCains. The math in North Fork often doesn't quite add up as to when one event happened in relation to another. But we still love to travel there in time and imagination! (talk) 18:45, 29 November 2007 (UTC) Mercy Rose McCain

Actually, most of the time the show is set in the 1880s. OddibeKerfeld (talk) 20:16, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


How many years was it on TV for re-runs in USA and Canada if different?Befuddler (talk) 19:42, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

It's rerun to this day on the Encore Westerns channel. OddibeKerfeld (talk) 20:17, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


I know North Fork was in the New Mexico Territory (ficticious) But where was the Rifleman actually filmed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:07, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

imdb says:
  • 20th Century Fox Ranch, Malibu Creek State Park - 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, California, USA
  • CBS Studio Center - 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Iverson Ranch, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Janss Conejo Ranch, Thousand Oaks, California, USA
  • Paramount Ranch - 2813 Cornell Road, Agoura, California, USA
Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 18:14, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

current distributor[edit]

The Rifleman is currently distributed by PRO- The Peter Rodgerrs Organization, Hollywood Ca. and has sold the series to HUILU and RTN- Retro Television Network. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:35, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

The lead needs to be rewritten[edit]

The lead as it currently stands is awful to put it bluntly. Single parent, sensitive son, kill the bad guys on the ranch?! Please.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 17:07, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

putting values in context[edit]

Remarks/observations such as

"Although the rifle may have appeared in every episode, it was not always fired, as some plots did not lend themselves to violent solutions."


"There were several episodes where McCain dispatched the bad guys without the use of the rifle at all[,] and he once threw the rifle to knock his opponent off his horse instead of killing him because he was a friend."

make me squirm, for reasons that should be obvious, regardless of how one feels about the need to defend oneself and the right to own and carry weapons. But I'll explain them anyhow. If violence is bad, why didn't most of the episodes have resolutions that didn't require violence? (Tough to write, and not historically plausible, though.) And why is Lucas McCain willing to spare the life of "a friend", but not of someone he doesn't know? That's hardly "Christian".

I'm old enough to remember The Rifleman in its first run, but I wasn't a big fan of Westerns, nor did I find this one particularly interesting (other than the way Chuck Connors' hips and buttocks filled his trousers so well). I was prompted to visit this article because I just saw the end of a Rifleman episode (on RTV) in which McCain and three townsfolk kill four "baddies" in a "fair" gunfight (the baddies having fired first, from a distance at which they couldn't possibly have missed). What, exactly, was this show teaching the kiddies? Violence is bad, except when it's used to kill bad people? That there is no alternative to violence, if the writer can't think of one?

Your analysis of The Rifleman reminds me of what has been said about DeMille's Biblical epics -- sin is ultimately punished, but we see an awful lot of it before punishment is inflicted. I'm not a student of The Rifleman, but I get the feeling that the stories want to have it both ways -- "Kiddies, we're going to lecture you that violence is a bad thing -- but we're first going to titillate you with as much of it as the TV Code lets us get away with."

This article needs a deeper discussion of the show's "intent", and the way it handles violence. The history of the human race is, unfortunately, too much a history of violence, so it would be both stupid and pointless to retroactively condemn The Rifleman for not agreeing with current PC points of view. But it would be useful to see a broader and more-critical analysis of its moral Weltanschauung.

WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 16:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Lighten up, Francis. The show was created by Sam Peckinpah, who was know for his portrayal of violence in almost all of his films. Violence does exist, then and now, and sometimes must be met with violence. If you are worried about the kiddies just remember that the kids today are far more violent than the kids that grew up watching shows like The Rifleman.

So... if your life is in danger, just let the bad guys do what they do, because protecting yourself and others is just too violent - without someone willing to protect the non-violent people of the world, do you think all the bad folks would really just leave you be? The Rifleman is a portrayal of necessary action to insure a civil society - I can not imagine the evil corruption of a world that would not have people like the Rifleman willing to serve and protect. Some people just don't get it! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

"Lighten up" is always an excuse for blindly accepting something as it is, rather than subjecting to thoughtful analysis. The poster who refused to sign his name should note the last paragraph of my comments.
I've been watching the first-season episodes on Me TV (including the pilot, and the one in which McCain's house is burned down), and I'm impressed with the relative complexity of the characterizations. Lucas McCain is hardly the wise, patient father this article portrays him as. He has a short fuse, is sometimes needlessly cold and hard, and quick to condemn people (including his brother-in-law) on the basis of "I know what's right and wrong." His is a very tough love -- when Mark wants to comfort Micah, the boy is bluntly told "He has to handle this himself." McCain is torn between wanting his child to grow up as a strong male, while trying to shield him from the realities of life (particularly his curt dismissal of his son at those times when the latter wants to know what's really going on).
I'm also impressed with the perfect casting of Johnny Crawford. He's a believably cheery, upbeat child, without being the least bit "cute". Had Peckinpah remained with the series, we would probably have seen the influence of father and son on each other, with Mark hardening and Lucas softening a bit.
By modern standards, The Rifleman is unduly violent. In an episode with George Macready playing a deranged judge seeking revenge for the execution of his son, Macready kills two men (sort-of) on-camera, and threatens to hang Mark in front of Lucas. (Really.) It also has a scene of homoerotic masochism, with the shirtless McCain tied to a wagon wheel. (It's remarkable how often the tall and fairly muscular Lucas is beaten or cold-cocked by smaller men. It's also remarkable how often he takes off his shirt. 19th-century men did not commonly expose more than their bare arms in public (qv, "farmer's tan"). This episode is rated TV-G by Me TV. Surprised?
The Rifleman is certainly one of the significant TV Westerns, and deserves careful study. WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 14:36, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

It was common for male actors to take off their shirts then for the same reason it's common today....providing eye candy for the ladies & drawing in more of the female viewing audience. (There were some mighty handsome & fit men starring in Westerns...I wanted to marry Jess Harper from Laramie when I was 3.) No historical show is ever totally accurate & I'm shocked when one comes even close to accuracy. Writers take remarkable liberties when penning historical plots.
I saw a fairly recent interview with Robert Fuller (Jess Harper, Laramie; Cooper Smith, Wagon Train; Dr Kelly Brackett, Emergency!) in which he discussed the decline of the Western TV show genre. He said that in 1960, *the PTA* (Parent-Teacher Association) began a *what about the children?* crusade (so that's nothing new) regarding the amount of violence portrayed on TV & on Westerns specifically. He said they got Senator Ted Kennedy involved, & new TV standards were enacted, resulting in less violence on TV shows. Fuller said that the 1st season of Laramie is therefore more violent than the rest, because starting with the 1960-61 season, the number of fistfights & shootings had to be lessened, & he insists it led to the decline of the Western genre. I've been watching reruns of Laramie on Grit TV, & every episode starts with the *PG SLV* rating box (at which I have to laugh, as Jess's *dadgummits* are hardly bad language).
As a very young child (literally a toddler) my 2 fav TV shows were The Rifleman & Laramie. I had my Rifleman tray puzzle & my *six-shooter* cap gun & cowgirl hat that came out for every episode. There were a ton of Westerns on in the 50s & 60s & baby boomer kids grew up watching them. They were exciting adventures shows for us. We weren't *special snowflakes* back then who required protection from TV. We knew it wasn't real. The stuff that's on TV nowadays has a lot more disturbing situations, bad language, & violence then there ever was on Westerns, so it seems ironic that TV staples like Westerns lost traction & went away due to excess violence. Modern TV *morality* is nothing to write home about. ScarletRibbons (talk) 01:13, 29 July 2016 (UTC)


I have put POV-statement citations in one paragraph, because it sounds more like a review of the series than an objective report on its history. AlbertSM (talk) 15:47, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Not a review. More of an analysis of the social aspect of the writing of the show, similar to citing examples of the way Star Trek wove social issues into their scripts. Noting the way a show handles social issues is not an example of bias unless the text is written in such a way as to indicate approval or disapproval of the way those issues were handled. I don't see that happening here with the exception of the "color-blind" comment. Blackfyr (talk) 07:54, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

The paragraph in question was deleted. However, the social aspects of The Rifleman series are a significant part of what makes it notable. We need to reinstate an appropriately phrased paragraph on the treatment of social issues in the series. Here is what was deleted:
The various episodes of The Rifleman promote fair play, neighborliness, equal rights, and the need to use violence in a highly controlled manner ("A man doesn't run from a fight, Mark," McCain tells his son, "But that doesn't mean you go looking to run TO one!"). [neutrality is disputed]Thus the program's villains tend to cheat, to refuse help to those down on their luck, to be bigots, and to see violence as a first resort rather than the last option.[neutrality is disputed]When the people of North Fork meet blacks, they react without visible prejudice. In "The Most Amazing Man", a black man (played by Sammy Davis, Jr.) checks into the only hotel in town; for the entire show, no one reacts to his race. Not only is this atypical for the 1880s setting, it was radical for Hollywood of the early 1960s. While the message was clear, it was neither heavy-handed nor universal. [neutrality is disputed]Yet a certain amount of xenophobia drifts around North Fork, once forcing McCain to defend the right of a Chinese immigrant to open a laundry ("The Queue") and later, the right of an Argentine family to buy a ranch ("The Gaucho"). [neutrality is disputed]
Ronald Joe Record (talk) 18:58, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I love that Sammy Davis on the cover of this website! I can't agree that prejudice was rampant after watching that episode. Times were different then. Sammy was a pioneer. -- (talk) 01:46, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Cast section: too loose (POV) and unsourced[edit]

The Cast section has a lot of info that is POV. (It also lacks inline sourcing). For example, Mark's section (Johnny Crawford) talks about Child Protective Services and whatnot...Mica's (Fix) section describes him as "laughable" at times....there is other loose info that seems to reflect the POV of the author of that section. Some of the author's statements are true I believe, but we need to stick to facts (ex: Mica did use a shotgun) or sourced material about the show...Engr105th (talk) 05:52, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Made an attempt at cleaning this section (by deleting POV, and changing some verbiage. I did NOT add anything materially new. Anyone who does, or reverts, please source your info)...By the way, is the Synopsis section necessary? That info is very similar in type to the History sect...I believe what this article needs is Introduction, Plot, The Rifle (admittedly significant to the show), Cast (but collapse the guest star list into a separate article; it is far too long and possibly trivial), Production History, Ratings, and Releases. The intent is to keep info separated and non-repetitious. Engr105th (talk) 12:01, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
If you're talking about the section titled "Cast", it shouldn't be so detailed. It should only say, for example:
  • Chuck Connors portrayed Lucas McCain, a rancher, an American Civil War veteran (Union Army), and widowed father.
  • Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain.
  • Paul Fix as Micah Torrance, marshal of the North Fork area and town.
Details belong in another section. "Recurring cast" is really the only other listing that should matter. You don't see "Guest stars" listed in other shows, so they shouldn't be here or of that length.

Removed the extraneous verbiage from the section (did not move it else where). I think the characters' actions are described enough in the article. As for the Guest Cast list, I columned it for now, but agree that a possible List article should be made and this moved there. Can't do it at the moment, as I am working on formatting the Episode List article. — WylieCoyote (talk) 15:46, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

(ADDENDUM: I shrank the Guests to a paragraph of mentionables and sourced. I also "hid" the list of all guests, as they will be needed for the List.) WylieCoyote (talk) 16:41, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

How many shots?[edit]

The article says "McCain fires twelve shots from this 11-round rifle during the opening credits. [...] The soundtrack contained a dubbed-in thirteenth shot to allow the firing to time out with a section of the theme music."

However, the source referenced for this information ("The Legendary Rifle: A Closer Look") says: "The program would open with Chuck rapid-firing eleven shots as he walked down the street of North Fork. Actually, he only fired ten shots; the eleventh had to be dubbed in to time out with the music."

So... which is it? Twelve or ten? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:23, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

ANSWER: Yes, twelve or thirteen. "The 1892 Winchester in .44/.40 caliber used on the show only holds eleven bullets. The audio track was dubbed over the video track. They are not entirely in sync. You may hear 12 or 13 shots fired in the audio portion, and you may watch him pull the lever back on the rifle a different number of times." [1] -- Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 21:55, 26 June 2014 (UTC) PS: Is it implied that it may have been different, over time (twelve one year, thirteen the next.)?

We just watched a 1961 episode (opening scene includes a quote, "knight in shining armor" when McCain stands up for the Chinaman) and we counted 12 shots with an echo. Hope this helps! FYI, Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 22:23, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Connors, the Athlete section[edit]

Nothing in this section pertains to the TV show "The Rifleman"...This info belongs under Chuck Connors' bio...this should be moved to his bio or deleted...Engr105th (talk) 01:26, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I removed it. It was trivia at best, as it barely mentioned a few teammates of his were series guest stars, and enough of those are already listed. Thanks for the heads-up! — WylieCoyote (talk) 15:24, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The Rifleman's Rifle [sic] has had a notability tag since 2009. Since I agree that it doesn't merit a stand-alone article, I think it should be merged into this one. Miniapolis (talk) 21:00, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Support. Half of the article is in a section on the main page anyway. — WylieCoyote (talk) 21:17, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Support clear choice to me. All of the "references" are actually links to ads for a specific persons services as a trick shooter. --Daniel 17:56, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Lucas McCain Civil War Service[edit]

I noticed this article refers to Lucas McCain as serving in the 11th Indiana Infantry Regiment and received a battlefield commission during the Battle of Five Forks. However, when I went to the Wikipedia article on the 11th Indiana I found this regiment didn't serve in that battle or even in the Eastern Theater that late in the war. Doing some more research I found the Wikipedia article on the 19th Indiana Infantry Regiment that did serve in the Eastern Theater and was at the Siege of Petersburg so could have been at the Battle of Five Forks. This article also notes that Lucas McCain, the Rifleman character, served in this regiment. Interestingly, the article on the 19th Indiana also notes that the regiment was consolidated the 20th Indiana before the battle so the 19th didn't even exist at the Battle of Five Forks. I was able to find this information in more detail under a reference in the Wikipedia 20th Indiana article, which didn't note if the 20th Indiana was at Five Forks (although this could use more research).

In short, I think the article should say McCain served in the 19th Indiana Infantry Regiment (not the 11th) as this seems to match the show's background story, even if it may not be historically accurate.

I didn't edit the change myself because I've never done that and figured I better do this the most cautious way possible by starting a conversation in talk.Landsturm (talk) 23:21, 31 January 2015 (UTC)