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Sunday, 13 February 2011

Small screen westerns

From the mid 1940's to the mid 1970's the western was one of the most popular genres for TV drama - during those years there were well over 100 different shows made by American studios.

"It's my job to keep the peace here in town and I'll do it, but I'll do it my way." Marshal Matt Dillon, Gunsmoke.

The TV westerns recreated a world first popularised in the dime novels and pulps and each week a new story would be told until all the western scenarios had been played out. Invariably when that happened a series would end, and another created to revamp those same themes all over again. The western was massively popular and right from the start of television as a mass medium the westerns were present - during the 1959 season alone there were over thirty different western shows in production and many of the faces from these TV western would later dominate the big screen - Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and James Coburn to name but three.


The earliest of the TV westerns were family friendly and shows like Roy Rogers  attracted huge audiences, but it wasn't until the fifties when Gunsmoke began that a true adult audience was found. True, many children still watched but the themes and stories were much more complex - the TV western had matured.

Gumsmoke opened the way for a rush of TV gold - Bonanza, Rawhide, High Caparral, The Rifleman, The Big valley - this list is endless. The Wikipedia lists 174 separate TV westerns -  I have repeated the list below and each title links to its Wiki Page.
  1. Action in the Afternoon
  2. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
  3. The Adventures of Champion
  4. The Adventures of Cyclone Malone
  5. The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
  6. The Adventures of Jim Bowie
  7. The Adventures of Kit Carson
  8. The Adventures of Lariat Sam
  9. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin
  10. The Adventures of Spin and Marty
  11. The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
  12. The Alaskans
  13. Alias Smith and Jones
  14. Annie Oakley
  15. Barbary Coast
  16. Bat Masterson
  17. Best of the West
  18. The Big Valley
  19. Black Saddle
  20. Bonanza
  21. Boots and Saddles
  22. Bordertown
  23. Branded
  24. BraveStarr (animation)
  25. Brave Eagle
  26. Bret Maverick
  27. Broken Arrow
  28. Bronco
  29. Buckskin
  30. Buffalo Bill Jr.
  31. The Californians
  32. Casey Jones
  33. Cheyenne
  34. The Chisholms
  35. The Cisco Kid
  36. Cimarron City
  37. Cimarron Strip
  38. Circus Boy
  39. Colt .45
  40. The Cowboys
  41. Custer
  42. The Dakotas
  43. Daniel Boone
  44. Davy Crockett
  45. Deadwood
  46. Death Valley Days
  47. The Deputy
  48. Destry
  49. Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater
  50. Dirty Sally
  51. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
  52. Dundee and the Culhane
  53. Dusty's Trail
  54. Empire
  55. Father Murphy
  56. Four Feather Falls (puppet show)
  57. Frontier
  58. Frontier Circus
  59. Frontier Doctor
  60. Frontier Justice
  61. F Troop
  62. The Gabby Hayes Show
  63. The Gene Autry Show
  64. The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams
  65. Gunslinger
  66. Guns of Paradise (originally, Paradise)
  67. The Guns of Will Sonnett
  68. Gunsmoke
  69. Harts of the West
  70. Have Gun – Will Travel
  71. Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans
  72. Hec Ramsey
  73. Here Come the Brides
  74. The High Chaparral
  75. Hondo
  76. Hopalong Cassidy
  77. Hotel de Paree
  78. How the West Was Won
  79. Into the West
  80. The Iron Horse
  81. Jefferson Drum
  82. Judge Roy Bean
  83. Johnny Ringo
  84. Kung Fu
  85. Lancer
  86. Laramie
  87. Laredo
  88. Law of the Plainsman
  89. Lawman
  90. The Lazarus Man
  91. Legacy
  92. Legend
  93. The Legend of Jesse James
  94. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
  95. Little House on the Prairie
  96. The Lone Ranger
  97. The Loner
  98. Lonesome Dove
  99. Lonesome Dove - The Outlaw Years
  100. Mackenzie's Raiders
  101. The Magnificent Seven
  102. A Man Called Shenandoah
  103. The Man From Blackhawk
  104. Man Without a Gun
  105. The Marshal of Gunsight Pass
  106. Maverick
  107. The Monroes
  108. My Friend Flicka
  109. Nichols
  110. Northwest Passage
  111. The Oregon Trail
  112. The Outcasts
  113. Outlaws
  114. Overland Trail
  115. Paradise (later Guns of Paradise)
  116. Pistols 'n' Petticoats
  117. Ponderosa
  118. Pony Express
  119. Queen of Swords
  120. The Quest
  121. The Range Rider
  122. Rango
  123. Rawhide
  124. The Rebel
  125. Red Ryder
  126. Redigo
  127. The Restless Gun
  128. The Rifleman
  129. Riverboat
  130. The Road West
  131. The Rough Riders
  132. The Rounders
  133. The Roy Rogers Show
  134. The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show
  135. Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs
  136. Sara
  137. Shane
  138. Sheriff of Cochise
  139. Shotgun Slade
  140. Sky King
  141. Stagecoach West
  142. State Trooper
  143. Steve Donovan, Western Marshal
  144. Stoney Burke
  145. Sugarfoot
  146. Tales of the Texas Rangers
  147. Tales of Wells Fargo
  148. The Tall Man
  149. Tate
  150. Temple Houston
  151. Tombstone Territory
  152. Trackdown
  153. The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
  154. 26 Men
  155. Two Faces West
  156. Union Pacific
  157. The Virginian
  158. Wagon Train
  159. Wanted: Dead or Alive
  160. The Westerner
  161. Whiplash
  162. Whispering Smith
  163. Wichita Town
  164. The Wide Country
  165. The Wild Wild West
  166. Wildside
  167. Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa (animation, 1992)
  168. Wrangler
  169. Yancy Derringer
  170. Young Maverick
  171. The Young Pioneers
  172. The Young Riders
  173. Zorro (1957)
  174. Zorro (1990)
Westerns have all but vanished from the modern television landscape but they do pop up from time to time, and whilst they may not be there in the quantity no one can complain about the quality of post modern westerns like Deadwood.

Visit the TV westerns homepage HERE

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