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The Rifleman (1958–1963)

TV Series  |   |  Family, Western
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 1,857 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 2 critic

The adventures of a Wild West rancher who wields a customized rapid fire Winchester rifle.

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Airs Sat. Nov. 28, 6:00 AM on AMC





5   4   3   2   1  
1963   1962   1961   1960   1959   1958  
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Lucas McCain / ... (168 episodes, 1958-1963)
 Mark McCain (168 episodes, 1958-1963)
 Marshal Micah Torrance / ... (151 episodes, 1958-1963)


Widower Lucas McCain can fire a round with his specially modified Winchester in three-tenths of a second. Added to his high moral code and resolve enable him to help Marshal Micah Torrance maintain order in town while raising his son, Mark, on a ranch near North Fork, New Mexico. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Western


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

30 September 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre del rifle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(168 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

See  »

Did You Know?


In the pilot for the series, by Sam Peckinpah (originally written for Gunsmoke (1955) but turned down for that show), Chuck Connors' character was named John McCain, not Lucas McCain, and he didn't have a son. It was producer Arnold Laven's idea to make McCain a widower with a son. Also, McCain was originally supposed to have been a dead shot with a pistol. Laven had the idea to use a customized Winchester rifle as McCain's weapon of choice. See more »


Lucas McCain's rifle is a modified 1892 .44-40 Winchester, even though the series clearly establishes itself in the 1880s. See more »


[repeated line]
Mark McCain: Pa!
See more »


Referenced in The Jeffersons: George's Old Girlfriend (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Exemplary Western from TV's Golden Age !
17 February 2005 | by (East Coast, USA) – See all my reviews

I am so pleased this marvelous "TV Noir" from the late 1950's is back on TV re-runs (Hallmark Channel). As a kid, I watched this show because I wanted a rifle like the one Lucas McCain had. As a 50+ year old now, I enjoy the show for a different reason - the very different style of filming it used - B&W of course, but dark, with high contrasts much like film noir. As a father of two sons I also like the interaction between father and son on the show, and how Mark is taught from "The good Book" as well as from experience, and Lucas teaches by example, hard lessons and easy ones, a stern but always loving father. The depiction of a simple life with hard work, long days, and well deserved rest at supper is perhaps fantasy in today's world, but good to strive for. Micah as a no-nonsense sheriff who has lost an edge to old age, and compensates by packing a sawed-off scatter-gun and common sense to keep the peace. No blood or gore, no entry and exit wounds, who cares? That's why I like this genre of TV, it's simple and plain, but sends a good message of hard work, simple life, and good overcomes evil in the end.

Chuck Connors showed more acting in this show than he did in any other, and seems to have been made for the part. Forget all the gibberish about guns and TV. I love this show, and other westerns, and have never owned a gun, nor do I plan to (unless I take up hunting). That's not the point. The point to me is the lessons taught in these shows, good overcomes evil in the end, and justice is served. Real life? No. But that's why I like to watch these shows - good overcomes evil at least for a Saturday afternoon.

This show, and a couple of others - Virginian and High Chaparral were some of the best TV viewing for me growing up. Emphasis on character building, the Western scenery was just window-dressing to me. Even Bonanza (after Michael Landon started to influence stories more) became a great show emphasizing character building. As a father, I learned from all the fathers in these shows (as well as from my own father) how to be a good father, and help to build good character in my own sons. Who said the TV was an "idiot box". Like a computer, it's a tool, and can be used for idiot purposes, or for growing.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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