The Rifleman (TV Series 1958–1963) Poster



Chuck Connors initially turned down the role of Lucas McCain because he thought the salary was too low. The show's producers then considered James Whitmore and John Anderson for the role, but when they saw Connors' chemistry with child actor Tommy Kirk in Old Yeller (1957), they realized he was the best choice for the role and made him another offer, this time at a much higher salary. He accepted.
In an interview, producer Arnold Laven said that the rifle Chuck Connors used was the same one used by John Wayne in Stagecoach (1939).
Chuck Connors is said to have fired 12 shots with the rifle in the opening credits.
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.
The character 'Lucas McCain' was ranked #32 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
In some of the episodes, note that Lucas McCain (without any connection or relevance to the plot) will handle and fire his rifle with equal precision, sometimes with his right hand, and other times with his left hand. An explanation has never been given for this ambidextrous ability.
Lucas McCain's rifle is an 1892 .44-40 Winchester.
The name of the hotel/restraunt in town was the "Madera House".
Lucas McCain was only shown smoking a cigarette once in the series, although Chuck Connors smoked 60 cigarettes a day.
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Chuck Connors was 37 years old when the show started.
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Johhny Crawford, Lucas McCain's son in "The Rifleman," later played a sheriff in "The Big Valley." An interesting symbolic act occurred when he handed a rifle to an outlaw posing as a returned sheriff. It was a reminder of the significance of what appears to be a rifle similar to one that his father, Lucas McCain, from "The Rifleman" series, used to much success.
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