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The Rifleman (TV Series 1958–1963) Poster

(1958–1963)

Trivia

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.
Chuck Connors is said to have fired twelve shots with the rifle in the opening credits.
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).
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.
The character "Lucas McCain" was ranked number thirty-two in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (June 20, 2004 issue).
Lucas McCain's rifle was an 1892 .44-40 Winchester.
Lucas McCain was only shown smoking a cigarette once in the series, in season one, episode one, "The Sharpshooter", although Chuck Connors smoked sixty cigarettes (three packs) a day.
The name of the hotel and restraunt in town was the "Madera House".
Lucas McCain's wife Margaret died of smallpox. Afterwards, he and Mark moved from Wyoming to New Mexico.
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Although Lucas was only shown smoking cigarettes once during the series, he often smoked cigars.
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Johnny Crawford (Mark McCain) played a Sheriff on The Big Valley (1965). 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 this show, used to much success.
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Chuck Connors was thirty-seven-years-old when the show started.
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With her appearance in season five, whenever Patricia Blair (Lou Mallory) appeared on-screen, usually an Irish music theme was played.
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John Anderson holds the record for the most appearances as a unique character with eleven appearances, usually as a heavy. In the second season, two of his appearances were back-to-back in season two, episode fifteen, "Day of the Hunter" and season two, episode sixteen, Mail Order Groom". Although he was younger than Chuck Connors, in his final role, he played Lucas' father-in-law. John Milford came in second with ten unique roles. Although he also appeared eleven times, he appeared twice as the same character.
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The name of the dry goods dealer in the town was Hattie Denton. She was played by Hope Summers.
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In Lucas' house, the hanging items over the fireplace change. The first item is an Indian blanket, then cattle horns, then the cattle horns and an antique rifle, and finally just the antique rifle.
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The set for the inside of the McCain house was seen in other westerns, most notably in episodes of Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958) with Steve McQueen.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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