The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more ...
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The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more based on character and relationships than the usual western. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
A series with a lot of heart that needs to be seen
"The Virginian" was without a doubt one grand amazing ambitious series which made use of its first class actors and some of the most magnificent piece of location Technicolor photography ever assembled for a brilliant television series which kept its viewers tuned in for 90 minutes during the impressive nine seasons that it stayed on the NBC-TV network from its premiere in 1962 until its final episode in 1971.
Based on the classic novel by Owen Winsler,the series is set on the Shiloh Ranch in the Wyoming Territory of the 1800's and the goings on within the town of Medicine Bow. In its early years,and within the first five seasons,the series had five main characters:Judge Henry Garth(Lee J. Cobb),the owner of the Shiloh Ranch,which was a great big cattle ranch in Wyoming who was also the not only the town Judge but the District Attorney as well;his innocent young teenage daughter Betsy (Roberta Shore);the Virginian(James Drury),his heroic foreman Trampas (Doug McClure),and the assistant ranch hand Steve(Gary Clarke). The relationship between these five individuals,as they were developed and testing were providing the most affecting and amusing moments,and later on during this series new characters would be added on to provide support. It was also during the early years of the show that "The Virginian" was rise to the top of the Nielsen ratings,and to anyone's surprise rack up several Emmy nominations for actors Lee J. Cobb and James Drudy not to mention the show's theme song for musical composer Percy Faith. During its initial run,the show was always in the top ten and it stood shoulder to shoulder among the television Western giants like "Gunsmoke","Bonanza",not to mention "Rawhide",and the courtroom drama "Perry Mason".
The series gave us strong,intelligent stories,which could be either tragic or light-hearted,and most often the direction was either imaginative,and sometimes even poetic,but still this series was one action-packed show full of unexpected excitement and breathtaking suspense along with some comedical support in some of the episodes which were directed with excellent timing by some of the best in the business. However,throughout its entire run,only actors James Drudy and Doug McClure stayed on the series until the final episode in 1971. As for the special guest stars on this series,this show had them,and some of them appear in either one or two episodes within the 90 minute time frame. In some of the episodes you got to see Hollywood greats like Bette Davis and Lee Marvin and in some episodes you get Charles Bronson, James Coburn,Richard Anderson,Telly Savalas,Arthur Hunnicutt,John Dehner,David Hartman,Lee Majors,Pippa Scott,Stewart Granger,Diane Baker, Inger Stevens,Harry Morgan,Brian Keith,George C. Scott,Pete Duel,Hari Rhodes,Harrison Ford,and the list of the guest star roster goes on and on with very familiar actors doing the "Stagecoach" routine each week.
As the series went on the issues of the day were very informal subjects ranging from injustice,racial prejudice,individual responsibility and the necessary for compromise were explored,and during the final years of the series the name of "Shiloh" came to stand for something for the virtues of tolerance,compassion,and courage and optimism as well the respect of mankind were the objectives of the day,and this show delivered the goods. Compared to other Western shows of that era,"The Virginian" was well acted and for one,it had a lot of heart and like other shows it knew exactly when to call it quits beforehand. Most recently,this series is now on The Hallmark Channel,and for those who never seen this series,it is a worth seeing every weekend where Hallmark shows back to back episodes of this series. Not to missed!
NOTE:"The Virginian" was produced by Revue Studios/Universal Television and it produced an astounding 249 episodes,all in color during its impressive nine year run on the NBC Network.
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