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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Sheriff Dan Porter leaves his job in Mason City to follow his wife Emily to Medicine Bow as she can't handle the pressure of his job. He signs on at Shiloh to learn ranching so he can start a ranch ...
The Cannon family runs the High Chaparral Ranch in the Arizona Territory in 1870s. Big John wants to establish his cattle empire despite Indian hostility. He's aided by brother Buck and son... See full summary »
Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts and Rocky Mountains. The first treks were led by gruff, ... See full summary »
Bret and Bart Maverick (and in later seasons, their English cousin, Beau) are well dressed gamblers who migrate from town to town always looking for a good game. Poker (5 card draw) is ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is yet another series that I remember being devoted to as a kid, but some 40+ years later I of course didn't remember any real details of the series, its guest stars, or episodes.
When in January 2010 Encore Westerns began showing it, I was amazed.
First, when it originally aired my family didn't have a color television. The cinematography in The Virginian is amazing for a series that started in 1962. Not only was filming a TV series in color unusual at that early time, but the quality of color is outstanding ... each episode looks virtually like a technicolor movie.
Second, most of the scripts are quite compelling. Unlike some Western films, where an complex adventure has to be squeezed into 90 to 120 minutes, the writers of The Virginian knew they had a series of shows to work with. Therefore they opted for somewhat more simple, yet strong, stories that they could explore at a more leisurely pace. It doesn't mean the shows are slow moving ... quite the opposite. It means they have more time for character study, and for the most part this is a real strength of the show.
Finally, the acting is very good. Each show has strong guest stars, a real Who's Who of television and movie actors. The cast also gives strong performances, including an amazing job by James Drury. Why he wasn't treated to more long term starring roles after this is a mystery to me. Even Doug McClure, who walked thru most of the rest of his career trading on his popularity as Trampus, gave strong and believable performances in this series.
Obviously, I highly recommend The Virginian to any fan of westerns. Whether you are a younger viewer discovering this show for the first time, or someone like me 'rediscovering it', you'll experience a true delight.
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