The Rifleman: Season 1, Episode 28

The Challenge (7 Apr. 1959)

TV Episode  |   |  Family, Western
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An escaped killer is out to prove that his time in prison hasn't slowed down his speed with a gun.



, (as Herbert Little)
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Title: The Challenge (07 Apr 1959)

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Episode complete credited cast:
John Durren ...
Harlan Warde ...
John Maxwell ...
Bill Quinn ...
Ian Murray ...
Mel Carter ...
Michael Harris ...
Cowhand (as Mike Harris)


Lucas McCain and the other good folks in North Fork are unsure what to do when Marshall Micah Torrance and Hattie Denton are taken prisoner in Hattie's store by a gang on the run. They say they're there to get supplies and will leave without causing trouble but it's clear that their leader is a dangerous man who wonders if his time in prison has made him weak. With something to prove, it's clear he's going to cause trouble and it will be up to Lucas McCain to face him down. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hostage | hold up | challenge | rifle | See All (4) »


Family | Western




Release Date:

7 April 1959 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the episode, there is a recurring song sung about the villainous character named Jake Pardee. One verse starts "One day in Peckinpah's saloon..." An obvious reference to Sam Peckinpah who created the series and who directed six episodes. See more »


When Jake Pardee shoots the cans on the shelves in the general store; as they fall they are clearly empty. The hollow sound of empty cans clanging against each other is heard. See more »


Marshal Micah Torrance: You know, soon they'll be stuffin' men like you to put in museums.
Jake Pardee: Why don't you shut up?
Marshal Micah Torrance: Underneath, they'll put up a sign "Western Bad Man - Species Extinct". So you better have your fun now. You won't have much longer.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Chuck Connors breaks the 4th wall in the opening credits after he shoots his riffle and then stares into the camera. See more »


The Ballad of Jake Pardee
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Lyrics by Alfred Perry
Sung by Bill Lee
See more »

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User Reviews

Sharp episode
27 February 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

THE RIFLEMAN –The Challenge - 1959

This is the 28th episode from the 1958 to 1963 western series, THE RIFLEMAN. Over the course of 168 episodes we follow the life of Lucas McCain and his son, Mark. They have moved to the small western town of North Fork where they hope to start a new life. Chuck Connors headlines the series with Johnny Crawford as his son. Connors is a world class hand with a Winchester rifle which of course ends up getting him in no end of trouble.

Chuck Connors and his son, Johnny Crawford are in North Fork picking up some goods at Hope Summers' general store. He is joined by Sheriff Paul Fix, who is also in to pick up some items. Three men, Adam Williams, John Durren and Les Tremayne join the people inside. Suddenly Williams pulls his gun and clobbers the Sheriff, knocking him to the floor.

The trio are outlaws in to pick up some supplies. They release everyone but Sheriff Fix and store owner, Summers. Connors quickly rounds up some menfolk and they arm themselves. Some want to rush the store but Connors tells everyone to cool down, they just need to wait the outlaws out.

Williams is seems is a bit on the unstable side Durren and Tremayne had just broken Williams out of the State prison after five years. Williams is not the type to take any guff from anyone. Tremayne, the brains of the outfit soon gets on Williams nerves. Williams just draws and gives Tremayne a lead "shut up".

Connors calls out Williams to settle the matter of the hostages. A smiling Williams joins Connors on the street for a showdown. Needless to say the trouble is soon over, and Fix and Summers are freed.

A sharp looking episode handled with style by veteran film noir man, Lewis Allen. Allen helmed the big screen noir, DESERT FURY, SO EVIL MY LOVE, CHICAGO DEADLINE, APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER, ILLEGAL , A BULLET FOR JOEY and SUDDENLY.

The cinematography was handled by another big screen film noir vet, George Diskant. His work includes, RIFFRAFF, THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, PORT OF NEW YORK, BEWARE MY LOVELY, THE RACKET and ON DANGEROUS GROUND.

Williams made a career out of playing these nutbar types.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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