The Rifleman: Season 1, Episode 17

The Retired Gun (20 Jan. 1959)

TV Episode  -   -  Family | Western
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 30 users  
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A notorious gunfighter gets married and promises his new wife that he will take off his guns and begin a new life. However, a gang of outlaws who hear that he is in the area try to persuade him to break that promise and throw in with them.



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Title: The Retired Gun (20 Jan 1959)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Wallace Earl ...
Clair Wheatley Carney (as Eileen Harley)
Duke Snider ...
Joseph Mell ...
Sam Moody (as Joe Mell)
Herman Rudin ...


Lucas McCain is happy when one of his late wife's closest friends, Clair Wheatly Carney, arrives in North Fork looking to settle down. she has only recently married Wes Carney who at one time had quite a reputation as a gunslinger. Wes has hung up his guns however and he and Clair buy the local feed store that is up for sale. His reputation lives on however and there is a group of troublemakers in town who are continually trying to call him out. He resists their constant badgering and bullying as he has promised his wife never to strap on his guns again. When a man is killed however and only Marshal Micah Torrance and Lucas seem prepared to stand up to the killer does Wes have to decide if he will stand with them or simply be an onlooker. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Western




Release Date:

20 January 1959 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Renowned Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Duke Snider plays Wallace. See more »

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User Reviews

"High Noon" -- without the lecture
19 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the problems with "The Rifleman" is that Lucas is (most of the time) an incredibly decent and good-hearted person. He rarely passes judgment, hardly ever fails to help someone in need, and never cowers in fear. (Did I mention he's usually aware of his failings?) Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, and Superman can all retire. Lucas /has/ to be this good in order to be raise Mark as a mensch. (You do understand that Mark is the principal character, not Lucas?)

Unfortunately, the series' creators decided that Lucas has to tower not only physically, but morally, above everyone else (Micah excepted). The rest of North Fork's citizens are a bunch of sniveling cowards. (This is played for laughs, with a plump citizen running out of the saloon in fear, and two men dragging him back in.)

This episode makes plain their pusillanimity. When a gang of bad'uns arrives to wreak revenge on the eponymous retired gunfighter, they decide to hang around and take over. NOT ONE PERSON is willing to stand with Micah to chase them out. (Twenty armed men would have no trouble running them off without a single shot being fired.) So he, Lucas (of course), and the retired gunfighter are obliged to do it on their own. (The shootout is poorly choreographed. It's hard to believe the three heroes are able to take out six bad guys at such close range, with only one minor wound.)

One wonders why Micah is willing to remain as sheriff, or Lucas can tolerate living in such a community. Given Lucas's tendency to deliver lectures on morality, it's surprising he doesn't chew out the town, a la Will Kane. Of course, Lucas's and Micah's recognition that North Fork doesn't "deserve" them would bring the series to a screeching halt.

I've downrated this episode to 6 for its lack of dramatic logic. But it's otherwise decent. And John Anderson is unusually handsome.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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