The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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Showdown with Rance McGrew 

The star of a Western TV series suddenly finds himself transported back in time to the real Wild West, and face-to-face with the real Jesse James.



, (based on an idea by) (as Frederic L. Fox) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Larry Blyden ...
Rance McGrew
Arch Johnson ...
Robert Cornthwaite ...
TV Bartender (as Robert J. Stevenson)
Bill McLean ...
Prop Man (as William McLean)
Troy Melton ...
Cowboy #1
Jay Overholts ...
Cowboy #2
Hal K. Dawson ...
Old Man
Bob Kline ...
TV Jesse James (as Robert Kline)
James Turley ...
Rance's Double (as Jim Turley)


Rance McGrew is the star of a weekly TV western where he plays the town Marshal. He is, to say the least, difficult to deal with. He is frequently late on the set, arrives unprepared and often requests script changes just as they are about to shoot a scene. To top it off, he's quite inept at handling his gun which he inadvertently tosses into the saloon mirror on more than one occasion. He's given a dose of reality however when he inexplicably finds himself back in time, coming face to face with the real Jesse James. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

2 February 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the "showdown" sequence, when Rance McGrew is backing away from Jesse James, the funeral parlor hoves into view and reveals that the Funeral Director is "C. Nyby" (a nice little in-joke, as the director of this episode is one Christian Nyby!). See more »


(at around 18 mins) During a scene that is taking place in a time well before cars existed, the camera elevates and shows a hilly backdrop. A cement truck can be seen driving up a road. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: The evolution of the so-called 'adult' western, and the metamorphosis of one Randy McGrew, formerly phony-baloney, now upright citizen with a preoccupation with all things involving tradition, truth, and cowpoke predecessors. It's the way the cookie crumbles and the six-gun shoots - in The Twilight Zone.
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User Reviews

Is That Real Whiskey
20 August 2006 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

I can't help feeling this thirty minutes is one, long Hollywood insider joke. The script is full of sarcastic references to pampered no-talent celebrities, their long-suffering directors, and the general make-believe of Hollywood heroics. Still, it's pretty amusing for an inside look at the artificial nature of movie-making. Larry Blyden plays Rance Mc Grew, a phony tough lead in a Western series. He can't really handle a gun nor brawl with the bad guys nor even ride a horse. And when challenged by the real life Jesse James (courtesy the TZ), what does he do? He calls his agent-- how fitting!

There were scores of such Westerns at the time (1962) which I'm sure this entry was intended to spoof. However, the TV cowboy has long since ridden into the sunset, so much of the satirical punch may be lost. Still, I think enough of the idea remains to keep viewers entertained, if, for no other reason, than the great opening sequence which tells us just about all we need to know about what follows.

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