Western stories and legends based, and filmed, in and around Death Valley, California. One of the longest-running Western series, originating on radio in the 1930s. The continuing sponsor was "20 Mule Team" Borax, a product formerly mined in Death Valley.
This show was originally developed to be adaptations of short stories and novels by Western author Zane Grey. However, the material ran out (the books were far too long for a half-hour show), and later original material was commissioned. See more »
For syndicated rerun release, the introductions and wrap-ups by Powell, Dick (q.v.) were replaced with new ones featuring Keenan Wynn, and the program was retitled "The Westerners." See more »
Episode 21 of Season 2, The Sharpshooter is The Rifleman
Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford are Lucas and Mark McCain is this excellent half hour western. It was so good they decided to make it a series. Thus "The Rifleman" was born.
This was far better than any subsequent episode of The Rifleman series, which was a bit too "nice" to be realistic.
I cannot recall if McCain's rifle in this Zane Grey episode had the nifty fast-action features of the series' rifle.
I am surprised that there are no other comments on this generally very good western anthology series on TV. It was certainly a popular feature on Friday nights about 60 years ago.
I believe the host, Dick Powell, left the series to host his own hour long Dick Powell Theater on Tuesday nights. This series of individual one hour dramas basically lasted until Powell's death. All of these shows should be issued on DVD while those of us who liked and would buy them are still alive.
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