10 Classic Tv Westerns

Thursday, January 27 by Sandi Harrison

There were many western shows that appeared in early television, and here are 10 classic TV Westerns that will probably not be forgotten. Some were only produced in black and white, and others changed to color later on. Since that time, no one has been able to restore the popularity of Westerns that these classic Westerns had in the 1950s and ‘60s.

  1. “Bonanza” starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocher and Pernell Roberts (1959-1973). This classic western is the story of Ben Cartwright and his three sons, all born of different mothers. They live on the Ponderosa Ranch in Nevada near the site of the Comstock Silver Lode. Episodes take place both during and after the Civil War. Their adventures, while typical, also portray personal relationship problems.
  2.  Annie Oakley” starring Gail Davis, Brand Johnson and Jimmie Hawkins (1952-1956).  This classic TV western followed the fictional story of Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter of the Wild West. Annie and her brother Tagg kept outlaws from coming into their quiet town of Diablo. She loved to show off her shooting abilities to her friend, Deputy Sheriff Craig.
  3. “Gunsmoke” starring James Arness, Amanda Blake and Dennis Weaver (1955-1975).  This western began on the radio in 1952 with William Conrad reading Matt Dillon. In 1955 it began the TV series which took place in Dodge City. It had a number one rating for several years and is also the longest running western, lasting 20 years. Until 1966, it was filmed in black and white.
  4. “Maverick” starring James Garner, Jack Kelly and Roger Moore (1957-1962). The Mavericks were gamblers by trade and reluctant heroes who would rather talk their way out of trouble than fight. They went West to find the easy life and hopefully find some women who needed their help.
  5. “Wagon Train” starring Ward Bond and Robert Horton (1957-1964). The Wagon Train episodes featured big name stars and their adventures in the West during the post Civil War period. Each episode focused on a passenger that was on the wagon train.
  6. “Have Gun Will Travel” starring Richard Boone and Kam Tong (1957-1963). This classic Western was the story of Paladin, an educated gentleman, who was available for hire as a bodyguard or gunfighter. He dressed as a dandy at the hotel where he stayed, but dressed all in black for work.
  7. “Sky King” starring Kirby Grant, Gloria Winters, and Ron Hagerthy (1951-1954). Sky King used his airplane to rescue those in trouble around the area of his Flying Crown Ranch. He made everyone want to be a pilot. He had a niece Penny and a nephew Clipper, and his plane, Songbird, a Cessna.
  8. “Rifleman” starring Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford (1958-1963). This classic Western was the story of a widower Lucas McCain and his son Mark, who lived on a ranch near North Fork, New Mexico. He was especially skilled with his modified Winchester rifle and was always confronting desperados. As the seasons went by, Lucas began moralizing about something or other.
  9. “Lone Ranger” starring Clayton Moore, John Hart and Jay Silverheels (1949-1957). This classic western featured the masked man, his companion Tonto, and his horse Silver. You will remember the words “Hi-Yo Silver!” and “kemo sabe” (trusted scout) as the pair fight for law and order in the early West!!
  10. “Cisco Kid” starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo (1950-1955).  Pancho and Cisco were thought of as desperados, but they were really more like Robin Hoods, defending those less fortunate!! Their well-known last words were “Oh, Pancho” and “Oh, Cisco” as they rode off.