The TV Western is best remembered as a genre which displayed the rich yet rugged imagery of the American West during the days of the Cowboy. It typified the pride and the danger of what it was like to be living in that period of our history.
Many of those TV western stars became role models for children all over the nation. Perhaps one of the best known of those Western Heroes was Gene Autry. In the early 1950’s he was the first to voice a Cowboy Code of Conduct, which emphasized honesty, a good work ethic and patriotism.
The TV Western was most popular from 1955 to 1963, but unfortunately by the 1970’s it had lost most of its television audience appeal.
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Clint Walker starred as Cheyenne Bodie in this hour long series produced by Warner Bros. 107 Episodes were produced and aired on the ABC Network from 1955 to 1963. Cheyenne had many talents and worked as a lawman, army scout, Indian fighter and ranch foreman. Length: 1:10
Christopher Colt was an undercover Government Agent starring Wayde Preston. A Warner Bros. western which aired on the ABC Network from Oct 1957 to Sept 1960. As his cover he played a Colt Firearms salesman and so carried two chrome single action Colt revolvers. Length: 0:53
One of the best known western heroes was the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. This very popular western series was produced by Columbia Pictures and Gene Autry Productions, from 1950 to 1954. There were 85 original half hour episodes filmed in B&W and color and Gene was always there to aid anyone who needed help. Length: 1:17
Louis L’Amour, Western AuthorFREE
Louis L’Amour had always wanted to be a writer, and the Western genre proved to be a good choice. With the help of the knowledge gained by his extensive travels, the characters in his books were true to the old west. In 1983, at the age of 75, L’Amour sold his one hundred millionth book. Even today, his novels and the movies about them are still very popular. Length: 5:05
Will Hutchins starred as Tom Brewster in this hour long western series from 1957 to 1961. Sugarfoot’s 69 episodes were produced by Warner Bros. and aired on the ABC Network. Tom was handy with his fists and a gun, but being a correspondence law school student, he would rather talk his way out of trouble. Length: 1:09
The Legend of Wyatt EarpFREE
This real life western marshal was played by Hugh O’Brian. Wyatt Earp was best known for carrying his infamous Buntline Special – a long barreled 45 caliber pistol. This half-hour Western ran on the ABC Network from Sept 1955 to Sept 1961. Length: 1:02
The Range RiderFREE
This Classic TV western series aired from 1952 to 1954 and was produced by Gene Autry’s Flying A Productions. It starred Jock Mahoney as the Range Rider and Dick Jones as Dick West. The 78 action filled episodes were in syndication as late as 1965. Length: 1:13
Nick Adams starred as the former Confederate soldier Johnny Yuma. He was tired of the war and was just looking for some peace and quiet – which was not always easy to find. The show ran on the ABC Network from Oct 1959 to Sept 1962. The theme song was sung by Johnny Cash. Length: 1:20
Starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, a peace loving homesteader living in New Mexico. His reputation as The Rifleman was known far and wide – because of his custom rapid fire Winchester rifle. His son Mark, was played by Johnny Crawford and the series aired on the ABC Network from Sept 1958 to July 1963. Length: 1:16
Wanted Dead or AliveFREE
Was a CBS Network western series which ran from Sept. 1958 to March 1961. It starred Steve McQueen as the bounty hunter Josh Randall. He was tough, but fair and carried the now famous Mares Leg, a sawed off 30-30 Winchester rifle. Length: 1:20