The Rifleman is an ABC network Western series created by Arnold Laven, starring Chuck Connors in the lead role.
The show aired from September 30, 1958 to April 8, 1963, lasting for five seasons & 168 episodes. It was produced by Four Star Productions.
The series centered on Lucas McCain, a Union Civil War veteran, rancher & widower raising his young son, Mark while battling desperados in New Mexico.
It was also one of the first prime time series on U.S. television to show a single parent raising a child.
- Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain
- Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain
- Paul Fix as Micah Torrance
- Bill Quinn as Frank Sweeney
- Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory
- Joe Higgins as Nels Swenson
- Harlan Warde as John Hamilton
- Joan Taylor as Milly Scott
- Hope Summers as Hattie Denton
- John Harmon as Eddie Halstead
"The Rifleman" was created by Arnold Laven and developed by Sam Peckinpah, who would become a director of Western movies. Peckinpah (who wrote and directed many early episodes) based many characters and plots on his own childhood on a ranch.
His insistence on violent realism and complex characterizations, as well as his refusal to sugarcoat the lessons he felt the Rifleman's son needed to learn about life, put him at odds with the show's producers at Four Star Productions.
Peckinpah left the show and created a short-lived series, "The Westerner", starring Brian Keith.