The Rifleman

Lucas McCain was the star character in "The Rifleman", but what I remember most from this show was his trick rifle that he could spin around and fire faster than a lot of other cowboys could fire their six shooters! This gave him a big advantage over the bad guys and were they ever surprised by that rifle!

Did you know Chuck Connors was first a baseball player?

All About the Show

The Rifleman series began its TV run in 1958 with Chuck Connors playing the part of Lucas McCain. Lucas was a struggling homesteader who was raising his young son Mark alone. Mark was played by Johnny Crawford, and we never do learn what happened to his mother. But he was a good kid who helped his dad on their ranch outside the town of North Fork, New Mexico.

Of course, North Fork was infested with a bunch of bad guys who the local marshall would never have been able to handle without the help of Lucas and his signature weapon - a trick rifle (yep, the thing I remember most!) that had a big ring which cocked it as he drew. Supposedly it only took three tenths of a second to fire off the first round, which certainly helped in a showdown!

After the first 3 seasons, Miss Milly was added to the cast. She served as a storekeeper but, more importantly, she was a love interest for Lucas. The producers thought his character was a bit too righteous and needed a little humanizing.... so he got a girlfriend!

The show continued for 2 more seasons, with its final broadcast in 1963.

Holly George-Warren, a Western film and TV scholar and author said the following about this show. "With its father-son dynamic, "The Rifleman" bridged the early, innocent Westerns like "Hopalong Cassidy" and "The Gene Autry Show" with the more violent, adult Westerns that came later like "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza". It was a wonderful family show but had its dramatic elements, too. I remember me and all my girlfriends having crushes on Johnny."

To help put you back in a "Rifleman" frame of mind, just click on the center button in the video box below. You'll see the show's opening plus a few shots of Lucas and Mark!

Want to read about Johnny Crawfords music background and career?

What Happened to the Actors?

CHUCK CONNORS appeared in many films after The Rifleman and starred in the short-lived tv series - "Branded", "Cowboy in Africa" and "The Yellow Rose". He also narrated 52 episodes of a documentary on stunts called "Thrill Seekers". His career was still going strong when he died suddenly in 1992 of lung cancer. After Chuck Connor's death, Johnny Crawford said "He was just my hero. He was very expressive and always concerned, but he was also tough as nails."

Today JOHNNY CRAWFORD Born in 1946, he is the leader of The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra in Southern California.

What do you remember most about The Rifleman?

Do you have favorite memories about The Rifleman? Share them here!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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The trick rifle 
I used to love the RIFLEMAN... the "TRICK RIFLE" was my favorite part. My grandpa used to to scream every time he brought out that old rifle! I always …

I got to see Chuck Conners in my home town of Lubbock, Tx. 
I loved watching the Rilfman, with my Dad, all the time. I got the toy Rifleman guns on Christmas & had 3. Wish I'd kept them. I had my first real one …

Mark's Mother 
Lots of memories ... too many to tell. Met Johnny Crawford in person, sometime around 1968. He autographed my hand, lol. I too, was in love. Even had his …

Those early westerns ! Not rated yet
I am 58 years old and while I was too small to remember very many individual episodes, I remember the lead-in to the show where "Lucas" is firing off his …

How many times was the rifle fired at the start of show? Not rated yet
In my case, "The Rifleman" show was a teaching experience while growing up & learning wrong from right. In 1966 or 67, I got to meet …

I LOVED The Rifleman Not rated yet
I'm up early and watching an episode of The Rifleman from 1959 titled "Tension." I used to watch it while I was growing up--all the reruns in syndication. …

His height on TV and the famous rifle he held ever so close to his body.. Not rated yet
My dad used to run to the Isaly icecream store to get everyone something sweet to eat while watchingg the Rifelman. My dad always thought he looked identical …

When Lucas delivered the Mexican woman's baby Not rated yet
When the Rifleman first aired, I was 10 years old. I remember being amazed at how he shot that rifle ! Now since reading this site someone said it was …

Mark's Mother Not rated yet
I remember one episode where Mark McCain's mother was seen, but you don't get the connection until almost the end of the episode. Mark was bad sick with …

When Mark found out he had a Grandfather Not rated yet
I know what it is like, not having your grandfather in your life. My Father and his family had a terrible fight, and he promised them that they would never …

Chuck Connors as a sport figure Not rated yet
Before he became an actor, he was a baseball player signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early years of the 1940s. He also served in the Army during World …

The love Lucas McCain had for his son Mark Not rated yet
I'm 57 years old now and I grew up with the rifleman and still watch it today. My kids and grandkids watch the rifleman also! The many moral, life lessons …

In the NBA Not rated yet
Connors was also the first player to destroy a backboard when he played for the Boston Celtics in the '40s.

A True Family Show Not rated yet
I can remember when I was four years old watching Mark sing "Today is Cindy's Birthday". I fell in love for the first time. The show showed the meaning …

The way Mark and Lucas were so close  Not rated yet
I watch this with my parents now. I grew up on the old western's but this is my all time favorite. Me being a person who sometimes can't get along with …

The Touching Endings  Not rated yet
I always watched this show with my Father, growing up in the 1960s. It seemed like my dad and I grew closer while watching this show together. The endings …

The rifleman and his son Not rated yet
This was just a great show! I would watch it every week. The love that they had for each other was really special. No matter how bad things got they …

The Bullet  Not rated yet
This was one episode that Johnny Crawford was not in. Are there any other episodes that johnny crawford did not appear in? This is the only one I recall …

Fond Memories Not rated yet
The Rifleman was a great program and I still enjoy the reruns. Funny though back then jeans were not the thing, but Chuck certainly looked good in his …

Rifleman Memories Not rated yet
The Rifleman is being replayed on Channel 8.1 (RTV)in Los Angeles at 8-9am. Just recently it is being aired on Channel 56.3 (KDOC) from 6-7pm. Compared …

loved them all  Not rated yet
I am 52 & Rifleman is my best show even though it's not on tv right now. I'd sure like to talk to Johnny Crawford sometime. Dennis Byrd.

My favorite Rifleman memory Not rated yet
My favorite memory is the way he spun that rifle and the laid back look on his face as he did it. I watched the show every Saturday afternoon, wishing …

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