The Rifleman is an American Western television program that starred Chuck Connors as homesteader Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. The series was set in the 1880s in the town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory and was filmed in black-and-white with a half hour running time. The Rifleman aired on ABC from September 30, 1958 to April 8, 1963 as a production of Four Star Television. There were 168 episodes in the series.
Sometimes, a father has a good reason for being stern. At the beginning of "The Vision," a wonderful season-two episode of The Rifleman, both Lucas and Mark McCain are in sour moods. The boy dumps dirty laundry water on a patch of marigolds. Those flowers happened to be the favorite of his deceased mother.
It became painfully obvious when it came time to film a scene in which Lucas and the doctor pack poor Mark in ice to bring down his temperature. Crawford recalls it being one of the first scenes filmed for the episode.
The very last episode of The Rifleman opens with Mark riding alongside a friend, Lorrie, who only appears this one time. She challenges Mark to a race and the two gallop away together through the trees, jumping over logs and bushes as they go.
In the episode "Farewell to Penny," Beaver calls his antagonist a "zombie" and refuses to attend her party. But the fact that it's a going-away party changes things a bit. Beaver realizes he might actually miss Penny when she's gone. She calls him cute and he lets slip that he likes her! When Penny decides to stay with her grandmother through the end of the year, Beaver is mortified. They go back to insulting each other, but Beaver's smile hints at the true feelings behind the animosity.
The episode, titled "Old Tony" after a grouchy hermit whom Mark and Lorrie get to know, takes a dramatic turn in the end. While out looking for arrowheads, near a lake familiar to fans of The Andy Griffith Show, Lorrie gets caught in quicksand. The perilous scene reportedly injured Karen Sue Trent so badly that she never acted again.
I disagree that the show should end. The show needed better writers. The show had it all for great future potential proven by the Writers Corner on the Rifleman website. Strong father figure with an appeal for men and women. From child to teenage, guitar playing singer, father is The Rifleman, potential to be the future rifleman in training. Yes the producers of this show blew it! This show withstands the test of time.
Even today, 60+ yrs after it began, I still enjoy watching The Rifleman on Pluto TV..I have watched each episode multiple times, and still watch it when I can. Chuck was a great character actor in the series, and along with Johnny, have adoring fans to this day. Father/son love, family themes and values, and compassion and understanding is what I most admire about what how the writers scripted the show. Thanks to all that took part in this iconic show. They are gone and missed, but their contributions brought so many good feelings to us fans.
Devi began landing small parts on popular television shows. On My Three Sons, she got to play an Indian woman in the 1964 episode "Stone Frog." That same year she appeared alongside her husband on his latest series, the legal drama Arrest and Trial. That Chuck Connors series lasted a mere season, alas.Devi on 'My Three Sons'
In 1967, following the cancelation of Branded, Connors found himself starring in Cowboy in Africa, a vehicle that reunited him with creator Ivan Tors. The two had previously collaborated on Flipper, filmed right about the time that Devi and Connors married. Devi popped up in one episode playing M'Koru.
Hello all. Huge Rifleman fan here. In fact, it's my favorite TV show of all time.I am wondering if anyone knows why the series ended so suddenly on such a seemingly random note? I am aware that episodes did not always air in the order they were filmed but still. To anyone who has seen "Old Tony", didn't it just seem like any other episode?I very much enjoyed Mark with his girlfriend, Lorrie, and giving Mark a more adult role on the show and I loved his rendition of "Greensleeves". I liked that Mark and Lorrie opened up Tony's heart to accept people into his life again as he had been a bitter old recluse for years following his wife's death. I didn't even mind the quicksand scenes, as I enjoyed Mark riding to the rescue of his girlfriend, even though he ends up being caught in the sand himself, and then Lucas saving both of them (I adore Lucas and Mark's relationship and love the scenes where Lucas saves him).However, with all that said, there is absolutely no indication that this is the last episode, ever, of The Rifleman. One wonders if the writers even knew if this is how the show would end?I would expect in the final episode ever that Lucas would have a serious scene or two with Lou, that Mark would kiss his girlfriend Lorrie, perhaps that Mark would have to use his rifle (but not kill anyone), that Micah and Lucas would have a heart to heart, father and son like discussion. That we would get scenes like that as this would be the last time we are sadly seeing any of these characters. Nothing like that happens in the episode and, in fact, it is pretty run of the mill. I would have expected a HUGE plot, like maybe Lorrie gets kidnapped, Lucas and Mark go to save her, Mark takes his rifle and stops the kidnapper by injuring but not killing him, he kisses Lorrie upon saving her and maybe Micah and Lucas have a heart to heart about how Mark has grown up and then maybe Lou moves on to another town but not before she has a big scene with Lucas and they also kiss. Then one final iconic shot of Lucas and Mark, riding off together on separate horses, side by side into a sunset. Something like that.Anyone else surprised with how abruptly the series ended?
That's the way it was in television. Advance knowledge of cancellation was not a given. One minute your show was there and the next - phfft!One of the first shows to have an actual wrap-up was Perry Mason. The network and the producers decided the ninth season would be the last and they went out with The Case of the Final Fadeout."If this is music, what's that stuff Cole Porter writes?"
Thanks to both of you for replying. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I had heard Connors didn't like that the show wasn't allowing Mark to mature and also that he wanted to do other things and that the ratings had dropped with each season.I was really more wondering at the seeming suddenness of it all and why the show wasn't actually given a definitive series finale, more like what I described, where the characters got a proper send off and the audience has a chance to say goodbye. I guess it wasn't a universal given back then for shows to end that way like it is now.On another note: Was Lou unpopular? I am 33 years old so obviously was not around for the series' first run but I had thought that Patricia Blair was fairly popular with the viewers. Obviously, she was the polar opposite of Milly's character. Where Milly was sweet, shy and sensitive, Lou was a tough Irish lass and wasn't afraid of getting in your face. She was also pretty forward when it came to romantic situations. Milly obviously was not that way. I felt like Milly was the feminine yin to Lucas' masculine yang where as Lou was more like the female version of Lucas, kind of like the dynamic John Wayne had with Maureen O'Hara. I didn't think that either one was necessarily liked or more disliked than the other. They both brought different strengths to the show. Obviously, Lucas tells Milly how he feels and gives her a passionate kiss in "Milly's Brother". There is another episode (I don't know the name) where Lou and Lucas come back together from a carriage ride and there is hay all over Lou's hair and they are giving each other very wry looks. It was certainly implied that more had gone on between them then a simple ride. Also, the episode where Mark is temporarily paralyzed, Lou is willing to die with Lucas and Mark. They are such a family in that episode and she is doing absolutely everything within her power to get Mark's feelings back in his legs. Anyway, point is, not sure it is fair to say that Lou contributed to the show's demise but I could be wrong because I did not watch The Rifleman when it originally aired.
You also have to look at the filming situation of each episode. The first few years they were making like 40 episodes a season. That is 40 weeks out of 52 weeks a year. That is pushing episodes out like cookie-cutter broadcasts. The actors usually got off a few weeks for Christmas and then had to be back at it. They got holiday weeks off but otherwise, Connors and Crawford had to be at the studio till the summer break. Note- that is why Paul Fix many times away from North Fork. He had a contract where he did not work as much as Connors and Crawford so that is why he is absent from many of the episodes.>The last year they only did 26 episodes with much more off time for Connors and Crawford who was doing concerts. Four star production wanted Connors for a sixth season but he sign a big dollar contract with Revue saying five years was long enough and wanted new experiences with the 'Arrest and Trial' series.
Yeah, I understand the shooting schedule was brutal back then. If you watch Cheyenne, you may notice Clint Walker has a stunt double for scenes as simple as riding a horse and even, I think one time, crossing a street (or something equally ridiculous). But when I looked into it, Clint was being subjected to an insane shooting schedule, regularly shooting from 6 am to 2 am. I guess I can understand how that would wear anyone out!I have not heard of Arrest & Trial, I will look that up. I was misinformed, I thought Connors did Branded after The Rifleman ended. I guess that came later.But yeah, the point is, didn't all those Westerns back then have crazy shooting schedules? I'm sure it got kind of old for the actors but The Rifleman was hardly unique in that.I definitely get that it was a confluence of factors that led to the show's end: airing opposite I Love Lucy, declining ratings, Lou Mallory's character (I was wrong! Upon further research, she seems to be really unpopular with Rifleman fans. Kind of disappointing. But when you think about it, Milly was in 17 episodes over 2 seasons and Lou was in every single episode in Season 5. People probably thought it was overkill.), Mark's growth spurt and the show not allowing him to grow up. I am so, so glad they never did the 60 minute color format. It would have destroyed the magic of the show to me. As Johnny said in an interview, Less is more. He is glad they didn't do it either.And yeah, Johnny was all over the place touring at that time. I believe his Rumors LP was out during the last season of the show.Thanks everyone for the replies. I now understand that most shows back then didn't get an official wrap up. And honestly, the more I think about it, the more "Old Tony" was a great ending. Tony was basically what Lucas could turn into once Mark moved off the ranch, married and had his own children and Micah passed away: a bitter, old recluse, shut off from everyone (this is assuming he and Lou never tied the knot which I don't believe they would have). Tony was a caution to Lucas not to go down that road and that he had to accept that Mark was growing up and would, sooner rather than later, be off on his own in the real world. You saw Mark with a possible love interest (although, gotta say, he looked absolutely terrified when Lorrie mentioned marriage), again, implying that he would be getting a girlfriend soon and later be moving off the ranch, marrying and starting a family. Lucas rescues Mark again, quite a staple of the show (although yes, I was yelling at my TV that Mark didn't think to grab a rope or branch and actually walked into the quick sand). So, yeah, in retrospect I actually think it was a great ending to the series. 2b1af7f3a8