Classic TV Westerns

moviebuff75

Supporting Actor
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Oct 4, 2009
Messages
864
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Indianapolis, Indiana
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Eric Scott Richard
I always avoided collecting this genre for some reason. I only had "The Big Valley" and "The Loner." I am now collecting "Bonanza" and "The Wild, Wild West." I don't need every western ever made, but I would like some opinions as to what I should have in my collection to make it well-rounded. I own 135 series on dvd and blu-ray, but many are sitcoms, animation, fantasy, and drama. Anyway, here are the series I am considering. Please add to my list if you want:

1. Gunsmoke
2. The Rifleman
3. Wagon Train
4. Wanted: Dead or Alive
5. Maverick
6. Laramie
7. The Virginian
 
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ScottRE

Supporting Actor
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Feb 6, 2005
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946
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New York, Planet Earth
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Scott
I always avoided collecting this genre for some reason. I only had "The Big Valley" and "The Loner." I am now collecting "Bonanza" and "The Wild, Wild West." I don't need every western ever made, but I would like some opinions as to what I should have in my collection to make it well-rounded. I own 135 series on dvd and blu-ray, but many are sitcoms, animation, fantasy, and drama. Anyway, here are the series I am considering. Please add to my list if you want:

1. Gunsmoke
2. The Rifleman
3. Wagon Train
4. Wanted: Dead or Alive
5. Maverick
6. Laramie
7. The Virginian
Out of all of those, the only one I was compelled to buy was Wanted: Dead or Alive. But really, my all time favorite western is Have Gun, Will Travel. I absolutely recommend getting the complete series.

If you actually get the complete Gunsmoke series and watch all 20 seasons, you'll earn my respect. That's one huge chunk of TV history.
 

GMBurns

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
490
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Plainville, CT
Real Name
Glenn
I always avoided collecting this genre for some reason. I only had "The Big Valley" and "The Loner." I am now collecting "Bonanza" and "The Wild, Wild West." I don't need every western ever made, but I would like some opinions as to what I should have in my collection to make it well-rounded. I own 135 series on dvd and blu-ray, but many are sitcoms, animation, fantasy, and drama. Anyway, here are the series I am considering. Please add to my list if you want:

1. Gunsmoke
2. The Rifleman
3. Wagon Train
4. Wanted: Dead or Alive
5. Maverick
6. Laramie
7. The Virginian
If you're just dipping your toe into the water, then this list is a good starting place. But I agree with Scott, you should definitely add HGWT to the list. Paladin is almost as cool as Steve McQueen in Dead or Alive!

You might want to sample a season of each of these and see what you like best, but if you get hooked on the genre, then you can't go wrong with any of these. One caveat: I love Laramie, but the prints on the Timeless releases are pretty miserable looking.
 

Blimpoy06

Screenwriter
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Jan 2, 2015
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Darin
I only had "The Big Valley" and "The Loner."
If you liked The Loner, Have Gun, Will Travel is a must. If you enjoyed the family dynamic of The Big Valley, The High Chaparral might be a good watch. And for pure western escapism as in The Wild, Wild West, I recommended The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr. from the early 90's.
 

The Obsolete Man

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Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
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Robert
The Rifleman... I keep waiting for them to release S5V2 so I can get the whole thing in one shot. The complete season 5 is a bit more than I want to pay, and I'd prefer to leave the collector's set with the big box o' junk for the real fans.

So I'll wait.

Anyway, Gunsmoke will be a trip. I've made it through the first 8 seasons so far. The first 6 are the half hour years. Those are great. Then it goes to hourlong episodes, and those take a bit to get going.

I didn't stop after 8 because I wasn't enjoying them, but those are 8 long seasons. Even the half hour years were usually 39 episode seasons. But I have them waiting for me when I'm ready to get back to them.

Oh, anyone have anything to say about Alias Smith and Jones. I'm considering ordering that. The episodes complete on the discs and everything?
 

LouA

Screenwriter
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May 29, 2012
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1,827
Location
New jersey
Real Name
Lou Antonicello
I always avoided collecting this genre for some reason. I only had "The Big Valley" and "The Loner." I am now collecting "Bonanza" and "The Wild, Wild West." I don't need every western ever made, but I would like some opinions as to what I should have in my collection to make it well-rounded. I own 135 series on dvd and blu-ray, but many are sitcoms, animation, fantasy, and drama. Anyway, here are the series I am considering. Please add to my list if you want:

1. Gunsmoke
2. The Rifleman
3. Wagon Train
4. Wanted: Dead or Alive
5. Maverick
6. Laramie
7. The Virginian
Have Gun Will Travel
 
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JohnHopper

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
1,705
Real Name
John Hopper
I always avoided collecting this genre for some reason. I only had "The Big Valley" and "The Loner." I am now collecting "Bonanza" and "The Wild, Wild West." I don't need every western ever made, but I would like some opinions as to what I should have in my collection to make it well-rounded. I own 135 series on dvd and blu-ray, but many are sitcoms, animation, fantasy, and drama. Anyway, here are the series I am considering. Please add to my list if you want:

1. Gunsmoke
2. The Rifleman
3. Wagon Train
4. Wanted: Dead or Alive
5. Maverick
6. Laramie
7. The Virginian

In my opinion, you must first watch the greatest CBS western series:​
Gunsmoke (the classic era: season 1 to 10 and the new era: season 11 to 20)​
Rawhide
 

jayembee

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
363
Real Name
Jerry
I agree with those who recommend Have Gun Will Travel and Rawhide. And The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. I'd also recommend two other Warner Bros. westerns: Cheyenne and Bronco. Two others, Sugarfoot and Lawman are decent, but not up to the level of the previous two (or Maverick). I also get a kick out of WB's 60s western sitcom, F Troop.

Also The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Branded, and The Guns of Will Sonnett.

For 80s/90s (aside from Brisco County), there are the various Lonesome Dove mini-series. The first is essential, the rest a series of diminishing returns. Also Paradise/Guns of Paradise, Legend (more comical, a la Brisco), and The Magnificent Seven.

For 00s/10s, Into the West and Broken Trail (both mini-series), and, of course, Deadwood and Hell on Wheels.

And there are three other shows that might appeal if you're willing to stretch the idea of "western". Two are modern-set crime dramas, but feel very much like westerns in tone: Justified and Longmire. The third is Wynonna Earp, a supernatural western about a descendent of Wyatt Earp with a demon-killing gun passed down from him. One of the other main characters is an immortal Doc Holliday.
 
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timk1041

Second Unit
Joined
May 9, 2014
Messages
467
Real Name
Timothy
In my opinion, you must first watch the greatest CBS western series:​
Gunsmoke (the classic era: season 1 to 10 and the new era: season 11 to 20)​
Rawhide
Yes. The earlier seasons of Gunsmoke are really good. I would also throw in Season 11, which is the last one in black & white.
 

borisfw

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
1,219
Real Name
Frank
Alias Smith and Jones was a good show. Loved the episodes with Pete Duel. He and Ben Murphy worked well together. But when Duel died and they brought in Roger Davis the show just went sour. Duel gave the show a sense of humor that Davis just didn't have. Davis was just another Ben Murphy and two of the same type just didn't work.
 

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