The Rifleman

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Something for the weekend.  With all the recent furor over the Second Amendment, I thought the theme from one of the my favorite childhood friends, The Rifleman, was appropriate.  Broadcast from 1958 to 1963 The Rifleman featured Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, the eponymous star of the show, and his son Mark McCain, portrayed by Johnny Crawford.  Unlike almost all westerns of the time, the title character, Lucas McCain, was not a sheriff or gunfighter, but rather a widowed farmer raising his son near the town of Northfork.  Each of the shows was a skillfully done morality play focusing on the human condition.  Many of the episodes had plots drawn from the Bible and placed in a western setting.  McCain’s modified Winchester 73 almost always came into play, but simple gun play and violence was not the focus of the series.

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The child of immigrants from Newfoundland, Chuck Connors was a conservative Republican and campaigned with many Republicans including Ronald Reagan.  A Catholic, he had the common sin in Hollywood in going through three failed marriages.  He was reconciled to the Faith prior to his death and is buried in San Fernando Mission Cemetary in Mission Hills, California.

12 Responses to The Rifleman

  • I wonder if re-runs of TV shows like the Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian, etc. will be banned under the pretext that they promote gun violence, but the sex and bloody violence TV shows we currently have will be promoted even more under the pretext of freedom of speech. Our children will soon see homosexual bedroom scenes just as they already see heterosexual bedroom scenes (it has already happened on that new TV show last year called “Revenge”). But morality plays that deal justice to the wicked (which always happened on the Rifleman) will be banned.

  • The Rifleman was a wonderful show and I still watch it every chance I get. The same goes for Gunsmoke and Bonanza. In those days many TV shows actually helped parents raise kids.

  • Making these old TV series available on the internet, and doing what I and so many others have done -Throw out the ole TV Box – would be helpful to many of minds. If you don’t want socialism in your house – Throw out the ole TV Box! If you think that your children’s minds are worth saving -Throw out the ole TV Box. If you really want to help save souls – Throw out the ole TV Box!
    There is NOTHING GOOD ABOUT TV ANYMORE. Absolutely Nothing!

  • “There is NOTHING GOOD ABOUT TV ANYMORE. Absolutely Nothing!”

    Actually there are some bright spots, although I agree with you overall. I just watched on Turner Classic Movies a brilliant performance by John Gielgud as Benjamin Disraeli in the movie Prime Minister (1941). Dark Matters is a good show on the Science Channel about the more arcane aspects of the history of science. I have enjoyed the science fiction show Fringe on Fox that is closing with a two hour finale next Friday. One of my guilty pleasures is some of the Food Network shows.

  • I love Fringe. It also asks some interesting moral questions, for example: should Walter have entered the alternate universe to save the life of his alternate son Peter by bringing him into our universe to administer the cure for the boy’s illness without hope of returning the boy to the home of the boy’s own universe? And I cannot help myself – Lord forgive me – but I love Anna Torv / Agent Dunham.

  • Hey, what about EWTN?! Six p.m. every Sunday, Dale Alquist and G.K. Chesterton. Hey, what am I doing here?!

  • I find much of what is broadcast on EWTN pretty unwatchable, although the Chesteron show isn’t bad.

  • I confess that I watch “The Big Bang Theory” reruns about seven evenings a week.

    Also, if the warden lets me, “Grimm.”

    Otherwise, TV is a vast wasteland.

  • Tonight there are three back to back episodes of Fringe on the Science Channel. Like the Rifleman, it has much to say about a father’s relationship with his son, and the son with his father. Interestingly, both Dr. Walter Bishop in Fringe and Lucas McCain in the Rifleman are widowers. And in the three back to back episodes last week, Walter gave an impassioned plea to a renegade time traveller to give up trying to change the past, invoking God’s sovereignty in such decisions and events. The time traveller – a NASA scientist who was trying to rescue his beloved from a car crash in the past – used all the typical atheist arguments that science is God. Walter countered by pointing out that he had gone into an alternate universe to rescue his son with much the same motives, and much the same hubris that science is God. He explaned he had created a whole set of unintended consequences from his pride. He then described that now all he wanted was absolution for the mistakes he had made. He told about a vision of a white tulip as a symbol of that absolution. Well, the time traveller went back. He placed a drawing of a white tulip in an envelop addressed to Walter in the future. And he found the car in the past where his beloved was sitting, parked, and jumped in, hugged her and allowed a large truck to smash into them, killing both instantly, thus preserving the future without change. In the future Walter eventually received the letter without knowledge of any of this because the time line was now restore to normal. He opened the envelop and saw the drawing of the tulip and took it as a sign from God that he had received absolution. And in a way, that is how God works His miracles. Oh, not by time travel (well, who knows? After all, He is God!), but by the little kindnesses and the impassioned pleas for justice and forgiveness. That’s what God wants – a repentant heart and Walter’s heart was repentant. May mine be in like manner!

    One other similarity between the Rifleman and Fringe is how gentlemanly Lucas McCain treats all women – as ladies – and how Peter Bishop (the son) treats Agent Dunham (Anna Torv in real life). They almost had a kiss once, but it never materialized. She came to know that he was from the alternate universe from which Walter – his father – had rescued him. She was going to tell him, but after Walter’s plea, she did not. They remain platonic friends, not sexual lovers (at least up to now). That is most unusual in a modern TV show, and shows that a real man is real so long as he treats a lady as exactly that: a lady.

    Lots and lots of good things that I could write about Fringe. I highly recommend it not because I am a Sci-Fi buff and a nuclear engineer (most of the science is OK – a few errors here and there that I won’t bore anyone with), but because I love Christian themes and there are a whole bunch of them in Fringe just as there were in the Rifleman (reruns of which by the way I am now watching on Fox TV).

  • PS, Donald McClarey is further ahead in Fringe episodes than I, watching them on Fox. I am seeing the reruns on the Science Channel which bought the series. So no one disappoint me about what’s going to happen! Thanks!

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