Chuck Connors

The Rifleman and Job


From the second episode of The Rifleman television series entitled Home Ranch, first broadcast on October 7, 1958.  Lucas McCain and his son are taking possession of their ranch outside of North Fork that McCain purchased in the first episode.  Agents of a local cattle baron, who has been using the range of the abandoned ranch, burn down the house on the property in order to force McCain to sell the land to the cattle baron.  His ten year old son Mark, in despair, says it looks to him as if the Lord is dead set against them ever owning a ranch.  McCain responds by telling his son the story of Job.  Director Sam Peckinpah loved the Book of Job, and would often recite verses from it when he encountered bumps in the road during his life.

The Rifleman

Something for the weekend.  The theme from one of the my favorite childhood shows, The Rifleman.  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 other westerns of the time, the title character, Lucas McCain, was not a sheriff, a rich rancher or a gunfighter, but rather a widowed farmer raising his son near the town of Northfork.  Each of the 30 minute shows was a skillfully done morality play focusing on the human condition.  Some 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.  The episodes were studded with appearances of actors and actresses who would go on to achieve fame, and with frequent appearances by classic Western character actors and actresses.

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