James Drury stars as the Virginian, the foreman of The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory, owned by powerful judge Henry Garth (Lee J. Cobb), in this iconic Western series that depicted the Old West in more morally complicated terms than were usual in 1962, the year of the show’s debut. Aiding the tough foreman are cowboys Trampas (Doug McClure) and Steve (Gary Clarke).
It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more based on character and relationships than the usual western.
Season 1 Ep. 07: Riff Raff
Molly Wood (Pippa Scott) tells Trampas of the outbreak of the Spanish-American war and says she is impressed with a man in uniform, so Trampas rides to San Antonio, Texas to join the Rough Riders being formed by Teddy Roosevelt. Steve Hill and the Virginian follow, intent on persuading Trampas to return but they both end up enlisting as well despite conflicts between the free-sprited westerners and their staid eastern officers led by Lt. Drex (Ray Danton). In Cuba, when Lt. Drex is wounded, the Virginian leads a detail including Steve and Trampas to discover and decommission snipers and a hidden cannon emplacement, which they manage to do successfully. After the three soldiers return to Medicine Bow, they learn a welcome home party is going to be held in the Town Hall in their honor.
Though it isn’t remembered by many TV viewers today, The Virginian TV show was one of the most popular Westerns in its day. The NBC series ran for eight seasons, from 1962 until 1970. The characters returned in the 1970-71 season in a different format and the show was renamed The Men from Shiloh.
The Virginian series follows the adventures of a strong-willed man known only as the “Virginian” (James Drury) who works to maintain order on the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming. Other regular actors during the run of the series include Doug McClure, Lee J. Cobb, John McIntire, Charles Bickford, Stewart Granger, Clu Gulager, Gary Clarke, Randy Boone, and Roberta Shore.
It’s often been remarked that The Virginian had such high production values that each episode looked like a feature film. The 249 installments are 90 minutes apiece and were all shot in color; a rarity for its day.
Cast and Crew:
* James Drury – The Virginian
* Doug McClure – Trampas
* Lee J. Cobb – Judge Henry Garth
# Writers: Frank Price, Robert Sabaroff
# Director: Don McDougall and others
Production Company: National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Revue Studios, Universal TV
Original Air Date: 1962
Audio & Video: Mono – Color
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Filed Under: The Virginian