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The Virginian (TV series)

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Theme song
Lonesome Tree


Also known as
The Men from Shiloh

First episode date
19 September 1962

The Virginian (TV series) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners512143p512143

Written by
Morton Fine & David FriedkinBurt KennedyHarold SwantonWinston MillerRichard JessupTrue BoardmanFrank ChaseJohn Hawkins & Ward HawkinsDon IngallsRoy HugginsLeslie Stevens

Directed by
David FriedkinBurt KennedyTed PostDon McDougallAbner BibermanWilliam WitneyJames SheldonEarl BellamyMichael CaffeyRichard L. BareJoseph PevneyBernard McEveetyPaul Stanley

James DruryDoug McClureLee J. CobbCharles BickfordJohn McIntireClu GulagerGary ClarkeRandy BooneRoberta ShoreDiane RoterSara LaneDon Quine

Theme music composer
Percy Faith(seasons 1–8)Ennio Morricone(season 9)


James drury special colt 45 pistols made for the virginian western tv series

The Virginian (known as The Men from Shiloh in its final year) is an American Western television series starring James Drury and Doug McClure which aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. It was a spin-off from a 1958 summer series called Decision. Filmed in color, The Virginian became television's first 90-minute Western series (75 minutes excluding commercial breaks). Immensely successful, it ran for nine seasons—television's third longest running western, behind Bonanza at 14 seasons and 430 episodes, and Gunsmoke at 20 seasons and 635 episodes. The series is loosely based on the novel of the same name.


The Virginian (TV series) Autographed DVD39s The Official Website of James Drury The Virginian

The virginian 1962 1971 opening and closing theme hd dolby


The Virginian (TV series) The Virginian TV series Wikipedia

When Revue Productions' popular hour-long series Wagon Train moved from the NBC network to ABC, The Virginian was proposed to replace it. From the beginning, the series was filmed in color on 35mm film.

Seasons 1 through 8

The Virginian (TV series) The Virginian TV show

Set in the late 19th century, and loosely based on the 1902 novel by Owen Wister, the series revolved around the tough foreman of the Shiloh Ranch, played by James Drury. His top hand Trampas (Doug McClure) and he were the only characters to remain with the show for the entire run. As in the book, the foreman went only by the name "The Virginian". The Virginian's real name was never revealed in the nine years the show was on the air. The series was set in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Various references in the first season indicate that setting is about 1898 – in episode 5, "The Brazen Bell", guest star George C. Scott quotes from Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol, which was first published in 1898, in episode 7, "Riff Raff", several of the main characters join Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, the volunteer cavalry unit formed in 1898, and in episode 11, "The Devil's Children", the grave marker for one of the characters that dies in the episode states 1898 as the year of death. The series circled around the foreman's quest to maintain an orderly lifestyle at Shiloh. The ranch was named after the two-day American Civil War Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee. The Virginian's white Appaloosa was named Joe D., and Trampas' buckskin horse was named Buck. As the show progressed, Trampas became the more developed of the characters, and it continues to be the role for which actor Doug McClure was best known.

The Virginian (TV series) The Virginian

Several cast changes were made throughout the program's run. In the first three seasons, the owner of the ranch was Judge Garth (Lee J. Cobb). His daughter Betsy (Roberta Shore) lived at the ranch with him, and had a sister relationship with the ranch hands. Ranch hand Steve Hill (Gary Clarke) joined in episode storylines. Randy Boone joined the show in the second season as a youthful ranch hand who played guitar and sang duets with Betsy. (In 1965 Decca Records released an LP of songs from the two singing actors.) In the episode "First To Thine Own Self" (February 12, 1964) Boone's character sings "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". This is odd in that the series was set in the 1890s but the song was written by Hank Williams in 1949. In the third season, Clu Gulager was added to the show as the restless deputy Emmett Ryker. After executive producer Frank Price was replaced by Norman Macdonnell at the end of season 3, season 4 became a troublesome time. When Roberta Shore left the cast, Macdonnell added a new leading woman—Diane Roter, who played Jennifer, the Judge's niece. When Lee J. Cobb also left the show, John Dehner was brought in as the new owner, Morgan Starr. His demanding presence and tough demeanor did not fit well with the show, nor did fans like his character. Frank Price was brought back on board for season 5 to straighten out the series. He replaced the characters of Randy, Morgan Starr and Jennifer with a few actors who brought back the family atmosphere to the show. John Grainger (played by Charles Bickford) became the new owner. Elizabeth Grainger (played by Sara Lane), was John Grainger's granddaughter. Her brother Stacey (Don Quine) rounded out this new cast. Although Price left again, the series continued smoothly in the pattern that he set. In season 6, Clay Grainger (played by John McIntire) took over ownership after his brother's apparent departure "on business." (John Grainger's abrupt series exit, due to Charles Bickford's sudden death on November 9, 1967, was never properly explained onscreen.) The sixth season also added Holly Grainger (played by Jeanette Nolan, McIntire's real-life wife) as the wife of Clay. Season 7 saw the entrance of David Sutton, played by David Hartman. However, Sutton was replaced in season 8 with a younger hand, Jim Horn (played by Tim Matheson).

Season 9

The Virginian (TV series) The Virginian Cast and Characters TVGuidecom

In season 9, the name of the program was changed to The Men from Shiloh and the look of the series was completely redesigned. Ownership of the Shiloh Ranch was changed once more, and Colonel Alan MacKenzie (Stewart Granger) took over. Granger said of his character:

The Virginian (TV series) 1000 ideas about The Virginian on Pinterest Tv westerns Doug

They had some idea of Col. Mackenzie against the West. I wanted no part of that. Englishmen were running cattle here from the beginning. The English have this thing for land; for animals and crops... I said this old cocker's out of India and the colonies: he can take the American west on his own terms.

In several countries, including the United Kingdom, the show went under the extended title The Virginian: Men From Shiloh. The opening theme song was changed to a new one, composed by Ennio Morricone, and the look of the show was changed reflecting a style similar to spaghetti westerns, which were very popular at the time. The hats worn featured much broader brims and higher crowns. The clothing was also jauntier and more imaginative and mustaches and beards were much in evidence.

These changes brought a better ranking (#18) in the top 30 prime-time shows, after the previous year saw the show slip out of the top 30 rankings for the first time ever. (It was one of only four Western series on in prime time.)

The final season operated on a "rotating lead actor" basis of the four stars, with normally just one lead appearing each week. Two of the four lead actors (Lee Majors and Doug McClure) never appeared together in the last season. The ranch itself played a very nominal part in season 9, with most scripts featuring the four stars away from the ranch. There seemed little that could save it, as the final season brought in several big guest stars to the remaining episodes. The studio and network were set on ending the series, as evidenced by rivals CBS and ABC making demographic moves away from rural-oriented shows (see "rural purge" for more information). The final episode aired on March 24, 1971, ending the show's nine-season run.

The Virginian

Played by James Drury, the Virginian was the tough foreman of the Shiloh Ranch. Based loosely on the character in the Owen Wister novel, he always stood his ground firmly. Respected by the citizens of Medicine Bow and the hands of the ranch, he was a prominent figure in Medicine Bow. In the series, the Virginian is the ranch foreman from the first episode. This way, the producers were able to establish a feeling that he had been there for a while, and thus keep a consistent story line. In the book, however, the Virginian was the deputy foreman, and only became the foreman after a promotion from the Judge. When making the show, the producers chose not to reveal the Virginian's real name, and little about his past was actually made known. This succeeded in making the Virginian an intriguing and mysterious character. The foreman worked under five ranch owners throughout the series: Judge Garth (Lee J.Cobb), Morgan Starr (John Dehner), John Grainger (Charles Bickford), Clay Grainger (John McIntire), and Col. Alan Mackenzie (Stewart Granger). James Drury and Doug McClure were the only cast members to remain with the show for all nine seasons. James Drury first played The Virginian on the July 6, 1958 episode of Decision.

Judge Garth

Starting in season 1, Lee J. Cobb succeeded in making Judge Garth a stern man with a soft side to his personality. The Judge acted as a father figure to the Virginian. Respected by all the townspeople, as well as his employees, the Judge was often looked to for matters to be settled. Lee J. Cobb left the series near the end of season 4. In the episode "Morgan Starr", it was stated that the Judge had left Shiloh to become Governor of Wyoming.


Played by Doug McClure, the character of Trampas took on a completely different personality from the character in the novel. In Owen Wister's book, Trampas was a villain throughout the story and at the end was shot by the Virginian. However, in the TV series, the producers chose to make Trampas a fun-loving and rowdy character, Doug McClure fitting the part perfectly. Trampas, a sandy-haired, rowdy cowhand who eventually settled down on the ranch, was by far the most developed character in the series. Several episodes were made detailing his past. Doug McClure, as Trampas, added a touch of light comedy to the series to counterbalance the Virginian's serious manner. For part of season 9, the Trampas character wore a thick mustache and broader brimmed hat.

Steve Hill

Played by Gary Clarke, Steve was a good friend of both Trampas and the Virginian. He was constantly getting Trampas in and out of his usual scrapes. The on-screen chemistry that Gary Clarke and Doug McClure possessed reflected their good friendship off screen, and was loved by fans worldwide. Although he was with the show at the beginning, Gary Clarke was being phased out of the show at the end of season 2, but remained as a guest star for a few episodes in season 3, before departing for good.

Betsy Garth

Played by Roberta Shore, from seasons 1 through 4, Betsy was the only daughter of Judge Garth. Early in the series, it was made clear that she was adopted, but nevertheless the Judge treated her as his own. Betsy and the ranch hands had a sort of brother–sister relationship. Trampas and Steve had a particular soft spot for her, often jumping to protect her, and looking out for her wellbeing. At the start of the series, Betsy is said to be fifteen years old. In a season 4 episode, "The Awakening," she married a minister (Glenn Corbett), and moved to Pennsylvania, reflecting Roberta Shore's departure from the show.

Randy Benton

Played by Randy Boone, from seasons 2 through 4, Randy was a young ranch hand who played guitar and sang. He came into the show as Steve Hill was being phased out as a regular cast member during season 2. Before the new Grainger family was brought in for season 5, his character was discontinued.

Deputy Sheriff Emmett Ryker

At the beginning of season 3, a new cast regular was introduced. Clu Gulager played the restless deputy Emmett Ryker. Ryker was the first cast regular not to live on Shiloh. Once a hired gun, Ryker decided to settle in Medicine Bow before he took his former profession too far. Clu Gulager remained with the show for four seasons, leaving briefly at the beginning of season 5, then returning for the rest of season 5 before leaving for good toward the end of season 6.

Jennifer Sommers

After Roberta Shore left the show, Diane Roter was brought in as the Judge's niece. At the end of season 4, along with Boone and Dehner, she left, making room for the new owners.

Morgan Starr

Halfway through season 4, Morgan Starr was brought in to run the ranch for Judge Garth because of Garth's appointment as Governor of Wyoming. John Dehner played a tough and demanding man, who was hard to become friends with, as the Virginian and Trampas soon found out. Fans disliked Dehner's character, and he left the show at the end of the season.

John Grainger

At the beginning of season 5, with Judge Garth, Betsy and Jennifer gone, a new character was brought in to run Shiloh. Charles Bickford played a stern but loving grandfather to his two grandchildren, Stacey (Don Quine) and Elizabeth (Sara Lane). Although the Virginian and Mr. Grainger never quite had the father–son relationship that the Virginian and Judge Garth had, they got along well. Charles Bickford's death on 9 November 1967 was a shock to the cast. He was replaced by John McIntire as his brother Clay.

Stacey Grainger

Played by Don Quine, Stacey Grainger, the grandson of John Grainger, lived at Shiloh, beginning in season 5. He worked alongside Trampas, and the two become good friends. Stacey's sister Elizabeth looked up to him as a big brother, and he filled the role more than competently. Quine's two seasons on The Virginian were the only ones that finished in the Nielsen rating top 15 year end rankings.

Elizabeth Grainger

Stacey's younger sister Elizabeth (Sara Lane) was the granddaughter of John Grainger, starting in season 5. Trampas, the Virginian, and Stacey all look out for her wellbeing. Elizabeth was cast as a teenage girl enjoying her life on the frontier. She loved horses, riding the range, and going to the ever-present Saturday night dances. Sara Lane left the series in season 8.

Clay Grainger

After the death of Charles Bickford, John McIntire was hired as his brother, Liz and Stace's great uncle. Clay had a wife, Holly (Jeanette Nolan), and was the ranch owner for seasons 5 through 8. McIntire had earlier taken over the lead role in Wagon Train upon the death of Ward Bond, assuming the role of the new wagonmaster. In season 9, The Virginian was revamped, and McIntire, along with Jeanette Nolan, Sara Lane, David Hartman, and Tim Matheson, left the show.

Complete cast

James Drury and Doug McClure were the only performers who appeared in all nine seasons of the series (season numbers follow cast members name).

Broadcast history

The Virginian aired Wednesday at 7:30–9:00pm on NBC for its entire run.

Guest stars

Guest stars from film and television included Claude Akins, Eddie Albert, Slim Pickens, Charles Bronson, Nina Foch, Harrison Ford, Lee Marvin, George C. Scott, Eve McVeagh, Mel Torme, and Robert Redford.

Season 1

The first episode, "The Executioners" features Hugh O'Brian. Season 1 also included Jack Warden (Episode 1.3, "Throw a Long Rope"), Ricardo Montalban (Episode 1.4, "The Big Deal"), Aldo Ray (Episode 1.6, "The Big Deal"), Lee Marvin (Episode 1.9, "It Tolls for Thee"), Charles Bickford, Joan Freeman, and Charles Aidman (Episode 1.11, "The Devil's Children"), Bette Davis, Harold Gould (Episode 1.13, "The Accomplice"), Carol Lynley (1.14, "The Man from the Sea"), Brian Keith (1.15, "Duel at Shiloh"), Vera Miles (1.19, "The Man Who Couldn't Die"), David Wayne (1.21, "The Small Parade"), John Dehner (1.26, "Echo of Another Day"), and Dolores Hart (1.30, "The Mountain of the Sun").

Season 2

The first episode of season 2 ("Ride a Dark Trail") featured Royal Dano. After that such stars as Broderick Crawford (2.4, "A Killer in Town"), Robert Redford (2.5, "The Evil That Men Do"), Albert Salmi (2.7, "Brother Thaddeus"), Yvonne De Carlo (2.12, "A Time Remembered"), Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley (Episode 2.14, "A Man Of Violence"), Leo Genn (2.18, "The Thirty Days of Gavin Heath"), Bruce Dern (2.20, "First to Thine Own Self"), John Agar, Sheree North, Dennis Holmes, and Ross Elliott (Episode 2.24, "Another's Footsteps"), and Peter Breck and Bruce Dern (Episode 2.25, "Rope of Lies") were listed.

Season 3

With season 3, a new cast regular was introduced. Clu Gulager played the young deputy Emmett Ryker. However, even with the expanding cast, more guest stars were brought on to the show. In the first episode, (3.1, "Ryker") in which Gulager was introduced, Leslie Nielsen played a corrupt land grabber. Other actors included Victor Jory and Katharine Ross (3.2, "Dark Challenge"), Robert Culp and Jena Engstrom (3.3, "The Stallion"), Steve Forrest, (3.4, "The Hero"), Barbara Eden (3.6, "The Brazos Kid"), young Kurt Russell (3.8, "A Father For Toby"), George Kennedy (3.12, "A Gallows For Sam Horn"), John Gavin (3.13, "Portrait of a Widow"), and Lloyd Nolan (3.14, "The Payment"). Following the switch to Universal Studios from Revue, Fabian Forte starred as a young man suffering from schizophrenia in Episode 3.17, "Two Men Named Laredo". Others included Forrest Tucker and Andrew Prine (3.18, "Hideout"), Jack Warden (3.23, "Shadows of the Past"), Tom Simcox (3.26, "Dangerous Road"), Rhonda Fleming, William Smith, Neville Brand, and Peter Brown (3.30, "We've Lost a Train"). ("We've Lost a Train" also served as the pilot episode for the series Laredo.). Adrienne Ellis played Nora Buckam in episode "Legend for a lawman".

Season 4

William Shatner played as an old buddy of Trampas' in episode 3.4, "The Claim". Glenn Corbett played a young minister who marries Betsy in episode 4.5, "The Awakening". Others included Earl Holliman (4.6, "Ring of Silence"), Charles Bronson (4.8, "Nobility of Kings"), Harold J. Stone (4.12, "The Laramie Road"), James Best (4.14, "Letter of the Law"), Telly Savalas (4.17, "Men With Guns"), John Cassavetes (4.18, "Long Ride to Wind River"), Tony Bill (4.19, "Chaff in the Wind"), John Dehner (4.21, "Morgan Starr"), and Andrew Duggan (4.29, "A Bald Faced Boy").

Season 5

At the beginning of season 5, three new cast regulars were introduced. Charles Bickford, Don Quine, and Sara Lane played the Grainger family. Guest stars included Angie Dickinson (5.2, "Ride to Delphi"), Aldo Ray (5.5, "Jacob Was a Plain Man"), Dan Duryea (5.6, "The Challenge"), Frank McGrath (5.12, "Linda"), Pernell Roberts (5.13, "The Long Way Home"), Tom Tryon (5.14, "The Girl on the Glass Mountain"), Andy Devine (5.17, "Yesterday's Timepiece"), Harrison Ford (5.19, "The Modoc Kid"), Michael Shea (5.25, "Bitter Harvest"), Robert Fuller (5.26, "A Welcoming Town"), Vivi Janiss R. G. Armstrong (5.27, "The Girl on the Pinto"), and Myrna Loy (5.28, "The Lady of the House").

Season 6

Season 6 featured Charles Bronson, and Dick Foran in 6.1, "The Reckoning". It then continued with David Hartman (6.6, "Masquerade"), Edmond O'Brien (6.7, "Ah Sing vs. Wyoming"), Jeanette Nolan (6.8, "Bitter Autumn"), John McIntire (6.9, "A Bad Place to Die"), James Whitmore (6.10, "Paid in Full"), Malachi Throne (6.11, "To Bear Witness"), John Lupton (6.14, "A Small Taste of Justice"), Tim McIntire (6.16, "The Death Wagon"), Sammy Jackson (6.17, "Jed"), Peter Deuel (6.10, "The Good-Hearted Bad Man"), and Michael Burns (6.26, "Seth"). In episode 6.8, "Bitter Autumn", John McIntire was brought in as the brother of John Grainger. (Charles Bickford was gravely ill at the time.) Bickford died on 9 November 1967, and McIntire was added to the cast ride-in in episode 6.17, "Jed".

Season 7

Season 7's guests included William Smith (7.2, "Silver Image"), Burgess Meredith (7.3, "The Orchard"), John Saxon (7.4, "A Vision of Blindness"), Ricardo Montalban (7.5, "The Wind of Outrage"), Susan Oliver (7.9, "The Storm Gate"), Hugh Beaumont (7.12, "Nora"), Steve Ihnat (7.16, "Last Grave at Socorro Creek"), James Brolin (7.17, "Crime Wave in Buffalo Springs"), Jennifer Gan (7.19, "The Ordeal"), Troy Donahue (7.25, "Fox, Hound, And The Widow McCloud"), and Shelly Novack (7.26, "The Stranger").

Season 8

Season 8 saw the return of William Shatner (8.14, "Black Jade"), along with Joan Crawford (8.16, "Nightmare"), Tony Franciosa (8.17, "Holocaust"), Patrick Macnee (8.21, "A King's Ransom"), Tim McIntire and Terry Wilson (8.22, "The Sins of the Fathers"), and Julie Gregg (8.24, "The Gift").

Season 9

Guest stars in the final season included Desi Arnaz and Katy Jurado (9.2, "The Best Man"); Janet Leigh (9.3, "Jenny"); Anne Francis (9.6, "Gun Quest"); Susan Strasberg (9.7, "Crooked Corner"); Noah Beery (9.11, "Follow the Leader"); James Gregory and Ricardo Montalban (9.12, "Last of the Comancheros"); Peter Breck (9.13, "Hannah"); Terry Wilson and Tom Skerritt (9.14, "Nan Allen"). Terry Wilson also appeared two other times (9.21 "The Regimental Line") and (9.23 "Wolf Track"). Randolph Mantooth (9.21 "The Regimental Line"); Robert Fuller, Burgess Meredith, and Tisha Sterling (9.19 "Flight from Memory"); Michael Burns, Ross Elliott, Alan Hale, Jr., Peter Mark Richman, and Craig Stevens (9.20 "Tate, Ramrod"); Lloyd Bochner, Howard Duff, L.Q. Jones, and Peter Lawford (9.22 "The Town Killer"). The series ends with episode 9.24, "Jump-Up".


The Virginian prevailed or held steady against its network competition, topping in its first season Dwayne Hickman's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which ceased production in 1963. In its fifth season, The Virginian faced competition from another Western, one also set in Wyoming: ABC's The Monroes, starring Michael Anderson, Jr. and Barbara Hershey as orphans trying to hold their family of siblings together in the wilderness. In its sixth season, The Virginian also rated higher than ABC's Custer starring Wayne Maunder in the title role of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Custer was cancelled late in 1967 after seventeen episodes. The Virginian had the following rankings in the top 30 TV programs:


James Drury has been an active advocate of the series since the end of the original airings. He has traveled across the United States, Ireland, and several other countries, appearing in Western-themed conventions, festivals, celebrations, news programs, and TV specials to promote The Virginian. He, along with Gary Clarke and Roberta Shore, have participated in interviews for the Encore Western Channel. Drury has also reunited with key cast members Randy Boone, Gary Clarke and Roberta Shore at these events.

In 2012, Drury also reunited with L.Q. Jones, Clu Gulager, Diane Roter, Sara Lane and Don Quine in addition to Boone, Clarke and Shore. Three events were held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Virginian. They were at the Memphis Film Festival on May 31, 2012, the Western Legends Roundup on August 16, 2012 and at the Autry National Center and Museum on September 22, 2012. During the 50th Anniversary event, INSP, the exclusive cable home to current re-runs of "The Virginian" filmed content with the surviving cast to use in the "Cast Favorites Marathon" which continues to be aired several times each year. In 2017, INSP will begin airing "The Men From Shiloh" during their Saddle Up Weekends programming block.

During a scene in the Quentin Tarantino film Death Proof, Kurt Russell's character, Stuntman Mike, tells the tale of how he got his start as a stuntman doubling Gary Clarke in the series. Quentin later stated during a radio interview that the show gave inspiration to his 2015 film The Hateful Eight.

Filming Locations

  • Western streets in the backlot of Universal City, California
  • Iverson Movie Ranch, Chatsworth, California
  • Lone Pine, California
  • Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park Los Angeles, California
  • CBS Studio Center Los Angeles
  • Spin-offs

    In April 1965, an episode of The Virginian called "We've Lost a Train" served as a backdoor pilot for the TV series Laredo.


    The cable channels of Encore Westerns, MoviePlex and RetroPlex began airing complete uncut commercial free episodes of The Virginian starting with a premier marathon in January 2010 and ending in December 2011. Seasons 1 through 8 were shown.

    The Inspiration Network cable channel began a three-year agreement to run The Virginian starting with a marathon of episodes on September 22, 2012 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show. Cozi TV, the NBCUniversal classic television digital specialty network, began airing episodes in 2013.

    DVD releases

    Timeless Media Group has released all seasons of The Virginian on DVD in Region 1. All episodes on all releases have been fully restored and re-mastered and are available in special collectors' edition tin cases. They also each include a bonus disk with interviews from the actors.

    Euro Video of Germany released Season 1, part 1, in Germany, on October 14, 2010. Season 1, part 2 was released June 16, 2011. The release is presented with original English audio with German subtitles, as well as a German-dubbed soundtrack.

    Acorn Media UK released the first season of The Virginian on DVD in the UK on April 4, 2011. The DVD also contains an interview with James Drury.

    Translations of the title

  • Germany : Die Leute von der Shiloh Ranch
  • French : Le Virginien
  • Spanish : El Virginiano
  • Swedish: Mannen från Virginia
  • Finnish: Virginialainen
  • References

    The Virginian (TV series) Wikipedia