CBS Reviving 1950s Western TV Series THE RIFLEMAN; Chris Columbus Will Direct and Produce

     November 8, 2011


CBS is developing a remake of The Rifleman, the classic Western series that ran from 1958-1963.  In keeping with the legacy of Rifleman creator Sam Peckinpah, the new series is in the hands of a trio of interesting talents from the feature world.  Variety reports Chris Columbus (Percy Jackson & the Olympians), Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry), and Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) are on board as executive producers.  Columbus is attached to direct, while Lussier and Klogridis will handle the script.

Hit the jump for more on the original series, which centers on “a skilled gunman and widowed Civil War hero (Chuck Connors) who moves to uncharted New Mexico territory to raise his young son and gets recruited by the sheriff to help protect the unruly town.”

AMC provides background on the show:


Debuting September 30, 1958 on ABC, The Rifleman set itself apart from most of the other western series of the period by giving its titular hero a family–and plenty of family responsibilities. Former pro baseball player Chuck Connors starred as Lucas McCain, a widowed westerner who moved to North Fork, New Mexico to carve out a new life for himself and his young son Mark (Johnny Crawford). All Lucas wanted was to leave the peaceful life of a rancher, but his reputation as a fast gun preceded him and he spent several episodes warding off various villains who desired to bump him off. Even so, he was determined to instill decent humans values in son Mark, forever advising the boy that violence should never be used unless as a last resort.

To put it in the context with other Westerns from the middle of the century, The Rifleman premiered just after Gunsmoke (1955) and just prior to Bonanza (1959).  Now seems like the right time to bring the Western back to broadcast television after a long period of dormancy.  Deadwood made the genre viable on TV again, Justified pulls in solid cable-level ratings for FX, and Hell on Wheels just premiered strong on AMC last Sunday.  There’s still risk (see: Cowboys & Aliens), but the appetite is there.  CBS is now in pole position to capitalize with a property that sure sounds like it has the makings of a big, broad hit.


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  • ice2126
  • William J.Howell

    another thing I would like to ask,were there any color episodes of the Rifleman made.

    • Russ

      No, there were never any color episodes produces. Had the series gone to a 6th season there was talk of color and a switch to a one-hour format, but Chuck Connors decided it was time for a change and the series ended after five years.

  • mdfaraone

    This could be really good if it’s done right. I used to love “the Rifleman” , I thought Chuck Connors was perfectly cast and had good chemistry with the boy (Johnny Crawford) who played his son, the show was a bit too “Disneyish” though, so a bit more of a harder edge for modern times would improve it.
    The most important thing (aside from good scripts) is casting the right lead.

    • VirginianFan

      I hope they do this right. There are a lot of people who don’t consider themselves western fans that love- seriously LOVE this show.

      • Rifleman Fan

        Totally agree!

  • Pingback: Harry Potter Director Chris Columbus Rebooting The Rifleman At CBS | Columbus Home Search()


    The original show was created by Sam Peckinpah. How do you go from there to the guy who directed “Home Alone” (which, by the way, is just a kiddy version of ‘Straw Dogs’).

  • Rifleman Fan

    Do it right…as in…black & white!

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  • nick petree

    country singer blake shelton should play the part of lucas mccain

    • annasydney

      Maybe Mike Dimuzio, who handcrafts replicas and Winchesters of the Rifleman’s Rifle, is a genuine trick shooter with the rifle,and probably knows more than anyone else still living about the show and Chuck, having worked with Moe and has owned some of his rifles, would be the best bet!! He has put out a couple short videos showing his skill: check out his website at . And then let me know what you think. (He also has a facebook site…) So cool!

  • Anonymous

    The Rifleman will always be a unique classic and to remake it and capture the essence that made the show great will be a challenge. Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) his height, his built ,his walk, his facial expressions during the opening, and the way he handled his rifle blows me away every time i watch it. Some classics are not meant to be remade. No one will ever be able to do it like Lucas and have the charm of Mark. The classics are the best. The bible during this era was respected and included, You would see Lucas, sitting at the dining table reading his Word. How i miss the days when it wasn’t considered wrong to include God in whatever we do.

  • Lori Snow

    To Anonymous
    I agree with you that this was a unique show. what made it the best was that the Bible was respected and included. I wish there were more shows like that today! The production companies try to put shows om the air for family and moral influence then why don\’t they put families reading the good book, The Bible! More and more people are falling away from Christianity and reading tThe Bible and look what it is doing to our culture, our lives and our country. We are not doing so well? We should know that it is wonderful to include God in our everyday life just like Lucas McCain did.

    • john coleman

      Well said Lori

  • Me

    My youngest is 7 and it’s one of her favorite shows. I used to sit on my old man’s lap and watch it. Now, my daughter sits on my lap and we watch it. Very cool if they redo it. Awesome.

  • leon

    when is the series to begin what year and date and is there more info on the show

  • leon

    when will the new show start

  • anonymous

    Some guy on you tube, did a small tribute to Chuck Connors. He has a rifleman rifle too.