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.

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 Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

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  1. . You can buy that ( retail $975) in .44 mag.,357 mag,.45 colt at Henry.

    We in New Jersey can’t have that because it’s cool and they’ll call it a rifle to make the barrel illegally short.
    The Lord knew I meant well and saved my butt when many years ago during one stint in New Jersey, I brought in an AT9 for home dense which looks like a uzi type but was semi auto with a 25 shot clip. It was visible when a meter reader passed through the house but so illegal in NJ. Fifteen minutes later the meter reader rings the bell again and now a cop is with him. But I had since put the AT9 away from sight. They lied saying they had to check the meter again but the cop was really brought back because the meter guy knew it wasn’t Jersey kosher. The cop was smiling and talking but he couldn’t see a gun and since the meter reader might have seen a toy, he doubted probable cause and never mentioned he was looking for a gun…he just kept laughing nervously and they both left both laughing nervously.
    I then read NJ gun laws on the net and delivered the gun to NY next day for resale in a gunstore. I could have gotten five years in NJ for the AT9 itself for exceeding 15 shots and a small barrel though a judge would have gone lighter. Why a 25 shot clip CNN and all lberals ask? Two men break in your house in the dark and are firing in the dark at you…, 25 shots are not enough if you’re missing in the dark….unless you’re Shaw or Root or Reese from Person of Interest….especially Root.

  2. I loved the Rifleman. I loved it even more when I found out Chuck Connors played for the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Dodgers and was even drafted by the Chicago Bears. Add in his Catholic faith and conservative leanings and that was a trifecta as far as I was concerned.

  3. I shall pray for the Little Ferry, New Jersey priest. I left New Jersey fifty years ago. It has become a totalitarian state, as regards firearms. The priest did not show good judgment in pointing the Civil War rifle-musket at the child but it certainly seems everyone else involved over-reacted to an otherwise innocent jest.

  4. Thank you William, the priest seems the victim of his context time in the Church plus NJ madness…You did well leaving…especially given the highest property taxes on earth probably.

  5. Bill, We no longer live in a free republic, but in a police state. Prudentially act accordingly.
    That priest may go “up the river” as they used to say in old NYC. But, a gun runner that sold scores of illegal weapons to career felons, got probation from the Obama regime, which incessantly shrieks that the NRA and law-abiding Americans are the problem.
    And, the tyrants say they can’t deport 11,000,000 illegals, but will disarm 83,000,000 Americans.
    Come and take them.

  6. T Shaw,
    Read my first post to the end for police state….thankfully he lied about reason for entry and that probably kept him silent also.

  7. I moved from New Jersey fifty years ago and my oldest friend left about forty years ago, he to Massachusetts, I further north. My friend became a police officer in that almost as bad as Jersey police state. One day on a visit to our place up north, he gave me two boxes of .45 Long Colt ammunition, along with a story. There were two teen aged boys shooting a pistol at a sand bank in a rural area. My friend asked them about the gun and one boy said, it was his brothers, that they took it from his sock drawer and were just having a little fun, with no harm meant. My friend gave them a cautionary lecture about the serious trouble they could bring upon themselves if they were to be arrested with a handgun, made sure it was empty, and after taking all their cartridges, told them to put the gun back in their brother’s sock drawer, and never do that sort of thing again in Massachusetts. My friend, a good cop and an even better man passed away this year. Rest in peace Mike.

  8. Bill. I saw that. Now, I am in a position where I can emigrate from NY to America. You were in a tough situation. If it was me, I could be a convict today.
    The most dangerous weapon on earth is the gray matter giggling between our ears.

  9. Person of Interest, season 3, Beta….highway diner:
    Shaw: ” I never thought I’d love the sight of New Jersey…are you sure we’re safe here?”
    Root: ” From everything but the coffee.”

  10. The ‘Rifleman’ , good father figure. Moving on to loving ‘Laramie’ with John Smith (Slim Sherman)and Robert Fuller (Jess Harper) and Spring Byington with their quiet, understated. masculine good humor making their stagecoach way station work in the face of law breakers and other human need; and ‘The Virginian’ with Lee J. Cobb (Judge Garth), James Drury (unnamed forever the VIrginian), Doug McClure (Trampas – usually tragically unlucky at love and a loyal friend), Clu Gulager (Emmet Ryker – Sheriff’s fair and cool handed/headed deputy), and great singers Roberta Shore (Betsy Garth) and Randy (mind slipped) in stories about the good and bad battle and accountability which is lost in time now; and , last but not least, ‘Matt Dillon’ on to ‘Gunsmoke’ with – John Wayne’s endorsed James Arness (the Marshall), my man for zeroing in on right and wrong, and Doc Adams (not a ten minute wonder) taking his oath seriously and his two deputies, Festus Hagen, who could discern people and sing, and the other played by Dennis Weaver. The stars were on them with appearances as younger people – fun to see. Morality. Sobriety. Courage. Happiness and Sadness. Good or bad guys and girls. and on and on … Fearful of life today. Shows today – nope.

  11. Patricia,
    Marshal Dillon and Kitty flirted for twenty years. I’m no therapist but committment phobia perhaps.
    Here’s your man on it and he was a man who lived through his daughter’s suicide…not mentioned here though….

  12. “Gunsmoke” was a favorite of mine too. The stories were good and uplifting. Matt always did the right thing. The title caught me too. From that 1863 Springfield rifled musket, acquired at age eight, onward, I have fondly enjoyed the sweet smell of gun smoke lightly hanging in the moist morning air at the rifle range.

  13. My favorite Chuck Connors role was in Airplane. There was the scene with the No Spitting sign. Connors hockey a loogie and an explosion ensued.

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