- 5 Seasons
The Rifleman was very successful and garnered nearly 15,000,000 viewers in its first season. The second, third, and fourth seasons barely broke 10,000,000 and the fifth and final season was not watched widely enough to have been rated. The Rifleman was set in the 1880's and dealt with common American themes of the time. Abraham Lincoln, The Civil War, and smallpox are all common episode themes. The show was concerned with the day to day lives of people in the fake New Mexican town of North Fork. The story follows a young father, whose wife died of smallpox, raising his only son on a ranch by himself with occasional guest stars staying on for an episode or two as people in need of a second chance. The father goes on adventures and is quite handy with a particular model of rifle that has been modified to shoot more bullets at a time, thus his and the show's name The Rifleman. The Rifleman was shot in black and white and had numerous guest appearances by popular figures of the day. Not all guests were walk on actors; occasionally there would be star athletes and coaches because of the series' Star, Chuck Connors, having been apart of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, an achievement held by only a handful of skilled individuals. The series only lasted for five seasons, from 1958 to 1963, the last of which kind of flopped. However, what the series accomplished while it was on the air was an exciting, down to earth, honest show. They dealt with real moral values and the extremes one man will go to maintain them. The problems they dealt with were important to the characters' lives and anyone watching the show could stand to learn a little humanity, honesty, and humility as it was taught to the young son through the father. The men he killed and the men he cared for deserved everything they got. The father seemed to carry an unyielding remorse for his actions and tried to teach his son a proper way of living. The show was still more entertaining than preachy and enjoyed moderate success.