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With The Rifleman posting ABC's best ratings of the 1958-59 season, it was sure as shootin' that the popular western series would be brought back for a second season, and in the same Tuesday evening timeslot. The season opener is "The Patsy", directed by cult favorite Joseph H. Lewis, in which an outlaw band tries to take over the town of North Fork by setting up a "sucker" to bump off the town's principal protector, widowed rancher Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors). Next up, Buddy Hackett--yes, that Buddy Hackett)--appears as a tactiturn mountaineer thirsting for revenge against Lucas and Marshal Torrence (Paul Fix). 1950s film favorite Gloria DeHaven shows up in a later episode as the first of many damsels in distress requiring Luca's help. And in the superb episode "Ordeal", the bond between Lucas and his son Mark (Johnny Crawford) becomes stronger than ever as they struggle for survival under a merciless desert sun. In other season highlights, future TV and movie leading man James Franciscus is seen as the hero-worshipping son of an old bum who claims to have inherited Lucas' ranch; Sam Peckinpah makes an early foray into directing in an episode wherein a dance-hall girl hides her baby with Lucas to avoid the wrath of her unforgiving father; a pair of so-called detectives kidnap Mark and try to pass him off as the long-lost son of their wealthy client; Robert Culp of I Spy fame is seen as a young stablehand who becomes a marked man after killing a wanted gunslinger in a highly suspicious fashion; Don Grady, only a few months away from My Three Sons, is cast as an impulsive would-be murderer; and future director Paul Mazursky (Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice) plays a galoot named "Shorty" in the episode. Rated as America's fourth most popular series during its first season, The Rifleman slipped to 13th place during Season Two, a decline that its producers chalked up to the excessive preaching and sanctimonious of protagonist Lucas McCain--and the fact that there was no attractive female lead on the show. Both those problems would (hopefully) be rectified during the show's third year on the air.~Hal Erickson
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Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Father and son...Awesome!!
Posted . Owned for 2 weeks when reviewed.
Absolutely love this show!! Well written and acted....