The Virginian

Show Type: Western

First Telecast: September 19, 1962

Last Telecast: September 8, 1971

Broadcast History:

September 1962 - September 1971, Wednesday 7:30-9:00 on NBC


Judge Henry Garth (1962-1966)..... Lee J. Cobb

The Virginian..... James Drury

Trampas..... Doug McClure

Steve (1962-1964)..... Gary Clarke

Molly Wood (1962-1963)..... Pippa Scott

Betsy Garth (1962-1965)..... Roberta Shore

Randy Benton (1964-1966)..... Randy Boone

Emmett Ryker (1964-1966, 1967-1968)..... Clu Gulager

Belden (1964-1967)..... L.Q. Jones

Jennifer Garth (1965-1966)..... Diane Roter

John Grainger (1966-1967)..... Charles Bickford

Stacy Grainger (1966-1968)..... Don Quine

Elizabeth Grainger (1966-1970)..... Sara Lane

Sheriff Mark Abbott (1966-1970)..... Ross Elliott

Clay Grainger (1967-1970)..... John McIntire

Holly Grainger (1967-1970)..... Jeanette Nolan

David Sutton (1968-1969)..... David Hartman

Jim Horn (1969-1970)..... Tim Matheson

Colonel Alan MacKenzie (1970-1971)..... Stewart Granger

Roy Tate (1970-1971)..... Lee Majors

Parker (1970-1971)..... John McLiam


This long-running drama was the first 90-minute Western series in TV history. It starred James Drury as the laconic, mysterious "Virginian," who never revealed his real name and who "forced his idea of law and order on a Wyoming Territory community in the 1890's"; and Doug McClure as the wild young cowhand Trampas..

The setting for the saga was the Shiloh Ranch, owned successively by Judge Garth, the two Grainger brothers (John and Clay), and finally, Col. Alan MacKenzie. Col. MacKenzie took over during the last season, at which time the program was re-titled The Men From Shiloh and the historical period was moved up a few years.

The Virginian was one of the leading "adult westerns" relying on strong characterizations by both regular cast and guest stars rather than on gimmicks. In many respects, it resembled a weekly movie feature. Many actors and actresses appeared in regular supporting roles for varying lengths of time, among them David Hartman in 1968 and Lee Majors in 1970.

The Virginian was based on the classic 1902 novel of the same name by Owen Wister, which had been produced three times as a motion picture (the most famous being the 1929 version starring Gary Cooper and Walter Huston).

An interesting sidelight was that the original pilot for this series, produced in the late 1950's, cast Drury as a Western dandy replete with shiny hunting boots, skintight pants, lace cuffs, and a tiny pistol. It didn't sell, and so was remade several years later without the foppish accoutrements - to become one of TV's biggest hits.

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