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This episodes reviews various contributions to the western genre on early US television. Maverick (1957), starring 'James Garner' was an early success and noted for its humor. The Rifleman ... See full summary »


Steve Boettcher (as Steven J. Boettcher)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kelsey Grammer ... Narrator (voice)
James Garner ... Himself
Ed Ames ... Himself
Linda Evans ... Herself / Audra Barkley from the Big Valley
Veronica Cartwright ... Herself / Jemima Boone from Daniel Boone
Roosevelt Grier ... Himself / Gabe Cooper from Daniel Boone (as Rosey Grier)
Ernest Borgnine ... Himself
Robert Conrad ... Himself / James West from Wild Wild West
Robert Culp ... Himself
Johnny Crawford ... Himself / Mark McCain from Rifleman
Darby Hinton ... Himself / Israel Boone from Daniel Boone
Henry Darrow ... Himself / Manolito Montoya from High Chaparral
Peter Graves ... Himself
Stephen J. Cannell ... Himself
Stefanie Powers ... Herself


This episodes reviews various contributions to the western genre on early US television. Maverick (1957), starring 'James Garner' was an early success and noted for its humor. The Rifleman (1958) was created by Sam Peckinpah, later noted for his more violent take on westerns. It starred Chuck Connors as a single parent raising his young son. Bonanza (1959) with Lorne Greene as a rich rancher with three grown sons was noted for never having a permanent female character. The Big Valley (1965) on the other hand was noted for its strong female characters played by Barbara Stanwyck and Linda Evans. The Wild Wild West (1965) starring Robert Conrad was noted for it's sometimes bizarre story lines and although still very popular, was canceled in 1969 when the US government began a campaign against violence on TV. The High Chaparral (1967) had several Latino actors in key roles and Daniel Boone (1964) included many African-American actors when few were to be found on US television. Gunsmoke (... Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

25 January 2011 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

Narrator Kelsey Grammar should learn how to pronounce Western States
15 January 2017 | by goosearchboxSee all my reviews

In a documentary about "Westerns", you would think that the narrator would at least learn how to pronounce the name of the western states that are prominently featured in this genre. Maybe he should actually watch Bonanza in which NEVADA is pronounced correctly and not mispronounced as the regionally uneducated narrator has done.

This PBS documentary does a decent job of covering the genre but omits entirely some important examples of television westerns. The actors who were interviewed for this documentary are certainly not the most important or prominent in this genre. I would hope that east coast centric PBS/WNET would make better decisions on choosing a narrator who actually knows more about the western USA.

reference: xradio . us / western-states-for-dummies

P.S. the PBS "about series" link for Westerns is broken

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