HomeEntertainment‘The Rifleman’: Top 5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

‘The Rifleman’: Top 5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

by Kayla Zadel
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

The classic western series, “The Rifleman” captivated audiences with cowboys and the wild west. The series ran for five seasons from 1958 to 1963.

Chuck Connors starred as the esteemed cowboy Lucas McCain. Johnny Crawford plays Connors’ son, Mark McCain. “The Rifleman” was set in the 1880s in the fictional town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory.

The hit western series was extremely popular and many fans tuned in each week to watch the 30-minute, black-and-white episodes. However, there might be a few things that viewers of the show might not know.

‘The Rifleman’ was First Series to Show Single Parenting

Chuck Connors’ character, Lucas McCain was a pioneering parent on the TV series. Lucas is widowed and left with a young son, Mark, played by Johnny Crawford. Mark is 6-years-old when his mother, Margaret, dies.

The father and son move from Enid, Oklahoma to New Mexico. He teaches him life lessons and is sometimes a little too over-protective.

Meet Chuck Connors, the Professional Athlete

Before Chuck Connors took on his role in “The Rifleman,” he was playing sports professionally. In 1946, the Brooklyn native was on the first-ever Boston Celtics team, according to MeTV.com. Connors also holds the record as the first professional basketballer to shatter a backboard.

Thereafter, he left the squad to join his boyhood heroes, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Additionally, in 1951 Connors joined the Chicago Cubs as a first baseman. What’s more, the actor was drafted by the Chicago Bears.

Rifle Used in Program Is Not Time-Period Correct

Even though “The Rifleman” depicted some true-life scenarios, there were a couple of things that weren’t accurate. Take the rifle prop for example.

McCain always had a rifle with him, hence getting the moniker the rifleman. However, the gun that was used by Connors in the series is from 1892. But the show takes place in the 1870s and 1880s.

Johnny Crawford Records Five Top 40 Hits

Not only was Johnny Crawford talented on screen, but he also had a voice that people loved. Crawford grew up and stole the hearts of many teens with his songs. The biggest hit of his career was “Cindy’s Birthday.”

The string-heavy hit rosed to No. 8 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in 1962.

Sammy Davis Jr. Guest Stars on TV Show

The famously known Rat Pack member, Sammy Davis Jr. takes on the role of Tip Corey in the fourth season. His character is a sharpshooter, just like McCain.

Corey was known for his shot accuracy.