The 20 Best Classic TV Western Series From The 50s And 60s


“It’s like the Wild West, the internet,” said comedian Steven Wright. “There are no rules.” Remember Zorro and The Lone Ranger? What about the iconic shootout in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp or the Ponderosa ranch from Bonanza? Some of my favorite TV Westerns of all-time!

Let’s take you back to the Wild West with the best Classic TV Western series from arguably the two best decades the U.S. has ever experienced: the 50s and 60s.


1. Daniel Boone


Daniel Boone was a follow-up to the Davy Crockett series brought to you by Walt Disney way back when and featured adventures of the explorer Daniel Boone in the 1770s.

NBC was where the series aired for six seasons with 165 episodes.


2. Sugarfoot


Sugarfoot shares the story of law school graduate Tom Brewster. He has a lack of cowboy skills that earn him the nickname “Sugarfoot,” (sort of like “Tenderfoot” but he keeps on trying in the wild west.

The series started in 1957 and ran for four seasons and 69 episodes.


3. The High Chaparral

The High Chaparral is about a High Chaparral Ranch in Arizona, run by the Cannon family who wants to raise cattle against the wishes of the locals.

The western aired in 1967 and for four seasons and 97 episodes before getting canceled.

4. The Roy Rogers Show


The Roy Rogers Show was about ranch owner Roy Rogers, his wife Dale Evans and the Eureka Cafe in the town of Mineral City.

The western series only had one season and 23 episodes on NBC starting in 1951.


5. The Lone Ranger


The Lone Ranger was about a man in a black mask (George Trendle) dedicated to helping others as he rode on his horse across the wild west accompanied by his best friend Tonto, played by Jay Silverheel.

The series, packed with gunfights and streets brawls and upholding the slogan “Truth and Justice,” ran for 13 seasons on NBC beginning in 1949.

The Lone Ranger was about a man in a black mask (George Trendle) dedicated to helping others as he rode on his horse across the wild west accompanied by his best friend Tonto, played by Jay Silverheel.

The series, packed with gunfights and streets brawls and upholding the slogan “Truth and Justice,” ran for 13 seasons on NBC beginning in 1949.

6. The Wild Wild West

Pinterest / TV Westerns

The Wild Wild West was just that — a story of two Secret Services agents working for the government in. They often used funny and cool gizmos and gadgets.

The action-packed, science fiction western started in 1965. It continued for four seasons and had 104 episodes.

7. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp


The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp is about a guy who uses his huge pistols and many sidekicks to enforce the law — featuring a famous shootout at the location known as the O.K. Corral.

The series began in 1955. It went on for six seasons and 227 episodes.

8. Zorro

Zorro tells the tale of the masked swordsman Don Diego de la Vega who opposes corrupt tyrants in Spanish California under the identity of Zorro.

The western aired in 1957. It was canceled after three seasons and 82 episodes.

9. Laramie / TV Westerns

Laramie takes place in the 1870s in Wyoming where Slim Sherman and his brother Andy try and run their father’s ranch after he died. The brothers run a stagecoach station near Laramie with their friend, Jess Harper.

The series, which highlighted the importance of friendship, broadcasted for four seasons and 124 episodes starting in 1959.

10. 26 Men


26 Men told the true stories of rangers in Arizona around 1900.

It began in 1957 but only lasted for two seasons — however, there were a whopping 78 episodes.


11. The Big Valley


The Big Valley was about a wealthy American ranch family in California in the 1900s. Lee Majors and Barbara Stanwyck starred in this series which featured many harsh realities for viewers to relate to, despite the family’s huge fortune.

The drama started out in 1965 on ABC and lasted four seasons.

12. Maverick

Maverick, starring James Garner as Bret Maverick and Jack Kelly as his brother Bart, was about a family of gamblers who also used guns and had some fun with women.

The series aired from 1957 to 1962 on ABC during the evenings.

13. Cheyenne / TV Westerns

Cheyenne takes place after the Civil War and focuses on the adventure of Cheyenne Bodie, who roams the west picking fights, beating up bad guys and courting women.

The western aired in 1955 and went on for a while — seven seasons and 108 episodes.

14. Have Gun, Will Travel


Have Gun, Will Travel was a western drama about a hired gunman named Paladin, played by Richard Boone, from San Francisco and his misadventures.

It was action-packed and aired on CBS starting in 1957 and went on for six seasons.

15. Wagon Train


Wagon Train aired in 1957 but was born from the film Wagon Master in 1950. The lead was Major Seth Adams, played by Ward Bond and then replaced by John McIntire. After the cast change, the show went downhill.

The western drama was about a group of American settlers and travelers and was canceled after eight seasons.

16. The Virginian


The Virginian (written by True Boardman) is a western series about the events and reported stories that occurred at the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming, which went through many owners, but a man referred to as the Virginian and his associate Trampas always remained.

It aired in 1962 on NBC. It went strong with nine seasons and 249 episodes before cancellation.

17. The Rifleman

Wikimedia Commons

The Rifleman, set in the 1880s in the New Mexican town of North Fork, was a black-and-white series about a widowed father and his son who live on a ranch – the father being a good shooter with a cool, modified rifle.

It reached tens of millions of viewers and had five seasons from 1958 to 1963.

18. Bonanza


Bonanza, rated G and intended for the classic American family, was set around the time of the Civil War in Nevada on a ranch called the Ponderosa, owned by Ben Cartwright – a single father with three sons.

The near-hour-long episodes were mostly about family/community issues and the series lasted for a whopping 14 seasons since it aired in 1959.

19. Rawhide

Rawhide featured Eric Fleming and a young Clint Eastwood. It was about trail boss Gil Favor and his band of drovers taking cattle from Texas to Kansas and the misadventures they encountered.

The drama aired on CBS in 1959 and for eight seasons.

20. Gunsmoke


Gunsmoke was originally a radio series before airing on CBS, introduced by John Wayne. William Conrad starred as Marshall Dillon in the radio version but was replaced by James Arness for television.

The adult dramatic western, one of the first, went on in 1955 and lasted for 20 years with half-hour episodes at first and then hour-long ones featuring beloved characters like Miss Kitty Russell, Doc Adams, and Chester Goode.

Here’s another solid list of favorite westerns..

RELATED: 37 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About ‘M*A*S*H’ Revealed

What do you think?

Owner’s Brilliant Sign Aimed At Rude Customers, Goes Viral

Crazy New Year’s Eve Good Luck Traditions From Around The World