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The Rifleman: Original Star Johnny Crawford on New Series Plans

Rifleman new cbs seriesEarlier today, we reported that CBS wants to revive the classic Western series, The Rifleman. They’ve signed Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to a script deal and Harry Potter director Chris Columbus is on board to direct the pilot episode if the project gets that far.

As fans of the old ABC TV series know, the original Western is set in New Mexico and stars former pro-baseball player Chuck Connors as tough rancher named Lucas McCain. A widower, he’s a single dad to his only son, Mark (Johnny Crawford). Lucas is also a crack shot with a Winchester rifle but uses it only when necessary.

Connors died from lung cancer in 1992 but Crawford is still active in the industry. He continued to act when the show went off the air in 1963 and currently focuses on music. He’s a singer and leads the California-based Johnny Crawford Orchestra which specializes in vintage dance music.

Crawford tells us that he finds the possibility of a new Rifleman series “intriguing.” We asked if he’d be interested in being connected with a new show in some way and Crawford said, “I would love to be involved as an actor, director or music supervisor. I’ve always loved Westerns and I loved working on the original series.” He noted, “It was a great childhood.”

Crawford kept in touch with Connors up until the latter’s demise. They actually reprised their beloved roles not long before Connors died, in a 1991 Kenny Rogers TV movie called The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw.

What do you think? If the new Rifleman series gets made, would you like to see Crawford involved somehow? In a cameo role or something more permanent?


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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Mikki McBtifr September 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I would give most anything to see an update of The Rifleman with Johnny Crawford in the leading role carrying on the lessons he learned from Pa, (Chuck Connors). I loved that show and I still watch all the old reruns on METV. If only today’s youth could be inspired by the wonderful morals and compassion shown on the original show. Please, oh please! Bring it back somehow. Today’s kids need it desperately.


dudley myers August 31, 2014 at 12:31 am

I would love to see mark Mccain as the new rifleman


A. Elizabeth Blankenship August 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

The only way I see it working is have it set on the orginal McCain ranch and starting with Johnny Crawford as Mark continuing his Father’s values and ranch work with the ranch built up to be a large operation in honor of “Pa. He would be a grandgather himself with his boys, their wives and grandchildren also living and working on the ranch. Northfork would have grown and again be the center of their social life. To try to re-place Chuck would be a huge mistake or to place it in the orginal time frame would also be a mistake. There are many fans still alive of the orginal Rifleman and so doing anything but the above will never fly!!


stephen jones August 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I am 75 next month i watch the show everyday. i agree that john schinder take lead and johnny schuld play whatever part he wants be in charge of music and do some directing. please get started. the bigest fan.


Alice June 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I would love to see Johnny Craford envolved some way, but there is no one who could replace Mr. Chuck Connors (god rest his soul), he was the one an only like Mr. Crawford is too. I love them both!


John Cavey June 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I would like Johnny Crawford to play his original part of Mark McCain.
Have Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell play Lucas McCain.
I would ask Johnny Crawford who he would like to play Lucas McCain.

I think the first new Rifleman show would start out as Lucas McCain would be the new Sherriff and Mark McCain has a Family now with 2 kids and a wife and Mark McCain has the Farm now. Lucas gets remarried and settles down close to town.
This is just my opinion.


john y June 13, 2014 at 7:12 am

Whats the latest news on this. I would love to see it as long as they dont screw it up by trying to make it a 1890s sci.


john May 16, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I would love to see a remake of the rifleman. I think Robert Taylor who stars in Longmire would be a good Lucas McCain.


Robert leden April 12, 2014 at 8:20 am

Do it already and for sure use Johnny Crawford


Harv Sabin March 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Please stop talking about it and DO IT! Ihave been waiting for years for someone to
step up to the plate and bring back the rifleman series. I’m so tired of all these reality
shows that I could almost throw up. The Rifleman would always have good story lines
in there series. One thing is that I would like to see hour long programs, and who ever
produces and directs this new series will do as good as they did in the original series.
I know I can’t wait to see it come back and I know I’m not alone.
Harv Sabin


KENDALL SQUARE March 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm



Bill January 27, 2014 at 4:24 am

I would love to see a new Rifleman series. It would obviously be compared to the original series so the new actors would really have to make the part theirs. Having Crawford in the series would also be something special, even it if were only occasional. Might be interesting to see Mark as the grandfather and his son as the new rifleman with a young son.


Enoch Benson IV January 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Yes I would love to see a remake of the Western series The
Rifleman, and actor Johnny Crawford should not only be an actor in the new series but what ever he wants to be, he was remarkable back then and I’m quite sure he will be remarkable now. Make it happen I can’t wait.


Guy Jones November 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm

My love is a serious follower! Would love to get her anything concerning the Rifleman! Old or new


john pearce June 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I wou;d love to see Johnny Crawford attached to a Rifleman remake . Either way this series needs to be remade but also needs to stay true to the original . Casting and writing are the most important . hope it doesn’t get cancelled .


mark May 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

i would love to see the rifleman remade with john schinder in the role of lucas mccain


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