The Rifleman - Did they ever explain his backstory?

I’ve been watching a few episodes of “The Rifleman” on METV lately. So this guy is a peaceful rancher. He’s a widower with a (12-year old, 14?) son. How did he come to be such an expert with a rifle, and to own what is apparently a special, one-of-a-kind rifle? I looked at the entry on IMDB, no help there. Just wondering of that was ever explained, like in the pilot episode or something.

The Choir, “The Rifleman” from Chase the Kangaroo (1988)

Sorry it doesn’t answer your question but it’s a good song anyway.

I used to love that show and watched in on channel 39 in Dallas on the weekends as a wee little baby. From what I can remember, Lucas was a Civil War veteran (Union), his wife died from smallpox, and I think he became known for his rifle skills in the Indian Territories. On occasion little snippets of McCain’s past would come out in an episode.

He was a Civil War vet, which presumably explains the rifle skills. I can’t remember where he got his super-rifle from though?

I watched that show every day for years, but all I remember now is that he lived on a ranch, several miles from the nearest town (North Fork, pop. 150), and yet he somehow managed to kill two or three people a week.

North Fork, Population [del]300[/del] [del]250[/del] [del]200[/del] just ask.

It is showing on AMC every Saturday morning, from 6:00am to 10:00am.

I watched the show religiously as a kid. I have a vague memory that Lucas modified a stock Winchester himself, creating that loop lever. I had a toy (but full-sized) cap gun version of it, which had a small lever on the larger cocking lever. When flipped one way, it would catch the trigger as the cocking lever was brought back to the firing position, and automatically fire the gun, which is why he could do that rapid fire action. Flipped the other way, the gun could be fired as a cock-aim-and-fire rifle.

I had that same toy gun. You could blaze through a whole roll of caps in 30 seconds with that thing!

And you’d still have it if it weren’t for that boating accident in the bathtub. :smiley:


He was booted out of the army, branded a coward and they broke his calvary sword so all he had left was a rifle and he made the best of it with his crazy mods of the cocking system… no wait

The rifle is actually pretty close to stock. It has a large loop and a screw widget that trips the trigger as the action is closed. The large loop has been around for a while and Winchester offered it as a factory option from time to time. The screw widget is something any mook with a drill press and a set of taps and dies could put together in an afternoon. An ex-BIL made himself one and most of his effort went into making sure the geometry was correct.

Nah, Mama Plant took all my shit to Goodwill when I became interested in girls.

IMDB says “There were only four episodes ever made in which The Rifleman does not make a confirmed kill.” That’s one scary rancher.

Winchesters, in the Civil War? Would skill with the kinds of rifles they actually used in the Civil War translate to skill with a Winchester, especially that one-of-a-kind loop thing? I don’t think so.

And after getting tired of being Branded a coward, he got fed up and moved to Africa.

This doesn’t have anything to do with anything but I want to share my Chuck Connors story.

When I was about 3 he was the guest star of our Shrine Circus. My uncle was a Hadi Shriner clown and he got my family front row seats. I was a big fan of the show, and wore my ‘cowgirl’ outfit. The circus was over Thanksgiving weekend, and Mr Connors got me out in the circus ring with him and asked what I was asking Santa for. I proudly annouced ‘a talking horse’…yeah, Mr Ed was another big part of my TV schedule. He then proceeded to make up a little song about how he had never seen a talking horse and didn’t think they would have much to say, anyway.

One of my earliest memories!

It’s not too hard to believe he first learned to use a rifle in the Civil War, and became proficient with the Winchester over the intervening years.

I recall seeing the pilot. Lucas won the money for the ranch in a shooting contest. Naturally somebody took it from him and he had to shoot them. :wink: Lucas always had that rifle ready.

One of my favorite episodes is when Micah is introduced as the new sheriff. He had been shot and crippled his arm years earlier. Lucas convinced him to carry a shotgun and serve as sherrif.

Cool. I remember when Mike Connors (no relation to Chuck) came to the state fair in Alaska. At that time, he was a big star on “Tightrope”, a film noir-ish cop series in which he carried a drop gun in a holster in the small of his back. At the fair, he did a little skit with someone, where he had to do his quick draw from the back holster, but instead of a gun, he pulled out an over-sized pair of boxers. I thought it was hilarious at age 12.

I watched The Rifleman when I was a kid.

I thought he was damn mean, and went looking for an excuse to shoot someone.

Like the Lee Van Cleef clip on youtube, “Hey, Sod Buster, when I was in Yuma they talked about a Sod Buster with a bad ass rifle” etc, etc, etc.

Why didn’t he say, “Hell, take up sod bustin’. You can make a living at it, they ain’t gonna send you back to Yuma prison, when you can make a livin’ some pretty women will be interested.”

No, he just blows the guys ass away.