How Well Do You Know TV Westerns?


By: J.P. Naomi

6 Min Quiz

Image: CBS

About This Quiz

Westerns have managed to stay a requisite part of American TV for decades.

A Western, by definition, is a genre of show or movie that centers around the cowboy way of life; a life that includes saloons, cowboy boots (and hats,) masterful horseback riding, and of course, gold and guns. This kind of TV genre was very popular during the 1950s and 1960s when they were airing all around the world. Eventually, classic Westerns were categorized into varied groups of sub-genres. These included comedy Westerns, space Westerns, fantasy Westerns and even horror Westerns.

Some of the most popular shows to ever grace our television screens included classic Westerns like "Lonesome Dove," "Gunsmoke" and the more modern, "Deadwood."  The baddest outlaws and quickest-draw cowboys were none other than Marshal Dillon, Josh Randall and Raylan Givens. They acted out the stories like they were real life, which some of them were actually based on.

Who doesn't love stories about bounty hunters, outlaws, ranchers and lawmen? So giddy-up pardner, and take this TV Western quiz!

"The Life and Legend of _______Earp" starred actor Hugh O'Brian, from 1955-1961.

The show was the first Western written specifically for an adult audience, rather than kids. Hugh O'Brian, who starred in the title role, was born on April 19, 1925 in Rochester, New York. He passed away at the age of 91 in 2016. He actually recreated his Wyatt Earp role for three different projects in the 1990s.


Starring Frank McGrath and Terry Wilson, "________ Train" was on its way from post-Civil War Missouri to California.

The show was actually inspired by the John Ford film, "Wagon Master" about a Mormon wagon train in Utah. "Wagon Train" premiered in 1957 and ran 284 episodes through 1965.


In the 1957 series "Maverick," Bret and Bart are well-dressed _________.

Actors James Garner and Jack Kelly star as big poker players (with unusually high moral standards) from Texas, in "Maverick." The show aired from 1957 - 1962.


A man referring to himself as "Paladin" can be found in which famous TV western?

"Have Gun - Will Travel" debuted on CBS and aired from 1957 - 1963. It was one of the few TV shows to spawn a popular radio series as well, which aired in 1958. Normally, radio series are precursors to television shows, not the other way around.


Gil Favor is the trail boss of a continuous cattle drive in one of the most popular TV westerns of all time, called:

The show followed the trials and tribulations of cattle drivers in the 1860s. "Rawhide" ran from 1959 - 1966 and featured Clint Eastwood and Eric Fleming among the cast. It was produced by the same man that produced early episodes of "Gunsmoke."


"Bonanza" followed the adventures of Ben _______ and his sons while running their ranch and supporting their community.

"Bonanza" ran for 430 episodes from 1959 - 1973. This makes it the second-longest running TV Western in United States history.


What is the name of the Western in which two Secret Service agents work for the government in the Old West?

Starring actors Robert Conrad and Ross Martin, "The Wild Wild West" ran 104 episodes from 1965 - 1969. It was technically a science fiction Western, where Jules Verne-esque technology was used to fight crime in the mid 19th century.


The Cannon family ran this ranch in the Arizona Territory of the 1870s:

"The High Chaparral" was created by David Dortort. Starring Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell, it ran from 1967-1971. The show had dozens of guest stars over its run, including: Dennis Cross, Bruce Dern, Barbara Hershey and Ricardo Montalban.


"The Big Valley" followed the adventures of the ________ family in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

The location was based on the historic Hill Ranch, near Stockton, California. However, if you want to visit, you'll need scuba gear. The ranch was flooded by the Comanche Reservoir, and all that's left is a sign describing the ranch. "The Big Valley" debuted in 1965 and ran for 112 episodes until 1969.


This famous Western was the story of a Civil War veteran who made a new living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s:

Steve McQueen starred as a Civil War vet who carried a sawed-off rifle in his holster. The show was a spin-off the show, "Trackdown."


This show followed the adventures of a Wild West rancher wielding a customized rapid fire Winchester rifle, and his son:

"The Rifleman" starred actor Chuck Connors as a rancher, and actor Johnny Crawford as his son. It was one of the very first mainstream TV shows that showed a single parent raising their kid. The show lasted five seasons from 1958 - 1963.


When law school graduate Tom Brewster travels west to seek his fortune, his lack of cowboy abilities earns him the nickname, ________.

Will Hutchins stars as Sugarfoot in the series of the same name. It debuted in 1957 and aired 69 episodes until 1961. Despite sharing a name and general Western them, the television show was not a remake of the 1951 film, "Sugarfoot."


This was the story of the life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the 19th century Midwest:

One of the most beloved family Westerns of all time, "Little House on the Prairie" was created by Blanche Hanalis, debuted in 1974, and aired through 1983. It was based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote about her life as the child of pioneers.


This black and white Western, featuring Clint Walker, was the first hour-long Western series on television:

"Cheyenne" was directed by Irving J. Moore and ran for seven seasons, beginning in 1955 until 1963. Besides being the first hour-long Western, it was the first hour-long drama series (with a continuous story line and characters) that lasted more than a single season.


What was the name of the Western featuring Marshal Matt Dillon in Dodge City?

"Gunsmoke" premiered as a one-hour TV show in 1955. It ran 635 episodes for 20 years, ending in 1975. Before it was a TV show, it was a radio show.


What is the only thing a Shaolin Monk has to protect himself as he roams the American West?

"Kung Fu" was a popular American western which debuted in 1972. Each of the 63 episodes was one-hour long. In what is seen these days as a bit of a casting faux pas, the half-Chinese lead was played by the entirely white actor, David Carradine, made-up to look ethnic. The younger version of the character was also played by a non-Asian actor.


Which famous actress played the role of Dr. Quinn in "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?"

Jane Seymour portrayed Dr. Quinn from 1993-1998. She was born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg in London, England in 1951. The show was mostly filmed on the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, California. The set, which was open to the public, was mostly destroyed by the Woolsey fire.


This Western is the story of Dan Troop, who is offered the job of town marshal following the murder of the previous one:

Starring John Russell, Peter Brown and Peggie Castle, "Lawman" debuted in 1958 and ran 156 episodes until 1962. There was also a "Lawman" comic that ran at the same time as the show.


The Shiloh Ranch featured in the TV western, "The Virginian," was located in __________ Territory of the 1890s.

Starring Doug McClure, James Drury, and Lee J. Cobb, "The Virginian" debuted in 1962. It was the very first television series that ran for and hour and half, including commercials. It was also the third longest running Western on television.


What was the name of the satirical sitcom about US soldiers and American Indians in the Wild West of the 1860s?

"F Troop" debuted on September 14, 1965 in black and white. Its second season aired in color! The show relied on slapstick and situational comedy, but also leaned heavily into racial stereotypes about Native Americans as a way to get laughs.


What was the name of the Western which portrayed a young Confederate Army veteran named Johnny Yuma?

Johnny Yuma was an aspiring writer. He was portrayed by actor Nick Adams. The production company that made the show usually produced game shows.


Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were outlaw cousins in this famous western of 1971:

"Alias Smith and Jones" starred actors Pete Duel and Ben Murphy. The show was created by Glen A. Larson. When actor Pete Duel died by suicide while in production, the network immediately (as in the next day) recast the character and started re-shoots. They were seriously criticized by the press for this choice.


Set in the 1870s and 1880s, __________ followed the adventures of Dale Robertson as special agent, Jim Hardie.

This series was influenced by the biography of Wells Fargo detective, Fred J. Dodge. Dodge worked as an undercover detective in the West the 1870s. It was there that he became good friends with Wyatt Earp.


"Cimarron City" was a one-hour western starring George _________ from 1958-1959.

Despite taking place in Oklahoma, the show was mostly filmed in Chatsworth, California. George Montgomery, the star, was born on August 29, 1916 in Brady, Montana. He was once married to Dinah Shore.


"Branded" starred actor Chuck Connors as US Army Cavalry Captain Jason ________ in 1965.

The show is about the life of McCord after he's been unfairly court-marshaled. "Branded" aired on NBC from 1965 through 1966. Before he was in branded, Chuck Conners was in the long-lived Western, "The Rifleman."


"Laramie" featured the _________ brothers and a drifter named Jess.

"Laramie" starred John Smith and Robert Fuller. In it, they came together to run a stagecoach stop after their dad was murdered. The show had dozens of guest stars over its run.


"26 _______" was a TV western about the Arizona Rangers who were commissioned in 1901 by the Arizona Territory legislature.

The show was based on real life incidents that the Arizona Rangers dealt with. The Rangers were only around for eight years, from 1901-1909. "26 Men" debuted on October 15, 1957 and ended on June 30, 1959 after 78 episodes.


Zorro's real name was ______ Diego de la Vega.

"Zorro" debuted in 1957 and ran for 82 episodes until 1959. The show (and it's catchy theme song) were so popular with kids that there was an uptick of children drawing "Z" graffiti on school properties in the U.S.


Set on the Mexican border, ________ starred Neville Brand, William Smith, Peter Brown and Philip Carey as Texas Rangers.

While definitely a Western, the show had some comedy in it, which made it somewhat atypical compared to other Westerns of the time. It also wasn't enough like a sitcom to be considered one, so it fell into a genre no man's land. "Laredo" debuted in 1965. It aired 56 episodes over the course of two years.


Actor Wayde Preston starred as government agent Christopher __________ in a popular Western bearing his last name.

"Colt .45" was the name of the television series. It aired on ABC from 1957-1960 and was based on the film with the same name. The TV show was also known as "The Colt Cousins."


This show was about a skilled gunfighter, named Vint Bonner, who preferred peaceful resolutions whenever possible:

It was based on the radio series, "The Six Shooter," and the lead character's name was originally Britt Ponset. Starring John Payne as Vint Bonner, "The Restless Gun" aired on NBC between 1957 and 1959 for 78 episodes.


What was the theme song from "The Gene Autry Show" from 1950-1956?

Written by Gene Autry and Ray Whitley, this song was released in 1939. It was originally written for the film, "Border G-Man."


"Bronco," which aired on ABC from 1958-1962, starred this famous actor:

Ty Hardin was born Orton Whipple Hungerford, Jr. on January 1, 1930 in New York City. He has been married eight times!


What was the name of Roy Rogers' sidekick in "The Roy Rogers Show?"

Pat Brady was born on December 31, 1914 in Toledo, Ohio. He was actually born as O'Brady but dropped the "O" somewhere along the way!


What was the name of "The Range Rider's" partner?

Dick West was portrayed by actor Dick Jones. Jones was born Richard Percy Jones in 1927. The show, "The Range Rider" was broadcast in the United States, and later in England and Australia.


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