The BEST Episodes of How the West Was Won

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Network: ABC (US)

Family Macahan's is the story of the white man's conquest of the American West, which we follow through family Macahan valiant struggle for survival. It is the story of mountain men who went west to explore the world beyond the next river bend, the fur trappers who nearly extinct buffalo herds, the gold graves searching for El Dorado, about peasants who became wealthy landowners and the simple people who were on the run. There is also a story about the American Indians. Brave and fearless, but hopelessly outnumbered, these primitive people were the ultimate losers in the battle for land in the west.

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#1 - Interlude

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 26, 1978

Luke's attempt to foil the Flint gang's gold robbery scheme doesn't go as planned. Zeb rescues a woman from two hide-cutters and is surprised to find a love from his past. When a certain guest arrives for Laura's wedding, second thoughts arise. Jessie fights for her life after being stung by a swarm of bees.

star 7.69
16 votes
Orville Gant

#2 - Orville Gant

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Mar 5, 1978

With the sheriff's son held hostage by Flint, the robbery goes forward, leaving two men dead. Jessie's condition worsens as the doctor can't help her. Zeb's and Beth's accounts of her rescue come under suspicion by authorities, causing her to leave abruptly, with her leading Zeb to a mountain cabin.

star 7.68
19 votes
Writers: Calvin Clements, Earl W. Wallace, Howard Fast, John Mantley

#3 - Amnesty

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Mar 12, 1978

Zeb learns Beth's husband is supposedly a dead, guilt-ridden Army hero involved in a military massacre. As Jessie nears death, Zeb decides to take her to an Arapaho medicine man - with a skeptical Luke and Josh in close pursuit.

star 7.50
12 votes
Writers: Calvin Clements, Earl W. Wallace, Howard Fast, John Mantley
Bowie John Christie

#4 - Bowie John Christie

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 20, 1977

Zeb must make the hardest choice in his life when attempting to save the life of his friend who has been taken captive by the Indians. Luke realizes that he can not stay with the Simonites after more trouble has erupted and the consequences are horrible when Erika decides to follow him. Meanwhile, back on the farm, the rest of the family finds itself in the midst of an Indian tribal war. And at the same time Captain Grey, now turned bounty hunter, continues to search for Luke.

star 7.47
17 votes
Mormon Story

#5 - Mormon Story

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Feb 19, 1978

Zeb sides with the Sioux after the Russian incident triggers a war - and the clash leads to a great leader's sacrifice. Luke's feelings for Hillary Gant intensify, but when her father learns of Luke's past, he asks Luke to leave. Laura accepts a marriage proposal, while Luke finds himself forced to join a thieving band of ex-Confederates.

star 7.44
16 votes
The Slavers

#6 - The Slavers

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired Apr 23, 1979

star 7.33
6 votes
Directors: Joseph Pevney
Writers: Dick Nelson (I)
The Innocent

#7 - The Innocent

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Feb 12, 1979

Josh is friends with Cora Johnson and her children, who are operators of a ferry service. In this way he becomes embroiled in a dispute over ferry operations, and the conflict takes an unpleasant turn when capital borrowings by Cora's retarded son is accused of murder.

star 7.22
9 votes
Directors: Alf Kjellin
Writers: Ray Goldrup
Provost Marshal

#8 - Provost Marshal

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Feb 6, 1977

Luke is on the run from Captain Grey who wants to arrest him for deserting from the Union Army. Luke gets shot when trying to prevent some men harassing a woman and is later taken care of by a group of Simonites. Zeb searches for Luke so the family can continue the journey towards Oregon.

star 7.17
53 votes
The Gunfighter

#9 - The Gunfighter

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 15, 1979

Rancher Henry Coe hires a professional gunman to drive the Macahans off what he considers to be his property. Frank Grayson ingratiates himself with the Macahans, but Josh recognizes him as the gunman once hired to kill Luke.

star 7.17
12 votes
Cattle Drive

#10 - Cattle Drive

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Mar 19, 1978

Jessie recovers with the help of the Aapaho, but the tribe finds itself on the brink of starvation due to the broken promise of beef shipments. Zeb and Luke embark on a cattle-herding journey across harsh flatlands, joined by contentious Indian drovers - and trailed by a young runaway.

star 7.11
9 votes
The Rustler

#11 - The Rustler

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 22, 1979

Jessie is blindly in love with a handsome young stranger named Bob, who rescues her from a nasty villain. Together they flee to a small town and finds a priest who agrees to perform the ceremony.

star 7.08
12 votes
Directors: Barry Crane
Writers: Calvin Clements, John Mantley
Robber's Roost

#12 - Robber's Roost

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Mar 26, 1978

On the journey home, the stagecoach carrying Molly and Jessie is wrecked - and a dazed Jessie wanders into the desert, where she meets the young Navajo Teel-O. Zeb and Josh purchase a cattle herd to bring back to the reservation, and Zeb hires old friend Tap Henry to serve as cook on the drive.

star 7.00
9 votes

#13 - Hillary

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 26, 1979

Luke embarks on a double mission: to win back his old flame Hillary and find the man who is suspected of murder as Luke once accused of - and to get him to confess.

star 7.00
10 votes
Directors: Irving J. Moore
Writers: Earl W. Wallace
China Girl

#14 - China Girl

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired Apr 16, 1979

star 7.00
5 votes
Directors: Joseph Pevney
Writers: Calvin Clements Jr.

#15 - Gold

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Apr 23, 1978

Luke is jailed pending his hearing, and from his cell, gives a newspaper interview that draws trouble to Las Mesas. Apaches disrupt the cattle drive. Jessie is rescued, and she and the others return home to find gold in the Machan creek - just as Deek becomes more neighborly.

star 6.89
9 votes
L'Affaire Riel

#16 - L'Affaire Riel

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Mar 5, 1979

Zeb Macahan is asked by general Sheridan to find Louis Riel so he can be sent back to Canada since he is wanted.

star 6.88
8 votes
Directors: Harry Falk
Writers: Calvin Clements, John Mantley
The Judge

#17 - The Judge

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Apr 16, 1978

Jessie and Teel-O have a fateful encounter with Teel-O's grandfather. While scouting for water, Luke comes to the rescue of Judge Rensen, who offers to seek a pardon for Luke's criminal past in Missouri. Teel-O and Jessie are stalked be would-be slavers.

star 6.80
10 votes
The Enemy

#18 - The Enemy

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 5, 1979

A by-the-book Army lieutenant clashes with the Macahans when he hunts for an Indian chief suspected of raiding wagon trains.

star 6.78
9 votes
Writers: Ron Bishop, Steve Hayes

#19 - Luke

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired Apr 2, 1979

Luke Macahan finds out that there is still a $5000 reward on his head, and to expect more and more bounty hunters as an effect off that fact.

star 6.71
7 votes
Writers: Calvin Clements, John Mantley
The Scavengers

#20 - The Scavengers

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Mar 12, 1979

The Macahans are out on a riverboat when the boat is attacked by river pirats.

star 6.70
10 votes
Directors: Ralph Senensky
Writers: Calvin Clements Jr.

#21 - Erika

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Feb 13, 1977

Zeb finds Luke with the Simonites but before Luke is strong enough to leave, Zeb must take the opportunity to find a friend who has started a vendetta against an Indian tribe. Luke has taken a liking for the lifestyle of the Simonites and especially for the young and beautiful Erika who has looked after him. He therefore contemplates the option of becoming a Simonite.

star 6.68
22 votes
Directors: Burt Kennedy
Buffalo Story

#22 - Buffalo Story

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Feb 12, 1978

Kate Macahan's sister, Molly Culhane, joins the family. A Mormon family arrives at the homestead while fleeing religious persecution, but the patriarch soon charms Laura. Zeb mediates between the Army and the angry Sioux after a Russian royalty kills a buffalo on Sioux land. Luke aids a local sheriff and meets his feisty daughter.

star 6.65
17 votes

#23 - Brothers

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Apr 30, 1978

After he learns of presence of gold, Deek bribes a land agent to seize ownership of the Macahan creek. Tap takes extreme measures to keep Zeb from learning about the rustlers. Josh arrives in Las Mesas to support Luke at the hearing and - literally - runs into Doreen, with whom he is instantly smitten.

star 6.63
8 votes

#24 - Secrets

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired May 7, 1978

A vengeful Stillman hires local power broker Francis Britten to help convict Luke. Deek moves onto Macahan land, and Tap confesses the truth to Zeb. Luke gets a mysterious visitor.

star 6.63
8 votes
The Hearing

#25 - The Hearing

Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired May 14, 1978

Luke's hearing begins and things look bad for him. Frank Grayson produces proof that Luke was a member of the Flint gang. A snooping Evans overplays his hand with Deek. Josh is framed for assault by Doreen - and his brother's plight provokes Luke to drastic action.

star 6.63
8 votes