The BEST Episodes of The Virginian
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Sep 1, 2020
The Virginian was the very first 90 minute western on prime-time television, and is about a man, only known as "the Virginian" who served as foreman on the Shiloh Ranch (owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie) in 19th century Medicine Bow, Wyoming. James Drury starred as the title character with the likes of Doug McClure, Lee J. Cobb, John McIntire, and Clu Gulager co-starring. It is in these settings that a variety of stories, much more based on character and relationships than the usual westerns, take place.
#1 - The Small Parade
Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired Feb 20, 1963
In Coyote Wells to deliver some cattle, the Virginian, Trampas and Steve Hill encounter Martin Reese (David Wayne). Reese had lost his wife and children to smallpox, had sold his farm, and now travels giving lectures urging vegetarianism. His lectures are not received well in cattle country and when one of his hecklers is found murdered, Reese is the main suspect, is seen as a murderous loony and is pursued by a posse. On the way back to Medicine Bow the Shiloh cowboys encounter a woman, Ellen Beecher (Barbara Barrie), who knows of Reese's whereabouts. Ellen has several orphans in her care and the Virginian and crew become involved in trying to help Ellen with the children and in finding and protecting Reese from the vengeful posse.
#2 - Fifty Days to Moose Jaw
Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 12, 1962
Older cowhand Slim Jessup (James Gregory) is accussed of killing a man in Idaho and escapes east. He signs on with a Shiloh Ranch cattle drive to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. On the way the drovers are joined by a young man, James Cafferty (Bandon de Wilde), who wishes a different life than dirt farming with his widowed step-father (Frank Overton). The older Slim takes James under his wing and teaches him lessons in life before his past catches up with him.
#3 - Siege
Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired Dec 18, 1963
Trampas wins $1,000 at poker in Medicine Bow and heads to his old stomping grounds of Logan, New Mexico to repay several debts. There he has a run in with comancheros, led by Pedro Lopez (Joseph Campanella), who virtually run the town and have the town leaders under their thumb. Trampas discovers that some of the commancheros have murdered his old friends and turns them over to the Marshall (Ron Hayes) to hold for trial. However, Pedro threatens the townsfolk and they cave under and force the marshall to release the murderers. Pedro and his men then come gunning for Trampas.
#4 - Big Image . . . Little Man
Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 28, 1964
Millionaire Paul Leland (Linden Chiles) treats everyone like dirt and ends up in the desert after getting shoved off a train by a disgruntled employee. He is found and taken on by the Virginian and Shiloh crew who are driving a herd of cattle to Seattle. Leland has several run-ins with the crew as well as former employees met along the way but in the end becomes a better man for his tribulations.
#5 - Echo of Another Day
Season 1 - Episode 26 - Aired Mar 27, 1963
Sam Harter (Bradford Dillman) is released from prison and in Medicine Bow encounters Trampas, an old friend. Harter and Bleek (John Dehner) had robbed some gold bullion. Bleek had escaped and Harter was captured but not before he had hidden the gold. Trampas had refused to participate in the robbery and Harter had protected him from Bleek who was afraid Trampas would reveal their plan. Harter takes a job at Shiloh but he knows Bleek will inevitably appear. He does and a showdown ensues.
#6 - Man of Violence
Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Dec 25, 1963
Trampas' Uncle Josh (Harry Shannon) is murdered during an holdup by Wismer (Leonard Nimoy) and Judson (William Bryant). On their trail, Trampas is eventually forced to illegally enter Apache territory where the two robbers had made a gold strike. He is joined on his quest by a guide who is after the gold (Michael Pate), a woman (Peggy McCay) who is looking for her husband who it turns out is Judson, and an army doctor who is attempting to escape court martial (DeForest Kelly).
#7 - Dark Destiny
Season 2 - Episode 29 - Aired Apr 29, 1964
Steve, Randy and other hands capture two horse rustlers, Frank Conrad (Robert Wilke) and Striker (Edward Faulkner), and kill a third. They also find Conrad's daughter, Billie Jo (Brenda Scott) and she is taken to Shiloh until the court can decide her custody and the rustler's fate. There she nurses Randy Benton who has hurt his back and lost the feeling in his legs. Billie Jo is eventually forced to decide on her future by choosing between helping her father escape and returning to a life on the run, or accepting the kindnesses of the Shiloh crew which promise a better future.
#8 - Ryker
Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 16, 1964
A former law man and now hired gun, Emmett Ryker (Clu Gulager), heads to Medicine Bow at the request of Hagen (Leslie Nielsen). Hagen holds a mortgage on the ranch of Hale (Russ Conway), a friend of Judge Garth, and wants to run the rancher off the property. Being a man of some morals, Ryker refuses to become involved but when Hale is killed he is suspected of the crime. Ryker becomes friends with Trampas and agrees to help Hale's daughter Janet (Anne Helm) bring the guilty parties to justice
#9 - The Stallion
Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 30, 1964
A wild stallion escapes its owner, John Slaughter (Don ""Red"" Barry), killing a handler in the process. The animal injures itself and is found by Randy Benton who takes him to the nearby ranch of alcoholic horse trainer Charlie Orwell (Robert Culp) who nurses it back to health. Most believe the horse bad and wish to have it destroyed but Randy gets Charlie to help him save the animal and with the help of Jodie Wingate (Jenna Engstrom), they save Charlie too.
#10 - Felicity's Spring
Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 14, 1964
Felicity Andrews (Katherine Crawford), the new Medicine Bow school teacher, lives with her older sister Kate (Mariette Hartley) and grandfather Jonah (Carl Benton Reid). Everyone raves about her and the Shiloh hands, including Steve Hill, are all smitten but Felicity's heart is won by the Virginian who proposes to her. However, Felicity's family protects some secrets which eventually brings an end to the Virginian's marriage plans.
#11 - The Payment
Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Dec 16, 1964
Ryker invites the man who raised him to come to Medicine Bow after being released from 10 years in prison. When Ryker finds Abe has invited his family to join him, he knows there are problems as Shiloh makes a record sized cattle shipment.
#12 - Hideout
Season 3 - Episode 18 - Aired Jan 13, 1965
Betsy Garth investigates rumours of wild broncos in the mountains and while there she encounters a young man, Clint (Andrew Prine) and his father Martin (Forrest Tucker) living in an isolated cabin. Clint gets Betsy to promise not to reveal their presence but when Betsy is bitten by a rattlesnake he is forced to take her to Dr. Spaulding (John Bryant) in Medicine Bow, thereby saving her life and earning the Virginian's gratitude. However, Martin is a wanted man and Emmett Ryker is on his trail. Betsy must choose between her growing friendship with, and promises to, Clint and revealing the hideout to the law.
#13 - Old Cowboy
Season 3 - Episode 28 - Aired Mar 31, 1965
An older man, Murdoch (Franchot Tone), and his young grandson Willie (Billy Mumy), arrive at Medicine Bow on foot. Much to the Virginian's chagrin, Trampas feels sorry for Murdoch and offers him a job at Shiloh. Murdoch's ineptitude causes several problems, and he begins to resent his grandson's admiration for top cowboy Trampas. In the end, however, Murdoch more than proves his worth and gains the admiration of all, including his grandson.
#14 - The Showdown
Season 3 - Episode 29 - Aired Apr 14, 1965
The Virginian arrives in Monolith, Arizona to buy cattle from the Landers family but finds himself in the middle of a feud between them and the city Marshall Frome and his brother. The Fromes seem overbearing but maybe with a reason
#15 - Nobility of Kings
Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 10, 1965
New area rancher Ben Justin (Charles Bronson) is branding a calf when Trampas and Randy Benton and nearby rancher Tom Suchette (George Kennedy) arrive. Trampas politely informs the newcomer that following Stockmen's Association rules no calf should be branded until roundup but Ben says he will brand any calf found on his own land. Tom is less polite and threatens Ben if he does it again. Trampas tells the Virginian what happened so the Virginian visits the Justin ranch. On the way he notices some of Ben's cattle have broken through Justin's fence so Ben rides off when informed by the Virginian. The Virginian tells Ben's wife Mary (Lois Nettleton) that if her husband does not follow Stockmen's rules he will be denied access to the railhead to get his cattle to market and Mary tells him that Ben's young son Will (Bob Random) is her stepson. Ben returns to his ranch in the evening and has a hard time stopping himself from drinking. We learn he thinks he can not trust anyone because back E
#16 - Show Me a Hero
Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 17, 1965
In Denver, Midge Conway (Lee Patterson) visits Paul Leland (Ken Lynch), head of Leland Enterprises. Leland sends him to Eagle Rock, Wyoming. He wants that town just as he has taken others in the past and tells Midge he will have to muscle in on local Frank Colter. Trampas meanwhile is riding back to Medicine Bow when he comes upon a runaway freight wagon which he manages to stop but injures his horse in the process. The wagon driver reveals himself to be Frank Colter (John Beymer) who tells Trampas to come with him to Eagle Rock where they can get the horse treated. Trampas is surprised because Eagle Rock had long been a ghost town. At Eagle Rock the blacksmith, Bert Devlin (Mort Mills) deduces the horse has a strained tendon but with treatment it can be healed in four or five days. Attorney Keith Bentley (Leonard Nimoy) arrives and he and Frank discuss the small amount of supplies Colter has brought back. The townspeople can not get more credit and some people are leaving. Trampas ask
#17 - The Laramie Road
Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 8, 1965
Two hoboes, Harry Lightfoot (Leslie Nielsen) and Crouch (Berkeley Harris), pass a rural farmhouse where only Mrs.Clinchy (Marge Redmond) and son Timothy (Rory Stevens) are home. Mrs. Clinchy gives them some food but they want more and try and force themselves into the house. Timothy escapes through a window to get his father as Crouch threatens Mrs. Clinchy with a knife. In the Medicine Bow saloon, Deputy Emmett Ryker celebrates his birthday with good friends Ezikiah the blacksmith (Claude Akins) and bar worker Ev Clinchy (Harold J. Stone). Timothy arrives and tells his father what has happened and they all ride, along with Sherriff Brannon (Harlan Wade) to the ranch and find Mrs. Clinchy stabbed to death. With the help of the Virginian, the hoboes are captured crossing Shiloh and returned to the town jail. The two deny killing Mrs. Clincy, claiming some Indians did it, and Crouch manages to hide his knife in the jail cell. The town is outraged by the crime and there is talk of lynchin
#18 - It Tolls for Thee
Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 21, 1962
Martin Kalek (Lee Marvin) and his gang kidnap Judge Garth for ransom. The Virginian pays the ransom but the kidnappers refuse to release the Judge until they are able to escape into Idaho. The Kidnappers head off pursued not only by the Shiloh hands but also separately by a former crony of Kalek's called Sharkey (Warren Kemmerling) who is out for revenge on the criminal.
#19 - The Fatal Journey
Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 4, 1963
After she calls for the President to bring in the army to rid the badlands of outlaws, newspaper editor Molly Wood, the Virginian's love interest, is murdered by four of those outlaws: O'Dell (Steve Ihnat), Horn (John Milford), Denver (Berkeley Harris) and their ruthless leader, Colonel Calhoun (Robert Lansing). The Virginian joins a posse but while the other posse members give up he eventually locates the villains' badlands hideout. He poses as a prison escapee, joins the gang and exacts his revenge.
#20 - West
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 28, 1962
Seeking some excitement in his life, Trampas joins a groups of older cowboys (Steve Cochran, James Brown, Claude Akins) who set off to find adventure in what they still believe is the wild, lawless West. However, their outdated attitudes lead them into trouble and eventually, tragedy.
#21 - Impasse
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 14, 1962
The Virginian and crew collect wild horses in the mountains which they are to take to Shiloh Ranch to sell to the army. However, tough widower Pa Kroeger (Eddie Albert) lives in the mountains with his four sons and a daughter and believes he owns the horses. When the Virginian refuses to turn them over, Kroeger goes to great lengths to try and stop the Shiloh crew from taking the animals. Complicating matters are the facts the Kroeger sons think there may be a more reasonable way to deal with the situation and the daughter is attracted to Trampas.
#22 - The Devil's Children
Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 5, 1962
Uncontrollable 16 year old Tabby McCallum (Joan Freeman) is chastised by the Virginian for shooting a shiloh steer. In retaliation she tries to burn down the Shiloh barn but is accidentally shot by a Shiloh hand, Sam Hicks (Charles Aidman). Tabby's brother Bruce McCallum (Carl Reindell), who is from the same mould as Tabby, claims she was deliberately shot while her father, Tucker (Charles Bickford), thinks her boy friend, Dan Flood (Bert Brinckerhof), started the fire. The result is a spiralling series of events which eventually lead to murder.
#23 - Brother Thaddeus
Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 30, 1963
Former n'er do well Willie Caine (Albert Salmi) is now a monk, Brother Thaddeus. He is involved in establishing a mission and boy's school on property owned by Judge Garth and Trampas and Steve Hill are helping to build the mission. A gang, including a former crony of Thaddeus', robs the train and Sheriff Abbott (Ross Elliott) locks him up as an accomplice. Thaddeus manages to escape and with the help of Trampas sets out to track down the gang and exonnerate himself.
#24 - To Make This Place Remember
Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 25, 1963
Judge Garth is convinced to go to Arapaho, Wyoming, by Roseanna Dobie (Joan Blondell), an old friend. Her son is dead and although it is claimed he had died when thrown off a horse, actually, an old friend of the Judge's, rancher/lawyer Frank Sturgis (John Dehner), had led a group of 13 men who had lynched John Dobie for allegedly beating to death a young woman who had rejected his advances. Roseanna (Joan Blondell) claims her son's innocence and demands his name be cleared by an ""after the fact"" trial. To clear their names and consciences, the Judge manages to get Sturgis to be the prosecutor and to participate in a ""trial"" with the 12 others involved in the lynching, including the dead girl's father, as the jury and the Judge as defence attorney.
#25 - Rope of Lies
Season 2 - Episode 25 - Aired Mar 25, 1964
A beautiful woman, Alva Lowell (Diana Millay), arrives in Medicine Bow having just bought the Lazy K Ranch and manages to hire a reluctant Steve Hill to be her foreman. A former business partner of Alva's, Jess Carver (Peter Breck), arrives and is killed by Steve, apparently in self-defence. However, Steve is arrested and must go to trial defended by Judge Garth's friend, lawyer Ebberly Packis (Paul Fix).