The BEST Episodes of The Virginian
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2021
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 - 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).
#3 - 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.
#4 - 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
#5 - Jacob Was a Plain Man
Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 12, 1966
Jake who can't hear or speak runs after he accidentally kills a man in a bar. He lands at Shiloh where his hard work results in a job. Stacey seeing Jake can't express himself decides to teach him to read and write but puts him in danger.
#6 - The Challenge
Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 19, 1966
After a stagecoach holdup and accident, Trampas stumbles into a farm with a concussion and amnesia. The farmer and his two kids tend to Trampas but the white handled gun he is carrying puts him into danger from the law and the outlaws.
#7 - High Stakes
Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 16, 1966
When a friend of The Virginian is killed and the posse won't follow the killer out of the county, The Virginian goes alone. He tracks the killer and a woman involved to a remote outlaw controlled town but can he get them back to the law?
#8 - Beloved Outlaw
Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired Nov 23, 1966
A wild white stallion draws the attention of Elizabeth who convinces her grandfather to buy it. Against his wishes, she tames and breaks the stallion when Trampas is unable to. Her and the stallion become inseparable but a problem occurs.
#9 - 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.
#10 - 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.
#11 - The Invaders
Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 1, 1964
Rancher Mike Tyrone (Ed Begley) purhases a ranch near Medicine Bow, and moves there with his daughter Margaret (Beverly Owen), and his two sons (Rees Vaughan and James McMullen). Tyrone tries to force surrounding ranchers to sell their spreads, eventually cutting off the water from a local river that the other ranchers use to water their stocks. However, the conflict is ended by an unexpected decision of Margaret Tyrone.
#12 - 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.
#13 - 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.
#14 - 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.
#15 - 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.
#16 - 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.
#17 - Ride a Dark Trail
Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 18, 1963
The Virginian accidentally comes upon, and is held at gunpoint by, young Lon Mortison (Buzz Martin). The boy had been searching for a gambler who he thinks is responsible for his father's suicide and had already shot and wounded a man who interfered. In order to convince the boy to give himself up, the Virginian recounts in flashback how Trampas first came to Shiloh Ranch. He came seeking revenge on Judge Garth who had been forced to kill Trampas' father (Sonny Tufts) in self-defence. This object lesson serves to get Lon to realize the error of his actions and convince him to surrender to the Sheriff.
#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 - 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.
#20 - Say Goodbye to All That
Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired Jan 23, 1963
In self-defence, Trampas is forced to shoot Big John Belden (Charles McGraw), who took exception to Trampas dancing with his his son Martin's (Fabian) fiancee. John is left a paraplegic and he encourages his son to take revenge on Trampas for the family honor even though Martin is, in direct contrast to his father, very mild mannered. Trampas is afraid he will have to kill Martin but their feud is interrupted by an encounter with Moses, a fierce lengendary bear.
#21 - No Tears for Savannah
Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 2, 1963
In Santa Rita the Virginian meets an old flame, Savannah (Gena Rowlands), who has been seeing a local man, a very jealous Gordie Madden (Robert Colbert). Savannah is accussed of murdering Madden and the Virginian gets Judge Garth to come and defend her. However, the cards are stacked against them as Madden's wealthy father (Everett Sloan) controls the town, including the Sheriff (Stephen McNally), and wants revenge.
#22 - 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.
#23 - A Portrait of Marie Valonne
Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 6, 1963
After delivering a herd of cattle to New Orleans, the Virginian meets and falls for a mysterious woman, Marie Valonne (Madlyn Rhue). He is attacked and the woman disappears. In his attempts to relocate her he comes into conflict with Johnny Madrid (Mark Richman) who controls some corrupt politicians. Despite the assistance of a local police detective, Dan Bohannon (Skip Homeier), the Virginian is unsuccessful in finding Marie and is only left with her picture.
#24 - First to Thine Own Self
Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired Feb 12, 1964
A young drifter named Randy (Randy Boone) camps with Silas (Frank Maxwell) and his young daughter Melanie (Claire Wilcox) near Medicine Bow. Silas reveals he has been mining and that he found gold nuggets. Silas is murdered, the gold stolen and Randy is accused of the crime. He hides out with Melanie who knows him innocent and with help from Betsy Garth and the Virginian is eventually able to expose the real killers.
#25 - A Matter of Destiny
Season 2 - Episode 21 - Aired Feb 19, 1964
Robert Gaynor (Peter Graves), a wealthy and somewhat ruthless Chicago meat packer, buys a local ranch and comes to Medicine Bow. He begins romancing, and wins the heart of, Janet Lawrence (Jean Hale) who had been seeing Trampas. Gaynor's methods bring him into conflict with local ranchers. In the end it is up to Trampas to resolve the conflict and save Gaynor from a hired assassin.