Gunsmoke, Lonesome Dove Top List of Greatest TV Westerns

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

June 18th, 2009

Of course, this is just the Western Writers of America's collective idea of the greatest, but it's still interesting.

You can see lists of the top rated TV shows (including lots of Westerns) from selected past years here.

via press release:

Gunsmoke, Lonesome Dove Top List of Greatest TV Westerns, According to Western Writers of America

OKLAHOMA CITY, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- GUNSMOKE, which ran for 20 years on CBS, has been chosen the Greatest TV Western Series of All Time by Western Writers of America. LONESOME DOVE, an Emmy-winning 1989 CBS production based on Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-honored novel, was selected Best TV Western Miniseries/Movie.

The nonprofit organization of more than 600 professional writers founded in the 1950s to promote and honor the best literature about the American West announced the Greatest TV Western Series, Miniseries and Movies of All Time on Thursday, June 18, during the association's annual convention. Last year, WWA named its 100 Greatest Western Movies.

"GUNSMOKE teleplays won six Spur Awards from WWA, and McMurtry's novel also won a Spur, so neither choice is a surprise," WWA President Johnny D. Boggs says. "Many of our members study GUNSMOKE episodes and LONESOME DOVE, both the novel and the miniseries, as examples of great writing."

Members voted on their top 10 series and top 10 miniseries/movies. Ballots were tabulated at the WWA offices at the University of New Mexico.

In the series category, MAVERICK was second, followed by RAWHIDE; BONANZA; HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL; THE RIFLEMAN; WAGON TRAIN; HIGH CHAPARRAL; DEATH VALLEY DAYS; and THE VIRGINIAN. A more recent hit, HBO's DEADWOOD, placed 11th.

CENTENNIAL was second in the miniseries/movie category, followed by THE SACKETTS; CONAGHER; MONTE WALSH; Disney's DAVY CROCKETT; LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER; BROKEN TRAIL; RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE; and INTO THE WEST.

Eight of the top 10 movies/miniseries first were Western novels: James Michener wrote CENTENNIAL. THE SACKETTS was based on two works by Louis L'Amour, who also wrote CONAGHER. Jack Schaefer wrote MONTE WALSH. Elmore Leonard, recipient of this year's Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement, wrote LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER. Alan Geoffrion's novel and script for BROKEN TRAIL won Spur Awards, and Zane Grey penned RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE.

"Many of our members remember when Westerns ruled television in the 1950s and '60s," Boggs says. "Some even wrote for those series, and with DEADWOOD, INTO THE WEST and BROKEN TRAIL, we've seen how successful Westerns can still be, and how important powerful writing is to that success."

WWA plans to announce the Greatest Western Songs of All Time at its 2010 convention in Knoxville, Tenn.

  Continuing Series

  1. Gunsmoke  (1955-75)
  2. Maverick  (1957-62)
  3. Rawhide  (1959-66)
  4. Bonanza  (1959-73)
  5. Have Gun, Will Travel   (1957-63)
  6. The Rifleman  (1958-63)
  7. Wagon Train  (1957-65)
  8. High Chaparral   (1967-71)
  9. Death Valley Days  (1952-70)
  10. The Virginian  (1962-70)
  11. Deadwood  (2004-06)
  12. The Westerner (1960)
  13. Cheyenne   (1955-63)
  14. The Big Valley  (1965-69)
  15. Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-61)
  16. The Lone Ranger (1949-57)
  17. The Roy Rogers Show (1951-57)
  18. Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955-61)
  19. The Wild, Wild West (1965-70)
  20. The Rebel (1959-61)
  21. Little House on the Prairie (1974-83)
  22. The Young Riders (1989-92)
  23. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman  (1993-98)
  24. Lawman (1957-62)
  25. Laredo (1965-67)
  26. Cimarron Strip (1967-68)
  27. Daniel Boone (1964-70)
  28. Branded (1965-66)
  29. Zorro (1957-59)
  30. The Yellow Rose (1983-84)
  31. Tales of Wells Fargo (1957-62)
  32. The Lazarus Man (1996)
  33. The Gene Autry Show (1950-56)
  34. Alias Smith and Jones  (1971-73)
  35. Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (1993-94)
  36. Trackdown (1957-59)
  37. Kung Fu  (1972-75)
  38. Lonesome Dove, the Series (1994-95)
  39. The Magnificent Seven (1998-2000)
  40. Broken Arrow  (1956-60)
  41. F Troop (1965-67)
  42. Sugarfoot  (1957-61)
  43. Guns of Will Sonnett  (1967-69)
  44. Wild Bill Hickok (1951-58)
  45. Tales of the Texas Rangers  (1955-57)
  46. Stoney Burke  (1962-63)
  47. Sgt. Preston of the Yukon  (1955-58)
  48. Restless Gun  (1957-59)
  49. Laramie  (1955-63)
  50. Hec Ramsey  (1972-74)

  Movie/miniseries

  1. Lonesome Dove   (1989)
  2. Centennial  (1978)
  3. The Sacketts   (1979)
  4. Conagher   (1991)
  5. Monte Walsh (2003)
  6. Davy Crockett  (1954-55)
  7. Last Stand at Saber River (1997)
  8. Broken Trail  (2006)
  9. Riders of the Purple Sage  (1996)
  10. Into the West  (2005)
  11. You Know My Name  (1999)
  12. Skinwalkers   (2002)
  13. I Will Fight No More Forever  (1975)
  14. The Shadow Riders   (1982)
  15. The Good Ol' Boys  (1979)
  16. Son of the Morning Star  (1991)
  17. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)
  18. Crossfire Trail  (2001)
  19. The Macahans, How the West Was Won  (1976-77)
  20. Rough Riders  (1997)
  21. Streets of Laredo (1995)
  22. Return to Lonesome Dove  (1993)
  23. Geronimo (1993)
  24. Purgatory  (1999)
  25. The Quick and the Dead  (1987)
  26. A Thief of Time   (2004)
  27. Coyote Waits  (2002)
  28. The Johnson County War  (2002)
  29. Buffalo Girls   (1995)
  30. Mr. Horn   (1979)
  31. Kenny Rogers as the Gambler  (1980)
  32. Last of the Mohicans   (1977)
  33. The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory  (1987)
  34. Comanche Moon  (2008)
  35. Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987)
  36. And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself  (2003)
  37. The Avenging Angel  (1995)
  38. Crazy Horse  (1996)
  39. The Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer  (1977)
  40. Desperado  (1987)
  41. The Jack Bull  (1999)
  42. The Desperate Trail  (1995)
  43. Gunsmoke: The Long Ride (1993)
  44. The Texas Rangers  (1981)
  45. The Virginian (2000)
  46. Wild Times (1980)
  47. The Blue Hotel  (1977)
  48. Buffalo Soldiers  (1997)
  49. Gunsmoke: To the Last Man  (1992)
  50. Life on the Mississippi (1980)

Source: Western Writers of America

 
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