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Series / The Virginian

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The Virginian was a Western television series which aired from 1962 to 1971. Based on the 1902 Owen Wister book, it centered on the activities and adventures of the foreman of a cattle ranch known as Shiloh. The foreman's name was never revealed and he was only known as the Virginian.

This series provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Roberta Shore and Randy Boone sang fairly often during their time on the series; with Boone singing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" in one episode. However, the series was set in The Wild West (specifically the late 1890s-early 1900s); while the song was penned by Hank Williams in 1949.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Hannah of the eponymous episode, a little girl who causes Trampas no end of trouble in her efforts to find her mother, up to and including freeing a criminal from jail so that he can take her to the criminal gang that her mother is a part of.
  • Celibate Hero: Combined with Cartwright Curse. The Virginian finds love many times, but they're always gone by the end of the episode, either leaving due to other pursuits or coming to unfortunate ends.
  • Continuity Snarl: The first season outright states the show takes place in 1898 and it refers to Wyoming as a state. However, subsequent seasons refer to Wyoming as being a territory and still awaiting statehood.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: The eponymous character, a man from Virginia who's never named.
  • Last-Name Basis: Trampas. That is the only name he is ever referred to as; including The Virginian who's his best friend and his various romantic interests. It is known that this is his last name because a flashback episode established that his father's last name was Trampas.
  • New Season, New Name: The final season (1970-71) saw the series renamed The Men From Shiloh. Some networks have omitted it in syndication because of its radical departure from the previous eight seasons.
  • No Name Given: The Virginian.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: The episode "We've Lost a Train" was one for Laredo.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Judge Garth is elected governor near the end of Season 4, and the scope of his duties pulls him away from Shiloh Ranch. He hires someone to take his place, but his replacement doesn't helm the ranch for very long. Accordingly, it results in newly-minted Govenor Garth's own father returning to Medicine Bow and take over his son's duties in his stead.
    • Betsy Garth, Judge Garth's daughter, eventually leaves Shiloh in Season 4, heading to the East Coast with the minister she married.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Judge Garth, the first owner of the Shiloh Ranch, as well as the Virginian himself.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: When it became The Men From Shiloh, Percy Faith's theme was jettisoned, replaced with Ennio Morricone's only theme for an American TV series.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the original Owen Wister novel, Trampas was an outright villain; he is killed by the Virginian at the end of the story. In the TV series, he's more a highly spirited cowhand and one of the Virginian's closest friends.
  • Twilight of the Old West
  • The Vamp: A girl in "Big Day Great Day" turns out to be this, simultaneously flirting with Steve, Trampas, and eventually another new man entirely, causing Steve and Trampas no end of sour feelings with each other until Steve finally gets it.
  • Villain of the Week: Many, though not every episode. Examples included Leslie Nielsen and Ben Johnson. Each one was well-written and well-acted, and they never felt one-dimensional. Many were reasonably sympathetic in their own way and often suffered an Alas, Poor Villain at the end.
  • The Western