10 Favorite TV Westerns








Many of us fell in love with westerns from watching them on television. I know I did. So when Jeannie and I teamed up for this Birthday Bash post, it was easy to collect our favorite TV westerns. We tried to find series that covered a wide range of decades, and since it was difficult to rank them by preference (they’re ALL fabulous!), we decided to list them by premiere date. I hope this takes you down memory lane and maybe even inspires some binge watching.

And speaking of binge watching . . . read to the bottom to see the giveaway Jeannie and I are sponsoring. Super fun!

10 Favorite TV Westerns

1. Maverick (1957-1962)

2. Wagon Train (1957-1965)

3. Rawhide (1959-1965)

4. Bonanza (1959-1973)

5. The Big Valley (1965-1969)

6. The Young Riders (1989-1992)

7. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998)

8. The Magnificent Seven (1998-2000)

9. Longmire (2012-2017)

10. The Pinkertons (2014-?)



In honor of these wonderful westerns, Jeannie and I are giving away the first seasons of Rawhide and The Magnificent Seven on DVD as Birthday Bash party favors. WooHoo!!! Hunky cowboys coming your way.

Leave a comment about your favorite TV Western for a chance to win. We will draw two lucky winners, one for each DVD set.

May the commenting commence!


P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giant birthday bash giveaway (separate from this daily giveaway). You can find all the details along with the entry form HERE.

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For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

175 thoughts on “10 Favorite TV Westerns”

  1. I always loved the TV Western, too bad there aren’t more on TV these days. I loved WAGON TRAIN, RAWHIDE (Clint Eastwood…sigh), DR.QUINN, BONANZA, MAVERICK, THE BIG VALLEY and a couple you didn’t mention, LANCER and THE LAWMAN.

    I would much prefer watching a TV Western than the reality shows that are now flooding the TV airwaves.

    Happy Birthday!

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Hi, Cindy. Yes, I miss the old westerns. The new ones that come out rarely these days are often too raw and gritty for my taste, but every once in a while I find one I really like. The Pinkertons was my latest find. I don’t know if there are any plans for a second season, but the first is really good!

    • Cindy, some of these are on Stars (we only have it because my son is a DirecTV satellite tech and he set everything up. Also, sometimes you can find some of the older episodes of some of these shows on Youtube if you have unlimited internet access.

      Before we got satellite, my hubby watched a lot of the older stuff on Youtube.

  2. Hello Ladies- you picked some great ones. My favorite Westerns would be Gunsmoke, Mr. Matt Dillon could makes me swoon!!
    Growing up I loved Fury. Rawhide and Magnifcent seven both are great shows.
    Happy Birthday to you all, 10 years is an awesome feat.

  3. I loved all those westerns but would add Gunsmoke, and there was one whose name I cannot remember but it was about building a railroad.

  4. There are so many oldies but goodies πŸ™‚ Walker, Texas Ranger, Maverick, The Virginian, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, The Wild, Wild West, Bonanza, Big Valley, Gunsmoke…Happy 10!

  5. My favorite western when I was young was Bonanza! As with many girls I had a crush on Little Joe and Hoss was funny! I need to watch some of the newer western though!

  6. Good morning, ladies. What a great list! It’s so hard to select from, so I’m gonna do an oldie-goldie and a new one. I always loved “Bonanza”. One reason is that Dan Blocker who played Hoss Cartwright is my cousin by marriage. Until I became an adult, I left off the “by marriage”. He’s my wonderful Aunt Martha’s cousin. The new is a no-brainer for me … “Longmire”. I love, love Robert Taylor and this series. Can hardly wait until it returns for the fall, which might be its last season. Thanks, Jeannie and Karen for a great blog full of memories! Big hugs to both of you, Phyliss

  7. Good morning! I wake up every day looking forward to reading all the great posts and comments. So much fun! I think it is ironic that I am commenting after Miss Phyliss and her cousin Dan. Dan Blocker is buried about thirty miles from where I live. I have visited the cemetery and read his headstone. I always loved Bonanza and Karen, I loved Adam too!!! Rawhide was pretty hard to beat and The Big Valley… loved it!

  8. My family enjoyed Bonanza, Big Valley, and The Wild, Wild West. Those tv westerns were the kinds of shows that families could watch together.

  9. Good morning, Karen and Jeannie……Oh man, so many of these are my favorites. But I also loved Laramie, Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, and Paradise. Later in 1987 the series Desperado came on with Alex McArthur playing Duell McCall. I took the name Duel for my hero in Knight on the Texas Plains that just re-issued this month. I just love this blog!

    Party on, girls! We’re not through celebrating!

  10. I never watched a lot of western shows. I would catch them from time to time, but not enough to really say one was a favorite over another. They were all pretty good.

  11. I remember watching Gun Smoke with my dad and Rawhide and Bonanza and many others. Recently I really enjoyed the series, Hell on Wheels.

  12. My all-time favorite Western is Bonanza, although a close second is Wanted: Dead or Alive. I recently watched a few Maverick episodes as well and liked the couple I saw.

  13. I love westerns as long as they end well. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic haha. I do remember watching Dr. Quinn sometimes growing up. But other than that I haven’t seen much of the shows you mentioned. But I did see the new Magnificent Seven! Great movie!!! I also loved a movie called Angel and a Bad Man. It’s a cute movie about a quacker woman falling in love with I think a bandit (John Wayne). Another favorite movie with cowboys is American outlaws!!! This such a crowd pleaser!!! Cute, funny, hardworking cowboys who won’t let their land be taken by the railroad!!! It’s the story of Jesse James. But a nicer version of what we have learned about them. I recommend it highly!!!

  14. I think I would have to say that my favorites are Wild, Wild West, The Rifleman, Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Quinn, Bonanza, How the West was Won, Walker, Five Mile Creek (Disney Series), Maverick, and Paradise.

  15. Watched Bonanza every week with my dad, so I would say that is my favorite, because of who I was with. I also liked the Lone Ranger, and Roy Rogers.

  16. I enjoyed all Westerns. Since I grew up during the 1950’s they were all my favorites. The Rifleman, Roy Rogers, Zooro.

  17. I miss these shows as well. There is so little “decent” to watch on TV these days. For that reason, I bought my dad The Big Valley on DVD and instead of him watching them, my 15-year old daughter took them and loves them.

  18. Your list is wonderful and perfect. Westerns were what I watched after school everyday. I was in love with the cowboys. Rawhide was wise.

  19. Lonesome Dove!!! ???
    And of course The Rifleman. I remember watching it with my dad and thinking Mark was so cute. ?

  20. What a great list. Just reading through it brought back so many happy memories.

    Thank God for Netflix or we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the latest Longmire episodes. Word is that it begins streaming again in September. Can’t wait!

  21. My favorites are Wagon Train because there was always a lesson to be learned and Death Valley Days also Paladin and Rifleman which also had lessons.

  22. I’ve never watched a lot of western shows, but I do have one favourite: The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. It was fun to watch.

  23. I grew up watching John Wayne and Bonanza! I suppose they started my love of historical books and movies. I never was one for a knight in shining armor… I’d much rather a man in a cowboy hat and boots.

  24. A fun post! My husband should join in the conversation because there is probably not a western out there that he hasn’t seen more than once. Even the really badly made ones! I’ll admit that I am glad he had those going on the TV when my children were growing up rather than a lot of the other stuff that Hollywood puts out. At least I didn’t have to worry about a stream of questionable language in front of my boys. (I’m sure they learned enough at school!)

    I’d have to say two of my favorite westerns had more of a fun Latino flare as I loved to watch Antonio Banderas in the two Zorro movies that he made. Another favorite is Tom Selleck in Crossfire Trail.

    Happy Birthday P&P!

  25. Happy 10th birthday, Petticoats & Pistols! That’s so awesome you’re celebrating a decade! Here’s to many more! ?

    Fantastic list of Western TV shows! Makes me want to binge watch a few Westerns! ?
    I grew up watching Dr. Quinn! Always had a thing for Sully! Who can forget the ultra-romantic episode of Sully &Dr. Quinn finally getting married & leaving for their honeymoon on the train? *sigh*
    I didn’t realize Bonanaza ran for 14 years- that’s gotta be some kind of record for a TV Western. Totally had a crush on Adam Cartwright (Pernell Roberts). When he left the show how did the writers end his time? I can’t remember.

    I have vague memories of watching re-runs of Big Valley. I always like Barbara Stanwyck as the family matriarch…loved her voice & her commanding presence on the show.

    • I remember writing myself into Dr. Quinn so I could marry Sully. Ha! It just shows how getting to know a character makes you fall in love. I really wasn’t attracted to him at all. I don’t really like long hair. But the way he grieved for his late wife yet couldn’t stop himself from helping out Michaela – sigh – The long hair ceased to matter. πŸ™‚

  26. My absolute favorite is bonanza!! I first watched it when I was 11 and I’ve been in love with westerns ever since! I love being taken back in time to a better more simple way of life!

  27. Oooooo…one of my favorite topics! The old westerns. Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Cheyenne, and Bonanza are a few of my favorites. And my Bonanza crush…Candy Canaday. He should have been an adopted brother. πŸ˜‰ Thank you for posting this great list!

  28. Me and my younger brother love maverick and the Virginian. We watch it together almost every Friday night!!

  29. Oh, all these.

    Cheyenne, Laramie, Death Valley Days (some are based on true events/people, so are pretty cool), Tales of Wells Fargo, and esp. Wanted: Dead or Alive with Steve McQueen. And The Young Riders comes on after that. :)This is the daily afternoon lineup on Stars Encore Westerns. lol

    Bonanza, Gunsmoke are favorites, too.

  30. I’m a big fan of TV Westerns. Did you know that there was a show called PISTOLS ‘N’ PETTICOATS? Does it sound somewhat familiar? It made me think of your group, just backwards. Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats is an American Western sitcom that ran on CBS from 1966-1967. It takes place in Wretched, Colorado (1870), where the local sheriff is jealous of the popular Hanks family, who do a better job of keeping the peace. It starred Ann Sheridan, Ruth McDevitt, Douglas Fowley, and Gary Vinson.

  31. Hands down my favorite western is Lonesome Dove. Have watched it every year at least one but usually more since I was a kid. Love this mini-series!

  32. Wonderful list Karen! Grew up with the reruns of such shows like Maverick and Bonanza (although it was the ones without Adam,didn’t see those ’till later).Watched them every Saturday. πŸ™‚ Am now discovering such shows as The Virginian,Bronco,and The Rifleman.Hope to discover more. Oh,Btw who was your favorite Maverick? (Mine was James Garner) Thanks for the giveaway!! πŸ™‚

  33. My favorite, far and away, bar none, was and is Clint Walker as Cheyenne. No one comes close.
    But I also did like Maverick, Sugarfoot, Bronco, The Lawman, Texas John Slaughter, Rawhide, Wild Bill Hickok, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Have Gun–Will Travel, Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.

  34. My all time favorite was Wagon Train, I love all movies or books about wagon trains ever since I was a little girl.
    I still watch western movies and I remember watching show called The Cowboys. But I can remember who was in it or if it was a movie or series!!!
    Ok I don’t know what I’m talking about. Hahaha

  35. #3, #4, #5, #7… You ladies hit some of my all-time favorites. Now I’m going to have to go binge watch them myself. lol

    Happy Birthday, P&P!!!

  36. I loved all the westerns when I was growing up. My favorite was Bonanza. Many years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Ponderosa Ranch in Nevada. It was wonderful to walk through the house.
    We had such great programs to watch when we were young. I feel sorry for young people nowadays. All they have is reality garbage.

  37. Karen and Jeannie, I’m a big TV Western fan. I love all the ones you mentioned. I’d also add Alias Smith and Jones, Laredo and The Wild Wild West (Robert Conrad version) to the list of my favorites

  38. From this list I like The Big Valley and The Young Riders (my parents don’t like Young Riders, but I do..lol) I have all the season of Big Valley on DVD. It is a great way to spend my day when it is cold and rainy out like it is today. I like Bonanza but only the ones that have Adam in them.

  39. Woops. Enter under yesterday comments. I like the tv shows you have listed. I also liked The Rifleman and others. (Showing my age now. LOL)

  40. Great Westerns. I watched Wagon Train, Paladin, and Gunsmoke with my dad. They all became favorites of mine as well. But my very favorite was Cheyenne with the gorgeous Clint Walker. πŸ™‚ As a youngster my hero was Roy Rogers and into my teens it became Clint Walker.:)

  41. What a great list, ladies! I am replaying some Dr Quinn episodes in my head right now. My favorite of all–I was able to visit Paramount Ranch where it was filmed. Oh, and I grew up on Bonanza and Big Valley. My uncle was the first person in the world with a color TV, and what a treat to get to watch them when we came over. Hugs to you and thanks for this lovely post. xoxox

  42. Used to watch big valley wagon train rawhide bonanza with my dad
    It was a ritual for us to have that time
    Unless a hockey game was on lol

  43. Most of those on the list are favorites of mine. I still watch them on METV or COZI TV. I think my favorite is The Rifleman.

  44. Of the ones you listed, there were several I never watched. I never did get interested in Big Valley, not sure why. The Magnificent Seven and Longmire were shows I never watched. The others listed were all favorites. The late 50’s into the early 70’s were such a rich time period for Westerns. I loved them all. I was happy to see a return of Westerns with Young Riders and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. My daughters were the age I was back in the 60’s and they loved those shows. It was nice to be able to share my love of Westerns with them. One you didn’t list was The Wild, Wild West TV show. Not really a serious Western, more a bit of a steampunk vibe, but that made it fun to watch.
    Of all of the Westerns, Bonanza was my favorite of the early ones and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman my favorite of the more recent ones.

  45. I’m not sure I recall having watched any of these regularly, LOL! I think the one I did watch all the time that was as close to being a Western as it got was Little House on the Prairie! I’ve got lots of catching up to do!

  46. The Magnificent Seven followed closely or neck in neck with The Young Riders. I have the complete series of the Seven. I was very disappointed that you find out who killed Chris’ family and then they cancel the series without them being able to go after the person. Maverick was really good too and don’t forget The Wild, Wild West and Alias Smith and Jones πŸ™‚

  47. Sorry I didn’t stop by yesterday, ladies. I was in full-on writing mode trying to meet a deadline tomorrow. But I love this post. It brought back so many good memories. The older things like Rawhide and The Big Valley were things my parents watched back in the day and that my mom continued to watch on one of those networks that shows old reruns (I think it was INSP) until she passed.

    I LOVED The Young Riders when it was on. And I was also a big fan of The Magnificent Seven and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. And I’m currently a big fan of Longmire. I was so happy when Netflix picked it up after it was canceled. Such a good cast, and it’s awesome to see Lou Diamond Phillips in something on TV.

  48. You have certainly named great westerns and brought back many memories but I must mention The Virginian. It was on for 1 1/2 hrs. and have us great characters. The Virginian, of course; Trampas; Judge Garth; his daughter Betsy who was portrayed by Roberta Shore, a favorite from Mickey Mouse Club and some Disney movies.
    Thanks for participating in this fun birthday celebration!

    • I seriously considered adding it to the list, Denise. It was my favorite show growing up. But since it didn’t technically fit the typical TV Western pattern, I left it off.

  49. I grew up watching Westerns. Gunsmoke was my moms favorite. Since she died 3 years ago, I continue you watch it regularly and smile. Wonderful memories.

  50. Still love them! We watch Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Big Valley, The Virginian, and several others every day! Rawhide was always one of my favorites, but that’s only on once a week!! I’d love to win!! Thanks for this give away!!

  51. My hubby and I have been enjoying Longmire. I’m so glad they found a place to continue the series. Waiting for the next season to come back on Netflix! Although I liked Clint Eastwood’s work, too!

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