trebe | 04/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chuck Connors stars as Lucas McCain, also known in some parts as "The Rifleman". McCain lives on a small ranch outside of the town of North Fork, New Mexico, with his son Mark (Johnny Crawford). His good friend is Marshal Micah Torrance (Paul Fix). This is the fourth collection of their adventures. Here are summaries and/or comments for the episodes in this set. Episode ratings are on a scale from one to five (best).Man From Salinas (4): Lucas is acting marshal, when a bank robber drifts into town. McCain wounds the man when he attempts to escape, after robbing the town bank. The news that the man is badly hurt and expected to die, is telegraphed to Salinas, the town the man just came from. There, an unscrupulous fellow (Robert Culp), aware that there is a large reward on the dying man, schemes to come and claim the body. A suspenseful episode, featuring the acting of the charming, smooth-talking Culp.Two Ounces of Tin (4): Sammy Davis Jr. guest stars as "Corey" a trick shooting gunfighter. Out to avenge the death of his father, he has a huge grudge against the lawmen of North Fork. Corey threatens to kill whoever wears the Marshal's (tin) badge. Unaware of this, Mark does the stranger a good turn, and in return he receives a jaw-dropping exhibition of lightning fast gunhandling and trick shooting. Lucas however is not impressed. As acting marshal, he is Corey's next target. Davis's fine performance as a lonely man with too much pride is both emotional and tragic.Waste (4): This two-part adventure finds Lucas, Mark and Micah traveling near the Mexican border where they run into a gang of banditos in an abandoned town. Veteran character actor Vito Scotti, who specializes in portraying ethnic characters, is truly loathsome as the leader of the banditos (lovely dental work). They capture Lucas and Mark, and lead them to Micah who is buried up to his neck in the ground. Soon McCain is digging a hole preparing to join him in the dirt. Only Lucas's quick action saves them from the ruthless band of outlaws. McCain has all he can handle trying to save their lives, and is also called on to do an unexpected service, receiving feminine gratitude for his trouble. Mark is a real pain, not following his father's instructions and constantly asking questions. Micah is too injured to be of any help whatsoever. Of interest, is the fact that this tale was written by actor Robert Culp.The Deadly Image (3): It seems almost every TV program from the 60's used this gimmick sooner or later, as Chuck Conners plays a dual role. "Earl Bantry" is a lookalike for Lucas McCain. When Bantry commits murder, a witness believes that McCain is guilty. The lookalike and his partner reach North Fork, causing a ruckus. Marshal Torrance gets careless, and winds up unconscious on the floor. Then the men head for the McCain ranch for more "fun". "Bantry" is particularly dislikable, and it is probably a safe guess that Conners enjoyed being the "bad guy" for a change. The Rifleman Volume 4 is the best of the collections in this series so far. The stories are well written, and action packed. The guest stars are excellent, with depth to their characters. Justice is swift and McCain exceeds his average of one kill per episode. As usual, women are almost nonexistent. The transfer to DVD is excellent, the only complaint about this series is that there could easily be more than five episodes per disc. At this rate, it will take 34 DVD's to present all of The Rifleman episodes. Do you have the shelf space?"
And boy, don't forget to finish your homework
Brad Baker | Atherton, Ca United States | 08/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Rifleman" was No. 1 on television in the late 1950's, when 20 Western Oaters floated over the airwaves. ABC's genius was the casting of Chuck(Touch) Connors, former baseball player, as father Lucas McCain, Johnny Crawford as his son Mark, and veteran movie actor Paul Fix(long-time friend of John Wayne) as Micah, the town sheriff. Connors would go on to star, co-star, or narrate 5 more TV series. This Volume 4 DVD is one of the best, featuring 5 episodes. The first stars Robert Culp as a bounty hunter in a flimsy, slow story, with Culp mugging and hamming all the way. He would write the next episode, then move on to star in TV's "I Spy". Episode 2 stars Hollywood Rat Pack's Sammy Davis, Jr., as a flashy gunfighter with an agenda. His mock death-scene in the arms of Lucas McCain is nearly risible, with both actors on the verge of laughter. Episodes 3 and 4(perhaps the best) star TV veteran Vito Scotti as a Mexican bandit leader, with McCain and company stranded in a desolate ghost town. The 5th episode features Connors in a dual role, portraying McCain and his evil twin, hard-drinking Earl Bantry. Connors literally fights and talks to himself with the aid of an optical printer and trick photography. This marvelous DVD package is an enchanting window on a 1950's America that no longer exists. Then it was a simpler world. Good men were good. Bad men got shot. Everyone loved it. And in the end, there was America's favorite father counseling his son..."Boy, don't forget to finish your homework...""