Home Television Drama How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won

1 9 7 6 – 1 9 7 9 (USA)
1 x Pilot
28 x episodes

Mountain man Zeb Macahan (James Arness) returns to the Macahan family farm in Manassas, Virginia but when the civil war comes too close to home, his sister in law, Kate (Eva Marie Saint) convinces her husband Tim Macahan (Richard Kiley), to pack up their family, including sons Luke (Bruce Boxleitner) and Josh (William Kirby Cullen) and daughters Jessie (Vicki Schreck) and Laura (Kathryn Holcomb), and move out west to Oregon.

Once out west the family learn that the first battle of the war is likely to occur at Bull Run, near the home of Zeb and Tim’s parents. Tim returns to Virginia to warn his parents.

When Tim does not return, Luke rides back east to look for him but finds his grandparents were killed by artillery fire that struck their home during the Battle of Bull Run and that his father was involuntarily conscripted into the Union Army.

Arriving in Tennessee, Luke is also unwillingly conscripted into the Union Army and is wounded during the battle of Shiloh. He finds his mortally wounded father at an aid station. After all of Luke’s platoon is killed, he returns west to find his family.

Things are quiet for a time until a bounty hunter named Grey arrives to arrest Luke for desertion, pursuing Luke for months until Kate shoots him dead to protect her son.

In the second season, Kate dies herself, in a barn fire. Her wealthy widowed sister Molly Culhane (Fionnula Flanagan) arrives from Chicago to reunite with her only remaining family.

A former southern sheriff, Martin Stillman (Ed Lauter), begins to pursue Luke for vengeance and hires gunmen who torture and nearly kill Josh while pursuing Luke. Stillman is eventually killed by Zeb in a gunfight.

Luke is forced to spend most of the rest of the series fleeing pursuit while gaining a reputation as a skilled gunfighter.

He eventually rescues Judge Rensen (Warren J. Kemmerling) who offers to seek a pardon for Luke’s past activities in Missouri. Unfortunately, the judge is murdered before the trial can conclude and Luke flees once again, accompanied by brother Josh.

Indian tribal wars, gold robbery, land grabs, bounty hunters, kidnapping, rustling, cattle drives across harsh country, stagecoach crashes, slavers, attacking bee swarms, pirate raids on riverboats and assorted bandits and villains – How The West Was Won had it all, and the epic miniseries has been acclaimed as one of the best western productions of all time.

Zeb Macahan
James Arness
Luke Macahan
Bruce Boxleitner
Laura Macahan
Kathryn Holcomb
Josh Macahan
William Kirby Cullen
Jessie Macahan 
Vicki Schreck
Molly Culhane
Fionnula Flanagan
Major Drake
Peter Hansen
Hillary Gant
Elyssa Davalos
Sherrif Gant
Ken Curtis
Kate Macahan
Eva Marie Saint
Martin Grey
Anthony Zerbe
Erika Hanks
Britt Lind
Orville Gant
Lloyd Bridges
Tommy Gant
Kristopher Marquis
Ricardo Montalban
Col. Jerrod Flint
Richard Basehart
Vera Miles
Stone Hand
Joshua Gallegos
One Wolf
Ivan Naranjo
Tap Henry
Slim Pickens
Deek Peasley
Harris Yulin
Judge Rensen
Warren J. Kemmerling
Martin Stillman
Ed Lauter
Kay Lenz
Francis Britten
Eric Braeden
Frank Grayson
Jared Martin
General Sheridan
Ramon Bieri
Timothy Macahan
Richard Kiley


Pilot | Provost Marshal | Erika | Bowie John Christie | Buffalo Story | Mormon Story | Interlude | Orville Gant | Amnesty | Cattle Drive | Robber’s Roost | Deek | The Judge | Gold | Brothers | Secrets | The Hearing | The Posse | The Gunfighter | The Rustler | The Enemy | The Innocent |  Hillary | L’Affaire Riel | The Scavengers | The Forgotten | Luke | China Girl | The Slavers