The Virginian Season 5

Left to right : Don Quine, Charles Bickford, James Drury, Sara Lane
Left to right : Don Quine, Charles Bickford, James Drury, Sara Lane

After the disastrous Season 4 executive producer Frank Price returned to rescue the show from cancellation. Wholesale changes included a new family at Shiloh Ranch. The Grainger family was headed by veteran actor Charles Bickford alongside two promising actors, Don Quine and Sara Lane. The season was a success and The Virginian survived, beating out the competition in the ratings The Monroes.

19 thoughts on “The Virginian Season 5”

  1. Another great photo, Paul.

    I enjoyed Season 5 but missed the presence of Clu Gulager until his return. It’s astonishing how the family dynamic did so much to restore the show’s ratings after Season 4. I thought Season 4 wasn’t that bad. There were some excellent individual episodes and even Morgan Starr wasn’t that bad……

    Best wishes,


    1. Morgan Starr was pretty doggone bad! His personality never worked on the Virginian. What were they thinking? He might’ve worked on a Spghetti western but not a classic like the Virginian. I’m surprised he didn’t torpedo the show for good.

      1. He almost did Deborah. Ratings dipped and “The Virginian” was in danger of cancellation after season 4. They decided to relaunch “The Virginian” with a new family for Season 5 and bring back executive producer Frank Price to rescue the show. It worked and Season 5 was a big hit, producing the highest ratings of the 9 seasons..

  2. Season 4 may look better with the passing of the years Tony but at the time of broadcasts the season resulted in plumetting ratings. And in U.S. TV where sponsorship of a show is vital to its survival that meant deep trouble.
    There is no doubt Frank Price saved the show from cancellation.

  3. Paul

    I always took for granted that the Virginian would be on Friday evening on BBC 1.(In England)
    Do you think the BBC consided cancelling the Virginian at anytime?

  4. That’s an interesting question Michael. I don’t think they did because it remained a permanent fixture on their schedule for many years until the final episode. If it was in trouble they would have changed the night.

  5. Hi Paul
    I researched the top rated shows on English T.V in the sixties.
    Only Wagon Train in 1960 at number FIVE charted for American shows in England during the decade!!
    For an international flavour Miss World was the most watched programme at number one in 1966 & 1969. Number two in 1967 & 1968.
    I was amased the 1966 world cup final wasnt on the list.
    Whilst I accept this on limited research If my memory serves T.V closed ridiculisly early (10PM ?)
    Maybe T.V was simpler and less complicated at the time. The commercial aspect of ADVERTISERS dictating what programes we watched was still primitive in England.
    If memory serves I-T-V the first commercial channel came when I was only 4 or 5 years old and that would be late 1960s.
    Its therefore odd that so many of my friends from childhood still fondly remember The Virginian.

    1. Wagon Train reached #1 in the late 1950s UK ratings Michael. By far the most popular TV Western in the UK. I was a fan myself as a kid. But only the Ward Bond shows. John McIntire was a less than perfect replacement on both Wagon Train and The Virginian.

      TV finished around 11.30. But I was in bed before then. TV shows had more impact because there were less of them. We are saturated nowadays but the quality hasn’t necessarily risen.

      ITV was born in 1955 – the year of my birth.

  6. Hi Paul
    I have never seen Wagon Train. I still watch Rawhide.
    and Gunsmoke. With my kid we watch Champion the Wonder Horse and Casey Jones. I also have some Laredo in the post .I dont remember the show only the Introduction. Hope we like it. He is 4 years old.
    I was amazed ITV was born in 1955.
    Anyway my lovly wife needs the net to find a recipe for tonights meal.

  7. Hello, I am a huge fan of The Virginian and found your posted comments very interesting. My husband Dave and I watch a lot of western movies/ shows as well, many of them on pay TV here in Australia. I was wondering what actually happened to Season 4 of The Virginian. I got to about 3 episodes with Morgan Starr in them and suddenly the very next week we were onto season 5. No one said what happened to anyone. What happened to Randy and Morgan? We had no idea the show was nearly cancelled. Was it a complete overhaul out of the blue? Any info would be greatly appreciated. I just love this show, it’s my favourite and we are currently on season 5 here. For me it’s the first time I have ever seen them, even though I am in my 40’s now, I don’t remember them.

  8. Hi Beani

    I detail Season 4 in my book. Season 4 was a ratings disaster and Morgan Starr was dropped without an explanation. Executive Producer Frank Price was brought in to rescue the show and he decided to bring a new family to Shiloh Ranch. His new format didn’t find room for Randy Benton and Randy Boone moved to the new TV Western Cimmaron Strip.

  9. I have been watching “The Virginian” on Encore Westerns and am enjoying becoming reaquainted with the program having watched reruns in the ’70’s as a child. I have been taping the programs on my DVR and as of this writing, John McIntire has just come aboard as Clay Grainger. It was mentioned that John and Stacy were away on business, however, Stacy returned and John did not. I know, of course, that Charles Biclford passed away. It doesn’t appear that his death is addressed on the program. Do they just not mention it all?

  10. Paul,

    Do you know whether Encore will be running the ‘Men From Shiloh’ espisodes or will they go back to season 1 after the season 8 episodes conclude?

      1. Unfortunately I don’t believe they will be showing “The Men from Shiloh.” I am a subscriber to Dish Network and I ran my online program guide through the end of next week looking at the show titles as I knew that the end of Season 8 was nearing and was looking to see if “The Men from Shiloh” would be airing. Starting next Thursday, Season 1 begins airing again. The Dish Network program guide has been off before and could be again but for now it looks like only Seasons 1-8 will be shown.

  11. Thanks Roger. That’s very annoying if true because season nine is definitely part of “The Virginian” series and not a spin-off show as some list. When “The Virginian” aired in Ireland a few years ago they also showed season nine so it was part of the syndicated package.

  12. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out, but that’s a shame if true.

    Anyone have any info into whether Encore will be premiering any other classic shows around the first of the year? I wish Encore could aquire the rights away from TVLand for the hour long color episodes of ‘Gunsmoke’.

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