The Women of Shiloh Ranch

Roberta-1It’s interesting to note that none of the regular female actresses featured in the “ride-in” title sequence furthered their acting careers to any extent after The Virginian. Roberta Shore’s premature retirement cut short a promising career.  There is no doubt Roberta could have extended her career had she not retreated to Salt Lake City.


Diane Roter quit acting in 1969.  Sara Lane also quit acting soon after leaving The Virginian.

The young female cast played a large part in the Shiloh Ranch family.  When a female was notably absent at Shiloh Ranch in the revamped final season The Men From Shiloh the feeling of family evaporated.  Shiloh Ranch required the feminine touch.


Author: PGreen

Published work in U.S.A. for McFarland & Co. Inc. : A History of Television’s The Virginian 1962-1971 (2006, 2009 Softcover edition) Pete Duel : A Biography (2007, 2009 Large Print edition; Kindle edition) Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns (2009) Jennifer Jones : Life and Films (2011)

13 thoughts on “The Women of Shiloh Ranch”

  1. Hi Paul
    This is a problem with many actors type-cast in regular T.V shows.
    It happened to Gary Clarke, Randy Boone, Doug McClue, James Dury.(Are the actors charasmatic enough to succeed alone?)
    Pete Duel was restricted in his efforts at being a movie star because of being cast in Smith and Jones.
    Seinfelt is one of many shows prooving my point with a modern day application. Gerry Seinfelt didnt even try. Kramers charactors attempts at taking the charactor to the big screen were embarrassing. His T.V show floped.
    The George charactor failed with his sitcom.
    The female charactor Elaine however went on to the successful Christine series.
    Personally I think that the success of a show is based on how the charactors interact with each other.
    Ie Star-Treck worked because of the Chemistry between Kirk, Spock and McCoy-
    Smith and Jones worked because of the Chemistry between Smith and Jones.
    The Virginian established itself based on the Chemistry between The Virginian ,Trampus And Steve.
    Even in literature Sherlock needed his Watson.
    Maybe in being cast in the Virginian It was better for carear development to be cast as a actor who was titled as introducing…….
    I must say I enjoy looking at Virginian episodes that introdused actors for the first time.
    The actors were hungry for success and gave excellent performances. They didnt need to become repetitive in their performance week in week out.
    I think Clu Culagers comment that working on the Virginian was a Nightmare was based on a actor that had more to give than playing one charactor for so many years-
    As an actor being on a secure contract and guest starring on different shows must be more rewarding. (In terms of playing different charactots)
    I wonder if when you take the ego fame and security away from being a regular in a T.V series in the 1970s how many of those actors now regret their good fortune.
    I think Ben Murphy would probobly have had a better carear without being cast in Smith and Jones.
    Regards Michael.

  2. Great point Michael. It is all about interaction of characters. That’s why “The Men From Shiloh” failed. The interaction was absent.
    And it’s a reason why many actors struggle to repeat their success.
    Pete Duel was far happier appearing in guest roles than being typecast as one character in “Alias Smith and Jones.” But I know James Drury and Doug McClure would have continued in their roles as the Virginian and Trampas for many more years had the show not been canceled. James Drury told me he was ready to star in “The Men From Shiloh” for another five years at least. And Doug looked back on his years as Trampas with great affection.

    1. Hi Paul
      Yes Pete would have made a great Rock Star.
      A Keith Moon(The Who) or Janis Joplin. Maybe a John Bonham(Led Zeppelin)…….The list is endless .Talent that is DESTRUCTIVE but INTENCE.
      I would say thankfully James Drury & Doug McClue were of a different nature.
      Regards Michael

    2. One thing I have absolutly loved about this show is not only watching a great western show that was “homey” as well, but being able to pick out todays “stars” when the appeared on The Virginian ie Joan Collins,
      Dick York, just to name 2. But also seeing John Anderson appearing in the series 4 times over the 9 seasons. I was too young to watch the series when it initally aired (being born in 1967) I am glad that Foxtel aired the series fully 1 after another so that you could watch a full season in 6 to 6 weeks (depending on episodes per seasons at an episode aired each week day). After watching all 9 seasons one after another … for almost a year … I am now all The Virginia”d out ….

      1. And of course some Virginian guest stars went on to achieve great fame and success such as Robert Redford and Harrison Ford.

  3. I sent a comment on this subject, but there was some kind glitch and it didn’t get posted, so here goes again……..
    Of all the female V stars, Jeanette Nolan is the one we saw the most of after the series ended, usually accompanied by husband John McIntire. But she an established actress already, as was Roberta to a lesser extent. Diane and Sara didn’t have a chance to do that, Diane might have if Lee J. Cobb hadn’t quit. I nearly forgot Pippa Scott, who did go on to do another series, but then got more involved in the production side of things with husband Lee Rich and their Lorimar productions that brought us such diverse family sagas as The Waltons and Dallas. Imagine the scripts for those shows getting mixed up…….”Goodnight, J.R, goodnight, Bobby, goodnight Miss Ellie…..”

  4. Yes I didn’t include Pippa Scott and Jeanette Nolan in my blog article because I was confining myself to “ride-in” regulars Nicholas.
    As you know I interviewed Ms. Scott for my book. Quite a formal lady compared to Roberta and Sara. But I was thrilled Ms. Scott replied and agreed to answer my questions. She has become somewhat forgotten by fans as she departed the show so early.

  5. Roberta Shore, really jelled with the actors on the regular cast;The episode “The Awakening”,where they married her off the show ,was my favorite episode.I had a crush on Betsy.Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger,brought a special femininity to the show,and I personally felt that she was the perfect fit replacement when Roberta left. So, my infatuation crush for Betsy,quickly transferred to Elizabeth ! Jeanette Nolan, was a seasoned versatile actress brought class, to a rauchy shootem up tv western.Trampas,was quicker in the draw than Matt Dillon ! My favorite Cowboys: Matt Dillon.Lucas McCain,Palidin,Cheyenne Bodie,Clint Eastwood,Trampas,The Virginian, Emmitt Ryker, Jim Crown,and James West -and Roy Rogers !

  6. Regarding Sara lane, i was watching the Virginian today and i cant help but notice the striking similarity to her and the actor in Deadwood..Kim Dickens, maybe it’s the costumes and hair style but they look so alike i was wondering if they are related?

      1. I went to school with a kid who claimed to be Sara’s brother. Have you ever heard of her having a brother in1966, who was about 15 years old?

      2. Yes Sara has a brother but in my interview with her she only mentioned her father broke hs leg riding his moped. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Where did you go to school?

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