TV Westerns....who was "Top Shot"?


February 25, 2011, 08:11 PM
Some light hearted "what if's" concerning guns....

Suppose you took each of the 1950-60's TV western stars (with their made for TV gun skills) and had them compete for title "Top Shot".

Could Matt Dillon out draw Paladin?.....or would Wyatt Earp get his long barrel caught in the holster and be eliminated? How does Roy Rogers stack up against Lucas McCain?

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February 25, 2011, 08:17 PM
Paladin would outdraw, outshoot and outride them all!:neener::rolleyes:

February 25, 2011, 08:17 PM
Not exactly a western TV marksman... but my money is on Quigley. ;)

February 25, 2011, 08:23 PM
Joe Kidd!

February 25, 2011, 08:24 PM
Hoppy or Wild Bill depending if it's mounted and on foot.

Most fun to watch? Andy Devine

Jesse Heywood
February 25, 2011, 08:24 PM
Paladin would outdraw, outshoot and outride them all!

Not according to Johnny Western. In the episode where they competed, Johnny actually won the gunfight. The the editing had Paladin winning. After all, he was the star. The two were very good friends.

February 25, 2011, 08:26 PM
Matt Dillon or Hoss Cartwright
February 25, 2011, 08:30 PM
My moneys on Fuzzy Knight

February 25, 2011, 08:31 PM
Jim West with his sliding deringer rig mounted in his coat sleeve. He could knock a lighter-than-air dirigible out of the sky with that thing from 500 yards.

February 25, 2011, 08:31 PM
Long gun Quigly
Side Arm The Lone Ranger
Quick lever action The Rifleman

February 25, 2011, 08:33 PM
I've read that Jerry Lewis was actually the fastest draw on the timer. Who'd 'a thunk it?

Truthfully, I like Paladin...maybe not the fastest...certainly not the best looking...but lots of class.


February 25, 2011, 08:37 PM
I'm sure Tonto (Jay Silverheels) would win the archery event....of course Mingo (Ed Ames) takes the hatchet throw (He split trees nearly every week with that thing). When it comes to twirling Winchesters John Wayne could beat Lucas McCain.

February 25, 2011, 08:42 PM
I think one would be suprised how many Bonanza fans and collectors their are. I'm a matt Dillion fan, however Festus should really be number one...Grandma loved Festus!
My daughter has been collecting Bonanza stuff for years.

February 25, 2011, 09:15 PM
As I recall, Paladin had worked as a mercenary abroad, and occasionally made use of exotic weapons, including a spear throwing-stick, throwing knives, and long-range riflery. He was versatile with ANY weapon, which is the requirement for Top Shot.

February 25, 2011, 09:30 PM
My money's on the Lone Ranger. Not only fast, but accurate. I don't think I ever saw him shoot anybody. He just shot the gun out of their hand without drawing blood!

February 25, 2011, 10:01 PM
My vote is for my childhood here,The Lone Ranger.

He never missed when it counted,and he was just TOO cool.

Made me a fan of classical music,as I had to learn more about the William Tell Overture.

February 25, 2011, 10:59 PM
The Lawman, John Russell, Yancy Derringer, The Virginian, The Bounty Hunter, Steve McQueen, Rowdy Yates, all of the Magnificante Seven

February 25, 2011, 11:06 PM
Chuck Conners

Owen Sparks
February 25, 2011, 11:07 PM
The ability to make a six shooter fire ten or fifteen rounds without reloading is a feat no modern shooter can achieve.

February 25, 2011, 11:09 PM
Festus Haggen...

February 25, 2011, 11:11 PM
What if Chuck Norris were to fight Mike Ditka?

February 25, 2011, 11:37 PM
Roy Rogers. Never had to reload.
" that Jerry Lewis..." Buddy Hacket could actually shoot though. All those trick shots he did on 'Circus of the Stars' were real. Big time collector as well. He had a shipboard gatling gun in his livingroom as a conversation piece too.

February 26, 2011, 05:51 AM
Hop-along cassidy

The Lone Haranguer
February 26, 2011, 05:57 AM
Sammy Davis Jr. in The Rifleman:
(This was not fake. Among his many talents was fast draw and trick shooting.)

Joe Cartwright in Bonanza (numerous episodes, often involving movement and unconventional positions)

February 26, 2011, 08:42 AM
My vote goes for John Wayne (The shootist or True Grit) a close second would Clint Eastwood as Jossey Wales

February 26, 2011, 08:51 AM
Whoops. sorry Rembrant you said 1950's or 60's that vote goes to Matt Dillon and a close second to Alan Ladd in the movie Shane , if anyone remembers that one.

February 26, 2011, 09:12 AM
If I remember correctly, Glenn Ford starred in the 1956 film "Fastest Gun Alive".....but his adversary was Broderick Crawford who was miscast as an overweight speed shooter.

There were a few who just didn't give viewers a good display of marksmanship....Gene Barry as Bat Masterson seemed to prefer bopping bad guys on the head with his cane while Bret, Bart, and Bo Maverick didn't show much in the way of gun skills.

Jimmy Stewart did show some remarkable rifle skills in Winchester 73.

Trying to remember who the guy was with the sawed off Winchester "mares leg" that was pretty fast?

February 26, 2011, 09:54 AM
There were two that used a mare's leg. Johnny Yuma (Nick Adams) and Josh Randall (Steve McQueen). Ledgend has it that the guy that could outdraw them all was Walter Brennen.

Art Eatman
February 26, 2011, 11:00 AM
Yeah, Jerry Lewis for real-time single-action draw-and-shoot.

And, Bat Masterson was indeed called "Bat" for his use of his loaded cane. My mother met him when she was maybe ten years old, and her description of him included "dapper".

True Grit
February 26, 2011, 11:16 AM
This actor is from the 70's but you gotta love Terence Hill aka "Trinity"

February 26, 2011, 11:21 AM
Jim West with his sliding deringer rig mounted in his coat sleeve.

Funny, that's the first thing I thought of too :)

February 26, 2011, 11:29 AM
Just thought of another one. Now this dude could point both his pistols towards the ground and shoot and he would raise up in the air. Mr. Yosimite Sam!! haaaa

February 26, 2011, 11:31 AM
Jeff Osterhage as Tyrell Sackett in the made for TV movie "The Sackets."

In one scene, the "bad guy" is calling Tyrell out. As Tyrell walks away, the "bad guy" with his hand on his pistol butt, calls Tyrell a coward or some such insult and calls out "DRAW!". In one motion, Tyrell, turns, draws and covers his opponent, while his opponent has not moved to draw his revolver. Tyrell then makes the gunman disarm, walk over to the watering trough and drop his gun in. Then he sends him packing to the laughter of the townspeople, defeating and humiliating him at the same time, without firing a shot.

This boy was GOOD! ;)

February 26, 2011, 11:44 AM
Maybe not the fastest but I'd have to go with Johnny Ringo, & The Lematt in the quick draw holster. :cool:

That seventh shot, a 20 ga. shotgun round out of a pistol barrel turned out to be quite a surprise to many a bad guy. :what:

February 26, 2011, 12:08 PM
Along with Sammy Davis and Jerry Lewis, Glen Ford was also very quick with a single action.

The Real Wyatt
February 26, 2011, 12:11 PM
Hugh O'Brian was reported to be the actual fastest draw in hollywood. I recall seeing him on some T.V. show in the 1950s demonstrating his fast draw. He could clear leather, cock and fire his single action Colt in 1/5 th of a second.

February 26, 2011, 01:15 PM
If I remember right, in an interiew with Dale Evans, she mentioned that early on, Roy toured as a traveling exhibition shooter.


February 26, 2011, 01:23 PM
I've read that Jerry Lewis was actually the fastest draw on the timer
In real life my understanding is that there was a long running friendly competition between
-Jerry Lewis (
-Dean Martin
-Sammy Davis Jr. (

some other "screen gunfighters" who apparently had some actual skill in the real world include...
-Clint Eastwood
-Ernest Borgnine
-Steve McQueen
-James Arness
-Kirk Douglas
-Elvis Presley

But in terms of the strictly fictional characters I think I'd vote Paladin. :D

February 26, 2011, 01:42 PM
If movies may be included, then without a doubt the Top Shot of all time was Gene Wilder as the Waco Kid. :)

February 26, 2011, 05:03 PM
Speaking of Hugh O'Brien, he was indeed, very fast on the draw. During the peek of the teeeveee westerns he would challenge the other series' "stars" to draw/fire-with-blanks contests. He would bet them $100.00 he could beat them, and he always did.

One day, he challenged Audie Murphy, saying he could beat Murphy any day. (O'Brien was also known around town as an arrogant and overbearing p.i.t.a.)

Murphy said, "Okay, Hugh, but tell you what. Let's up the bet to $500.00 ... and use live ammo."

O'Brien declined. :)

This was told to me by a well known stunt man who worked O'Brien's show, and knew both men, having worked on some of Murphy's pictures.


February 26, 2011, 05:11 PM
James Garner in "Support Your Local Sheriff."

Or Little Joe.

Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson

February 26, 2011, 07:20 PM
If movies may be included, then without a doubt the Top Shot of all time was Gene Wilder as the Waco Kid.:scrutiny:

THAT is a Blazingly silly answer .... :neener:

Intrepid Dad
February 26, 2011, 08:00 PM
Has to be Lucas McCain a.k.a. "The Rifleman". I don't think that guy every missed.

February 26, 2011, 08:42 PM
Chuck Conners...

Plus he played Pro Baseball, Basketball and was drafted for the Bears football... but didn't end up playing. Also, the first basketball player to break a backboard =)

Bad ass.

February 26, 2011, 08:46 PM one heckuva fight to be sure...

Paladin would have to go against Jake McCandles...the winner would have to take on Josie Wales,

One not mentioned though would be a straight up fight between Cheyenne Bodie and Marshal Dillon. Two BIG fellas....Clint Walker and James Arness.

Rifle shots in movies...hmmm...Quigley would have to go against Tom Horn. :)


February 26, 2011, 09:08 PM
Dustin Hoffman as 'little big man'

Watch out if he goes all snake eyes on ya!

February 26, 2011, 09:10 PM
Matt Dillon had the longest obviously was the best. All the rest were boot toe up at least 20 years before.

Joe Vaquero
February 26, 2011, 09:11 PM
How about Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) from Wanted: Dead or Alive with his mares leg.

True Grit
February 26, 2011, 10:20 PM
Haha well Audie Murphy was a war hero before he was a famous movie star so we all know that he had the guts and TRUE GRIT. They didn't declare him the most decorated soldier of WWII for nothing.

February 26, 2011, 10:22 PM
If movies may be included, then without a doubt the Top Shot of all time was Gene Wilder as the Waco Kid. :)
I'm too late I guess, but I agree. I was going to say, even though he was from the mid 70's, my money would be on Jim.

February 26, 2011, 10:32 PM
How about 26 Men, stories of the Arizona Rangers.. Kelo Henderson (real life trick shooter and marksman) played Ranger Clint Travis. Guy Madison in the Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Bronco Lane, Wade Preston as Christopher Colt in Colt 45, Hoppy, Gene and Roy, The Range Rider and Yancy Derringer with Jock Mahoney... top shot was whichever hero I was watchind at the time.. thanks for the memories!

February 26, 2011, 10:37 PM
I seem to recall Yancy Derringer preferred dynamite as a powder in his firearms....

Ky Larry
February 26, 2011, 10:44 PM
QuickDraw Mc Graw and his El Kabonger. :neener:

February 26, 2011, 10:51 PM
Got to be Chuck Conners as the Rifleman hands down, still love that intro!

February 27, 2011, 01:14 AM
I'm only 28 but grew up on re runs of the old westerns. I'd have to give best pistol to Paladin and best rifle to Lucas McCain.

February 27, 2011, 01:29 AM
I've got to agree with Chuck Connors and Richard Boone, two of my childhood heroes.

But of movies, some of the most entertaining gun handling I've seen was done by Terence Hill (Trinity) in the Trinity spaghetti western comedies.

Ala Dan
February 27, 2011, 11:39 AM
+1 for Chuck Connors

History Lesson- Minor League Baseball

Did you all know that Chuck Connors (himself) actually played 1st base
for the Mobile Bears of the old Southern Association League~?

February 27, 2011, 11:59 AM
the outlaw Josie Wales... Which I thought was one of Clints best.. Clint eastwood was real... his bio says that he would actually go to the local bars in cali and get into fights and win. Had a REAL reputation.

February 27, 2011, 03:33 PM
Clint eastwood was real... his bio says that he would actually go to the local bars in cali and get into fights and win. Had a REAL reputation.

I remember Eastwood saying in an interview that he would invite cast members for a beer at one of the local "establishments." When he was filming Dirty Harry in San Francisco, a tipsy longshoreman started harassing Andrew Robinson, the young guy who played the Scorpio killer. After Clint told the guy to knock it off, the guy persisted until Clint finally punched him out.
And then later Clint blew Andy off a pier with his .44 Magnum. "The most powerful handgun in the world. And it will blow your head clean off..."

February 27, 2011, 03:34 PM
Surprised you all missed it! Robert Redford's "Sundance Kid" in "Butch Casssidy and the Sundance Kid". Drew, fanned, and shot the buckle off a guys gunbelt, bad guy's gun drops to the floor, and then the follow up shots push the gun across the floor. Doesn't get any better than that.....And...he's left handed!:D

February 27, 2011, 04:08 PM
I have to go with Clint Eastwood as the outlaw Josie Wales. Thats my favorit old western movie. :)

February 27, 2011, 04:20 PM

THAT is a Blazingly silly answer .... :neener:

Well, that movie was actually a spoof (you know, not realistic like other movies ;)). So I'll also put in a vote for my hero and namesake, The Man With No Name (except for Joe, Manco, Blondie, and Clint Eastwood :)). Any man who holsters his right arm in addition to his gun is a force to be reckoned with. :evil:

I'm too late I guess, but I agree. I was going to say, even though he was from the mid 70's, my money would be on Jim.

That's right, his name was Jim. But most people called him...Jim. ;)

Steve 48
February 27, 2011, 04:27 PM
Roy Rogers was a good shot in real life and put on lots of exhibitions too!!

February 27, 2011, 04:47 PM
Wasn't Nick Barkley (Big Valley) pretty fast? What about the Preacher in "Pale Rider", bad ass. ;)


February 27, 2011, 04:55 PM
Linda Evans in "The Big Valley"...seriously, anyone gonna be able to look at her and still hit the broadside of a barn. :)

February 27, 2011, 05:05 PM
A couple have got it right.
Hands down---Audie Murphy.
He DID it.

February 27, 2011, 05:33 PM
Great thread!

50s TV: Roy Rogers. He never missed, never had to reload and Dale was a babe. And a Christmas present was a cap gun version of Roy's two gun rig.

60s TV: Jim West for serious cool and a great train car.

pistoleer in movies: Josie Wales. He was fast, accurate, and carried forty-eleven guns at all times.

rifleman in movies: Tom Selleck as Quigley. Deadly with over the horizon targets as well as super fast with C&B revolvers. I wonder how many folks tried black powder cartridge shooting after seeing the movie.


February 27, 2011, 06:46 PM
I may have to rescind my choice and go with Rex O'Herlihan in "Rustler's Rhapsody". Being able to shoot against 6-7 guys, and shoot them all IN THE HAND, you won't see better "gunplay". :D

February 27, 2011, 07:45 PM
Don't think Roy Rogers ever shot & killed a person in any of his films or TV shows, always shot to wound or it was a fist fight till their hat came off.

March 1, 2011, 03:20 PM
Lee Van Cleef

Clint Eastwood

March 2, 2011, 12:25 AM
Although from much later in the TV Western era, Chris Larabee from The Magnificent Seven. Michael Biehn played the role exceptionally well, and brought along all of the gun handling skills he acquired while playing the role of Johnny Ringo in the movie Tombstone.

And of course, speaking of Tombstone and Johnny Ringo, one most certainly cannot forget to mention Doc Holliday, as played by Val Kilmer.

"All right, 'lunger'. Let's do it."
"Say when"

"You're no daisy! You're no daisy at all. Poor soul, you were just too high strung"

"It would appear that the strain was more than he could bear."

March 2, 2011, 01:48 PM
Tom Mix?
Agree Clint Eastwood in his many roles was always a dead shot.

March 2, 2011, 03:50 PM
The argument about Matt Dillon always was whether he outdrew the other guy in the opening credits.

As I recall, The Rifleman and The Bounty Hunter were more realistic than most about the destructive power of bullets.

March 2, 2011, 04:16 PM
Another vote for Roy Rogers. He was an avid shotgunner and a very good shot. He not only was a good shot compared to other stars but he also shot at the Grand Nationals. He was into it, as they say.

Thanx, Russ

March 2, 2011, 05:09 PM
Jack Palance in Shane. What a mean dude.

March 2, 2011, 07:07 PM
The argument about Matt Dillon always was whether he outdrew the other guy in the opening credits.

In all the versions of the opening credits that I can recall, Matt was always outdrawn, but he was still standing and the other guy presumably wasn't. If I remember correctly, that was the whole theme of the pilot episode (the one with the introduction by John Wayne), which would seem to make some sense. I guess that just as in real life, "fast is fine but accuracy is final." :) Of course, in the rest of the series he usually either drew faster (with deadly accuracy) or got ambushed and shot in the back.

March 2, 2011, 11:54 PM
I'm going to dsate myself here but, if you ever saw Hoot Gibson you'd hafta say he was THE quickest and NEVER lost his hat in bar saloon brawl. Right behind him was Johnny Mack Brown. However, if you were within 10 feet of Lash Larue or Whip Wilson you'd didn't stand a chance of hardly clearing leather before either one snatched your shootin iron outta yer hand there, partner. Yes sir, I was right there on the street and saw it with my own eyes. Now let's round up the posse and head to the Kincade ranch and linch 'im.

March 3, 2011, 12:01 AM
Talented in handguns, Buffalo rifles and shotguns.

March 3, 2011, 08:38 AM
Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo
aka: Hawkeye, Deerslayer, Pathfinder, La Longue Carabine, Leatherstocking, etc

March 3, 2011, 09:56 AM
Not the 50's 60's but it would be a tie between Jedediah 'Kid' Curry and Trinity. They'd both fire and kill each other. :D

March 3, 2011, 10:19 AM
Gene Barry as Bat Masterson..........don't remember seeing him beat.

March 3, 2011, 04:47 PM
My vote goes to Paladin. Then to Lucas McCain

March 3, 2011, 05:57 PM
There are lots of votes for Lucas McCain in this thread, but while I bow down to his sheer awesomeness in handling and shooting his rifle, I have to chuckle at how he carries it everywhere in his hand like that. :) For a show with the ostensible premise of a man who can use a rifle much like a six-gun (in the context of western gunplay) and actually showed it, the writers sure relied heavily on why it's NOT such a good idea, as just about every time he put his Winchester down something really bad happened to him and/or his son. :rolleyes: Ever heard of a handgun, Mr. Rifleman? Or at least a sling? ;)

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