One of my weaknesses: Westerns. I haven't read much fiction, but I enjoy old movies on AMC, like Bend of the River, Rooster Cogburn, Chato's Land, The Cheyenne Social Club, and A Big Hand for the Little Lady.
The genre was dominant in television from the 50s to the 70s. My favorites are:
1. The Rifleman (1958-1963)
Lucas McCain, a former Union cavalry officer purchases a small slice of ranch land in North Fork, New Mexico. A widower, he raises his young son Mark with values like honesty, responsibility, compassion, and industry. He doesn't wear a revolver, but carries everywhere his Winchester .44, modified for semi-automatic fire. Most episodes ended with a gunfight, and then a moral lesson for Mark. The Rifleman was preachy without being cheesy. Easily my favorite western.
2. Bonanza (1959-1973)Thrice-widowed Ben Cartwright raises his sons Adam, Hoss, and "Little" Joe on their enormous ranch on the shores of Lake Tahoe. The show was full of both adventure and humor. I always especially liked Hoss, and once visited the Dan Blocker Museum in the tiny town of O'Donnell, Texas. Bonanza's only failing was that it lasted two long, and should have been cancelled five seasons before it perished in 1973.
3. Kung Fu (1972-1975)
Without a doubt, the oddest Western TV show in history, Kung Fu tells the story of Kwai-Chang Caine, a half-Chinese/half-American Shaolin priest. Caine is a fugitive from justice in China and searches the American West looking for his white half-brother. Along the way, he helps those in need while reflecting on his experiences growing up in the Shaolin Temple. Kung Fu is brilliant in its sheer originality.
What are your favorite Westerns?