|How the West
|1978 - 1979
Led by mountain man Zeb Macahan (James Arness),
the series followed the saga of the Macahans, a
Virginia family setting out west in search of a
new life and homestead in Oregon.
The story begins when Zeb Machan, a frontier cavalry scout
returned home from a ten year stint in the Dakota Territory just as
his relatives were planning to move west. Add to the drama, the
Civil War begins. Unfortunately, Zeb's Timothy (Richard Kiley) left
to fight it the war and his wife, Kate (Eva Marie Saint) died soon
after in an accident. Consequently, Zeb adopted the remaining family
members, and trekked west to find a new home for all of them. They
eventually found a ranch in the Tetons and raised Appaloosa horses.
The members of the Macahan clan who traveled west included:
- Fionnula Flanagan as Aunt Molly Culhane, Kate's widowed
sister who came from Boston to help the family move west.
- Bruce Boxleitner as Luke Macahan, the oldest son who
killed accidentally killed three men in self defense and was now a
fugitive on the run. He was also an army deserter.
- Kathryn Holcomb as Laura Macahan, a beautiful young
girl who was flowering into a woman.
- William Kirby Cullenas Josh Macahan, the youngest
brother who was anxious to be a man and help his family.
- Vicki Schreck as Jessie Macahan, a tomboyish
The series was loosely based on the movie How
The West Was Won (1962) directed by John
Ford. The Macahan family first appeared in the 1977/1978 TV miniseries of the same
The TV special WHEN THE WEST WAS FUN: A
WESTERN REUNION (1979) featured many
classic TV western characters, including:
Neville Brand (Laredo), Chuck Connors (The
Rifleman), Linda Cristal, Henry Darrow and
Mark Slade (The
High Chaparral), James Drury and Doug
McClure (The Virginian), Jack Kelly (Maverick), Jock Mahoney
Dickie Jones (The Range Rider),
Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), John Russell (Lawman),
Slim Pickens (Custer),
as weel as film actors Glenn Ford (3:10 to Yuma),
and Lee Van Cleef (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).
The 60-minute program was dedicated to
actor John Wayne who was in the hospital at the
The documentary How the West Was Lost aired on the Discovery Channel
Taped in 25 states, Mexico and Canada, this
six-part p.o.v. documentary told the
Indian side of American History from
Revolutionary times to the present interspersed
with comments from descendants from such proud
Tribes as the Cherokee and Iroquois Nations. It
was narrated by Peter Thomas.
The TV movie How the West Was Fun (1994)
starred the Olsen twins as Suzie and Jessica
Martin who travel to the contemporary Wild West
and experience adventures on a dude ranch owned
by their granny Natty Martin.
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