How The West Was Won

Next Airing: Sunday, December 15

Upcoming Airings of How The West Was Won

Sunday, Dec 15
Erika - Part 2
Season 1
Episode 103
Sunday, Dec 22
Bowie John Christie - Part 3
Season 1
Episode 104
Sunday, Dec 29
Buffalo Story
Season 2
Episode 201
How The West Was Won

About How The West Was Won

(1976–1979, ABC)   

Loosely based on the 1962 film, How The West Was Won brought cinematic Western storytelling to 1970s primetime television, 

As the Civil War looms, mountain man Zebulon Machan (James Arness) returns home to Virginia to rescue his family from the war’s path. Before they can head West to safety, his brother Tim (Richard Kiley) and nephew Luke (Bruce Boxleitner) are unwillingly conscripted into the Union Army with tragic results. Tim’s wife Kate (Eva Marie Saint) struggles to hold the family together: young son Jed (William Kirby Cullen) and daughters Laura (Kathryn Holcomb) and Jessie (Vicki Schreck).And Kate’s sister Molly Culhane (Fionnula Flanagan) joins the brood as they journey across country and eventually settle in Wyoming. 


Due in part to the epic nature of the production, How The West Was Won was broadcast as a “limited series.” The pilot — originally titled The Machans — aired first in January of 1976. Three more episodes followed a year later, then fourteen in season two, and eleven in season three. All had the pacing and production value of a feature film. 

Saint and Flanagan both scored Emmy nominations, as did guest star Ricardo Montalban

Although the series reduced the multi-narrative scope of the original film’s story, it did retain one hallmark of the movie: a narrator (William Conrad). 

Notable guest stars:

Lloyd Bridges, Christopher Lee, William Shatner, , Brian Keith, Fernando Lamas, Keye Luke, David Huddleston, Michael Conrad, Ed Lauter, Jared Martin, Harris Yulin, Jack Elam, Iron Eyes Cody, Alvy Moore, Dub Taylor, Anthony Zerbe, Don Murray, Ramon Bieri, Royal Dano, Mel Ferrer, John Dehner, John Beck, Bradford Dillman, Ken Curtis, James Best, Beverly Garland, L.Q. Jones, Denver Pyle, Wilford Brimley, Kim Cattrall, Noble Willingham, Woody Strode, Gerald McRaney, Richard Moll, Craig T. Nelson, Don Shanks, Sab Shimono 

Created by Jim Byrnes, Albert S. Ruddy 


James Arness, Eva Marie Saint, Bruce Boxleitner, William Kirby Cullen, Richard Kiley, Kathryn Holcomb, Vicki Schreck, Fionnula Flanagan, William Conrad