Western Division, Rich Paschall

While westerns may have fallen out of favor in recent decades, there were a lot of them in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.  Many brought great theme songs to television and I will offer you my favorites here.

If I could not recall the tune without finding it online, I could not consider it for my Top 10.  I did uncover quite a few that I had forgotten.  Perhaps you can suggest more in the comments below.


The Lone Ranger had a great theme, but it was actually Gioachino Rossini‘s Guillaume Tell, better known as The William Tell Overture.

Gene Autry and Ray Whitley wrote Back in the Saddle Again, not to be confused with the Aerosmith tune, Back in the Saddle.  Autry’s 1939 song was so much associated with him that it seemed logical to use it for his 1950’s era television show.

Roy Rogers Show. Dale Evans wrote Happy Trails which was used for the Roy Rogers radio and later television show in the 1950s.  The show starred Rogers and Evans who were married and extremely popular country and western stars.  The song was released in 1952 and has been covered by many artists.


10. The Wild, Wild West.  Nope, not the one by Will Smith for his movie version of this television series. This one is a classic.

9. The High Chaparral. The television series began on NBC in 1967 and had a theme that invoked the great outdoors. This music would have fit nicely into many of the great western movie epics.

8. Bat Masterson “Back when the west was very young…” a cool guy used his cane rather than a gun. I could sing along with this one every week.

7. Wagon Train. Wagons Ho was actually the third theme for this show. The season one (1957) theme gave way to another in season two and that was changed to an instrumental version as the season went along. Season three introduced the theme you probably would remember.

6. Zorro was “The fox so cunning and free.” The Disney produced show premiered in 1957 and only lasted two years but the song lives on.

5. Have Gun Will Travel. The Ballad of Paladin. This was actually the closing theme, written by Johnny Western (a stage name, perhaps?), Sam Rolfe and the show’s star, Richard Boone.

4. The Big Valley  This western was not only in a big valley, it had a big name cast led by movie star Barbara Stanwyck.  The theme was by George Duning.

3. Maverick  “Who is the tall dark stranger there?”  Well, the cast of Mavericks kept changing.  Initially it was James Garner and after 8 weeks a brother played by Jack Kelly came along.  There were  4 brothers and a cousin (Roger Moore) by the time they were through.  The theme was by David Buttolph and Paul Francis Webster.

2. Bonanza, by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.  These two were well acquainted with hits, including the famous Mr. Ed.

1. Rawhide.  The hit tune sung by Frankie Laine was famously covered by the Blues Brothers in their first movie.

See also: “The Television Western,” rjptalk, Sunday Night Blog.

Categories: Entertainment, Music, Rich Paschall, Television

Tags: , , , , , , ,

29 replies

  1. Reblogged this on rjptalk and commented:

    The television western may be a genre of yesteryear, but some of the epic theme songs live on. Be sure to click on “View Original Post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for my Top Ten.


  2. If I remember correctly, Bonanza had a few Canadians in it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Even though this was NOT the theme song for a TV show, it SHOULD have been. The Frankie Laine version is only a partial version and the Johnny Cash one has not only the other verses, but much better volume. I’ve always thought they could make this one (as well as Pancho and Lefty) into movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bonanza actually had lyrics. They ran once. They were so bad the producers pulled them and they never aired again.

    We chased lady luck, ’til we finally struck Bonanza.
    With a gun and a rope and a hat full of hope, planted a family tree.
    We got hold of a pot full of gold, Bonanza.
    With a horse and a saddle, and a range full of cattle, how rich can a fellow be?

    On this land we put our brand, Cartwright is the name, fortune smiled, the day we filed the Ponderosa claim.
    Here in the West, we’re livin’ the best, Bonanza
    If anyone fights any one of us, he’s go a fight with me

    Hoss and Joe and Adam know every rock and pine, no one works, fights, or eats, like those boys of mine.
    Here we stand in the middle of a grand Bonanza.
    With a gun and a rope and a hat full of hope, we planted our family tree
    We got hold of a pot full of gold, Bonanza.

    With a houseful of friends where the rainbow ends, how rich can a fellow be?
    On this land we put our brand, Cartwright is the name, fortune smiled, the day we filed the Ponderosa claim.
    Here in the west we’re livin’ in the best Bonanza.

    With the friendliest, fightingist, loving band, that ever set foot in the promised land
    And we’re happier than them all.
    That’s why we call it Bonanza…Bonanza…Bonanza…
    Copyright: Lyrics © Original Writer and Publisher


    Liked by 2 people

  5. I kind of thought this might be a slow day. Everyone is glued to the television. It’s OMG — Super Bowl Day! And if you live in New England, since the Pats are up, win or lose, you ARE going to watch, even if it’s just a piece of the show. We’ve agreed to watch the second half because Garry, after too many years of losing Dodgers, Mets, and Red Sox, believes you should never watch the beginning. It will either bum you out or make you think you’re going to win only to dash your hopes in the end. He will probably NEVER recover.

    I want you to know that I can sing ALL of those cowboy ditties. Every last one of them, word for word.

    I THINK (but am not sure) that this is the complete version by Johnny Western. No one ever plays that second verse. Johnny Western WAS his name, or at least his “stage” name. He cut whole albums using that name. This version seems to be pretty much the same as the one you’ve got, but hey, you can’t have too much Paladin.

    Did you ever notice that Paladin’s horses dropped dead on him with some regularity? Everyone else rode ful tilt in the desert and the horse didn’t have a problem. Paladin’s horses up and died. I didn’t like dying horses, but at least it was realistic. Horses cannot ride full tilt in a hot, dry desert for hours at a time and not collapse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed the Paladin is often without a horse. How did he always get back to San Francisco?
      Johnny Westerlund from Twin Harbor, MN is his real name. Johnny Western does sound much better for a country western singer.


    • By the way, John is going to a Super Bowl party although he knows nothing about the game. He does know Maroon 5 will perform at half time.
      I will watch it at home and think the Pats are the likely winner.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rich, a great list. I’m just getting on line now with “the game” knotted at 3-3 in the 3rd quarter. Looks like a nail biter as I feared. Now, it’s 10-3, Pats. Still a squeaker. Didn’t you love Brady’s “Hamlet” bit?
        Nice pickup on Johnny Western. I had a Johnny Western LP which featured the cowboy classics.
        The best may be Marty Robbins’ LP – “Gunfighter Ballads”. Includes “Streets of Laredo”. “They’re Hanging Me Tonight”, “Cool Water”, “Do Not Forsake me, O’ My Darlin’”, “Ride, Cowboy, Ride”, “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” “Red River Valley”, “My Darlin’ Clementine”.
        Other TV western themes – “Lawman” — “The lawman came with a gun..there was a job to be done..” I loved John Russel’s Marshall Dan Troop. They actually aged Russell to make him look middle aged. Russell was an underated actor who Clint Eastwood appreciated – casting him as the head of the gunslingers in “Pale Rider”.
        “The Restless Gun” had a nice, mournful theme for John Payne’s Vint Bonner hero.
        Johnny Cash sang “The Rebel” theme song for hero Nick Adams.
        “Cheyenne” — “Cheyenne, lonely man, Cheyenne, where do you wander—where will it be—Cheyenne”
        “A Man Called Shenandoah” – star Robert Horton shows off a nice singing voice with his rendition of “Shenandoah”. I liked Horton and wished the series had run longer.
        “Wyatt Earp” HUGE O’Brien. “Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp…brave, courageous and bold (bald?)…long live his fame, long live his glory….long may his story be told”. When I met O’Brien, he was flacking a boy’s club. And admitted wearing a girdle that was “killing” him. ..”Long may his story be told”.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved both Big Valley and Bonanza. Another oldie but goodie with a nice theme song was Tales of Wells Fargo.

    Liked by 2 people



Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Eyes Open

Come along on an adventure with us!

Travel with me

Travel snapshots from Toonsarah

Thoughts & Theories

My Personal Rants, Ravings, & Ruminations

France & Vincent

Writing Magic, Myth and Mystery

Barb Taub

Writing & Coffee. Especially coffee.

This, That, and The Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Covert Novelist

Light Hearted Mysteries

Salted Caramel

Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.

Green Screen

The Environmental Movie Podcast

bushboys world

Photos of my world and other stuff I hope you will enjoy too. Photos taken with Canon PowershotSX70HS Photos can be purchased.


Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

My Blog

Just another site

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Views from the Edge

To See More Clearly

serial monography: forgottenman's ruminations

wandering discourse, pedantic rant, self-indulgent drivel, languorous polemic, grammarian's bête noire, poesy encroachment approaching bombast, unintended subtext in otherwise intentional context, unorthodox unorthodoxy, self-inflected rodomontade, …

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

The English Professor at Large

Posts about old Hollywood, current concerns



The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More



Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World


Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories

A Day In The Life

People, Places, Nature, LIFE!

%d bloggers like this: