See Johnny Crawford in his first acting role in 20 years

The Rifleman star got back in the saddle for an indie Western.

Image: One-Eyed Horse Productions

If you were a kid in the 1950s, you looked back 60 years and idolized the cowboys of the Wild West. Today, when we look back 60 years, the actors who played cowboys on 1950s TV have become just as mythologized in our eyes. Chuck Connors was just as cool and tough as any real-life peacekeeper of the 1880s.

Fortunately, we still have some of them with us. Johnny Crawford, who played young Mark McCain opposite Connors on The Rifleman, became a teen idol thanks to his time on the Western. The former Mousketeer recorded several hit pop singles, including "Cindy's Birthday," "Your Nose Is Gonna Grow" and "Rumors," which all soared into the Top 20 in 1961.

That is why Crawford's most recent film role was a tiny part in the 1999 sci-fi film The Thirteenth Floor. He was billed simply as "Singer." 

But in 2019, Crawford climbed back in the saddle to film a Western. One-Eyed Horse Productions cast the 73-year-old as William S. Hart, a real-life cowboy star of silent films throughout the 1920s, in an independent film titled Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws

The ensemble cast features other familiar faces from classic television and movies, including Lana Wood (Peyton Place), Robert Carradine (Revenge of the Nerds), Darby Hinton (Daniel Boone) and Don Collier (The High Chaparral).

Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws is currently available to rent or buy via Amazon Prime or through the film's distributor. You can watch a trailer with Crawford below.

Unfortunately, it is not all good news with Crawford. Earlier this year, the legendary actor was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. A gofundme page was created to help raise money for his care. He is in our thoughts. 

Watch The Rifleman on MeTV!

Weekdays at 3 PM & 3:30 PM
Saturdays at 5 PM & 5:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Save with
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

10 Comments

Post a comment
HopeDuchaine 3 days ago
When I was younger I had the biggest crush on Johnny Crawford. I didn't miss one episode of the Rifleman.
Runeshaper 8 days ago
It's AWESOME that he made another film! Sad to hear about Alzheimer's. I hope he's doing well!
JDnHuntsvilleAL 20 days ago
You know I just saw and interview with Reba McEntire where she said she would love to be in a real western movie. Too bad they didn't contact her for this one.
I was involved with the film - I agree with you, but unfortunately she would have been too expensive for this low-budget project.
TonyGaudenti 23 days ago
I met and talked to him at a museum in Chatsworth, CA in April, 2018. I asked him a few questions. One I asked was "Was Chuck Connors 6 feet 5 and 1/2 inches?" He said, "More." I said, "Oh, so between 6 feet 5 and 1/2 inches and 6 feet 6 inches?" And he said, "Yes." I did compliment him on his acting on the show, especially at such a young age. He seemed to like that.
MaryMitch TonyGaudenti 17 days ago
He was great in The Rifleman
garykevinware MaryMitch 17 days ago
This comment has been removed.
MarkSpeck garykevinware 16 days ago
He reunited with Chuck for a Branded episode, and also appeared in one of the last Big Valley episodes, an episode of Glenn Ford's crime drama/modern Western hybrid Cade's County and also a second-season Murder, She Wrote episode, playing a deputy to Tom Bosley's Sheriff.
Delmo 25 days ago
I was hoping for a chance to meet Johnny Crawford at a con. Sad to hear he has Alzheimer's.
Lantern 26 days ago
Wow, I wasn't aware of this "Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws". I'd better see it.

"Lantern"
Class of '77, William S. Hart High School, Newhall, CA
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?