This was an ambitious series, which made use of first class actors and magnificent location photography.
In its early years the series had five main characters: Judge Garth, owner of Shiloh, a great cattle ranch in Wyoming; his innocent young daughter Betsy; the Virginian, his heroic foreman; and two likeable ranch hands, Trampas and Steve. The relationships between these five, as they were developed and tested, provided the most affecting and amusing moments.
The series gave us strong, intelligent stories, which could be tragic or light-hearted, and often the direction was imaginative, sometimes even poetic. Issues such as injustice through prejudice, individual responsibility and the necessity for compromise were explored, and 'Shiloh' came to stand for the virtues of tolerance, compassion, courage and optimism. Compared with earlier Western series, The Virginian was amazingly deep yet subtle.
As the series ran on over the years it created a hopeful vision of a society slowly progressing towards order and peace.
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