The Five Longest Running Television Shows Set in Wyoming
When the AMC network series Hell on Wheels returns for its fifth season next month, it will become one of the longest running television shows set in the great state of Wyoming.
The series, which depicts the early days of Cheyenne, follows the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1860's. It debuted in 2011 and quickly became one of the highest rated shows on cable. It was recently renewed for 14 more episodes, which will air through next year.
The success of Hell of Wheels has marked a revival of the American Westerns that were among the most popular programs in the 1950's and 1960's. Here's four more television series that helped immortalize Wyoming's cowboy culture.
The Virginian - Not only is this NBC series the longest running show ever set in Wyoming, it's the third longest running western in television history, airing from 1962 - 1971. It was also the first series to run 90 minutes per episode.
The show was set in the tiny Carbon County town of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, and followed the adventures in and around the fictional Shilow Ranch. The series is also noted for giving several up and coming actors their first television roles, including Harrison Ford, Charles Bronson and Robert Redford.
Cheyenne - This popular series ran on the ABC network from 1955 to 1963. In 1957, it won the Golden Globe Award for Television Achievement. The show followed the main character Cheyenne Bodie on a series of adventures across the western frontier, including several encounters with the Cheyenne Native American tribe. The show remains a weekly staple on the Encore network's Western channel.
Laramie - This western ran on the NBC network from 1959 to 1963. Similar to the plot of Cheyenne, the show followed a former Civil War soldier who came west to seek his fortune. The series is also notable for its debut of the iconic NBC peacock logo, which was introduced when it switched from black and white to color in its third season. The logo became known as the 'Laramie Peacock' and was used before every NBC program throughout the 1960's.
Longmire - Unlike other shows based in Wyoming, this series is more of a crime drama than a western. It follows the longtime sheriff of the fictional Wyoming county Absaroka, which is represented to be near Buffalo in the northeastern part of the state. When it debuted on A+E in 2012, it set a network record for the highest rated original series. After three seasons, the show was cancelled by A+E last year. However, it was quickly picked up by the popular website Netflix, which will debut an all new season this fall.