In this video, “How The West Was Won” creator Jim Byrnes tells the story of how the pilot episode was arranged to be based on the epic cinematic version with an all-star cast. He went a whole different direction because he didn’t want to copy the movie outright. It turned out to be the longest, most expensive pilot in TV history!
Jim Byrnes won the Western Heritage Awards Bronze Wrangler award for “The Macahans” (1976) . He also garnered awards from the Western Writers of America, winning Best TV Script for “How The West Was Won” (1977) and “Gunsmoke” (1955). The Writers Guild of America awarded him for the best Episodic Drama for “Gunsmoke”, specifically for the episode entitled “Thirty a Month and Found” (1974).