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Today’s episode is the beginning of an eight part behind-the-scenes look at on of TV’s most iconic Western serials, “How the West Was Won” starring Bruce Boxleitner and James Arness.

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).

A WORD ON WESTERNS is a series of tributes about western films featuring interviews with actors and filmmakers sharing personal memories. Hosted and produced by Rob Word, portions are edited into short episodes airing on YouTube. WESTERN LEGENDS ROUNDUP is bringing them to you right here on one site for you to share, return to, and enjoy often.