You’ve already seen every Western starring Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. You watch The Rifleman on AMC religiously on Saturday mornings. You’re a bona fide Western lover to be sure but have you seen all the top miniseries of the genre too? Check out these great star-studded, multi-part excursions into the Old West then take a shot at choosing a favorite. (All were Emmy nominees; some were Emmy winners.)
Broken Trail (2006)
A weathered cowboy (Robert Duvall) saddles up with his estranged nephew (Thomas Haden Church) to wrangle 500 mustangs from Oregon to Wyoming. Along the way, the pair rescues five young Chinese girls from slavery and display acts of bravery and rough-riding that would make John Wayne proud.
Emmy scorecard: 16 nominations; 7 wins
Comanche Moon (2008)
In this prequel to the hit Lonesome Dove, Steve Zahn (Sahara) and Karl Urban (Star Trek) play the younger versions of Gus McCrae and Woodrow F. Call, respectively, during their Texas Ranger days. Val Kilmer also stars as their captain who leads the hunt for a horse thief. The stampedes and horse chasing are some of the best ever on TV.
Emmy scorecard: 5 nominations; 0 wins
Hatfields & McCoys (2012)
Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton deliver emotionally-charged performances as the patriarchs of America’s two most infamously feuding families. The attention to detail alone makes this three-part series utterly engrossing for history and Western buffs alike.
Emmy scorecard: 17 nominations; wins still TBD
Into the West (2005)
Set from 1825 to 1890, this six-part series, starring Skeet Ulrich and Hell on Wheels‘s Eddie Spears, interweaves the tales of two families (one of white American settlers; the other of Lakota Native Americans), while touching on almost every major event of the time period — the Civil War, the California Gold Rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Battle of Little Big Horn among them.
Emmy scorecard: 16 nominations; 2 wins
Lonesome Dove (1989)
Robert Duvall’s grizzled performance as an ex-U.S. Marshall looking for a new life as a cattle herder is the cornerstone of this sweeping four-part series which co-stars Tommy Lee Jones as Duvall’s world-weary partner. This Golden Globe-winner paved the way for movies like Dances With Wolves (1990) and Unforgiven (1992).
Emmy scorecard: 18 nominations; 7 wins