Described as counterculture patriots, they were ardent conspiracy theorists and computer hackers
who frequently assisted central X-Files character Fox Mulder, though they sometimes had their own adventures. The Lone
Gunmen authored a news publication called The Magic Bullet Newsletter, of which Mulder was a loyal subscriber. None
of them had day jobs; they relied on financial backers who believed in their cause. They shared a loft apartment (where they
also worked) and used a 1970 Volkswagen Type 2 (minibus) to commute.
Unlike the X-Files, whose storylines dealt mainly with supernatural creatures and government alien conspiracies,
the Lone Gunmen episodes generally featured more "plausible" plots, such as cheating husbands, corporate crime, arms-dealers,
and escaped Nazis. The show had a very light atmosphere and heavily focused on physical comedy.
Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood), a former '60s
radical and most Bohemian of the
three. Though a skilled computer hacker, Frohike was primarily the photography specialist for the newsletter. Frohike had
a lascivious attitude toward women and secretly coveted Mulder's collection of pornographic videos. His unique sense of fashion
made him stand out: furry vests, combat boots, fingerless gloves, etc.
John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce
Harwood) was once a menial office worker for the FCC. He was a conservative dresser with a neatly trimmed beard; a stark contrast to his grungier
comrades. He is known for the famous line, "That's what we like about you, Mulder. Your ideas are even weirder than ours."
He was born on November 22, 1963,
the same day that President Kennedy
died. His parents named him after the fallen president.
Richard Langly (Dean Haglund) resembles Garth from Wayne's World. He was a big fan of The Ramones and had a competition with Frohike over who was a better computer hacker. He also had "a
philosophical aversion to having his image bounced off a satellite."
There was an unofficial fourth member, a computer hacker known as The Thinker,
who succeeded in accessing Majestic 12
files and encrypting them onto a digital tape. He was killed by assassins working for the Cigarette
Smoking Man, who eventually re-acquired the tape.
In 1989, John Byers meets a woman named Holly in an electronics expo. Holly claims that her ex-boyfriend (Mulder) is
stalking her and has kidnapped her daughter. She gives Byers an internet address which is supposed to locate her daughter.
The file is encrypted, so Byers enlists the aid of computer hacker/cable salesman Melvin Frohike. Frohike decrypts the file,
but when they confront Mulder, they discover he is an FBI agent. Suspicious, Byers and Frohike get Richard Langly to hack into the FBI network. They discover that Holly's real name is Suzanne Modeski, and she is wanted for bombing an FBI lab. The three
confront Modeski, and she admits that she works for the Army Advanced Weapons facility at Whitestone, NM. She has developed
a gas that causes fear and paranoia, and the military plans to test it on civilians. She then enlists the three’s help
to stop the government’s plan. They track the material to a warehouse, where the gas is in a shipment of asthma inhalers.
Mulder follows them and is about to arrest them when all five of them are ambushed by two hitmen sent to kill Modeski. A shootout
ensues, and Mulder takes cover.
Modeski kills the hitmen and promptly flees. A team led by Mr. X sanitizes the scene, cautioning the guys to stay out of trouble.
The police arrive soon after. All three of the Gunmen are arrested, and Byers recounts his story to Detective John Munch. Munch is skeptical, but Mulder
verifies the story, so the guys are released. They find Modeski, and she admonishes them to tell as many people as they can
about the government conspiracy. Without warning, a black rental car pulls up, and the occupants force Modeski inside. Later,
the guys are visited by Mulder, who says that he has weird ideas in his head that he can't seem to shake.
Their spin-off series involved investigating mostly corporate crime, aided (and sometimes hindered) by a mysterious thief
named Yves Adele Harlow (Zuleikha Robinson). Despite fan loyalty, the show was ultimately canceled after 12 episodes. The
Gunmen themselves died in the season 9 X-Files episode "Jump the Shark", sacrificing themselves to stop a bio-terrorist.
They briefly reappeared in the series finale, as ghosts whom Mulder seemed to have acquired the ability to communicate with.
The cancellation of the show is considered by many to be somewhat mysterious, as its ratings were in fact higher than
the first-season ratings of X-Files.