Abstract The Warner-Rich model for monocistronic polyribosomes is analyzed quantitatively by computer simulation. Its kinetic parameters may be directly related to those which are experimentally observable at steady state. Although simple cases can be solved exactly, it is found that computer simulation is a superior technique for polysomes of biologically significant size. The rate of protein synthesis, polysome distribution, ribosome gradient along the messenger, and distribution of nascent peptide lengths are given over the full range of variability of the free parameters for messenger RNA (mRNA) with a length of 150 codons. Measurements are suggested to test the validity of the Warner-Rich model, or certain of its predictions.