The Rifleman
"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"

Episode 157

Mark and I turned a corner and stopped in our tracks as he were on our way home from a trip. I could hardly believe my eyes. There in front of us on a big bolder sat an old man. He was drunk and getting drunker. And on top of the huge boulder was the words "Help." Mark and I were quite surprised. We've never saw anything like it before. "What are you doing up there?" I asThe Rifleman - Suspicion - Episode 157ked the man.

"I am imbibing from this bottle of balm," said Winslow.

"Are you in trouble?" I asked then.

"A negligent amount," the old man answered.

"Well waitin' out here for help in the middle of nowhere, you could sit there the rest of your life," I warned him.

Winslow said he figured someone would pass by the rock, otherwise it wouldn't be there. “The next mule I have will drink only water.” Then he explained that his drunken mule had died of delirium tremens. Mark and I sat there laughing at him. He was a comical fellow. He said he towed his wagon three miles and then the wheel broke. Mark asked him what he did then. “I selected a large branch and I beat that wagon within an inch of its life.” That made sense!

I asked him what he was going to do now. "Finish this bottle of balm. And then I may select a larger branch and continue to beat that wagon, or I may get some smaller branches and make some new spokes." He then grabbed a ladder he had placed on the rock. Now we knew how he got there and how he was getting down. I could tell by the way he positioned the ladder that he would fall in his drunken state, so I rushed over and caught him just in time. After he got down, he fell, almost knocking Mark over.

I introduced Mark and myself to him. “Winslow Quince is my name, sign painting is my game,” was his introduction.

I went to take a look at his wagon. As I stopped down to examine the wheel, I noticed railroad rails in the back of his wagon. I informed him that all the weight had broken his wheel. He told me he’d found them lying around. “Well, those are railroad tracks. You better give them back to the railroad,” I warned him.

Quince wondered what I was going to do about his wagon. I winked at Mark as I spoke. “Well first I’m gonna get me a great big tree branch.” Quince told me it wouldn’t work. “It’ll work my way,” I assured him.

I braced his wagon enough in skid fashion so we could get Winslow into town and have Nils make him a new wheel. We hooked Blueboy to his wagon and Mark drove Winslow's wagon. He enjoyed his ride with Winslow and found him quite entertaining. Mark asked him if he traveled unarmed. Quince told him that he was defiantly armed. He got out his own rifle and showed it to Mark. Suddenly, the rifle went off, making a loud noise. The horse spooked and Mark had to stop the wagon before the horse ran off.

I hurried over to the wagon. “What are you doing?” Quince told me the rifle had a hair trigger. “Well, you better put it away. You’ll spook this horse right out from underneath me!”

Before Mark could get the wagon started again, Quince asked him to get him another bottle of balm from the back of the wagon. Mark obliged him. But when he got back there, he made quite a discovery. As he grabbed another bottle from the box, he knocked down a dishtowel. Underneath was a pistol. Mark quickly covered it back up, knowing it was none of his business.

Quince insisted the bottle was whisky, but Quince insisted that was only to fool those after his secret formula. He told Mark what the balm was good for, but Mark wasn’t sure what those things were. He suspected the truth though. “Uh…Is any of that catching?” he asked Quince in an amused voice.

“Not until you’re old enough for the balm.” Mark laughed as he started the team back up and headed into North Fork.

When we got to town Winslow thanked me and wanted to give me a pocket watched left to him by his great granddaddy. I told him he didn't owe me a thing. He said he didn't want to insult me by offering me money. He then gave me a pair of silver plated rowel spurs for Mark. He said they were worn by General Robert E. Lee at the Boston Tea Party. That got a strange look from me. This man was loco! He said he never wears spurs and they were left to him by his great-great granddaddy. I thanked him and told him I was sure Mark wouldn't waste them on his horses - he would save them for barn dances. We then shook hands and parted ways.

As we were leaving, Nils came out. “Loose a horse?”

“No, found a wagon,” Quince answered.

“Not much good without a horse,” Nils stated.

“I’ll trade you my wagon for two horses.”

“Might give you one horse,” Nils responded.

“I don’t have a saddle,” Quince answered.

“Then what would you do with two horses?” Nils wondered.

“Trade you for a new wheel mounted right here on this wagon.”

Now Nils was really confused! “But I’d own the wagon!”

"Well if I rode out of here with my horse pullin' my wheel and your wagon happened to come along I couldn't help that could I?" Winslow asked then.

The Rifleman - Suspicion - Episode 157

Nils wasn’t sure he followed, but he laughed. "Say if you've got any money I'm gonna enjoy doing business with you!” They went into the stable to dicker more.

Mark and I rode over to Micah’s. Micah was sure happy to see us. I told him we got a pretty good price for our twenty head. I turned and smiled at my boy as Micah continued talking. He announced they’d had some excitement in North Fork. I asked him what happened. He answered by handing me a wanted poster which read:

$500 Reward
Fro Information leading to the arrest of the murder of
Richard Tucker,
Alice Dorn,
Chub Shebson
Mike Curtis
Harley Barnes.

I didn’t recognize any of the names. Micah said it was more important on where they were. Richard Tucker was a wealthy rancher about a hundred miles from here - he was bushwhacked. His watch and money was stolen. There also was a woman killed about fifteen miles closer. They robbed her of a ladies locket watch. “Murdering a woman just to rob her!” Mark was sickened at the thought of it.

Micah went on. “Shebson was mending fences on foot. He was unarmed; he didn't have two dimes to rub together. They shot him in the back just for his boots, the only thing he had on him worth any value.” It sounded like the murder was working his way towards North Fork, I thought. “He’s closer than that,” Micah explained. “Curtis and Barnes were working on the railroad gang laying track. They were unarmed. They were paid off in newly minted coins and were on their way to North Fork to let off a little steam.

I knew where they were working on the railroad – only 15 miles outside of town. “I don’t suppose you met any strangers along the trail? The killer was known to travel right along the route.”

“Well, we ran into a stranger. I can guarantee you he didn’t kill anything more than a bottle,” I assured him. Suddenly I recalled seeing Matt Larsen when we hit Santa Fe.

Micah didn't know Larsen was back in the territory. “I’ll have to send a wire out on him. Say, if he’s a killer and turns up around here, I don’t think I can hold the people back long enough for a trial – that’s all they’ve been talking about lately.” Then he asked about the stranger.

“A peddler named Quince,” I answered. “Like I said, he’s no threat to anybody.”

All this time, Mark listened silently and with much interest. He already had a suspicion going through his head. He just couldn’t help but wonder…I told Mark to water the horses while me and Micah went to have a beer.

Meanwhile, over at the livery, Nils had supplied Quince with a new horse and wheel. Quince started in that they had agreed on twenty dollars. Nils quickly corrected him. “The agreed upon price was thirty dollars. Twenty for the wheel, ten for the horse.” Nils held out his hand. Quince said he’d paint Nils a nice thirty dollar sign in return. “I don’t need a sign!” Nils declared.

Quince then offered to sell Nils some railroad steel – he could curl them into horseshoes. "Horse shoes I got, money I haven't! Thirty dollars cash!" exclaimed Nils. He paid Nils in gold coins, but he wasn’t happy about it.

Later on in the day, I found Mark sitting by the water tough, deep in thought. I sat down next to him. “Something on your mind?”

“Not exactly,” Mark answered. But the look I gave him told him that was the incorrect answer. I waited for him to answer. “Pa, those railroad ties in Mr. Quince’s wagon…he must have been pretty close to the railroad.”

“The railroad runs pretty close to the trail,” I answered.

“And these spurs…Micah was saying that the fence mender didn’t have anything but a pair of boots. He must have been wearing spurs.”
The Rifleman - Suspicion - Episode 157
“Everybody on the range wears spurs, Mark,” I answered sternly.

Then Mark told me about the gun in the wagon that he saw when he was getting a bottle of balm for Winslow. I knew where his mind was going. "Mark, do you think Mr. Winslow is a killer?"

"He could be, he was there!" Mark exclaimed. "Well, so were we," I told him.

“Well, yeah…he had a reason, Pa! Well, there was all that money!” Mark argued.

“Well, you’re a pretty close man with a dollar yourself.” Again, I gave my boy a stern look. But Mark wondered why he didn’t tell us about that extra gun. “Maybe he heard about the killings. Maybe he was thinking the same things about us as that you’re thinking about him.”

"Ahh…do we look like a couple of bushwhackers?" Mark asked me.

“Bushwhackers don’t often look like bushwhackers, Mark. Now come on…a few railroad tracks, spurs, a gun…They’re all circumstantial, nothing really positive. And if there’s no positive evidence, you gotta look at the accused and you gotta say to yourself if he’s the kind of man who would do this. Now, you look at Mr. Quince that way and forget the other. What do you really think about him?”

"Like you said Pa...he doesn't look much like a bushwhacker." That was Mark’s answer.

"You mean that one more piece of evidence against him," I asked.

"I'm just repeating your words," Mark answered. That made me think.

After leaving the livery, Quince went to the hotel to get a room. He was certainly delighted to see her! He immediately started charming her. He asked Lou for her best room. Lou told him the presidential suite rented for $2.00 a day. He said he’d take it for a week. Then he started to walk out. “In advance!” Lou declared. But Quince started trying to talk her out of the fee. He offered to paint her a $14 sign. She didn’t need a sign – hers had only been up for two months!

He then offered Lou a ladies pocket watch in exchange for a weeks lodging. He told her it was worth twenty dollars. She told him six dollars—three days. He then pulled out the pocket watch he tried to pay Nils with. Lou told him eight dollars for the men's watch, six for the ladies watch. That would be fourteen dollars and would pay for the week. He asked her to direct him to the local vintner, the nearest balm constructor. She told him if he wanted his balm a glass at a time that they serve gentlemen there. He wanted to buy it in quantity. "It is better to have more and not need than to have less and want," said Winslow. She told him how to get to Sweeny's saloon.

I was on my way in to see Lou when Winslow was on his way out. He ran into me. Lou laughed at that. "Welcome home," said Lou. I

told her it was good to be home, especially with all the trouble on the trail. "Don't tell me you were worried about me," I said.

You know Lou and her wit! "It was the bushwhacker I was worried about!” She then asked me if there were any pretty women in the city.

Now, I haven’t known Lou that long, but I knew her well enough to know there was only one correct way to answer this question! “I don’t know, but Mark said there were quite a few.”

My reward for that answer was a smile, but my guess was that Lou knew I was simply trying to please her. “Notice anything new?” she asked as she started fussing with her hair.

I looked down instead of up. “Where’d you get that?”

“I did it myself,” she answered proudly.

“You’re a watch maker now?” I asked. I told her I was talking about that locket watch she had on – I hadn’t noticed her hair! Hey, I was a man!

She told me that Quince gave it to her for a week’s lodging. She asked me if there was something wrong. “I don’t know.”

As Winslow was on his way to Sweeney's he ran into Micah. Quince yelled at him and told him to watch where he was going. Suddenly, he realized Micah was the law. He started to hurry off. “Just a minute!” Micah stopped him. “You that man that rode in with Lucas McCain while ago?” Quince told him we were both fine young men. “Mm hm…I see now what he meant!”

They talked for a bit while
The Rifleman - Suspicion - Episode 157Micah hung up the wanted poster. After Micah went back into his office Winslow took down the poster.

He also tried to get Sweeney to take a sign for fifty-eight dollars worth of red eye whisky. “I’ve got a sign. This is a cash deal,” Sweeny assured Quince.

"I've never run into such a money grubbing community, and one that doubted the power of advertising!” Quince then took a man's diamond ring out of his pocket. He told Sweeney it was genuine and worth one hundred dollars. Sweeney then took the ring and was going to see if it would cut the whiskey bottle. Quince told him to take it to the local jeweler as he took the bottle from Sweeney's hands. Sweeney took the ring and left. Quince told him he would mind the store for him.

I went to talk to Micah. He had all the items Quince had traded with folks there on his desk. He picked each one of them up, explaining that each person murdered was now missing these things. “Now you bleatingly tell me Quince had railroad steel, a six gun, and newly minted coins. These people were all murdered by a six gun. He must have been pretty near the railroad to have got that steel.”

I knew we had a lot of evidence against him – too much, in fact. I still couldn’t believe the man was a murderer. He should still be looking at Matt Larson. “Lucas, must you always be so right that you look over a whole multitude of wrongs just to be sure?”

“It’s not a question of me being right,” I explained to her. “It’s us being right.” I warned Micah what would happen if he arrested Quince for those murders. Lou pointed out the evidence. But I was still bothered by it. Why would he come to a town 15 miles from where the murders were committed and start showing the evidence all over North Fork?

Micah said he thought Quince figured he would be here and gone from North Fork before the news hit here. He told us about how Winslow took the poster off of his bulletin board.

Just then Winslow came strolling into Micah's office. He said he was glad to see he had collected up all the trinkets. “I suggest that you retain them. I have reason to believe that they may constitute very important legal evidence.”

“Well, I’m glad you feel that way, Mr. Quince, because that puts us all in complete agreement!” He started checking Quince over for any weapons. “Would you like to make a statement?” Quince told Micah to get his hands off of him. Micah told Quince he was arresting him for murder.

“I did not kill that man!”

“What man?” Micah asked.

“I am not a liberty to divulge what man I did not kill.” He said he’d only speak in the presence of his lawyer. Micah dragged him into the cell and locked the door.
The Rifleman - Suspicion - Episode 157

Micah tried questioning Quince, but he wouldn’t answer any of Micah’s questions. Micah told me to try. I told Quince I didn’t think he was guilty, but he was making it really hard for me to prove my point. While I was talking to him, Mark suddenly ran in and dragged Micah outside. I ignored it and turned back to Quince. “If I confide in you, Mr. McCain, will you promise to turn over to me any money that may be forthcoming from this information?”


“Alright.” Suddenly, Quince busted out, “I know all about the bushwhacker.”

But we were suddenly interrupted. It seems that Pyrite Rand brought in Matt Larson's body. We found a wallet from one of the murder victims on Larson’s body, so that cleared it up. “He said your money or your life!” Rand declared. “That’s when I decided to shoot him.”

Suddenly, Quince spoke up. He declared that he’d killed Larson. He explained that he’d seen those two wallets when he went through the pockets of the bushwhacker. He didn’t know who he was then. “So you shot him?” I asked.

He said he was unable to find his gun in time. “Well, if you didn’t shoot him, how’d you kill him? And how do you explain that bullet hole in him?”

“He rode into my camp attempting to burglarize me! Well, sometime back, the lock on my strongbox busted away; and I put a tiny little rattlesnake inside sort of as a sentry. Friendly little fella…unless riled. Well, the blaggard thrust his hand inside it…” The snake bit Larson right in the vein in his wrist. “We discussed it until he died.” He admitted he did take some of his personal effects. “And two miles from that spot, a wheel departed my wagon.” He swore that was the truth.

Rand still insisted that he shot Larson. He figured Rand came up on the body and shot him so he could collect the reward. “Was there…any blood about the wound?”

“He’s right, Lucas. Dead bodies don’t bleed.” But Micah continued to question Quince. Quince admitted that he “lusted after the reward.”

Rand eventually confessed that Larson might have been a "little" dead when he shot him. The two men continued to argue over who should get the reward money. Rand had brought the body in, after all!

Micah and I decided he should split the money between Winslow and Rand. After Micah let Quince out of the jail, the two men continued fighting. They put up their fists and were really about to get into it!

Thankfully, Micah stopped the fight before any blood was drawn. “Now, listen here you two! There’s a reward and you’re both gonna split it and be happy about it! Or you’ll share this jail cell!”

Winslow then asked Rand what he did for a living. Rand told him he had a gold mine. "The Piute Princess." Winslow could see it all now, a sign for Rand, saying "The Piutey Princess." He started his sales pitch and out the door they went. It sure looked like Winslow finally sold a sign.

Micah agreed to let Quince paint a sign above his office. We were all curious. Mark watched for awhile. “You think there’s much of a future in sign painting, Pa?” he asked as he sat down on the desk beside me.

I smiled at my boy. “You thinking of taking it up?”

“Oh, I don’t know…Mr. Quince has made $500 in one day at it.”

“Don’t be carried away by the glamour, boy!” Quince declared. Sometimes I’ll go two…even three days without making $500!” He stepped off the ladder to admire his handy work.

“What in tar nation is that?” Micah asked as he looked at the sign. The sign read “Bastille North Fork.”

Quince stepped up to make one more touch to the sign. He leaned back to look at the sign and fell off the ladder flat on his fanny! We all laughed at him. “A sign painter should never step back to admire his work!” We all certainly got a laugh out of that!

The Rifleman - Suspicion - Episode 157

piddlin' stuff.....Kevin McCarthy played Mark Twain in The Shattered IdolSuspicion as Winslow Quince the eccentric man Lucas & Mark ran into who was stranded with a broken wheel.

William Fawcett appeared in two episodes Lost Treasure of Canyon Town as Mr. Newman the nice old man who remembered young Micah ― Suspicion as Pyrite Rand the old man who also claimed he also killed Larson.   

Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory.  Patricia was first introduced to The Rifleman in Lou Mallory.  She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a razor-sharp businesswoman.  She joined the cast in the fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes.  Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott owner of The General Store.

Joe Higgins played Nils Swenson.  Is it Nils or is it Nels/Niles?  What is his last name.....Swenson/Svenson aka The Blacksmith?  Joe Higgins holds the record for playing Nils or was it Niles or Nels?  There were four episodes that Joe did not play Nils or was it Niles or Nels? 
He played the bartender in Strange Town — Rafe the blacksmith in The Wyoming Story part 2 — Short Rope for a Tall Man as Henry Schneider the horse thief — Stopover as Scotty the Stagecoach Driver.
Stopover was the only episode to run one day over schedule. 

Bill Quinn appeared in thirty-eight episodes as Sweeney the owner/bartender of The North Fork Saloon.  Sweeney was first introduced to The Rifleman in The Marshal.

Robert H. Robinson has appeared in thirteen episodes The Safe GuardDuel of HonorNew Orleans MenaceThe GauchoThe PetThe PhotographerThe Mind ReaderThe PatsyLegacyShotgun ManDay of ReckoningSuspicionHostage to Fortune.  He played a townsmen in all these episodes except one and that is Duel of Honor as as John Bradley, a passenger on the stage. 

Tom Smith - How many times has Tom Smith been on The Rifleman?  Is it 7 or 9?  He was in The Queue as a customer in the dining room Outlaw's Shoes as a cowboy in town ― The Clarence Bibs Story as a cowboy in town ― Millie's Brother as a card player ― The Long Goodbye as a cowboy in town ― Suspicion as a cowboy in town and he was in Squeeze Play which later they used stock footage from Squeeze Play for Conflict and End of the Hunt.

Archie Butler—Stuntman—Stunt coordinator—Actor - Archie has been in more episodes then anybody with the exception of the regular cast and he probably was in more episode then some of them.  ~Arnold Laven 
 Remember him in The Sharpshooter?  Remember when Lucas shot the whiskey bottle and it shattered into pieces?  Archie was the cowboy who slid the whiskey bottle to Lucas.
 Sometimes Archie was a stand-in for Paul Fix.

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