"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
After a long, hard trip on the
stage, solving North Fork’s problems was the
thing I wanted to do. Quite frankly, all Mark and I wanted was to go
home and get into bed. But when I arrived into North Fork, there was
something strange going on.
It being night, the streets weren’t quiet like Micah always made
them. The piano in the saloon
was playing very loudly. Men were hollering on the streets and
shooting their guns. There were a lot of drunks hanging around, just
enjoying the freedom of getting drunk and not being thrown into
This was the scene that Mark and I rode into. I looked around, half
expecting Micah to storm out of his office and demand peace, but
Micah was no where around. As I stepped off the stage, I wondered
out loud where he was. The stagecoach driver informed me that Micah
had been gone for three days.
Ben Waller was filling in for Micah. “Ben Waller?” I was surprised.
He was certainly not the type that Micah should leave in charge! I
saw him down on the street holding his rifle and terrified…some
marshal he was making!
Mark and I started toward Ben, but as we walked past the saloon,
more gunshots were fired. I grabbed Mark by the arm protectively and
pulled him onto the other side of me to keep him out of the path of
any stray bullets. I asked Ben what the trouble was. I knew
something was wrong because his face was filled with fear.
“Lucas, I’ve been standing out here all this live long day, and
nobody…not a single person ever so much as offered to lend me a
hand! He came in at sunup, Lucas, Just as easy as you please sitting
on that big bay of his. And he went in there…”
He was so excited that he wasn’t making sense. I was confused, still
trying to figure out the trouble. “Hold on now, Ben! Who came in?” I
suddenly demanded to know.
“Al Walker, that’s who!” Ben finally answered, fear lying on his
More shooting sounded as Ben started complaining. He said that Micah
just asked him to keep the peace, but he never asked for this kind
of trouble. “I guess you didn’t, Ben, but as far as I can see, you
haven’t had any trouble yet. Just a few drunks.” I’m not sure that I
was still understanding the whole problem here.
But Ben told me that Al Walker was buying drinks for every saddle
bum who rode into town. Ben was scared…shaking with fear…more
gunshots rang out through the night and he again complained. “Ben,
how come you didn’t stop it before it got started?” I wondered.
“Stop it? Me face up to Al Walker and break up his party?”
Apparently he didn’t understand the serious position his job
required…Somehow I knew I was going to have to take care of this.
But Ben wasn’t done talking yet. “No sir, not me. Look, I didn’t
want this job Lucas. But, well, you were up in Santa Fe, and well,
Micah asked me. Well, that’s only because you were out of town, mind
ya. Now, if you want to take over-“
He really wanted out. I told him that Micah made him deputy. He had
no authority to give me the job. But I knew that somehow, peace had
to be restored in North Fork, and I knew that Ben wasn’t going to
restore it. So you know who that left…me! I told Ben that I would go
talk to Al and see what he was up to. Then I turned to Mark who had
been standing there listening to the whole thing. Naturally, his
being a boy, he was kind of nervous about the whole thing. “Look,
I’ll only be a minute, son. You go on over to the café and order us
a steak. It’s been a long ride, and you must be hungry.” I gave him
a quick pat, hoping the physical contact would take some of that
worry from his eyes.
It didn’t. “Pa,” he suddenly started. I turned to look at him,
knowing what he wanted to say. He wanted to beg me to just take him
home, not to get involved in this. He was afraid, as usual, that I
was walking into a dangerous situation. The truth was that I was,
but I had to try to restore peace. Mark and I simply looked at each
other. Suddenly, more gunshots rang out into the night. Whatever he
was going to say died in his throat as I looked toward the saloon,
then back at him. He suddenly knew that I had to go. And my eyes
told him I would come back. “How do you want your steak?”
“Rare,” I answered casually, somehow hoping that my casual answer
would do something to calm him and cause less worry. Then we parted
I walked into the saloon. Boy, was it ever a mad house in there! Men
were standing all over the place, just hollering and drinking. I had
to push my way through the crowd to get to Sweeny. “Big night, huh
Sweeny said it was a big day too. Then he
me if I knew who was buying. “He gave me $500.00 this morning and
said when that was gone, there’d be more. Luke, I wish he would take
it back! I don’t like things like this!”
Sweeny pointed him out to me. He was sitting at a table by himself
playing solitaire. Sweeny said he wasn’t being socialable – he
doesn’t talk to anyone, and no one talks to him. I walked up to him.
“Red ten on the black Jack,” I told him. He wasn’t too happy with my
being there, but I informed him we were going to have a little talk.
“I see you’re beating the game,” I commented as I studied his cards.
He found this incredibly funny. “I want to show you something,” he
stated. Then he messed the cards up. “There. I was winning. Now the
game’s over. It’s finished. And I lost.” I wasn’t sure what that was
supposed to mean. “Just proving a point. No matter how far you think
you are, you never win. It’s not in the cards. It never has been, it
never will be. There’s always some outside force, some
unexpected…thing…that has you beaten before you even start.”
I wasn’t sure I followed that philosophy. Then he told me he’d
explain it to me, and he called me “Mr. McCain.” I was surprised
that he knew me, and I wanted to know why he knew me. It always
concerned me when a person could figure out who I was so easily…This
is what he told me.
“Some people say I live by my gun. Perhaps that’s true, but I’m also
a lawyer. I always know my opposition. I know and I’ve also heard a
lot of things about you and your gun. For example, I hear that a man
carrying a side arm would be a fool to go up against you.”
I smiled. This hadn’t been the first time I had heard that, but I
didn’t think it was all that drastic…”That’s a matter of opinion,” I
The conversation suddenly took a totally new direction. He wanted to
know about our doctor. I suddenly wondered if that was his reason
for being here – to see the doc. He started talking about the
doctor’s filling out a death certificate. “You ask me why I’m here.
Well, I’ll tell you Lucas…You mind my calling you that?” I didn’t
mind. “Well, I’m here for two reasons. One: A few years ago, the
name Alvin Brisby Walker meant something besides…” He patted his
gun. He told me that he had been an attorney. He had everything:
money, position, health, women, etc. including his cough. The
doctors wanted him to come out West and breathe our clean air. But
he was a proud man, and he didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for him,
so when a man did one day, he hit him. The man got mad, so they drew
and Al killed the man. He had killed twelve other men since then.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him, but everyone has hard times.
And it’s not right for that person to hurt others just because he’s
hurt. He knew he was going to die a slow painful death, and he
wanted to find an “easier” way to die. “I thought I found an easy
way to go. I always thought I’d meet someone that was that split
second faster and then it would all be over in minutes…maybe even a
second. But it didn’t. And then I got to thinking that it wouldn’t
be fitting for Alvin Brisby Walker to die in the dirt of some
unknown town or to be thrown in the grave of some boot hill. For the
first time in my life, I thought of someone other then myself…my
family. And I knew that at least I owed it to them to know I died
fittingly with a reputable doctor in attendance. That’s one of the
reasons I’m here.
Lucas, I want your doctor to do it properly. I want a death
certificate stating I died of natural causes. I owe it to my family
– it would mean a lot to them…and what I once stood for…”
All this time, I sat quietly and listened to his spill. I wasn’t
sure what to think about all this, but I wanted to hear the other
reason he had for being here. “I thought maybe your doctor could
make it easy for me.”
Easy for him…like he had made the deaths easy for those twelve
people he killed while trying to die? He tried to assure me that
they were all in self defense, but I was pretty sure he forced them
into being in self defense. “I’m not a killer. Believe me, I’m not.”
I figured taking him to the doc’s would get it all over with quicker,
so I started to take him over. But he wasn’t ready…not yet. I asked
him about all the drunks and gun fighting, and he told me it would
eventually stop. As I was walking out the door, Sweeny asked me if
Al was going to quit. “He’ll quit,” I answered as I continued to
think on Al’s speech. “In time.”
As soon as I walked out of the saloon, Ben ran up to me. He was
still nervous and worried. “He came here to die, Ben. Not buy a gun,
but in Doc Burrage’s office. Slow and painful.” Now that I had said
it out loud, it was kind of sad. A great, powerful man with the
reputation he had having to die like that. I wouldn’t wish it on
I walked over to the café to join my son who was anxiously waiting
for me, I’m sure. After I walked in, three men rode in. One of them
got off and walked over to the doors of the saloon. Come to find
out, they were in town to kill him. The one called Kid wanted to do
it right then, but the one named Jake Porter said that they had
plenty of time.
“They got a marshal,” his brother Ross stated.
“All towns got marshals!” Jake answered. Then they went to find
something to eat.
Ben came out of the marshal’s office and saw them going down the
street to the café. He thought he recognized them, and running back
in he looked at the wanted poster. He had recognized them. They were
the Porter brothers. He was back to being terrified again. The town
marshal closed the door and hid inside the marshal’s office.
As I sat in the café eating, three men came in and sat down at the
bar to eat. I watched them
with great interest and worry. Something about them didn’t feel
right. At least, my gut didn’t like them. I was so involved in
them that I wasn’t eating. Mark noticed and worried, asking me if my
steak was alright. But I didn’t really hear him. “What’s the
matter?” he asked me, but I absently told him nothing. “You know
those three men?” He asked then. Those words kind of shook me out of
my trance. I knew I was worrying Mark, and it may have been an
unnecessary worry. I told him I didn’t know them and to hurry and
finish eating so he could eat his pie.
But then they started talking. I knew right away that things were
amiss. “That’s our money he’s spending! Our money!” one of the men
stated. It became obvious pretty quickly exactly who they were
talking about. Jake told him to shut up. “No, no I ain’t gonna shut
up! We tracked Walker a long ways, Jake, and now we got him! Well,
I’m gonna get him rather I have to kill half this town to do it!” He
pulled the gun from his holster and started toward the door.
My ears had certainly perked up. It seemed that Al was going to
cause some concern for this town after all!
Jake grabbed his gun in order to restrain his brother. The gun was
pointed right toward us. I looked at Mark, not liking where that gun
was pointing, but for the moment, there wasn’t much I could do. “You
ain’t gonna kill nobody! Do you hear? Nobody! At least not until he
comes out of there and we can get him all to ourselves.” Jake
The waiter brought our pie out to us. I absently took my pie and sat
it down. Jake turned towards me. “Hey you, forget what you just
heard,” he sneered at me. “You
too,” he told the waiter who hurried off scared.
I had to get out of here so I could take care of business. Now
wasn’t the time to be thinking about pie. “You through?” I asked
Mark sternly, letting him know it was time to go no matter what.
Mark looked over at his pie, regretting that he had to leave without
eating it. But he could tell by the tone of my voice that we had to
leave immediately, so he answered, “Yes sir.”
We started to walk out, but they gave me one final warning to keep
quiet. I didn’t let on that I was going to fight for my town, but
just simply agreed with them as we walked out.
As soon as I walked out, Ross announced who the man was that just
left. “That’s Lucas McCain. The Rifleman.” But Jake didn’t seem too
worried. He vowed to kill me if I got in his way.
I walked out, knowing I had to warn Al and get him out of town
before we had a shootout in the middle of town. “What do you think,
pa?” Mark asked as I stared at the saloon.
“Well son, I think you should wait for me in the Marshal’s office,”
I answered. I know that’s not what he wanted to do. Anytime there
was danger and I was out of his sight, he did little more then
worry. But he also knew that as his father, I had to keep him safe.
After Mark went into the Marshal’s office, Ben ran out all worried
and scared. He asked me if I saw “them” in there. I acted calmly,
telling him I had. Then he asked me if I knew who they were and I
shrugged. I didn’t have time to keep up with every outlaw.
They were the Porter Brothers. I was
shocked. Of course I had heard of them. They held up the Hobbs bank
and killed three people doing it, and Micah had a wanted poster on
them. Ben fretted, wanting to know what they were doing here. There
was no way to sugar-coat this, so I just said it bluntly. “They came
here to kill Al Walker.”
I was expecting his reaction, but when he panicked and started to
take off the badge, I stopped him. I couldn’t believe Micah would
leave such a frightful man in charge of a town! I can only imagine
what would have happened if I hadn’t shown up when I did. I told Ben
to calm down. Then I told him to keep his eye on the café. Even that
seemed too scary for him. “From the office,” I said.
Ben knew I was giving him an
easy out. I knew I would be playing marshal until this was all over.
Ben walked back toward the office as I bravely walked into the
saloon and up to Al Walker. “How come the Porter Brothers want you?”
I demanded to know as I started putting my gloves on, readying
myself for what came my way.
“Where are they?” Al asked without even looking up. He didn’t miss a
beat, but kept playing with those cards. I told him there were
three of them down the street. “I guess then he must have died.”
That word “died” got my attention really fast! I suddenly sat down
and demanded he tell me who died. “I’m talking about the Porter
Brothers. Hey, how about this Lucas? They’re gonna be talking about
this blowout for some time. Don’t you think?
Any sympathy I had for him was going out the window really quick. He
acted proud that this was happening. That made me angry. This town
was full of innocent people, including my son! “How about those
thirteen men you killed? They’ll be talking about that too, won’t
“Now Lucas, don’t dwell on the morbid! Besides, it’s fourteen now.
You see I was in Hobbs when the Porters hit the bank. For the first
time in my life, I was temporally embarrassed. I needed some…well,
anyhow, the Porters moved fast. The posse never came anywhere near
them. But I did. And just like that, my financial situation
Now I was even more angry. He took the banks money and killed one of
the Porter Brothers doing it. I kept my hand on my rifle the entire
time as it sat on the table. But Al grabbed it and held his hands
securely on the barrel as my hand sat on the trigger. I looked down,
assessing the situation. I saw his handgun and knew what I had to
do. “Besides, what difference does it make?”
I suddenly jumped up and grabbed his gun out of its holster. Then I
stood and pointed it straight at him. “It makes this difference!” I
answered him angrily. I told him he was spending the night in jail
so the Porters couldn’t get to him. He said he wasn’t afraid to face
to the Porters…alone or with company. Then he looked around to see
if anyone would help him. He asked me. “You’re all alone, Walker!” I
He was still arguing. “Maybe you came here to die,” I stated. “But
not in a gunfight where some of our citizens could get hurt! Now
But he begged me to give him his gun. He didn’t want to die like
this. I still had the Porters on my hands. I wasn’t going to give
in, and told him to get to that jail. On my way out, I ordered the
men to finish up their drinks, then told Sweeny to close up the bar.
I was expecting trouble and I didn’t want anyone hurt.
I led him out, the whole time pointing my rifle at him. One wrong
move and it would all be over! On his way out, he slammed the
swinging door angrily, letting me know what he thought about what I
was doing. But I had the rest of the town to think of…and my son.
As we got in front of the Marshal’s office, one of the Porters
walked out of the café and saw us. He hollered for his other
brothers to see what I was up to. Now I knew we were probably in for
some trouble! Ben then asked me what I was doing as I ordered Al
inside the Marshal’s office. I just ordered Ben to get inside. Then
I slammed the door closed.
Kid Porter was upset, and none of the three were going to let it
drop that easily. The waiter of the café could tell there was going
to be trouble too, and he went to close the door. But Jake caught
him and ordered him to get a broom, a tablecloth and some coal oil.
“He’s gonna hear me now!” Jake assured his brothers.
I ordered Ben to lock Al up. Mark and Ben were asking me what we
were going to do. I wasn’t sure, but I knew there was about to be
big trouble, and I was the only one who could help! Ben asked me if
I’d stay, and I said I would. There really was no other option – I
knew Ben wasn’t emotionally able to handle such a big problem.
“Mark, you go over to the hotel,” I ordered. I could tell he didn’t
want to, but he yes-sirred me, picked up our overnight bag, and
started to leave. But suddenly, the Porters were calling me. I
grabbed Mark roughly by the arm and pulled him back from the door,
afraid that gunshots were going to be fired at any time.
Jake, the leader of the brothers, gave me an order. “You got ten
minutes to send Walker out here. If you don’t, we’re gonna burn him
out! The jail, the whole town, and you with it!”
Our problem had just increased considerably! I was busy trying to
figure out what to do next. Ben reminded me what a fire could do to
this town. “I know,” I shot at him. I was too busy to discuss
worries. We had to get into action and fast! But the most pressing
thing that was on my mind was Mark’s safety. “Mark, you go out the
back door and go to the hotel and keep out of sight!” I ordered
sternly, pointing my finger straight at him for emphasis. “You hear
Mark did as I told. Now it was time to take care of the next matter.
“Let Walker out of that cell,” I ordered Ben.
“You gonna turn him over to them?” Ben seemed hopeful or
worried…Neither one was needed.
“No I’m not,” I answered in a tone that told him that was an
inappropriate question. “But if they come gunning for him, he’s got
a right to defend himself!” Ben started to argue, but I had no time!
I was the unofficial Marshal tonight! I pushed him toward the cell
and told him to do it.
I blew out the lantern to make it harder for them to see us.
Suddenly, “McCain!” Jake Porter called me. I ran over to the window
and peeked out of the curtain. “Your time’s running out!”
Jake lit a match. He had a tablecloth soaked in coal oil tied around
a broom, and he was planning on using it as a torch. Suddenly,
someone fired gunshots. A lot of gunshots were being fired. Two of
the Porters lit a wagon filled with hay on fire and pushed it toward
the Marshal’s office. It would be only moments before the fire would
be big enough to set the jail on fire.
I suddenly broke a window out of the Marshal’s office and fired
several shots. Ben was scared of the fire – afraid the town was
going to burn. I had to act fast! There was no time to waste!
I opened the front door and Al went out. He started shooting. I
suddenly jumped in the door way and purposely aimed my rifle. Bang!
One of the Porter brothers fell down dead. Another Porter brother
aimed his gun at me.
Bang! Two Porter brothers were dead. I had one more – I took care of
I thought they were all dead, so I went over to take care of Al who
was desperately trying to put out the fire before it did some
serious damage. He was standing near the front of the wagon. The
excitement had really put a toll on his body and he was fading fast.
I suddenly wanted to help him.
Ben stood in the doorway. He saw Jake Porter stand up. He wasn’t
dead. He aimed his gun. “Boom!” I suddenly heard the shot from the
shotgun Ben was holding. Jake fell down.
Al was struggling. He walked over into the street, and he was about
to fall. This was a nightmare! We still had the fire to contend
with, and now Al was about to die on the street without a doctor. I
suddenly felt very sorry for him. Suddenly, another shot rang out.
It hit Al and he fell to the ground. I fired my gun at the Porter
brother who was still alive. They were finally all dead!
I ran to Al who was lying on the ground. He would die in only
moments, and I suddenly felt very sorry for him. “I’ll go get the
doc!” I suddenly said.
But he didn’t want me to leave him. He said it was too late. “No,
no, no…I don’t need him now. Except for one thing.”
I knew what that one thing was. “Natural causes?” I asked tenderly
as I stayed close to him while he died.
“Please? Have the doc write it that way?”
Those were his last words. He held my hand until he died. In the
end, it was tragic.
When it was over, I stood. No words could be said. I turned and saw
Mark standing in front of the hotel. I walked towards him, but spoke
no words as I put my arm securely around him and hugged him close to
me as we walked away. I suddenly needed him near me, to know we were
Mark and I were ready to go home. The town was
quiet…peaceful…finally asleep. I asked Ben if he’d be able to keep
it this way. “Yeah, I’m alright now Lucas.” Ben assured me. I knew
Mark suddenly asked me one of his deep questions. “Pa, would you say
Al Walker is a hero?”
“A hero…” I had to think about how to answer that question for my
impressionable, young son. “Well, there’s nothing to recommend it in
the way Al Walker lived.
But I’d say he died a hero.” I answered honestly. Then I turned and
looked at Ben, knowing he was okay in more ways then one. “And some
of it rubbed off.”
Then we headed for home. Boy, that bed was sure gonna look good
piddlin' stuff.....John Dehner
appeared in four episodes ― The Money Gun as Tom King a hired gun
The Blowout as Al Walker a gunslinger ― The Baby Sitter
as Wood Bartell, a self-righteous, bigoted father.
(He was Fancy's Father) ― The Prisoner ― as Major Aaron King, a ex-Confederate
officer who seeks revenge on Lucas.
Hugh Sanders played Ben Waller, he
was the cowboy who filled in for Micah.
John Milford appeared
in eleven episodes ― (Hmmmmm.....does this set any record or maybe
there's a tie or maybe someone did more then John? Who could the
other Cowboy be?) ― The Blowout as Ross Porter,
one of the Porter brothers who was after Al Walker ―
The Coward as Dub, he was the one
who was reading from George's Journal and making fun ―
The Horse Traders as Jonah
Winters, he was the dude with the knife ―
A Time for Singing as
Bro Hadley, he dude who was a bit slow ―
Midnight as Morgan ― The
Pitchman as Marsh Watson, he was the one who tied Mark
up ― Baranca as Hadley, he
was the one who killed Sanchez ―
Dark Day at North Fork
as Jack Solby, he tried to kill Lucas when he was blind ―
The Clarence Bibs Story
as Reade, he was one of the cowboys edging Clarence on to kill
Tanner ― The Journey Back as Jess Grady, as one of
the squatters, he was the one who held the rifle on Will Temple ― The
Assailants as Lt. Price, the soldier in charge.
appeared in six episodes ― The Dead-eye Kid as shotgun
guard on the stagecoach, he's the one that shoved Mahoney off of
the back of the stage ― Duel of Honor as Cole, stagecoach driver
he was the one who did the counting for the duel ― The Woman
as Joey, stagecoach driver ― The Blowout as a
stagecoach driver ― The Spiked
Rifle as a stagecoach driver ― Miss Bertie as a stagecoach driver.
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.
Howard Ledig as Jake Porter. He was
the cowboy who seemed to be in charge.
James Parnell as the drunk.
George Brenlin as The Kid, the
youngest of the gang.
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.
Chet Brandenburg appeared
in three episodes ― The Blowout as a barfly
― The Boarding House as one of the cowboys who ran Fallon
and his gang out of town as a barfly ― Smoke Screen as one of the townsmen.
Michael Jeffers appeared in five
The Blowout as
the diner proprietor
as a barfly ― Mail Order Groom
as the hotel clerk ― A Case
of Identity as one of the townsmen ―
Lou Mallory as one of
the cowboys helping Lou get her hotel in order.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes