"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Boarding House
This story isn’t about me or Mark. It’s about a wonderful lady by the name of Julia.
Before discussing her, I must talk about a group of men and women that will be arriving in our town soon. You see, they were being chased out of a town for dealing blackjack and causing some trouble. There were two women named Liz and Flo who worked as female dealers in saloons. They were working for two men by the name of Sid Fallon and Steve. Together, they made quite a team! The women dressed seductively and didn’t rightly cause problems, but trouble still seemed to follow them around, and they were always being thrown out of somewhere.
Well, this is where Julia comes in. You see, the men found out that she was in North Fork running a boarding house, but she used to be someone else. That’s when I first knew her, but I’ll get to that part of the story soon enough. Sid had plans of coming to North Fork and taking over Julia’s boarding house to deal black jack.
About this Miss Julia: everyone really liked her. She cooked good food and was very pleasant. But, she was trying to establish herself in North Fork and needed some really good business contacts. One person that would really help increase her chances of establishing a good business was John Hamilton’s cousin from back east – Agnes Hamilton. She had no intention of settling there though. She wanted to go back to Boston, and she expected John to go with her!
Well Mark and I were coming into town that day. As I was tying the horses, I saw her in the distance. But I didn’t recognize her as Julia. I recognized her as Big Anna, and the memories were not pleasant. I was not too happy with seeing her there. As she walked past me, I grabbed a hold of her. Surprised, she turned to me and said, "Why do you stop me, I don't know you."
No she didn't know me, but I remembered her. “Big Anna.” I could tell by the look on her face that I wasn’t mistaken.
Micah was suddenly there introducing us. He called her Julia and told her I was North Fork’s most eligible bachelor. “Julia’s been an overnight success with her boarding house. I’ve seen the excellence of her table,” Micah complimented her.
I informed Micah that I had met her a long time ago, but she insisted that she’d defiantly remember me if we had met. She was really acting sweet, but I wasn’t buying it. She even invited me to come eat at her establishment. “On the house…uh…Julia,” I asked skeptically.
“On the house!” she said before walking away.
After she was gone, I told Micah the truth about her. “Twelve years ago she was dealing a thieves game at Bismarck. She took a friend of mine for eleven hundred dollars.” This news didn’t please Micah, and he really hoped I was mistaken.
“People change, you know,” Micah said with a grin.
I guess I was still in shock. Miss Anna hadn’t left me with a very pleasant image of her! “Her kind?” It wasn’t my job to pass judgment, but Micah reminded me it wasn’t his. I declined his offer for coffee. I had more important things to do. “I’m gonna see to my wagon. And then to Miss Julia.”
She was serving dinner when she noticed my tall, straight figure standing in the doorway. She didn’t want a scene, so she invited me into her kitchen. “Say it,” she demanded.
It was my pleasure. I had a lot to say to her. “Twelve years ago the name was Big Anna. You were dealing a thieves game at Bismarck. You don't belong here!” I stated angrily.
“Who are you to tell me where I belong? Do you tell everybody what to do? You run this town?” she demanded to know.
“No, I don’t run it. But I trade here and my boy goes to school. We don’t want your kind!” I insisted firmly.
This angered her, and she let me know how angry she was. I wasn’t expecting it at all. But that wasn’t the worst part. It hurt! It really hurt! You see, she reared back and gave me a good, old-fashioned slap in the face! I cried out in shock and immediately threw my hand to my cheek. I couldn’t believe this woman actually slapped me!
"My kind, do you know my kind? Listen, I am what you see in this minute. I’m a boarding house woman who prides in what she does. Pride my work…and pride myself. I’m Julia , and I own a boarding house in North Fork city. This is my beginning and my end, and I’m happy with it. Now, go and make lies about my kind!"
She wasn’t getting off that easy! “I’m not making lies about anybody! I’m saying you cheated a friend of mine out of $1100. He was just a kid and that was every cent he in had in the world!” I stated. She remembered, and the memories weren’t pleasant. “You looked 16 years old like you belonged in church. Some church it was!” I was judging her quite harshly, and I would regret this later.
She admitted that she cheated him. But she insisted that it was her job so she could pay Mr. Fallon. Then she revealed truths to me that I hadn’t even considered. She wanted to quit, but if she tried she was punished. “So I kept working. Three years I worked. Sixteen…Three years later I looked forty! You said church. Bitter sermons I learned. Yes, I cheated the players. But I cheated out Sid too. Then someday I ran away. You know, with money it’s easy to run away. I could fool people. For a long time nobody cares.” By this time I was feeling a lot shorter than I actually was. In fact, she cut me down to about half my size! She continued her speech. She remembered that someone always found her, no matter where she goes. “So, I have to run away. Always run, but now I stopped!” She's bitter now at the life she’s been handed. I’ve added to that grief.
She wants this to be her town.
I guess I had to eat crow tonight! “You made a mistake a long time ago. I guess I made one just now,” I admitted. As I walked out of the boarding house, Micah throws down a stone. When I asked him what that was for, he simply stated, “The first stone, Lucas boy!”
So, as it turned out, Miss Julia is a wonderful lady. After that, we became friends. Mark really liked her too. I would say the story ends here, but it doesn’t! You see, I felt that it was my duty to help Miss Julia get established here. So I wanted to talk to Mr. Hamilton about him and his cousin coming to her boarding house for supper. So one day I was hurrying my pokey little boy along. When he asked me what the rush was, I told him I needed to talk to Mr. Hamilton as a favor for Miss Julia.
He wanted to do her a favor too. “Licking the batter bowl clean. Today’s Julia’s day for baking cookies and I plum forgot!” he declared.
I did talk to John and had some good news for Julia. When I came into the kitchen at the boarding house, I found my boy right where he wanted to be – licking the batter bowl clean! “Is he behaving, Julia?” I asked as I sat down next to my son and joined him in his task.
She knew I was planning on talking to John, so she wasted no time in demanding an answer. I teased her a bit, but she was apparently in no mood for it. I informed her the Hamilton’s would be coming for supper. Then I told her it was tonight. She was suddenly very nervous. “Well, get out of here! Both of you! And be sure to be here 7:30 tonight,” she demanded as she chased us out of her kitchen.
I informed Mark that we were about to step into high society. Mark wasn’t too excited about it since he was going to have to dress up. Julia shot another mock angry look at me as I laughed at my son and left the kitchen.
Little did we know that her past employer and his workers had arrived and were planning on paying her a visit that very afternoon!
Julia was nervous. She wanted supper to go off without a hitch. It was obvious that Miss Agnes Hamilton wasn’t enjoying her dinner much, and Mark let her know what he thought of that! Sometimes, that boy of mine…
"You didn't clean your plate, lady,” Mark so rudely stated. I turned and looked at him, surprised he would use such terrible manners on such an important occasion.
Agnes didn’t much appreciate it, but stated, "After we are better acquainted you may call me Miss Agnes.”
“If you pulled a trick like that out at our ranch, it’d be Miss Mud!” Mark went on to declare. Julia was shocked and got on to him. I was horrified! I couldn’t believe this boy! He felt my glare, so after giving me a quick apologetic look, he stated, "No harm meant Miss Agnes Hamilton, only my Pa says, lettin' good food go to waste is a criminal, what with starvin' people all over we got no time to be finicky."
She understood and wanted no more said about it. I couldn’t help but to smile, thinking that would be the end of it. But the best…or worst…was yet to come!
"Pa had to take a belt to my britches before I understood. Course if you was to finish your dinner I don't think he'd do anything. With you being a female, kinda old and all." I was horrified that my well-mannered son would behave in such a way! He was really asking for it tonight! I had to get him out of there immediately. I angrily threw down my napkin, stood up and roughly grabbed him by the ear. Then I pulled him out of the chair and hurried him in the kitchen to have a serious talk with him!
My boy’s ill-manners made Julia even more nervous. She was so afraid things were going to be ruined. Miss Agnes just wasn’t happy with the western environment. As she stood up to excuse herself, Sid Fallon and his gang barged inside.
Julia demanded them to leave. She didn’t want any trouble. But these people weren’t planning on leaving. In fact, they advised everyone else to leave. Sid didn’t waste his time in showing his power. John commanded them to leave and Sid pulled out a knife, showing just who was in charge.
“Sid Fallon’s the name. From here on, co-owner of Big Anna’s, North Fork’s newest saloon. Wine, dine, and gamble…”
Julia picked up some food and started throwing it at Sid. This started a fight. I heard the noise and walked out of the kitchen, seeing both of Sid's ladies wrestling Julia. As I walked out to stop this horrible treatment, a man tried to stop me. I turned and punched him. Then Sid pulled his knife on me. I backed up and reached behind the wall for my rifle. Whipping it out, I cocked it. Sid stated, “I don’t carry a gun.”
I jabbed the gun barrel into his gut. “Your good fortune!” I stated as I pushed him backward. “Now, you move out before I break you up a little. Take your friend with you! Be out of town by tomorrow.” I ordered.
Sid threatened me. "Nobody runs me out of town, friend! Nobody!" He proceeded to threaten to reveal the truth about Julia. For good measure, he added, “Don’t forget Anna, you’re carrying my mark!”
This angered me and I went to punch him, but Julia stopped me. She just wanted them out.
I started picking up the turned over chairs while John started saying his goodbyes. Julia asked John to come again, but Miss Agnes was not happy with this news. “I’m afraid Big Anna is going into business with her old friends!” she declared. “After tonight, you won’t have enough respectable business to stay open for a day.” She kept going on and on…Julia was upset.
I turned to see Mark eaves dropping in the doorway. I gave him the look. Since he was already in so much trouble, my look frightened him and he quickly closed the door.
I took the opportunity to tell Miss Hamilton what I thought about her gossip. “You know Miss Hamilton, everybody likes to hear a little gossip now and then. But some people are like a coyote with a dead ground squirrel. They gotta get down and rub their noses in it and spread the smell all over town.”
“Your language is as crude as your analogy!” she accused me.
“We’re gonna show this town there’s nothing rotten here in spite of the people who say there is,” I promised her with confidence.
John told me I was unnecessarily harsh, but I wasn’t finished saying my peace about Miss Agnes Hamilton! “John, this is your town like it’s mine!” I said angrily.
“Only your responsibilities are a lot graver. Now, people may expect snap judgments from a bitter lonely woman, but they don’t like them from a man who handles their money! We’ve all done things we like to forget, and thank heavens most of us are able to!” I was going to make sure Julia’s past was forgotten.”
True to their word, Fallon and his gang set out to destroy Julia’s reputation. But they didn’t realize just how many people in this town cared about Julia. We had been busy all morning making sure people understood the truth. These people were going to have their work cut out for them! It didn’t take them long to figure out they were facing defeat.
First of all, Steve went into the saloon to report to Sweeny that he would have competition when the new saloon opened. Sweeny simply got out his rifle he had all ready and asked, “Wanna bet?” That was the end of that battle.
Next, the two ladies went into the general store to stir up trouble among the town folks. They started bad mouthing Julia and the store keeper immediately told them to go elsewhere. “May I suggest Santa Fe?” Micah asked as he walked in. Micah was very happy to inform the ladies that they would be on the 2 o'clock stage. That’s how they met their defeat.
Finally, Sid went to the barber shop to cause problems. He started spreading rumors about Julia to the barber. Then he stated, “Makes me nervous just to think about it! Look at the way my hand shakes! Oh, don’t go away. I can still use this razor. Matter of fact, I’d like to – from ear to ear!” Sid started to pull a knife on the barber, but I was sitting in the corner ready and cocked my rifle. That’s how Sid met his defeat!
So Sid and his gang were at the stage depot waiting to board the stage. The ladies left on the 2:00 stage after Sid promised them they’d be back. He thought he was going to cut me down to size! Micah informed Sid and Steve they would be leaving on the 4 o’clock stage.
Julia was very grateful for all we did to help her. Micah and John left, leaving me and Julia alone. I thought it was all over, but I was wrong.
You see, as I got ready to go get pick up Mark from school, Sid and Steve walked in for one last fight.
He took us totally by surprise coming in the door behind me. Sid had his knife in hand. Anna was afraid he’d kill me, but Sid assured her he wouldn’t. “I’m gonna cut you up, my little friend. Just enough to make you crawl!”
There’s no way I was going to let him have his way!
"Kill her if she moves, Steve,” Sid said of Julia.
He came toward me and I tried to stop him, but he cut me in the arm with his knife.
“I told you before friend, nobody runs Sid anymore. Nobody,” he stated as he came toward me with the knife again. This time, he managed to cut me in the shoulder.
Sid continued backing me up until I was against the wall. Suddenly, I reached over and grabbed a meat cleaver. He suddenly looked surprised. He wasn’t expecting this!
“You like steel, don’t ya?” I said. “Well, you’re gonna get your share, friend!” I said as I started towards him and pushed him up against a door. Then I reared the meat cleaver back and angrily slammed it at him. It hit the door and barely missed his head.
I threw him against the wall and he fell to the floor. I told him to pick up the knife, but he wouldn't. Ha! He was scared of me! Steve picked it up and walked out the door, leaving Sid standing out the door. “My mistake,” he said.
“Your mistake is to be alive!” Julia started. But I stopped her as I slowly sat down. She suddenly realized that I was bleeding and came over to help me. She wasted no time to inform me that I should have killed him. I informed her that he had to live with his past, but she doesn’t. Julia stopped unbuttoning my shirt and smiled. “No I don’t. Not anymore!”
Well, after a long, rough day I was ready to go home. As we got ready to leave, Mark wanted to know what those women were planning on doing. “Gamble,” I answered. “They wanted to start a game in town,” I answered as I grabbed his arm and helped him up into the wagon.
“Seems to me they should stop playing cards and start raising kids!” Mark states “That’s what women are for, aren’t they, pa?” Boy, did he have a lot to learn. But not today! I’ve had it!
So instead of going into a lengthy conversation, I stated, “Seems to be what they do best.”
Mark thought on this for a moment. “Of course some women have to run boarding houses. You reckon Julia can do both?”
I smiled. “I reckon!”
My boy! He says the darndest things sometimes!
And that's the story of Miss Julia.
*Sam Peckinpah was the creator of The Rifleman and he wrote The Sharpshooter — Home Ranch
He wrote & directed The Marshal — The Boarding House — The Money Gun — The Babysitter
piddlin' stuff.....Katy Jurado as Anna Massini / Julia Andueza, the owner of the boarding house.
Alan Baxter plays Sid Fallon - the bully with the knife.
Sarah Selby played Agnes Hamilton, John's sister.
Peggy Maley as Liz. She is the ladies in the beginning with the deck of cards.
Kay Cousins (Johnson) as Flo. She is the ladies in the beginning that told the Sheriff they hadn't caused any trouble.
Charlie E. Fredericks as Steve, a member of the Fallon gang.
Charles Seel played Willard the storekeeper in The Boarding House ― The Mind Reader.
Lovyss Bradley as a customer in The General Store in The Boarding House.
Charles Tannen appeared in six episodes ― The Boarding House as Barney, North Fork's Barber ― Sins of the Father as the bartender in the saloon where Andy Moon shot Shep Coleman ― The Jailbird as Josh Moore, the storekeeper at the Hardware Store ― Woman From Hog Ridge as the storekeeper ― Miss Milly as Mr. Penn the customer who Marty Ryan had ruffed up trying to get money on his bill owed to Milly ― The Actress as one of the men who Elizabeth Garrett Black was entertaining in the hotel bar, the man with the cigar.
Harlan Warde appeared in eighteen episodes as John Maysfield Hamilton, President of the North Fork Bank. He was first introduced in The Safe Guard. In this episode North Fork's Bank was first established and John Hamilton was new to North Fork.
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.
The sheriff in the beginning of this episode that is forcing Fallon & his gang to leave ton is played by Guy Wilkerson. What a time finding out who this guy was, no credit given.
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.
Fritz Ford appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in The Rifleman he was also a stunt double for Chuck Connors.
Jesse Wayne appeared in twenty-three episodes as Johnny Crawford's stuntman. Not sure who doubled for Johnny in the episode of Requiem at Mission Springs but he is a possibility, especially after that bad tumble Mark took.
Bloopers - The Boarding House
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