"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
This is sort of interesting. You see, there were these two men: Griff, the owner of The Lucky Chance Casino in Los Cruces, and his hired gun. They were tormenting a man. They had buried him up to his neck in dirt and were galloping at him just barely missing him. There seemed to be a disagreement about a gambling debt. The man told Griff that he had been cheated. Griff didn't like being called a cheater. "I think one more treatment will kill you," said Griff, as the two men started for their horses.
But I came up on the scene just about then. "Hold it! That's enough!" I said while holding my rifle on them.
"Well now...what business is this of yours?" asked Griff.
"I don't like your idea of sport mister...dig him up!" Just then Griff's hired gun started to draw. I fired a single shot, killing him. I flipped my rifle. I was prepared to kill the other man if necessary.
Griff still had his hand on his gun which was in his holster. "Draw it all the way out...slow!" I ordered. As he took his gun out of his holster; I told him to drop it on the ground. I cocked my rifle. "Dig him up!" I demanded.
"I don't know where the shovel is," said Griff as he stood there with his hands crossed, sure of himself.
"Well use your teeth or your toe nails, but dig him
up!" We stood there just looking at each other. "After you're finished I'm taking you to the marshal in Los Cruces.”
I took Griff to the apple eating marshal in Los Cruces. He was more into his apples then he was with what had happened outside of town. His deputy had more sense then he did. I told him that Griff deserved to be jailed. "Well now, Mr. Griff here is one of our leading business men.....owns the lucky Chance Casino over there," said the marshal. "He I know about...who I don't know about is you!"
"Does that matter after he and his hired gun tried to stomp a man to death?" I asked.
Griff was happy to explain how it was. "Nothing as crude as all that marshal. Merely a little treatment up in Box Canyon to encourage the payment of gambling losses. Gambling mister...whatever your name is...is legal here. Collections can be enforced.”
"Anyway...I didn't see this treatment," said the marshal.
"And if you don't see a thing you don't act...huh?" I said. “I shot his man in self defense...why don't you arrest me? Or did you have to see that too?"
"Yes sir...besides...since I'm new here I think it's a good policy to get along with the local businessmen," said the marshal.
"Policy...huh! Next thing I know you'll be telling me to give him back his gun," I said.
"Well if you don't he might file a complaint against you.”
"Not might...will!" Griff turned to me then. “Now which do you prefer?"
I slowly walked up to Griff and handed him his gun. Griff then asked if that would be all. The marshal told Griff to put it down as a misunderstanding. "I will.....this time!"
As Griff started to leave, the marshal's asked me what my business was here. I told him my name and that I was from the North Fork Cattle Association and that I had come here about one of our officers who had been missing, a personal friend of mine...his name was B. J. Elliott. Griff was hanging on to my every word and taking his time leaving. “Mr. Elliot? You’re a little late, Mr. McCain. Elliot’s dead.” I was surprised to hear that. I leaned over on his desk. I asked him when.
“Two weeks ago. Found him shot in the back.”
"Who did it?" I asked.
"Well I didn't see that either.”
"And if you don't see a thing, you just don't do anything, huh? Even when a man is murdered!"
"I'm thinkin' about a witness, if I can find one...they don't come forward so fast," said the marshal. "So you just sit! Mr. Cain..."
This so-called Marshal was making me very angry. "The name is McCain!"
"Excuse me...I wouldn't wanna make a bad impression by movin' on things too fast.”
"Yeah...I know...you're new here," I said.
"Come back anytime you want to Los Cruces," the Marshal sounded like he wanted me to leave.
“I haven't left yet...Sheriff!" I was upset with him and his attitude and I made sure he well aware of it with my words and my tone in them. I just couldn't understand why the marshal wasn't interested in any of this. I then left and headed to the hotel to get a room.
The marshal told his deputy that I was a pretty impatient man. His deputy told him he didn't blame me. “People want action, Marshal! Only you don’t give them none! And why didn’t you arrest that gambler fella? Everybody in town knows his casino is crooked! And on top of that, you expect a witness to come forward on that Elliot killing. Well…this is pure foolishness, Marshal!”
The marshal listened quietly. Then he told Ben that he "kinda" had a witness. Ben was eager to hear who it was. It wasn't who, but what. The marshal had a bullet. He told Ben that it had bounced off Elliott's rib and into his heart. Ben just looked at him for a moment before asking him....."You dug a bullet out of a dead man?"
Asked Ben as he swallowed hard in disbelief. The marshal told him this was his silent witness. He felt this bullet was going to tell him what he wanted to know. Ben thought he was loco.
"I expect you haven't heard about a new thing called...ballistic." Ben shook his head no, and he was sure nobody had heard of it either. "You will.....you will," said the marshal.
I had asked the clerk at the hotel if he knew where I could get a hold of a Judge Hopkins. He said he wouldn't be here until tomorrow on his monthly rounds. He said there would be no way of telling when he might arrive. He reminded me that the judge was pretty independent and had pretty many cases waiting. I told him I would wait. I then headed for my room. I don't think I even had the door unlocked to my room when the hotel clerk left and went to tell Griff about what I had just said.
Griff was dining with Molly, his girlfriend. When the clerk told him about my waiting for Judge Hopkins. Griff gave him some money for the information and told him to go through my things when I leave my room. He told him when the judge arrived he was to keep his ears open when we had our talk. I don't know how much money Griff gave him, but he was very well pleased with it and told Griff he would do that. This made Griff nervous.
Molly kissed Griff on the cheek. “There are only two witnesses who can say that you put that bullet in Elliot’s back. And you know I’d never talk.” Griff still looked pretty nervous.
I got my bath and went back to my room. I didn't notice the marshal was there as I threw my towel down and started combing my hair. “Thought you’d never get out of that tub,” the marshal declared.
He kept talking as I walked up to him. I asked him what he wanted. "Do you swear this is your rifle?" He asked as he held the rifle in his hand.
"Yup," I said.
"The one that killed Mr. Griff's hired gun with?"
I walked over to him and took my rifle from him. "Like I said...in self-defense, yeah."
"That's what I figured! I found out he was facing you at the time...the direction your bullet went in...so now I gotta know...is that one and only exact rifle fire that bullet."
"I told you.”
"Yeah...but now I've got to prove it!"
"Well all 44-40's are the same...what are you going to prove?" I asked him. He told me that in this world no two things are exactly the same. Not even the same apples. He told me he had something to show me and I was to bring my rifle along with me to his office. Again he called me Mr. Cain and again I corrected him...McCain!
He sure had me curious as to what he had in mind. So we headed to his office. He had his deputy load several bales of hay into the jail cell. The whole time Ben was complaining. The marshal took out his .45 and said he was going to fire a couple of bullets into the bales of hay. He explained he used the hay because it is so soft that it would hardly mash the bullets. I asked him what that would prove. He told me to watch. He then fired two shots into the bale of hay. He told me to shoot one bullet from my rifle into the bale of hay. Ben thought a tree was more appropriate, but he felt he had to humor the marshal. After I fired a shot into the bale of hay, the marshal told Ben to take the hay stack apart and find the bullets. Ben didn't like that, he was pretty upset, and he complained the whole time. We talked while we waited for Ben to find the bullets. I can’t say that I blamed him much!
"Some of the things I do you don't like so much," said the marshal.
"Wasting bullets in a bale of hay is one of them," I said.
"It's not quite a waste...I think. Do you know why gun barrels are rifled?" I told him so the bullet could spin in its flight. Otherwise it would tumble end over end.
"And never hit its target, right?" Asked the marshal. I agreed with him.
He took a bullet out of his pocket. "This bullet found its target...your friend Mr. Elliott."
I took the bullet from him. "This one?"
He then told me to look at it through the magnifying glass. He then told me about the marks on the bullets which he called striations. He told me about a new kind of science called ballistics. “Not many marshals know about it yet. Not many killers either.”
I asked him what it all meant. He told me since the barreling rifling of any one gun always makes the same marks on a soft lead bullet, then this bullet was fired from only one particular gun.
Just then, Ben came out of the hay coughing. He was pretty aggravated. “I always thought hay was for horses. Now I see I was wrong. It’s for playing games with!” He slapped the bullets he found down on the table. The marshal found it pretty amusing.
The marshal gave me two bullets fired from his six gun to compare. They were identical. He then handed me the .44 - .40 fired from my gun and told me to look at it and then handed me the second one. I told him I only fired one bullet. He told me after we had talked earlier he and his deputy went and got the other bullet. He no longer alleged that this was my rifle, he now could prove it. This goes for all weapons. That's why he had Griff claim back his six gun from me. He said he would bet his job that Griff had fired the bullet that killed my friend Elliott and now he can prove it. He didn't want to arrest Griff for scaring a man that owed him money...he wanted Griff for murder! "Have an apple, Mr. Cain."
"Just call me Lucas, huh?" He both laughed and I grabbed an apple, even the deputy joined in. Wait 'till I tell Micah this one!
The marshal then went to Griff's office to set the bait. Griff and Molly were counting the earnings from the casino. The marshal told him he had a summons. Griff thought it was all settled and that what had happened earlier was a misunderstanding. The marshal told him that I had made a citizen arrest and that he had checked his law books and there it was. He told him he would have to ask him for his gun. He said I showed him that part in the book too. "He's quite a reader.....isn't he?" Asked Molly. He asked Griff if he minded. He reluctantly gave up his gun. He asked if he was under arrest. The marshal told him that would be up to the judge. He kept throwing my name around. He also told Griff he wouldn't be surprised if I didn't have some sort of influence backing me. The marshal then apologized and started to leave without Griff's gun. When he realized this, he then went back for the gun.
When the marshal got back to his office Ben already had two more bales of hay waiting for him. This time, the deputy had a different attitude about them. He asked the marshal if he got Griff's gun, which he told him he did and they were in great shape. "I hate to think what for shape the feed and Grain store thinks we're in," said Ben. The marshal asked him why he would say that. "Buy four bales of hay for two horses the same day…” He said they looked at him as if he took to nibblin' on the stuff himself. The marshal just laughed.
The Marshal took the bullet that he took from Elliott's body out of his pocket. He was now ready to match the bullets. He then took Griff's gun and shot it into a bale of hay.
I thought I would go and check to see how the marshal was making out. “Well?” I asked after I came in. The marshal frowned at me. “What’s wrong?”
“Ballistics is what’s wrong. They don’t match.” Ben suggested that maybe some other bullets got fired into the bale of hay. "Who else goes firing bullets into hay but me?" You know...he did have a point.
“Well, sometimes we all get ahead of ourselves,” I explained. “Ballistics was a good try. I’m sorry it didn’t pay off.” I left and when back to my room.
Ben asked the marshal if he was ready to let him throw out all the laboratory equipment. The marshal said no. "What earthly good is it if it doesn't find a man guilty?"
"The same good when it finds a man innocent," said the marshal.
When I got back to my room I decided to sit and relax and think about all of this. I found myself looking to the six gun I had taken from Gruff’s gun man. It was lying on the dresser. I picked it up and thought on something. I hurried back to the marshal's office. "Marshal!"
"Anymore killings tonight Mr. McCain? It's after hours!”
"You know, we might just be back in the ballistics business after all," I held the six gun in his face. He asked me if I could hold it a little closer as he shoved it away.
“Now look…This morning in Box Canyon with Griff and that hired gun…I took both of their 45’s. Supposing that when you made me give that gambler back what I thought was his gun, I had them mixed up. What I’m saying is that I gave Griff the hired gun’s 45 by mistake.” I held up the six-shooter. “This is Griff’s gun.”
The Marshal rushed over to Ben who was sleeping in the cell and told him to go over to the feed and grain store and get two more bales of hay. "Ill quit first, how am I gonna explain two more bales of hay in one day?" Ben asked, knowing he’d do it anyhow.
"Two more bales of Hay Ben!" yelled the marshal. "Tell him, my horse eats like a horse."
The bullet from the gun I just gave the marshal and the bullet that killed Elliott matched. That was enough proof for the deputy and me. But the marshal did have a point. He said that he was sure Judge Hopkins would like it better if that gun would be found in the possession of Griff after the new killing tonight. "New killing...who's going to be killed?" I asked.
"You I think," the marshal answered.
The marshal then went to see Griff. Griff asked the marshal if I had been reading that book again. “Sometimes people go too far! This is Los Cruces, not North Fork where he belongs! I’ve decided he’s said enough. I’m dismissing the summons and…” The marshal sat the holster and gun on Griff’s desk. “I’m returning your gun.”
"Well...what...what did he say marshal," asked Griff.
"Oh just some foolish talk about you and the Elliott killing."
"Me?" Griff acted like he was surprised.
The Marshal told him I didn't know anything about the killing and neither did anybody else. “He just thinks that he got wind of something to tell the judge.” The marshal apologized and went on his way.
Griff took the bait. He got my room number from Molly and slowly crept to my room. He slowly opened the door with the gun aimed. He could see my form lying in the bed. He quietly took aim and fired three bullets into what he thought was my body. My bed was made up to appear as if I was asleep in my bed.
"Drop that gun Griff!" the Marshal demanded.
Griff turned to shoot at the marshal, but the marshal shot first and killed Griff. We walked into my room. “Deputy...take the bullets out of McCain's body."
We both stood there looking at each other. I didn’t’ like the sound of that.
The next day, the Marshal told the judge about his discovery. "You call this tomfoolery what?"
"Ballistics, Judge Hopkins, ballistics, It's a wonderful new exact science you honor," said the marshal.
"You expect me to trade a defendant's freedom on something such as this? That this bullet...exhibit A...which killed Mr. Elliott...and this bullet exhibit B...which is fired into a scare crow...both positively were fired from the same gun?" The judge wasn’t a believer.
"Jude Hopkins...your honor...you see...ballistics is how we call this..."
The Marshal didn't get to finish his sentence. The judge interrupted him. "Fiddle stick's is how I call it. Nothing can ever replace the reliable human witness who can swear precisely and exactly to what he has seen or heard!" The judge turned his attention to me. "Mr. McCain I am deeply sorry we were all too late to save your friend Elliott. Perhaps in other districts...other marshals could have," said the judge as he looked at the marshal.
"How so your other marshal's Judge Hopkins?" Asked the marshal.
"Because they were not squandering their time playing in haystacks! Good-day gentlemen!"
We heard that loud and clear! "Something tells me ballistics is going to catch on a lot slower than I thought! Meanwhile I've got another thing to look into...of course the judge ain't gonna believe it!" The Marshal told me.
I knew I’d regret asking, but I asked anyhow. "What's that?"
"Well.....they do it with snowflakes!" That was enough for me! I headed back to North Fork.
The deputy started to say something. “Shut up!” the marshal ordered.
piddlin' stuff.....Harold J. Stone appeared in three episodes ― Home Ranch as Oat Jackford he was the wealthy cattle baron, who had been using the Dunlap Ranch for grazing his cattle, and demanded that Lucas move out ― Trail of Hate as Ben Stark, the older brother and brains of the gang who used Mark as a pawn in a bank robbery scheme ― The Bullet as the Marshal who tried to use ballistics to hold a gambler for attempted murder.
Richard Anderson appeared in six episodes ― One Went to Denver as Tom Birch an old friend of Lucas' ― Lariat as Lariat Jones, an old friend of Lucas', he too was in love with Margaret ― Miss Bertie as Duke Jennings, the cowboy that Miss Bertie had a wanted poster on ― Flowers by the Door as Jason Gowdy, the lady killer ― Millie's Brother as Harry Chase, the man who claimed he was with Millie's Brother when he died ― The Bullet as Griff, the owner of The Lucky Chance Casino in Los Cruces.
Gene Tyburn played Deputy Ben. He was the one who had to kept digging the bullets out of the haystacks.
Read all about Gene on tyburnoperas.com Thanks Gene for this information!
Dal McKennon appeared in two episodes ― The Bullet as Judge Hopkins ― Which Way'd They Go? as Judge Moze.
Norman Leavitt appeared in two episodes ― The Bullet as the Hotel Clerk — Short Rope for a Tall Man as Jeptha Docking, he was Charlie's so called friend, his drinking buddy.
Harry Lauter as the hired gun.
Reg Parton played the Victim. Doubled for Rory Calhoun, Tyrone Power, and Gary Cooper. Besides acting, this Cowboy has done just a lot of—stunts—stunt double—was a stunt coordinator—fencing tutor.
Asa Maynor played Molly, Griff's girlfriend. She has appeared in several things as Conquest of the Planet of the Apes — The F.B.I. — Promise Her Anything — Under the Yum Yum Tree — The Twilight Zone — McHale's Navy — Wagon Train — Hawaiian Eye — Lawman — Tightrope.
Be sure & check out the Ladies of the Night
Bloopers - The Bullet
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and wondered who is that guy?
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
Requiem at Mission Springs
End of the Hunt
around The McCain Ranch