"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Clarence Bibs Story
I can’t help but to laugh as I think on this story! You’ll see why
Imagine a grown man in the back of Milly's store, okay? Now…imagine
him standing in front of a display.
He’s looking all rough and tough – but he isn’t! “Now Billy,” he
says in a really tough voice. “I sure hate to do this. I believe in
giving folks a chance. But you leave me no alterna-tive less you
apologize to my lovely bride-“ By the way, he’s talking to a jacket
Suddenly Milly calls his name, wondering if he was still back there.
Clarence then walks up to the display with his gun drawn. “I accept
your apology, Billy.” He holsters his gun.
He’s Clarence, the mop boy. He agreed to mop to store floor before
leaving for the day, but stated that he should put fresh water in
the bucket. But as he bends over the bucket, Milly suddenly notices
Clarence has a gun strapped on. “Don’t tell me you’re starting to
wear a gun!” She suddenly declared.
“Shucks, no Milly,” Clarence reassured her. “I get 25 cents for
cleaning them, and I just wear them until folks pick ‘em up.” Milly
was mighty glad to hear that. She figured it would be silly for
Clarence Bibs to start carrying a gun. “Should would be silly,”
Clarence stated, his feelings a little hurt. “Imagine that…a mop boy
wearing a gun.”
Okay, now imagine a man…a gunfighter…all dressed in black named
Pretty Man Longden riding into town on a beautiful white horse. He’s
all neat and clean and fancied off. He’s a notorious gunfighter.
Now, imagine Clarence the mop boy coming out to throw the dirty mop
water out onto the street.
But, he didn’t look to see where he was throwing it. He threw it
right into the path of Longden the famous gunfighter who, by the
way, has a short fuse.
Can you just picture the look on Clarence Bib’s face when he saw the
mean, dirty look on the soak and wet, all-dressed-in-black
gunfighter who had a reputation for a quick draw? Longden WAS angry
and started to back up into the street. Clarence saw the angry look
on Longden’s face.
A look of fright crossed Clarence’s face. “I-I didn’t mean it,
mister,” Clarence stated as he swallows the sudden lump in his
throat. “I sure didn’t mean to throw that water on ya'!”
Longden slowly moved his hand toward his gun as the people clear off
the street. “Well mister, I wouldn’t do that,” Clarence stated in
his frightful voice. Clarence suddenly backs up to run back into the
store, but stumbled and fell. Suddenly, the gun he was wearing
suddenly went off.
Longden falls dead in the street.
I heard the shot from Micah’s office and run out onto the street to
investigate. As I examine the dead man, one of the men from the
saloon declared, “Clarence the mop boy killing Pretty Man Longden.”
I look up at Wicks and Reade shocked. “Clarence?” I couldn’t believe
it! I walked over to Clarence who was standing by Milly just outside
her store. “Clarence, how did all this get started?”
Clarence immediately began explaining it to me. When he took out the
gun used to shoot Longden, he pointed it at me. I immediately
grabbed it and pushed it away. I certainly didn’t want to be his
next victim! Clarence didn’t want the gun anymore and gave it to
Milly. Clarence looked over by Longden. “He’s shot.”
“He’s shot and then some!” I declared.
Wicks stated that George Tanner would be here when he heard about
the killing. He turned to his friend, Reade. "You know, it's too bad
that Clarence doesn't wear a gun. We'd have ourselves a show today.”
"With the Marshal out of town maybe we can get ourselves a show.”
Reade had an idea and walked over to us. "I seen the whole thing Mr.
McCain. Clarence just beat him to the trigger pull. About the
fastest holster snapshot I've ever seen." Clarence tried to disagree
with him, but Reade didn’t give him a chance. "It seems to me
Clarence here has been doin' some practicing on the side with those
guns he's been cleaning, hey Clarence?"
I knew he was up to something. “Reade, what are you trying to pull?”
He said something about wanting to give credit where it was due.
Reade turned and told Wicks to give him Longden’s gun. Then he
turned back to me. He told Clarence that a gunfight winner had
certain rights. “Clarence here’s got rights to the fancy gun of
Longden, huh?” I stared at him. Reade assured me it was up to me
since I was taking the marshal’s place today. “Does Clarence got a
right to Longden’s gun or don’t he?”
I’d had enough of Reade’s mouth.
“Alright, Reade. I’ve never heard you open your mouth except to bum
a drink or use somebody’s misfortune. Now why don’t you just keep
out of this?” I warned him.
Reade stated he was protecting the rights of the fastest gun hand
North Fork had ever seen. That made Clarence kind of proud, of
course. Before I can say or do anything else, Wicks put the gun in
Clarence’s holster. They knew exactly what they were doing.
“Clarence, you don’t know anything about guns,” I stated. “Why don’t
you take it off?”
Clarence didn’t want to take them off. Furthermore, he told me he’d
been practicing his fast draw with the guns he’d been cleaning. I
grew even more suspicious as I watched Wicks and Reade take Clarence
across the street to the saloon. Milly walked up to me. She was
worried. “He shouldn’t be wearing that gun,” I declared. “But he
looked so proud, I didn’t have the heart to take it from him!” Milly
wondered what those two loafers were up to.
"Well...I'm trying to decide whether they're leading Clarence along
for the drinks he can buy them or if they're settin' him up for
George Tanner." I told Milly he was Longden’s partner over at Sloan
Creek. I didn’t think he’d come gunning for Clarence. He’d be pretty
stupid to come looking for trouble. I looked down into Milly’s eyes
and smiled. “I’m sure Clarence doesn’t want any.”
They loaded Longden’s body up into the wagon just as Mark rode into
town. He saw them hauling his body away. You know my boy…I saw Mark
riding in from school. “Hello, won,” I greeted him as he sat in the
saddle. I put my hand on the saddle horn as I looked up at him. “How
was school today?”
You know Mark and his remarks! “Oh, same as usual. Waitin’ to get
out.” That boy! Mark sure was curious about what he had missed this
afternoon. “Something happen in town?”
I nodded. “An accidental shooting. Man named Longden.”
“George Tanner’s partner?” Mark asked suddenly.
“Well, from the last grade you brought home on current events, I
would have never guessed you were so well informed!”
“Everybody in school was talking about George Tanner being so
nearby!” Mark told me. “Over in Slide Creek. You know, he used to
ride with Billy the Kid?” He informed me as he grew excited. “Saved
Wyatt Earp’s life! And in one day, he killed four outlaws that were
I didn’t like his excitement over such matters, so I quickly stopped
him from bragging on the killings. “Mark, Micah sent word that he
was going to be late. So I guess that tonight you’re gonna be bunk
mates with Bobby Hamilton.”
That made Mark happy. “Well, that’s great! Bobby’s good in
I figured my boy would say something like that! “But you’re not,” I
reminded him. “So you’ll do your homework alone in Micah’s office,”
I informed my fast-thinking son.
But…Mark tried to argue with me. "Oh, now Pa...who said Bobby was
gonna help me with my homework?”
"You did." Mark gave me a strange look, wondering how I had read his
mind. I gave him a short laugh. “I was your age once, son.”
"You'd never know it," Mark declared, disappointed he’d been found
I slapped his horse. “Oh.”
Wicks and Reade had Clarence in the saloon. They were giving him
drinks, something he wasn’t
used to, and talking about Clarence gunning George Tanner when he
came into town. They Told Clarence that the town would think highly
of him for gunning George Tanner after he had just gunned Longden.
“Well, I guess it’s gonna be him or me, huh boys?” Clarence suddenly
declared. I peaked into the saloon and saw that Clarence was buying
I didn’t say a word – just headed back over to Micah’s office to see
how Mark was coming along on his studies. Mark sure wasn’t studying
too hard! Micah’s swivel chair was turned toward the wall. I came
and sat on the desk as I swung the chair around to lecture my son on
the importance of studying. That’s when I saw that Mark had pinned
on the deputy’s star. “Well, rushing things a bit, aren’t ya', son?”
I asked as I propped myself up on my elbow on top of Micah’s desk.
“By the time I grow up, everything will be all over,” Mark
commented. “Outlaws…Renegade Indians…They’ll be nothing exciting
left to do!”
I couldn’t help but to laugh at that! That’s the way I had felt at
his age too. “The past seems more exciting. But when you’re a full
grown man, you’ll see there’s still lots of things to do. Railroads
to be built…cities…bridges…” Those were just a few ideas for him to
But my boy had a one-track mind! “I’d rather hunt buffalo!”
“Well, some things to pass,” I assured him…and hoped…Then I picked
up his math book. “Including Mark McCain,” I stated as I removed his
hat from his head. “If he studies his homework.” I said this with a
firm voice as I looked straight into his eyes. Mark knew he had no
choice and obeyed me.
Only after Mark was finished with his homework did I allow him to
leave my supervision in Micah's office. I sent him over to Bobby
Hamilton’s, and told him I’d be over for supper if Micah showed up
But as Mark was leaving, George Tanner walked in. “Sorry to disturb
you,” Tanner stated. “I’m looking for some information. Name’s
Tanner. George Tanner.”
Mark stared at him, his eyes growing wide. “The gunfighter!”
Tanner turned and looked at Mark. “Well, it’s mostly gun toting,
son. And mostly I’m hired by folks who need law where there isn’t
any real law,” he explained firmly. “It’s a dying profession.”
“Oh…like buffalo hunting.”
“Yeah,” he answered my boy. “Like buffalo hunting.” On that note,
Tanner wasted no time asking about the shooting. I chose to set him
straight. “Mr. Tanner, that shooting was completely accidental.”
“That’s good enough for me.”
I must say that even though I didn’t expect any trouble, I was still
surprised the matter was solved so easily! “Well, you just took a
load off my mind!” He assured me that if the law was satisfied it
wasn’t murder, then he was satisfied!
I explained what had happened. That’s how it was. “You never know
who…or when,” Tanner declared, closing the matter for good. “Is
there such a thing as cold beer in North Fork?” He asked then. I
told him the saloon was across the street and I'd like to buy him a
I hesitated though. “Uh…Mr. Tanner, this Clarence Bibs…he’s a
harmless fellow. As a matter of fact, he’d give ya' the shirt off
his back. But right now he’s…well, he’s kinda enjoying the lime
light.” I declared him as a saloon hero.
“Clarence’s basking in the lime light doesn’t bother me one bit.
What does bother me is…going without that cold beer because somebody
in that saloon might ruffle my feathers.” He smiled. I would be
happy to have a beer with him!
Clarence was busy embellishing his story about the “gun fight” from
earlier. The boys were watching for Tanner to come in. Reade sure
was happy when he saw us walking toward the saloon. He commented
that maybe Clarence would like to tell Tanner all about it when he
got here. As we walked in, Clarence was still bragging it up. “I’m
not saying I don’t feel a might sorry for Mr. Tanner. Longden might
have been a good friend of his…” We sat down at a table as Clarence
kept going on!
Reade commented that Tanner walked in and acted like he didn’t even
see Clarence. “Who don’t see me?” Clarence asked.
“That’s him…Tanner,” Reade stated. “Sizing you up.” Then Wicks said
he’d do something fast if anyone looked at him that way.
Clarence turned and looked at us sitting at the table drinking our
beers. “Don’t look much to me!” He declared loudly. “Not much at
all!” He walked up to us. “I take it your name is George Tanner.”
“And I have the pleasure of talking to Clarence Bibs,” Tanner
“You heard about me?”
“From Mr. McCain.”
“I even let Longden draw first,” Clarence declared.
It didn’t rile him at all. Tanner calmly stated that men like
Longden were destined for a short life. “If it hadn’t been you, it
would have been someone else.”
Suddenly, Clarence surprised me. "Mr. Tanner...there ain't enough
room in this town for the both of us.”
I couldn’t believe this! “Clarence!”
Tanner stopped me and turned his attention back to Clarence. “Just
what was the point you were gonna make?” he asked.
“I mean I’m telling ya' to get out of town…right now!”
“And if I don’t get out of town…now?” Tanner asked.
“Well, I reckon we got some more grave room along side Longden!”
“Would you…uh…be courteous enough to let me finish my beer?”
“I want you to get out of town now. Right now!”
Tanner slowly stood up and stared at Clarence. He gulped down his
whole glass of beer then slowly and deliberately walked out of the
saloon. I stared at Clarence myself. I couldn’t believe him!
"Clarence...count your blessing!" I told him. Then I stood and
Wicks and Reade started in on Clarence again, but Clarence didn’t
really hear them. “Chase him out!” Clarence declared proudly. “Cased
him right out!”
Reade went to look outside. He saw me and Tanner talking by his
horse. Reade saw another opportunity. “He’s out there jawing with
McCain. And after you told him to get right out of town!” They
started telling Clarence that me and Tanner were insulting him by
treating him like a mop boy.
I said good bye to Tanner. Shoot, I even invited him out to my ranch
for some bachelor cooking! We shook hands as Tanner declared he was
glad he had stopped by to see me before going into the saloon. Then
he mounted his horse and started riding down the street.
Suddenly, Clarence came busting
out of the saloon. He stood out on the street. "Tanner!" he yelled.
Tanner stopped and turned his horse around to face Clarence. "If my
friend would have been gunned down, I wouldn't turn tail and run out
Tanner began slowly riding his horse towards Clarence. He stared at
him the whole time. Tanner stopped his horse right in front of
Tanner. Then in a cool, calm voice, he gave Clarence some advice.
"Mr. Bibs...a word of advice. Sell that gun for what it will bring
and go back to your mop. You'll lead a far happier life...and a
fuller one." Tanner then turned and rode back down the street
Clarence started to draw. “Clarence!” I suddenly shouted. I started
across the street.
Wicks and Reade started laughing at Clarence, telling him he could
get a dozen mops for that fancy gun. I came to stand in front of
Clarence. “What you tell him about me, Mr. McCain?”
“The truth,” I answered. “That Longden’s death was accidental.”
“That I was only a mop boy!” I told him he had never fired a gun in
his life. "Who asked you to interfere?"
"Well...if I hadn't...you would be facing Tanner's gun,” I pointed
out. "Now wake up Clarence. He could have emptied his gun into you
before you cleared your holster. I think it's time that you came
down to earth. Time that you stop wearing that gun," I advised him
“Time to be a mop boy again! Time to laugh at people joking me! Time
to laugh out loud, cause if I don’t, I’ll bust out crying!” I had
nothing to say. I felt it was over and started back toward Micah’s
office. “Mr. McCain,” Clarence suddenly yelled. I stopped and turned
around. “I’m drawing on you!” He had his hand by his gun, acting as
if he was going to shoot me next.
“I wouldn’t advise that, Clarence,” I warned him.
“I’m not asking for advise! I’m telling you I’m drawing on you and I
expect you to be ready!” I couldn’t believe this! I didn’t really
have a choice! “Are you ready Mr. McCain?”
“Don’t do it, Clarence,” I warned in a stern voice.
“Are you ready Mr. McCain?” Clarence yelled.
Bang! I shot his gun still in his holster. I hated doing it, but he
had a lesson to learn. I think that shot brought him back down to
earth. I turned and started for Micah’s office again.
Clarence was frozen in his spot. He suddenly felt hurt as he came
back down to earth. But as I walked inside, I suddenly stopped.
Wicks and Reade walked up to Clarence laughing. They started making
fun of him, asking him if his gun was too heavy. I walked back over
there to watch what these two bad boys were up to. “Say Clarence, I
see your really disappointed. Let’s you and us play draw, huh?”
Reade teased him.
“Shoulder shots, Clarence,” Wicks said then. “Draw and nick.”
I had to stop this and try to make Clarence feel better about
himself at the same time. I had a plan. "Aren't you boys takin'
quite a chance?"
“Nobody wants you to interfere, Mr. McCain. We’re just playing a
little…draw and nick!” Wicks stated.
“You sure have confidence. More then I had when Clarence said he was
gonna draw. You notice I didn’t even give him a chance to get his
hand near that holster. You see, with all the years of make believe
drawing Clarence has done, I got a hunch that Clarence is more of an
expert then we give him credit for.” Someone thought I was pulling
their leg. “No, I was just wondering about Clarence. Shooting that
straight when Longden drew his gun.”
“His killing Longden was an accident,” Reade stated. “I saw him.”
“Accident or…trick shooting?”
Suddenly, Reade and Wicks weren’t so high and mighty anymore.
Clarence was the only one smart enough to understand what I was
doing. The street suddenly grew quiet. "Now don't forget it's a game
Clarence...no shootin' to kill," I cocked my rifle.
The boys watched Clarence as he put his gun hand close to his gun.
“I’m ready,” he declared with a smile. “I’m sure enough ready!”
“You know, George Tanner’s a smart man. He never gambles. But then I
guess you fellows have more sportin’ blood then he has, huh?” I
smiled. My plan was working. They weren’t to confident anymore.
“I guess it’s only fair if you boys draw first. I sure don’t want to
take any advantage with
my slick draw practicing!” Clarence declared as he gave them both
really mean looks.
Reade laughed nervously. “It don’t seem right, Clarence. Us facing
you after us getting you to drinking your liquor.”
“Oh, that’s alright, boys,” Clarence said. “I wouldn’t want to
disappoint anyone that wants to draw again me.”
"Watch his eyes boys...when they narrow, that's when his hand starts
moving," I warned.
Wicks gave a short laugh. “You sure do take things seriously,
Clarence!” Wicks hurried out of town.
“Can’t you tell…we was only…spoofing,” Reade declared as he too
started backing away. He ran the other way.
Everyone on the street began applauding Clarence. Clarence wasn’t
sure how to react at first, but then slowly smiled. I breathed a
sigh of relief. I was sure glad my plan had worked! Clarence gave me
the gun and said he thought it should be sold and the money used
towards a proper burial for Longden, and maybe for a fancy headstone
like the clothes he liked to wear.
I gladly took the gun from him. “I’ll take care of it for you,
“Mr. McCain, I want you to know that all the time I was in that
saloon, I was only thinking about one thing. How tomorrow I’ll only
be a mop boy again and people will be looking at me without seeing
me. If George Tanner killed me, I’d be somebody – even dead!”
That was kind of sad. “Well, I’m glad you feel different about it
now. So how ‘bout joining me for a drink…a cup of coffee…in Micah’s
office,” I suggested. He laughed, stating he was glad I didn’t want
to give him anything stronger then coffee.
That night, I was sitting outside Micah’s office drinking coffee.
Mark came out to talk to me. He had been reading a pamphlet about
Mr. Tanner. “It says here he killed his first man when he was only
twelve years old.”
“Rather he did or not, Mark, I don’t know. He was a very famous man,
that’s true,” I agreed. “But he’s also an unhappy one. He’d trade
everything…his reputation, his ability with a gun…everything he had
if he could trade places with Clarence…or, for that matter, even
you.” I took another sip of my coffee as Mark thought on that.
"Well, I'd sure like to trade places with him," Mark stated. “Most
“You think he’ll ever come back to North Fork?”’
“It’s hard to say, son.” I took another sip of my coffee.
“Sure hope he does.”
I suddenly looked up at my boy. “Any particular reason?”
"Oh, I don’t know…He just makes me think of buffalo.....and prairie
wagons.....Indians.” Boy, my boy was dreaming again!
"Mark, your dreams will supply all the buffalo, prairie wagons, and
Indians you'll ever need!"
A surprised look suddenly crossed Mark’s face. He stared down into
my eyes as I looked up into his. "How did you know I dreamed about
"Son...you keep forgettin' that I used to be your age?"
"Hm, I guess that doesn't seem too long ago to you...huh?"
I continued looking up at my son. "Only yesterday Mark...only
I laughed and shook my head at him again as he began thinking on
piddlin' stuff.....Buddy Hackett
appeared in two episode ―
Bloodlines as Daniel
Malakie, the father of the the three disruptive cowboys. I thought he was excellent in this part! I remember when I
first saw him in this role, I couldn't believe my eyes. Buddy
Hackett being a bad guy, yeah right! He did great! He also
in The Clarence Bibs Story
as the slow witted
handy man who gets himself into trouble when he accidentally
killed a skilled gunfighter.
Denver Pyle and Buddy Hackett appeared together in Bloodlines and
The Clarence Bibs
Van Cleef has appeared in four episodes ― The Deadly Wait as Dan Maury,
he's the bad dude who crippled Micah's arm ― The Prodigal
as Stinger, he was one of the cowboys after Bill St. John ―
The Clarence Bibs Story as Wicks, he was one of the
cowboys edging Clarence on to kill Tanner ― Death Never Rides Alone
as Johnny Drako, he was the cowboy who stood with Lucas and
Micah against Billy Graves and his gang.
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.
Pyle appeared in five episodes
― Bloodlines as Henry Trumble,
he was the one that the Malakie clan mistakenly killed, they
thought he was Lucas ― The Legacy
as Seth Mitchell, he was the Pa of the two young men that
was accused of killing Pa Simons ―
The Clarence Bibs Story
as George Tanner the gunfighter who came to North Fork to
find out what happened to his partner Pretty Man Longden ―
The Decision as Frank
Hazlitt, he was the dude who threaten Lucas because he was
going to testify against his son ― The Hangman
as Harold Tanner as the hangman and the killer of Eban
Joan Taylor played Milly Scott. Milly
bought The General Store from Hattie Denton. Hattie had to leave to
go and help her sister in Denver. Joan Taylor appeared in eighteen
episodes as Milly Scott and was introduced to The Rifleman
in Miss Milly.
X Brands played Pretty Man
Longden. He was the one who Clarence shot accidentally!
A bartender that would filled in for Sweeney from time to time was
Joe E. Benson
In The Clarence Bibs Story Lucas calls him Benson. Joe E.
Benson guest starred in The Rifleman many times, probably
more times than listed. Sometimes credited & sometimes not.
*Please note: In Dark Day at North Fork
he appeared as two different characters - as one of the townsmen &
Joe was a good friend & a neighbor of Chuck's. He helped Chuck build
a tree house for the boys and also help build the addition onto the
house which was later called the den. (One of the several
George Sowards appeared in six
episodes ― The Sharpshooter as a barfly ― The Fourflusher as one of the townsmen ―
The Promoter as a boxing spectator ― The Clarence Bibs
Story as one of the townsmen ― The Queue as
one of the townsmen ― End of the Hunt as one of the townsmen
― Which Way'd They Go? as one of the townsmen.
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
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
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.
Ray Jones as one of the townsmen.
He has appeared in at least 147 westerns and 6 serials.
John Breen appeared in
six episodes ― The Safe Guard
as a Townsmen ― The Lariat as
a Waiter as a townsmen ― The Clarence Bibs
Story as a townsmen ― The Jailbird as a townsmen ― The
Indian as a townsmen ― The Martinet as a townsmen.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's