"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Dead Cold Cash
It was afternoon and an old lady was on her death bed, but before
she died she had a few things to say to Micah, our town Marshal.
After she told him, Micah raised the shade, suddenly needing some
fresh air and light in the room.
“If it was anyone else, I’d lock
‘em in jail and keep them there until they came back to their
senses!” Micah exclaimed. He calmly walked back over to her bed and
sat down. “Now, you tell me you didn’t mean that!”
But she had meant it – she made that very clear! “I’m gonna kill
Micah wanted to know how, but she assured him that “he” was gonna
suffer like she and her son suffered. “Mrs. Caruthers, your husband
was shot down while he was committing a crime. Now, you can’t blame
anybody for that except Sam!”
She was struggling to get her last words out. The old lady was
fading fast, but she had more to say before she breathed her last.
She laid back on her pillow and closed her eyes. But suddenly, she
opened her eyes wide and gave Micah an evil stare. “You tell him
seven days after I’m gone…You tell Lucas McCain he gonna die!”
Then she was gone – just like that!
Micah was worried and alarmed at her words. The minute I came into
town he called me into his office and told me what Mrs. Caruthers
had stated on her deathbed. “She said I’d day seven days after she
did.” I couldn’t really believe such a crazy statement, and I wasn’t
really taking it seriously. Micah repeated her words to me again as
Mark and I listened…again! She was going to kill me because I killed
I told Micah I thought it was ridiculous. I was a deputy upholding
the law, plain and simple. Micah stated he told her that. A very
concerned Mark asked Micah what she said. “It didn’t make any
difference. Her grievance is with the man who’s gun cut down Sam
Caruthers. And that man was you, Lucas.”
This was really too much to take in. It didn’t make any sense. None
the less, though, Mark was upset. “Why, she must have plum out of
her head! She’s gone. How can she do anything?” Mark asked.
Micah didn’t know what to believe. "Sarah Caruthers was a determined
woman. She had no respect for the law. When a woman like that makes
a dying threat, I wouldn't treat it to lightly Lucas."
Just then Ben Casper, our town attorney, came in. He wanted to talk
to me. "Well I'd like you as head of the council, to call a special
meeting at the town hall tonight."
"Special meeting, why?" I asked.
Ben was Sarah Caruthers’s attorney. She had needed legal advice from
time to time, and he had given her that advice. She had made out a
last will and testament shortly after her husband was killed. I
could tell he was a little hesitant to tell me what was wrong.
“Lucas, Sarah Caruthers’s entire will concerns you.”
I turned and looked at Mark. I knew this wasn’t helping his worry
any, and I was already getting tired of all this nonsense! “Concerns
me, huh?” I asked impatiently. “In what way?” He couldn’t tell me
anything more. The entire will was to be read in the presence of all
the citizens of North Fork. “Micah said she threatened me or
something before her death. Does it have something to do with that?”
But he could say nothing more. “Alright, Ben. I’ll call the
"Can I go too Pa?" Mark asked.
I walked over to him and put my hand around his neck as I looked
into his face. "Look son, what concerns me concerns you,” I told him
in a calm voice. I didn’t like seeing that worry in his eyes, but
there wasn’t anything I could do about that.
"Alright, alright, lets quiet down," said Ben. "I know your all are
wondering what this meeting is about and why I'm conducting it
instead of Lucas McCain, head of out town council. So we'll get
right to it and not waste anytime. I guess everybody here can speak
for those who couldn't make it – your wives, children and so forth.”
Eli Benson interrupted him. “What’s my kids got to do with this?” He
Ben told him he’d find out.
He held up the will. “Now this is the
last will and testament of Sarah Caruthers. I drew it up for her and
I can assure you it is absolutely legal." He said the Will would
speak for itself. The crowd was restless, trying to figure out what
was going on. Eli ordered him to stop gabbing and read it. He did as
"I Sarah Caruthers being of sound mind and memory do hereby give,
devise and bequeath all the worldly goods and monies of which I die
possessed, to the residents of the town of North Fork, territory of
New Mexico, to be divided equally among every man, woman and child,
resident therein at the time of my demise." At that, everyone began
chatting. Eli stated she had no money. Eli wanted to know if this
was a joke. Ben assured him it was no joke.
Even Milly was confused. “But she didn’t have any money. She owed me
$17 for things she got at the store.” Eli said that she couldn’t
even pay her bill at the hotel.
I sat quietly, listening to the whole thing.
Ben said it was time for John Hamilton to talk. John stood up to
make his announcement. He announced that the Caruthers both kept a
strongbox in his bank. It was no concern of his as long as they paid
the rental for the space. When Sam was killed, Mrs. Caruthers told
John that the box wasn't to be opened until after her death. He
opened this morning. Micah asked what was in it.
“One hundred thousand dollars.”
That really got the crowd excited. They all began talking loudly and
excitedly. I just stared at the crowd and sat quietly. I knew there
was more to this story, and I was very uncomfortable with what was
going on. Micah suddenly stood up and demanded silence. “John, where
would a woman like Sara Caruthers get that kind of money?” he asked.
John didn’t know. “As I told you a moment ago, I never interfere
with the private affairs of the bank’s customers.”
For the first time, I spoke up. I asked John when they started
keeping the box in the bank. He said he didn’t know but he could
look it up. “I’ve always suspected that Sam Caruthers and his gang
were mixed up in that shipment from the Denver mint that was never
recovered.” Micah announced that there were plenty of other
robberies that Sam and his gang was suspected of. “And I guess now
we know they weren’t just empty suspicions.”
Eli was being argumentative though. “You’ve got no proof that money
was from the Denver Mint shipment or any other robbery!” But Micah
had a list of serial numbers going back quite a few years. "That
strong box is impounded as of now.” The crowd began talking again,
not happy with that news either.
But Ben wasn’t done yet. There were more surprises yet to come. He
said there was one more provision to the will. "On the provision
that Lucas McCain,” Ben suddenly looked at me. I could tell this
wasn’t going to be good news for me. “That Lucas McCain shall not
survive said demise by a period of more then seven days."
At the reading of those words, I turned to look at Mark. It broke my
heart to see the worry on his face.
Milly suddenly stood up, shocked by his words. "Are you saying that
Lucas has to…has to die?" She asked in a worried voice. "So that
these people can get that money if they have a legal claim to it."
"Those are the terms of the will," Ben answered.
“Oh…no,” Mark said worriedly.
"I’ve never heard of such a thing. It's preposterous, Milly
I suddenly stood up. I had to calm my friends down. “Look folks,” I
started. “I think Milly’s right. Sarah Caruthers is a pretty sick
woman when she died in more ways then one. Micah can tell you that.
I appreciate how you feel, but…uh…you may be making too much out of
Milly didn’t want to think about it anymore. "Well I move this
meeting be adjourned and all this nonsense be forgotten here and
now," she stated.
Eli Benson agreed with Milly. “The whole idea don’t make sense!
Lucas here’s a fine man – a good friend.
I don’t want no part of
that blood money!”
Everyone stood up, agreeing with Eli.
"Well I guess the meetings over Ben, you can throw that thing in the
waste basket," said Micah.
“I’d be pleased,” Ben stated. “However, I do have to file it.” He
laughed nervously. "Who knows, Luke might get struck by lightening
before the weeks out. Of course, nobody found his joke funny. The
room grew even more silent then before. Ben lost his smile,
realizing his joke was in bad taste.
"Well now if that happens, at least I'll know it’s not Sarah
Caruthers doin' it," I stated.
The meeting broke up. Micah and I made our way over to Milly and
"It must be nice knowing you have so many friends Lucas," said Milly.
I sat down and smiled at her. It was nice to have so many people
upset and worried about me. I watched and listened curiously as
Milly suddenly gave Mark the key to the back door of the store and
sent him over to get some licorice sticks. I knew she wanted to get
him out of the way so she could talk to us without his hearing.
Milly could tell Mark was already upset enough, and I could tell
Milly was worried about me. I asked her what she wanted to talk
“You two,” she answered. “You’ve lived in this town about as long as
anyone. You’ve seen them come and go, all kinds…” She suddenly
stopped and stared at me.
“Well, go on,” I urged her.
“Well, the short time I’ve lived here, I’ve discovered that most of
the people here at North Fork are…good people. But-“ Milly suddenly
stopped. Micah told her to quit beating around the bush. She
suddenly became even more upset as she tried to put her worried
thoughts into words. “Well, what I’m trying to say is…suppose you
can’t prove that that money locked up in the bank is from the
holdups. Suppose it was legally hers….Don’t you think you should
take some precautions of some sort?”
She just stared at me, waiting for my reply. What could I say?
"Like you said Milly, they are my friends."
The next morning, John met Micah, Ben, Milly, and me at the bank. I
stood back and watched as Micah got out the serial numbers. There
sure was a lot of to check! As Micah and John worked together on it,
I just shook my head.
Mark was outside the bank waiting when we came out later. But Mark
wasn’t the only there waiting anxiously. It seems everyone in North
Fork arrived at the bank to find out what the outcome would be. As
soon as I walked out the door, I put my arm around Mark’s shoulders.
“Let’s go, son.”
I didn’t want to be around these people and their watchful glares,
and I wanted to shelter Mark from as much of this craziness as I
could. But as Mark and I started to walk away, a very concerned
Milly stopped me. “You’re taking this too lightly.”
“What’s the matter?” Mark asked. That’s why I was trying to hurry
away. I didn’t want Mark to see how worried Milly and Micah were.
“Nothing, Mark,” I tried to assure him in a confident voice. Micah
went so far as to stated he ought to lock me up where I’d be safe,
but I figured I’d be safe enough at the ranch. “Now look, I know
these people. If I can’t trust them, I can’t trust anybody!” I
“What about Mark?” Milly asked.
Mark’s my responsibility,” I stated. And I wanted to
keep it that way. “We’re see you later.”
After we left, Eli asked Micah what was going on. Micah was very
concerned. He couldn’t put a hold on the money because the serial
numbers didn’t match. "It belongs to the people of North Fork. If
any of you want to claim it under the terms of the will. Of course
if you do, you'll never get a chance to spend it. Unless you want to
hang first-“ Micah watched as Mark and I rode past on our horses.
“-for killing Lucas McCain."
I didn’t have much luck calming Mark done, and he did not want to
leave me alone; nor did he want me to get into town. He took his
time in getting off to school the next morning. I told him he better
hurry, but he just rode up to where I was saddling my horse and sat
there. I suddenly turned, realizing something was wrong.
I came to stand beside Blue Boy, and talked to him as he sat in the
saddle. “What’s the matter, Mark?”
“Nothing,” Mark answered. “Except…” he looked me in the eye and
said, “I wish you wouldn’t go into town today.”
“I have to. I gotta let Milly know how much feed I want to order for
next month,” I answered sternly. My eyes never left his, and my face
told him everything he needed to know.
But Mark pressed on. “That…uh…couldn’t wait until the end of the
I pretended not to know what he was talking about. Perhaps I wanted
him to admit he was scared. “What about the end of the week?”
“Well…you know…the time would be up then,” Mark answered.
“Oh.” Hearing him say it out loud confirmed my suspicions. “Mark,
you remember reading in your schoolbooks about the ostrich? The way
he hides his head in the sand thinking he’s safe, all the rest of
‘em are sticking up like he’s waving a flag?” I told Mark I would be
safe in town. “North Fork’s our home. Nothing’s gonna happen.”
“Yeah, but suppose that-“ Mark stopped. He couldn’t…or
wouldn’t…finish that thought.
But I knew exactly what he was getting at. “Suppose there is someone
who’d rather count the cash in their pocket then have me around?”
Mark nodded, a little ashamed of his thought. “Well, don’t you think
I oughta know about such a person?”
Mark smiled. He knew I’d be okay. I had managed to restore his
confidence. “I’ll see you after school, Pa.” I smiled as I watched
him ride off. All was well with Mark McCain again! But I knew his
fears wouldn’t be completely gone until the week was up and he saw
that I was still alive.
I picked up my rifle to get it ready when I suddenly heard a horse
neigh behind me. I turned my hid around to see a stranger slowly
approaching me. He smiled friendly enough and asked me if this was
my spread. I told him it was. “Oh, Beldon. Stacey Beldon.” His smile
never left his face.
“Luke McCain.” A smile never appeared on my face. I was suspicious
of this man. He suddenly told me it was a hot day.
As I continued staring at him, I told him it was about three miles
to North Fork. “I’m…uh…heading that way myself.” He said if I gave
him a chance to water his horse he would keep me company.
I untied Razor and walked over to the well. He commented on how
pretty it was around here. “Yeah. What brings you to it?” I asked.
He told me he had a job opportunity, and he only reckoned it was in
He suddenly recalled having some kin there. Eli Benson was a cousin
of his on his mother’s side. I knew Eli very well. “Got the biggest
family in North Fork.”
He said the last time he saw Eli he was celebrating his first born.
I told him he celebrated it ten more times.
I studied him for a moment. “So, you’re gonna work for Eli, huh?”
He smiled. “Well see that…I don’t recall saying that.” He flashed me
a big smile. I told him we better get going to town.
When we got into town, Benson offered to buy me a drink. But I had
more pressing things to do. “Alright, I’ll see you around.
You…uh…will be around, won’t ya'?”
I nodded. “For awhile.”
“I just wanted to be sure,” Benson stated as he got up his horse. I
rode on to Micah’s office. Micah immediately wanted to know who he
was. He commented that I was keeping strange company.
“He says he’s got some work to do here,” I commented.
“What kind of work, I wonder?”
I looked toward the saloon and frowned. “There’s only one kind he
does I know of, Micah.” Micah wanted to go talk to him. “Better talk
to Eli Benson first. He’s related to him.” Micah wondered why Eli
never said. “Would you?”
Micah said Eli was at Milly’s store. I started to go, but Micah
asked me why I was in town. “Any reason why I shouldn’t be here?” I
“No,” Micah answered. “As a matter of fact, things have been pretty
We found Eli standing in front of the store aiming a rifle. He was
trying to find a good rifle to shoot a coyote with. We just stared
at him silently. “Something wrong?”
"You related to Stacey Beldon?" Micah asked.
That question upset Eli. "Who said?"
"Beldon did Eli. He's over at the saloon," I announced.
"Why that no good murdering.....what's he doin' here marshal?" Eli
"Apparently he's got some work to do," Micah answered as we
continued staring at Eli.
"You know me. Both of you. I'm a quiet man. I've got a good family.
Good friends. I came down here from Kansas a long time ago. Settled
down, made something of myself. I got respect. That's something I
didn't have in Kansas. I didn't have it because nobody related to
Stacey Beldon had it. What's he doin' here marshal? Can you tell
We thought he knew. He told us he had nothing to do with that man.
Somebody had to have sent for him. He suddenly realized why we were
upset. “You…you figure he’s here to kill you?” Eli pointed at me. I
didn’t say anything, but just continued to stare at him. “Oh no…no,
he couldn’t be! Maybe he’d just passing…through?”
“No Eli. He…said he had some work here.”
Micah said that no on North Fork would try for me for a lot of
reasons. But a professional killer was something else. “Yeah, the
will said I had to die. It didn’t say how or by who’s hand. Now, if
somebody hired Beldon to do the job, that would make it nice and
easy. Especially if he had 13 shares of money to get.”
"No, it wasn't me, it wasn't me. You gotta believe me,” Eli stated.
But we still weren’t convinced.
Suddenly, Stacey was standing outside the bar. "Eli! Is that you
"Yes Stacey it's me. How are you, Stacey? It's been a long time."
"Yeah, it has been a long time, and I'm fine, just fine, Eli. Eleven
kids. Why don't you come over here and have a drink with me? I
already invited Mr. McCain. How about it McCain?" Eli told him no
“Well, what’s the matter? Can’t McCain answer for himself?”
I told him I’d be over. He was happy to hear that and assured me
he’d be waiting. After Stacey walked away, Eli started begging with
us again. He begged for us to believe him. “I didn’t even know where
he was. How could I know? It’s been ten years!”
Micah reminded him that he had eleven kids, and he would get a
bigger portion of the money then anybody else. But he continued to
deny it, stating that he didn’t want any part of that blood money,
if I…Then he stopped as he had just thought of something. “Wait a
minute. How would I know when that old lady was gonna die? I mean, I
didn’t know what was in that will. Nobody did until it was read.”
“Eli, the will was read four days ago. You could have sent for him,”
I stated. But he still swore he had nothing to do with Stacey’s
showing up. “Alright, Eli.” I told Micah we should go see Ben.
“Yeah, Ben…the lawyer,” Eli suddenly stated. I got to thinking on
that. Yeah, now I really wanted to talk to Ben.
We were just about to go into his office when Stacey suddenly called
my name out. He held a bottle in the air and told me he was waiting
for me. I turned and stared at him. “What’s the matter? Don’t ya'
want to have a drink with me?”
“I told you I’d be over later!” I shouted impatiently.
“No wait. Right now. Come on, have a drink!” Stacey said again, with
that same evil smile on his face.
“I said now!” Stacey shouted, stopping me in my tracks. He suddenly
threw the bottle on the walkway, busting it. His face no longer held
a smile. In it’s place was a look of rage. I watched him step out
onto the street. He had one glove in his hand. “McCain, you rile
I turned and started toward him, my rifle in hand. “Well that’s too
bad, Beldon. Now, let me tell you something. I drink with whom I
pleas, where I please, when I please. No two-bit gunfighter’s gonna
come in here telling me what to do. You understand that?” We just
stared at each other. “Now, let’s quit beatin’ around the bush. You
got business with me, let’s get on with it,” I challenged him.
“Did I say I had business with you?” That evil smile of his was
“You don’t have to say. I got you figured cold.”
But he was playing his little game all the way. “You calling me out,
and all I asked was for you to have a little drink.”
“If I have to call you to make you admit that somebody hired you to
gun me down, then I’m calling you!” I stated sternly as I gave him a
cold, hard stare.
“See that, Marshal. He’s calling me.” Stacy played his last play. He
dropped his glove, then bent to pick it up, but he reached for his
gun as he did so. I was watching and ready for him. He didn’t have a
chance. I killed him.
Ben hurried out of his office wanting to know who he was. “Don’t you
know?” Micah asked.
“No, how should I know?” Ben asked. "Good Lord, he tried to kill you
We all walked over to Stacey’s body. Milly ran out and hurried up to
me. I put a protective arm around her as we started down the street.
Eli bent down over his cousin and took a note from his pocket. He
read it then stood and handed it to Micah. In spite of the man
Stacey was, Eli still mourned for his cousin’s death. “Reckon I’ll
claim the body, being as how I’m the only living relative here
abouts.” It was easy to hear the sadness in his voice.
Micah read the letter silently. “Micah, what is it?” Milly finally
Micah turned to Ben. “You know that envelope? The one that wasn’t
supposed to be opened until after Lucas-“ Ben said yes. Mrs.
Caruthers had written to Stacy telling him to pick up an envelope
containing $5,000.00, only if he killed me. The envelope Ben was
holding contained the money to pay Stacey and the mailing
"She said she'd be laughing from her grave. She almost did," You
know, that was kind of a eerie thought!
It was all finally over. Boy, was Mark happy it was over! He was
back to his normal charming self when we were in town that
afternoon. “There goes your troubles, Lucas Boy. Every cent of it.”
Mark wanted to know where it was going. Micah was sending it to the
Marshal in Santa Fe. Micah was finally able to determine that money
was stolen after checking with Washington. "Good riddens I say,”
I smiled. Well John, I never thought I'd ever hear a banker say
anything like that.”
John stated he hadn’t slept right since the reading of that darn
will. Milly didn’t think any of us had. We were all glad it was
Suddenly, my charming little boy spoke up "That Mrs. Caruthers and
all she tried to do, I think there's one thing she didn't figure
out." We all looked at Mark as he spoke his words of wisdom. "Well,
when you got a lot of fiends, I mean like what Pa has in North Fork.
Well.....there just isn't that much money in the world."
Wow! That boy can sure surprise you sometimes! But I thought he was
being way to serious so I gave him a swift pat on the backside. That
got him to moving alright! I told Milly I’d buy her some coffee. We
started down the street arm-in-arm, happy once again to be laughing
piddlin' stuff.....Ed Nelson appeared
in three episodes ―
Dead Cold Cash as Stacey Beldon,
the gunslinger hired by Sarah Caruthers to kill Lucas ―
as Ben Travis, the cowboy who murdered Sam, the tailor
― First Wages as
Ben Vargas, he
was the cowboy who
took Mark's horse.
Steve Darrell played Eli Benson in
Dead Cold Cash, he was the cousin
of Stacey Beldon, the gunslinger Sarah Caruthers hired to kill Lucas
― Obituary as Ben Russell, the man who was killed by Panama Billings (Chris Alcaide).
Alcaide appeared in ten episodes ―
Trade as Hamp Ferris, he was the cowboy who wanted to turn Morley
in for the reward ― Obituary as Panama Billings, he was
gunfighter who rode into North Fork trying to make a name for
himself and another notch on his gun ― A Case of Identity as Lon
Perry, he was the cowboy along with his partner Captain James Gordon
who scheme to make Wingate think Mark was his son ―
A Time for
Singing as Spence, the leader of a gang of bank robbers who were
going to rob the North Fork Bank ―
Meeting at Midnight as
Schroeder, he was working with Benton & Morgan to break Carl Miller
out of jail ― Dead Cold Cash as Ben Casper, the attorney
for Sara Caruthers ― The Wyoming Story part 1 & 2 as Ross, the Henchman for Forbes McKee the Indian Agent ―
The Journey Back
as Will Carney, he was looking for revenge for his brother's death ―
Squeeze Play as Dave Rankin, the heavy for Willard
Gee how many times did John Anderson star in
The Rifleman? Who
appeared in the most episodes Chris Alcaide or John Anderson? How
about John Milford?
Sara Taft appeared in three episodes ―
Dead Cold Cash as Sara Caruthers, she was the bitter old
woman who wanted Lucas killed within one week of her death ―
1 & 2 as the old woman.
Armitage appeared in six episodes of The Rifleman as a
The Hangman ― Baranca ― Dead Cold Cash ―
The Illustrator ― The Lonesome Bride ―
The Tinhorn as Joe, a card player.
Dave Kashner as a Townsman in
Dead Cold Cash.
Les Raymaster has
appeared in seven episodes
— Duel of Honor
as a Barfly ― The Coward as a townsman
― Honest Abe as a townsman
as a townsman
A Case of Identity as a townsman
The Lariat as a gambler ― Dead Cold Cash as a
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.
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.
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
Joe E. Benson appeared 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
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear
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
around The McCain Ranch