"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Deadly Wait
Although Micah and I hadn’t lived in North Fork very long or known each
other for that long, we had become like best friends! He filled a place in
me that made me feel more complete, and I think I was able to
help him through the hard times. He was my best friend and I would do
anything for him – even lay down my life. One eerie, dark day I had to do
It all started that morning when I rode into town after seeing Mark off to
school. I had just turned the corner by the church and stopped. The street
was so quiet – too quiet! Not a person could be seen. Not a building was
open. Not a sound could be heard. In the distance, I saw one lonely horse
hitched up to the hitching post. Outside the Marshall’s office, Micah leaned
against the hitching post with his rifle in hand, ready to use it if he
should need to. I immediately drew my rifle from it’s boot before starting
the slow ride down the street. As I rode, my eyes darted up and down the
street, looking for the culprit of North Fork’s sudden imitation of a ghost
The trotting of my horse could be heard all the way down the street. I
stopped in front of Micah’s office. “What’s going on, Micah?” I asked as I
got off my horse. My voice echoed up and down the street, waking up any
living thing that may have existed around the dark corners. "Dan Maury's in
there," he replied. A solemn look sat on his face. Extreme tiredness laid in
his eyes. His voice held tiredness and fear. Maury had been sent to Yuma
prison five years ago. The man had been the one who crippled Micah’s arm.
“Now he’s here to kill me,” Micah stated. The town had been this way ever
since Maury had ridden in the night before. Micah had been forced to stand
out there with his eyes trained on the saloon all night. No one offered to
stand with him. “I can’t say as I blame them. Nobody in this town’s good
enough to stand against Maury and they all know it,” Micah explained. I
thought he was letting our citizens off the hook too easily. I was mad that
my friend had been left out here all alone to fight a battle he can’t fight!
But I was here now. I’d stand beside my best friend as long as necessary.
I watched the saloon, a stressful frown on my face. Not a sound came from
the saloon. Maury was in a chair asleep while Micah stood out on this lonely
street fearing for his life. Sweeny stood behind the bar, trying to figure a
way out of this death trap. He even tried to sneak out, but a mouse walking
across the floor would wake this outlaw up. After waking up, Maury walked
back over to the bar and Sweeny immediately gave him another bottle.
I wondered how long he would stay in there. Micah knew that as long as he
had his shot gun, Maury would stay in there. “He’s had a lot of time to
think in Yuma. Could be he’s just having a little fun and sooner or later
he’ll get tired and ride on out.” Micah’s voice held a lot of doubt. My
thinking held a lot of doubt. I couldn’t take a chance on my friend’s life.
"And if he doesn't?" I asked.
“Lucas, I can’t use my badge for a personal grievance,” Micah stated.
if Maury is here to get revenge-“ I started.
Micah’s frustrated voice held a lot of anger and worry. “Lucas, I can’t just
go in there and take him! He hasn’t done anything.”
I looked back toward the saloon. The whole situation just didn’t sit right
with me. If no one else was going to do anything, I sure would. I wasn’t one
to sit around and wait for something bad to happen. “Well, I’ll see what I
can do,” I stated as I started across the street. Micah started to argue,
but I kept walking.
I walked over to the doors with confidence. But before barging in, I stopped
at the door to size up the situation. Sweeny looked straight at me. His face
held tiredness. I could tell he’d been standing there, fearful of what this
man might do all night. I was glad I had ridden into town so I could help my
two friends who had been living in fear the last several hours. I didn’t
even have to think about what to do.
I barged inside, holding my head up high. I didn’t hesitate a second, but
walked up to the bar and sat down. “Beer, Sweeney,” I stated in my normal,
confident voice. I didn’t hesitate a second, but walked up to the bar and
sat down. I loudly laid down my rifle on the bar so he could get a good
look-see of it.
As I started drinking my beer, Maury turned and stared at me. He looked me
up and down, an evil grin laid on his face. He turned and leaned his back
toward the bar, but kept that rough look on his face the whole time he
talked. “You know, while I was rottin’ away in Yuma, we use to sit up all
night sometimes just talking. And every now and then someone would start
remembering about a big ugly Sodbuster with a rifle like that one. They
called him the Rifleman. His gun was faster than any side arm in the
territory. Is that true Sodbuster?"
I didn’t even look at him. I couldn’t. He made my skin crawl! “You want
proof?” I simply asked.
“Suppose I told you I just happen to come in here for a drink of whisky?
What would you say to that, Sodbuster?” Maury asked me then.
I still wouldn’t look at him, but again simply answered, “Well, I’d say that
if anything happens to Micah Torrance you'll answer to me.”
“Am I breaking the law? Am I doing something wrong?” He had the nerve to ask
that question? “Just your being here is wrong!” I stated, still looking
straight ahead. I had to keep my cool…
“Why? I served my time. I’m a free man, Sodbuster. Just like you. You know
what I think? I think the marshal’s got you all riled up about nothing.
That’s what I think! He’s across the street right now just waiting for me to
start something. Now, Sodbuster, why would I want to start something? If I
ain’t fool enough to go against that rifle of yours, I’m sure not going to
go up against a shotgun, especially one like the marshal’s, with steel balls
in it. Now you take last night. I rode into town and I came in here with a
pure thirst for drinking whisky. In fact, I was so thirsty I stayed here all
night. Ain’t that right bartender?” Sweeny didn’t answer. “Then come
daylight this morning, I look across the street and what do you think I saw?
Old Micah standing there with that shotgun of his. I bet you he was standing
there all night long knowing I was in here. What do you suppose would happen
now if I was to develop a real thirst and stayed here maybe three or four
days? And all night too? Micha’d sure get sleep, an old man like that! I bet
you he’d just fall asleep on his feet. Then I could walk up to him, take his
shotgun away, and he’d have nothing left but that sidearm of his! Just like
it was five years ago.”
I had stayed silent all this time, drinking my beer and listening to his
threats against Micah. With each word that left his mouth, I grew angrier.
Suddenly, I had had enough.
"That's enough, you're riding out right now," I told him.
"Is that you or your gun talking?" Maury had the nerve to ask.
I showed him. I angrily picked up my rifle and shot the whisky bottle. Just
as fast, I shot the whisky glass right out of his hand. Both shattered.
Maury stared in disbelief as he let my message sink in. I didn’t give him
much time to think. “Now you hear me and hear me good!” I demanded. “Like I
said, anything happens to Micah Torrance, you answer to me. I don’t care
where or when or how, you answer to me! Now get out of here!”
He got my message and started for the door. “Maybe they’ll be more friendly
in the next town,” he stated before he walked out.
As Maury started untying his horse, he said, “I want you to remember
something Marshall. You aren’t always gonna have him to hide behind.”
We stood and watched him ride down the street and disappear around the
corner. The street was still dark and quiet, but soon I hoped there would be
people again and the town would get it’s life back. Micah was still worried.
“You think he’ll be back?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I stated. “He’s got a lot of respect for that
shotgun of yours and he’s already had a taste of this rifle. I’ll be in from
time to time and Mark will be coming back and forth to school. If there’s
any trouble, I’ll know about it.
I got on my horse, waved at Micah who still looked tired but less worried,
then rode out of town. Whatever I had come to town for would have to wait!
That afternoon, I had wood to chop. I wasn’t aware of a man in the bushes
watching me. The man had a shot gun. He fired two shots at me. The first one
wounded me, but I was still on my feet. The second one knocked me out. I lay
still on the ground as he rode away.
The town hadn’t recovered from Maury’s arrival yet. Everything was still
eerie…quiet. Micah was trying to get some rest in his office. Because of the
silence, it was easy for him to hear the rider outside. He went to the
window and what he saw caused his face to once again sag in a tiresome
worry. He would not get any sleep again that night. Micah grabbed his
shotgun and went back outside to watch the saloon.
The minute Mark rode home from school, he knew something wasn’t right. As he
started to climb off his horse, he noticed my rifle still leaning against
the barn where I had been chopping wood. He walked over to it and touched
it, as if it would tell him where I was. Then he saw something on the ground
where I had been lying. It was blood. I’m sure fear gripped my little boy’s
heart as he called for me but got no answer. My poor boy didn’t know where I
Mark ran to the house, fear gripping his heart, to look for me. But the
sight that greeted his little eyes was enough to stop him dead in his
tracks. “Pa, you’re all shot up! Who did it?” he gasped.
I was leaning against the sink. I was dizzy and in serious pain! In my
weakened condition, I could hardly stand. “I don’t know, son.” I gasped out.
“I was chopping firewood and-“ Suddenly, the pain intensified and I started
to go down. Mark caught me and steadied me. Then he grabbed a chair and
helped me sit down.
“The doc should see this! Can you make it to town?” Mark asked as he
tenderly laid his hand on my cheek. I told him to get the buckboard ready.
When you are devoted to someone, you can do amazing things! That’s the only
way I can explain Mark’s hitching up the buckboard in record time and
lifting me up into the back. As Mark started to climb up onto the seat, I
told him to get my rifle. He started to argue, but I was still his father,
regardless of my inability to care for him at the moment. “Do as I say,
son,” I moaned. Without any further arguing, Mark got my rifle.
He drove the horses as fast as he could. He was jumping off the wagon as
quickly as he stopped. “Pa’s been shot!” he screamed in the quiet street.
His little voice echoed up and down the street, arousing Maury who had been
quietly drinking in the saloon. Mark ran to get the doc from the hotel as my
dear friend, Micah, lifted me from the buckboard. I weakly put my arm around
him, but he practically carried me inside. He asked me who did it, but I
didn’t know. I could hardly answer his questions, I was so weak.
As we slowly started up the stair to the motel, I quietly told Mark to get
my rifle. This time the doc argued, but I wouldn’t listen. I knew there was
trouble and I would protect my friend even in my dying breath! “Mark, you
hear me?” I said in the sternest voice I could muster under the
circumstances. Mark did as he was told.
Mark had been so busy getting the doctor that he hadn’t noticed the
ghost-town like image of our town. The street was still silent. Not a person
could be found. Not a building was open. The silence was eerie, worrisome.
Mark questioned Micah about it, but he didn’t want Mark to worry anymore
then he already was, so he brushed it off.
The doc gave me something that made me very drowsy. It took away my
dizziness, though. I could hardly move. I could hardly talk. All I wanted to
do was sleep. Mark wanted me home, and doc said he could take me home
tomorrow if I didn’t get a fever. Then doc assured Mark he was across the
hall, should he be needed.
“I guess you’re going to be alright, huh, pa?” Mark said. He was relieved. I
know he had been worried sick about me.
“I guess so,” I mumbled. I think I was more asleep at this point.
“Well then sleep, like the doc said,” Mark bossed as he took over taking
care of me. Then he tenderly tucked the covers over me. He looked at me
tenderly for a moment, so thankful I was alive. Then he did something that
he saw me do to him hundreds of times before – he kissed me good night. He
may think I didn’t know about it, but that meant a great deal to me and I’ll
never forget it!
While I was sleeping, Micah was sitting outside his office. He was becoming
totally exhausted, and fought giving in to that exhaustion. Maury sat at a
table by the window where he could stare at Micah, just waiting for him to
nod off in sleep. The eerie silence that still laid over the town didn’t
help matters any. Maury’s stares really made Micah uncomfortable. Between
that and his extreme tiredness, Micah was loosing his senses. He laid his
gun down on the desk and sat down in his chair. It was only a matter of
moments before he was asleep.
When the medication I had taken earlier started wearing off, I woke up. The
room was dark and I was really hurting. But the first thing I thought of was
Micah. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I sensed Maury was back. So I
forced myself awake. Ever so slowly, I pulled the covers away and sat up. My
body screamed in pain as I did it. I turned my head to see where my boy was,
and was grateful to find him fast asleep in a chair nearby. That was one
worry off my mind.
I slowly stood up and quietly walked over to the window. I peered out the
window down onto the street but didn’t see Micah over there. Everything
looked calm and peaceful. I turned to walk back to bed, but then stopped.
Everything was too peaceful. I turned back toward the window and sat down in
the chair. That horse was back in front of the saloon. That only meant one
thing. Maury was back.
I sat and kept my eye out the window, ready if Maury started to make a move.
I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t already too late to help Micah, but if it
wasn’t, I was going to be there no matter what!
Maury took one more drink before peering out the window one last time. Micah
was asleep now. So he cautiously made his way across the dark, empty street
to kill my best friend. Peering out the window, I saw Maury leave the saloon
and slowly walk across the street. Fear clinched me. I didn’t know how I
would make it down there, but I would. I had to help my friend. So, slowly
standing up form
chair, I made my way across the room for my rifle. It took every bit of
strength I had left to cock that thing. I only had one hand I could use.
Opening the door, I made my way down the stairs as fast as I could.
Maury was able to make it into Micah’s office. He grabbed the shotgun from
the table. Then he slammed the door. Micah suddenly woke up “Maury!” Micah
“That’s right, Marshall. It’s me,” he said as he looked at the shotgun.
“"Too bad you fell asleep. You were gonna use this on me, weren't you?" He
fired a shot through the window. It left a big, gaping hole. The shot echoed
all the way down the empty street. “That would have blown a big hole in me,
Micah knew he would have to face Maury in a gunfight alone. “Alright, where
do you want it?" He asked as he slowly stood up from his desk. Defeat
registered all over his face.
Maury smiled a victorious smile. “Same as before, Marshal. Out on the
“I don’t have the hand I used to have, Maury. I guess you know that,” Micah
reminded him. There was nothing fair about this!
Maury laughed. “I know that.”
“Get out there!” Micah ordered.
By the time I made it to the bottom of the stairs, I had little energy left.
I wasn’t even able to hold up my rifle, so I knew shooting it was out of the
question. I felt total hopelessness. Still, I proceeded to go out onto the
street. I would die trying to save this man.
Micah and Maury got on the street before I made it out the door. Maury threw
the rifle across the road. He never intended to use it. He would use his six
shooter, same as Micah. "That's far enough, Marshall,” he announced. “Turn
around and draw."
“Maury,” I moaned as I came onto the street. I was so weak I could hardly
walk. Pure determination was the only thing that kept me going.
Maury laughed at me. “Looky here! I got a Marshal what can’t shoot, and a
sodbuster that can hardly hold his rifle up.” He was finding this all very
amusing. "Sodbuster, you're no better off today than you were yesterday by
that wood pile."
My thoughts on this were confirmed. “Maury, don’t you ever give anybody an
Maury only shook his head and laughed.
I whispered to Micah, "Micah, when I walk in front of you, draw your gun and
make it good."
I started walking to get in front of Micah. I kept Maury distracted by
talking to him so Micah could get his gun out and be ready to shoot. I
wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through this or not, but I had to try.
“I told you, Maury. I don’t care where or when or how,” suddenly, I was
empty of strength. I fell to the ground.
As I fell, Maury drew, but Micah was ready and he was able to shoot first.
He shot several times before Maury was finally dead.
I raised my head to see the outcome. Suddenly, my best friend was there
lifting me up! "Lucas! Lucasboy.” Micah smiled down at me as he held me by
his strong arms. He knew I was okay. But it was more then that. I had laid
down my life for him, and he was indeed happy!
“Come on. I'll get you into the hotel." Great relief could be heard in
Micah’s voice. I was relieved it was over.
Doc and Eddie hurried out of the hotel. Right behind them came Mark. “Pa!”
he shouted. I held out my arms to me. I needed to hold him in my arms. It
was then that I’d know everything was okay. "Dang blame it Lucas, I told you
to stay in bed!" the doc was stating.
I hardly heard him. Mark and I looked into each others eyes. I smiled, but
he was still too shaken to smile. So I only held him in my arms, assuring
him everything was okay.
The next day Mark and I were getting ready to leave and the Doc told me
"just remember what I told you, work that arm and shoulder in easy." He
didn't want to come out to my ranch and find me chopping wood or something.
I told him not to worry, I would behave myself. Doc told Mark to look after
me. I don’t think he needed to tell Mark that. I knew my boy would be
watching me like a mother hen watches her chicks!
"Lucas,” Micah started. I looked up at him. “See you around.” I nodded at
him and gave him a small smile. I think it was the night before when Micah
realized just how much his friendship meant to me. From that day forward, we
were best friends indeed!
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.
Edgar Buchanan appeared in six episodes. Five episodes as Doc Burrage
― The Pet ―
The Second Witness ―
The Trade ―
The Deadly Wait ―
The Angry Man and as Grandpa Fogarty in The Long
There were two
doctors before Doc Burrage although neither of them were ever named
or given credit. Those two episodes were The Sharpshooter
and The Marshal. In End of a Young Gun
Lucas told Hank he would go get Doc Sedley? Doc Burrage was first
introduced to The Rifleman in The Pet.
Doc Burrage was a regular character ~ how many different actors
played Doc Burrage? Can you name them?
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.
appeared in twelve episodes as Eddie Halstead owner/hotel clerk of the Hotel Madera.
He was first
introduced to The Rifleman in Duel of Honor.
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
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.
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.
How many actors played Nils or was it Niles or Nels? Was it Swenson or was
it Svenson? See my Blacksmith page.
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
The Wrong Man