"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Duel of Honor
Well, Micah hadn’t been Marshal very long before I had to step in for him one day. He had a badly sprained ankle and would be out of commission. It didn’t take very long for me to find a job to do. You see, the stage coach broke down in North Fork. It had a problem with it’s left rear wheel. The stage coach operator wasn’t too happy either since they had already been delayed by a sand storm. There were several passengers that would be stranded there for the night while Nels fixed the stage coach.
So, over to the hotel they all went, and were told not to complain because the stage coach company would be paying their hotel bill.
Incidentally, there was an Italian nobleman, Count Alfredo Di Marcosini Montova that caught the eye of everyone in town, including my son who looked at him strangely at first. Mark was no different than anyone else in town, though. In fact, some of the lookers were much ruder about the man’s appearance. He sure looked different! He was definitely an elegantly dressed nobleman.
Well it didn't take long for the town drifter, Sim Groder and his friends to spot him. He walked up to Freddie and said, “Well, they’ll let anything come into this town!” That’s when I knew Groder would be causing trouble. I immediately went over to warn Groder not to bother this man. I even showed him the deputy star I had in my pocket, hoping he would take the hint and leave matters be.
As Eddie started assigning rooms to the various stage coach customers, he struggled with Freddie’s name. Freddie came up to the desk, all smiles, and pronounced his full name. Eddie was taken aback, so Freddie took the pen from his hand and signed the guest book. Then he picked up the key from the desk. “Room 10, upstairs right, correct?” But Eddie couldn’t respond! He was in shock with this man’s appearance. Freddie then asked, “Could you tell me where your bank is?” Again, poor Eddie could only stare. “Your bank?” Freddie tried again. But still, Eddie was at a loss for words. “No matter, I shall do it later.”
Unfortunately, Groder and his buddy were in the hotel lobby waiting to hassle Freddie. “Do you still want to know where the bank is?” Groder asked. “Go down this main street down to the end, then you turn right. Then you follow your nose for about, uh, 80 miles!” Groder found this man to be a joke and laughed. “I can’t believe you’re on the level of real.”
Freddie was as tough as they come though. “I can hardly believe the same of you!” Freddie threw right back.
Mark and I were in the restaurant waiting for our food. We saw the whole thing. Mark, as usual, was curious and needed answers. I did my best to explain it to him. “Someone who is strange or different is often treated with cruelty.” Mark wanted to know why. “Ignorance mostly. Sometimes when people don’t understand something, they think it’s to be feared or hated. That’s wrong, but it takes a long time to learn differently.” I know Mark still didn’t completely understand, but it was time to eat.
Freddie came in to ask me where the bank was. I told him we didn’t have a bank yet. He explained that it would be necessary for him to exchange some liras for dollars. I suggested he try the bartender at the saloon. He stated he would go over as soon as he finished eating. But then I got to thinking about it. It probably wasn’t a good idea. “I’m afraid there are some people in town who…uh…aren’t used to strangers.”
Freddie was a brave man, though, and he just smiled. “Thank you for the warning, but I’m not afraid.”
I threw some money down on the table in frustration. I was embarrassed at the way Freddie had been welcomed. Freddie looked up at me and raised his eyebrows. “Try not to judge all of us by the worst ones you meet,” I said. I liked this man and knew he was undeserving of such treatment.
“I’m an outsider here. It’s not for me to judge at all.” He then asked for recommendations from the menu.
It didn’t take Mark long. “Try the cherry pie. It’s great!” Mark said wholeheartedly.
As we got up to leave, Freddie stopped us. “My son would have been almost his age…had he lived.” That was sad, and I didn’t know what to say. So we left. I put my arm around Mark, suddenly feeling very lucky.
I went over to Nels to see how he was coming with the stage coach. He stated it would definitely be morning before it would be fixed. This wasn’t exactly good news for me. I was afraid at what Groder and his men would do when Freddie went to the Last Chance. I turned to leave. “Where you going?” Mark asked.
“Over to the Last Chance for awhile. I oughta be there when our friend comes in.”
“You think so?” Mark asked, not really wanting me to go.
But I had a job to do. “This is our town too, Mark. When people get mistreated here, it’s partly our fault. Besides, I promised Micah.” Mark gave me such a sweet smile and said he’d stay there.
Groder and the other townsmen were in the saloon just waiting for Freddie to show up so they could have some fun. I sat down at a table, ready with my gun if I needed it.
Freddie came in and asked the bartender for a Pernod Liqueur. Sweeny did a double take. “This ain’t no candy store, mister. This is a saloon!” So he settled for whisky. He then asked Sweeny if he could change some of his Italian money for dollars. He held out a note for Sweeny to look at. Groder wasted no time. He came and grabbed the Italian money from Sweeny’s hand and started playing with it. “Perhaps you would like to buy the note yourself?” Freddie asked Groder.
“I buy cattle, not paper.” Groder answered. “I’d look out for this guy, Sweeny, he looks like a sharper to me. He might be one of those Philadelphia counterfeiters in disguise. That is a disguise, isn’t it? You know, this stuff don’t look like money to me. It’s so thin you could blow your nose-“ Suddenly, he pulled on the money so hard that it ripped in two. “Well, I guess it’s not worth gluing back together.”
The Count wasn’t happy, but he didn’t think money was worth fighting over. So when Groder challenged him to pick up the other piece off the floor, Freddie simply wadded up the part of the bill in his hand and threw it down. Groder then “offered” in an unfriendly way to buy Freddie a drink. Freddie stated he didn’t want a drink. Groder just didn’t know when to back off. “Mister, you got a choice. You can drink it or I’m gonna pour it down your throat!”
Freddie merely slapped Groder, showing him that he wasn’t afraid. “I expect satisfaction under the usual terms.”
Of course, those were the words Groder was waiting for. “Well, you’re gonna get satisfaction!” Groder got mad and started to draw his gun. But he stopped at the sound of my rifle. “I just thought I’d remind you. This gentleman is unarmed. If you shoot him it’ll be a plain case of murder,” I reminded him.
Groder said they’d shoot it out, but Freddie wanted to do the duel properly. He offered Groder his “card.” He stated that “it is a serious business for one man to kill another.” Groder stood there, trying to take this all in. “You have no card, I presume.”
The boys laughed at him. “No, I ain’t got a card,” he said slyly, still thinking he was so much better than Freddie. Freddie stated they would meet at dawn. “My second will inform you of the place.”
Freddie asked me to be his second and I agreed. Then we left the saloon. I advised him to never turn his back on Groder. That’s when Freddie knew he chose his second wisely. Then he asked where Mark was. “He’s at the blacksmith’s shop. Shall we go get him?”
He said he owed Mark his thanks. I looked puzzled wondering what my son could have possibly done. “The cherry pie was…delicious!” Freddie declared. We laughed as we went to get Mark.
We got a room at the hotel to wait for dawn to come. “I wish you’d try to realize this is North Fork, not Rome. It’s a different matter here.” I argued with Freddie. Freddie placed a finger to his lips and pointed to my boy, who was sleeping in the chair. I lowered my voice. “I’m only trying to make you understand what you’re up against.” He was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to see him get killed.
Freddie didn’t miss a beat. “Without you, I’d already be dead back there at the bar,” he answered. “You must allow me to fight my own battle now – in my own way.”
He didn’t seem to understand the American West. I told him Groder and his friends would not let him fight his battle in his own way. “Our rules are a whole lot different then yours. And tougher. The one to draw and fire quickest is the one left alive, and Groder has proved he can do just that.”
Freddie found this amusing. “He interest me,” Freddie stated. He wanted to know exactly what Groder did.
“He buys cattle for a big outfit out of Sante Fe. He and his boys are waiting for a herd to drive back.” Freddie then wanted to know what he did when he wasn’t working. “For recreation, he gets drunk, beats people up, or he picks a quarrel for the pure pleasure of killing a man.” It made me angry just thinking about it!
After all that, Freddie was still insisting on going forward with the duel. He laid down and went to sleep. I was still concerned though. “I wish I knew how good of a shot you are, because if you can’t back your play, I can still get you out.” I was talking to myself. Freddie was fast asleep.
I don’t know how he was able to sleep so calmly. I didn’t! It was finally time to leave. “It wouldn’t do to be late,” Freddie commented.
“Groder and his gang will be there on time!” I remarked.
As we got ready to leave, I picked Mark up from the chair and took him to the bed. I tucked the covers around him to make him snuggely. Mark woke up. “ya' going now?” he asked.
“That’s right. I want you to go back to sleep.”
Mark sat up. “No, I want to come along!” he protested.
But I simply pushed him back down firmly. I was very stern with him as I looked into his eyes. I used the tone that told him not to argue with me. “Now, if I wanted you to be there, I would have said so, son.” I stated. Mark started to argue. “There’s nothing to be gained by your watching! I just hope that when you grow up, they’ll be other ways to handle men like Groder then using guns.”
Mark finally agreed. He couldn’t stop himself from wishing the count like. He knew he’d win. We started out the door. “You go back to sleep!” I ordered.
True to my word, Groder and his men were there when we got there. “Fancy pants finally showed up!” Groder commented as Freddie started getting the dueling pistols ready.
I told Freddie he could still get out because Groder had four men. Freddie only stated, “I’m ahead. I have you!”
Groder wanted to get it over with. He tried to give Freddie a gun and gun belt, telling him to put it on. “On the contrary, you take yours off!” Freddie answered. Freddie held up his pistols. “We’ll use these. You may choose whichever one you prefer.”
I took the chance to explain the rules of Freddie’s dueling. Since Freddie was the offending party, he got to choose the weapon, and he chose his dueling pistols. Groder still didn’t seem to understand that I was in charge here. He argued that he wanted to do it his own way, and I reminded him that I was there to make sure the rules were followed.
“All right. Looks like I’ll have to kill him with his own gun,” Groder retorted after I pointed my rifle at him and told him he didn’t have a chance with me because I’d shoot him first. Groder came and told Freddie to choose first. Freddie did, and Groder took that gun from him. He looked at it and realized that there was only one bullet in it.
“I’ve never needed more,” Freddie answered. He then proceeded to explain the rules. They would stand back to back, counting off 10 paces. Then they would turn and shoot. Mr. Cole, the wagon master, was the one to count off the paces.
Bang! Groder turned and fired.
He missed. He then desperately tried firing again, forgetting there was only one bullet. Meanwhile, Freddie slowly turned and took aim. It was plain to see who the brave one was, and it wasn’t Groder! I guess Groder didn’t believe me when I said I would make sure the rules were followed. Because he ordered one of him men to shoot Freddie. I was ready, though, and I fired my rifle.
“Aim!” Mr. Cole shouted.
“Hold it! Oh now wait a minute!” Groder begged, throwing down his gun. “Now, don’t shoot!”
Freddie continued his aim. “Now, let’s talk about it.” Groder was shaking like a leaf! “You ain’t gonna gain anything by killing me…now just…Let’s talk about it…” Groder continued to back up.
Freddie broke his aim, but held the gun in his hand and slowly walked toward Groder. “Now, let’s talk about it,” Groder begged again.
“The holder of this pistol is entitled to take a shot at this man at ten paces any time he chooses. I entrust this pistol to my friend, Lucas McCain to use the shot in it whenever he chooses.” Freddie stated as he handed me the pistol
“You can’t do that!” Groder protested.
“Would you prefer me to take the shot?” Freddie warned him.
Groder tried to make excuses. He stated that if he had used his own gun, it would have been a different story. Freddie then did something that surprised all of us – including me. He borrowed a pistol and shot at a branch. More specifically, he shot at a knot on the branch. He hit it every time. It was then that I was happy I was his friend and not his enemy!
Now Groder was really scared. Freddie stated that I would take his shot for him when I saw fit. “And if Mr. Groder is still in my sights in ten seconds, I’ll do just that!” I stated as I deliberately aimed the pistol at Groder and started counting.
Groder ran off like a scared rabbit. Everyone laughed at him.
I then turned to Freddie. “How do you shoot one of these anyway?” We both laughed.
It was time to say goodbye. We knew we’d never see each other again. I tried to give Freddie his gun back, but he insisted that I keep it to remember him by. Mark and I said goodbye to Freddie. Then Mark asked me a question.
“Pa, if we ever went to Europe, you think we’d look as funny to him as he did to us?”
I just looked at Mark. “What do you think?” I knew he knew the answer already.
“I guess we would,” Mark commented
“Maybe even funnier,” I declared.
piddlin' stuff.....Cesare Danova (pronounced Chez-a-ray Da-NO-va) played Count Alfredo Di Marcosini Montova in Duel of Honor, he was the foreigner who is singled out by Groder for his different dress and ways ― Baranca as Baranca, he is the one who came to North Fork to administer his own law, Baranca's law ― The Guest as Mario Rosati, the man who was hired to kill Lucas.
Jack Elam appeared in five episodes — Duel of Honor as the arrogant Sim Groder who constantly picked on the Count — Tension as Gavin Martin, he was the cowboy who got killed with the pitch fork ― Shotgun Man as Gus Smith, he's the dude that John Beaumont killed in the saloon — Knight Errant as Gates, he was Don Chimera Del Laredo's Esquire, the one who declared there was a rattlesnake in the woodpile — Shattered Idol as Russell the pool shark.
Glenn Strange appeared in six episodes ― The Dead-eye Kid as shotgun guard on the stagecoach, he's the one that shoved Mahoney off of the back of the stage ― Duel of Honor as Cole, stagecoach driver he was the one who did the counting for the duel ― The Woman as Joey, stagecoach driver ― The Blowout as a stagecoach driver ― The Spiked Rifle as a stagecoach driver ― Miss Bertie as a stagecoach driver.
Joe Bassett appeared in two episodes ― The Grasshopper as Sammy Morody the passenger sitting behind Lucas on the train ― Duel of Honor as Nat Gilkey, he is the one that Groder gave his guns to hold.
Les Raymaster has appeared in seven episodes — Duel of Honor as a Barfly ― The Coward as a townsman ― Honest Abe as a townsman — Nora as a townsman — A Case of Identity as a townsman — The Lariat as a gambler ― Dead Cold Cash as a townsman.
Spec O'Donnell appeared twice in The Rifleman - Duel of Honor as a Barfly ― The Baby Sitter as a Townsman.
John Dierkes played Nels in Duel of Honor ― The Sister. How many actors played Nels, Nile or was it Neils? Was it Swenson or was it Svenson? For the answer in detail and pictures.....go to the Blacksmith's page.
John Harmon 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. What first name do you hear Groder call Sweeney?
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.
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 Laven
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.
Robert H. Robinson has appeared in thirteen episodes ― The Safe Guard ― Duel of Honor ― New Orleans Menace ― The Gaucho ― The Pet ― The Photographer ― The Mind Reader ― The Patsy ― Legacy ― Shotgun Man ― Day of Reckoning ― Suspicion ― Hostage to Fortune. He played a townsmen in all these episodes except one and that is Duel of Honor as as John Bradley, a passenger on the stage.
King Mojave appeared in nine episodes ― Duel of Honor as Ed Simmons, one of the passengers on the stagecoach ― The Safe Guard as Charlie the bank teller ― The Sister as one of the cowboys watching the fight ― The Challenge as a customer in the store ― The Photographer as a cowboy on the Jury ― The Wrong Man as the hotel clerk and a townsman ― The Obituary as a townsman ― The Illustrator as the man getting off the stage ― The Grasshopper as the man in the booth who sold the tickets.
Who is the young lady in this episode? Roberta Hunt appeared in three episodes ― In the Duel of Honor her name is Roberta Hunt. She was one of the ladies on the stagecoach. You can hear Eddie call her by her characters name Roberta Hunt, but she never received credit ― In The Sister and The Apprentice Sheriff you can see her in the crowd.
I also think I spotted her in Boomerang but I couldn't get a good look at her to be sure.
Jesse Wayne appeared in twenty-three episodes as Johnny Crawford's stuntman. Not sure who doubled for Johnny in the episode of Requiem at Mission Springs but he is a possibility, especially after that bad tumble Mark took.
*lira—an aluminum coin and monetary unit of Italy, equal to 100 centesimi and equivalent to about .0016 of a U. S. dollar.
Duel of Honor - Bloopers
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Character Actors Index Page
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Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
The Safe Guard