"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
I was at a friend’s house – no
really, I was! My friend just happened to be a great wrestler – and
I just happened to be the one he challenged. That’s how I found
myself in a position of being toppled on by this giant of a man!
Mark refereed the fight and actually thought I had him beat. “Only
one shoulder, referee,” our friend declared as I struggled to tackle
his other shoulder.
But suddenly, he turned me flat on my back. “He’s got you pinned
good, Pa!” Mark announced – as if I didn’t know! I gave up.
“Lucas, you’re not just humoring me because I’m the President,” our
“My word of honor…Mr. Lincoln,” I answered as he helped me up with a
Just then Emma came out of the house. She scolded Abe and told him
that was no way to treat a guest and on his birthday. “I’ll write my
apology into the Congressional Record,” Abe declared. I laughed at
that as we walked into the house.
Emma ordered us to get over to the basin and get cleaned up. She
showed no mercy! She was pretty upset at our antics! I suppose she
thought we were acting more like boys then men. But, it was all in
fun and we all knew it. Mark reminded Abe that he was doing the
cooking tonight. Abe assured him he’d leave some room.
Mark was admiring some photographs of Abraham Lincoln. They sure
looked like him! “Unfortunately they do!” Abe declared. He said even
the great artist couldn’t change a baboon into a peacock!
Abe sat down to cut his cake, but Emma stopped him. “No Abe! First
you make a wish and then you blow out the candle!”
Abe was just about to do just that when suddenly a clap of thunder
sounded outside and lightening flashed. He slowly turned toward the
window and started out. A sad look of regret came across his face.
"Ann, my poor darling Ann.”
I knew where this was going. "Blow out the candle Mr. Lincoln," I
But he didn’t even hear me. "The wind and the rain beating on her
Emma quickly blew out the candle, ignoring Abe. “My but you’ve
grown, Mark – in just these last few months!” Mark was
uncomfortable. He didn’t understand what was going on.
He smiled at Emma. “I expect I have, ma’am,” he answered.
“You studying hard in school?”
Mark briefly took his eyes off Abe to answer her question. “I’m
doing the best I…can,” he answered absentmindedly.
"Twelve months of schooling’s all Abe Lincoln ever had," mumbled
Abe. Suddenly, the clouds parted and the sun came out. He snapped
out of it and turned back to me as if nothing had happened.
"How-how’s things at the ranch Lucas?”
“Everything’s fine, Mr. Lincoln,” I answered.
I’m glad to hear it,” Abe stated. “A man with a home’s the backbone
of the country! How are the good citizens of North Fork bearing?"
"Nothing unusual to report,” I answered. “Babies are being born and
old folks dying. But there's more born then dying; so I imagine in a
year or two we'll just be a regular city," I said.
He wanted to go to North Fork, but Emma was uneasy about him going.
“We can bring him back in the morning, Emma,” I assured her. But she
didn’t like leaving him alone. Abe assured her he’d be okay – he
hadn’t been out of the house in a long time. He needed to get out
and see the people. He wanted to know what they were feelin' first
hand. He then went up stairs to get his frock coat. Yes – he even
dressed like Abe Lincoln!
Emma turned to me. “Look after him, Lucas,” she begged.
I jumped up and told her not to worry. I sent her up to help him get
"Who’s Ann?" Mark asked in a low voice after Emma left the room.
I turned and came back to my curious son. "Well I expect he was talkin' about Ann Rutledge. She was Abraham Lincoln's
sweetheart they say. She died."
"Golly, he really thinks he's Abraham Lincoln doesn't he?" Mark
couldn’t believe it.
"Well he lost his own sweetheart during the war," I explained.
"He sure is looney!”
"Mark!" I hollered at my son.
Mark immediately jumped to his own defense. "I'm sorry
Pa...but...you know what I mean."
"Well let’s just say he's a strange man son. But he's also a kind
man and a gentle man."
“I know Pa, and I like him. I just…don’t understand what makes him
pretend like that all the time,” Mark stated honestly.
I suppose it was time for a walk down memory lane. “Well son,
everybody pretends sometime during his life. As a matter of fact,
when you were a little boy three or four years old, you had a little
friend named Jessie.”
Mark thought back. “I don’t remember a friend named Jessie,” he
“Well, he’s a little fellow you dreamed up in your imagination. As a
matter of fact, you used to make your mother set an extra place at
the table for him every night.”
Mark laughed. “I wonder what made me do that!”
“Well son, I imagine you were lonely. You needed a friend, so you
made him up.”
"Oh yeah, Pa but…that's only, kids stuff."
“Well son…grown ups pretend for different reasons,” I explained.
“Sometimes it’s a means of running away from…well…from a reality
they can’t face.” Mark suddenly grew quiet, wondering what happened
to Abe. “The war wounded some in…strange, unaccountable ways, Mark.”
Just then Emma came down the steps. "Abe is ready." We stood up in
honor as Abe came down in his flock coat and stovepipe hat. "Now
before we go Lucas, I’ve got a little present here for Tad,” Abe
stated as he went to the mantle. I quickly explained to Mark that
Tad was one of Mr. Lincoln’s sons. He held out an old gun. "It's a
souvenir from old Abe.”
I protested "Mr. Lincoln, I don't think the boys old enough to
"This is a colt that U.S. Grant carried when he took Vicksburg,"
said Abe. “I…I’d like the boy to have it.” I started to protest
again. I really didn’t like Mark having such gifts as that.
"Lucas...it gives the President great pleasure to give it to the
boy." I hesitated but finally sighed did agree that Mark could take
Abe and I headed into town while Mark went back to the ranch to get
supper ready. I assured Mark we’d be home around 5:00.
When we got into town, I offered to help Abe to the hotel so he
could rest, but he wanted to walk around and visit the people. As we
started walking, we paused as a little girl jumped rope. She asked
Abe how he was. “In robust health, thank you Susan,” he answered
cheerfully. She told him proudly that she was doing better in school
since her mother gave her a tonic.
In fact, she wanted to show Abe how much better she was doing, so
she quickly started rattling off some dates. “Columbus discovered
America in 1492. George Washington signed the Declaration of
Independence in 1776.” She stopped jumping rope and tried to think
of something else. “Um…Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 and was
assissinat-“ She suddenly stopped herself.
But Abe was still smiling. “Well, go on.”
“…and signed the Proclamation of Emancipation in 1862. Bye, Mr.
As she ran off, Mr. McKeever came out of the store to talk to Abe.
They engaged in small talk for a few minutes, then parted company.
We went on our way – that is until we got to the saloon. Abe looked
inside. I put my hands on my hips, anticipating what he had in mind
to do. He turned and wondered if we might…I didn’t let him finish. I
gently reminded him that he wasn’t supposed to drink. “Oh, just a
glass of water, Lucas,” he assured me.
Just then, Mr. McKeevery hollered at me that my Wiss saw that I had
ordered was in. “You go on in, Mr. Lincoln. I’ll be right back,” I
said. Then I went with McKeever.
As he walked in, all…or should I say most…of the men greeted him
warmly. Nils offered to buy him a drink, and Mr. Lincoln thanked him
but stated he should stick with water. He proposed a toast to the
Then a man playing a guitar, stated, “Mr. Lincoln, in your honor,”
as he began playing a song.
When I was young, I used to wait
On Master and bring him his plate,
Pass down the bottle when he got dry,
and brush away the blue tailed fly!
Everyone began singing along then:
Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care
Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care
Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care
My Master’s gone away!
be patient while this song loads, it may take a few seconds to load
but is well worth the wait!
note..... when clicking on the link to this sound wav - it will
download to your computer.)
Two men from out of town were listening. The man named Matt Yordy
spoke up as they finished singing. "The map says this is North Fork.
I think we're lost somewhere in bedlam.”
"Bedlam?" Questioned his friend, Joe.
"That's a madhouse," said Yordy. "I wanna meet my President.” Yordy
finished his drink and stood up. Joe didn't want him any trouble. He
tried to stop Yordy, but he couldn't.
Yordy walked up to Abe and tapped him on the arm. "Don't you
recognize me Mr. Lincoln?"
“Well, no I don’t, young feller. You…uh…must be a stranger around
North Fork,” Abe answered.
"That's right, I'm from Virginia. I'm General Robert E. Lee!" said
Yordy. Then he laughed. Nils told him to go back to his table.
Abe didn’t mind though. “Thank you very much, Mr. Swenson. But I…I
think I can conduct this conversation with this good man.” Abe
smiled at Yordy.
“I’m not a good man, Mr. Lincoln! I’m a bad man. "I'm John Wilkes
Booth” He put his fingers up in the gun position. “Bang...bang,
Abe stared at him. "You’re joshing me son! John Wilkes Booth is a
tragedian and you sir are a cheap clown!"
"You see Mr. President, I'd sure enjoy listening to you recite the
Abe sat down your water and glared at Yordy. "This is not the battle
field! This is a saloon! And you sir are drunk!” He teased him some
more about Lincoln and drinks. Then he laughed.
"Why are you taunting me?" Abe asked then.
“You’re loco! Do you hear me?" "You’re loco as John Brown whose body
lies a molderin' in the grave. John Brown who shot my father down in
cold blood at Harper's Ferry!"
“Will you accept my apologies? I mean you no harm, citizen.” Abe
smiled at him.
Yordy got really mad. “You know who I am? Jack Armstrong!”
Abe smiled. “Jack Armstrong was a…good wrestler.”
“That’s right,” Yordy stated. “You wanta take me on?”
Abe laughed. "I'd be proud to oblige you sir." Abe took off his hat
and coat. Yordy ran at him, but Abe jumped out of the way and Yordy
smashed into the bar.
Abe got Yordy in a choke hold and held him good, but Yordy was
finally able to get him loose. He smashed Abe’s head against the bar
a couple of times.
Suddenly, Abe grabbed Yordy around the middle and squeezed him
really tight. Yordy finally managed to get loose and went toward
Abe, But Abe ducked and threw him up onto the bar. Yordy came off
the bar, kicking Abe.
They grabbed each other by the shoulders and fought some more.
Finally, Abe grabbed a good hold of Yordy’s hand. He pulled it back
really hard, pushing him into the screaming crowd. The fight was
over. Abe won.
Feeling victorious, Abe grabbed his coat and hat, then left the
Yordy complained that he felt like his arm was broken.
That night at supper, Abe was feeling regretful for what happened.
At first, Abe had thought Yordy was pretending that his arm was
broken like he was pretending to be John Wilkes Booth. Abe wasn’t
angry – he was too upset. “He was taunting me. That’s no excuse…I…I
should have made light of his jokes. Mr. Lincoln would’ve never
allowed himself to get torn into a fight. Mr. Lincoln would’ve…” He
stopped, almost in tears. “Emma’s gonna be angry with me. I promised
to behave myself and I didn’t.”
I felt bad for him. I told him he should go to bed. He knew I was
right. “Maybe if I’d a done what he said and recited the Gettysburg
Address, it would’ve satisfied him.” As he stood to go, he began
speaking again. “Four score and seven years ago…our father brought
fourth on the Continent a new nation…Conceived in liberty and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Abe
disappeared into the bedroom.
Much to my surprise, Mark picked up where Abe left off. “And now we
are engaged in a great Civil War…testing rather that nation or any
nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met
here on…on a great battlefield of-“ I was enjoying listening to my
son quote the Address. But he suddenly stopped. He was angry. “Pa,
why couldn’t somebody have stopped that fight in the saloon?”
I looked toward the bedroom, then turned back to Mark. “Well son,” I
spoke softly. “In a way, I’m glad no one did. Nils told me the man
was teasing him the way a mean boy teases a helpless pup. And Mr.
Lincoln is no helpless pup! As a matter of fact, he’s every bit the
wrestler the way the real Abraham Lincoln was.” We smiled at each
other as we got up to work on cleaning the dishes together.
The next morning, Yordy ran into Nils. He asked him if he was done
shoeing his horse. Nils said he was. “Guess I made a fool of myself
in the saloon last night,” he stated. “Drank myself to sleep after
the doc set my arm, it hurt so bad.”
“I think your conscious oughta be bothering you worse then that
arm,” Nils retorted.
“Yes. I guess that’s so,” Yordy stated. He claimed he had been
wondering how he could set things straight. Nils suggested he
apologize to Abe. He gave Yordy directions to my ranch.
Joe reminded Yordy that they should be heading on to Marionette.
“Not until I apologize to Mr. Lincoln,” Yordy stated. “And then kill
Mark was watching Abe chop wood. I came out with my rifle,
announcing I was going to go hunting. I was going to look for a
couple of rabbits for dinner. “Oh no, Pa! We’re gonna stay here and
split some more logs!” Mark declared.
After I left, Abe suggested Mark try splitting a log. Mark
complained that it took him four or five good whacks just to get one
of those split. “Well, not if you know how. You just have to
concentrate on making that log your enemy!” Abe explained. "You say
to yourself, if I don't split that log in one whack something
terrible’s gonna happen to me. Like um...I'm gonna come down with
the dropsy's. And then you put all your strength and all your mind
into this sledge and..." WHACK!
With one whack, Abe split the log. Mark was surprised when he did it
again. Now it was Mark's turn. “Oh, I don’t think I can,” mark
“Sure you can,” Abe insisted. “Now, just rear back.” Mark got into
the position. "You've got to split this log in one whack or uh…your
Pa's crop is gonna be smothered by a dust storm and you won't have
anything to eat for a whole year but beans."
"I hate beans!" Mark yelled as he gave the wedge a hard whack. Mark
hit the wedge so hard that he fell to the ground, landing on his
backside. He was quite surprised when the log split in two. "It
works Mr. Lincoln!"
Abe laughed. "Well, you didn't think Abe Lincoln would lie to ya'?"
Mark laughed. He decided he better get those split logs over to the
woodshed. Abe went back to splitting logs.
Just then Yordy walked around the side of the barn. He approached
Abe. "Mr. Lincoln," he greeted him unfriendly-like.
"Well good day friend," said Abe.
"Friend? Now, that’s a mighty Christian attitude of yours to call me
your friend.” Abe’s smile slowly disappeared from his face. “Now you
don't recognize me, you've got a short memory."
Abe smiled. "Oh you’re the fellow I wrestled with yesterday. I'm
deeply sorry..." Abe said with a friendly smile on his face.
Suddenly, Yordy drew his gun and aimed it right at Abe. "You stay
right were you are Mr. President. Put down that sledge.”
Abe didn’t move. He dropped the sledge. “I wasn’t gonna harm you,
“You stand still and I won’t hurt you. I’ll put a bullet through
your brain. You won’t feel a thing!”
Abe tried talking to him. "Now friend, I..."
"You can't get it through that poor clouded brain of yours; I'm not
your friend! I'm gonna kill you!"
“Why do you want to harm me?" Abe asked in a calm voice.
"Because I am a great patriot of the south. You didn't believe me
yesterday. But I'm really John Wilkes Booth and I'm here to
Suddenly, Mark came out the side of the barn and stood just inside
the door. He had a gun pointed right at Yordy. “Drop that gun,
mister. Or I'll shoot!" Yordy turned and stared at Mark. Mark was so
scared he was gasping. "Drop it! Or I'll pull this trigger!" Yordy
just stood there, staring at Mark. Mark was becoming more afraid. He
finally screamed, "Drop it!"
"Mark, that's a souvenir gun, there are no bullets in it!" Mark was
started gasping harder as he realized the truth. He looked down at
the gun and knew he had no choice.. He dropped the gun. Then he
begged. "Oh please mister. Don't shoot! He's defenseless."
"Just stay where you are sonny," said Yordy. He turned his head
toward Abe. “You’re worse off then I thought!” He declared. “You
could’ve bluffed me. You could’ve taken away my gun.” Yordy was
“I…I didn’t think about that,” Abe said.
“But, I’m gonna kill you! Or don’t you believe me?”
Abe nodded. “I…I believe you.” He looked at Mark "Turn your head,
Yordy slowly aimed the gun at Abe. Bang! Bang! Two shots suddenly
fired and hit the dirt near Yordy’s feet.
He turned to see me standing there – and I wasn’t happy to see him!
I walked towards Yordy. Abe walked up to them. "Don't hurt him
Lucas.” I just stared at him. “That's an order McCain!"
“Get out of him, Mister! Right now,” I ordered angrily.
“Sorry about the disturbance, Lucas,” Abe said as he walked up to
Mark. He picked up the gun and started taking the bullets out of it.
“Poor fella. The war must have addled his brain!” Mark stared at
“It was loaded!” Mark declared.
“Yes,” Abe answered.
“But…Why did you tell him it wasn’t? I-I could’ve shot him!” Mark
“I know,” Abe stated.
“Of course I…I’m really not sure I could’ve,” Mark said after
thinking on it.
“I know,” Mark stated. "We've just come through a bloody war
Mark…with boys not much older then you finding out whether they
could or couldn’t pull a trigger.” Abe handed the unloaded gun back
to Mark. “Something I hope you never have to find out."
I just watched the conversation, treasuring it in my heart.
Later, we took Mark home. We sang cheerfully as we rode up to his
house. His sister was sure glad to see him! She immediately asked me
if Abe behaved himself. I answered truthfully. "You'd been proud of
him Emma! He behaved the way a great man
We said our good-byes and started down the path. We got just out of
the view of the house when Mark suddenly stopped the horses. I
looked worriedly at my son. “What’s the matter son?”
“Well Pa…Is it really honest what we do with…Mr. Lincoln?”
“Is it…” It was time for another lesson. “Son, do you remember when
your grandma used to live with us a long time ago?” He remembered a
little. “Well, she was 88 year old then. Kinda feeble…Could hardly
even see. But like the rest of us, she still wanted to feel useful.
So every morning, she picked up the broom and swept the kitchen. She
didn’t do a very good job. So, your mother or I would have to do it
all over again.” I studied Mark’s expression. “Now, were we being
honest with grandma? Not really. You see, to have been too honest
would’ve been cruel. So we let her go on sweeping. Same thing with
Abe. You see son…it’s…Well, it’s really not a question of honesty.
It’s more of a matter of kindness and understanding for a fellow
Mark thought on this. Then he came to his own conclusion to my
lecture. “In other words, if you love someone, it…it just can’t be
dishonest,” he declared.
We drove home.
Dano appeared in five episodes ― The
Sheridan Story as the Confederate Soldier, Private Frank Blanden in
― A Matter of Faith as Jonas Epps the Rain Maker ― A Case of
Identity as Aaron Wingate, he was the man who was searching for his
long loss son, Robert ― Honest Abe as Able
"Abe" Lincoln, Able suffered a mental shock during the civil war and
as a result believes he is Abraham Lincoln ― Day of
Reckoning as Reverend Jamison, he was the
minister who was once a crooked outlaw.
Charles Cooper played Will's older brother
Hank Fulton in this episode of End of a Young Gun. He also
appeared as Rudy Crofts in The Stand-In, he was the
prisoner who escaped ― Matt Yordy in Honest Abe, he was the
man who kept picking on Abe ― Larsen the bartender in I Take
K.T. Stevens was in five episodes ―
Heller as Muriel Bechtol, she was married to that evil Andrew Bechtol
Fourflusher as Molly Fenway, she was married to a sharecropper who entered
his colt in the horse race ― Face of Yesterday as Nancy Clay
was the wife of the man he killed in the Civil War ― Honest
Abe as Emma Lincoln, the sister to Able Lincoln who claims that
he's the Great Emancipator ― Molly Fenway in End of the Hunt as
Granny Mede, Reef Jackson was her nephew, Lucas knew them from when
he lived in the Nations.
*In this episode of Honest Abe ― Able
Abe Lincoln sister's name was Emma. Abraham Lincoln's sister's
real name was Sarah.
Rex Morgan Sr.
the storekeeper. He was the guy who told Lucas his Wiss saw was in.
Pam Smith played Susan. Susan was the girl jumping rope.
Pick Temple was the guitar player who played Jimmy Crack Corn. Pick was scheduled to appear in Hollywood as a featured player in this episode. Shooting of this episode was delayed when Johnny Crawford, came down with a cold. So Pick had gone to visit some of his friends. Then more bad news came. Johnny's cold developed into pneumonia and all filming had to be put on hold indefinitely. Pick had no sooner returned to Washington when he got the news that Chuck Connors was himself making a swing east for a personal appearance tour. Naturally, Pick invited him to Washington to guest on his own junior-size "Western" series. Meanwhile, Johnny made a complete recovery and Pick returned to Hollywood where he filmed his part in this episode.
*Thanks Kap for the info on Pick Temple .....Kaptain Kidsshow
Also check out Kapp's pages on
Ethan Laidlaw appeared in
quite a few times unaccredited ―
as a townsfolk — The Mind Reader as a townsman in
the audience — Legacy as the man at the funeral —
Coward as a Diner Patron — Heller as a townsfolk — The Grasshopper as a passenger on the
train — Strange Town as a townsfolk
at Droshek Town —
The Silent Knife as a townsfolk —
Short Rope for a Tall Man as one of Crown's Henchmen —
Honest Abe as a townsman —
of Tin as a townsfolk ― The Day the Town
Slept as a townsman.
Bill Borzage appeared in three
episodes as one of the townsmen ― The
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
Steve Warren as
Joe, Matt Yordy's buddy.
Jess Calvin as one of the townsmen.
Rudy Bowman as one
of the townsmen ―
Panic ― Honest Abe.
Oscar Blank as one
of the townsmen.
Joe Higgins played Nils
Swenson. Is it Nils or is it Nels/Niles? What is his last name.....Swenson/Svenson
Blacksmith? Joe Higgins holds the record for playing Nils or was it
Niles or Nels? There were four episodes that Joe did not play Nils or was
it Niles or Nels?
played the bartender in Strange Town — Rafe the blacksmith in The Wyoming
Story part 2 — Short Rope for a Tall Man as Henry Schneider the
horse thief — Stopover as
Scotty the Stagecoach Driver.
Stopover was the only episode to run one day over
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 tree
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.
Pick Temple videos.....
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 Long Goodbye