The Rifleman
"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"

Horse Sense
Horsin' around with Wendy & Johnny Crawford

So which horse is Mark riding? Did he have Blueboy from the beginning of the series?

The Sharpshooter

Blueboy is the stage name for Mark's horse. Played most of the time by Bosco.

Facebook conversations about Blueboy/Bosco on 12/24/09.

Johnny Crawford: This is Bosco as Blueboy. He was a wonderful guy, an old pro at the age of 7 when we first met. We were pals. He trusted me and I trusted him. If I was anxious, he was anxious. If I was bored, he was bored. We were a match made in Heaven. He moved like Fred Astaire, with about 6 gears including the most comfortable jog I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

Wendy: I saw Bosco twice today in episode #95 Face of Yesterday and episode #104 Clarence Bibs Story. The white on his left rear foot makes it easy to pick him out. It's hard to tell in black-and-white TV, but Bosco looks like a bay.


Johnny Crawford: Razor was a beautiful black thoroughbred from the race track. 

He was kinda high strung when Chuck got him, and pretty green to the movie business; But he liked Bosco, the veteran, and Razor got use to all the activity and gunfire pretty quick.

Chuck made him look small, but he was all of 16 hands. They both made me look small, but I was.


Children's PLAYMATE Magazine 1959
(frontier style)

Johnny Crawford, who is Mark McCain in ABC's The Rifleman combines school with his acting. He uses a horse to carry him with his books to the studio classroom.  How many PLAYMATE readers ride a horse to school?  Do you?

Micah ridin' Blueboy
Dark Day at North Fork

 Johnny was asked about his horse Two-Bits..... Johnny Crawford: I named him Two Bits after he arrived as a yearling from Missouri in 1960, a most wonderful gift from St. Louis breeder, Ben Kraus. I had never owned a horse before. I kept him in "horse country" at one of the boarding stables on Riverside Drive in Burbank. For the next three years I practically lived there, with him helping me do my homework and study my lines for The Rifleman. We learned a lot together. I lost him in 1982.

Robert Crawford:  "As I recall, Johnny named him Two Bits because it was a "QUARTER" horse. Robert (John's Dad)"

Want to know more about Two-Bits?  Check out these pages on Two-Bits

Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford headlined the 77th annual St. Louis Police Circus which was held in the Arena May 7th through May 17th (1959). Ben Kraus and his wife Frieda were the owners of Valley Mount Ranch which was established in 1936. The St. Louis Police Circus was held at Valley Mount Ranch. There were 66 Riding Stables. A Good Western time was offered for all ages, they provided hayrides for over 100 people each night, and offered guided trail rides through the foothills of the Ozarks, and had boarding for those who needed a place to keep their horses.

Ben & Frieda also started having Rodeos and shows at the place. The Rodeos attracted large crowds to the stadium-style grandstands. They also hosted Jumping Shows, Carnivals, Stock Car Racing and Chariot Racing, just to name a few. Ben & Frieda Kraus also organized the Famous Firemanís Rodeos and Parades in downtown St. Louis, complete with floats, clowns, and as many as 200 horses. The Ranch provided horses, wagons, and personal to help promote various attractions in St. Louis area such as Movies, Firemanís Rodeo, Parades, The Police Circus, the list is endless. Chuck Connors & Johnny Crawford spent the day at the Ranch. Ben liked Johnny so much that before he left to go home he gave him a black & white paint horse which Johnny called Two Bits and went onto to perform tricks and various Rodeos and Parades.  Ben Kraus passed away on March 11, 1961. Frieda Kraus passed away March 23, 2004.

Valley Mount Ranch ó Brochure

Johnny Crawford w/Two Bits

Rustlin' up some Rodeo fun w/Johnny Crawford

Ropin' fun with Johnny Crawford

A special thank you to Wendy for her horse sense chatter.  A special thank you to Johnny for chattering back & also thanks to Bluewind Farms for their input!

On Trail with the cast of The Rifleman

Johnny Crawford - Table of Contents
Everything Johnny Crawford

Site Map
around The McCain Ranch