"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Man from Salinas
I was covering for Micah while he was out of town. I walked the streets with my rifle in hand making sure law and order were being kept. Mark rode in from the ranch. Mark proudly announced that everything was locked up tight at the ranch. I asked him if he had any homework. As usual, he had math. I told him to go to Micah’s office and get started on it. “Then I’ll buy us both dinner at the hotel.”
I didn’t get any complaints from my teenage son! “Yes sir!” Then Mark asked, “Say Pa, Are we going to be staying in town the whole two weeks that Micah’s gone?” I told him yes. Then I wondered why he asked. “Nothin’, it’s just that uh…that way we get to eat at the hotel and I don’t have any dishes to wash!” That boy – always thinking practical!
I didn’t know it, but there was a man lurking in the shadows watching me – and everyone else on the streets. It was the end of the day and John was locking up the bank. This man started to walk inside, but John apologized. The stranger was really disappointed. He wanted desperately to make a deposit. John agreed to let him in – he couldn’t argue against a man wanting to put money in the bank, after all.
But the man closed the door, then turned with a gun in his hand. He sure did appreciate John doing this favor for him! John was just about to find out how much the stranger did appreciate it.
As the stranger held the gun on John, John stuffed money in the bag. “Is that all?” the bank robber asked.
“Isn’t that enough?” John asked, frustrated. “Practically the entire cash assets of this institution!” The stranger figured it was enough.
The robber ordered John to follow him to the door. He pulled back the shade and looked out on the street. I was out there talking to another man. He turned and looked at John. “Now listen to me. You’re gonna raise up the window shade. When I’m leaving here, you’re gonna smile and wave at me like I was an old friend you’re saying goodbye to. Now, if you don’t do what I tell ya', I’ll put a bullet through that window right into you.”
He ordered John to smile. He waited until John’s smile looked genuine. The robber left the bank and climbed on his horse. I walked up onto the boardwalk in front of the bank. I saw John smiling and waving, but something didn’t seem quite right. I just stood there and stared inside. Suddenly, John started making motions that the man was holding him up. I looked down the street toward the man and back at John. Then I hurried down the street. “You, hold it!” I ordered.
He turned and fired. He missed me, but my shot hit him and the horse threw him. I hurried forward to see if he was alive. The man was alive but barely. He reached for his gun. “Don’t try it,” I warned as I kicked the gun out of the way.
We grabbed the bank’s money from the stranger’s shirt. “Who are you?” But he passed out. I ordered some men to get him to the docs.
I took out his wallet and opened it. All he had was a pay voucher receipt from Bar Horn Ranch outside Salinas. “Rudy…Gray.”
John couldn’t believe a loner like him tried to rob his bank. I told John to get the money back over to the bank. Mark took the horse to the stable. I, on the other hand, had some work to do!
I went over to the Doc's to see how his patient was doing. He said he didn't know much yet. If Rudy didn't hemorrhage or if he wasn't moved he might have a chance. But he doubted it. I didn't want to leave him there but the Doc wouldn't hear of moving him. He said that Rudy was going to need a lot of attention; he would keep him in his back room. "If you move him to jail or any other place, you’re gonna have a dead man on your hands for sure," said Doc. “My job is to save lives, and I say he stays right here! He certainly can’t get up and walk away, Lucas.” I agreed to let him stay there but I told the Doc he was to keep me posted. If he happened to start talking I wanted to know right away.
I then went over to the telegraph office to telegraph the Sheriff in Salinas.
Tom, the telegraph clerk in Salinas took the message. “Foley, listen to this!” He declared after taking the message. “Rudy Gray got himself shot down in New Mexico territory. A place called North Fork – trying to rob another bank.”
“That darned fool,” Foley said as he took the telegraph. As Foley read it, Tom kept talking about how they’d been looking for him up there. He was worth $2,000.00 dead or alive. “You didn’t read this too good,” Foley said as he studied the telegram. He read the telegram. “It says ‘man tentatively identified as Rudy Gray caught and shot during North Fork bank holdup. Identification places him Bar Horn ranch your area. Gray unconscious, not expected to live. Not expected to live. McCain, Deputy Marshal.’”
Foley pointed out that the way it read, we didn’t know who he was. “Well, the Sheriff will sure let ‘em know when I give him that.” Tom tried to take the telegraph from Foley, but Foley told him to go sit down and behave himself.
Foley started assessing the situation. He figured that Gray had been working for the Bar Ranch two weeks ago when he killed the bank clerk trying to get off with the payroll. The Sheriff didn’t send the Wanted posters to the Federal Marshall’s office in Denver until three days ago. Tom decided North Fork hadn’t received the posters yet. “It kind looks that way, don’t it?” Foley declared. “If this McCain fella knew who Rudy was, I mean if he had a poster or something, he wouldn’t be saying here ‘please advise.’ He’d be yelling for his money, wouldn’t he?”
Tom started looking and discovered the Denver stage only came through North Fork once a month. The next one was due in next Friday. Foley started getting an idea. “Let’s see…North Fork. That’s about…oh…a two day ride. I could be there by…Thursday at the latest. Pick up ol’ Rudy. I could be out of that town before this McCain even knew he was wanted.” Foley was twirling his gun as he spoke.
“Sure,” Tom said. “And then he’d get them posters on Friday. And he’d be wiring up here after you first thing.”
But Foley had that covered to. “And you get the wire and ya' forget to turn it over to the sheriff just the way you’re gonna forget to turn this over to him.” He held my telegram in his hand. “And you and I’d be gone before anybody knew the difference.”
Tom wasn’t sure about that idea. Foley tried to convince him. He reminded Tom that the poster said “Dead or alive” and he wasn’t expected to live. “Now, we could kinda use $1,000 a piece, now couldn’t we?” Tom wondered if he could get away with it. He’d have to pretend to be somebody else. “Oh yeah, that’s…that’s easy enough.” Foley took his gun out and started twirling it again, throwing it up in the air as he twirled. “That’s no problem. Simplest thing in the world….I think.” He threw the gun up behind him and caught it. “I bet you $2,000 I can do it.” He put his gun back in his holster. “How’s that?”
I went back to doc’s to find out how Rudy was doing. Doc said he was running a high fever. He only had a day or two to live. “Doc, you uh…you couldn’t make that three days, could ya'?” I asked as I walked further into the room. I showed doc the telegram I’d just received.
“Rudy Gray, local family. Do everything possible. Brother arriving by Thursday.” He gave me the telegram. “I don’t know, Lucas. I don’t know.” I told him to do what he could.
Gray’s brother showed up just as I was stepping out of Micah’s office a couple days later. "Sir?” I stopped and turned to him. “I see you're wearing a deputies badge, would you happen to be McCain?" I told him I was. He introduced himself as Tom Gray, Rudy's brother from Salinas. “My uh…brother, Rudy…Where is he?” I told him he was a doc’s office. “Is he still alive?”
“He’s still alive.”
Gray nodded. “Well, I came as fast as I could.” I warned him there wasn’t much hope. “I’d like to see him.”
I wasted no time in taking him to doc’s office. Doc stood and shook his hand. “I’m sorry, Mr. Gray. I did everything I could, but he never regained consciousness.”
Gray got all choked up. “You mean he’s gone?” Doc assured him he was alive, but barely. I opened the door and started to follow him in, but he insisted on seeing his brother alone. Doc and I agreed and closed the door.
Gray walked over to the bed and looked down at the dying man. He stood over the bed looking down at the man. “I guess there’s no sense in you and me wasting any time, is there?” Gray said as he picked up a pillow and put it over his face. The man was dead within moments.
We heard Gray calling for us and hurried in. Doc checked for a pulse, then covered the dead man up with the sheet. He was dead. Gray was upset, trying to hold his emotions under control. Doc quickly ushered Gray out of the room. I was upset – I always hated to see a man die – good or bad. I walked out of the room and closed the door. I softly spoke to Gray as I stood behind him. I could wire his family in Salinas. “No, no. Don’t do that. It’s all over, isn’t it? Ain’t nothing more you can do to him now. He robbed your bank and he paid for it and that’s the end of it.” I remained silent. He turned to me. “It’s true, isn’t it?”
“I suppose so,” I answered simply.
“Well, I just wanna take him home as quietly as I can. Be a whole lot easier on the folks. They’re kind of old and…be a lot easier on ‘em if I can do it my way instead of just sending some cold telegram.”
I agreed, telling him the blacksmith would have to make a box. “And tomorrow, you can take your brother home on the Denver stage.” I told him it was due in the morning and goes back through Salinas. He didn’t seem to like that idea. “Something wrong, Mr. Gray?”
“Well, no…nothin’ wrong. I just…I don’t want to take him on the stage, that’s all. All them people shootin’ their mouths off and being sympathetic. I don’t need that.”
“Well, nobody on the stage has to know,” I assured him.
"Couldn't I just do it my way? Just me and him?" Foley pleaded. “I’ll buy a wagon. There’s no law against that, is there? Havin’ a little privacy?”
I told him there was no law. Secretly though, I wondered about this. It just didn’t all add up. Gray told doc he’d tend to the undertaker, then to getting a wagon. He wanted to pay Doc’s bill, but doc assured him there was no charge. He shook doc’s hand all polite like.
I couldn’t help watching with suspicion. He just wasn’t acting right! He didn’t act like a grieving brother. Maybe that was the problem – he seemed to be…acting…Even doc could tell I was bothered about something.
As I went outside, I saw Gray walk into the undertaker’s office next door. I tried to shake off my suspicion as I went back across the street. Gray’s horse was just outside Micah’s office. He was blocking my path, so I pushed him out of the way. That’s when I noticed it – I could barely see a monograph on the saddle. I lifted the saddle bag up to look - he had a monogrammed saddle with the initials D. F. The last initial should have been a G, were he really Gray’s brother. That really got me to wondering so I headed back to the telegraph office to get in touch with the Sheriff in Salinas again.
That night, I sat outside Micah’s office relaxing and listening. In the distance I could hear Nils hammering as he made the coffin for the dead outlaw.
Mark came out while I was deep in thought. "Pa...are you going to be going to bed?"
"In a while. How's the homework?"
“Well, you better get to bed, too.”
Mark was listening to the hammering. “That hammerin’ and sawin’ Nils is doing…When you know what it’s for, it…well, it just doesn’t sound the same as when you’re fixin’ a fence or something like that.” Mark had walked down to stand by the hitching post where my big feet were propped up.
"No it doesn't son! Well I'm gonna have another look around town, I'll be back in a few minutes. You better go get your books.”
As I started out, Foley was leaving the saloon. He assumed I was out making my rounds. “I hope all this noise isn’t disturbing everybody.” There he goes again – being too nice!
“Well, it has to be done,” I answered.
“Yeah, I suppose it does. I was just on my way over to the blacksmith’s to see how he’s making out.” I walked over with him. Nils almost had it all done. Gray admired the handy work – said his brother would be proud. Hm…there he goes being so nice and…so unbelievable to me. Gray wondered what the cost would be. “I don’t like to charge for…well, it’ll just be three dollars for the material.”
“Holy gee…You folks been awful good to me,” Gray said as he took out his money. “I’m just terribly sorry that you had to get mixed up in it at all. Well, it’s been a long day. I’m awful tired, I don’t mind tellin’ ya'. Tomorrow we’ll uh…Well, tomorrow will be here soon enough.”
I watched Gray leave. “Nice fella. He sure is taking it hard,” Nils stated.
“Yeah, I guess he is,” I answered him. But he sure was playing it up! I just couldn’t buy it.
The night was quiet and dark. I watched Gray walk into the hotel. Then I walked over to Micah's office and locked up. I took my horse down to the stable to bed down. Gray watched until everything was quiet and we were all in our beds. He then made his way to the blacksmith’s. He harnessed his horse to the wagon and quietly pulled it down to the undertaker’s. He walked up to the door and started to break in.
I came out of the shadows. I knew the truth. He wasn’t Gray. He was Foley. I held my rifle up. “That’s far enough.”
Foley looked up at me. “Mr. McCain?” he said politely.
“That’s right. Take your hand away from that gun.”
Foley held his hands up. "You sure gave me a turn coming out of the shadows that way. I was just uh...just ah...wanted to see if my brother was alright."
I knew the truth. "You wanted to get that body out of here before the Denver stage arrives in the morning, that's what you wanted! Bounty hunter!"
“Bounty hunter? I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. McCain. Rudy Gray is my brother.”
"I wired the Denver Marshal. Rudy Gray has no family! All he's got is a price on his head!" He then shook his head. He threw the knife he still had in his hand at me, hitting my rifle. He then quickly drew his gun and fired. He missed me. I then shot and killed him.
The next day Mark had gone to the telegraph office to pick up a wire. It was from the Sheriff in Salinas. "They arrested that clerk that was workin' with Mr. Foley," said Mark.
"Good!" I dipped my pen in the ink well and started to write.
"You have to write out another report?" Mark asked.
"Hm...that's the worst part of taking over for Micah. Every time you get a job done you've got to write a long letter to the marshal in Denver telling him all about it." I went back to my report. I was stuck on a line. "When I attempted to pick up the bounty hunter.....when I attempted to stop....." I just couldn't think of the right word to use.
"Apprehended...thank you Mark!" Mark smiled that smart-elecky smile of his then walked out the door. I just shook my head at him.
piddlin' stuff.....Robert Culp appeared in two episodes ― The Hero as Colly Vane, he played the town hero until the town folks found out the outlaw was shot in the back ― The Man from Salinas as Dave Foley, the bounty hunter who claimed to be Rudy Gray's brother so he could get the $2,000 bounty on Gray.
Jack Hogan appeared in The Man from Salinas as Rudy Gray. He's the guy who persuaded John Hamilton (owner of the bank) to stay open for one more transaction, he wanted to rob the bank. He also played Joe Carson in Stranger at Night as the man accused of killing the cowboy with the initials R. M.
Ralph Moody appeared in a total of twelve episodes of The Rifleman beating John Anderson and John Milford out at eleven episodes. He appeared in nine episodes as Doc Burrage and in three other episodes. The Visitors as Jonathan Dodd — The Spoiler as Roy Merrick and The Hangman as Eban Muchen.
Doc Burrage: Six Years and a Day ― The Actress ― Dark Day at North Fork ― The Mescalero Curse ― Man from Salinas ― Quiet Night, Deadly Night ― Mark's Rifle ― Conflict ― Requiem at Mission Springs.
Doc Burrage was a regular character ~ how many different actors played Doc Burrage? Can you name them?
Joe Higgins played Nils Swenson. Is it Nils or is it Nels/Niles? What is his last name.....Swenson/Svenson aka The 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?
He 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 schedule.
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.
Fred Sherman played Tom, Salinas' telegraph operator.
Lucas worn the deputies badge on his right side of his shirt in both of these episodes - The Man from Salinas and in Gun Fire.
In Gun Fire.....he picked up the badge and pinned it on the right side of my shirt. "You’re suppose to wear that over your heart," said Micah. "I've got a big heart Micah."
*Pretty fancy gun twirling done by Robert Culp in the Telegraph Office. Some one told me they met Robert Culp and he told them that this was really him doing the gun twirling in this episode.
*Lawrence Dobkin directed Tinhorn ― Jealous Man ― Day of Reckoning ― The Executioner ― Man from Salinas. He wrote the episode The Actress. He also directed some episodes of Branded. Besides doing this, he appeared in many other shows and films.
He appeared in four episodes of The Rifleman ― The Sheridan Story as General Phil Sheridan. Knight Errant as Don Chimera del Laredo, he was the guy with the sword. The Gaucho as Juan Argentez, the Gaucho's father. The Day a Town Slept as Ben Judson. He was the man who beat Micah in the election for Marshal of North Fork.
Did you know that Lawrence Dobkin played General Phil Sheridan in both The Rifleman and Cheyenne?
In Cheyenne he played General Phil Sheridan in Gold, Glory, and Custer. This time he is presiding officer at a court martial hearing involving Custer's Last Stand. Thanks PJH!
Blooper - Man from Salinas
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
Two Ounces of Tin
A Young Man's Fancy
around The McCain Ranch