"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Most Amazing Man
It was just a relaxing day in North
Fork. I came over to the hotel for a cup of coffee while I waited
for Mark to get out of school. Lou decided to join me. I
complimented Lou on her wonderful coffee. “You know, the longer you
run the hotel, the better your coffee gets,” I complimented her.
“The longer I do anything, the better it gets,” Lou commented. I was
just about to think on that when Mark suddenly barged in. That’s
probably a good thing…
Mark came in to sit down. He was so excited that he forgot to take
his hat off. I had to pluck it off his hat. Mark wanted to show me a
paper from school. “Look here, Pa! My first A+ on a composition!”
“A+!” I could hardly believe it. “This makes me very proud, son!”
Mark told me to go on and read it. I read the title. "The Most
Amazing Man I Ever Met." As I started to read the title I couldn't
help but think it might be about me and how proud I would be if it
was. But as I realized it wasn't. "Who made it safe to carry the
mail in Montana? Who brought in the Bolton gang single handed? Who
killed two rattle snakes with just one shell?" I had to pause for a
moment, with a sly little laugh, but Mark was eager for me to
continue, he said I hadn't gotten to the best part. "Who all by
himself faced a band of Cherakowa? Who-"
Mark grabbed my arm, he couldn't believe his eyes. A man came racing
down the stairs. He acted like one of those fancy gun slingers.
"Who's that?" I asked.
“Right,” Mark smiled. "Wade Randall, The Most Amazing Man I ever
met!" Mark declared. Randall knew we were looking at us. He smiled
at us and tipped his hat, then went back to what he was doing.
I told Mark we better head for home. By the time we got to the front
of the hotel there was a crowd gathered around Wade Randall and he
was telling everybody all about his run in with the Bolton gang and
how they left him tied to a tree stump with no guns, no boots, and
no hat; and how they left him to die. I gotta give it to him; he
sure was a great story teller. The crowd, including Mark was
enthralled by his stories. Here’s his story.
“Now the Bolton Gang was as mean a gang of brothers has yet been
born. I told the sheriff I’d help, so I took out, getting ready all
along the way. Two nights out, they jumped me. I was fast asleep.
They tied me to a tree stump and just left me there. No guns, no
boots, no hat, just left me there to die of sunstroke and ants and
Gila monsters. And like a Sierra pine long I just kind of rolled
around until I found the leavings of their fire. Then I blew a
timber red and burnt my ropes off. Walked all that night, reached
town by dawn. Had no time for sleep, had business to do. So right
away got me some new guns, a fast horse, and took right out again. I
caught the Bolton’s hiding in a shack. You know what I did? Covered
up their chimney! And when they came out gasping, I got all four.
Now how would you bring four mean gunslingers back to town alone,
huh? Well, I tell you what I did. I hitched them to a wagon like a
team of horses, and they drove me twenty miles and all their stolen
loot. Then I gave them back to the marshal there in Butte. Folks,
I’m here to tell ya' that that was one fine, glorious day!”
Pretty impressive, huh?
Well, suddenly a man spoke up from the crowd. “Have you killed many
men there, Mister?”
Randall suddenly stood up. "Randall's the name, Wade Randall, just
bad men mister," he answered. He told the crowd he worked for the
railroad doing random assignments, mainly scout and trouble shooter.
He said he was a surveyor, purveyor and for now he was taking a few
weeks off to rest up in North Fork.
"Would you tell us about Red Morgan Mr. Randall?" Mark asked. Mark
begged him. Randall couldn’t keep from it. He told yet another
“Red Morgan…” he thought about it. “Well, that happened up in
Serpent Bend Montana. It seems that Red took a good dislike to me
because…well, folks got to saying that I was about as fast as him.
Well, that didn’t sit too good with Red. One night I saw him cheat
at cards and naturally I called him on it. We walked outside,
cleared the street. We stood there looking at each other. He came at
me…I came at him, each waiting for the other to make his play. I
watched his hands and his eyes…and I saw him go for it, and he drew.
I made my play.” He drew out his gun, spun it up in the air, and
caught it. “Got him right through the heart.”
"So you're the one who killed Red Morgan...huh?" Lovett asked
"That's correct sir!" Randall declared proudly.
"Well that should make you as good as you've been saying, since
Morgan was the fastest gun with in a thousand miles," said Lovett.
Randall told him he appreciated the compliment. Lovett then pushed
his way thru the crowd. "It's no compliment! Morgan was killed in
Serpent Bend alright, but not in town. The way I heard it they found
him three miles out...with a bullet in his back! That makes you a
liar and a murdering coward!" Randall told him he must have heard it
wrong, that it happened just like he said. “Randall was my friend,
and I swore that someday I would avenge his murder. I will. You shot
him in the back...and tomorrow morning I'm going to shoot you in the
. Micah told Lovett he didn't like that kind of talk. “My name’s
Lovett, and there’s nothing you can do about stopping a fair fight.
Is there? That is if he uh…fights fair…”
“If I think it’s wrong, I’ll stop anything I want to,” Micah
“You trying to protect that murderer?” Lovett turned back to
Randall. “You want the fight stopped, Randall?”
“Well naturally I want the fight stopped,” Randall answered. “For
your sake, Mr. Lovett!” Lovett just laughed and said he’d take his
“Here tomorrow morning at eight o’clock.” Lovett then turned and
“Wade Randall will be there!" Randall yelled. He didn’t look to
confident though. He actually looked scared.
Mark and I had dinner with Lou at the hotel. Mark asked me if he
could invite him over to eat with us. I permitted him, but warned
that he might want a quiet meal. I told him not to ask too many
questions. Mark invited him over and I introduced us. I offered
Randall a drink, but he said he never drank before a challenge. Mark
then apologized that this happened. “Well it can happen anywhere,”
Randall said. “When you’ve faced the grim reaper as many times as I
have. But don’t let my rough talk fool you. Killing a man is bad,
son. You know that. According to the Good Book, when you kill a man
you kill a little bit of yourself.” He turned to me. “Ain’t that
right, Mr. McCain?”
“I’ve never heard it said better,” I answered.
Lou told Randall about the composition Mark had written about him.
“Would you like to read it, Mr. Randall?” Mark asked. Mark handed it
Randall was indeed impressed! “I never had anything written about me
before,” he declared happily.
Suddenly, the mood of the table changed as Lovett came in. He gave
Lou his rent money. He looked at Randall. “I won’t be staying for
the funeral in the morning.”
Randall suddenly looked nervous. Lovett left, satisfied with
himself. “Well, I…I just remembered. I got some important work that
has to be done. I guess I’ll just have to meet my dinner.” Mark
stopped him before he left. He asked Randall to take his composition
with him so he could read it.
I watched him walk out. I knew there was something terribly wrong.
Mark was too blind to see the truth though. “If Mr. Randall’s only
half as good as he says he is, I bet he can take on that Mr.
Lovett,” Mark declared. I didn’t have the heart to burst his
confidence, so I simply agreed with him. “You know Pa, I think I’m
going to get a medal and give it to him.”
I told him to do it now. I needed time away from my excited son to
figure this thing out!
We watched Mark leave. Lou could tell something was bothering me.
She questioned me about it after Mark was gone. “You see the way his
hands were trembling?” She said he was a very frightened man.
Randall was up in his hotel room packing. He wanted to get out of
North Fork as fast as he could. In his madness, he looked around the
room and saw a whisky bottle setting on the table. He went over to
pour a drink, but then noticed Mark’s essay. He sat down to read it.
Lou and I were just talking about taking Mark to Willow Springs for
the stock show when Lovett came back in. I hate to bother you Miss
Mallory, but uh…would you mind if I spent the night in the lobby?”
he asked. We both turned and looked at him, wondering why when he
had a perfectly find hotel room. “Well, I wouldn’t want that coward
running out on me.”
Lou couldn’t believe this. I decided I better go up and warn
Randall. I wanted to get to the bottom of a few things anyways. When
he finally let me in, I couldn't help noticing that his bags were on
the bed packed and a bottle was on the table. He knew I noticed and
immediately explained. “Oh, I just got a rush telegram. Seems it
happens all the time in my business.”
"Lovett's sitting down in the lobby. He said he's going to wait
there for you all night," I said.
He walked over to the window and looked down onto the street. “Is
I knew exactly what he was thinking. I warned him that a man jumped
from that window once and broke his leg. He guessed it must have
been a fire. I chuckled, telling him it was a wife. He started to
tell me a story, but I stopped him. “Mr. Randall, you didn’t kill
Red Morgan did you?”
He just looked at me. “I never even saw him, Mr. McCain.” He figured
with him coming from another part of the country that he could say
about anything he wanted to and no one would doubt him.
“Have you ever been in a real gunfight Mr. Randall?” I asked him if
he had ever been in a real gunfight before. He said his name wasn't
Wade Randall, it was Orley Fudd. He was a cook for the railroad and
they call him Cookie. He hated being called that name, that's why he
came to North Fork, to get away from it. “They don’t let cooks wear
guns, Mr. McCain. But I bought me one. Kept it hid in the barns I
slept in. At night I kind of crawl into my bunk and just kind of
We both knew he didn't have a chance. I told him I would get Lou to
get Lovett into a conversation and I'd get a ladder and put it up at
the window. Then we can get him out of the hotel and Lovett wouldn't
know until morning. “I never intended for it to go this far, Mr.
McCain.” I could tell Randall was regretting his story telling now.
“But I’ll tell you something. I sure don’t want to face that Mr.
Lovett. I don’t want to bleed to death alone on a street in North
“You don’t have to explain.”
“If I stay,
it sure will be terminal junction for Wade Randall,” he
I felt bad for him. “I’ll get the ladder.” I started to leave.
“No, Mr. McCain!” Randall stopped me. “I ain’t going to run. I guess
I got used to old Wade Randall now. So much so that I can’t go back
to being called Cookie and being laughed at and being alone all the
time. Man…it just ain’t worth it.”
I walked toward him and told him he may not feel that way in the
morning – then it would be too late. He said he couldn't run now, if
he did he'd never sleep in peace again. He then handed me Mark's
composition and told me to tell him he said thanks. I couldn't help
but think Mark's paper had something to do with Wade changing his
mind about running; Lovett sleeping in the lobby had something to do
with it too.
That evening Mark and I were setting by the fire talking. I could
tell Mark had something on his mind. I figured it was Randall.
“Well…I wish you’d let me give him that medal in person instead of
making me leave it at the desk.”
“He didn’t want to be disturbed, son,” I explained. I took out his
composition and told him Wade wanted me to thank him for it.
"Mark...what is there about Randall that made you write this
"Pa...I know he exaggerates a little, but that doesn't matter. H's
not like other men, he's sorta free and easy like a mocking bird,
and he carries a code of right and wrong inside of him. I guess
that's why he's so brave and cheerful."
I decided to test Mark with the truth. "Suppose I told you he wasn't
brave…or cheerful," I said to Mark.
“Well, I saw the way his hands shook too, Pa. But well, he knows
he’s fighting for his life. That’s…That’s brave.” I agreed with him.
“And hopeless too, I guess.” Mark went to bed.
I looked at Marks composition again and just sat there thinking.
I decided to go into town and talk to Lovett. “Suppose I told you he
didn’t kill Morgan?" He wanted to hear it from him in front of the
whole town, and then he might let him off. "On the other hand,
suppose I told you he did kill Morgan just the way he said, by
Lovett laugh. “No…no, I’m not biting. If he was that good, he
wouldn’t be up there wearing a hole in the carpet.” I looked
upstairs. I had to go talk to Randall. I started to go, but Lovett’s
feet were in the way. I looked at him and he moved his feet.
So, back up the stairs I went to see Wade again and try to talk some
sense into him. He was drunk. I don’t mean just a little drunk – I
mean really drunk! He was so drunk that he was slurring his words. I
told him he still had time to change his mind, but he wouldn’t do
it. So I came up with a plan. But before I could even get it out, he
told me that nothing I said would change his mind. He wasn't
So, I decided to go about it another way. I took a pitcher of water
and poured it over his head. “Now, you start thinking clear. We’ve
got a lot to do before morning!” I declared. I sat down to tell him
about my plan.
That morning Mark came into town looking for me. Lou told him that I
had some things to do and he was to go ahead and have breakfast
without me. Mark wondered if Randall had come down yet. He noticed
the medal he left for Wade was still in his hotel box waiting to be
picked up. Lou took it out of the box. “But I…well, I guess he needs
his rest,” Mark reasoned.
Just then, Randall came bounding down the stairs whistling and in
really good spirits. He greeted
Lou and Mark warmly. He wondered if
breakfast was being served. He was sure happy to hear it was. He
started toward the dining room with Mark close behind him. But
before they could get into the dining room, Lovett came out. The two
men exchanged glares at each other, not saying a word. Then Lovett
Mark took the opportunity as they stood outside the dining room to
give Randall his medal. Wade was surprised. The medal read....."To
Wade Randall, with admiration and respect, Mark McCain." He thanked
Mark and told him he would do his best to honor it. Mark then asked
Wade if he and I could join him for breakfast. Wade said he would be
Just then Micah came in with the shells Randall had ordered. Randall
took them. “Are these the real accurate ones?” Randall asked. Micah
assured him they were. Randall thanked him and invited Micah to join
them for breakfast.
In the mean time, I was out setting up quite a display for Lovett
with the help of the town folks. First I went to the Hardware Store,
then the Assayer's Office, and then the Cattlemen's Association.
It was nearly eight o’clock. Randall and Mark walked out of the
hotel. Lovett was there waiting for them. Lovett asked Randall if he
was ready. Randall took out his gun, spun the chamber, and slid his
gun back in his holster. “Ready!” he declared.
Micah stepped forward. “I want a word with you two. Now, we’re going
to do this the old fashion way so nothing will go wrong. You’ll
stand back to back. When I give the signal, you’ll each walk forward
fifteen paces, turn, and fire.”
Micah led them out onto the street. They stood back to back. Micah
began counting as they walked away from each other.
Suddenly, Randall shouted out, Hold it!" Lovett swung around.
"There's something I have to tell you Lovett," Russell yelled as
they faced each other 28 paces away from each other.
"Why you lily liver frog, there's nothing to tell!" Lovett yelled.
"Ah but there is! It's only fair for me to tell you that my prowess
with a gun is legendary," said Wade.
"If your backing out...then say so, loud and clear, out in front of
everybody!" Yelled Lovett.
Yes, Randall did have something to say. “Mr. Lovett, you never gave
me time to tell you that I am the greatest marksman the world has
ever known! I can shoot a single leaf from a tree, I can split a
bullet on an upraised saber, I can create fire where there is no
fire and once created it, I can put it out." Lovett didn't want to
hear anymore talk; he wanted to get on with the gunfight.
"Marshal.....do you mind if I demonstrate?" Randall asked. Micah
nodded in acceptance.
I was ready to put our plan in motion, I signaled to Micah. Just
then Wade said, “Let there be some fire.” The owner of the hardware
store was just about to light a cigarette with a match when Randall
shot it as he held it. The match lit and the man dropped it into a
box full of straw, it caught on fire.
"Let there be some transportation!" Randall shot the board out from
under the wooden box with the straw in it. The box then slid down a
"Now, what should I do Mr. Lovett? Shall I summons up the fire
brigade?" Wade then shot at the bell several times that told the
town there was a fire.
"There's no time you say? Mr. Lovett.....what shall I do? Shall I
create the miracle of rain? Then let there be deliverance! Water
come forth!" Randall shot three holes in the large barrel of water
over the burning straw. He had put the fire out.
"And man...let there be jubilation." With that he shot at the flag
hanging in front of the Cattlemen's Association and the flag
unrolled, opening up. Wade sure gave a mighty fine exhibition. That
was enough for Lovett, he couldn't believe his eyes. He turned and
ran to his horse and then rode out of town as fast as he could. The
crowd rushed over to Wade and congratulated him.
Wade thanked the town for their kindness and their indulgence. He
said they had taught him a great lesson. "It taught me that where
violence is discussed, there violence grows. So on this day, Wade
Randall.....probably the most amazing marksmen the west has ever
known...is hanging up his guns. Never to shoot again." He then
donated his guns to the North Fork Museum and said if we didn't have
one, then we'd start one! He then handed his guns to Micah. The
Mark and I approached Wade. "That sure was amazing, Mr. Randall,"
"You'll never know the half of it my boy." He shook my hand. "Mr.
McCain, you’re a friend worth having. If you ever get into any
trouble and need any help let me know, huh?" Then he remembered the
blanks. He took them out of his pocket. “Oh, here’s your blanks.”
Mark was puzzled. "Blanks?"
"He's 'The Most Amazing Man' I meant too!" I simply answered as I
walked off. Mark scratched his head as he thought on that.
Davis Jr. played Tip Corey in Two Ounces of Tin, he was
the guy who wanted the Marshal out of North Fork by sundown ―
The Most Amazing Man as Wade Randall, he's the cowboy who
claimed to have killed Red Morgan.
Devon has appeared in seven episodes ― The Spiked Rifle
as Austin Stark, the leader of the gang and the man who
fooled Lucas into thinking Mark was kidnapped ―
Blood Brother as Jethroe, the man in charge of the
People's Committee who was looking for John Stoddard ― The Grasshopper
as Walt Ryerson, the man in the handcuffs who Lucas applied a
tourniquet to ― The Silent Knife as Ben Macowan, he was the
guy who picked on big Mark ― Miss Milly as Jack Adams, he
was the man Milly hired to be her bill collector ―
The Most Amazing Man as Lovett, he was the gunslinger
who forced Wade Randall into a gun fight. He was so brave until he
saw what a good a shot Wade was (with Lucas' help) ― The Stand-In
as Gus Potter, the prison guard that passed out when
the two guards were drinkin'.
Pat Henry played the Hardware Store Merchant.
Blair as Lou Mallory. Patricia was first introduced to The
Rifleman in Lou Mallory. She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a
razor-sharp businesswoman. She joined the cast in the
fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes. Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott
owner of The General Store.
appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in
The Rifleman he was also a stunt
double for Chuck Connors.
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 - a
Townsman & the Bartender.
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
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.
*Boy that sure was some shooting display, wasn't it? I enjoyed it!
I thought you might enjoy these videos of Sammy Davis Jr.
There is a lot of great video of Sammy in
YouTube, even performing as a child star.
According to fast draw legend, Bob Munden... Sammy Davis, Jr. was one of the two fastest guns in all of Hollywood... faster than James Arness, Clint Eastwood, or John Wayne for that matter. Sammy was a class act... and lightning fast on the draw!
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?
around The McCain Ranch