"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 story.
“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 suddenly.
"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 front!"
. 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 informed Lovett.
“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 chances.
“Here tomorrow morning at eight o’clock.” Lovett then turned and walked away.
“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 to him.
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 that so?”
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 hold it.”
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 Fork.”
“You don’t have to explain.”
“If I stay, it sure will be terminal junction for Wade Randall,” he said then.
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 composition?"
"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 outdrawing him?"
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 running.
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 walked away.
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 delighted.
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. “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-“
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 board.
"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 crowd cheered.
Mark and I approached Wade. "That sure was amazing, Mr. Randall," said Mark.
"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.
piddlin' stuff.....Sammy 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.
Richard 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.
Patricia 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.
Fritz Ford 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 tree house pictures)
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.
*Boy that sure was some shooting display, wasn't it? I enjoyed it!
I thought you might enjoy these videos of Sammy Davis Jr.
Alamo Fast Draw and Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis — Gun Spinning
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!
Bloopers - The Most Amazing Man
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
around The McCain Ranch