"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
None so Blind
Micah and I were out on my range. There was a sick cow – she didn’t look too good. Micah wondered what it could be. “Same as the pair last week, only this one’s worse,” I worried.
I heard a horse whinnie just then. Looking up, I saw my boy riding up on Blue Boy – just out of school. He was riding Blue Boy hard. I got up and went toward him. “Hey, you’re punishing that horse, son!” I declared.
“Well, he’s out to run today, Pa. Can’t hold him in. Gosh, isn’t it fine outdoors?” Mark smiled as he looked around. He noticed the sick steer. "What's wrong with the steer?"
"Well he's not feeling too good son."
"Oh...maybe if I ran him a little bit," said Mark.
I thought it best not to burden him just yet with losing the cattle. Not until I knew more. And I was in no mood for his chipperness! "You know...you're too full of mustard. I'll tell you what...you take the afternoon off, I'll mind your chores."
He was thrilled. "Gosh, Pa, thanks! Today I feel like the west wind a blowin'.” He then rode off hollering. “Woo hoo!”
While out riding, Mark heard a banjo playing. He stopped as a man started singing:
♫ Tell me the tales that to me were so dear,
Long, Long ago, Long, Long ago
Sing me the songs I delighted to hear,
Long, long ago, Long ago
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He stopped playing as Mark rode up. “Sure, the banjo’s singing’, Laddie Buck!” He sat down his banjo. Mark liked the way he did it. “You just wasn’t expectin’ music out here. Well, stop off an’ visit? Name’s Lafayette Bly.”
Mark jumped off Blue Boy and walked up to the man. "Howdy Mr. Blye. My name's Mark McCain." He corrected Mark by telling him his friends call him Faye.
He offered Mark coffee. "I guess once wouldn't hurt. Smells so good," said Mark. Faye said good coffee tasted like it smelled.
Mark thought he picked a nice spot. “Always listen for runnin’ water. Stop when you feel the coolness of shad tree. He chuckled. “An’ then if you hear runnin’ water…” He started playing his banjo again as he sang:
♫ Tis springtime, Tis springtime
Cold winter is past,
Warm breezes are blowin’
An May’s here at last
The birds are returnin’,
Their songs fill the air,
An’ meadows are smilin’
with blossoms so fair!
Mark smiled. He loved listening to him sing. Faye enjoyed singing too. He laughed as he sat down his banjo and took out a rubber ball. Mark asked what it was. “If I said rubber ball, develop your hands, bound to be stronger all over, all human physics connected up?” Mark figured he had a pretty good grip. “I had to swear off shakin’ hands.” He tossed the ball and laughed. Mark went to retrieve the ball, but he yelled for Mark not to move.
Faye crawled on his hands and knees and found the ball. Mark watched with surprise as he felt around for it. When he found it, he laughed as he walked back to where he was sitting. "Sorry Marco, just had to listen where the ball rolled."
Mark was surprised, to say the least. “You're blind!" Mark realized he should have said that and immediately apologized to Mr. Blye.
"Thought I told you my friends called me Faye."
Faye explained about his blindness. Well, Marko, I…I ain’t exactly partial to being sightless, but I ain’t bashful to have it spoke of. A man’s bashful over a nose pimple or a missin’ tooth, hmm…But a sightless is bigger…You go your ways in darkness.” Mark wondered if anything could be done about his eyes. He said no. “But it ain’t all that bad. Why…I can tune up on any street in this here nation and it ain’t a minute till some kindly hand is guiding me into the swing doors. An’ then I hear the voices calling for a song or story before I’ve even had my fill o’ beer or free lunch.
Mark wondered what kind of stories he told. “Lies. Mostly about myself.” Mark laughed. “But more truth than lies by my 21st birthday, I’d been 3 years in a whalin’ ship. I’ve known warfare an’ I’ve known love. But of the two, love is the most painful.” Mark wondered where he fought at. “It was just a forages myth. But at Channel Church, I fought in the last scratch reserve an’ lived a boast of it. In front of Pittsburg, we brung the forges clear to the siege lines to mend smashed guns. An’ right under the eyes of Grand an’ Sherman, a splinter of brownshot came boundin’ up an’ glanced off my head. Well, when Uncle Billy Sherman sees I’m only knocked senseless, he says to Grant, ‘General,” he says, ‘Now we know for sure which is harder, the enemy cannon balls or the sculls of our fearless troops. How can we lose?”
They both laughed at that. Suddenly, Mark and Faye heard a gunshot.
It was me. I had to kill the cow. I was upset. “I know how you feel Lucas, but you couldn’t let ‘im suffer.” Shooting that head was like shooting down a ten dollar bill I sweated for. Micah wondered what made them so sick.
“Like I read in the Bible. I midwife this one into the world, now I gotta bury him. Can’t leave ‘im for the coyotes.” I turned to leave. I went back to the ranch while Micah went back to town.
Mark strummed on the banjo as he and Faye continued talking. “Get many strangers in town?” he asked. Mark said some. Mark wondered why his strumming didn’t sound the same as Faye’s. “Practice, you’ll be a good player.”
“With this one chord?” Mark was doubtful. He said he’d master it.
“By some information I got, there’s a stranger who’ll be passin’ through here this week. You see anyone, will you let me know?” Mark told him he would, besides he’d be coming by for his banjo lessons. “And uh…promise not to mention to anyone about me campin’ here.” Mark agreed to keep quiet, though he didn’t feel Faye had anything to worry about. “Got my reasons, boy. Big reasons. Blind man reasons.”
Mark stood up. He suddenly realized he was going to be late for supper. But as he started to leave, Faye roughly grabbed Mark’s arm and spoke in a desperate voice.
"Mark! I loved a girl back there in my seeing days. Oh my.....she was like an out of reach red apple at the top of the tree. Till he come by lookin' up at her." Faye was holding Mark’s arm so tight, he hurt. Mark was gasping from pain. "You know what he done? I'll tell you what he done! He blinded me! Makin' out to be my friend with all them eye medicines!"
"Let me go! You're hurtin' me!" Mark begged.
"In just under six years my sweetheart was dead in the grave from his mistreatments!"
"My wrist!" Mark cried out in pain.
"Now a smart boy like you should know him pretty easy. Six foot five with a lanky leg way of walkin' and pale colored eyes over his cheek bones. Now I don't know what name he goes under All I've ever know him by was Mack!" Faye let go of his arm and Mark fell to the ground. He began talking softer. He felt bad for grabbing Mark so tight.
"I'll tell you what Marco, we'll forget about all that promisin'...from here on in I'm trustin' your loyalty to this fine friendship we struck up.” Mark hurried off. Confused and scared.
After supper Mark and I was getting ready to head out to bury the steer. Mark figured we’d need the buckboard for bringing back the hide. I told Mark I had no heart for skinning him. I was still really stressed that it happened. "Pa...Did you ever injure anyone real severely, say maybe blind him?"
Talk about a question out of the blue! "What?"
"For instance on a count a Ma?"
My boy sure had an imagination! “You’ve been readin’ too many of those books,” I declared. “You mean Ivanhoe.”
“No, I don’t mean Ivanhoe.” Suddenly, we heard wolves howling. They’d gotten to the steer. I suddenly turned and looked at my son. He was acting strange. "Mark...you've been lookin' at me all evening like you never saw me before. Is there something troublin' you, son?"
He handed me the shove and said "Nothin' especially Pa." Then he mounted his horse.
As the days went on we lost more cattle. One day, Mark and I went out to bury some more cattle. Just then a stranger rode up. I was surprised when he knew my name. He was surprised to see how tall I was. He usually didn't run into anybody as tall as he was. We stood back to back and I had Mark measure us with the shovel. There was only a hair difference in our height.
He shook my hand "Mack's the name. M-A-C-K. J. J. Mack." I asked him what I could do for him. He asked if he could take a look at my bunch.
"Bunch? It's not a bunch...it's a herd, help yourself." I said.
“McCain, I’ve been lookin’ at herds up to 3500 head all summer. To me, this is just a bunch!”
I suddenly grew defensive. “Well that’s all I got, Mister. What do you want?”
That’s when he got down to business. He said he just asked my permission out of civility. “Actually, I have a warrant.” He handed me the warrant. It was from the territorial governor authorizing him as veterinarian pharmacist to inspect all livestock for epizootic hoof and mouth disease.
I held the letter up. “It’s just a letter, Mister.” I let it fall to the ground. “Not worth the paper it’s written on.”
Mack bent over and picked up the letter. “I can have this enforced, McCain.”
I threw down my shovel. “Well, do it!” I demanded. “In the meantime, get off my land.” He told me I was making a big mistake. I watched him leave.
Mark went to see Faye for his banjo lessons. They talked some more. “What’s his name again?” Mark asked.
“Mack,” he answered. “Mack.”
“What would you do to him?”
“I don’t know. Why ain’t he here yet? North Fork’s on his ‘tinerary. Could he have been and went?”’
“No. I would have heard,” Mark answered. He needed to know what Faye would really do to him.
“Just let me get my hands on ‘im for…ooh about 2 minutes. ‘Till I teach ‘im his lesson. All without end everlasting.”
The next day Mack came to my ranch with Micah. We went out to the pasture together. Mack checked my cattle over. He said that the steers were drooling and that was a contagious stage.
They have to be destroyed.
I wouldn’t even look at Mack or Micah. “Hear him? He wants to condemn four head of prime beef, almost $50!” The thought of it sickened me.
But what he said next made me even sicker. “I’m afraid I’m not making myself very clear. Your entire herd now classifies as being infected. Under the law, they have to be buried no less than 5 feet deep with no parts removed or missing.”
I was growing angry. They didn’t understand what this meant! “The government says that?”
“It’s to your benefit in the long run as a cattleman.”
“It is, huh?” I shouted. “Does the government know that those cows are cash income for the whole year. I’ve got land payments, mister. If they’re not met, I can be sold at public auction. He told me to go on back to the ranch - he and Micah would handle this for me. "Get him off my land Micah! I still slaughter my own cattle!"
Micah tried to talk to me. "Now Lucas.....be reasonable!”
"Let me have today!" I couldn’t think. This news was just too much for me! "Tomorrow I'll be reasonable." Micah and Mack left. With tears in my eyes, I turned and cocked my rifle. Then I killed my cattle - one by one.
Mark was on his way out when he heard me shooting the cattle. He rushed up to me. Jumping off his horse, he rushed to my side. I just stood there with my rifle in hand staring at the dead cattle. "Pa...it's just about like shootin' your feet out from underneath ya'."
"This year we'll have to break 20 acres of new land to come out even."
Sod busting was hard, hard work. I didn’t like it – but I had to provide for my son. I had to make sure we kept our home. I would have to be a sodbuster until I could build up a new herd. The work of breaking new land was hard, painful, and tiresome. The days would be very long under the hot sun as I pushed a blow behind a horse.
Mark decided to get revenge against Mack for condemning our cattle. He went into town and watched for the man to show up. Then he raced out to Faye's camp. "Faye.....Faye.....the man you're lookin' for.....Mr. Mack.....he's in town. I seen him Faye!"
Mark took Faye into town with him. Mark told Faye this was his last chance because Mack was leaving the next day. They hid along side of the General Store.
Mack rode into town. So did I. I pulled my horse up beside his at the same hitching post. Mack greeted me warmly. “Seen my boy around?” I asked. He’d seen Mark that morning. Mark had asked him when he’d be leaving permanently.
“Oh McCain,” Mack stopped me. “Oh…How’s the boy doing with the ranch work while you’re plowing?”
“Ranch work?” I had to laugh at that. “There’s no cattle.”
My words made Mack uncomfortable. “I don’t make many friends in my job.”
“I owe you an apology, sir.” I held out my hand and we shook. We ended on friendly terms.
Mark and Faye were alongside the General Store, but neither Mack or I were aware of this. “run along, Laddie Buck. No call for you mixin’ in this,” Faye said.
Mark wondered how he’d know it was Mack. He quickly hushed him when he heard someone walk by. “A lady, around 40, tired an’ plenty bothered.” Mark watched her walk by, declaring it was Mrs. Ransom, a whiskey husband and eleven kids.
More footsteps sounded. “A young galoof. Nothin’ on his mind but girls an’ ructions.”
Then another pair of footsteps sounded. “Well, this one’s quite somebody. A man, about 55. Quiet an’ I bet he got authority.” That was Micah.
Then another set of footsteps. “Hear? Hear it? It’s him. Six foot five...one hundred and ninety pounds, walk like a hind end of an Arkansas mule," said Faye.
"Give him something to remember you by Faye," Mark replied.
Just then Faye lunged forward. Except it wasn’t Mack. It was me. He had a tight bear hug on me. As I struggled to get free we fell to the ground. Mark ran over to get Faye off of me. He started yelling. “Faye...it's not him. Let go! Let go!”
Faye kept choking the life out of me.
Mark was screaming desperately. He was terrified. You could hear pure terror in his voice. “It's not him...it's my Pa!" But Faye wouldn't let go he was choking me. Mark continued screaming, begging him to let go of me – he had the wrong man. I continued struggling as Faye tried strangling me with his bare hands. Mark was screaming at the top of his lungs and jumping on the back of Faye for him to let go. The air was slowly leaving my lungs. I was losing my fight.
Micah heard the commotion and ran over to us. He pulled Mark off of Faye then hit him hard over the head with the butt of his gun. Micah lifted me off the ground. I was struggling to breathe. "Cough Lucas! Cough!" Micah ordered. I coughed the breath back into my lungs.
"I'm awful sorry Pa. I just wanted to get even with that vet. It was him, not you! Will you forgive me?"
"Get even with the vet?" I asked.
"I'm sorry Pa! I'm sorry." Mark laid his head on me and started to cry.
"Vengeance is mine sayth the Lord," I said.
Micah had locked Faye up. I told him I wouldn't press any charges. Micah didn’t agree with me. He felt he should learn a lesson. “He’s not a criminal,” I stated. “He’s learned somethin’ already.” I looked at Mark. “And I think Mark has too.” Mark didn’t look to pleased with himself right now.
Mack wanted to talk to Faye before Micah released him.
Faye knew it was Mack when he came in. He stood up and faced Mack. “This time it’s really you. How could I have been mistook?” Mack wondered why Faye wanted to kill him. Bitterly, Faye answered with a question. “Why did you wanna blind me, John?”
“Blind you?” Mack asked. “The bark solution. Faye, I’m a pharmacist. I could tell you were losing your eyesight. The eye drops were just to sooth you.”
“Sooth me?” Faye snapped. “While you got round my sweet woman!”
Faye knew she would have been willing to marry him blind. Mack agreed she would have if she had known in time. “But Faye, I don’t…think you could have done that to her.” Faye called Mack a liar. “I never touched her or spoke to her, even looked at her, except in loving kindness. I swear that. She died in childbirth. At least you’re spared the blame of that.” Faye had trouble believing him from behind bars. Mack unlocked the cell. “It’s open, Faye.”
Faye stepped out. He laid his hands on Mack’s chest. Then he grabbed him and shoved him against the bars. But then he softened. He laid a hand against Mack’s chest and bursted into tears. He wept as he laid his head on Mack’s shoulder.
Mack led Faye out of the jail and into the street.
"John? Just one thing. Why is it that you never marked her resting place?"
"I hoped that you might help with the inscription,” Mack answered.
"I guess there ain't but one good enough for her," Faye declared.
"I am the Rose of Sharon, the Lilly of the Valley." Mack turned around. "Are you there folks? Could you lend me a minute? I got a little song for you tonight. Now hear the blind man. I said to my kind old friend that his heart was a black gila monster, but that monster was in my own darkness."
Faye then started to sing Battle Hymn of the Republic and the town joined in. I came up behind Mark and laid a hand on his shoulder. He turned and looked at me. I gave him a small smile. We had our own battle to work through now. We started on our way home so we could work on it…together.
♫ "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
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Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
piddlin' stuff.....Cliff Osmond played Lafayette Blye. He is the blind man with an acute sense of hearing — and a very strong grip! This was Osmond's television debut.
Jeff York played John J. Mack. He was the state veterinarian. He was the man Faye was looking for.
Earl Spainard was in ten episodes ― Day of the Hunter as one of the townsmen ― Silent Knife as a barfly ― The Assault as one of the townsmen - A Friend in Need as Harry the Bartender - Two Ounces of Tin as one of the townsmen ― Outlaw Shoes as one of the townsmen ― Guilty Conscience as one of the townsmen, you can also see Earl in the bar in Stud City ― Short Rope for a Tall Man as one of the townsmen ― The Spoiler as one of the townsmen ― None So Blind as one of the townsman.
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.
Tom Kennedy ― Death Never Rides Alone as one of the townsmen at the saloon - The Assailants as one of the townsmen - Gun Shy as a the townsman/man getting off of the stage - The Decision as one of the townsmen - The Executioner as the man reading the newspaper - Day of Reckoning as a churchgoer - Guilty Conscience as one of the townsmen - Which Way'd They Go? as a barfly - Outlaw's Shoes as one of the townsmen - The Challenge as one of the townsmen - None So Blind as one of the townsmen - A Young Man's Fancy as one of the townsmen - End of the Hunt as one of the townsmen.
You can see Tom in The Rifleman many times, probably more times then listed. He always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Bert Stevens was in four episodes ― The Marshal as the doctor ― The Babysitter as a Barfly ― None So Blind as one of the townsmen ― Panic as one of the townsmen that goes to Lucas' to help burn down the ranch.
Russell Custer appeared seven times ― None So Blind as a Townsman ― Woman from Hog Ridge as a Townsman ― The Lariat as a Gambler ― The Vision as a Cowhand ― Panic as a Townsman ― The Jailbird as a Townsman ― A Case of Identity as a Townsman.
♫ Songs of The Rifleman
Can you name the episodes these songs were in?
Bloopers - None So Blind
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 Jealous Man
around The McCain Ranch