"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
That boy of mine! I tell you what...Him and that Jeff Barrows got into another fight after school today. It happened right in town - right outside Micah's office. This was the second time this week they had gotten into a fight, and Micah threatened to throw them both in jail for disturbing the peace. Of course, all the kids had to stand around rooting for the favorite to win. Micah broke the fight up by grabbing each boy by the arm. Then he looked at Mark and said, "You don't take much pride in the name of McCain! I oughta lock you both up for disturbing the peace!"
Of course as usual, my boy had a good excuse for his behavior. "He keeps saying things about Pa!" Mark was all dirtied up and had a big rip in his shirt.
My friend Micah answered Mark, "If you don't get home and do your chores, your Pa's gonna be saying things too!" Boy, did Micah know me well!
There were three men who had just ridden into town who were watching the whole scene with much interest. The one named Sully...now, he was taking a lot of interest in it! After my boy started for home, Micah stopped Jeff and told him that fighting Mark wouldn't get him anything. Jeff committed that was just because Mark was my son.
Sully was very interested then. In fact, he asked Micah questions about me, wanting to know if I was something special. Micah looked at them with much interest. "You just ride in?" he asked them. They said they just rode in this minute. "Aiming to stay?" Sully said they might. That's why Micah didn't hesitate bragging about me. "Lucas McCain is as good as we got around here!"
The three strangers took that in with a lot of interest! "Yes sir! McCain...a real big buffalo!"
Needless to say, I wasn't too happy when my boy showed up all messed up and with a big tear in his shirt. He meekly tried to explain to me what happened, but I was thinking about the cost of shirts. I was also too busy to be sitting around patching up his shirts after fights, but I did it anyhow. Mark could tell I was a bit upset and paced the floor in frustration, trying to find a better way to explain his problem to me.
At first, he tried to tell me that the fight wasn't his fault. I impatiently reminded him, "I've always heard it takes two to start a fight!"
"Well, you said not to look for trouble and never to run away from trouble. Isn't that what you told me?" Mark was still trying to win my sympathy vote, but I wasn't quite ready to give in yet. I told him I wasn't telling him to run away, but that these shirts didn't grow on fence posts!
Suddenly, he apologized. He lightened up a little also. I think I was more frustrated at the situation - not at him. I knew it couldn't be helped this time, and I was a boy once also. "Best thing, son, is for you to stay clear of Jeff," I advised him lightly.
But that made Mark upset all over again. He said that Jeff wouldn't stay clear of him - he kept getting more like that all the time, mean and hateful. Mark asked me why he was like that. "Don't you know?"
"You mean because we won't let his Pa cut my hair?" Mark asked suddenly.
I couldn't keep the chuckle from my voice. Children were so innocent! I told him that Jeff would be fighting half the kids in North Fork if that were the case. Mark was still upset that he was the only one being picked on. "He keeps on telling me how I'm no better than he is."
"Well, your not," I stated sternly.
As I sewed Mark's shirt, I allowed Mark to talk, working his anger out through his own words. This helped him put the pieces together to understand the problem better. He suddenly stated that he acted like he was jealous. I simply agreed with him and allowed Mark to work through his thoughts some more. "You think maybe it's his Pa?"
Mark wanted to know why Mr. Barrows was the way he was. I tried my best to put it in simple terms that he could understand. "Well son, the way it's been said to me...Everybody in this life looks for something, and everybody looks in a different place."
Mark understood what I was getting out. "Mr. Barrows...he just looks in a bottle, huh?"
Meanwhile, in town the subject of our conversation was in his barber shop getting drunk. Jeff came in from his fight with Mark to see three men waiting in the barber shop. He went to the back where they lived and told Sam that he had customers. Unfortunately, Sam was drinking and not paying attention, but he did notice that Jeff was all roughed up. He asked Jeff what happened, and Jeff commented, "I'm gonna lick that Mark McCain someday!"
Sam reminded Jeff that fighting with mark wasn't going to make him as good as me. "You're nothing because I'm nothing. We're just nothing folks, that's how it is!"
Sam finally went to see who his customers were. Sully, Doke, and Lafe were out there waiting to talk to him. Sully did the talking, telling Sam that he saw Jeff and Mark out on the street fighting. Then he tried to tell him that I was the reason they were fighting - because I was encouraging it, telling Mark we were better then they were. "He's acting like that on account of his Pa." The way Sully talked to Sam was intimidating and threatening. He started sharpening Sam's razor, making it clear that Sam would do what he asked him to do.
You know what he asked him to do? To stand up against me. He tired to tell Sam that it was because Mark was mistreating Jeff. Sam was frightened and stated he couldn't stand against me. That's when Sully put the razor to his throat and stated, "Would you rather stand against us, barber? Did I hear you say you were going to do something?" Sam nodded, agreeing to do it.
Later that night, I was getting ready to cut Mark's hair, and as usual he was none too happy about it! He started in again on wanting to get his hair cut in town like me, and I told him he was welcome to if he could afford it. But though he had thought about planting more beans to sell, he was a typical boy and never got around to doing it.
Suddenly, there was a knock on our door. It was Sam Barrows. As soon as he saw that I was about to cut mark's hair, he asked me if that wasn't a little out of my line. "Well, isn't night riding a little out of your line?" I asked.
Then he looked at Mark. "Why doesn't Pa bring you into me sometime?"
"Well, I can't afford it," Mark answered sarcastically.
Suddenly, Sam wanted to talk to me, indicating I should send Mark out of the room. But I had a feeling it had something to do with the boys, and I reminded Sam that I didn't keep things from Mark. That's when Sam explained exactly what he wanted. He put it something like this. He and Jeff didn't hold as close as Mark and I, and he wanted to gain his boy's respect. So, he had an idea on maybe how to get that respect. He wanted me to come into town. Then he would tell me that he didn't like my boy roughing up his, and if I didn't stop putting him up to it, he'd go gunning for me. Then all I had to do was back away.
I'd be lying if I said his request didn't surprise me. It did, and I couldn't help but to think there was more to his request then he was saying. But I had to tell him the truth. People would think we were both crazy. Everyone knew Sam couldn't stand a chance against me, and he was stupid enough to even try fighting against me.
The whole conversation had me worried. Mark said he knew I wouldn't do as he asked, but I barely heard him. I was trying to figure out what could be going on with Sam! I knew there was something seriously wrong. "What about my haircut?" Mark asked as he saw me sit down to think. I told him we would take care of it tomorrow. "I've got school tomorrow,"
I didn't know that I wanted Mark to go to school tomorrow, not if things were really as bad as I felt they were, and not until I had a chance to assess this situation just a bit further to see exactly what was going on. So I announced to Mark that he would stay home from school and give Jeff the chance to cool off; and he could go into town with me tomorrow afternoon so he could get that store-bought hair cut.
True to my word, Mark and I rode into town the next afternoon as school was getting out. Jeff ran in to announce that we had just come into town. Sully knew I'd be in and immediately handed Sam his gun belt, but all Sam wanted was another drink.
When I got into town, I saw Micah standing outside, and I teased him, asking if he didn't have any work today. "I'm working," Micah suddenly announced.
Then I saw them. Two men were sitting outside Sam Barrow's barber shop, and by the look of things, they had been sitting out there all day. Something told me something was wrong. Seeing them, combined with Sam's visit last night didn't sit easy with me. Micah stated they weren't giving any trouble - they've just been sitting there. There was another one inside.
Now I was really curious. I told Micah we were heading inside Sam's place because Mark needed a hair cut as usual. "I thought you cut his hair," Micah stated.
I didn't really want to get into this with Micah or anyone else right now. I just wanted to know what was going on. So I merely stated, "I do."
I started toward the barber shop when Sam suddenly came out followed by another stranger and his son. He ordered me to stay where I was. I wasn't completely surprised after what happened last night, and I calmly explained to him that Mark just needed a haircut. "Not here," Sam answered. "I ain't cutting no McCain hair!"
I silently assessed the situation, looking past Sam at the other three men. Something was very wrong here, and I needed to figure this out. "What's more, I ain't got no taste for looking at ya!" Sam was really playing his bad guy act up! He told me I better be gone in ten minutes.
Sam moved his eyes toward the three men, which silently told me there was a problem - a big problem!
Now wasn't the time to figure this out. I needed to think on this, and I didn't like Mark being there. So without another word, I motioned for Mark to leave. I didn't have to look at Mark to know that he was quite surprised at my reaction, but there was nothing I could do or say about this situation at the moment. I just had to think on it. Without saying a word, I climbed onto the seat and left for home.
Micah just stood there, completely confused at what was going on.
That night, Sam tried to sneak out to see me again, but Sully was onto him and stopped him. He let Sam know exactly what the plan was. They were going to kill me, and if Sam tried to stop it, they would kill him too. Sam wanted to know why they wanted to kill me. Sully knew exactly what he was doing when he talked to Sam. They were planning on taking over the town, and Sam would be considered a respectable citizen after that. He said that Sam's boy would be bursting with pride. That made Sam change his mind about coming to talk to me.
Meanwhile, at the ranch I had sent Mark to bed. But from the living room, I could hear him stirring around. I decided to go in and check on him to see if there was something keeping him awake. I knew there was something wrong the moment I looked into his eyes. "It's warm," Mark tried to explain.
But I knew it was more then that. "It's hard to sleep sometimes when it's warm," I agreed. Then I tried to get him to open up. "Hard to talk sometimes too." I said it gently, but the firmness was in my voice.
Mark knew he wouldn't sleep until he talked about it. "I've been thinking," he stated.
I had a feeling I knew what he had been thinking about, but I wanted to hear what he had to say. And it would be a lot easier to get to the bottom of his problem if he had to look into my eyes while we talked. "Well, a little light might help. Can't always see things straight in the dark."
I hadn't gotten the lamp lit before he began talking. "What do you reckon folks will think about...well, about you backing away from Mr. Barrows?"
I knew it had something to do with that. I also knew Mark hadn't expected me to back down. "Well, the way I figure it, son...My friends will understand and the rest don't count." Mark didn't say anything. I could see the question in his eyes, and I firmly stated, "Sometimes it's harder to back away, son."
Still, I knew there was something else. He had seen me back off before and had gotten over the shock. Mark commented that I was a better shot then he was, and I simply agreed. That's when we got down to the real reason for his worry. "It wasn't because of the other three men?"
Aha! That's what this was all about. "You been lying awake over that?" I asked. I had tried to keep quiet about my figuring out what was going on, but Mark had noticed those three men and was afraid I was scared of them.
"Well, I was wondering. The way it looked, you-" Mark started.
But I wouldn't even allow him to finish that thought! "It wasn't on account of the others, Mark," I firmly stated.
Mark smiled then. He was relieved. "I didn't think it was," he stated. I let him have that. I knew he didn't like thinking what he had been thinking. And looking into my eyes, he knew I wasn't afraid of them.
I told Mark that I was going to figure out the next day exactly what was going on. But I reminded him that he had school the next day and needed to get to sleep. So I tucked him in and blew out the lamp since he didn't need it.
The next morning, I had to hurry Mark off to school, as usual. Mark hurried out to his horse, and I told him to tell Miss Adams that I kept him out on purpose yesterday. Mark suddenly tried to take advantage of my concern for him, by suggesting that I keep him out one more day. That boy! I told him that I didn't think that was necessary, but I wanted him to stay away from Jeff. "And no fighting, you hear? You walk away if you have to!" I ordered him sternly. Then I told him to meet me at Micah's.
The next day Micah went in for a shave. He came over to see what was going on. He hinted to Sam that he should talk to him about what was going on. Sam was nervous, and kept looking at Sully. Micah knew there was something wrong, and said he'd talk to me for him. "You got some kind of trouble, Sam?" Micah knew the answer and wanted Sam to own up to it. Micah reminded him that I had a lot of friends.
Suddenly, Sully told Micah that Sam had a lot of friends too. "Not the number nor the quality," Micah answered bluntly.
Micah was finishing up in the barber shop when I rode into town. Sam suddenly froze up and Micah knew there was something wrong. Sully stood up from the chair and stared at me.
After Micah left, Sully ordered Sam to come out and make me fight, but he was afraid. They wanted me dead, then the Marshal dead. "You're just gonna make it legal," Sully informed Sam.
Sam knew I wouldn't draw against him. Then Sully stated he would have to draw on me. That's when Sam understood what they were planning - they would have three guns trained on me, and they would kill me one way or the other. Then Micah would be killed the same way. "That's murder!" Sam shouted. "You say it so easy, and it's murder!"
Sam couldn't do it. But Sully used the worst weapon no father could stand against - his son. Sully asked him if he wanted his boy to be next. That's when Sam knew he had no choice.
I went to talk to Micah about the situation, and he agreed with me that those three were in on it. I was concerned about them doing this - other folks would be itching to try me out if I kept having to back down on Sam. I decided to stay clear of Sam.
But then something else happened, and I knew that things had gone far enough. Mark ran in all dirtied up. He had taken quite the beating. I gave him an annoyed look, but Mark explained, "Well, I'm sorry! I tried to walk away, but sometimes it just don't work!" Mark shouted.
I knew now just how serious this was. Sometimes you just couldn't back away from these things. I knew I had to get to the bottom of this problem!
Jeff ran into the barber shop to brag about beating up my boy, but he stopped when he saw Sam strapping on his gun. He was excited, stating he had to see this. But Sam ordered him inside as he made his way outside to take care of business.
I went outside to face Sam. I couldn't let Mark keep getting hurt because of a problem between Sam and me. It was time to put an end to this - for all of us.
I watched Sully walk out the door and get into position. I knew the situation was bad. Then I watched Sam walk out, his guns strapped on. "Hold it Sam! I want to talk to you!" I shouted, hoping we could settle this problem.
But Sam stepped off his porch and began walking towards me, never saying a word. "It's not the kids! It's us. We can straighten it out, Sam!" I shouted.
I saw the three men in position and knew something was going on. But Sam continued walking towards me. I did not want to shoot him. "Sam, don't do anything foolish!" I advised him, trying to figure out what was going on.
Sam continued walking towards me, never stopping and never saying a word. I watched closely. The closer he got, the more concerned I became. I finally cocked my rifle as a warning and raised it, hoping that would scare him, but he continued walking, his hand in the position to draw his gun.
But he never drew. He walked up to me. I watched him, knowing there was more going on them his drawing on me. He was much too close for that now. "Lucas," Sam finally said. "Lucas, they're gonna kill you!" I suddenly jumped into action. "Lucas!" he cried as a gun went off.
Sam went down, struck by a bullet from Sully's gun.
I immediately fired my rifle. Bang! And killed Sully.
The other two men suddenly jumped out to kill me, but I didn't even let them get a shot out. Bang! Bang! Bang! Ban Bang! Bang! Bang!
They were both dead. The problem was over...almost. I was kneeling beside Sam and I turned to check on him. Mark came over to check on Sam and I told him to get the doctor.
Just then, Jeff came running from the barber shop, screaming for his Pa. "Pa, I just wanted you to be somebody, but I don't care, Pa!"
I gently laid a hand on Jeff. "It's alright, son. He is somebody," I answered. Though I didn't understand everything he had done at the time, I knew that Sam had risked his life to save me, and probably hadn't much expected to come out of it alive. That made him a special somebody - a hero...my hero.
piddlin' stuff.....Whit Bissell appeared in four episodes ― The Patsy as Sam Barrows the Barber, the man who Sully Hobbs and his gang were terrorizing ― The Fourflusher as Gabe Fenway, the sharecropper for local landlord Preston, who plans to run his quarter horse Sapphire in a local horse race ― The Hangman as Volney Adams who is accused of killing Eban Muchen ― Long Gun from Tucson as Henry Waller, the Gunsmith who was scared to face Holliver and his men.
John Anderson appeared in eleven episodes ― Shotgun Man as John Beaumont, he was the man that wanted revenge on Lucas for sending him to jail ― Shivaree as Chet Packard, he was the one who Derek shot in the leg ― The Hawk as Ely Flack, he was the man who was looking for Walt Hake/Reed Young ― The Journey Back as Will Temple, he was the man who had the scare on his face ― Day of the Hunter as Cass Callicott, the famous frontiersman, trapper, scout, buffalo hunter, one of the old original mountain men ― Mail Order Groom as Jess Profit, he was who slapped Isabel across the face ― The Retired Gun as Owny, he was the one who threw the coin on the ground ― Face of Yesterday as Hank Clay, the mean step-father ― Incident at Line Shack Six as Gangling, he was the one who killed Charley Breen ― The Patsy as Sully Hobbs ― Old Man Running aka The Wanted Man as Samuel Gibbs, Mark's Grandpa, Lucas' father-in-law.
We saw him so much on The Rifleman that you would have thought of him as part of the family. Come to think of it, he was part of the family. Do you remember which episode that was?
Don Grady appeared in two episodes ― The Patsy as Jeff Barrows, the boy that kept trying to beat up our Mark ― Heller as David Chase, he's the boy that stole the gun from Hattie's store to kill his stepfather.
"How many of the Mouseketeers appeared on The Rifleman?"
Dennis Cross appeared in six episodes ― The Safe Guard as Witcherly ― The Gaucho as Ned Dunnell, he was killed by Manolo for like his sister - The Hero as Dorn, the gunslinger in charge ― The Vision as Fance Degnan. He was the cowboy by the wagon that laughed when Mark told Hazel he thought she was pretty ― Martin in The Quiet Fear. He was the cowboy who attacked Abby Striker in the barn ― The Patsy as Lafe Oberly, a member of Doke's gang.
Steven Marlo appeared in four episodes ― The Patsy as Doke Marvin, one of Sully Hobbs' gang ― The Hero as The Domino Kid, he was the one that Colly Vane shot in the back ― The Assailants as Sgt. Will is the one who confronted Micah in the telegraph office ― The Anvil Chorus as Stagg the cowboy who said he wouldn't give his guns to nobody.
Robert H. Robinson has appeared in thirteen episodes ― The Safe Guard ― Duel of Honor ― New Orleans Menace ― The Gaucho ― The Pet ― The Photographer ― The Mind Reader ― The Patsy ― Legacy ― Shotgun Man ― Day of Reckoning ― Suspicion ― Hostage to Fortune. He played a townsmen in all these episodes except one and that is Duel of Honor as as John Bradley, a passenger on the stage.
Whitey Hughes was a well known and respected stuntman, he appeared in twenty-seven episodes of The Rifleman and still counting. Whitey had over a 50-year career as a stuntman and stunt coordinator, he has been praised as one of the top stuntman in Hollywood. Whitey was the best of the best!
Bloopers - The Patsy
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?
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The Mind Reader
around The McCain Ranch