"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
It was in another town…another place – not my town, and not my problem. A man was taking bets - $50…$75, when suddenly a man in the corner called to the stranger, commenting that he seemed set on giving away some money that day. He told the stranger that “that boy of his” looks like he should be back on the farm. The stranger challenged him to bet. “I don’t bet,” he answered as he slowly stood up. “Now, you go get your boy. I’m tired of waiting.”
But before he went out the door, the other men began teasing and making fun of his boy. They didn’t think he was much…The stranger went up to Ruben. They weren’t going to stay here, no matter how nice of a town Ruben thought it was. “Forget it, we’ll ride on to North Fork. You’ll like it even better,” Scully stated angrily.
Ruben grabbed Scully and turned him around. “Did someone say somethin’ bout me again?” But Scully told him to never mind. Ruben demanded to know who had said it. Scully pointed the man out. He insisted Scully give him his gun.
Ruben shot and killed him. Scully ran up to him. “Now you done it!” he declared. “Now get out of here as fast as you can. I’ll try to fix it and then catch up with you on the road to North Fork.”
Scully went to collect the money he had riding on a bet.
It was soon another day. North Fork was holding it’s annual turkey shoot, and of course Mark and I were right there joining in on the fun. The announcer got up to introduce the contest to us. He explained that each man was allowed five rapid shots at the target, and the prize was a bran new twelve gauge model shotgun. There were lots of excited voices from the audience who would love to win it.
Including Mark. “Sure is a mighty handsome looking shotgun,” he stated. “Bet anyone would like to own it.”
Yeah, I knew exactly what he meant. All I had to do was look at the excitement in his eyes! “
“Meaning you,” I stated.
“Well sure,” Mark answered innocently. “Well, I mean it would be good for huntin’ and such.”
I agreed it would at that, if he was old enough to use it. I didn’t have any use for it. “But since that salesman is so anxious to give it away, Maybe I…I’ll get lucky and win it for ya'.”
Mark got excited at that. I looked into his eyes as I listened to my son’s excited voice. “You mean you’ll give me the shotgun?”
“Oh, I haven’t won it yet,” I reminded him. “But if I do, you’ll get it when you’re old enough to use it!”
The contest started. I walked over and told Micah I’d give it a try.
"Lucas boy, looks like your gonna have a run for your money. There's been quite a few good shots come in from out of town to win this shoot," My own best friend warned me.
I patted my boy on the shoulder. "Well, Mark's kinda got an eye on that shotgun, so I guess that kinda puts me on the spot, huh?”
Several men shot – there were several that were good. As I walked up to the line, I put my gloves on. “Lucas McCain,” I announced proudly. Then I put my rifle in the position and got ready for the go-ahead. I fired five fast shots. All five were in the center.
It was down to three of us. The target was moved back five paces. The two men, Scully and Ruben, had just ridden to town. Scully asked Micah how much the winner got. “No cash prize. Just that fine shotgun over there,” Micah answered.
Ruben wanted his gun to shoot, but Scully stated it wasn’t worth the trouble.
The first shooter got four in-one out.
The second guy, “Black hat Murphy,” got all five in the center.
I was last. I fired five quick shots from my rifle. As I waited to start, I said to Mark, “That’s mighty fine shootin’, son.” That’s what I had said when we rode into North Fork two years ago.
Mark looked at me confidently. “Just try, Pa,” he stated. I have a feeling this time it was going to be easier to win! I fired five quick shots.
"Five all in - no wider then a nickel! Dead center!" I won the rifle. Mark was excited.
Ruben told Scully that he could have won. “You might get a chance…later,” Scully stated.
Mark and I decided to eat lunch at the hotel. Mark was done eating and anxiously asked to be excused. I gave him permission, and he started to pick up the rifle I had won for him earlier. “Where you going with that?” I asked him sternly. He told me he was just going outside with it – he wanted to show it off to some of his friends. “Alright, but don’t stray off too far, huh?” I warned him. I smiled. That boy was mighty proud of his new rifle!
Ruben saw Mark leave and followed him outside. I was enjoying my pie when Jack Scully came up to me and commented that I was awful good with my rifle. He introduced himself. “Mind if I sit down for a minute?” I don’t know why he asked, because by the time he finished asking the question he was seated.
I gave me a sly smile and leaned forward. “Seems I’ve heard of a man around these parts who built quite a reputation for himself with a rifle. You him?”
I didn’t much appreciate the way he was asking that question. “If I’ve got a reputation, it’s not because I went around looking for it,” I answered him.
“Maybe not, but,” he smiled slyly again. “When one of those young gunnys come running into town, I bet you want to show him how fast you really are, don’t ya'?”
“No I don’t. I take no pleasure in gun fighting,” I answered sternly.
“Really, Mr. McCain?”
“Really, Mr. Scully. I can’t tolerate the kind of man who does, especially the kind that like to watch it!” I had only met this man seconds ago, but I was beginning to understand the kind of man he was!
"Sometimes a man can't avoid a fight.” He looked me up and down. “If he's a man "Good day Mr. McCain." There was something about him I just didn't like. He seemed smug.
Mark sure was enjoying his rifle! He was out in front of Micah’s office pretending to be shooting at ducks. Ruben came up from behind him. “You gotta lead those ducks!” he declared to Mark.
Mark turned to talk to Ruben. He had been admiring the shotgun Mark had – he’d seen me win it for him. “Were you watching?” Mark asked, proud of me.
“Mighty fine shootin’,” Rubin stated. “Course there are some a might better.”
You can’t convince Mark of that though. “My Pa’s the best shot there is!” But then he added, “Least ways, I’ve never seen the man who’s better!”
Mark let Ruben hold it. He sure liked it – thought it was a mighty fine shooting peace. He told Mark he’d have a rifle once. “Did your Pa let you use it when you were my age?” Mark asked suddenly. He had been asking me for permission to use a gun for several years now.
“My Pa taught me with it, taught me good! Ain't no man say anything against me unlessen he comes up against my gun," Reuben declared.
“Well, but you aren’t wearing a gun.” He handed Mark the rifle back and told him it was too dangerous.
Just then, I walked up to them. Mark introduced me to the man he was talking to – Ruben Miles was his name. He told me he had been admiring my shooting prize. I thanked him, then asked Mark to go get the wagon so we could start loading it.
Mark ran off to obey. “That’s a mighty fine boy you got there, Mr. McCain!” Ruben complimented me. I thanked him and started to leave. “You got work to be done?” I told him we had to pick up some supplies from the General Store.
"I can lift three hundred pounds, picked up a horse once. Want me to show you?" He walked over to a horse and started to show me. I quickly stopped him, assuring him that wasn’t necessary. I thanked him and walked off, smiling all the way. But he followed me, stating it would be a pleasure to help me.
Scully had almost every betting man in town at the saloon. He was trying to set some bets. He was planning on setting up a gunfight between me and Ruben and wanted bets on who would live. The men thought I was the best gun in these parts. They didn’t know anything about Ruben. Scully was more then happy to let them back me. “McCain’s no neighbor of mine, or any of us for that matter,” one of them men commented. They had just come into North Fork for the shoot.
But some of them had heard about the shootout Ruben had been involved in earlier. They still wanted to back me. “How you gonna get McCain to a showdown? He ain’t no gunfighter!” one of the men declared.
Scully smiled. “Don’t worry, just leave that to me.”
Then one man held up his money. “$200 says McCain is the better man!” They gave their money to the bartender to hold. Everybody followed suit.
Meanwhile, Mark and I were loading our supplies. Oh, and Ruben was there helping. He sure was a big, strong man! He put a 100 pound sack of potatoes in the back of our wagon without any problem. “Why, you’re the strongest man I ever saw, Ruben!” Mark declared. Ruben just brushed off the compliment.
I told Mark to tell Millie we’d be back in on Friday – I had to go see the harness maker.
Just then Scully came up to Ruben. "What do you mean talking to McCain," he asked Ruben..
"Well I'd say he's a pretty nice feller, and his boy there too," Ruben answered.
That’s when Scully started stirring up trouble between the two of us. “Oh, you would! And you think he likes you – he’s been saying things behind your back!” Ruben didn’t understand. Scully motioned him away from the others. “I had a few words with McCain in the dining room .after you left.”
“Oh, he wouldn’t!” Ruben declared. “Why he and Mark are mighty friendly towards me.”
“That’s because he’s afraid of ya'. He’s afraid you’ll make him answer for what he said.” Ruben didn’t want to believe it, but he suddenly stopped Scully and asked him if it was true. “He told me to keep moving, they don’t want us in town!” Ruben still didn’t want to believe it – he thought Scully was fooling him. “He called you a dirty half breed, is that fooling?” He grabbed Ruben’s gun and belt from inside his jacket and shoved it into Ruben’s hands. “I thought you should start wearing this in town.” He told Ruben he wanted to open a saloon in this town.
“Maybe we will,” Ruben stated. “After I settle with McCain!”
I was just a little surprised to find people standing along the street when I came out. I looked around curiously, but didn’t see any trouble. I told Mark we needed to get home and thanked Ruben for his help. But as I started to put my rifle in front, Ruben stated, “You’re gonna be needing that rifle, McCain!”
I was a little surprised, to say the least. Just moments before this man was as friendly as could be. I turned and looked at him, suddenly puzzled by his words. “What did you say?” He mentioned my rifle again. “What’s troubling you, Ruben?” I was concerned.
“You had me fooled, you did!” he declared. “But you can’t go talking behind my back.” His voice was angry, and I was totally confused!
“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I stated. “Maybe you better explain.”
"Own up McCain!" Ruben yelled.
“To what?” I yelled back. All the men began gathering in closer to watch. “Either you get your rifle or I’m gonna stop you where you stand!” he warned me then.
I took a step towards him and looked him straight in the eye. “What’s the matter with you?”
Ruben began taking off his gun belt. “I won’t be needing this.”
“Well good.” Thinking it was over, I turned to get on the wagon and go home. But suddenly Ruben grabbed me and turned me around. He delivered a hard punch, which landed me flat on my back. Mark was shocked. Ruben told me to get up and fight.
That was it! It was time I taught this boy a lesson! I gave him a hard punch, then swung him around and sent him into the crowd, knocking down one of the observers. Then we rolled around on the ground. We both finally got back on our feet and I began punching him. I punched him several times before Micah ran out and shot his gun, stopping any more fighting.
“Now who started this?” I just continued staring at Ruben as I gasped for breath. “Well, speak up!” Micah ordered.
“If he does anymore talking about me, he better have that rifle next time!” Ruben gave me an ugly stare. Then he walked off.
I began brushing the dirt off of me. Micah wanted to know what this was all about, but I had no idea! Micah decided I should come down to his office and get cleaned up.
Ruben and Scully were talking on in front of the hotel. Ruben wanted to know if they were leaving. Scully declared that they weren’t going to be pushed out of another town. He was going to get them a room in the hotel. He shoved the gun belt toward Ruben. “Put this on and wear it.” He looked around. “Now, if McCain gives you any more trouble, you’re big enough to take care of yourself!”
As I got cleaned up, Micah was trying to figure out what Ruben was talking about. “I don’t know Micah,” I stated as I took the towel to dry myself off with. “Ruben seemed friendly enough a few minutes before. Then he came up looking to pick a fight.” Micah recognized Ruben’s name. He had gotten a letter on him – he’s a young gunfighter making quite a reputation for himself. He wasn’t wanted – you couldn’t call it murder when he outdraws a man. He was a dead shot though.
“Soft as pie one minute, and dead shot the next,” I mumbled. I wondered how much Scully had to do with this. “You know, he could have primed Ruben for this fight. What I’d like to know is why?”
The men in the saloon had been waiting for Ruben to show up. When they saw him coming, they started talking about him, trying to make him mad. One of the men at the table started talking as if he didn’t know Ruben was standing behind him – he was talking about how lucky Ruben was that I hadn’t picked up my rifle. “The way I hear it, that youngster…he can’t hit a barn door at twenty feet!”
The men all started laughing. Ruben suddenly declared that it wasn’t so. He warned them about talking behind a man’s back. “No offense, now. I was just wondering how good you really were.” The mouthy stranger wanted Ruben to show them how good he really was. Ruben wasn’t so sure it was a good idea, but the stranger kept egging him on.
They laughed, but suddenly Ruben fired a shot. The black hated stranger looked at his cigar and found that the end had been shot off. All the men were surprised. He fired another shot. “Yeah. You’re good. I’d say you’re real good! You’re better then McCain any day of the year!”
They would be a fool to bet against him. They laughed at him some more. Then one of them through the Ace of Spades up in the air and told him to shoot it. He did – dead center.
Suddenly Scully came in. He ordered Ruben to go up to the hotel room and wait for him. Some of the men started calling off their bets. They no longer wanted to bet on me; and they doubted I’d ever fight anyhow.
Scully got mad and told them they couldn’t do that. But Micah suddenly came in and told Scully he wanted a word with him.
"What's on your mind Marshal?" Scully asked with that same smug smile of his after they were outside.
"Get out of town and take that boy with you.,” Micah demanded
“Woooooo…Now, I know my rights, Marshal. We haven’t done anything wrong.”
But Micah disagreed. "You've been trying to engineer a fight between Reuben and Lucas McCain. You've been taking bets on it." He told Micah he hadn't done anything against the law, so Micah couldn’t do anything.. "Maybe not now, but if that boy gets into another fight I'll call him a menace to society and throw him in jail. That goes for you too Scully. I mean what I say!"
Scully was no longer smiling as Micah turned and walked away. He had to come up with another plan – a final plan. He hurried back into the saloon. “Alright, the bet’s off!” he announced. He said Ruben was more trouble then he was worth. He began calling Ruben a big dumb farmhand. “I almost wish I had bet on McCain!”
Scully went back into the saloon. He told them the bets were off. He called Reuben a big dumb farmer and he wished he had bet on McCain. "Just a minute Scully, your not saying you'd bet against your boy, are ya'?"
“He’s not my boy, not anymore. If you want him you can have him!” Scully announced.
"Alright then, how about you givin' us Reuben and backin' McCain yourself?" Black hat Murphy suggested this.
Scully pretended to think about it. "Alright, it'll be a pleasure," Scully announced. His plan had worked.
After he settled his problem down in the saloon, Scully made his way to the hotel room. He quietly opened the door to the room and was pleased to find Ruben sleeping. That would give him opportunity to put the second part of his plan together. He quietly took Ruben’s gun and lodged a small splinter of wood in the trigger so that he wouldn’t be able to shoot it. After he put the gun back in it’s holster he slammed the door to wake Ruben up.
Ruben bolted up on the side of the bed. He noticed Scully was upset and asked him what was wrong. “It’s McCain, he’s been saying things again!” He angrily slapped his hat up on the peg. He hurried over to the bed and sat down next to Ruben. “Ruben, he wants us to get out and now he’s got the Marshal on his side. You had your chance – why did you let it go?”
Ruben was tired of all this – he thought that he should leave since it was him they didn’t want. “I guess I’ll go live somewhere where there ain’t no folks! Just me alone. Maybe I’ll get me another dog. My dog, he just took me like I was. Maybe I ain’t fit to live with other folks.”
But that wasn’t in Scully’s plan. He had to convince Ruben to fight me. He reminded Ruben that he was all alone when he had found him. “I know, Jack. You’re the only friend I’ve got in the whole, wide world!” Ruben stated. “Why, if it weren’t for you, I don’t know what would befall me.”
Scully told Ruben he was like family to him. “That’s why it makes me so mad when I hear a man like McCain talking against you.” Ruben didn’t understand why everyone made fun of him. But Ruben didn’t like killing. “McCain has got to die!” Scully declared in an evil voice. “You should have heard what he said about your mother!”
Ruben stated his mother was only part Cherokee, and it didn’t matter to his father. “To men like McCain it does!”
He hurried up to a doubtful Ruben and grabbed him. “You should have heard him, Ruben. He said that kids is nothing but a dirty half breed!” Ruben reached for his gun belt. “A dirty half breed!” Scully shot out again.
As Ruben strapped on his gun, Scully assured him he had checked the gun already.
Ruben headed out the door to come gunning for me.
Mark and I were attempting to leave town again. But we sure didn’t get very far!
"McCain!” Ruben hollered. I stopped the horses. He ran in front of them and grabbed them so I couldn’t move. “McCain. You ain't gonna run out on me. You've been talkin' about me again McCain!"
I was getting tired of this! "Scully, you better call off your boy!" I warned.
But he tried to tell me the fight was between me and Ruben. Yeah, in a pig’s eye it was! Marshal declared that there would be no gunfighting in this town. Ruben told Micah he’d hate to kill him too.
I jumped off the wagon and grabbed my rifle. “Ruben, do you know that your friend Scully has been making bets on this gunfight?” I asked him. Of course he wouldn’t believe me.
Suddenly, Micah came up to me. He told me Scully had changed his bet – he put all his money on me. I turned and stared at Micah. I knew what that meant – Ruben was supposed to die, and Scully would make darn sure he would!
I suddenly turned my attention back to Ruben. Then I pretended to check my rifle. "Alright Reuben. I'm gonna check my rifle first. I'd advise you to do the same thing."
"Jack's already checked my gun."
I looked up and stared at Ruben. "Jack’s already checked it." I repeated. I motioned for Micah to get out of my way. "Alright Reuben, you got your gun fight."
"Make your play McCain."
I acted like I was drawing on him. He drew and tried to shoot, but his trigger was jammed. “Jack checked your gun, huh, Ruben?” I asked. “You better have a look at it. Reuben took the piece of wood out of the trigger. "You see, I couldn't loose, Ruben, because your friend Scully was betting on me.”
Ruben suddenly turned to Scully. "And you wouldn’t let me check my gun! You said you already checked it!"
Ruben was angry. He was so angry, that Scully was scared of him. He began backing up as he spoke. "Now Reuben, you know I wouldn't do anything like that," said Scully. "They are all lying to you. Reuben, trust me,” he begged. “Please trust me." He yelled these last words as he started to draw a gun on Ruben. But Ruben saw him drawing and immediately shot him
He killed Scully.
Mark watched from atop the wagon as Ruben walked over to me and Micah. "He never really liked me. He just used me."
Micah assured Ruben Scully wouldn’t use him anymore, then he walked him over to the jail to get his statement.
"I'm sorry Mr. McCain."
I started to get up on the wagon seat beside Mark, but my son’s words stopped me. He held out the shotgun to me. "Here Pa, you keep it." His voice was desperate, and I could tell he was on the edge of tears.
"Why?" I asked, trying to understand his sudden change.
"You told me I couldn't use it till I was old enough. I didn't understand before but now I do."
I took the rifle from him. "Alright Mark, I'll keep it, until you think your ready for it." I knew he had made a mature decision, and the next time he asked, he’d be ready.
"I guess it's good sense, not age that makes the difference.”
"Well, your getting smarter all the time." I climbed up onto the wagon. "Let's go home."
piddlin' stuff.....Denny Miller played Reuben Miles. He's the big guy who could lift a horse.
Dabbs Greer is one of your most well known character actors. He has been in the business for over five decades. He has appeared in The Rifleman eight times ― Outlaw's Inheritance as Marcus Trimble, the lawyer from Santa Fe ― Boomerang as Sam Elder, the elderly gentleman who was about to loose his ranch ― Panic as Brett, the towns trouble maker ― The Jailbird as Farley Weaver, the man just released from prison ― The Promoter as Jack Scully, the man who was taking bets on Reuben Miles ― The Wyoming Story (1 & 2) as Finny and The Stand-In as Taylor, one of the prison guards.
Robert F. Hoy appeared in three episodes ― Woman from Hog Ridge as Lester Boyle, one of Ma Boyle's boys, he was the one steeling the horse from the livery stable that Lucas shot ― The Promoter as Dabbs, the cowboy Ruben shot and killed him in the beginning of the episode ― Which Way'd They Go? as one of Wade's gang.
Jack Lester played Black Hat Murphy. He's the man who Lucas beat in the sharpshooter contest.
Ollie O'Toole as John Crabtree, one of the as one of the townsmen.
He has been on Gunsmoke quite a bit. Mostly as a telegrapher, but not always.
George Sowards appeared in six episodes ― The Sharpshooter as a barfly ― The Fourflusher as one of the townsmen ― The Promoter as a boxing spectator ― The Clarence Bibs Story as one of the townsmen ― The Queue as one of the townsmen ― End of the Hunt as one of the townsmen ― Which Way'd They Go? as one of the townsmen.
George Bruggeman appeared five episodes of The Rifleman ― The Coward as one of Ben Smith's cowhand
― Seven as one of the seven prisoners ― The Promoter as a spectator at the shooting match ― Miss Bertie as a Barfly ― The Mescalero Curse as the Hangman.
The '7' Prisoners
Phil Schumacher as a boxing spectator.
John Rice appeared in a total of eight episodes, seven episodes as a Townsman and one as a barfly. ― Day of the Hunter ― A Case of Identity ― The Fourflusher ― The Promoter ― Miss Bertie as a barfly ― The Wyoming Story ― Face of Yesterday - Anvil Chorus.
Clint Sharp is the cowboy in the background on the horse.
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.
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 - as one of the townsmen & 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)
more piddlin' stuff.....from Denny Miller's book: “…When I was working on The Rifleman, I had a scene to do with Chuck in the dirt street outside the town's General Store. I was playing the part of a cowboy known for his strength. Lucas and Mark were loading supplies from onto their wagon. Sacks of potatoes and flour, beef jerky — I asked if I could help, bragging that I was really strong."
In fact, I said going over to Chuck's horse and crouching down and putting my arms under the horse's belly, "I can lift your horse. Wanna see me do it?" Chuck says, "That won't be necessary!" They finished loading, got on the wagon, a slap of the reins and they rode off. A couple of more rehearsals and we're all ready to shoot the scene. "Action!" We started the scene. It is going well. We get to the part where I say, "I can lift your horse. Wanna see me do it?"
Chuck folds his arms and say, "Yep, I'd like to see you do that!" Leaving me holding his nag. He roared — Chuck, not the horse, ran in a circle and off the set where two of his baseball teammates were cracking up. Mr. Connors was having fun, He loved working, but there was always time for a relaxing chuckle.
Forty years later we worked together on a TV show called Werewolf. He was playing the Werewolf and I was a German fisherman. We worked nights in a thick fog down by San Pedro Harbor. His back hurt from years of doing fight scenes and he sat down between takes to rest his knees. I hate it when my film heroes get old. But Chuck still had the gift of laughter. You could hear it through the fog…” Didn't You Use to be What's His Name?
Bloopers - The Promoter
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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around The McCain Ranch