"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Retired Gun
As can be seen in this episode, sometimes giving up your guns for a normal life can be more challenging then giving up a normal life for guns. This is plain to see the day that Wes and Clair Carney rode into North Fork with the intentions of settling down. The moment they rode into town a trouble maker named Owny walked out of the saloon, came over to the newlyweds, and threw down a coin on the ground. “Says I’m a better man,” he stated.
Of course, this didn’t bother Wes in the least. “You oughta save your money, Owny. Then your friends could give you a good funeral,” he simply stated with a short laugh.
The fact that his wife was standing right there with him provoked Owny to suggest he was hiding behind a woman’s skirt. He will mention this fact several times before it’s all said and done, as we’ll soon see. As his wife encourages him to turn around and ignore him, Owny laughs. “You know, I don’t think it was in the deal that I had to take insults from a two bit saddle tramp!” Wes suddenly states. By the look on Owny’s face, it’s obvious he doesn’t like this remark.
Thankfully, Marshal Torrance came along and interrupted the near argument. He politely reminded Owny that he was just passing through. Owny told the Marshal he'd only come over to see his ole buddy, Wes. "You've seen him, what's keepin' you," barked Micah.
Micah then commented that Wes was straying from his usual stomping guns, and Wes stated “I didn’t hear of any law that says a man and his wife can change their address!”
Then Clair stated they weren’t looking for trouble. "We're hoping to settle here in North Fork," she explained.
Micah didn’t like this idea. “Begging your pardon, Ma’am, but I’d rather you didn’t,” he stated.
Clair assured the Marshall that Wes was giving up his guns. There would be no trouble. “Ma’am, knowing about some of the friends your husband made in the past, I’m wondering just how long he’ll be able to keep that promise,” Micah argued. Needless to say, Micah didn’t make a great first impression on the married couple!
At the ranch, I was trying to get Mark ready for school. He had apparently misplaced his toothbrush, so I was making him an old-fashioned one. Mark wasn’t too impressed with it and stated it didn’t look much like a toothbrush to him. I sternly told him it would do until I was able to get him a new one in town, then I turned to let him know he was to use it. As I was dumping the water out, a wagon pulled up. I didn’t recognize them at first, but when I did, my face broke out in a big smile.
"Clair, Clair Wheatly!" I exclaimed and hugged her.
"Only, it isn’t Wheatly any more," said Clair, "I've been Mrs. Wes Carney for almost a month." She introduced me to her husband, Wes Carney. Clair noticed Mark on the porch and moved to give him a greeting and a hug. Mark was puzzled at this stranger embracing him and I explained Clair was his mother's dearest friend. They had grown up together. “He resembles Margaret a great deal, Lucas!” she commented.
Every time I hear someone say that, it takes my breath away. I can see my wife in my son every time I look at him, but to be reminded…well, it does something to me.
I asked why they were in this neck of the woods and she told me of their wish to settle in the area. She'd had heard I was here and was hoping I could help them get settled. Clair wondered if I knew of Wes' reputation. “I’ve heard the name,” I stated honestly.
“It seems your Marshal doesn’t draw a line between one former gunfighter and another!” Wes stated. I could tell there had already been a run in between him and the Marshall.
“Well, Micah may be a little hasty in his judgment, but he’s fair if you meet him half way,” I promised. I invited them into the house to talk things over. My boy offered to water their horse while we talked.
“I guess I would have married Wes anyway. But when he said he’d take off his guns, I knew we’d both be happier,” Clair commented as we drank our coffee.
Well, I was curious to see what this former gunfighter was aiming to do with his life. Wes discussed some options that hadn’t worked out, such as a Marshall’s job. It was obvious that he had to quit because Clair wasn’t happy with it. “I guess Clair was right when she said it was just another name for doing what I’ve always done.”
I couldn’t help myself. “So you kept on being a…how do you say it…a fish out of water.” Clair immediately told me what she thought of that comment!
So, we discussed a couple of options for Wes and Clair's future. The first option I suggested was buying a farm that was for sale. It was obvious Wes had no desire to be a farmer, so that option was nixed pretty quickly. Then I announced that the feed store was for sale. Clair stated that it sounded like what they were looking for, but I personally got the impression that it was more what she was looking for. I could tell Wes was really not too keen on the idea, but after thinking about it for a moment, he agreed to give it a try. “That is, if the man doesn’t want too much for the place.”
$2,500 is his asking price,” I told him. Clair stated they had almost that much saved from when she was teaching. “Well, I’m sure Bill’s price can be horse traded.” I gave Wes one more chance to bail out of this option. “It’s not gonna be easy. Starting a new life is a tough job, especially for a man with your reputation,” I warned.
Clair stated that Wes could depend on her. I still didn’t think Wes was going to be happy, and I had my own reservations about this, but I agreed to go back to town with them and help.
While Wes and Clair were setting up shop one morning, Micah and I walked over to see how things were doing. We were really impressed. Micah spoke up then. “Wes, I owe you an apology. When you first came to town, I just sorta figured…” Micah’s words died as we watched a group of outlaws ride down the street toward us.
“Well, Morgan and Clyde Bailey,” Wes observed.
“Owny Kincaid, Jeff Wallace and…” I started.
“Phil Norton!” Micah finished. “Finer bunch of killers as you will find between here and the Kansas Line!”
I wondered what they wanted, and we found out for sure! “I told Owny I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes!” one of them stated. “Wes Carney wearing an apron!” All the outlaws sat and gawked at Wes, making fun of him.
"Alright," said Micah. "You've had your little joke now move on!"
“Oh, now that’s no way to talk to five law abiding citizens that figure on making North Fork their home!” one of the outlaws stated.
“Yeah, we maybe like to start up a business like Wes did,” Owny announced. One of the other outlaws suggested maybe a bank.
“I was afraid something like this would happen!” Micah stated. “Let one fast gun stay. Why not others?” He said this while looking strait at Wes. But Wes said that if he didn’t take the bait, maybe they’d move on.
I let Micah know how I felt about his words. "A little rough on him,” I said.
“I only said what I felt!” Micah threw at me.
“Well, he might have been a fast gun, but he never hired out to the wrong side!” I reminded him harshly.
There was no convincing Micah though. All he knew was that North Fork was a pretty good place until Wes showed up. Now we were becoming a haven for killers.
The next morning, Wes and Clair were walking across the street when the outlaws came out to ridicule him some more. As they walked down the sidewalk, the outlaws stayed in their way. Clyde blocked Wes and Clair from getting through. He lit a cigarette and made a point to harass them. “All right Clyde. Now move out of the way!” Wes demanded.
“There’s plenty room in the street, Wes!” Clyde replied.
Out of habit, Wes went for his gun only to realize it wasn’t there. More jeering took place over this. Clair spoke up then. “We can walk in the street, Wes. I don’t mind. You know what they’re trying to do. Don’t let them.”
“He ain’t wearing an apron today!” Clyde said as he walked up to the couple. “He’s hiding behind one.
Wes was getting angry. “Have you forgotten I took care of you once already?” Wes reminded Clyde.
“I ain’t forgetting nothing!” This angered Wes to the point that he reached out for a gun that was offered to him. I noticed that a gunfight was on the verge of happening and hurried up to stop it. I told Wes that someone was waiting for him in the store. “Put it away, Clyde!” I ordered. When that didn’t get the desired effect, I became a little more forceful. “Put it away!” I yelled.
"Aren't you mixin' into something that ain't none of your business," Clyde asked?
"I'd say it's the other way around.” I looked around at them. "From now on leave these folks alone," I warned!
"I ain't one for taking advice Lucas," Clyde fumed.
"Well right now I'm givin' it for nothing! Later on it might cost!" They had no idea how much it might cost them!
Later on in the store, Wes was filling an order for Mr. Moody. Mr. Moody was trying to remember what else he needed and Wes reminded him it was flower seeds. As they were looking at seeds, more trouble arrived. Mr. Moody realized they’d be trouble, so he left. They started hassling Wes even worse then before. They were tearing his store up, cutting up the seed bags, and really causing problems. Naturally, Wes couldn’t just stand around and allow people to push him around like that, so he did what any man would do – he fought back. He punched Owny right in the mouth, then ordered Clyde to “take him and get out of here!”
The outlaws were just waiting for him to start something. They grabbed him and knocked over the shelf. Then Clyde ordered the men to take him out back. “I’ve waited a long time to pay Mr. Carney all that I owe him!”
That night, Mark and I were at home. I was reading a newspaper and Mark was doing his homework. “Time you turned in, son.” I said.
“I would’ve been finished long ago if it wasn’t for this one problem!” Mark complained.
I knew math wasn’t Mark’s strong point, so I turned around to hear what the problem was. Here was the problem:
Fred has 15 cows.
John has twice as many cows as Fred had when Fred had as many cows as John has now.
How many cows has John?
I couldn’t even answer that one. So I just turned back around and said, “Well, study on it some more, son. If you can’t come up with the right answer, we’ll…uh…figure it out…together.” I was really hoping it wouldn’t come to that! I’d hate to think I couldn’t do a 10-year-old’s math problem!
Suddenly we heard a noise at the door. Both Mark and I turned toward the door. I hurried to open it and found Wes. He fell on the floor. He had obviously been beaten. I told Mark to get me some water while I hoped Wes inside. Then I sent Mark to bed. As I doctored the wounds on his back, I could tell he was really bothered. “Wes, I don’t think the welts are bothering you as much as something else,” I kindly suggested, trying to open up the way for him to talk about it.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a whipping. When I was a young pup back in Illinois, I was about as scrawny as a sapling in the desert. I had cholera as a baby and just barely made it through. I used to tag along after my ma all day long following her. The other young pups would call me about it. I’d yap back. They’d start shoving me around. I’d always wind up taking a licking until ma would come to my rescue. Ma died when I was eight. I was left practically alone, pa working early morning till late night at his print shop. So I had to face the other kids every day, knowing that nobody was gonna save my skin. When your forced to fight every day, you get pretty tough quick. Well, it wasn’t long before nobody bothered me anymore. They’d keep their distance, show me the proper respect. I grew to like it that way. So naturally, it followed for me to become a gunfighter, and a proud one. You know, all that time there was something that was missing. I was lonely. Than Clair came alone and everything changed. She’s got ways about her…sweet and kind, soft brown eyes like ma had. Now, I gave up my trade to make her happy. It’s been hard, but I owed her that much.”
I had pretty much stayed silent up to this point. But I had to cut in here. “And you think that’s really what she wants, even though it makes you miserable?”
Suddenly, there was banging on the door. Clair called out for me to let her in. She grabbed me as I opened the door. She was crying. “Lucas, is Wes here?” As she was asking, she saw Wes standing behind him. She ran up to him and hugged him. “It’s all right now. We’ve run across tougher boys then these,” Wes tried to assure her. “This time you’re gonna stay out of it. Let me handle it my own way!” Wes declared.
But Clare had already tried to do something about it. “Oh Wes! Hattie Denton saw them riding you out of town. Well, she came and told me. I took it on myself to talk to the Marshall.” Wes was obviously not happy with that. “I had to, Wes!” Clare declared. “I wanted him to know because I was afraid of what you might do.”
I figured that was the end of it then. Micah would take care of it. But Clare had more to say. “Not really, Lucas. It seems that Bailey and his friends has the whole town cowed. Even Hattie is afraid to say out loud what she told me!” Clair wanted Wes to bring up charges. She again convinced Wes to leave it to the Marshall’s office because she loved him to much to let him fight. I knew going to the Marshall wasn’t the answer. Wes needed to stand up for himself. I told them I’d go into town with them in the morning. I made up places for them to sleep.
The next morning Micah was in a tizzy. There had been trouble all night. The gang had spent the night in the Last Chance shooting up whoever got in their way. One of the boys from the Rolling R Ranch was shot and killed and Joe Logan was shot in the leg trying to get a doctor for him. Micah had tried all night to get deputies but no one was brave enough to stand up against the Bailey gang. Wes could file his complaint but it would do no good. Bailey and his gang were figuring on staying to take over the town and Micah too. Micah was on his way out to try again for deputies. "I'm counting on you Lucas," he said as he was leaving.
Suddenly, Wes tried to volunteer to be a deputy. But, before he could get the words out Clare cut him off. She reminded him there was work to do at the store. Embarrassed, he apologized and left with Clare.
Micah had no luck finding deputies. Everyone was afraid of the gang. It looked like Micah and I were alone. We needed another gun to help us with this trouble As we walked up the street, I decided to give Wes one more chance to stand up for himself and do what he needed to do. I knew that Wes wanted to be there, and I had to try to convince both him and Clare to do the right thing.
The minute I walked into that feed and grain store I could tell I was welcome by Clare. I told Wes that Micah was unable to get anymore deputies. It was just him and me. I could see the answer in Wes’s eyes, but I also knew that he didn’t want to disappoint Clare. So, as I helped them straighten up, I told them a story:
“When I was in the territories, I knew a fellow named Tom Hardesty. He was an Indian fighter, and I reckon he was one of the best. Tom was mighty proud of his reputation. But he fell in love with a girl who came out from the East and loved her like there was no tomorrow. Her condition for getting married was that he give up his trade. He did. He quit and opened a small Inn and was doing pretty good. Then one day, about twenty miles out, the mail stage was yahooed by a raiding party. When they brought the bodies in for identifying, they couldn’t tell which was which. I’ll never forget the look on Tom’s face when he stood there. You see, one of his jobs had been to scout for that mail line. Well, I didn’t see him again for quite a spell.” By this point, I was looking straight at Clare. “When I did, he was running the inn, but he wasn’t doing so good. The reason was Tom and his Mrs. were barely speaking. Seemed like he lost all his self respect. So when that happened, it was only natural that he soon lost the respect of his wife.”
Clare knew what I was trying to do, and I think it bothered her that I might be right. “That's a very pretty story Lucas. What'd you do make it up?" blasted Clare. Wes reprimanded her, but said nothing more about it. I knew I had to go.
I left it at that and headed out the door to help Micah. “Sorry to keep you out the hot son, Micah,” I apologized as we got ready to face the boys alone.
As we started down the street toward the gang, I heard a door close behind me. Turning, I saw Wes. He was strapping on his gun. I was happy to see he finally chose to join us. “Owny’s yours,” Micah told Wes. “Lucas, take the Bailey brothers.” Micah gave these orders as we continued walking slowly toward them.
Clare ran out of the store to watch. She was fearful for Wes, but he had to stand up for what was right! You could cut the tension with a knife! The street was so silent that when I cocked my rifle it could be heard all throughout town. We continued to get closer with each step. The five outlaws lined up, ready to take us on.
"Alright boys, put down your guns and surrender," Micah shouted.
“Now that you had your say, Marshal, whatcha gonna do about it?” Clyde threatened us.
A shootout could not be avoided. They drew their guns and started shooting. I did my famous roll and began shooting. We had two men down and three to go! Micah was shooting with his rifle in one hand and a gun in the other. We watched as each bad boy went down!
As Wes tried to kill Owny, he was nicked in the shoulder, but he was still able to shoot. And he did so as he took shelter behind the hitching post. With one final shot from his gun…Bang! Owny fell through the hotel door…dead! It was over. All five bad boys laid dead in the street.
Clare was quickly at his side to make sure he was all right. “Well, that’s what happens when a man decides to take off his guns. He gets careless!” Wes commented. “That’s all right, don’t worry.”
Suddenly, Clare smiled at him. “Is that all you can say? Don’t worry.”
I offered to watch the store while they were at the docs, but Clare surprised us all with an announcement.
"Never mind, Lucas. Wes is gonna take that Marshal's job if its still open," declared Clara. Wes wanted that job desperately and was happy Clare had finally seen it his way. They were on their way to Bolton City.
piddlin' stuff.....Robert Webber played Wes in this episode of The Retired Gun.
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?
Amanda Ames/Eileen Harley/Wallace Earl appeared in five episodes ― The Hangman as Myrtle, the owner of the Feed and Grain Store ― The Silent Knife as Myrtle, owner of the Hardware store ― The Executioner as Ruth, the waitress.
Amanda Ames was credited as Eileen Harley in The Retired Gun as Claire Wheatley Carney, who was an old friend of Margaret's and married to The Retired Gun. She also appeared in Short Rope for a Tall Man as Mrs. Lovering, her husband bought Lucas's cattle.
Jack Kruschen appeared in four episodes. Two episodes as Doc Burrage ― Baranca and Trail of Hate. He appeared in One Went to Denver as Sammy an outlaw that was a member of Tom Birch's gang and The Retired Gun as Clyde Bailey who harassed Wes Carney.
There were two doctors before Doc Burrage although neither of them were ever named or given credit. Those two episodes were The Sharpshooter and The Marshal. In End of a Young Gun Lucas told Hank he should go get Doc Sedley? Doc Burrage was first introduced to The Rifleman in The Pet.
Doc Burrage was a regular character ~ how many different actors played Doc Burrage? Can you name them?
Herman Rudin as Morgan Bailey, one of gang who picked on Wes. He is the cowboy who had the whip in the Feed and Grain Store.
The great baseball player Duke Snider, played Wallace, one of the Bailey gang in the episode of The Retired Gun.
Milan Smith appeared in four episodes ― The Retired Gun as Phil Norton, member of the Bailey gang ― Shivaree as one of the cowboys participating in the Shivaree ― The Indian as a Barfly and Short Rope for a Tall Man as one of Crown's men.
Bobby Somers — has done many of stunts in his day. He worked with some of the best! Sadly Bobby went unaccredited in most of his movies/shows. His list of credits is way to far to list. Please checkout IMDB for a list of his credits.
Although Bobby is known for his stunts, Bobby did a lot of different thing such as Miscellaneous Crew and Acting.
Jesse Wayne appeared in twenty-three episodes as Johnny Crawford's stuntman. Not sure who doubled for Johnny in the episode of Requiem at Mission Springs but he is a possibility, especially after that bad tumble Mark took.
Joe Mell as Sam Moody. He was the customer in the Feed & Grain store that was supposed to buy flower seeds for his wife.