"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Safe Guard
We had been settled here for a while, and it was time for another historic moment in North Fork. We got our first bank.
One morning while Mark was doing his chores, I was setting up the table to eat breakfast outside. It was such a nice morning. We had lived here long enough now that Mark had a pig ready to be sold to market. Mark had grown fond of his pig. In fact, he even took such liberties as to name her – Henrietta.
Mark stated he was going to miss his pig, and I sensed that he felt a little regret for the destiny she was facing. I simply told him that “a pig’s a pig,” I reminded him. “You raised her for sale, don’t change your mind!”
Mark must have been hungry! He turned around and grabbed some food from the pan. I gave him a stern look and said “Mark, wait for breakfast! Your ma wanted you raised proper with table manners!”
We saw a rider approaching our ranch so I told Mark to get another plate for him. I invited him to bacon and coffee, and he was happy for that. And, of course I had to remind my boy to take his hat off at the table! The man introduced himself as Floyd Doniger.
Mark was distracted by his appearance. I had to remind him to eat. He told us that he hoped to find a place to settle. He would like to have a spread like ours someday. I told him that North Fork is a good growing community. Mark and I took one look and stayed - we really like it here! He told us he had a good steady job. I asked him what he did.
“That’s all right what I do,” he said, suddenly edgy. I suddenly looked at him, wondering why his mood had suddenly changed. “Everybody’s always trying to find out what I do, bud I do something. And I don’t mind telling you I do it good, too.”
He then offered me $1 for the food, but I told him we invited him to eat and he didn’t have to pay us.
As he started to leave he heard a noise from behind him. With no hesitation he shot at the bucket which one of the horses had kicked. I jumped up and ran to check the horse, and was thankful he hadn’t been shot. Then I looked at the bucket. “Your’re awful skittish, Mister!” I stated angrily. “Well pails like that are hard to come by out here. I’ll take that dollar.”
“Does that square us?” he asked. I told him it did.
Mark watched him leave then wanted to know why he was so spooked. “Men like him can never relax!” I stated. “Son, you just had breakfast with a Texas gunfighter!”
Mark wanted to take his pig into town to sell and I needed to go to the wheel rights. As we get into town, people were gathered around our new bank, our first bank. They were having a grand opening. Judge Hanavan was introducing the bank President, Mr. John Maysfield Hamilton.
I lifted Mark up so he could see over all the people.
“I think someday you will be as big as Albuquerque. That’s why I have invested my time and money in this bank. I want to grow with you and North Fork. Well, let’s put it this way, I can’t make money unless you do. Now, unless you folks are radically different from what our research tells us, most of you keep your savings buried in hidden spots on your property. You dig holes, hide it under rocks, but it beneath trees. Now this is foolish. All of your neighbors with your money buried in tin cans under your property I’d like you at our tin can. This is the finest carborundum steel plate mankind can make. Folks, the walls of this safe are six inches thick, absolutely guaranteed to be fire proof and burglarproof. But I know what you're saying. What about all those bank hold-ups we read about? Well, I’ve got an answer for any man who’s entertaining the idea of holding up our North Fork City Bank.”
By the way, while making this speech, three men intending to hold up the North Fork bank listened with keen interest.
He introduced us to the new safe guard: Floyd Doniger. Mark thought I needed to be reminded and started to tell me who he was, but I was listening intently to the speech, and hushed him. This man could shoot. Someone threw some plates in the air and he shot everyone of them! The town was very impressed with both the speech and the safe guard. I thought the shooting was “pretty fair.”
We went in and took a tour of the bank. There was a platform the safe guard would sit on. All I could say was, “Impressive enough I guess. It might even make the Marshal think we don’t need him when he gets back from Yuma Prison!” I joked. Then I told Mark, who of course was eating again, that we needed to go sell his pig.
When we got over to Hattie’s, Hattie began questioning Mark on how much he wanted to sell her for. He looked at me for guidance, but if I gave him all the answers, he’d never learn. “Now, it’s your sow, Mark. You’re old enough now to do your own selling.” I turned to Hattie, “Hattie, don’t let him skin you too bad.” I stated, then left him and Hattie alone to figure it out. Of course, letting go was hard to do, and I couldn’t help but eaves drop at the door for a moment. I smiled. My boy was growing up!
By the way, did I mention that the three gun men seemed to know the safe guard?
The bank opened the next morning, and the bank robbers came in to check out the bank.
While I was fixing the latch on the barn door, Mark came running out to show me the $5 he earned from his pig. “I’m going to use this money to buy another pig, raise and sell it to Mrs. Denton. Then I’ll buy another one and sell it and another and another and you know pa, I bet in about a year or so I bet we’ll almost have a million dollars!” I couldn’t help but smile. Mark could say the cutest things – and he was so cute with how excited he was.
As I continued working, Mark suddenly got to thinking. “You know I bet I could have asked ten dollars instead of five.”
I looked at him sternly and told him to not ever look back on a deal. That he makes a deal and puts it behind him. “That’s the signature of a man, Mark.” Mark started playing with the money, so I suggested that he let me have it for safe keeping.
But, my boy wasn’t done thinking on this yet! “You know pa, I’ve been thinking.” I couldn’t help but smile. His thoughts always amazed me! “Well, I earned the money, didn’t I? Well you’re always tell me how a man should do what he thinks is right with his own money. Well, I want to put mine in the bank.” I wondered how he came about making such an adult decision like that. It didn’t take long to get my answer. “Well, I’ve been thinking about that 2 ½% interest, pa. Think a boy like me can put his money in the bank?”
By this point, I had a huge smile on my face. “Your money speaks as loud as the next fella’s,” I told him.
“Well then it’d make me feel like I was a part of something, like a real man.” I couldn’t resist letting him do it – not after a speech like that! He wanted to put it in the bank that very day, but I told him it would have to be tomorrow.
Judge Hanavan stopped by the ranch the next day and told me what a good turn out they had on opening day at the bank. Then he commented that I hadn’t put my money in the bank. I didn’t understand why that was such a big thing. He told me that people admired me and how I had carved out a home for my boy. People respect me and follow my footsteps. He wanted to know why I didn’t put my money in the bank.
I told him. “Ten years ago my wife and I put our savings in a little bank back home. Remember the slump of seventy-eight? Well the bank folded and we were cleaned out. It doesn’t come easy for me now to let someone else look after my money.”
The judge continued to tell me that Mr. Hamilton was a trustworthy man. I told him I might change my mind later, but right now he was a stranger. “Well, no more than you were when you came here. I remember the day you and that boy rode into town, the day of that big turkey shoot.”
“The only difference, I came without asking anybody to invest money in my future.” I stated. We both looked at each other. I think the judge got my meaning – he lost a lot of money trying to invest in me!
“Well, there’s one he’s convinced. Mark has five dollars he’s going to deposit tomorrow.”
The judge smiled and advised me to let Mark give me advice.
Little did anyone know that there were 3 men in town planning on robbing the bank. They knew Floyd, and they were waiting for him when he finished work at the bank. Floyd told them he had thought of robbing the bank, but it was only a thought. They explained to him that if he robbed the bank, he would make more by taking ¼ of the share then if he worked there for years. He was guaranteed $10,000.00 if he helped them rob the bank. Floyd finally stated he’d been looking the place over but hadn’t figure out the best way yet. But the other men – they had. Because since Floyd’s on the inside, it would be twice as easy. They all started laughing together as they made plans for the robbery.
We rode into town the next day and stopped the horses in front of the bank. I started to get off Razor to take Mark into the bank, but he stopped me. “Pa, you can go get your saddle fixed,” he stated with a serious look on his face.
“All right,” I said with a question in my voice and pride in my eyes.
“Well, it’s just that if you go in by yourself they treat you more like you're a grown up.”
I understood. “See you at the saddle shop, mister.” I answered.
Mark went into the bank and announced that he wanted to deposit his $5. As John Hamilton filled out the card, he realized that this was my boy, “Mark Warren McCain.”
While Mark was opening his account, the three men were getting ready to pull off the robbery. As soon as Mark left, they held up guns and ordered Mr. Hamilton to give them all the money that was in the safe. They took the money. Mr. Hamilton kept looking at Floyd, trying to figure out why he wasn’t stopping them. As they were about to leave, Floyd shot all three of them. Mr. Hamilton was very pleased at first, promising Floyd he’d get a big reward for this. But Floyd simply told him he had changed his mind about settling here and ran out the door with the money. On his way out, he shot another man that was planning on drawing on him.
Mark had looked in the bank window and saw the whole thing going down. When the Floyd ran out, he ran to find me to tell me what was going on. Floyd got on his horse and started to ride out of town, his gun still drawn.
I was coming around the corner by the church to see what the shooting was all about when Mark came running up. He ran right past me, but I grabbed his arm. “Wait, hold up there boy, come here.” I tried to calm him down. “What’s all that gunfire?”
“Well, he’s got my five dollars.” Mark stated. I asked him to explain what that meant. Then I put my gloves on and went to meet Floyd on the street. “Please don’t go pa. I don’t care about my five dollars.” Mark suddenly begged me.
I know he was afraid he’d kill me like the others. But he also needed to understand that a real man stands up for what’s right. I had to stop this man! “You stay back there, son.” I stated with no further explanation. Nothing more needed explained.
“Please, pa” Mark continued to pleas with me. “Please. I don’t care about my five dollars!”
Floyd told me that he didn’t want to hurt me because I was nice to him. “You got money that doesn’t belong to you.” Floyd warned me to let him go. I cocked my rifle. “You got $5 that belongs to my son mister,” I answered him.
Floyd threw the $5 piece on the ground. “Does that square us?”
Not this time. “All right now drop the saddlebags!” I ordered. He wouldn’t listen. He came towards me, ready to draw. But I was too fast. I shot first and he fell from his horse. His foot was caught in the stirrup. The horse dragged him down the street.
Back at the bank, the people were all excited. Mr. Hamilton promised the irate bank customers that he would give them their money back as soon as he counted it. I knew the bank was a good thing for the community, and didn’t want to see Floyd win the game after all. So I spoke up. "Who said anything about taking money out?” I announced. “ I'm here to see about putting mine in!"
The judge asked what made me change my mind. Then Mark wanted to know too. All I could do was smile. “You know son, sometimes there’s a good reason for a man to change his mind.” Mark smiled, and I just laughed.
And that’s how the North Fork bank came to be.
piddlin' stuff.....Claude Akins appeared in three episodes ― The Safe Guard as Floyd Doniger, he was from Abilene, a Texas Gunfighter who John Hamilton, President of North Fork's Bank, personally hired to guard the safe ― Meeting at Midnight as Tom Benton, Lucas' old friend and army commanding officer and now an undercover agent ― Strange Town as Bletch Droshek, the guy Micah was bringing in to stand trial for cold-blooded murder.
Sidney Blackmer played Judge Hanavan in three episodes ― The Sharpshooter ― The Safe Guard ― The Photographer.
I really liked this character. Too bad he didn't do more 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.
Marc Lawrence appeared in two episodes ― The Safe Guard as Gavin, one of the crooks ― Trail of Hate as Cougar, he was the third member of the gang and the one who shot Noley.
Mel Carter appeared in eight episodes ― End of a Young Gun as an outlaw, he rode with Hank Fulton ― The Safe Guard as Walkerman, one of the guys who help rob the bank ― The Challenge as a cowhand in the saloon ― The Woman as Jed Healy, the one who shot his Pa ― The Journey Back as Arnie Grady as one of the brothers that Will Temple threw off his ranch ― Outlaw's Shoes as Jeems, he was George Vale's partner and the one who shot Lucas and grazed him in the head ― Lou Mallory as Bo Jackman ― Death Never Rides Alone as Mark Jones. Gee.....does this set any records?
Fritz Ford appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in The Rifleman he was also a stunt double for Chuck Connors.
Harlan Warde appeared in eighteen episodes as John Maysfield Hamilton, President of the North Fork Bank. He was first introduced in The Safe Guard. In this episode North Fork's Bank was first established and John Hamilton was new to North Fork.
Hope Summers appeared in sixteen episodes as Hattie Denton, owner of The General Store. Hattie was first introduced to The Rifleman in Eight Hours to Die.
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.
Bob Woodward appeared in seven episodes ― The Young Englishman as a cowhand, the one with the rope ― The Safe Guard as the cowboy driving the wagon that is carrying the safe to North Fork ― The Sister as a stagecoach driver ― The Indian as a cowboy in the saloon ― Shivaree as one of the cowboys participating in the Shivaree ― The Dead-eye Kid as the stagecoach driver ― The Angry Man as one of the cowboys who helped load Carey into the wagon.
King Mojave appeared in nine episodes ― Duel of Honor as Ed Simmons, one of the passengers on the stagecoach ― The Safe Guard as Charlie the bank teller ― The Sister as one of the cowboys watching the fight ― The Challenge as a customer in the store ― The Photographer as a cowboy on the Jury ― The Wrong Man as the hotel clerk and a townsman ― The Obituary as a townsman ― The Illustrator as the man getting off the stage ― The Grasshopper as the man in the booth who sold the tickets.
John Breen appeared in six episodes ― The Safe Guard as a Townsmen ― The Lariat as a Waiter as a townsmen ― The Clarence Bibs Story as a townsmen ― The Jailbird as a townsmen ― The Indian as a townsmen ― The Martinet as a townsmen.
Prudence Beers appeared in two episodes ― The Safe Guard as a Townswoman ― The Photographer as a Trial Spectator.
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.
Mark liked the fact of his money earning 2½% interest. I think that's pretty good interest for back then. What is the interest rate today?
In this episode Hattie's says Harriet's weight is at 5 stones, which means the pig weights 70 lbs.
One stone is consider 14 pounds. So you take 14lbs x 5 stones = 70 lbs.
The following are the units in the British or imperial adaptation of the avoirdupois system:
16 drams/drachms = 1 ounce (oz.)
16 ounces = 1 pound (lb.)
14 pounds = 1 stone (st.)
2 stone = 1 quarter (qtr.)
4 quarter = 1 hundredweight (cwt.)
20 hundredweight = 1 ton (t.)
The Safe Guard - Bloopers
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Character Actors Index Page
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Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
Duel of Honor
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