"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 –
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.”
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
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
The bank opened the next morning, and the bank robbers came in to check out
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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.
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
played Judge Hanavan in three episodes ― The Sharpshooter ―
The Safe Guard ―
I really liked this character. Too bad he didn't do more on The Rifleman.
Dennis Cross appeared in six
― The Safe Guard as Witcherly
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
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.
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?
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 ―
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
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.
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 ―
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
John Breen appeared in
four episodes ― The Safe Guard
as a Townsman ― The Lariat as
a Waiter ― The Clarence Bibs
Story as a Townsman and The Jailbird
as a Townsman.
appeared in two episodes ― The Safe Guard as a Townswoman ―
The Photographer as
a Trial Spectator.
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
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