"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Second Witness
There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to make the right choice,
even if that means going against the advice of everyone around you –
including your own children. I had to make one of those decisions –
choose to do what was right even if it meant dying. It was a matter of
principle. The decision was quite easy to make, but difficult for others to
understand. Let me explain.
You see, one day Blue Boy got really sick. He was so sick that Mark and I
were really worried he would die, so we rode into town talk to Doc Burrage.
As we were walking to the office, Mark was obviously worried and he
suggested we give Blue Boy some sulfa and molasses, but I wanted to get the
As we knocked on his door, Mark stated worriedly, “Doc sure must know his
business…taking care of people and horses both." I told Mark to stop
worrying, but I knew how special Blue Boy was to him, so I knew I was
wasting my breath.
Doc Burrage didn’t answer my knock, so I decided to go over to Micah’s and
see if he’d seen him. “Do doctors have to go to school for a long time, pa?”
Mark asked as we walked over there. I told him that doctors, lawyers and
judges had to go to school for a long time to learn their jobs.
When we got into the marshal’s office, I was surprised to see the doc there
tending a patient. There were also two men in there. Micah informed me that
the man had gotten bushwhacked outside town.
"Bushwhacked?” I was surprised. “That's all open country!”
Micah agreed, "That's what so puzzling about the whole thing," he said. “The
shots seemed to come from no where.” The two men were deputies and were on
their way to Silver city for a trial.
Suddenly, the doc stated harshly, "Not much medicine can do for a dead man!"
"Might as well open the jail door right now and let Slade out," remarked one
of the deputies. "Slade Burrows?" I asked.
Micah introduced the deputy to Mark and I as Deputy Phil Rogers.
I preceded to question the deputy about Slade Burrows. Even Mark had heard
of this gunslinger.
He told us that Judge Marks from Silver City has been trying to get a case
that would stand up against him in court. He had one until this witness got
killed. I questioned what they had charged him with. He told me that about a
month back Slade killed a man near Silver City, but he claims he was
visiting his brother in Arizona Territory at the time. Now the only
witness who could prove he was in Silver City was laying dead before us. I
looked at the man closely. “That’s the same man all right,” I stated,
“Micah, you remember last month when I was over in Silver City on some
cattle business?” Of course, Mark had to pipe in that he remembered! “I saw
this man riding with Slade and another rider out near the Landon Ranch."
The Deputy stated the killing took place at that ranch. I then reported that
I had seen a third rider who was an older man with a beard. "That's Elijah
Manor, the man Slade killed," Deputy Rogers excitedly stated. “Mr. McCain,
you just cut Slade Barrow’s Arizona alibi out from under him! It looks like
you’re our new witness.
Of course since the first witness had already been killed, Micah wasn’t too
thrilled about my being a witness. I know he was thinking from the heart
instead of the head. Of course, at this point, Mark was really excited that
I would be doing something so important. “Lucas, do you want to get mixed up
It didn’t take long for me to decide. There was only one right answer in my
opinion. “I’ll be there,” I stated. As we were leaving, the deputy stated
they would see me safely to Silver City. Ha! Right, I saw how the first
witness safely ended up there. I had my own idea, and told him I’d get there
We left to talk to Doc about Blue Boy. After I left, Micah worriedly stated,
“Lucas McCain is one of the best-liked men in North Fork.” The deputy stated
that he was sure going to make the judge happy. “Sure,” Micah answered. “If
he gets there alive!”
I was walking outside when
I heard Mark talking to his friend, Freddy. “We
came town to get doc. Now my pa’s gonna be a witness.” Of course Freddy
wanted to know what for. “Well, he’s gotta go to Silver City. What he knows
is gonna hang Slade Burrows,” Mark was boasting to him. I can’t tell you how
many times I’ve told that boy not to boast! I wasn’t too pleased and
interrupted Mark. Freddy left and I scolded Mark for bragging. “But
everyone’s heard of Slade Burrows! And you’re gonna see to it that he get’s
That boy! I quickly corrected his little mind. “I don’t know that I’m going
to do anything of the kind. I saw something and it’s up to me to get up in
front of the court to say so. I’ve always taught you to tell the truth.
That’s all I’m gonna do!”
At the ranch, doc didn’t have very good news about Blue Boy. “He’s a pretty
sick Colt. He may not pull through,” he informed me. I was worried about how
Mark would take the death if he died, but the doc was more worried about
He pulled me aside so he could talk to me without Mark’s hearing. “Mark can
get over loosing a horse, but loosing a father’s something else. Whoever
gunned down that witness will be after you next.” My mind was made up. I was
going to do the right thing. “What you saw isn’t that important!” Doc
"I saw Slade Burrows,” I argued.
"What happens to Mark if something happens to you?"
I didn’t want to think about that. I had to think about what was right. “A
man lives by certain principles, doc. Take those away and he might as well
Doc said that sometimes principles have to bend a little. "If you start
bending principles, then they're not principles anymore. Like the fellow who
says he wants to be a little dishonest, it just can't be done," I said.
“You’re a darn fool, Lucas!” But I knew he understood how I felt and
respected me for my beliefs. I thanked him…for coming out.
The next day, Mark was at school. At recess he and Freddy started talking
about my going to Silver City. Freddy stated that I was never going to get
“Nobody’s gonna bushwhack my pa!” Mark stated confidently.
Freddy informed Mark that I wasn’t any different than anyone else, but Mark
was indeed proud of me, so he stated, “Well, I know my pa! And if he says
he’ll get there, he’ll get there!”
Freddy didn’t know when to stop though. That boy of mine had a temper,
especially when things were said against me. “He’ll get there in a pine box,
that’s how he’ll get there!” That was it as far as Mark was concerned. He
fought Freddy for what he said.
Toomey was making a nice coffin for the witness. He told me he’d watch that
ranch for me. I knew exactly what he was thinking.
While the fight was going on at school, I decided to go talk to Hattie about
taking care of Mark. The minute I walked in, she started in on me! “Well, if
it isn’t the town hero, Lucas McCain!” she stated sarcastically. I told her
not to start. I just stopped by to see if she’d take care of Mark, not for
a lecture! “You make me sick!”
I didn’t expect her to go that far! “Huh?” I asked, surprised.
“All day long I see people here in this store, but that don’t mean anything.
Come night time I go home, what do I got? Nothing but a cat named Penelope
that meows and craws up in my overstuffed chair. I’ve got nothing and
nobody. There’s lots of other folks in this town that are just as lonely as
I am. Yet, you don’t find them galley batting off risking their necks. And
then there’s you! You got a fine son. And yet you just can’t wait to let
somebody use you for target practice!” I was as good as buried already!
“Well, you can’t fight what you can’t see!” Hattie argued. “Loneliness is
just about the hardest thing a person has to live with. I’d give anything to
have that boy of yours for good, but I know how much parents mean to a kid.
I should. I never had any.” I felt for her, but I still had to do what was
I mentioned the “certain principles” to her, and that didn’t go over well
with her either, “I’m a woman, Lucas. Don’t you talk to me about principles!
Principles never tucked a boy in at night, or principles never washed behind
his ears when he needed it.”
It was time for me to go, so I simply stated, “But they’re the only thing
that will turn a boy into a man.” I gently thanked her and went on my way.
While in town, I heard about the fight at school. I knew I had yet another
person I had to face about my decision. So I hurried home to find my boy. As
I called his name, I heard him crying in the barn. Going in, I stood close
to him and waited for him to talk. "He's no better Pa," Mark said. I knew
that wasn’t all that was bothering him, but it was a good place to start.
"He might not get better son," I told him honestly. “You may just have to
face up to it.”
Then he got down to what was bothering him even more. “I don’t want you to
go to Silver City.”
“I know you don’t.” I still had to do what was right.
“Freddy’s pa says you won’t get there!” Mark stated.
Suddenly, I became very stern with him as I bent down next to him. “And I
say I will, Mark,” I stated as I looked straight into his eyes. We locked
eyes for a moment, and I knew he still didn’t understand, but he knew the
word on it was final. “Now, let’s go get you cleaned up!”
I didn’t sleep well that night. I’m not sure if I was more concerned that I
might get bushwhacked on my way, or if it was because I was upset that
everyone else was concerned about me. Regardless, I tossed and turned most
of the night.
My boy didn’t sleep well either. In fact, sometime in the night, he got up
and went into the other room. He got a glass of milk. But he was really
worried and restless, so he walked over to the door, opened it, and stood in
the doorway, gazing out at the horizon we enjoyed looking at each evening
from our porch. This time he was alone, and in the darkness, a small boy
alone can fill the night with his own fearful imaginings. Fortunately, I
woke and noticed his empty bed. When I found him standing there in the
doorway, I came up behind him and just stood right behind him awhile, just
letting him know I was there.
Finally, in the silence, I gave a voice to his fear. I said, "World looks
awful big and lonely at night, doesn't it son?" I put a hand on each of his
small shoulders and tried to reassure him, as I smiled down at my little
boy. I wanted my smile to take away some of the burden my decision to go and
testify had put on my son. Mark accepted it then. He knew nothing could ever
really separate us, and that I would indeed return. We turned, closed the
door, and went back to a more peaceful sleep.
The next morning when I came out of the house looking for Mark I saw a
strange horse outside of the barn. I asked Mark if he knew whose horse it
was. Without hesitation and as if it was the most normal thing in the world,
he stated, “Oh, that’s Brad’s. He’s washing up outside.”
who?" I asked, concerned that strangers were inviting themselves
onto my ranch without coming to me.
“I don’t know. He’s the one that fixed up Blue Boy. Brewed up something
special for him.” I knew Mark would love any stranger who fixed that horse,
so I had to approach the next questions with caution.
“It’s awfully early for a stranger to be up doctoring someone else’s horse,”
I commented as I looked at his hat. That’s when Mark informed me that he
spent the night in the barn. This concerned me a bit because a man usually
asks for permission for a night’s lodging. I didn’t like the feel of this,
but I kept silent. I had nothing solid to go on and I knew Mark trusted
“What’s the difference, pa? Look how he fixed up Blue Boy.” The next words
that came out of his mouth concerned me. “Brad’s my friend.”
I had to set him straight on his trust of strangers. "You act in haste son,
you repent in leisure." I told him that it's best to make friends slowly.
Just then Brad entered the barn and introduced himself as Brad Davis. I was
still a little suspicious of him, but told him I was grateful for his
helping Blue Boy. Brad asked me if he could share breakfast with us, and I
said he could.
“You got a good-sized spread to attend here alone, Mr. McCain,” Brad stated
as we ate.
I assured him I wasn’t alone. Mark was a good work hand. Brad and Mark
looked at each other and smiled. Brad was on his way to Silver City and had
heard I would be going there. I’m certainly grateful the friends who seem to
be so worried about me are making it know to strangers! “Pa’s gonna be a
After all my lecturing, he was still at it. So, I sharply stated, “I told
you not to boast about that, boy!” Brad wanted to ride along with me, but I
had no intention on letting a stranger come along, so I simply told him that
I wasn’t sure when I was leaving yet. I hadn’t told anyone, not even Mark,
my plan. I thought it was best to keep the knowledge to myself.
As Brad and Mark went out to the barn, Mark told Brad he really didn’t want
me to go to Silver City. This surprised Brad since Mark was so proud of me.
Mark simply stated that he didn’t want anything to happen to me.
Micah rode up while they were walking into the barn. Brad wasn’t too happy
to see him and watched from the door cautiously as Micah made his way
inside. What Micah told me startled me a bit. Apparently, the person who
bushwhacked the first witness used a rifle with a telescope mounted on it. I
had heard of such things, but never seen anything like it. It’s pretty
impressive, I thought. That’s when I decided to let Micah in on my decision
on when and how to go to Silver City.
Tonight, after I make sure Mark is settled in for the night and asleep, I
would leave for Silver City. A telescope wouldn't help the man then. I told
Micah to come out in the morning and take Mark into town. That way no one
would ever know I left. I felt pretty confident that everything would be
I went outside to see Micah off and get Mark off to school. I just happened
by Brad’s horse and noticed there was no rifle in the boot. As I was
studying this fact, Brad came out and pretty easily figured out what I had
just discovered. I knew a confrontation was about to happen. “Bout time for
school, isn’t it, Mark?” I stated. “Go on, boy. Get your lunch. Go on.” I
was trying to get Mark away from here as quickly as possible.
Thoughts were already spinning in my head. I was trying to figure a way out
of this latest situation. Brad asked me what was troubling me, and I just
decided to be point blank with him. “That’s a pretty big rifle boot not to
have any kind of gun in it,” I commented. Of course he tried to make a
likely excuse that he sold the gun, but I wasn’t buying it. “Maybe you
didn’t sell it,” I stated.
He slowly moved his hand to the gun he had strapped around him. “What’s that
supposed to mean?” he asked cautiously.
“I saw the stock of a rifle in there this morning,” I stated, again getting
right to the heart of the matter. “I don’t think you had time to sell it
between now and then.”
Brad suggested we get Mark off to school before anymore was said. As Mark
walked out of the house, he asked Brad to stay. I was trying to get him out
of there as quickly as possible, so I stated, “Sure he will, son!” I
answered for him. “He’s our friend, isn’t he?” I said this last part
sarcastically as I glared at Brad. Then I hurried Mark onto his horse and
sent him away.
As soon as Mark was gone, Brad whipped out his rifle from behind a hay bale.
It was a “Lyman Special - ten power scope - full windage - elevation knobs.
Optics, best made in Europe. I don’t think there’s more than three like it
west of the Mississippi.”
Brad was making me very nervous. He was putting that rifle right at me. “You
don’t need a telescope at this range, mister! What are you waiting for?” I
Brad simply put the rifle back in its boot and ordered me into the barn so I
could saddle a horse. He was planning on killing me, all right; but in his
time. He wanted to make sure everyone thought I had set off to Silver City
and then was killed, just like the first witness. “What’s Slade paying you
for this, mister?” I was surprised to hear that Slade was his brother.
“Brother or no, he's not much of a man to kill for,” I commented.
“I couldn’t agree with you more! He’s just downright mean! That’s one part
of this I don’t like. Leaving that boy of yours without a father for the
likes of my brother! But he is my brother. He looks after me, I look after
him. It’s an old family custom. And that boy will grow up with or without
you, McCain. All kids do. So that’s how it is.” I listened to his speech,
but still didn’t understand it.
With a gun pointed at me, he led me into the barn. As I walked in, I tried
to think of a way out of this. I picked up my saddle to saddle my horse when
suddenly we heard Mark call, “Brad!”
This distracted Brad and I hit him hard with the saddle, knocking him to the
ground and the gun out of his hand. We wrestled. He grabbed a pitchfork to
kill me with, but I happened to be laying beside a bale of hay and used it
to block the pitchfork. He stabbed the bale instead of me. He then grabbed a
halter off the wall and started swinging it. I was able to duck before it
Meanwhile, my boy grabbed his gun. I gave Brad a hard punch, knocking him
out, then gasping for air, I hurried over to Mark and grabbed the gun from
his hand. “What brought you back, Mark?”
“I got to thinkin’ bout what you said, pa.” Mark explained. I asked him what
I said. He reminded me I had said something outside. “Oh, well I was just
trying to get you out of the way so you didn’t get hurt,” I commented, still
trying to catch my breath.
“Before you told me make friends slowly. Then you said Brad’s our friend. It
just didn’t add up!” Mark explained.
“Well, I’m mighty glad it didn’t!” My boy had come through for me again! We
still made a good team!
“Life sure is funny, Pa!” Mark stated. “How a person can be so good to
animals and so mean to people!”
I smiled. “That’s a sign of your growing up, son.” I commented proudly. He
questioned this statement. “Well Mark, the older you get, the more question
that don’t have answers!” I smiled at him.
The next day I got ready to go. My boy was right by my side to see me off.
“Mark and I have fishing plans for sun up tomorrow!” Micah announced. Boy, I
wish I could go with them!
It was now time to say goodbye to my boy. It doesn’t matter what the
occasion is, or how long it’s for, saying goodbye to Mark is always rough.
“Bye son,” I said, trying to act normal.
But suddenly, my boy jumped into my arms. He threw his arms around me and I
gave him a kiss. I always relish these times! “I’ll be back in a couple
days,” I promised him.
“I know you will, pa!” Mark stated.
I remembered something Hattie had said earlier. “Don’t forget to wash behind
your ears,” I said tenderly as I put my hand behind his ear.
“I won’t, pa!” Mark smiled at me.
The goodbye was so much sweeter since we both knew I’d be back in a couple
After one more smile, I put my boy down, turned around, jumped on my horse
and rode away.
It was easier to ride away from my son knowing for sure I’d be back!
piddlin' stuff.....Michael Pate
appeared in five episodes ― New Orleans Menace
as Xavier, the man who thought Lucas to be a 'muy mucho, much man'
The Second Witness
as Brad Davis, he was the man dead set on killing Lucas for
testify against his brother ― The Visitor as Pete Morgan, he tried to kill Ann Dodd in this episode. In
Mescalero Curse as Mogollan, an Apache Indian who put The
Mescalero Curse on Lucas ―
Executioner, Sanchez, the Indian and one of the heavies that came to collect his
share of stolen money from a friend of Lucas's that just got out of jail.
William "Bill" Megis appeared in
three episodes ― The Sheridan Story
as Colonel Cushman ― The Second Witness as Deputy Phil Rogers,
Deputy that offered Lucas safe passage to Silver City when he went to
testify. We can understand why Lucas turned him down, being that his first
witness got killed while he was guarding him. The last episode he appeared
in was The Anvil Chorus as Sam Benson, he's the guy that went to
get his guns from Nils when Nils was acting deputy marshal and Nils called
Robert Foulk appeared in five episodes, four
times as Toomey ―
The Raid as Toomey, the man who wanted to turned back,
he didn't want go on to help Lucas find Mark ― The Second Witness
as the Toomey, the man who made the coffin for the witness ―
Three Legged Terror as Toomey, the man who Johnny
Clover was sketching when his uncle came to Lucas' ranch ―
Outlaw's Inheritance as Toomey, the man who didn't
want Lucas to represent North Fork after finding out out Lucas' inheritance
The Lost Treasure of Canyon Town as
Herbert Newman, the man who was trying to hide the secret of the lost
*According to the credits in The Three Legged Terror
— Toomey is also a Blacksmith — See Arnold Laven's comments on this in
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.
Bobby Crawford Jr. was in
Eight Hours To Die
as the boy who stopped by the McCain ranch to tell Lucas Mark was
being kept after school — The Gaucho as Bobby, one of Mark's friend who made fun of the Gaucho ―
The Second Witness as Freddy Toomey, the boy that told Mark his Pa
wouldn't make it to testify against Slade Burrows.
appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in
The Rifleman he was also a stunt
double for Chuck Connors.
William (Bill) Catching
appeared as Tom Williamson in The Second Witness. He was the first
witness that was killed on his way to Silver City to testify against Slade
Burrows. He is also credited as the stuntman for this episode.
Edgar Buchanan appeared in six episodes. Five episodes as Doc Burrage
― The Pet ―
The Second Witness ―
The Trade ―
The Deadly Wait ―
The Angry Man and as Grandpa Fogarty in The Long
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 would 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?
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.
— 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.
How many actors played Nils or was it Niles or Nels? Was it Swenson or was
it Svenson? See my Blacksmith page.
The telescopic rifle used in this episode was a Lyman Special ~ ten power
scope ~ full windage ~ elevation knobs. Optics, best made in Europe.
The first modern telescopic rifle was developed in Germany around 1880 -
I.E. about the time the episode is set. U.S. made telescopic sites had been
around since the 1840's - they were long, running the full length of the
barrel (which was shown in the episode), they were heavy, awkward,
cumbersome etc. Telescope makers were capable, of course, of making high
powered telescopes, but mid-19th century US scopes were usually relatively
low power (2.5 to 3x or whatever - - usually nowhere near the 10x described
in the episode). Thanks Renewed Fan!
The Second Witness
Be sure & read Deanne's
This story answers several questions... What happened when Lucas left North
Fork to testify against Slade Burrows, AND why Lucas waited so long to teach
Mark how to use a weapon. I hope you enjoy. Deanne!
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?
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes