"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
An old man enters the yard of an old rundown house. There are cobwebs growing on the porch where he ties his horse up. As he slowly walks inside, he looks around at the old rundown shack with holes in the ceiling and cobwebs everywhere. He stumbles around the dark shack, kicking an old pan on the floor, then walks over to the old, rusty cobwebbed stove and lifts one of the iron burners. Slowly, he reaches inside the stove and removes something wrapped securely in cloth. Unwrapping it, he finds a pistol and tucks it in his pants. He reaches in again and lifts out a box of shotgun shells. And yet again, he reaches in the stove for another item wrapped in cloth. It’s pieces to a shotgun that he quickly puts together. He inserts two shotgun shells into the barrel and snaps it closed.
“Fifteen years I’ve been dreaming of this minute. Fifteen years.” He walks over in front of a window and points his shotgun at it. “Lucas Dead man McCain.” Bang! The window shatters. “That’s the way I’m gonna get him. First he’s gonna crawl on his knees.”
Mark was on his way into town to meet me when he came across a stranger on his knees looking for his glasses. Mark walked over to him. "What's the matter, mister?" Mark asked
The man suddenly lifted his head. "Now be careful, my glasses," he warned. "On the trail here some place. Can't see without my glasses. Spooky horse never gave me time to duck the brush."
"Let me look, maybe I can find them.” Mark started looking around for them. Then he turned, feeling sorry for the man he said, “Must be pretty tough needin' glasses that bad and then losing them."
“Now look, sod boy, don’t chatter so much!” the stranger demanded.
Mark found them; they were pretty dusty, but not broken. The man’s eyes were bad, his lens on his glasses were really thick. His hands were shaky and he looked older then he was. Mark was glad he could help. He asked Mark if he was going into town. He wanted to give Mark some money for sweets for finding his glasses. "No, I couldn't take it for.....helpin'," Mark answered.
"I owe you something. I never forget a debt," Beaumont stated.
"It's nothing. If you're alright now, I better be going,” Mark stated worriedly. He was already late meeting me and knew I didn’t like to worry.
The old man tied his horse in front of the Marshal’s office and walked inside. He took out a paper, stating he needed Micah’s signature. He informs Micah that he was just paroled from Leavenworth. “John Beaumont,” Micah read his name.
“I wanted to get a fresh start, and it seemed to me the further away the better. I would just assume you not tell anybody about my past,” he requested. Micah stated there wasn’t any reason for him to talk about him unless he was looking for trouble. “I’ve had my share of trouble, Marshal,” Beaumont stated. He asked Micah to mail the signed paper into Leavenworth so they would know where he was. Micah looked at the paper, stating it didn’t say much about him. He had spent 15 years in jail for a bank robbery. “I made one mistake, got caught at it,” Beaumont explained. “Paid my debt. Ruined my life. I ain’t ever going into a cage again!”
He told Micah that he was planning on camping down at the river. There were plenty of varmints down there for him to kill with his scatter gun. Micah looked at it and didn’t see any reason why he couldn’t carry it. “I didn’t want to hide anything from ya'. I won’t use it on anything unless it needs killing,” he promised Micah.
Just then I walked into Micah's office. When I saw he had someone else in his office, I told him I'd come back later. Micah said that they were finished and told me to come on in. He then introduced me to Beaumont. When I extended my hand; he started coughing. I thought it strange, but I asked him if he was staying in town. He told me he planned on staying a while. He was gonna camp down by the river. He started out the door, so I sat down to talk to Micah. But he suddenly turned and asked me if I could use a swamper out at my ranch.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Beaumont. My boy does all the chores and this time of the years, it’s not enough to keep him busy,” I answered.
Just then, Mark walked inside. He smiled at Beaumont. “Oh, you made it in alright, huh?” Mark asked.
“I see you two already know each other,” I commented. He told me Mark had helped him find his glasses a little bit ago.
“Well, now uh…what I see of the friendly people, I think this is the town I’ve been looking for,” Beaumont stated. Both Mark and I turned around and smiled at Micah, pleased of our town’s impression.
I commented to Micah that it looked like Mr. Beaumont came west for his health. “I guess you could say that,” Micah answered. “Anything special you wanted Lucas?”
I invited him to come out to the ranch for supper. We had just butchered a steer and were fixing son of gun stew, then he could play checkers with Mark. “Well, you don’t have to ask me twice for son of gun stew,” Micah answered. “But I’m afraid I can’t play checkers with Mark!” Micah declared.
“Why not?” Mark suddenly asked, feeling a little put out.
“Because every time I loose, I get so upset it ruins my digestion!” Micah exclaimed.
I smiled. "Any mail son?" I asked. There was one, no postmark. I opened it. “McCain, I’m cashing you out,” I read.
Micah was suddenly curious. He reached for the letter and read it again. “No kid wrote that.”
“It’s probably some lonesome cowboy’s idea of horseplay,” I stated. “Any literary strangers in town, Micah?” He told me it was just Beaumont and the regular drifters. He asked me if Beaumont meant anything to me, then he decided to tell me about him being paroled from Leavenworth. “Well, I rode as deputy in Kansas Territory, but that was so long ago I can hardly remember how the Prairie wind blows!” I told him.
“Well, Beaumont looks prison broke and branded. He wouldn’t be looking for trouble,” Micah stated.
I told Micah I’d be keeping an eye out. Then I turned to Mark. “Son, you go on over to Hattie’s and get our goods ready to go. And don’t forget the sage and the salt,” I told him.
Mark hesitated. He took everything to heart, especially threats against me. My boy was pretty protective! “But Pa, the note,” he worried.
I brushed it off. “You go on, son. That’s just a joke,” I assured him. He unwilling left. I turned back to Micah. “Not a very funny joke,” I stated as I tore it up.
I started over for the General Store when Eddie stopped me. He handed me a letter that had been left on his desk. It had no postmark or anything else on it. I opened it. Eddie looked over my shoulder. I turned and looked at him and he turned and went back to his sweeping. I pulled the piece of paper out and read it.
"Your time is almost up."
I was suddenly concerned. "Eddie, any strangers check into the hotel?" I asked him.
"Strangers? Oh, just a whiskey drummer named O'Brien. He left on the morning stage. And a tin horn gambler who calls himself Smith."
"No, just Gus Smith, he was alone. And an elderly gentleman who just registered today by the name of John Beaumont, but didn't say where he was from."
Hmmmmm…Now, that concerned me a little bit since Beaumont said he was gonna camp on the river. Eddie had to get back to work. I looked at the note some more and started thinking on who could possibly have it out for me this time. Suddenly, I felt someone purposely bump into me. I stopped him. “Don’t I know you?”
“No, I doubt it. Gus Smith I’m called and I never forget a face!” he declared.
“Maybe my memories better then yours. We met in El Paso and you were called Ralph Gustine then.” He told me that if he owed me money I was wasting his time. “You tried to bluff down my four kings in El Paso and I broke your bank, remember?” I suddenly held the latest note I had received in front of him and asked him if he wrote it.
"Hardly! If I go to kill a man I don't warn him first. I'm just here in North Fork to run my little faro game. In fact, I got other talents. A man in my position might get you the answers you want. Small reward, I can keep you informed.”
“Better stick to your cards, Gus. It’s a lot safer,” I stated. He offered to buy me a drink. “Like I said, stick to your cards!”
After leaving me, Gus went over to the saloon looking for new prospects. Sweeny apparently didn’t think much of him and suggested he run his game somewhere else. Gus wasn’t in there too long before Beaumont walked in and poured himself a big glass of whisky. Gus asked him if he wanted to play cards to pass the time, but Beaumont wasn’t interested. Gus kept pushing. He was making Beaumont angry.
Suddenly, he asked, "Did you ever do time, Back east?"
"Please don't tease mister," said Beaumont. “I…” he showed Gus his shaking hand. “can hardly defend myself.”
“I’m trying to figure out where I’ve seen you.” Gus shuffled his cards again. "Take off the glasses.”
Sweeny told Gus to leave him alone. "It's alright bartender. Gay dog just sniffling around the old hound, see if he gets bit." Beaumont said.
“Bit?” Gus laughed. “What’s the matter, can’t you see through all that ice? Do I look like I’m worried about being bit?”
“No, what I see don’t look worried,” Beaumont answered.
“Something about you looks like easy money and I never forget a face. Take off the glasses!” Gus said again.
“Not a chance, you jack-legged rum pot!” Beaumont replied.
“Old dog fixing to learn new trick!” Gus stated.
“You looking for trouble, here I am.” Beaumont lifted his hand and put it on his shotgun that was still lying on the bar.
He was still trying to place him. Sweeny was getting nervous and told Gus to leave him alone. “Bartender, mind your own business!” Gus ordered. “That shuffle of yours, you didn't get that at no dancing school." Gus opened his jacket, revealing his own gun. "Tell you what. I'm going to do. I’m gonna let you sing Old Dog Trey and dance the tune," Gus challenged him.
"I'll dance on your grave," Beaumont promised Gus.
Gus was calling Beaumont out. He looked at Beaumont for a few moments, then said "Start dancing.” He drew his gun, but Beaumont shot and killed him without even picking up his shotgun.
"Nobody torments and old shotgun man. Nobody," said Beaumont. Then he left the saloon after paying for his drink.
The next day, I was riding into town when a shot hit a rock, barely missing me. I jumped off my horse and fell to the ground, looking around. No other shots sounded. I knew it was a warning. When I got into town I asked Sweeny if he’d seen Beaumont the last hour or so. He told me he hadn’t seen him since he killed Gus the day before. I thanked him and went outside. Low and behold, there he was riding into town. Something told me he was the man after me, but I had no idea why.
I walked up to him. “Just what exactly is your business in North Fork?” I demanded to know.
“I don’t see why you’re making my business your business,” he answered. I told him I wanted an answer. “Does it bother you, McCain? Just because I like a quiet little town Sounds like you’re getting spooked like a steer on lake ice. Something bothering ya'?” he asked.
I wanted to show him something. I shot four bullets into a fence – all four made their mark one under the other. “Does that look like I’m spooked, Mr. Beaumont?” I asked as I flipped my rifle.
He fired his shotgun at the fence and blew a whole section of it away. “A fellow with a ten gage shotgun at close range doesn’t need to be so steady.” Mr. Beaumont stated. I asked him if that was the only gun he had – I certainly wanted to be sure I knew what I was up against. He was pretty confident in himself!
Mark and I were having dinner at the hotel later. I was lighting up an after dinner cigar just relaxing. Mark watched Mr. Beaumont leave. "Pa, is there some sort of trouble between you and Mr. Beaumont?” He asked me. “Has it got something to do with those letters?"
“Well, I haven’t the slightest idea, Mark,” I answered. “If there is trouble, he’s carrying it.” Mark was sad about Mr. Beaumont. He had hoped he would like North Fork. “Well, something’s burning him inside. In time, he’ll probably forget all about it.”
“I hope so. He’s got no one. He’s all alone, Pa!” Mark declared.
Mark always was really sensitive towards other people. I felt bad for my boy having to learn yet another fact of life. “Well, I’ll tell you something about that, son. I could just be his own fault.” I said it as sensitively as I could, trying to make him see the truth.
Mark popped the last bite of food in his mouth and stood up. “I’ll be right back, Pa.”
“Where you going?” I quickly asked. He told me he was going just outside.
But he didn’t tell me what he was planning on doing outside. He went over to talk to Beaumont who was sitting outside. "Mr. Beaumont. Do you remember what you said when I found your glasses?"
"Yeah, I think I remember. I said I always pay my debts," said Beaumont.
“Well, my Pa’s a good man!” Mark declared.
“Well, there could be other opinions about that,” Beaumont mumbled.
“Seems to me there might be a mistake between you and my Pa. Well, you two could be friends if you’d just allow it!” Mark said. He didn’t like me having any enemies, and tried his hardest to make sure I didn’t have any.
“Son, there’s only one way to settle a debt!” Beaumont announced.
“Well are you sure my Pa owes you something?” Mark asked desperately. Mr. Beaumont nodded. “He’s always told me that lots of times it’s better to forgive and forget.” Beaumont told Mark that I can’t teach him his memories.
Mark begged him to change his mind. “You just don’t understand this, boy. A man don’t change his mind even a little bit! When he’s been through a long affliction, as soon as he forgives and forgets, he dries up and dies like a weed that’s given up on living. Boy, a man can’t just change his mind. I’m sorry.” Beaumont told Mark to run along.
Mark came running back into the restaurant. He stood behind my chair and told me that Beaumont was the one whose been sending me those letters. I turned my face toward his. “How do you know that?” I asked.
“He just practically told me,” Mark answered. “He said that you owe him something. What is it? What do you owe him?” Mark was worried.
Mark told me he was sitting out in front of the saloon. “Son, you wait here fore me until I get back, ya' hear?” Mark nodded.
"He's got that shotgun Pa."
I knew Mark was worried about me, but I had to get to the bottom of this. "I know."
I grabbed my rifle and went out to confront him. I walked up to him. “What kind of chip are you carrying?” I got right to the point.
He looked hard at me. “You don’t have any idea, do you?” Beaumont asked.
“No, I don’t waste my time keeping track of grudges,” I answered. He said he had waited 15 years for this and wondered if I could spare a few minutes of my time. “Well sure. Get it out of your system.”
Beaumont started his story. "Alright suppose your a young man fast on the draw. Straight of eye and strong as a bull. You went with a top gun named Barton into a bank. Say there was a kid deputy who knew old Barton by sight. Say he started shooting till nobody was standing but Barton and a young man named Johnny Beau, more dead then alive."
I recognized the name. “Johnny Beau?” I exclaimed. “Beaumont. Well, you and Barton were sent to Leavenworth together.”
"They put Johnny Beaumont in solitary - crust of bread and a can of water. Just one thing kept Johnny Beaumont going.....that one thing was the name of Lucas McCain. Burned his eyes, racked his nerves to a shred, turned his hair white, his body to a pulp. Died right there if I he hadn't the name of Lucas McCain to bite down like a lead bullet. Johnny Beau they called him, nothing left in him but hate. Just hate and an old debt to pay."
I listened to his story. "Strong medicine to carry you through15 years," I told him.
"That's right! Food and drink, religion and comfort. I'm here now and I'm gonna kill you the hardest way I know how."
“A couple years of freedom and you’ll change your mind,” I stated. “Give yourself a chance.”
“I choose my own time! I’ll get you when you least expect it!” He was threatening me.
"I'm gonna tell you something Johnny! You're not interested in killing. You just want to see me beg and crawl. Well, I'll leave you to your misery. I'm not gonna play cat and mouse. I'm not even gonna give you revenge. If I’m gonna help you Johnny Beau, you’re gonna buy yourself a ticket right back to Leavenworth." I turned my back on him and walked away.
"McCain!” Johnny shouted as he jumped up and pointed his shotgun at me. I kept walking. “Don’t do it, McCain! McCain your gonna be paid!" Boom! He tried to shoot me.
But I quickly dropped to the ground and rolled. I turned and shot him. He fell into the chair, yelling, "Finish it McCain. Shoot straight! I'm not going back to that rock pile. Finish it I said!" He held his arm where I had shot him. I slowly made my way back over to him.
"It is finished Johnny." I walked away.
Mark and I drove down the street of North Fork later. I jumped down from the wagon. “Mark, while I’m down at the harness shop, you go over to Hattie’s and see if she’s got the brown sugar in yet, huh?”
I looked him straight in the eye. I sternly ordered him, “And you remember to pay her for all those peppermints and pickles you charged!” He told me he’d need a dime to do that. I gave him the dime. "Alright. But remember, a man's gotta pay his debts,” I reminded him.
"That's funny," said Mark. "That's what Mr. Beaumont said. Mark felt sorry for Beaumont and wanted to know if that was wrong.
"No I wouldn't say that's wrong, son. You can't help how you feel about Beaumont. You see, he showed you one side of himself and me the other,” I explained.
"Does that mean that you felt sorry for him too?" Leave it to Mark to teach me a lesson!
"Now that you mention it, maybe I should,” I answered as I gave him a pat on the back. As he ran off to the store, I shook my head and smiled at him.
piddlin' stuff.....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?
Jack Elam appeared in five episodes — Duel of Honor as the arrogant Sim Groder who constantly picked on the Count — Tension as Gavin Martin, he was the cowboy who got killed with the pitch fork ― Shotgun Man as Gus Smith, he's the dude that John Beaumont killed in the saloon — Knight Errant as Gates, he was Don Chimera Del Laredo's Esquire, the one who declared there was a rattlesnake in the woodpile — Shattered Idol as Russell the pool shark.
Paul Mazursky appeared in Hostages to Fortune as Sylvester Bulgutch, he was the one who had put the mask on after Mark had dropped it.
Paul Mazursky was one of the writers for Shotgun Man.
Bill Quinn appeared in thirty-eight episodes as Sweeney the owner/bartender of The North Fork Saloon. Sweeney was first introduced to The Rifleman in The Marshal.
John Harmon appeared in twelve episodes as Eddie Halstead owner/hotel clerk of the Hotel Madera. He was first introduced to The Rifleman in Duel of Honor.
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.
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.
Bloopers - Shotgun Man
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
Sins of the Father
around The McCain Ranch