"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Sins of the Father
Another man, another town, another bar…that’s how it started. He was tired of the challenges. He wanted to just be left alone to enjoy the years he had left. But there was another man – a boy, actually, who thought he just had to try him out. The boy took a drink from his glass. “Moon, why don’t you give me a try?” he asked, half drunk already.
But Moon had already told him no. That was enough. He sat silently at the bar, not even acknowledging the young man. “I’m getting’ tired of asking you!” Moon took a long drink from his beer mug, still staying silent. The boy edged closer to him, suddenly angry. “What’s the matter? Don’t you think I’m good enough?” Moon continued to stay silent.
The boy suddenly asked the bartender for another drink, but the bartender thought he’d had enough and suggested he go home and sleep it off. The kid was angry. He grabbed the bartender by his shirt and yelled, “Why don’t you swallow your nose?” The bartender gave him another drink.
The boy turned back to moon who was still quiet staring straight ahead. “Moon, I’m getting sick and tired of begging you!” The boy sat down his glass and came up to Moon. “You hear me?” Still no response. The boy went to his other side. “I’m talking to you!” He was practically in Moon’s face, but Moon sat there staring straight ahead drinking his beer. “You ain’t gonna walk away from me again, Moon.”
Moon sat down his empty mug, turned around and started out the door. “Moon!” the boy yelled while starting to draw.
“Andy!” the bartender yelled.
“Now!” the boy screamed. He drew and fired, but Moon turned on him and fired his own gun.
Two shots – one wounded – one dead. He hadn’t wanted it, but he got it just the same. He held the wound on his chest as the bartender took a look at the boy. “He’s dead,” Moon declared. The bartender turned and nodded. Moon stared down at the body. “I didn’t want to kill the boy,” he mourned.
The bartender warned him the Coleman’s would hear about what he did to their brother in mere moments. “But you saw!” He was saddened by this new event. He hadn’t wanted it to end like this. He wanted a peaceful ending for a change.
The bartender nodded. “Yeah I saw, but what difference will it make to them? Now you get your boy and get on out of town.” He knew the bartender was right. He holstered his gun and quickly left the saloon.
He held his chest where the bullet now lived. But he had bigger problems – his son. He ordered Bobby to come on. Bobby was suddenly concerned but Moon couldn’t tell him what was wrong. He ordered his son to mount up. They jumped on their horses and raced out of town.
He was on the run again and it was the last thing he had wanted for himself, and especially for his son.
Some time later, I was at home working on the books while Mark finished up the dishes. I must admit that I was rather distracted. Money was kind of tight right now and I was trying to figure out how to adjust our expenses. While I was thinking on this, Mark was speaking to me, but I had that glazed look about me at the moment.
“They’ll be lots of games and things, and lots of ice cream. Boy, Jay’s mother makes the best ice cream, Pa."
Upon hearing my name I grunted, “Huh?” as I concentrated strongly on my books.
Mark walked over to me as he said, “I said they’ll be lots of ice cream there.” He stopped as he noticed my concentration on the books. "Haven't you been listening?"
“What? Oh, Jay Gordon’s birthday party?” I had been listening enough to know the main idea of his talk.
Mark went back to cleaning the kitchen. He started talking about getting Jay a present. "He's been wanting a new hunting knife."
I had been listening to that. Here I was trying to figure out how we were going to get through winter, and Mark was talking about buying a hunting knife for a boy! "A hunting knife is too expensive Mark. I think you could pick out something that doesn't cost as much."
He told me he couldn't think of anything else and he felt he could get whatever he wanted, it was his money I was holding for him. "That's not money I'm gonna let you spend foolishly,” I stated roughly. I suddenly realized how that had come out. "Look son, I'm sorry. It's just when I look at my books…hard cash is mighty scares to come by sometimes,” I explained to him.
Mark was instantly worried about our future. "We're not busted, are we?" I assured him we had plenty of money to get us through. I just thought it best to let him know what was bothering me and why he can't spend as much as he'd like. "I'm glad you told me," he said.
I knew I had taught him about the value of a dollar, and I knew that I could trust him to do the right thing, so I said, "Mark, it's your money, now if you want to get-"
"No, I'll get something that cost less. I'll wrap it in some sort of fancy paper."
I smiled at him, proud that my boy had decided to do the right thing. "That's good thinking." I went back to my books and he went about doing his chores.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that man…Moon was just outside my door. He was hurt pretty bad from the bullet he still wore inside his chest. He held his gun in his hand and made his son knock on the door while he hid around the corner.
I heard the knock. I was trying to finish up my daunting task of bookkeeping. “Mark, would you see who that is, please?” I called.
Mark answered it. It was a boy. I immediately jumped up and rushed over to the door. “What is it, son?”
"It's my Pa, by your barn," the boy answered. I immediately headed for the barn.
“Hold it, Mister!” I turned to see a man holding a gun on me. He clutched his chest, then he fell to the ground.
After I got him on one of our beds, I unbuttoned his shirt and discovered that he had been shot. I tried turning him over, but he stopped me. I just wanted to see if the bullet had gone all the way through. “Never mind, I’m still carrying it.” He didn’t want a doctor. “Look, mister, I’m asking. Please. After I catch my breath I’ll be alright, then we’ll be moving on.”
I could tell he was on the run. “How far do you think you can get with that wound?” I asked him. He said he had to keep moving. “Looks like you’ve been running for quite a time,” I stated as I unbuttoned his shirt to examine the wound.
Meanwhile, Mark and Bobby, Moon’s son, were in the kitchen. Bobby was awful worried about his father and Mark did his best to try to calm him down. Mark was heating up some water for me. After he delivered the warm water, he just stood back to watch. I looked sternly at him. “Don’t you have some chores to do?”
Moon turned to his own son from the bed. “Bobby, you go help him. We’ve got to repay these nice folks for their kindness.” The boys left. We were alone.
I silently worked on cleaning his wound as he watched my face. Suddenly he spoke quietly. “You’re a strange man mister…” His voice died. He didn’t even know my name.
I told him.
“Another man seen me wounded and running would be full of questions,” he commented.
I did have a question, but I didn’t think he could answer it. “After they catch you, what happens to that boy of yours?” That’s all I said.
I didn’t know it yet, but the Coleman brothers were catching up to Moon. They found his campfire from the night before. They decided to go to North Fork. Moon would be needing a doctor and would most likely stop at a house nearby for help.
Mark was trying to hurry and get his chores done. He was hoping he could go fishing and he invited Bobby to go along with him. But Bobby suddenly got this sad look on his face. “Don’t you want to go?” Mark asked suddenly. Bobby stated his Pa would probably not let him. They’d been on the run for over a week now and they didn’t stay in any one place for very long. Suddenly, Mark asked, “You’re Pa’s in trouble with the law, isn’t he? That’s why he held a gun on us.” Bobby suddenly backed away from Mark. Mark turned back to his chore. “Guess I better mind my own business,” he muttered to himself.
After washing out his wound, I put medicine on it and bandaged him up real good. He didn’t waste any time in trying to leave. As I sat my medical supplies on the dresser, I turned in time to see him try to stand and immediately crumple to the floor in pain. Annoyed that he had tried it after my telling him he was too weak to do so, I went over and shoved him back in the bed. He stated that he was weaker then he thought. “You’re not gonna get any stronger! Not until you get that shoulder fixed!” I declared.
I grabbed his gun belt to take with me. He suddenly asked him what I was going to do. I told him I was going to get him a doctor. He asked me if I was going to stop in and talk to the law. “It seems to me like you don’t have much to say about that either way,” I answered. I asked him if he was wanted.
“You have it all figured out in your mind, don’t ya'? I’m running from the law. You’re a law abiding citizen. You gotta do your duty. Well, I am wanted back In Quisquose City and for killing a man. You’ll find that out anyway. But that’s not the whole story.” I told him I was no jury. I really didn’t care to hear another sad story from another outlaw. I started to leave. He stopped me. “Now, you turn me in, it’ll be too late. He asked me to hear him out. “Does the name Andy Moon mean anything to you?”
“Yeah. Gunfighter, hired out during the border wars. Killed 6 or 7 men. Got a big reputation. After the wars he went to jail. He’s probably dead now.” That’s what I remembered about that outlaw.
But suddenly he told me he was Andy Moon. Boy, was I surprised! “Yeah, not much to look out now, am I? Six years in the territorial prison can weather a man. He had received a special pardon. The wars were dirty and rotten. I was no better or worse then the others so they finally let me go.
I suddenly found my self feeling sorry for this man. He couldn’t get way from his past. Everywhere he went people would stare and whisper at him. Then he had to move on. “Moving killed my wife. She grew sick and had to keep to her bed.”
I suddenly wondered about the man he killed – the reason he was on the run now. “Shep Coleman, the youngest of the three Coleman Brothers. They found out who I was. Shep started pushing me around, building up his name. It was self defense. If I was anyone else I could have stayed in town and stood trial. Besides, the town’s afraid of the Coleman’s they’d been too afraid to judge me fair.
I was beginning to understand. He wasn’t making any sense though. He was running with the Coleman’s right behind him. He thought he could outrun two men with the wound like he had. “What would you do, McCain? Stay and get shot down, or strung up by a town that was too afraid to give me a fair trial, or leave my boy alone with the name Moon hung around his neck?”
Mark and Bobby came in then. Mark announced that he was finished with all his chores. He wondered if he and Bobby could go fishing. “Bobby’s father will have to decide that, Mark,” I answered.
Bobby really wanted to go. He begged his Pa to let him go with big, excited eyes and excitement in his voice. But the answer was simple. “No Bobby, I’m sorry.” Bobby wanted to know why not. “Because I want you to stay here with me,” his father answered shortly.
Mark suddenly came forward to argue for Bobby, but I stopped him immediately. This was none of his business. "Mark, you heard what Bobby's father said,” I stated sternly. Bobby was deeply hurt and ran out of the room. I motioned for Mark to go after him.
I went to the door to make sure Bobby and Mark had indeed left before I turned back to Moon. “Moon, it’s none of my business how you handle your boy, but why didn’t you tell him the real reason he couldn’t go?” I suddenly wanted to know.
His answer surprised me. “Because if I told him, then I’d have to start explaining why I killed young Coleman.” I couldn’t believe he didn’t know. “Why should he? It’s not me I’ve been running for. After all the killing things I’ve done, it doesn’t make much difference what happens to me. But my Bobby didn’t know me like I was – like I was before. I wasn’t there when he was born. He was born clean. How can I pass my sins now on to him?” I didn’t believe in hiding things from your children. It only caused heartbreak later. I quickly left the room without saying another word.
The Coleman Brothers rode into North Fork before I got into town. They tied their horses in front of the saloon and took off across the street toward Doc’s office.
Doc Burrage had his hands full tending to a patient who had received buckshot right on the seat of his pants. The patient wasn’t too happy about it either! He had been behind the barn sneaking a drink of corn liquor when his wife mistook him for a prowler after the chickens.
Suddenly, the Coleman’s busted into the doc’s office, rushed over to the patient, grabbed his hair and pulled his head up to look at him. The Doc demanded to know who they were looking for. They gave the doc a good description of Andy Moon, but the doc assured them that he hadn’t seen him. “I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna be seeing him real soon. And in case you do, we’d appreciate you letting us know right away, you understand me, doc?” one of the brothers ordered.
They were planning on spending the next couple of hours over at the saloon.
"You ever see this fella they're looking for?" Doc’s patient asked.
"No and I hope I don't," Doc answered.
Tom Coleman waited outside the saloon to keep an eye on the doc’s office. Suddenly, I came racing up the street and rode straight to doc’s office. Tom went and got Rafe. They both waited outside the saloon for me to come out. “Probably some sodbuster with an ailing toe!”
I told the doc about Moon being hurt at the ranch needing help desperately. “He wouldn’t have a bullet in him,” Doc asked. I nodded “Two men just left here. They were looking for a man named Andy Moon. And they threatened me telling me if I didn’t tell them when I heard something-“
I interrupted Doc, asking him where they were. He told me they were in the saloon. Since Fred wasn’t too bad, I asked doc to go ahead and go out the back way and get to my house.
As I left doc’s office to go see Micah the two men approached me. “Hold up, mister. What was your business with the doc?”
I knew exactly who they were and what they really wanted to know. “Like you said, my business,” I answered and tried to pass them, but they stopped me. They informed me they were looking for a wounded man named Andy Moon. “What’d he do?” I asked.
“What’d he do? You mean you’ve never heard of Andy Moon?”
“I mean to you!” I shot back.
“Well, I don’t see any badges! You lawmen?” I asked, still holding a lot of irritation in my voice.
They had black cloth tied around the top of their arms. “These are all the badges we need, mister. Now what’d you visit the doc for?”
“Same answer, mister! My business!” I answered harshly. I pushed one of the brothers out of the way. The other one tried to get me and I pushed him back. Then I twirled my rifle and ordered them to keep their hands where I could see them. “Now look, if you’ve come to North Fork to cause trouble, my advice is to leave North Fork and keep going!” I ordered.
“Not until we get the man we’re after!”
“Well there’s a Marshal in this town. He’s the one to see about hunting down fugitives. That’s his office right there!” I pointed to Micah’s office.
"I'm gonna be remembering you," Tom promised angrily.
I walked in to Micah’s office and told him I had a wanted man at my place. Micah knew it was Andy Moon. He had gotten a poster on him this morning. “You left him at your place all alone?” he asked.
I studied the wanted poster. “No, Mark’s with him. And Moon’s own son. Now, I think I can get him to turn himself in. All the man wants is a fair trial.” But Micah just wanted to get out to my ranch. I stopped him. I put my hand on the door to keep him from rushing off. “The brothers of the men he killed are in town, and a fair trial’s the last thing on their mind.” I asked Micah to keep his eye on them while I go back to the ranch and tell Moon that if he comes into town peaceful, the law will. He agreed to do it my way.
While I was in Micah’s office, the two Coleman brothers had gone back to doc’s office to see the doc. They found doc gone and Fred in there all by himself. They asked him where doc went. “I told ya', he went out for a spell!” Fred answered as he started to take a drink of whisky, but they took the bottle from him and asked about me. He wouldn’t tell them anything so Rafe hit him in the butt where he was filled with buckshot. Fred cried out in pain. He said that hurt so Rafe hit him again.
“McCain sent him out to his place,” he finally answered. “Told him there was a wounded man he wants Doc to see.” They asked him where I lived but he didn’t want to answer. Rafe hit him again. He told them. With that, they left to come and get me.
Me and the boys were at the table eating supper. I tried to encourage Bobby who was very worried about his father. I told him he’d be alright. “It just mean’s we’ll have to be going again,” Bobby answered sadly.
“Well not for a few days,” I assured him.
But then Moon hollered for me. He was up getting dressed, stating he was suddenly hungry. He suddenly wondered where the Marshal was. I told him I’d talked to the Marshal about letting him turn himself in. “How bout it? I can keep Bobby here, he’d never have to know. After the trial you can come get him.” Moon suddenly asked me about the Coleman’s. I told him the Marshal was keeping an eye on the Coleman’s until they leave.
He turned to me. “You mean they’re in town?”
“Not for long. They’ll move on when they get tired,” I assured him. But he said he’d be moving first.
He was in no condition to travel. “You just watch me! I owe you a debt, McCain, more then I can ever pay. But you don’t know those Coleman’s. I’ve got my boy to think of. I just couldn’t turn myself in. Not with the Coleman’s around. I just couldn’t. You understand.” Then he went out into the other room. "Come on son, we gotta be going."
Bobby was still at the table eating. He didn’t move. "Bobby, I said lets go,” Moon reached out for him.
But Bobby pushed him away. His back was towards him. "No Pa, no."
"We've got no choice. I need you to help me," Moon tried to explain. He reached out for him again.
Bobby suddenly stood up, pushing the chair over. He started yelling. "I'm tired of running. I don't want to run anymore. I wanna stay here."
"Son, you don't understand,” Moon tried again.
Suddenly, Bobby ran over to me and wrapped his arms around my waste. "Don't let him take me Mr. McCain." I wrapped my arm around him protectively and he buried his face in the crest of my arm.
"Bobby, a boy belongs with his father,” I explained gently.
"He's not my father. He's a killer, he's Andy Moon. I know because they told me. He shot people in the back. I hate him, I hate him." Bobby was yelling and crying. I just looked at Moon. This is exactly what I was afraid was going to happen.
"Bobby, Bobby, it's not like that," said his Pa.
"I wished you've never come back. I wish you were dead!" Bobby screamed hatefully. This was breaking my heart!
“Son, now you listen to me.” He reached out for Bobby again, but he ran across the room from him and turned his back toward him. He softly walked up behind Bobby. He wanted to touch him, but held back. He spoke softly and tenderly. “I should have told you…long ago. But I was afraid. I hoped your Ma had told you. But when I found out she hadn’t, I thought it would be best not to say anything..” I turned my head and looked at Mark. He looked at me. We just stared at each other, suddenly happy for the open relationship we needed.
“I paid for what I did son. I went to prison for it. I killed men, but not ever from the back. Don’t let anyone tell you different. You’ve got to understand that the killing I did was in a time that men were fighting for their land. It was a dirty time. The killing was dirty.” Andy lifted his hand and gently sat it on Bobby’s shoulder. “But son,-“ Bobby turned around and looked at him. “It doesn’t have anything to do with you. You came out of the good feeling I had. The good feeling I had when I was with your Ma. I thought I’d wait until you were old enough to understand. Maybe now you are.”
But Bobby had been hurt so bad. He turned away from his father again. Andy was sad. He slowly gathered his things up and started for the door. “I guess there’s no reason for me to run any more. Mize well go into town and pay a visit to the Marshal."
I told Mark to make sure Bobby got to bed when he did. I left the rest unspoken, but he knew that meant on time. I picked up the knocked over chair before heading out the door.
But suddenly, they came barging in. The Coleman Brothers pushed us back and held guns on us. “Well, it’s real cozy, isn’t it?” I told them that we were heading into town so he could turn himself in to the Marshal. “Well, that’s just fine. That’s real honorable, Mr. Moon. But we came a long way for this. Seems like such a waste, doesn’t it Tom?”
Tom stated a trial would be a waste. They knew how their brother was killed. Andy tried to explain that he hadn’t wanted to kill their brother, but he left him no choice. He had pulled on him from behind. He didn’t get his chance to pick his shot or he wouldn’t have killed him. “But you did. And we aim to do something about it!”
I asked them once more to let the law handle it as I moved forward. Tom punched me hard and I fell on top of the table. Mark suddenly started fighting with Tom as he moves toward me. Mark bit him. Rafe started fighting with Andy. Bobby ran forward and started fighting Rafe after he threw Andy to the floor.
Andy reached for his gun sitting in it’s holster. He waited until Rafe pushed Bobby away then Andy shot him. Rafe fell to the floor. Tom headed for Moon, but Bobby grabbed him by the leg and wouldn’t let go. I was free to go for my rifle. I cocked it and pointed it at Tom. “Hold it,” I yelled. But he turned to shoot me. I shot first and he fell to the floor.
Andy laid still on the floor. All the excitement was too much for is already weak body. Bobby started crying. “Pa! Pa, please. Please, Pa! I didn’t mean it, Pa!” Bobby cried at his father’s side.
“I’m alright son. I’m alright.” They hugged. I sighed relief that it was finally over. I knew that in time they’d be okay.
The next day, Mark and I had to say goodbye to the Moons. Andy went for one more checkup before heading out with the Marshal. "McCain, for everything…thanks." We smiled at each other.
"No doubts about going back now?" I asked.
He had a new confidence in him now. He knew that he stood a good chance to a fair trial now that he didn’t have the Coleman's in the way. The bartender wouldn't be afraid to be his witness now. "Beside, I've got my boy backing me,” he stated as he put an arm around his son. We shook hands and I wished him luck.
Mark and I watched them leave. Then Mark turned to ask me a question. "Pa, what did Mr. Moon mean by his boy backing him?"
"Well, the way you back me son. ya' know like I do the cooking, you do the dishes."
“Oh,” Mark said. But then he got to thinking about that and gave me a strange look. I laughed. Then I put my arm around him as we started down the street.
Piddlin' stuff.....George Wallace played Andy Moon. He's the one who was running from the Coleman brother's for shooting Shep Coleman.
Eugene Martin Mazzola played Bobby Moon, Andy Moon's son.
In 1961 Eugene Martin Mazzola and George Wallace again appeared as father and son, this time in The Rebel ― The Burying of Sammy Hart.
Richard Evans appeared in two episodes ― Sins of the Father as Shep Coleman, the arrogant young punk who pushed Andy Moon into killing him ― A Young Man's Fancy as Bruce Henry, again he plays a arrogant young punk, this time he liked Sally and pushed Mark around.
Kelton Garwood appeared twice in two episodes ― Blood Brother as Smith, one of the men (vigilante) with the People's Committee, he was the one with the beard and mustache ― Sins of the Father as Tom Coleman, the brother of Shep Coleman, one of the vigilante brothers who came after Andy Moon for killing his brother.
Kay E. Kuter has appeared in two episodes ― Sins of the Father as Rafe Coleman, one of the vigilante brothers who came after Andy Moon for killing his brother, Shep Coleman ― Lonesome Bride as Charv Banner, he was one of the brothers that connived to send the letters to Mary Woodson from Lucas.
Fred, the guy on Doc's table getting buckshot taken out of his butt is Dick Wilson. I. sure you remember him. Best known for his portrayal of "Mr. Whipple" for 25 years in Charmin commercials
Charles Tannen appeared in six episodes ― The Boarding House as Barney, North Fork's Barber ― Sins of the Father as the bartender in the saloon where Andy Moon shot Shep Coleman ― The Jailbird as Josh Moore, the storekeeper at the Hardware Store ― Woman From Hog Ridge as the storekeeper ― Miss Milly as Mr. Penn the customer who Marty Ryan had ruffed up trying to get money on his bill owed to Milly ― The Actress as one of the men who Elizabeth Garrett Black was entertaining in the hotel bar, the man with the cigar.
Rhys Williams appeared as Doc Burrage in six episodes ― Blood Brother ― Bloodlines ― Letter of the Law ― A Case of Identity ― Sins of the Father ― The Prodigal.
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?
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.
Snub Pollard appeared in two episodes ― Lariat as a card player ― Sins of the Father as the Drunk in the Saloon who witnessed the of killing Shep Coleman.
Bloopers - Sins of the Father
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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