"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Back in those days, a man’s land was something a man held on to. Many of us ranchers would even die holding on to our land that we sweated over for so many hours. For me, it was my son’s legacy – and that made my fight even more important. You see, the railroad was coming into town and somebody wanted my ranch awfully bad!
There was a man staying at the hotel. His name was Willard Prescott, and he was the man trying to take my land. I was being a little…stubborn about it, so he decided to go a different route with me. He decided to hire a few henchmen to be rough with me.
He had bought a piece of land to sell to the railroad for a profit, but my land was next to his, and it was keeping him from being able to sell his land to the railroad. “The owner won’t sell. Now, if he continues to hold out, he’s gonna force the railroad to use the alternate route over here.” He had one week to sell. He was going to have one last talk with me the following day before he turned me over to these men.
The day he came to visit, Mark and I were busy fixing the fencing in the south section of our ranch. Mark drove the team while I walked along side looking for problems. When we stopped to fix a broken part of the fence, we saw Prescott coming. I grabbed my rifle, ready for action, and sent Mark on to work on fixing the fence by himself. He didn’t want to, but I didn’t give him a choice.
"Good morning McCain.” I held my rifle up as I leaned on the fence post and just glared at him. “Now is that anyway to greet a neighbor?"
"Well in my book Prescott, a neighbor is someone who lives on the land, not someone who speculates with it."
"Buying and selling land just happens to be my business, that's all," Prescott explained.
"And working the land just happens to be mine."
"With the money you'd get from the railroad you could buy a better piece of land to work," said Prescott.
"I'm perfectly satisfied with the piece of land I already have."
“Your neighbors along the route are anxious to sell.”
I gave a laugh. “You’re really worried about them, aren’t you Prescott?” He laughed and told me that I had to live with them. “Well, we’ve worked out our differences before.”
“Yeah. But this time you are taking money out of their pockets. They’re not gonna like that.” I told him if I did sell to him then the ranches on the alternate route wouldn't like it either. “You can't please everybody.”
I started to go back to work on the fence, but then he pulled out an envelope and told me it was for me. “A bribe?” I wondered.
“No,” he tried to assure me. “Just a business proposition. I wanna protect my investment and I’ll share some anticipated prophets. Just good, sound business.” I told him it wasn’t my kind of business. I wondered why he thought I was going to change my mind. “McCain, I’ve yet to see the man whose mind I couldn’t change, sooner or later.” I walked away.
That evening, as I sat out on the porch steps relaxing with my cigar, Mark came to stand in the doorway. I reminded him that he needed to get to bed. We had a lot of work to do tomorrow on the south section fence. But Mark had a pressing question about the enveloped Prescott had offered me. “How much was in it?” I told him I had no idea. I wondered why he asked that. Mark walked over to me. “I was just thinking.”
“Thinking what?” I asked.
Mark sat down on the step next to me. He didn’t look at me as he said, “Maybe we oughta sell.”
I couldn’t believe it! “Did I hear you right?”
“Well, there…There’s an awful lot of land in North Fork just as good as our and…and besides, you were saying only last month that we could do with a little extra money.”
To say I wasn’t a little upset with him would by lying. "Mark, this is our home!"
"I know but..." Mark stopped.
"But what?" I asked.
“Nothing,” Mark answered as he looked down at the ground.
“There is something. What is it?”
“Nothing,” Mark insisted.
"Now son, we've got an understanding we always speak out on what we think."
Mark knew he had no choice. He had to tell me. "I didn't want to come running to you...complaining like a kid. Your always saying that a man should fight his own battles," said Mark. I asked him what battle was he talking about. "Yesterday with Kenny Wheeler...we use to be good friends but...but I wasn't gonna let him get away with saying what he did about ya'.”
“What did he say?” I asked.
“He kept calling you names ‘cause you wouldn’t’ sell the land. Probably got it from his father because Mr. Wheeler wants to sell and you’re in his way.”
"And that's why Mark McCain wants to give in!" I said.
"It's not givin' in Pa...I just don't want people turnin' against ya'!"
"We can't help what other people do son. We have to stand up for what we believe in. It's just a matter of principle."
"Principle...sometimes that seems to be nothing more then just a word. Maybe I shouldn't have said that but-” he stopped.
"Sure you should have said it Mark, because you're right. Sometimes it is only a word. It has to be something we live and feel, not just something we talk about." I could tell he still didn’t understand. "Mark...when your mother passed away, I took you away from Oklahoma because...well I...I couldn't stand the ranch there anymore. I couldn't stay yet I really couldn't leave...I kind of carried it in my heart. I didn't know it at the time, but...I was looking for a place just like it. Well I found it here in North Fork. Same land, same valleys, same hills. This house we built...same house...barn...same barn.” I looked toward the hill. “That hill Mark...that's the way it use to look in the moonlight, kind of a soft blanket of silver on it. The only thing missing is the cross at the crest that marks your mother's resting place.
Otherwise it's the same hill." He looked at me and I knew he understood. It didn't matter how many Kenny's or town folks there were to call me names. I told him he better get off to bed. He started for the door and then turned to me, wanting to say something, but he didn't, we understood each other. I just sat back and enjoyed the land, the valleys, the hills, the house and the barn in the blanket of silver from the moon that shone down on everything.
The next day we went out to the south section to check the cattle. When we got there every one of fence posts had been hacked off at the base and the barbed wire was cut. Mark wondered what made the cattle break through. “They didn’t break through, Mark!” Mark didn’t understand. “They were driven through. Look, this was done with a wire cutter. And every one of these posts was deliberately hacked off at the base!” Boy, was I mad – and I knew exactly who was behind it! Mark wondered what I was going to do about it. “Round up those steers for now,” I answered.
When I got to town Prescott was outside of the hotel reading the newspaper. I picked up a chair and walked over to him. I straddled the chair as I glared at him without say a word. He finally folded his paper and gave me his attention. “I got your message.” He acted like he didn't know what I was talking about. "This morning down at the south section of my property.” He still played dumb. “My fence was down and my cattle were on your land," I said.
"What's that to me?" Prescott asked.
"You wanted me to know I had trouble...you wanted me to know that...you meant business," I said.
"Now if you think you have a legitimate complaint, why don't you go straight to the marshal?"
"I was going to...but I thought it over...I decided to keep this strictly between you and...me.” Then I asked, “About that envelope you had yesterday..."
He smiled as he pulled the envelope out of his pocket and handed it to me. "I told you I was going to hold it for you. It's all yours McCain.”
I took the envelope from him and started to sort through the money. I pulled out a bill. "This twenty ought to be enough to cover the cost of my fence damage." I threw the envelope at him and stuffed the twenty dollar bill in my pocket.. "And if you think you have a legitimate complaint, and then you can go straight...to the marshal." I walked away from Prescott and rode out of town.
Prescott’s three hired guns watched the whole thing. After I rode out of town, the boss, Dave, walked up to Prescott. He noticed I was pretty stubborn.
Mark and I were on our way to the south section to redo the fencin' when someone took shots at us. We took cover, but when the shooting was done we couldn't see anyone. Mark asked me if I knew who they were. “I don’t know, but I know who sent them – Prescott!”
“To kill you?” Mark asked angrily.
I sighed. “Not this time.” I wanted to get home.
When we got there, there was a buggy outside. I jumped off the wagon. Mark knew he should stay put. I had my rifle ready as I started around the house. As I turned the corner to my porch, Lou was standing there. I called to Mark. “Not the way you usually greet me!” she complained.
I was too frustrated to play games! “I wasn’t expecting you, Lou.”
Mark greeted Lou then. He invited her for supper but she declined the invitation. After Mark walked inside, Lou started drilling me. She demanded to know who I was expecting. I told her it was not important. “Important enough for you to be ready to use that,” she motioned toward my rifle. “You were in town yesterday. You could’ve come up to see me.”
“I didn’t have time!” I declared. She was offended. “Lou, I had other things on my mind.”
She knew it was Prescott. “I saw him operating in Denver, Lucas. He’s used to getting what he wants.”
“Well, he’s not gonna get what he wants this time!” I informed her. She tried to warn me that the men working for him could get rough. “So, let ‘em be rough.”
“Be sensible, Lucas!”
I laughed. “Like the people who sold you their land so you could resell it later on at a profit for the railroad?”
She smiled, knowing I was right. “But I feel differently now. North Fork’s my home. I care about it. Besides, I…I don’t like the idea of your getting hurt” I smiled at her for that. She grew argumentative again. “Oh Lucas, you’re not just fighting Prescott! What about Fred Wheeler and the other ranchers along this route?”
I tried to explain to her that if I sold, the ranchers on the alternate route wouldn’t like it. I just can’t please everybody! “I’m only asking you to be practical! Don’t you understand?”
“Don’t you understand?” I shot back. “This place is a part of me. No one’s gonna take it away.” Lou said the fight wasn’t always worth it. I knew she was worried, but suddenly she said, “Lucas, sell out and buy another piece of land!”
I shot my head up. That sounded like a…”You rode all the way out here on your own to say that? Or did Prescott send you?”
That sure got her riled! “I’ve never met a man like you before! You’re…you're impossible! I hate you! You’re just completely impossible!” I didn’t say a word, but watched as she hurried over to her buggy. “I didn’t mean that, Lucas. I don’t hate you.”
“I know.” I nodded my head toward her.
“But you are impossible! Without another word, she left. I couldn’t help but smile. She sure was a feisty one!
That night, Mark and I were sleeping. In the quiet of the night, I heard a loud noise and sat straight up in bed. Mark was awakened and asked me what it was. After I put my pants on, I hurried out into the other room. Someone had thrown something through the window and caught the curtains on fire! Mark put the fire out on the floor. After the fire was out, I told Mark to get dressed. We were going into town!
We slowly and quietly rode into town. I left Mark in front of Micah’s office with the horses while I made my way into the hotel. I knocked on Prescott’s door. When he opened it, he found himself facing my rifle. I cocked it as I pointed it straight at him. I was very angry! He just looked at me without saying a word.
I slowly moved into the room, forcing him to back up less the barrel of my rifle be shoved right into his face. “My house was set on fire tonight,” I announced angrily.
“Why tell me? I had nothing to do with it,” Prescott said.
"I could blow your head off Prescott!”
“I was downstairs all evening-“ he started.
I wasn’t in the mood to hear any of his lame excuses! “I could blow your head off and not give it a second thought." He told me to relax and put the gun down. He was relieved when I put my rifle down until I grabbed a hold of him. As I gave my little speech, I kept a firm hold on his collar and kept shaking him. "On the ride in I kept thinking, what should I do to him and how should I handle this? Well killing you is not going to get me what I want. Taking you to the law still needs more proof. So, I guess it's still between you and me. Now I've been getting your messages but you don't seem to be getting mine. So now you listen and you listen good. You can tear down all my fences; I'll put up new ones. You can burn my house to the ground; I'll build a new one. You can try to scare me off with an arsenal, I won't scare. So you give up Prescott, you give up because I won't!" I shoved him and he fell onto the bed. I then walked out and went to get Mark and we headed home.
The next morning, Mark and I were on our way outside to start working when I saw Prescott riding up. Immediately, I went back inside and grabbed my rifle. I cocked it as he rode up, ready for a fight! "I thought over what you said last night McCain," said Prescott. I told him to turn that buggy around and get out of here. "You know I can't help but admire you!”
"Did you hear what I said Prescott?"
"I'm gonna get what I want, one way or another," said Prescott. I started again to tell him to get off my land. Suddenly, he said, "Isn't that right Dave?"
"That's right Mr. Prescott," I heard. Mark and I turned to see Dave standing just off the porch.
"Your covered from the other side too.” Mark and I saw a man coming from behind the barn.
“And from behind.” Mark and I turned to see a man coming off the side porch. We were covered! They were all holding their guns on us.
"Throw that rifle away McCain," Dave ordered.
"Now you can put up a fight if you want to but your son's liable to get hit in the cross fire," said Prescott. I threw my rifle on the ground.
“Now can we talk business?”
‘No deal, Prescott,” I answered without hesitation.
“Fair price,” he tired.
Prescott told Mark to go in the shed. Mark just stood there until I told him to do what Prescott had said. After Carver put Mark in the shed, Prescott gave me one last chance. I didn't answer with words. Instead, I throw a punch right at Dave. But then Spencer hit me from behind. Spencer then picked me up and held me while Carver started to beat on me. I managed to kick Dave while the others held me. This just angered him more and he continued hitting me.
I could hear Mark in the background calling to me and pounding on the door to the shed.
Dave kept hitting me until I fell to the ground. "Change your mind McCain!" Prescott pleaded. He still sat in his buggy.
But I kept silent. His men kept hitting me and I managed to get a kick in again at Dave. Again I fell to the ground. "McCain! What do you say?"
I slowly stood up and delivered a hard punch at Dave. Dave got mad and drew his gun. He cocked it as he pointed it at me. "Hold it Dave!" Prescott ordered.
"I'm gonna make him pay!" Dave yelled angrily.
Prescott jumped out of his buggy. "I said hold it!" Prescott grabbed me and helped me to my feet. I stood in front of him, short of breath. We just looked at each other. "He doesn't know the meaning of the word beg. But he knows the meaning of the word fight," he said as he smiled at me. "Well sometimes you make a bad investment. What do you do? You take your losses and you try something else. That's business.” He winked at me. “So long, McCain.”
He turned to get on his buggy, but I stopped him. “Just a minute, Prescott! You still owe me $5. Fire damage on my house!” He gave me the money and left.
Suddenly, Mark started knocking on the shed again. I hurried over as he started calling my name again. I opened it and Mark grasped me. “Pa!”
“I’m alright, son,” I assured him. But he asked me if I was alright anyway. I tried to tell him everything was okay, but he grabbed on to me tighter and asked again. I again assured him I was okay. But mark was still upset by what had happened. He wanted to get me some water. He had to do something to help me! “Alright, get me some water,” I said.
That evening I was setting on the steps of the porch looking at the land and all I owned and thought how all this was worth standing up for. It was our land, Mark's and mine and no one was going to take it from us, no matter what. Just then Mark came out and sat on the steps with me with a big smile on his face. I asked him what he was thinking. "I'm not thinking, I'm looking."
"Looking at what?" I asked. "
The hill, the valley, the herd, every rock...every blade of grass...and all of it ours."
"Looks good to you, huh?"
"Especially now...before I only saw it with my eyes."
I understood what he was saying. "And now you see it with your heart," I said.
"Yup...just can't explain it though.”
"Nobody can son, it's a deep warm feeling...a comfort we…we just happen to call home." I watched my son look over our land as if seeing it for the first time. We were happy!
This is what I call a "shirtless" episode!
piddlin' stuff.....Gerald Mohr played Willard Prescott in this episode of Squeeze Play. He was the man who wanted to buy the McCain Ranch.
Chris Alcaide appeared in ten episodes ― The Trade as Hamp Ferris, he was the cowboy who wanted to turn Morley in for the reward ― Obituary as Panama Billings, he was the gunfighter who rode into North Fork trying to make a name for himself and another notch on his gun ― A Case of Identity as Lon Perry, he was the cowboy along with his partner Captain James Gordon who scheme to make Wingate think Mark was his son ― A Time for Singing as Spence, the leader of a gang of bank robbers who were going to rob the North Fork Bank ― Meeting at Midnight as Schroeder, he was working with Benton & Morgan to break Carl Miller out of jail ― Dead Cold Cash as Ben Casper, the attorney for Sara Caruthers ― The Wyoming Story part 1 & 2 as Ross, the Henchman for Forbes McKee the Indian Agent ― The Journey Back as Will Carney, he was looking for revenge for his brother's death ― Squeeze Play as Dave Rankin, the heavy for Willard Prescott.
Gee how many times did John Anderson star in The Rifleman? Who appeared in the most episodes Chris Alcaide or John Anderson? How about John Milford?
Dean Fredericks appeared in two episodes ― Squeeze Play as Phil Carve, he was the one with the studded leather cuffs ― Requiem at Mission Springs as Rance, the leader of the gang.
Henry Madden played Hal Spencer. He was the one who came from the back of the house, the opposite side that Dave (Chris Alcaide) came out on.
Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory. Patricia was first introduced to The Rifleman in Lou Mallory. She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a razor-sharp businesswoman. She joined the cast in the fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes. Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott owner of The General Store.
Tom Smith - How many times has Tom Smith been on The Rifleman? Is it 7 or 9? He was in The Queue as a customer in the dining room Outlaw's Shoes as a cowboy in town ― The Clarence Bibs Story as a cowboy in town ― Millie's Brother as a card player ― The Long Goodbye as a cowboy in town ― Suspicion as a cowboy in town and he was in Squeeze Play which later they used stock footage from Squeeze Play for Conflict and End of the Hunt.
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.
Bloopers - Squeeze Play
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
The Most Amazing Man
around The McCain Ranch