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The Continuing Saga of The Rifleman

The Return of Johnny Drako by Deanne Bertram

Five years was not long enough for The Rifleman. The series ended too soon. Though its production ended before I was born, it lives on in reruns and DVDs. This saga is dedicated to my imagination of the lives of Lucas and Mark McCain and the residents of North Fork, after the series ended. In looking back,
The Return of Johnny Drako and Healing, unknowingly, started my saga.

While writing
Leaving Childhood Behind, it was my dream to allow Mark grow up, but without his father present. In growing up, he came to realize every move he made would be guided, ultimately, by everything his father had taught him. A parent can only teach their child and hope that the lessons they’ve taught are the right ones. Lucas grew up as well when he came to understand a parent can’t always be there to protect or guide their child. At some point, a parent has to be ready to let go.

A parent must be willing to accept their child’s decisions as they grow up, and if they fall, be ready to catch them. This was my idea behind
Mark’s Posse. Yet, the repercussions of a child’s decision, like a pebble striking the surface of a pond, aren’t always so simple, as Lucas was to find out.

After finishing
Mark’s Posse, I felt a need to continue the story. A lot had been spoken between Lucas and Mark, regarding Mark’s ordeal. But, there was another side to the story. A side untold - Lucas’. Thus was started and so, my dream of their saga continued.
I hope you enjoy.
 Deanne Bertram aka Bluewind Farm 

The site that greeted Drako as he arrived at the McCain’s was shocking. Mark and Lucas lying in the dirt, both unconscious, both bleeding from vicious blows, then Johnny noticed the red on the front of Lucas’ shirt. Johnny ran over to his friend, bent over and tried to determine if Lucas was breathing, barely. Next, he ran over to Mark, checking for any signs of a gunshot. Thank God for small favors. Johnny quickly harnessed up the wagon team. He loaded Lucas first into the back of the wagon. All the while Johnny was man-handling him, Lucas was quiet. Johnny then lifted Mark into the back of the wagon. Mark groans as he is laid next to his Pa.
Johnny races the wagon team back to town. Yelling at the outskirts of town “GET THE DOCTOR! GET THE DOCTOR!”

Healing... Healing takes up the story of Lucas and Mark McCain as a follow up to The Return of Johnny Drako.

Leaving Childhood Behind:  Lucas comes to realize just how much Mark has grown up. But when tragedy strikes, Mark realizes he must face his own fear. Can he become the man, he thinks, his father has raised him to be?

Mark’s Posse:  After the stage is robbed, Micah feels extremely apprehensive in deputizing the only person who can lead the posse in tracking the outlaws.

Timing by Deanne Bertram
Lucas deals with Mark’s recovery after helping the Posse; and comes to the realization that Mark has grown up and will never again be his “little” boy. Mark is there to help Lucas deal with no longer being the father of a young boy. Yet, Lucas is there to watch and help, as his son takes on the responsibilities of being a man. Along the road to manhood, Mark unwitting encounters an assassination plot. But this time, Mark doesn’t have a slingshot. This time he has his Pa, friends, and a rifle.

The Next Step by Deanne Bertram
The Next Step continues the saga of Lucas and Mark McCain and the residents of North Fork. Within The Next Step you'll see some old friends come back, be introduced to new characters, as well as see others, you'd just as soon, rather forget.

Citizens, Family Relationships, and Important Dates

Chapter 1 - School - As Milly returns to North Fork, arrangements are made for her to become a second teacher for the town.

Chapter 2 - The Note - Numerous times in his life, Mark had brought home a note from his teacher, but never one the caused Lucas so much pride.

Chapter 3 - Another Repercussion - Another dear friend returns to North Fork, to be there for the 'orphaned' Mark.

Chapter 4 - Deputy McCain - Marshal Torrance and Deputy Drako are called out of town, leaving North Fork in the hands of Deputy Mark McCain.

Chapter 5 - Doctor Burrage - As Doc Burrage announces his retirement, North Fork meets his replacement.

Chapter 6 - Thanksgiving - The McCain's spend Thanksgiving with the two women who mean the most to them.

Chapter 7 - Cougar - Tragedy strikes when cougars are found on the McCain Ranch.

Chapter 8 - Birthdays - Mark finds out that he and Hope share the same birthday.

Chapter 9 - Mrs. Lucas McCain - The wedding of Lucas and Milly.

Chapter 10 - Christmas - The McCain's share their first Christmas together with a new member of the family.

Chapter 11 - Learning the Letter of the Law - Mark heads to Denver to attend a training class for U.S. Marshals.

Chapter 12 - The Homecoming - Mark returns to North Fork. While out riding, he experiences something he's never felt before.

Chapter 13 - Summertime - Life continues on in North Fork.

Chapter 14 - The Delivery - An injured Deputy Marshal, transporting a prisoner arrives in North Fork and its up to Mark to deliver his prisoner.

Chapter 15 - Mark’s Return - Mark comes to understand there's more to being a deputy than just upholding the law.

Chapter 16 - The Return of Johnny and Lou Drako - Johnny and Lou Drako return to North Fork after their honeymoon.

Chapter 17 - Preparing for Winter - The McCain's work and live through Fall.

Chapter 18 - Thanksgiving, Again - The McCain's celebrate Thanksgiving

Chapter 19 - Turning 18 - Mark and Hope celebrate their 18th birthday.

Chapter 20 - Permission - Mark knows he has kept his promise to his father and he seeks permission to ask Hope to marry him.

Chapter 21 - Hope’s Second Christmas - Knowing Hope will soon become a member of his family, Mark presents her with her own horse.

Chapter 22 - New Year’s Eve - The McCain's and the Lane's are present when Mark proposes to Hope, later that night, Lucas, Mark, and Hope, deal with Milly's pain.

Chapter 23 - The Race - Mark rushes to located one of town's doctors for Milly, only to be informed they both are in Marionette.

Chapter 24 - The Wait - The joyous moment at the McCain's is dampened when they are told devastating news.

Chapter 25 – Hope’s Graduation - Hope graduates from school.

Chapter 26 - Mark and Hope’s Wedding - The day Mark has waited for almost a year and a half has arrived.

Chapter 27 - The Wedding Night - Mark and Hope start their lives as husband and wife.

Chapter 28 – The Day After - Lucas and Milly return to the Ranch and help Mark and Hope adjust to life as a married couple.

Chapter 29 – Settling In - Life gets into a rhythm at the McCain Ranch.

Chapter 30 – A Change of Season - A discussion concerning Hope.

Chapter 31 – Eastbound Train - The train arrives in North Fork with a pregnant woman, in labor.

Chapter 32 – The New Year - Johnny and Lou experience the birth of their first born.

Chapter 33 – Myra, the Toddler - Oh the trouble children can cause when they learn to walk.

Chapter 34 – Never Too Old - Old friends tie the knot.

Chapter 35 - Fort Sam Houston - Mark and Hope travel to Fort Sam Houston for her brother's wedding. Afterwards, tragedy strikes.

Chapter 36 - The Gifts - At Christmas, Lucas is told of his gifts.

Chapter 37 – Anticipation - Looking back and looking forward. Waiting for the 'gifts' to arrive.

Chapter 38 - Father and Son, Side by Side - With Mark and Lucas trail outlaws who robbed the North Fork Bank.

Chapter 39 – A Time to Cherish - Lucas and Mark return to their wives and their lives will never be the same again.

Chapter 40 – Introductions - North Fork meets the newest McCain's.

Chapter 41 – Broken Fences - A secret kept, causes heartache for the McCain's.

Chapter 42 – Mending Fences - The McCain's patch up their lives.

Chapter 43 – Living Life - Milly announces her retirement from teaching and a new teacher is introduced.

Chapter 44 – The Arrivals - Mark's Uncle Johnny and his wife Colleen return to North Fork and outlaws from Johnny Drako’s past pay a visit.

Chapter 45 – The Legacy - Mark, Hope, and the rest of North Fork send Lucas and Milly on a belated honeymoon, where they meet a newspaperman.

Chapter 46 – The Story Continues - The story of The Rifleman: The Legacy Fulfilled.

Chapter 47 – Taken – Outlaws strike the McCain ranch when Lucas and Mark are away on business. Father and son head to Mexico to reclaim what is most precious to them.

Chapter 48 – Returning Home – The healing process from their ordeal begins, as the McCain's resume their lives in North Fork.

Chapter 49 – Trail of Fear – Mark helps out a father and son, as two brothers return to North Fork to ask forgiveness.

Chapter 50 – Fortunes Remembered – Halloween is celebrated at the McCain Ranch as the past is remembered. And at Thanksgiving, a secret is revealed.

Chapter 51 – Requiem for Spring – Two men from Lucas’ past come to North Fork; one brings tragedy while the other, brings unfounded fear. It’s up to Mark to overcome his own memories and his doubts as he tries to bring order back to their lives.

Chapter 52 – The Truth – Mark must face the fact that his life with Hope and a family is nothing more than a dream. (This chapter could be called, The Vision, Part II).

Chapter 53 – Myra, the School Girl – Myra throws a temper tantrum of epic proportions after she starts school.

Chapter 54 – A Young Woman’s Fancy – Milly’s niece returns to North Fork as she tries to decide if she’s really ready for marriage.

Chapter 55 – McCain, U.S. Marshal – Mark returns from Denver, no longer a Deputy U.S. Marshal.

Chapter 56 – December – Plenty of events happen during the month of December.

Chapter 57 – A Debt Paid Forward - The lives of Milly and her unborn child are in peril after she is bitten by a rattle snake.

Chapter 58 – In the Company of Death – Others are caught in the middle as revenge is sought against Johnny Drako.

Chapter 59 – Sugar and Spice – The newest member of the McCain family finally arrives.

Chapter 60 – On the Trail - Benton and McCain set out after those responsible for the attempted murder of Mark and Seth.

Chapter 61 – Shock - Grid Maule must murder the key witness before the trial.

Chapter 62 – The Verdicts - The verdict are announced for those accused of attempted murder of Mark McCain and Seth Lane; and Mark and Grid face their own verdicts.

Chapter 63 – Seven – Years before, Lucas faced down seven desperate men. Now it’s Mark’s turn to deal with seven renegades.

Chapter 64 – Don’t Drink the Water – Doc is tempted to post warning signs in North Fork.

Chapter 65 – The Stranger – A stranger’s arrival in North Fork turns life up-side-down and no one could imagine the events that unfolded.

Chapter 66 – The Outsider – A man from the McCain’s past tries to reclaim what’s his.

Chapter 67 – Faith, Lost – In the midst of despair, how can a person keep their faith?

Chapter 68 – Faith’s Redemption – Prayers are beginning to be answered.

Chapter 69 – Past and Present – Hope explains why and Lucas finds out why.

Chapter 70 – The Shoot Out – Mark takes the final step in his recovery.

Chapter 71 – Young Love – Cupid’s arrows find new targets.

Chapter 72 - The Adventure – An afternoon of fishing.

Chapter 73 – Fort Stanton – A surprise visit to Fort Stanton leads Mark away from his family.

Chapter 74 – Denver Bound/Homeward Bound – Mark stands firm in his resolve to deliver a man, from his father’s past, to Denver. While Hope and Seth return to North Fork.

Chapter 75 – The Resentment – Mark only has a short time to rescue those who mean everything to him.

Chapter 76 – The Aftermath – Lucas and Mark deal with returning their lives to normal.

Chapter 77 – A Mother’s Fear – Recent events spark sleepless nights for Milly and Hope.

Chapter 78 – Quarantine – Influenza strikes the town of North Fork.

Chapter 79 – Mistaken Identity – Christmas turns eventful at the McCain Ranch

Chapter 80 – White Out –An unexpected winter storm strikes North Fork

Chapter 81 – Vengeance Returns – Tracking an escaped outlaw returns Mark to a dark time from his past

Chapter 82 – The Debt Repaid – Mark finally gets to repay a long, overdue debt

Chapter 83 – The Defenders – Myra finds a champion and Mark finds he must defend himself to Little Ted

Chapter 84 – The Spark – The drought takes hold and tempers are quick to flare.

Chapter 85 – The Princess – A Princess and her entourage arrive in North Fork.

Chapter 86 – A Queen Returns – Jennifer and Charles return to North Fork.

Chapter 87 – Kidnapped – The rifle tops diplomacy as a kidnapping goes awry.

Chapter 88 – The Main Events – A wedding, a church social, a fighting exhibition, and the royal family returns home.

Chapter 89 – The Terrible Three – Parents usually experience the terrible two, but this time, it’s the terrible three.

Chapter 90 - A Little Faith – Mark struggles with Hope’s refusal to welcome Faith into their family.

Chapter 91 - The Aunt – Mrs. Mary Catherine Glendening arrives in North Fork.

Chapter 92 - The Wanted Poster – A long forgotten wanted poster surfaces.

Chapter 93 – A Belated Celebration – North Fork celebrates a belated wedding reception for Jake and Gwen McCafferty.

Chapter 94 – The Waiting Game – An outlaw is released from prison and returns to North Fork

Chapter 95 – Words of Warning - Mark receives an ominous warning as he travels into Oklahoma.

Chapter 96 – The Battle for Burns Flatt – Mark is close to rescuing Lucas, but an unnecessary risk puts both their lives in jeopardy.

Chapter 97 – Reunited – Lucas and Mark return home.

Chapter 98 - A Changing Wind – Changes are in store for some in North Fork.

Chapter 99 - Gwen’s Inheritance - Mark travels with Gwen and Jake to Cambridge, MA to claim her inheritance

Chapter 100 - Distracted – Events distract those in North Fork.

Chapter 101 - The Divide - An awkward silence between father and son.

Chapter 102 - The Oklahoma Story, Part I – Mark feels compelled to travel to Enid for the first time in twenty years.

Chapter 103 - The Oklahoma Story, Part 2 – The rift between Lucas and Mark intensifies.

Chapter 104 - This House Rebuilt – Lucas allows himself to look back, as he tries one last time to understand his son.

Chapter 105 - Rough and Ready - Rough Riders arrive in North Fork.

Chapter 106 – Kiowa Reacquainted – Kiowa’s tell more of Hope’s life.

Chapter 107 – The Four Guns of North Fork – A showman conspires against the law.

Chapter 108 – Bittersweet – Goodbyes and brief reunions.

Chapter 109 – No Choice – Events lead to the inevitable.

Chapter 110 – McCain Blood – McCain blood is spilled.

Chapter 111 – Only the Good Die Young – Close enough to be twins, one is kept a prisoner while the other makes good his escape.

Chapter 112 – The Expansions – The McCain’s oversee an expansion in their homes and family.

Chapter 113 – The Train – Old friends and family stand together to protect North Fork.

Chapter 114 – Life’s Changes – new responsibilities and modernization.

Chapter 115 – Is There a Doctor? – North Fork needs a second physician.

Chapter 116 – Blessed are Friends and Family – Holding family and friends dear.

Chapter 117 – A Tearful Christmas – To believe or not.

Chapter 118 – Loss – A family torn apart.

Chapter 119 – The Goodbye – The Lanes prepare to leave North Fork.

Chapter 120 – The Assignment – Things aren’t as they first appear.

Chapter 121 – Parts Unknown – The trail leads Mark on a winding chase.

Chapter 122 – A Brave Man Chooses to Act – Mark defends a man convicted as a coward.

Before The Debt by Deanne Bertram — A Prequel to The Debt
Mark is bitten by a rattlesnake. He is so far away from home and no one knew where he was. Mark tried not to panic, he tried to remember what his Pa had said about snakebites,
but it was hard. He was scared. He wanted his Pa there, to pick him up in his strong arms
and tell me everything was going to be all right. He remembered getting back to Blue Boy,
but didn’t have the strength to climb up out of the ravine. He fell to the ground right there. 
He got out his pocket knife that Micah had given him and cut his pant leg to see how bad the
bite was.  Then Mark passes out. Be sure & check our the sequel 'The Rattlesnake' by Michelle Palmer.

Before Your Time by Deanne Bertram
 Parents raise their children so they will be prepared to grow up when the time comes. Children want to grow up faster than their parents are ready. Sometimes, events beyond ones control make a child grow up quicker than anyone could ever imagine or be prepared for. Such was the case for Lucas and Mark McCain, after attempting to rescue a young family during a severe thunderstorm. One child was swept away in the flash flood and Mark was the closest to attempt a rescue, now both children are at the mercy of the raging currents that sweeps them further from their families than either could imagine.

A New Day by Deanne Bertram
“A New Day” started out as a follow up to “Before your time.”  I had a good start on the story, yet as I was contemplating what direction to go next, I couldn’t decide. I knew I didn’t want every story to be rely on “the rifle”. So I returned to “The Ranch”, sat back and read “His Father’s Son” by Jana. After reading Jana’s story, I knew where my story should go. First, I asked Jana for permission and she gave me a little insight into which episode sparked her passion for the start of “His Father’s Son”. From there, my imagination took over. I did a lot of revising to make sure my story would “hopefully” match up with a storyline Jana would approve. I hope you enjoy. Please be sure to check out the sequel to this story — “His Father’s Son." 

The Right Path by Deanne Bertram
Cochae approached Mark and placed his hands on Mark’s shoulders. “Mark, it takes a wise person to challenge another’s heart and make it change to see the truth. I, Cochae, am honored to have you as a friend.”
Then turning to Lucas, “Mr. McCain, you’ve raised a good son, a son who understands all men are brothers, a son who sees beyond the color of one’s skin and sees into one’s soul. If my child had lived and been male, I hope he would have grown up to be as your son is.”

The Night of the Shallow Grave by Deanne Bertram
“That was the war. The war’s long been over. It’s time to put grievances behind us.” Lucas called back. “The war’s never over for me.” The stranger went for his gun, but Lucas was faster. Soon the man in black lay in the middle of the street. Lucas ran to the man and knelt by his side, placed his ear to the man’s chest, with his face towards the man’s face. “Jim, I wish you’d given me more notice, I didn’t want my boy to see this.”
Turning to the crowd, Lucas proclaimed the man dead.

The Longest Night by Deanne Bertram
Micah and Millie looked at each other again. Millie sat down next to Mark, wrapped both her arms around him and pulled him close. She could feel him trembling in her arms, not from chill, but from fear.
“Mark, please, we’re here for you. Talk to us.” Millie begged.
“I don’t want him to die!” Mark cried. “He can’t die. He can’t leave me alone!” The tears streamed down Mark’s face and sobs wracked his body as Millie continued to hold tight to him. “I tried, I tried, but the storms last night, and those men, I couldn’t leave him,” Mark cried out.

The Road Home by Deanne Bertram
The passengers started to exit the coach to see what was happening. The first traveler off the stage was John Hamilton. “Sam, what’s wrong?” he yelled.
“Got a horse here, no rider.” Shotgun at the ready, on the alert that it might be a trap by outlaws.
John walked over to the horse, “Sam, that’s Mark McCain’s horse. That’s Blue Boy,” he declared.
“Are you sure?”
Sam and John turned and started yelling Mark’s name. “Mark, Mark McCain!”
No response.
The other two passengers started complaining about this added delay. They were businessmen, Easterner’s, heading further West.
“Misters, you don’t understand this country, nor who that boy is. We’re staying until I say otherwise,” Chuck informed his passengers. They grumbled under their breaths and stepped back in the coach.

One Came from Denver by Deanne Bertram
Mark had tried to make himself as small as possible and was startled to be hauled to his feet, his hat ripped off his head, and found himself looking straight into the eyes of Tom Birch.

Secrets... by Deanne Bertram
“Mark... Every time I’ve taken another’s life, I’ve always tried to find comfort in the Good Book and ask God for forgiveness. Every time you’ve been present, I’ve regretted it because I felt I was making you grow up sooner than you should. Afterwards, I wanted you to understand how it pained me to take the life of another. I wanted you to see that it wasn’t easy dealing with my emotions, my conscience afterwards. I wanted you to understand it’s not like the ink and paper make it out to be a glamorous life written in dime-store novels. It’s real, the people are real, and death is final.”
“Pa? Thank you for listening… and understanding.”
“It’s all part of being a father.” Seeing his son needed more, “I do love you, Mark.”

June Deanne Bertram
Life is for living. One day brings Lucas and Mark closer than any other day on the calendar.

Fear... by Deanne Bertram
Hattie woke in the morning to find Lucas and Mark sitting where she had left them the night before. Lucas was still reading from the bible. She went into the kitchen to make breakfast for the morning. She was just setting the table when she heard Mark screaming, “Pa! Please! Help Me! Pa!”
Hattie ran to her front room to see Lucas trying to restrain his boy.
Mark’s eyes were wide with fear. As if he was trying to fend off an assailant, he was kicking his legs, his hands were balled up in fists, striking out at someone only he could see.

Living... by Deanne Bertram
Mark rode out to the range and stopped at the tree where he and AnnaLee had stopped that first ride. He sat down under the tree and cried some more.
Soon, a calmness came over Mark. He felt the presence of his Ma standing with her arms around AnnaLee. He sensed both his Ma and AnnaLee smiling at him. Mark soon got up and rode back to town. He knew it would take a long time to get over the sorrow, but as he told his Pa, ‘Life is for Living’.
He also heard the words his Pa spoke to him when they first arrived in North Fork, “There’s no looking back." To which he replied, "I'm not looking back, I'm just remembering."

The Desert Trail by Deanne Bertram
Twice before, Lucas has prevailed in the desert. Will he survive a third trip? More importantly, will he be in time to find and save Mark's life?

The Sound of Silence by Deanne Bertram
Some say "Silence is Golden". Others say "Quiet Times are a Joy that Heals". But when tragedy strikes the McCain's, silence threatens to destroy their relationship.

A Father's Fear by Deanne Bertram
The worst fear any parent can face is being informed of the death of a child. Lucas must face this fear after Doc Burrage told him that Mark was in his office, dead.
Lucas threw open the door to Doc’s office and saw his son’s lifeless body on the examination table. He took maybe three steps inside before sheer, utter hopelessness gripped Lucas’ being and he collapsed to his knees, pounding the floor with his fist, yelling “Mark?!” as tears fell.

A Deadly Guilt – Guilt over a killing drives an enraged Lucas to kill, again.

A Simple Promise — A Simple Promise - a simple promise, a declaration, leads to unforeseen consequences. 

The Final Witness by Deanne Bertram
Lucas travels to Silver City to testify against Slade Burrows, after the first witness is murdered while in the custody of the law. (Is this the reason why Lucas waited so long to teach Mark how to use a weapon

The Nightmare by A shooting and a kidnapping lead to the revelation of a long buried memory, and why the hate for a rifle was so strong.

Ties That Bind - A desire for revenge and a fight against statehood unexpectedly collide, creating a fight for freedom that takes Lucas and Mark far from North Fork.

And Death Waited – There will be no tolling bells when Death arrives in North Fork.

Leagues from Home – After the conclusion of a cattle drive, a court of law rescinds Lucas’ parental authority and grants custody of Mark to a stranger. While traveling to his new home, Mark embarks on a journey that takes him leagues from home.

* Stories were the start of and the inspiration for my saga...The Next Step.  I just couldn't stop writing...  (Now that I look back, maybe I should have called my saga, The Rifleman, The Next Generation.)

Except where indicated as part of my saga, most of my stories are stand alone and don't necessary rely on any others.

These stories are based on characters created by Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions for The Rifleman television series.  Some characters written into my stories have come from other series/movies/books and they are owned by their original creators. I've also incorporated historical figures into some of my stories.  Characters who do not fit these situations and the storylines are from my 'overactive' imagination.

These stories are written purely for entertainment purposes, and I do not post these stories at The Ranch for any profit.

Should anyone wish to contact me directly, please send me a Private Message at
The McCain Ranch Forum and I will respond when I can.

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
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