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The Battle Within A Young Gun by Frank Charles aka weinerdawgy

In the early 1890’s life was about to change for The Rifleman
Lucas McCain as he sends his only son, Mark, off to live with his sister in Oklahoma and go to college prep school. Throughout Mark’s childhood, Lucas was forced to deal with outlaws and his violent past. Now that he is by himself, Lucas finds it difficult to reckon with his conscience and loneliness on his Ranch in North Fork, New Mexico.

Lucas recalls a young man, Will Fulton, that saved Mark’s life soon after they moved to North Fork. He was involved with an outlaw gang at the time and Lucas convinced him to go straight. Will is now serving time and Lucas manages to get a release for him to work on the McCain ranch. They become very close and Will begins to rebuild his life. Will is reunited with a neighbor girl, Ann Bard, and becomes a full time student of ranching and romance. This soon turns into turmoil as they must deal with a jealous Jack Donaldson that once had his heart set on Ann.

After a cattle drive, Lucas decides to travel to Yuma and visit with his old friend Doctor Simon Battle. Will goes with him and they meet lawman and gambler Bat Masterson, who is also friends with Simon.

They get the idea to put on a sharp shooting demonstration and Masterson takes an interest in Lucas and his rifle. This launches them into a grander scheme to travel and put on gun shows around the country. Before this can happen, Lucas must return to his ranch and make some changes to free his time. The cattle business is becoming too competitive for small ranches to survive, so Lucas forms a partnership with his neighbor and best friend, Sam Bard. Sam is Ann’s father and Will must take on more responsibility with both ranches. Lucas then travels, with his old friend Micah Torrance, to his former home in Enid, Oklahoma to visit his sister’s family over Christmas. The reunion is heartwarming as father and son have some heart to heart talks and visit the grave of Mark’s mother Margaret.

Lucas returns to North Fork and makes plans for everyone to meet Bat Masterson and John Browning in Santa Fe to further the sharpshooting idea. Browning is a famous rifle inventor and engineer for Winchester Rifle Company. He honors Lucas with a custom rifle and provides materials and guidance in the formation of the gun show.

Bat Masterson’s wife, Emma Walters, is a famous actress involved with a theater show in Santa Fe at this same time. They have wonderful evenings with the theater and dining. Lucas meets a widowed ranch owner, Aubry Canton, at a dance and develops a close friendship with her. As preparations are underway for the gun show, Jack Donaldson causes trouble, eventually kidnapping Will in an attempt to ruin the show. The action comes to a conclusion as Will is rescued and the gun show is a great success.

Chapter 1. Get Ready For This

Chapter 2. Reckonings

Chapter 3. Home With A Blast

Chapter 4. Reunion

Chapter 5. Ranch Hand

Chapter 6. Rails & Tales

Chapter 7. Train of Destiny

Chapter 8. The Gateway Country

Chapter 9. Gun Play

Chapter 10. Lone Pine

Chapter 11. Credence

Chapter 12. Homeward Bound

Chapter 13. Horse Sense

Chapter 14. Changes Made

Chapter 15. Mark’s Place

Chapter 16. A Warm Fire

Chapter 17. Christmas Day

Chapter 18. Goodbye Again

Chapter 19. Back to Work

Chapter 20. Santa Fe

Chapter 21. Best Laid Plans

Chapter 22. Take Aim

Chapter 23. Ready, Aim, Fire!

Chapter 24. The Show Must Go On

Fulton's Foray - a predatory excursion - to ravage ….

Fulton’s Foray is the continuation of the story of William Fulton and Lucas McCain from the first installment, “The Battle Within a Young Gun”. The entire story is based upon the episode of “The Rifleman” titled “End of a Young Gun”. William is afforded the opportunity to visit Dallas, Texas, his home town. He must confront the memory of his parent’s murder by Vernon Carlson, as Lucas and Bat Masterson take their sharp shooting show to the next destination. Will is allowed to clear his name and reunite with a trusted family friend, Sarah Cockrell. Sarah attempts to help Will reconstruct his legacy in Dallas but soon runs into legal problems and fraud over the Fulton family farm land. Bat Masterson lends his lawman experience and teams up with Lucas and others to investigate the crimes. Ann Bard stands by her man throughout the ordeal and their love grows stronger. Everyone is challenged by the developments as the struggle over the land progresses. The investigation leads Lucas and Bat to travel to New York City by train. They encounter many adventures as they search for Carlson. They have a wild time performing the gun show for Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West. Carlson is brought to justice and everyone winds up in North Fork for a big wedding. Historical facts are mixed with fiction to enrich the story along the way as travel and adventure culminate in the restoration of the Fulton legacy.

Chapter 1. Spirit to Texas - Wrap up of Santa Fe visit and on to Dallas, Texas. Sam and Micah return to North Fork then visit with Walt Donaldson and iron out some problems.

Chapter 2. Circle Complete - Review of the Fulton Family Story. Circle Complete: Ann and Will discuss the sharing of difficulties from their past. Ann vows to stand by Will as he makes his return to his home town. The history of the Fulton family migration to Dallas along with Hank and Will’s life after their parent’s murder is explored.

Chapter 3. Dallas Rebirth - Will’s return to Dallas. The train arrives in Dallas. Everyone gets settled in town as Bat helps Will to clear his name with the marshal. They research the deed to the farmland at the courthouse and discover it is now owned by Sarah Cockrell and is part of a lease agreement with the R. J. Graham Agricultural Company.

Chapter 4. The Gift - Will is Reunited with his Family’s Legacy. Will is reunited with Sarah at the St. Charles Hotel over dinner. They talk about new times and old. Sarah offers Will a very special gift.

Chapter 5. Spirit Run - Back to the farm. Sarah takes everyone to the Fulton grave site. Will faces the grief and comes to peace with his past. They move on to visit the farmland spending the day exploring Will’s old stomping grounds.

Chapter 6. The New Deal - Legality over return of the farm to Will. Sarah meets with her lawyer to arrange transfer of the farm to Will. The lease contract reveals some contingencies that may hamper her ability to give him ownership of the land. Bat conducts further research of the deeds and a suspicious bit of evidence is found.

Chapter 7. Lunchtime - A meeting over a fancy lunch brings about suspicion. Sarah caters a lunch meeting at her lawyer’s office to discuss the options before them and how Will may best benefit from the land. They decide to meet with Graham and his lawyer, Quentin Renfro. Bat develops suspicion with the lawyers and starts to investigate further.

Chapter 8. Night Ride - Underhanded lawyers reveal the land fraud. Sarah’s Lawyer, John Beckwith, has a secret meeting with Quentin Renfro to warn him about the problems lurking from the past. A scheme to deal with fraudulent aspects of the lease agreement is discussed. Lucas and Will take the girls for a picnic on the farmland with some surprising results.

Chapter 9. Hell's Half Acre - A visit to Fort Worth and a White Elephant. Everyone travels to nearby Fort Worth to meet with Quentin Renfro. Bat visits his old friend, Luke Short, at the White Elephant Saloon in the Hell’s Half Acre district. Luke provides them with some valuable guidance. They meet with Renfro and arrange for an inspection of the cotton farm.

Chapter 10. Fort Worth’s Worth - The fraud exposed! Tragedy at the Elephant. Bat discovers the effort to defraud Sarah and Will. He returns to the White Elephant alone in the evening and becomes involved in a shooting incident between Luke Short and Longhair Jim Courtright. After the incident they return to Dallas.

Chapter 11. Property Inspection - A visit to inspect the cotton farm. Preparations are made for the gun show as the men have private target practice at the police range. Afterwards they visit a gun shop where Lucas buys a pistol for personal protection. An inspection of the Graham cotton farm brings everyone out to see how things are done in the cotton business.

Chapter 12. The Decision - All agree to investigate and expose the fraud. Will searches his soul to decide what to do about the farm. He and Sarah agree that they have an obligation to see things through to a proper end. Bat agrees to continue with the investigation. He meets with the marshal, Owen Pollard and shows him the evidence of the fraud.

Chapter 13. To Plant A Seed - Bat Masterson Investigates on his own. Bat Visits Fort Worth to further investigate. He meets with the former attorney General of Texas, John Templeton. He visits with Quentin Renfro and encourages a meeting with R. J. Graham at the farm for a gathering of the workers. They join later to play poker at the White Elephant. The next day Bat pays an undercover visit to the cattle ranch owned by the sister of Vernon Carlson.

Chapter 14. Property Value - The Motive is revealed. The gun show goes on. Bat returns from Fort Worth and explains what he thinks is the motive behind the land fraud. Public target practice begins as promotion for the gun show. John Templeton arrives in Dallas and is guest of honor at the show. They meet and discuss strategy to investigate the fraud. The gun show is a great success and much is learned to benefit the next show.

Chapter 15. Feed the Need - Meeting with R. J. Graham at the cotton farm. A large gathering at the cotton farm provides a chance for everyone to enjoy a barbeque and get to know each other. R. J. Graham makes an appearance and offers to buy the farm from Sarah and include her in a partnership of the entire farm. Negotiations break down toward the end of the visit but they agree to take some time to think and meet again.

Chapter 16. Train Leaves Dallas in the Morning - Travel plans in many directions. The time has come to leave Dallas. Sarah has a farewell dinner at the St. Charles Hotel. Will takes Ann and Aubrey home and is to rejoin efforts at the Bard Ranch. Lucas and Bat make ready to depart on a long train ride to New York City to explore the possibility for a gun show and to investigate the New York side of the Graham cotton business. A new twist is revealed as the mastermind of the fraud comes to light.

Chapter 17. New York Bound - Lucas and Bat travel to New York City. Lucas and Bat depart without a sendoff. They spend the time learning more about each other as they talk and play poker along the way. Will and Ann arrive at the Bard Ranch. They tell Sam Bard and Walt Donaldson about the trip and give Walt the news about his son Jack in the Santa Fe Prison.

Chapter 18. Historic Springfield - A stopover to learn about Wild Bill Hickok. Lucas and Bat spend a day in Springfield Missouri. Bat wants to explore the site of Wild Bill Hickok’s famous gunfight in 1865. Bat knew Bill during his early days in Kansas and needs to know more detail about the incident. Lucas and Bat continue to talk of old times. The day’s rest from the train proves to be an interesting occasion.

Chapter 19. East Bound - Further travel and arrival in New York. The train moves on to St. Louis. Lucas and Bat make detailed plans for working in New York. They study newspapers and decide on alias names and a different look for their clothing during the investigation. In St. Louis they switch to the New York Central Railroad and experience a faster modern train. They arrive at Grand Central Terminal and meet with Tom Garret, their contact while in New York.

Chapter 20. Connections - A tour of the city and the investigation begins. Tom takes Lucas and Bat on a tour of New York. They explore the many sites of Lower Manhattan. They discover the difference in culture as they learn about the big city. The investigation begins as they visit the courthouse and various locations. While attending a Broadway play, they find Gerald Beckwith in attendance and make initial contact with the important suspect in the fraud. Tom introduces them to a senior inspector Joe Murray, at the NYPD.

Chapter 21. It's All An Act - Involvement with Broadway and Wild Bill Cody. Lucas and Bat are given private investigator status. Contact is made with Buffalo Bill Cody. The investigators begin to infiltrate the New York cotton industry. They keep watch on Gerald Beckwith and discover a possible link to Vernon Carlson. The NYPD sets up official surveillance. Gerald is distracted to allow further investigation.

Chapter 22. Western Influence - Lucas and Bat join the Wild West. Lucas and Bat meet with Buffalo Bill Cody, attend the show and meet Annie Oakley. Lucas arranges to go fishing. Gerald and Carlson realize that the investigation is getting close.

Chapter 23. Show Me the Money - Big things happen, the show goes on! A large investment is proposed to the Graham broker in an effort to expose the fraud. Lucas and Bat go deep sea fishing. The gun show with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West is a great success.

Chapter 24. Sea Change - Lucas saves the day with a big catch! Vernon Carlson attempts to escape from New York. Evidence is discovered in his flat as the detectives discover his escape. Lucas goes fishing one more time and comes back with the catch of his life!

Chapter 25. Roundup - Time to go home and finish business. Carlson is returned to Dallas. Bat and Lucas take care of business and head home. They return to Santa Fe to join with Aubrey Canton and then go to North Fork.

Chapter 26. Dear Pa: Mark McCain returns to North Fork along with many others in preparation for the Wedding of Will Fulton to Ann Bard. Lucas reveals some disturbing things from his past to Will.

Chapter 27: And Wedding Bells Will Chime: The Wedding! The wedding and reception take place. A large party brings everyone together for a happy ending.

Rifleman's Serenade — Introduction

Thank you for visiting “The Rifleman’s Serenade”. It has been a great honor to be able to write a novel form saga about our favorite Old West characters. This story is part three along with “The Battle within a Young Gun” and Fulton’s Foray”. Here is a short excerpt from the first introduction that will help to explain some the main theme of the entire three part story:
A number of (TV) episodes depicted Lucas as being haunted by characters from his past. We are given small clues as to what happened in those days before the TV show began, but the entire picture is left in mystery. A common theme in many of the episodes is that Lucas McCain must protect his son, Mark, from that past and provide him a normal childhood. In the course of the story, both father and son teach each other and come to grips with harsh reality. While much of the show is lighthearted and of a very family friendly nature, there is also a rough and tumble aspect as is familiar in most Westerns. Gun fights and death are frequent. Mark sometimes suffers things that do not occur in a normal boyhood and Lucas must explain those things to him.

Something that I can add, now that I have progressed much further with the story, is that Lucas and Mark must learn how to develop their lives apart from each other as Mark is becoming an adult and finding his own way in the world. But, the past keeps catching up, even as Lucas makes new friends and finds new paths. These stories attempt to take aspects from the various episodes and use them to paste together more of an overall picture of what might have taken place both in the past, before North Fork, and in the future, after the TV show came to an end. Also, a number of historic characters and incidents have been included to reflect the actual world that Lucas might have come in contact with. In all three stories I have taken the liberty of introducing characters such as Bat Masterson into the story because he was both a favorite TV character and a historic figure. His fame with the gun and the law give an interesting blend with the talents of Lucas McCain. The idea of them developing a gun show together seemed natural and their friendship has grown throughout. Sarah Cockrell is a character taken from the true history of Dallas Texas and became a believable character for William Fulton to have been involved with. Aubrey Canton is fictional as the new love interest for Lucas.

I recommend reading the first two stories and being familiar with the TV show, but it is my hope that one can also enjoy each story on its own. Some of the characters in part three come from episodes such as “The Guest” where a man named Ralph Hayden hires an assassin to kill Lucas. Johnny Morgan, a long time friend of Lucas from his Enid, Oklahoma days also comes from this story. We never find out anything further as to why, or how Ralph came to be injured by a bullet from the Rifleman. The Snipe Brothers, Roy Thursday and Earl Battle from “The Sister” also have a part. From the previous stories, we have William Fulton, Ann Bard, Micah Torrance, John Hamilton, Wes Carney and Simon Battle, In addition, other regular characters come into play, such as Sweeney the Saloon Owner, Lou Mallory, Doc Burrage, and Judge Hanavan. Even facts from the very first episode, “The Sharpshooter” come into play. I can’t mention all of the influences, however, it has been a great joy to research many of the episodes to help fashion the story. I have had to also create a good deal of what happens in order to form the future and knit the past. All three stories come together to strike a balance in what might have happened to Lucas and Mark in the times soon after the TV show came to an end.
For many of us fans, the story can never end. Our imaginations carry this on and the many writers that contribute on the Cowgirl’s website are a testament to the dedication and love we have for, THE RIFLEMAN! Thank you Margie for making this possible and for all of your friendship and guidance as the ranch progresses!

9-12-2012 note: These first 13 chapters lead up to the point where The Rifleman gets married. This is a very much looked forward to hope for Lucas. There is more to come before this story is over, but I felt that it is time to get this story posted and it can certainly stand as a good read to this point. I will continue to add new chapters soon. Thank you very much for taking part and enjoy!

Chapter 1: Proposals

Chapter 2: The Hunt

Chapter 3: Decision Point

Chapter 4: North Fork at the Ready

Chapter 5: Entered

Chapter 6: North Fork's Finest

Chapter 7: Wedding Plans

Chapter 8: Long Awaited

Chapter 9: Rehearsal for a Ghost

Chapter 10: Bachelor Party

Chapter 11: Wedding Day

Chapter 12: Reception

Chapter 13: Finally

These stories are based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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