"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
There comes a day when your friendships are tested, when you find out
exactly where the citizens of a town stand, and how much you mean to other
people. This is an event that revealed these truths to Mark and I.
Well, it all started out fun. Mark and I were just finishing up our shopping
in the general store. Hattie had a jar of candy free for the taking and Mark
had been helping himself while I was talking to Micah. Micah and I had made
plans to go hunting that next Sunday. It was your typical afternoon. “Let’s
get moving, son, before you make yourself sick!” I said as I watched Mark
grab yet another piece of candy from the jar.
Hattie found the situation amusing. “I put that candy there to build good
will. Surprising how much more caster oil I’ve been selling lately!” Hattie
smiled that sweet, grandmotherly smile she does so well!
When she offered Mark another piece, I had to put my foot down. I didn’t
want to deal with no stomach aches or rotting teeth! I told Mark to come on
as we started out the door.
By the way, Micah had gone in the back of the store to look for more
As I started out the door, two men suddenly barged in. One of them had a gun
drawn, which pushed me back into the general store. I backed up slowly, a
little surprised these men were holding up the general store. “Are you sure
you’re not making a mistake?” I asked. “The bank’s down the street!” I
informed them, hoping they would go away.
"There ain't no mistake mister, I've got good reason for what I'm gonna do,
now I'm gonna do it!" The gunman sneered.
Suddenly, there was some commotion coming from the back room. It was another
cowboy with his gun held on Micah. He was shoving Micah around. "Look what I
found. I got me a Marshal," said Davey.
“You did real fine, kid. Real fine.” Jake Pardee, the leader, then took the
butt of his gun and knocked Micah out.
I naturally wanted to help my friend, but the one they called the Professor
stepped in with his gun on me. All I could do was watch. Watch and think
about how I was going to get my friends out of this situation!
Pardee was strutting around trying to look real tough. I just stood there
and watched. My heart sank when I realized he was aiming to hold Micah and
Hattie hostage. He ordered all the rest of us out. Part of me wanted to stay
there and help my two friends. The other part of me wanted to get my son out
of there. I knew it wasn’t my decision to make though. I started to go out
the door, anxious to get my boy out of there.
But Jake stopped me at the door. He pointed the gun straight at me. "I'm
Jake Pardee. Reckon' you heard of me" he said, using that tough voice of
“Break your heart if I said I didn’t,” I said back in my equally tough
He laughed. “I’d just know you was lying through your teeth. It would take
more then five years in the state pen to make folks forget what I left them
to remember. I can still tree a town as easy as pickin' my teeth.” He sure
was trying to act tough! But he didn’t scare me.
"You don't have to impress me," I said.
“Well now,” he said in an agitated voice. “You’re mighty high headed,
mister! You don’t got enough sense to be scared! Is that it?” he asked me.
“Maybe,” I answered shortly.
“There's something I want you to tell
around, mister. We are here to get food, ammunition, supplies. I’m holding
the marshal and the woman. If anyone in this town gives us any trouble, them
two are as good as dead. Now, when we’re ready to leave, we’ll take ‘em with
us. You stay off our trail. When I decide it’s fittin’, I’ll let ‘em loose.”
I started to leave, but then stopped and looked him straight in the eye.
"You're holding all the cards, mister. Don't over play them. You know why?
Without them you wouldn't be much." Then I walked out of the store.
He burst out laughing at what I said. But then my words echoed in his brain
again and he lost his smile. “Did you hear him?” Jake asked getting angry.
“Nobody talks to me like that!” Davy tried to calm him down, but Jake would
not be calmed.
I walked over to the buckboard and reached for my rifle. Mark asked me what
I was going to do. “It’s what North Fork is gonna do, son. Pardee set
himself up against the whole town,” I answered him as I prepared my rifle.
Then we started up the street, the townspeople following close behind.
“Cool as a skunk in the moonlight!” Pardee said about me.
“Maybe he doesn’t know they wrote a ballad about you once,” The professor
The professor was angry at Pardee. He didn’t understand what he was trying
to prove. They had broken Pardee out of jail and shaken off one posse
already! “Now you’ve deliberately set a whole town on our backs!” The
professor had wanted to wait until dark when the store was closed. They
could have been on their way without stirring up a hornet’s nest.” The
professor was getting more angry just thinking about it. He took the candy
jar in his hand and threw it against the wall, shattering it.
Pardee suddenly went up to Hattie. He demanded her to tell him who I was.
For some reason, I had really gotten under his skin. Hattie told him my name
and he wanted to know if I was someone special. Hattie was so scared. She
didn’t want to answer the questions, but the fact that he had a gun forced
her to. Still, she only said as much as she had to. “He’s just a rancher,”
Davey had really been thinking about me since I left. He suddenly remembered
that I had a reputation with my rifle. “I’ve been hearing about him clear
down to Denver. He’s supposed to be faster with it than any man with a six
Jake took this piece of news as a new challenge. What better way to prove he
was still good then to go up against someone like me. Davey and the
professor wanted to leave, but Jake didn’t . “Jake, we need you . You’re
daring. You got a lot of nerve. We weren’t anything without you. But I’m not
going to risk my life to satisfy any of your hair brained whims!” The
Jake had his mind made up. He was going to do things his way. He wanted to
prove something to himself. He wanted to prove he was the same man he was
five years ago. In five years a man could forget who he was. After a while
he began to wonder if he was the same man. That was something he had to find
We were having a meeting to decide what to do. Everyone agreed to have me
step in as acting deputy while Micah was being held hostage. I stepped up
and took charge of the meeting, my rifle in hand. “Well folks, aside from
forming up a posse and hunting down Pardee
once we know Micah and Hattie are safe, there isn’t much we can do,” I
announced with defeat. But Mr. Weltz didn’t like this. He wanted us to do
something besides sit and wait. “This is my town and I’m ashamed for it!
Everybody knuckling down to three measly gun tuffs!”
I wasn’t any happier about this situation then anyone else. Those were my
two friends in there, and I wanted nothing more than to rush in there and
save them, but my hands were tied at the moment. So I said, “None of us are
too happy about it. But I think we can survive the humiliation.” Mr. Weltz
was still upset and kept speaking up demanding something be done. He didn’t
seem to understand, so I put it bluntly. “One wrong move and Hattie and
Micah will be dead for a long, long time!”
At the moment, I thought it was best to sweat it out and deal with things as
they came up.
But Sweeny spoke up then. He told us about a saloon Jake had held up when he
was in Galveston. He was kill crazy, even then. “What makes you so sure
that he’s going to keep his word about Hattie and Micah?” Sweeny asked me.
I wasn’t sure. There was no other choice. I couldn’t figure out why they
were still in that store. I thought they’d get their supplied and then move
on! I didn’t know what to do, so I told the town folks to give the store a
wide berth. I didn’t want to give them any reason to use their guns.
We didn't know if he would keep his word about Hattie and Micah, but we had
no other choice. I told the town folks to give the store a wide berth. Not
to give them any reason to use their guns. We just had to wait it out.
The saloon started playing the Jake Pardee’s ballad. A ballad we would
listen to for the rest of the night.
The tension could be felt all up and down the street. No one would sleep.
There was a lot of pacing going on. The street grew dark, but still the
people hung around to see what would happen. Everyone was worried about
Micah and Hattie. I felt the pressure, but couldn’t do anything. As darkness
settled over North Fork, the tension continued to rise.
Mark and I were at the wagon. Mr. Hannaberry was getting tired of waiting. I
told Mark I was taking him to the hotel. It would be a long night for me! My
son boldly spoke up, “I won’t be much use to you there, pa!”
He knew better then that! I didn’t even have to comment, but simply stated,
“Well, you’re going to be anyway.”
I put him to bed and then went back outside and sat…and waited…But I
couldn’t make Mark go to sleep. He was restless and soon got up and
worriedly watched me from the window.
A couple of Jackford’s hands were in the saloon getting drunk. They started
talking about a reward on Pardee. They wanted to try to bust in and take
Pardee and his gang so they could collect this reward Sweeny came out to
warn me and I hurried in to have a talk with them. “Look,” I said. “If you
were just gambling your own lives, I would care. But I’m thinking about
Hattie Denton and the Marshal.”
I guess they didn’t like me bossing them, so they started to fight me. I
fought back. It was too hard fighting two drunks. I ordered Sweeny to take
their guns and sober them up.
Meanwhile, in the store, the three men were still hanging out. They were
eating Hattie’s food and messing with her stuff. Hattie stayed in her
position behind the counter. Micah was trapped on the floor under the
counter. They were acting tough, throwing things just to shove their weight
Jake was glad they were all back
together again. He told Davey how lucky he was. “You know, Maybe you have to
be told what to do, but it always gets done. You got a big advantage over
other men. You don’t have to ham and haul about rather a thing is right or
wrong. Whether you can do it or not. That’s a big advantage.” Pardee stated.
Pardee started to suddenly get evil again. “You know, ma’am, if I was to
tell Davey here to tear the Marshal’s tongue clear out of his head, he’d
just like…” Jake snapped his fingers. “that.” This frightened Hattie. Jake
liked frightening people though. “No need to fret, ma’am. I’ve got plans for
Micah finally spoke up for the first time. “You think your purely the
devils’ own delight, don’t you son?” Micah stated. “Your season’s about
over. The five years you’ve been locked away could just as easily been 500!
Soon they’ll be stuffing men like you to put in a museum. Underneath,
they’ll put up a sign: Western Bad man is extinct. Have your fun now. You
don’t have much longer.” Micah’s words were angering Pardee.
The professor found Micah’s words truly funny. “The social historian. He’s
got you pegged as an anar…”(well, I don’t know how to say the word)…Jake
didn’t know what it meant either, so the professor defined it for him. “Oh
um, something that’s dead, but refuses to be laid to rest.” At this point,
Jake came toward the professor, having been angered to the point of action.
He had no words to say, so he simply grabbed the professor by the shoulder
and snapped the professor in the face with his finger. The professor merely
looked at him, then laughed a long, leering laugh.
Davey could tell Jake was upset. He tried to make him feel better by telling
him he was better then other outlaws. But Jake didn’t want words. He wanted
action. He wanted to prove that he was still the same evil person he’d
always been. “I need more than words,” Jake suddenly stated.
Everything had been so quiet all night. But suddenly, three shots sounded
off in the night. John Hamilton rushed over to me. He was afraid Hattie and
Micah had been shot. I knew he hadn’t done that. That would have been like
trumping his own ace. He had a big itch to go up against me. He wanted to
prove something. “That I’m still me. And nothing’s changed.” So he went to
the door and called me over.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Mark was watching the whole thing from the
“When it gets light, you and me, we’re gonna have it out,” Jake announced.
That didn’t make any since to me, and I asked him why. He simply stated,
“Because it suits my fancy,” he stated. He wanted to see how good I was with
this rifle. “Now you be here. If you don’t, the marshal and the Denton woman
are gonna be dead when you find them,” I threatened me.
The burden on me had just increased considerably.
Suddenly we hear three shots ring out from the store. John Hamilton ran over
to me. He asks if I thought he might have shot Hattie and Micah. I didn't
think so. He needed them. He wanted to prove to himself that he was still
the same man he was before he went to jail. "McCain," said Jake. He wanted
to talk to me. He wanted to have it out with me when it got light. If I
didn't show up Hattie and Micah would be dead.”
I quietly stood there with a frown on my face. I couldn’t believe this. What
was I going to do?
We had another town meeting. John was upset. He slammed his hand down on the
desk in defeat. “There’s no real point to this meeting!” he yelled. “We
can’t let Lucas stand up to this man! We can’t ask a thing like this to
Every person in the room left. They were leaving the burden on me and me
alone. I would have to face Jake alone the next morning. John was angry. He
felt so sorry for me. I had a son to raise, and I could die. “There is a
reason why this should be my affair,” I simply stated. I knew John didn’t
understand. I had two friends in that store who could die if I didn’t face
this man. I had to do it.
And I had to make my son understand. I think that was the hardest challenge
Mark didn’t understand. "They are your friends and they don't care what
happens to you?" Mark cried.
“They’re just being realistic, son,” I stated honestly. I was pacing the
floor. I didn’t want to leave Mark alone in the world, but I couldn’t be a
coward and walk away from this either.
“But you might get killed,” Mark said.
I had to make him understand! I had to get it through his head that I wasn’t
the only one who was in danger of dying! "What about Hattie and Micah?" I
Mark knew that I had to put my friends first. “But still, there must be some
other way!” He was scared for me. He didn’t want to loose me – the only
parent he had left in the world! I didn’t want to leave him either, but I
had to make him understand.
“No Mark, there is no other way because of this (I held up my rifle). You
know Mark, it would gall Jake Pardee if I was the smartest lawyer or the
biggest rancher. But he can’t stand to think that I might be as fast and as
deadly with my rifle as he is with a six gun,” I tried to explain.
“But you never shot anyone unless you had to! Never went looking for a
fight,” Mark continued be confused.
“Well, Pardee’s not one for splitting hairs, Mark,” I explained. “Look, I
know how raw of a deal this is for you. But I don’t know what else to do.” I
was now sitting next to him on the bed. My hand rested gently and
protectively on his shoulder as I looked into his eyes. "I guess it will be
this way until the land is settled and men don't look to their guns for
Suddenly, some of the softness on my face left. I had something to tell him,
and I had to be stern. “Mark, you know I don’t want you to watch.” Mark knew
this. The whole thing was frustrating for him. The next thing I said was
hard to even think about, but I had to thinking about it. So did Mark. “If
anything happens, son, you can always trust John Hamilton. He’s a good
The whole time we talked, we both knew this could be our last moments
together. But neither one of us had voiced that concern until now. My spoken
words were more then Mark could handle. He suddenly threw his arms around me
and hugged me tight. I didn’t want to leave him. I wanted to come back to
There was silence in the store. Everyone was growing very tired. Finally,
Hattie spoke up. “I hope he doesn’t come! I pray to God he doesn’t!” She
cared deeply for me and didn’t want me killed over something useless like
“If you kill us, you’re just a dirty murderer. Nothing to brag of. Nothing
to build your reputation up with. You’re just a dirty, no good murderer!”
Jake was very angered by Hattie’s words. He was about to hit her when
suddenly I appeared on the street. I wanted to get this over with. I held my
gun tightly as I came up the street. I looked like a brave warrior as I
walked up the street with my rifle ready for action. But my mind was in the
hotel on my son. I had to face this man and live.
I watched as Jake walked out onto the street. His to buddies stood by the
window with their guns drawn. Mark sat at the window, shaking, as he watched
me in what could be my final moments.
It was time for the face off. I held my rifle up, ready to shoot if he was
to draw. Jake was in the stance, preparing to draw. I held a hateful
expression on my face as I looked straight into his eyes.
Jake stood there for an eternity. I raised my rifle higher as I continued to
stare at Jake, boring my eyes into his. Mark looked away as the final
Suddenly, Jake’s face became frightened. I wanted in wonderment as he
buckled and fell to the ground. He started crying like a child. I lowered my
rifle and walked up to him. “I had to find out. I had to know. I was scared
they did it. I felt they turned me yellow in that jail.”
I didn’t know what to think or do. I just listened to him in amazement.
Suddenly, the professor fired two shots from the store window, shooting Jake
in the back and killing him. He was angered that Jake had put them through
Davey was upset and confused. Jake was his friend and the professor had
killed him. He quickly turned and killed the professor. But he didn’t know
what to do now. He had always been
what to do. Now, he had to decide for himself. “Jake, Jake…tell me what to
do! You gotta tell me what to do!” Davey yelled out in desperation. “Say
something, will you Jake?”
Micah told Davey it was just him alone now. Davey turned and pointed his gun
at Micah. “I gotta kill you. That’s what Jake told me to do,” he cried. He
was still very confused.
I knew this man had been told what to do his whole life. I felt sorry for
him. “I’ll tell you what to do, son," I said softly through the window.
"Drop that gun.”
Slowly, I walked through the door. “Go on son, drop it,” I said. My voice
stayed calm. He needed that. Jake dropped it and I told Hattie to pick it
up. I think he was relieved it was over. I walked over to him and grabbed
his other gun. Then I bent down to untie Micah, relieved he was still alive.
“Bout time you were getting here, Lucas Boy!” Micah said, relieved.
Suddenly I heard a voice that was like music to my ears. “Pa!”
I immediately turned and opened my arms. Mark flew into them and I held him
tight. I was so happy to have my boy back in my arms again. Mark drew away
from me and turned to look at Micah. He was happy to see him again too.
But then I got another hug! Everything was right in North Fork again. Micah
and Hattie were safe and Mark got to hold on to me once again!
piddlin' stuff.....Adam Williams appeared in six
episodes of "The Rifleman" ― 'The Challenge' as Jake Pardee,
the leader of the gang and the one who thought he had to prove himself ―
'The Prisoner' as Corporal Troc a ex-Confederate officer who seeks
revenge on Lucas - he was the aide to Major Aaron King ― 'The Score is
Even' as Jax, he was the one in charge and the one who told Andy to kill
the McCain's ― 'The Executioner' [which he wrote] as Russell Ganaway,
he was a former friend of Lucas's, just released from jail and the one who
hid the stolen money on the McCain Ranch ― 'The Anvil Chorus' as
Platt and Jeb Sherman in 'The Old Man Running.'
Before "The Rifleman" he appeared with Chuck in the movie "Dragonfly
John Durren appeared
in two episodes ― 'The Challenge' as Davey Pardee, Jake's brother ― 'Bloodlines' as Stump Malakie, he was
the one brother/son who got killed in the saloon.
played the Professor in this episode. He played Major Stone on "Rin Tin
Tin." He did radio and voice for cartoons. Great character actor. One
of those faces you never forget, but can't remember the name.
appeared in eight episodes ―
'End of a Young Gun'
as an outlaw, he rode with Hank Fulton ― 'The Safe Guard' as Walkerman,
one of the guys who help rob the bank ―
'The Challenge' as a cowhand in the saloon ― 'The Woman'
as Jed Healy, the one who shot his Pa ― 'The Journey Back' as Arnie Grady as one of the brothers that Will Temple threw off his ranch ―
'Outlaw's Shoes' as Jeems, he was George Vale's partner and the one who shot Lucas and
grazed him in the head ―
'Lou Mallory' as Bo Jackman ―
'Death Never Rides Alone' as Mark Jones. Gee.....does this set any records?
Harris appeared in three episodes
'The Sister' as the man
who was talking to Earl Battle in the beginning of the episode
― 'The Challenge' as the cowhand in the saloon
'The Anvil Chorus' as Ed Bundy, he was the cowboy whose
wife just had a baby boy.
Hope Summers as Hattie Denton, owner of The General Store. Hope
Summers appeared in 16 episodes as Hattie Denton. Hattie was first
introduced to "The Rifleman" in 'Eight Hours to Die.'
Ian Murray played Harley Hannabury in seven episodes ― 'The
Challenge' ― 'Blood Brother' ― 'Obituary' ― 'Meeting at
Midnight' ― 'The Hangman' ― 'The Illustrator' ― 'The
Fourflushers' as one of the townsmen.
Bill Quinn as Sweeney the
owner/bartender of The North Fork Saloon. Sweeney was first introduced to
"The Rifleman" in 'The Marshal'. He has appeared in 39 episodes of
Rifleman" as Sweeney the Bartender.
Harlan Warde as John Hamilton, President of the North Fork Bank. Harlan
Warde appeared in 18 episodes as John Hamilton. John Hamilton was first
introduced to “The Rifleman” in ‘The Safe Guard.’
as Sam Weltz, the older rancher at the meeting. John Maxwell was a
film actor who appeared in over 100 films of the 1940s and 1950s. Many times
the actor appeared in films uncredited. Occasionally he played larger roles
in movies, such as in "The Prowler." Besides appearing on
"The Rifleman" John also appeared in "Coronado 9" - "Londonderry
Heiress" - "Bonanza" – "Showdown Cage of Evil" - "Bourbon Street Beat" -
"Superman'' - "The Rebel" - "Riverboat" - "The Life and Legend of Wyatt
Earp" & "U.S. Marshal" and so many other great shows.
Jimmie Booth was in five episodes ― 'Shivaree' as a Barfly ― 'The Indian'
as one of the
townsmen ― 'The Challenge' as
one of the townsmen ― 'The Three Legged Terror'
as one of the cowboys at the picnic ― 'The Coward' as the cowboy
sitting at a table in the restaurant of the hotel.
appeared in nine episodes ―
'Duel of Honor' as Ed Simmons, one of the passengers on the stagecoach
― 'The Safe Guard' as Charlie the bank teller ―
'The Sister' as one of
the cowboys watching the fight ― 'The Challenge' as a customer in the
store ― 'The Photographer' as a cowboy on the Jury ―
Man' as the hotel clerk and a townsman ―
'The Obituary' as a
townsman ― 'The Illustrator' as the man getting off the stage ―
'The Grasshopper' as the man in the booth who sold the
was a well known and respected stuntman, he appeared in several episodes of
"The Rifleman." Whitey had over a 50-year career as a
stuntman and stunt coordinator, he has been praised as one of the top
stuntman in Hollywood. Whitey was the
best of the best!
Fred Aldrich appeared in
‘Eight Hours to Die’ as a spectator at the hanging ― 'A Matter of Faith' as a cowboy in the crowd — 'The
Challenge' as a Barfly
— 'The Wrong Man' as one of the townsmen
at the carnival.
appeared in two episodes ― 'The Challenge' as a cowboy in the saloon
playing cards ― 'The Woman' as a cowboy in the saloon.
was a Stuntman for "The Rifleman" in 23 episodes. Besides a Stuntman, Jesse
also performed behind the scenes as an Actor -
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director - Special Effects -
Miscellaneous Crew - Director - Camera and Electrical Department -
Cinematographer - Archive Footage
Jack Perry as
one of the townsmen.
Tom Kennedy ― 'Death Never
Rides Alone' as one of the townsmen at the saloon -
as one of the townsmen - 'Gun Shy' as a the townsman/man getting off
of the stage - 'The Decision' as one of the townsmen -
Executioner' as the man reading the newspaper -
'Day of Reckoning'
as a churchgoer - 'Guilty Conscience' as one of the townsmen -
'Which Way'd They Go?' as a barfly -
'Outlaw's Shoes' as one of
the townsmen - 'The Challenge' as one of the townsmen -
Blind' as one of the townsmen - 'A Young Man's Fancy' as one of
the townsmen - 'End of the Hunt' as one of the townsmen.
You can see Tom in "The
Rifleman" many times, probably more times then listed. He
always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Do you know who sang "The Ballad of Jake Pardee?"
Bill Lee sang for many movies and voice over's. He started out in a group
"The Mellomen" who sang for Glenn Miller, Jack Benny, and Walt
Disney. In this same group is another great voice we all know, Thurl
Ravenscroft, who is the voice for "Tony The Tiger". Bill voiced over
for some well known movies, "The Sound Of Music", "South Pacific",
and "101 Dalmations" to name a few. Thanks Frank C. for this info!
Listen to this song closely—It's part of the Jake Pardee Ballad—do you know
what saloon is being sung about here? ♫ Thanks Glenn Gilbert!
be patient while this song loads, it may take a few seconds to load
but is well worth the wait!
note..... when clicking on the link to this sound wav - it will
download to your computer.)
♫ The Ballad
of Jake Pardee
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Lyrics by Alfred Terry
Sung by Bill Lee
Songs of The Rifleman
Can you name the episodes these songs were in?
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Character Actors Index
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and wondered who is that guy?
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes