"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
'The Dead-eye Kid'
There was this boy named Mahoney who was making his way west. One day he decided to hitch a ride on the stagecoach that was traveling into North Fork. He hid behind a rock, then jumped onto the back of the stagecoach as it passed by. Unknown to Mahoney, the stagecoach driver and the shotgun guard were aware of his presence. Cole, the shotgun guard, stated, "That dirty little dead head.....we'll let him ride a piece and then give him some real walking to do." So, Cole crawled onto the roof of the stagecoach and loosened the rope, and the uninvited traveler fell off of the stage.
Well, Mahoney wasn’t happy, so while lying on the road, he pulled out a big handgun and pointed it at Cole. Cole quickly climbed back into the seat. “That little deadhead pulled a gun on me!” he exclaimed.
It just so happened that Mark and I were out having some good quality father/son time together. Mark beat me in a race and boasted loudly about it. He was convinced that I had let him win and it took a little convincing on my part to get him to believe that he really truly did beat me fair and square. “Whenever you beat me at anything it’ll be fair and square. If I just let you win, you’d get to thinking you were bigger than the size of your britches and I’d be doing you a hurt. You might get to trying something you’re not up to yet. No, it was fair and square, Mark!”
Of course Mark had a huge grin on his face, and I told him to wipe it off. He tried to sincerely apologize to me, but I didn’t fall for that stuff!
As we started back to the ranch, we saw a boy ahead. Turns out, it was the boy that got dumped off the stagecoach. He was stumbling around on the ground, exhausted from the fall, walk and heat. Mark and I hurried up to him and helped him up. We took him back to the ranch so he could rest up.
Well, in the course of time, I got the story that he was dumped off the stage. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was a lot more experienced and knowledgeable about things then I hope Mark will be at his age. So, the next morning while I was fixing breakfast, I had to endure his unpleasant conversation with Mark.
He had given Mark a city-slicker’s hat to try on. He told Mark to push it down over his eyes and to the side. Then he wanted him to strut around. That’s what Mark was doing when I walked inside. He asked me how he looked, and I was honest with him. “Silly,” I answered.
That wasn’t the answer he was looking for. He wanted to know more about New York. “Is it really as big as they say it is in my school book?”
"Bigger!" Mahoney stated. "And they got building there kid like ya' never seen! They’re 8…they’re 10 stories high…like mountains! But you really want to see, kid, is the bowery! They got things there. There’s always something happening! There’s people and there’s lights. There’s Tony Pastors.” Mark was taking this all in with deep interest. That made me a bit uncomfortable, but I kept quiet…for now.
“What’s that?” Mark asked suddenly.
“You’ve never heard of Tony Pastors?” Mahoney asked, shocked. “It only happens to be the biggest music hall in the whole world! It only happens to have the best show! And the girls they got there!”
I was getting uneasy. I didn’t much appreciate the things he was saying to Mark. But still, I kept quiet. Mark was totally clueless, and keeping quiet would cause less harm at this point.
Mahoney proceeded to take things from his bag. The first thing he pulled out was a big handgun. “Don’t shoot,” he joked.
Then came a knife. He opened it up and said, “I almost killed a guy with this once!” This kid wasn’t scoring any points with me! I shot him another dirty look. But, I still continued to keep quiet. “Boy, it’s tough down there in the Bowery!” I shot my eyes toward Mark. I may have some talking to do with Mark later.
Next, Mahoney pulled out a pair of dice. “These I took off a drunk,” he explained to my young, impressionable son. “I snitched them off him in an alley back behind Tony Pastors. They always roll a 7.” He gave them to Mark so he could see. Mark rolled them a couple times and was amazed that they did.
The last thing Mahoney was able to pull out of his bag was a garter. Mark commented that the bartender wears one. Mahoney was so kind as to correct Mark that it was a “girl’s garter.” I saw it and knew exactly what it was, but still, I kept my mouth shut. I absolutely did not like him showing such thing to my son!
The next thing he said was the last straw! I couldn’t stand anymore. “I took ‘em off the girl myself.” That’s it!
"MAHONEY!” I warned.
Mahoney sat up at the sound of my voice. He could tell I was not happy. “Ye-yes, Mr. McCain?” he asked.
"If you liked New York so much why did you come west?" I asked as I walked over to my son.
“Oh, well you see there was this um…boy…I was working for. I was selling papers for him and uh…he’s a gink with a beard named Greely. And he was always yapping in his paper, ‘go west young man, go west.’ So I did.”
I grabbed the hat Mark still had on his head and slammed it down on the table. Mark could tell I was upset and frowned at my actions. I didn’t care. This boy had very rude manners, and I wanted Mark to know they were unacceptable in my home.
“I’d still be going, too, if that dirty louse didn’t throw me off that coach!” he complained.
“Well, the coach gets paid for carrying passengers. You were stealing that ride!” I pointed out loudly as I looked at Mark. I wanted him to understand it was wrong.
Of course, Mark tried to stand up for him stating they didn’t have to do it the way they did. Mahoney could tell I wasn’t too happy with him so he asked what the next "boig" is? (New York slang for 'burg').
“Boig?” Mark asked, not understanding.
“You know, dump…town…place,” Mahoney tried as he snapped his fingers.
“Oh, North Fork. We’ll be going there in three days. Come then if you want, all right pa?” Mark invited him.
Three days? I wanted him out of there today! “He can go today!” I suggested…no…insisted!
Mark didn’t want him to leave. “But we’ve got chores that can’t wait! There’s hay to be cut down in the North field and you still got some shoeing to do!” Funny how Mark suddenly wanted to do these chores!
“Sure, Mr. McCain. You don’t have to make no special trip for me.”
But their convincing didn’t work. It just so happened that that very day, Jackson & Cramer’s freight wagon would be coming by on the North Road. I was willing to pay them to take Mahoney off my hands!
Mahoney was trying to convince himself and Mark that this was good news. “It’s gonna be good going again. A guy going west…he’s gotta keep going!” He started to get ready, but I told him it could wait until after breakfast.
Jackson showed up alone and I saw Mahoney off. Mahoney could tell I was ready to get rid of him. So could my son. As we watched them leave, Mark let me know he knew the truth. “You don’t like him, do you pa?” he asked as I watched the freight wagon leave with my latest headache.
“Well, he’s all right I guess.” Now, I couldn’t just flat-out admit I didn’t like him!
“He liked you,” Mark stated.
“He said so,” I asked a bit surprised.
“He didn’t have to. I just know he did.” I could tell Mark was upset with me. I thought it was best to forget all about it so I suggested he go check for stray cattle.
Being a talker, Mahoney started talking to Jackson, but Jackson wasn’t a very socialable person, so he told Mahoney he didn’t feel like talking.
Mahoney and Jackson got to the freight station. When they got inside, Cramer was upset. At first, Jackson thought it was because he was late, which he explained pretty easily. But that wasn’t why Cramer so upset. Jackson was $2,000 short in his accounts and $1,000 short in cash. Jackson stammered, trying to come up with a good excuse for this. But Cramer wasn’t done with his accusations. There were some unanswered queries about why he left Yuma.
Jackson was getting upset and defensive. “Well dog gonnet, are you gonna give me a chance to explain or are you just coming to your own conclusions?” Jackson asked.
Cramer assured Jackson he’d have plenty of time to explain to the Marshal. “Well listen to me first! We’ve been partners for over two years and-“ Jackson started, obviously getting very upset.
“And these books show that you’ve been a thief and an embezzler for two years!” Cramer insisted.
Jackson was getting desperate that he had been found out. He begged Cramer not to go to the Marshall. Out of desperation, he shot Cramer in the back as he opened the door to leave. Mahoney watched the whole thing. He tried to escape, but couldn’t think straight enough to make it happen. Suddenly, Jackson looked at Mahoney. “You. You killed my partner!” He pointed his gun at Mahoney. Mahoney throws his bag and knocks Jackson down, then escapes out the door. He jumps in the freight wagon and rides like the devil.
Mahoney drives by at a high rate of speed while Mark is rounding up the stray cattle. He watches as the wagon wrecks. He watches in confusion as Mahoney jumps from the wrecked wagon and runs for the hills. Mark knows something terrible had to have happened for him to be running like that so he hurries over to him. “I saw a man killed! Jackson killed him. He’s after me! Mark, he’s trying to kill me!” Mahoney is so scared that he can hardly breathe. Mark sees how afraid he is. He knows he has to help his friend no matter what. Mark has a big heart and would help any man, but sometimes his ten-year old mind doesn’t do things the way an adult would. So Mark grabs him and begins wiping away any trace of their tracks. Then he helps Don up and rushes him deeper into the range.
This is all happening without my knowledge. I’m out working on the range when Micah, Jackson, Cole and some others ride up to me. Suddenly, in an angry voice Jackson shoots off, “That kid you dumped on me…has he been passed here, McCain?”
Micah stops him, reminding him who’s in charge. “I’m sorry, Micah, but it was my partner that was killed! Killed right in front of my own eyes.”
“Killed?” I asked shocked.
“Cold blooded murder, that boy done!” Jackson continued angrily.
This was all a lot to take in, but it was obvious he was talking about Mahoney. I didn’t care much for the kid, but I didn’t picture him as a killer!
Then Cole spoke up. “He hitched a ride on the stagecoach, and when I dumped him off, he pulled a gun big enough to blow my head off with!” Of course, none of that was news to me.
Jackson continued on. “All we want to know is did you see him? He stole our buckboard and headed out this way.”
“Yeah. Wait until we get our hands on him!” Cole added.
Micah again reminded them, “If he don’t force our hand, we take him in alive. Those are my orders!”
But these men were out to kill. It was obvious to me, and I’m sure it was obvious to Micah. I was still in shock, trying to believe that Mahoney shot and killed a man in cold blood. “He’ll force our hand all right!” Jackson insisted. “I’m still offering $200 to the man that puts a slug in him.”
I didn’t like that kind of talk. “That’s kind of blood thirsty, isn’t it Jackson?” I accused.
“Cramer was more than just a partner to me. We were like brothers!” Jackson had a look of revenge in his eyes. He wanted to kill. “And I’m not one to waste time or words on his murder! I’ll raise that anti to 300!”
I argued that he was just a kid. I didn’t even know for sure that he killed Cramer. Jackson was way too angry. Jackson proceeded to remind everyone of Billy the kid and what he had done. “Do you want another Billy the Kid around here or do you want to ride out with us?”
It was obvious that this kid didn’t have a chance with these guys. I seriously doubt that Mahoney was a Billy the Kid! That’s why I decided to join them. I had to help him – keep a lynching from happening. Cole suddenly shot up “Well, that 300 looks pretty good to you, huh, Luke?”
I couldn’t believe these guys! I didn’t care about the money! I cared about this boy’s life. So, I made it very clear that I was planning on bring Mahoney in alive. So we started off looking. We found the wagon and were able to pick up a bit of a trail.
Meanwhile, Mark was leading Mahoney up over rocks. He was very trail wise, so he was able to help Mahoney. At one point, he ordered Mahoney to take his boots off so they could walk easy without leaving prints. Mark was doing so well that we couldn’t find a trail. We were all surprised at this. I was really surprised. He had left a pretty wide trail up to that point, but then it just all seemed to disappear. “He stopped being scared and started thinking,” I decided. We split up to look for him. Micah and I went together, of course!
Unbeknownst to us, Jackson followed us. Mark led Don up on top of a cliff. While we were looking, we were able to pick up something. We saw what looked like the kid backtracking. Micah and I both thought he was pretty smart for an Eastern kid.
The further we came, the smarter we got. Mark was doing a good job with what I taught him, but fortunately, I was still a little smarter than my boy. At this point, I had no idea he was helping Mahoney. Micah picked up a trail, but I pointed out that it was false – it was too broad. I looked around and found the correct trail. Jackson was still right behind us.
Mark continued to try doing things to throw us off by making several false trails. At one point, he even instructed Mahoney to walk backwards on the trail like him. This would make it look like he was walking back that way, not going that way.
Micah and I came along just moments later. He picked up the trail and noticed that there were two sets of footprints. “Two?” I rushed over to look
“One of them is a little small for a boy of 16.” Suddenly, it all made sense to me.
“Yeah. Just about the same size Mark’s footprints are!” I answered. Micah was shocked, but I wasn’t. I knew my boy.
“Yeah, no wonder the kid’s trail wise if he’s forcing Mark to help him.” I wasn’t so sure he was forcing Mark. I think it was more of a volunteering to help.
“Yeah, that could explain it, all right,” I said.
I guess I didn’t seem as concerned and upset as I should so Micah reminded me that Mark was in danger according to Jackson.
He didn’t have to remind me what Jackson said, but I wasn’t going to jump to conclusions either. So Micah got up to go after him. I wanted to go up the trail the footprints led from. Micah argued with me. I guess the fact that I had lived on a ranch my whole life and knew trails better than he ever would didn’t matter. I argued with him that walking backwards was a trick I had taught Mark. So we split up.
I walked up the trail and started to go up the cliff of rocks when I saw Mark! So I hid behind a rock, waiting for him to come down. When he got close enough I said, “Mark.”
Mark turned, surprised that I had found him. I wasted no time. “Where is he?”
Mark looked guilty, but only shrugged. “He? I don’t know.”
“You know who I mean. Where is he?” I demanded.
“You looking for him, pa?” Mark asked.
“A whole posse’s looking for him!” I exclaimed. “He killed Mr. Cramer!”
Mark stuck up for his friend. “He didn’t! He told me all about it, pa! He didn’t!”
“And you believed him?” I asked, getting just a bit annoyed with my young boy.
“Yeah. Mr. Jackson did it!” This piece of news hit me hard. But it all made sense now. That explained why Jackson was so blood thirsty, wanting to kill the one man who could reveal him.
“Well then, he shouldn’t of run away, son. Anytime a man runs, it looks like he’s scared of something,” I explained. This wasn’t too convincing, because I was right. He was scared of Jackson since Jackson was trying to kill him.
“Then let me tell me himself. Where is he?” I had no time to waste.
Mark had to think about it. “What are you doing to do to him?”
“Bring him in. If he’s innocent, Micah will see he gets a fair trial,” I explained.
Mark thought about this. He didn’t like my answer. So he did something that was hard for him – he said no.
This made me angry. “Mark!” I said sternly.
Mark jumped to his own defense. Again, he used my own words against me. “You said it once yourself, pa. There’s nothing better than a friend! Once you’re a man’s friend, stick by him! No matter what, stick by him! Well, Don’s my friend just like that pa.” Mark licked his lips again as he mustered up brevity. “So I can’t tell ya'.”
I was no longer angry with him. I suddenly saw things from my ten-year-old’s perspective. But I had to explain the danger to him. “All right, son. Then you tell me for his sake.” Mark didn’t understand that. “You did a good job of covering his trail, so. I’m proud. You learned what I taught you well.” I held up a finger for added emphasis. “But remember Mark, I taught you! I can find the trail to him. You know that. And there’s others looking for him. If they get there before I do, there’s liable to be no trial,” I explained gently.
Mark thought all this over. I had finally been able to get through to him. So after another moment of thinking, he gave me the information I needed. “All right, pa. He’s at that cave at the end of River’s Canyon. The one that we always use for camp when we go hunting.” We hurried off.
Jackson had heard the whole thing from up above.
“Pa,” Mark suddenly stopped me. “Did I do right?” My boy needed my reassurance.
I patted him on the shoulder. “You did right,” I praised him. Then we went together to get Mahoney.
I climbed up the rocks. Then I turned to help Mark. As I reached out my hand to help him up, our eyes locked. In that moment, Mark knew that I believed in him and all was okay. Then I helped him up and we went to get Don.
Unfortunately, Jackson knew where this canyon was and beat us there. As we came up to the canyon, we heard several gunshots. I hurried forward to stop him as I flipped my rifle. “Don’t fire that gun again, Jackson!” I ordered.
“He’s in there! The little killer is in there! I found him!” Jackson announced, thinking I’d buy that story.
Mark was brave and he spoke up. “He didn’t kill him! You did!” he accused.
Like a fool, Jackson tried to convince me that my boy was lying. “You don’t believe that story, do you, McCain? I mean, well your kid’s all right but you’re not fool enough to take that tramp for it against mine!”
“What story? The only story I heard was yours!” I answered.
“Well I mean…well…he must have told your kid that he’s innocent,” Jackson stammered.
“What about it? It won’t come out of the trial. The gun he used, the money he stole. He’ll have that,” I said. I knew the truth.
Jackson was scared. He started to shoot me, but I was faster than him and killed him in one shot. “Mahoney did tell the truth,” I admitted under my breath.
Don came back to the ranch with us. He wasted not time in telling Mark more stories about New York. I tried my best to ignore him as I worked on the books. But what you really need to see, Mark, is the lights. There ain’t never no night in the bowery. There’s always something doing. There’s always some excitement. You notice that gink? That gink Greely who said “Go West?” He stayed in New York!”
If he was trying to convince me that he wanted to go back to New York, it wasn’t working. I could see right through him and decided to speak up. “On the bowery?”
“There ain’t nothin’ wrong with the bowery,” Don insisted defensively. He tried to tell us he’d be glad when he got back there.
I decided to play it up a little bit. “I guess your right, Donnel. Here there’s nothing but space and air. No big building, no Tony Pastors to go to at night. Just a camp fire to sit around and spin tall tales. In New York you don’t have to hunt and fish for dinner, you just go out and buy anything you want at a store. Yeah, I guess you’d be a fool not to go back!” Mahoney was still in denial. So I played my last card. “Well then, I guess I’ll tell Oat Jackford you don’t want to go to work for him.”
This got his attention fast! I explained that if Don was planning on staying around here he’d need a job, and Jackford had agreed to hire him. I had walked over to the table and bent down between the two boys to talk. “You did that for me, Mr. McCain?” Don was surprised. He knew how I had felt about him when he first came here.
“Well, it’s the least I could do for a good friend of Mark’s,” I patted my boy’s head. Mark thanked him.
“Why don’t you stay now?” I couldn’t help teasing them. I told Mark not to go changing his mind that he had already made up.
But Mahoney held up a hand to stop me. "If you wanna know the truth about it.....the Bowery stinks!" said Don. Mark and I started laughed.
piddlin' stuff.....Kip King who played Don Mahoney (Donnel O' Mahoney) has done numerous things. He was the Technician in "Westworld." He played Nick on two episodes of "Batman." He did voices for the cartoon TV series Scooby and Scrappy-Doo and I Yabba- Yabba-Do.
Jason Johnson played Cramer in this episode he was the partner that got killed. He also starred in 'The Money Gun' as Bert Sanderson.
He guest starred on "Gunsmoke" and also did some writing for the show. He has starred in just about all the old classic westerns!
Douglas Spencer played Jackson, he was the Cowboy who killed his partner. He has appeared in a lot of really good stuff. He was in "River of No Return & Shane." He also starred in "Trouble Along the Way" with John Wayne & Chuck.
Glenn Strange was several episodes of "The Rifleman." He was a shotgun guard in 'The Dead-eye Kid.' He's the one that shoved Mahoney off of the back of the stage. He also played in 'Duel of Honor' as Cole, stagecoach driver. He was the one who did the counting for the duel. Joey, stagecoach driver in 'The Woman.' 'The Blowout' again a stagecoach driver. 'The Spiked Rifle' and 'Miss Bertie' as a stagecoach driver.
A guest star on "The Untouchables."
He played Butch Cavendish in "The Lone Ranger." I can't picture Sam being a bad dude. He was in Elvis's "Jailhouse Rock" - one of the dancers.He was also known for playing the Frankenstein monster in House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. He was a very versatile actor. He could do it all! —Thank Jerry!
But I love him best as "Sam" the bartender in "Gunsmoke." I tip my hat to you "Cowboy!"
Rod McGaughy was an actor and a stuntman. He was in several episodes of "The Rifleman" - 'Lariat' as a Card Player - 'The Baby Sitter' as a Barfly - 'The Spiked Rifle' as Henchman in the Bar - 'The Woman' as Old Man Healey's Henchman - 'Short Rope for a Tall Man' as One of Crown's Henchmen/Mob Member and in 'A Matter of Faith' as a cowboy in the Crown gang - 'The Wrong Man' as one of the townsmen at the carnival - in 'The Money Gun' as one of the townsmen and in 'The Dead- eye Kid' as one of the cowboys who helped look for Mahoney.
He has appeared in a lot of the TV Western Series in the 50's thru the 80's. He also as done several movies such as "The Apple Dumpling Gang" — "Blazing Saddles" & "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
Bob Woodward appeared in "The Rifleman" several times. He was in 'Shivaree' as one of the cowboys
participating in the 'Shivaree' - 'The Safe Guard' as the cowboy driving the wagon that is carrying the safe to North Fork & in 'The Sister' as a stagecoach driver - 'The Young Englishman' as cowhand - 'The Safe Guard' as the cowboy driving the wagon that is carrying the safe to North Fork - 'The Indian' as a cowboy in the saloon - 'The Angry Man' as one of the cowboys who helped load Carey into the wagon and 'The Dead-eye Kid' as the stagecoach driver.
Woodward was an actor and a stuntman. He appeared on television and in movies. He co-starred in the western "California Mail," "Pioneer Justice," "Range Renegades," and "Junction City." He played the role of the stagecoach driver in the TV series "The Gene Autry Show," the Henchman on the TV series "The Range Rider." He co-starred in the TV show "Annie Oakley." In the 1950s and 1960s, he guest-starred in "The Lone Ranger," "Buffalo Bill, Jr.," "Tales of Wells Fargo," and "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," as well as other TV series appearances and Western Movies. His career spanned over thirty years. He has performed over one hundred & sixty stunts and also was a stunt double for many of our great classic cowboys.
Jesse Wayne 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
Parts of this episode was filmed in the Chatsworth Mountains.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
around The McCain Ranch