I certainly don’t know what I’m going to do with that boy of mine! The way he grows…So, while he was in school, it was back to town to buy him more shirts! But boy oh boy, if I didn’t find myself in a mess for the next twenty-four hours!
While I was riding into town, there was some trouble that was beginning to brew up the street at the saloon. A confederate Corporal and Major had rode into town. Corporal Troc walked into the saloon and ordered Sweeney to give him a bottle of whisky. Then he picked the bottle and glass up and hurried out the door. Sweeny chased after him, wanting his dollar. The Major asked Sweeny to put the tab on his bill, but Sweeny didn’t have an account for these two soldiers, nor did he intend to. He went to get Micah.
That’s where I come in. I rode into town and walked into the General Store for my boy’s shirts. The two confederate soldiers recognized me. “Lieutenant Lucas McCain. Eighth Indiana. Union Army,” Troc stated.
“Imagine seeing him after fifteen years,” King stated. “We’re in luck, Corporal. We’re in luck!” You’ve probably guessed by now that their luck meant my misfortune…
In the General Store, I examined a shirt for Mark. "Lucas, that shirt is going to be much to big for Mark," Millie declared.
“The way that boy's growing Millie, it will be to small for him in three months," I declared. Boy, but he’s growing up so fast! Millie didn’t say anything, but simply shook her head and wrote it down.
Just then, a man came into the store and straight up to me. "Lieutenant McCain?"
"I'm Lucas McCain," I nodded.
"Majors compliments sir. He'd like you to join him outside at your convenience."
"Who are you?" I asked.
"Corporal Troc, aide to Major King sir, at your service."
I looked over his shoulder, out into the street. There stood a man with a Major's Confederate uniform on. I didn’t recognize him. "Well, you can tell the Major if he wants to see me to come on in here."
"That's impossible sir," Troc stated.
"Why?" I asked.
"You wouldn't be expected to know why…would you?" I turned and looked at Millie. Then I turned back and told Troc I had no idea what he was talking about. "Shall I tell him you'll be out sir?"
"Yes,” I answered, returning to my task at hand. “You can tell him I'll be out...when I'm through in here."
"Thank you sir." He stomped his foot, then walked out of the store and went over to the Major.
"Who in the world are they?" Millie wondered as she watched him leave.
"Search me," I answered.
"Well, he certainly acted as if he knew you. I mean he called you Lieutent," Millie pointed out.
"Well I use to be a Lieutent, Millie.” Suddenly, I thought about the name. “King.” I thought for a minute. Then I turned to Millie. “He said Major King, didn’t he?” Millie nodded. I looked out toward the street. “You know, that name is familiar.”
Troc told King that I didn’t remember him. “Really?” King was surprised. “That’s odd. We remember him very well. Don’t we, Corporal?”
Just then, Sweeny came back across the street with Micah. Micah asked the Major to explain what was going on. "Not mister,” he answered harshly. “I'm Major Aaron King, 12th cavalry, better know as King's Hazah."
"Is that so," Micah asked. "Well then, surely the Major has a dollar for the whiskey." But King argued, stating he wanted it put on his bill. That’s when I walked up.
"Sweeney!" I called when I heard what was going on. "Charge the bottle to me." I looked at the Major. “The Major is an old acquaintance of mine.”
The Major thanked me. Micah asked how long we have been friends. I told Micah we weren't exactly friends. "Hardly! But if we had met under different circumstances we might have been...hey Lieutenant?"
I nodded as we continued looking at each other. "I'd like to think that Major," I answered.
King turned to Troc, reminding him that he’d told King I didn’t remember him. I jumped right in. “Well, at first I didn’t, Major. It’s been-“
“Fifteen years,” King interrupted me.
Micah realized we knew each other in the war. “Siege of For Donelson,” I explained.
But the Major was quick to correct me. “The Battle of Fort Donelson." I nodded and kindly agreed wit him.
I began explaining to Micah that I was Lieutent then with the 8th Indiana. You could tell the Major still held some kind of grudge. Even after fifteen years. I was on the winning side and Troc was very upset about that. “If we had reinforcements, we would’ve licked them!” Troc declared angrily.
I kept my cool. “Maybe so.”
King turned to him. “The fortunes of war, Corporal,” he reminded him. “How many times do I have to remind you of that?”
“Lieutenant McCain was my captor, Corporal.”
I corrected him. “It was my platoon, Major, not me alone.”
Troc angrily spit out, “You were in charge, sir. That made you responsible!”
I reminded Troc that he was following the same orders I was. “Defeat the enemy?”
Major apologized for his aid. “He finds it hard to blame only circumstance for what happened afterward. "You see, we were sent to Donnerton." I turned my head to look at Micah. "And after two and a half years in prison Corporal Troc and I were all that remained of the 12th Calvary,"
"I'm sorry Major, I didn't know," I answered.
My apology upset Troc "You didn't know? You didn't know, huh?" He yelled.
The Major stopped him. "Again the fortunes of war - south at Andersonville, north at Donnerton. Both blights on the face of humanity," He offered me a drink. I told him I didn't think the middle of the street was the proper place to have a drink. I suggested going into the saloon. He got upset with that. “No!” he shouted. “In the mind, it’s a small place. Not enough room to move around in there. I don’t like being crowded in.” He looked like just the thought of going inside a building scare him to death. I studied him, trying to figure it all out. Now it was Troc's turn to calm the Major down. They mounted up and rode out of town to camp.
Micah asked me what I thought of them. “I don’t know what to make of it, Micah,” I answered honestly. “I’ve never seen anything like those two. War...imprisonment...they can do odd things to a man.” Micah reminded me that the war has been over for a long time. I nodded as I watched them ride out of town. “You heard what he said, Micah. Donnerton Prison. Some say that it was worth then Andersonville.”
Troc and King rode out into the wilderness. They found a nice, wide open place to camp. That made the Major suddenly feel comfortable again. “Everything big…quiet…free…Nothing to close in.” The Major looked around. He found a stone floor. “Remember when we had a stone floor?” he asked. “We knew we couldn’t dig cause it was stone. The walls were strong. The windows were none…It was a tomb, Corporal!” He suddenly became upset and hit the rock with his fist. “We were living in a tomb!”
Troc grabbed his arm to calm him down. Troc said all King needed was a drink and a good night’s rest. King leaned against the rock and suddenly felt afraid again. “We’ll drink to the past. The past that still lives in the soul of Lieutenant Lucas McCain, eighth Indiana!”
The next morning, I was hard at work as usual. I had lots of wood to cut and was trying to get Mark off to school. Mark hurried out the door, books in hand. He handed me a kerchief. “If you wait till I get home from school, I’ll help you with the rest of the wood,” Mark stated.
“This won’t take long,” I assured him as I wiped the sweat off my face. “Besides, I want you to stop by Millie’s on the way home from school.” He wondered why. As I continued wiping my face, I explained, “I bought you three new shirts yesterday. She wants to take some tucks in for you. They’ll a little big.”
“Well, didn’t she have any in my size?” Mark asked.
“Oh, these will fee you,” I promised him. With a grin, I added “About six months from now.”
Boy, you should have seen the look Mark gave me! He sure didn’t appreciate me trying to conserve money by making him wear bigger clothes! “Six-“ he started. I turned and grinned at him. “Oh, Pa,” Mark declared as he hurried off toward his horse. I went back to my chore, but stopped to watch Mark ride off. That boy!
I had a pretty good pile of wood before long. Suddenly, I heard “Nice big pile of wood, Lieutenant.” I turned to see Troc pointing a gun at me.
I turned back around and straightened up. He ordered me not to try anything. “What’s that gun for?” I asked.
“The Major’s orders, Lieutenant.”
“The Major’s-“ I started.
Suddenly, Troc called out to the Major. King stepped around the side of the barn. “Good work, Corporal. Corporal Troc is most reliable.” King held his gun on me. “Corporal, search the barn find what you need. They’ll be food in the house.”
He told me to turn around. He wanted my back to him. "What is it you want Major?" I asked.
"You, Lieutent McCain, you. And I won't hesitate to kill you if the need arises, although I don't want to yet."
I didn’t understand. "You'd kill me? Why?" I asked.
"Once I stood under your gun - a helpless prisoner - as you stand now...and for that I and Corporal Troc spent two and a half years in the hell that was Donnerton prison," he explained.
"Look Major, that was fifteen years ago. We were at war. That's over now - ended!"
“There will be no end to the war, Lieutenant, as long as men like you and I oppose one another,” King stated. I told him I don’t oppose anybody. “As long as the memory of Donnerton remains, you oppose me,” he argued.
I tried to talk sense to him again. “But Major, I had nothing to do with you being in that prison!” He stated he was capturing me now. “Your out of your mind!” I sneered at him.
Suddenly, he hit me over the head with the butt of his gun. I fell to the ground. “How dare you speak to your superior officer like that!”
When I came to, I found myself against the well in my yard. I was gagged and shackled. They had a rope tied to my shackles. I shook my head. I could hardly believe this was happening! “You shouldn’t have talked to the Major that way, Lieutenant,” Troc stated as he tied the rope to his horse. “Next time, he’ll use that gun to kill you with!”
Troc ordered me on my feet as he started the horses forward. I had no choice but to stand up as they started the horses on their way. I held the rope and tried to walk as fast as my shackled feet would allow me to.
They took me outside of town. I was hot, sweaty, and tired by the time we got to their camp. They stopped me right in front of a cage not much bigger then me. It looked like a cage. Troc came up to me. I tried to say something, but he pointed the gun up towards my throat. “You’ll be resting a long, long, time!” He promised me.
I knew what they were planning on doing, and I desperately continued trying to speak. King stood by the cage, telling me how proud he was of how the cage turned out. He and Troc had designed it themselves. “Of course, it isn’t as spacious as our quarters in Donnerton Prison…But it’s only required to hold one man.”
I couldn’t believe this! I just stared at him and again tried to speak. Troc finally took the gag off of me. “You intend to put me in that thing?” I asked angrily.
“I not only intend on putting you in there,” he answered me. “I intend on keeping you there – for 2 ½ years!” I told the Major that I wouldn’t last a week in there! “We won’t leave you, will we, Corporal?”
Troc just stared at me. “No sir. Not for one minute! “
I stared at the Major. He really had gone loco! “Wouldn’t be proper to leave a prisoner. Also, I’m gonna observe your reaction. Besides, we don’t got no where to go. What could be better? We have open sky. We have fresh air. This will be our home.”
“Your mad!” I declared angrily. “The both of you are mad!” I started toward the Major. “Major, that thing is…a cage!” He hit me. I fell to the ground on my knees. The major ordered Troc to release my hands.
I gasped for air as Troc got right in my face. “Listen to me, Lieutenant! You’re gonna crawl in there! You’re gonna crawl on your hands and knees like we did at Donnerton. And you’re gonna start crawling right now or I’m gonna blow your brains out!” Troc ordered, yelling at me. “You hear me? Now, you crawl!” He pushed me toward the cage. I tried to crawl in there, but my strength was spent. Troc had to help me. “Crawl in there like the animal you are,” he ordered.
As they locked me in there, I looked around. Fear filled my eyes as I realized I was locked up into this tiny space. I had no idea how I was ever going to get myself out of this mess!
Unfortunately, Mark didn’t arrive home from school until way past dark. He rushed inside the open door. "Pa, I'm home. Sorry I'm late but Mr. Griswald-" Mark stopped when he realized the house was dark. “Pa?” he called, looking around the house. The house was in shambles. The Major and Troc had indeed done a thorough job on robbing my house! Mark laid his books on the table and stared into the living room. “Pa,” he said in a worried voice. Then he hurried out the door, jumped on Blueboy and raced to town to find Micah.
The Major and Troc had steak for supper. They left me have the bone with fat on it. Troc poured the coffee grounds over it before giving it to me. “He ain’t gonna like this,” Troc declared. “At least, not at first he ain’t.” Of course, it had taken them awhile to get used to the food at Donnerton as well.
Troc walked over to the cage and told me he had dinner for me. He kept the gun on me. He opened a compartment at the top and threw the cut-up meat into the dirt at my feet. “Hope you don’t mind eating off the ground. Wouldn’t do for you to see a tin plate. We never did have tin plates at Donnerton.” He laughed. “We didn’t have any plates at all.”
I looked at the food. I picked a piece up and stared at it. Disgusting! I quickly threw it down. But when I glanced down again, I saw a bone – a sharp T-Bone! I ripped the meat off of it and threw it down in the dirt. Then I lifted my head to make sure they weren’t watching. I began sharpening the bone on the rocks. If I was going to get out of here, I’d need a weapon.
As I sharpened it, I kept my eyes on my captors. I didn’t want them to discover my plan! I worked long and hard to get that knife really sharp.
Suddenly, the Major softly walked up to the cage. “You asleep, Lieutenant,” he asked.
“What is it?” I asked angrily.
“I thought I’d talk to you,” he answered. “Keep up your morale. At Donnerton, the guards used to talk to us quite often.”
I had the knife sharp enough. If I could get him to come a little closer, I could use it on him and try to get away. “I can’t hear what you’re saying,” I said loudly.”
“You want me to come closer?” the Major asked. “I’m quite close enough.”
I looked over to see where Troc was. I had to plan my escape out carefully. “What’s the matter, Major? You afraid?”
“Of you? Hardly!”
“Well, I can’t hear what you’re saying. You’re gonna have to come closer!” I insisted.
The Major suddenly grew angry. He lunged at the cage and kicked it. "I will not come any closer, and you can't make me! This is your prison.....you hear me!" "This is not mine.....this is your prison!" "I don't belong in there.....!"
Troc came over to calm him down. He told him to go lie down and look up at the stars.
I watched them walk away then picked up my man-made knife. I looked at it. Since I had the time, I decided to work on making it a lot sharper. Angrily, I went back to work.
The next morning, I was busy trying to plan my escape. I tried to position myself in a way that I would be able to kick the gate to the cage. I couldn’t find a position that would work. I laid back, frustrated, the knife in my teeth. Suddenly, I looked up. Maybe…just maybe…I grabbed hold of the boards on the ceiling and positioned myself. Then I lifted myself from the ground and began swinging back and fourth. I gave the door a hard kick. I didn’t’ mind them hearing my testing it out. I’d had enough of this cage and was ready to attempt my escape.
Troc heard the noise. “What’s the matter, Lieutenant? Getting restless already?” Troc asked, not moving from his seat by the fire. “You better stop moving around so much. You’ll wear yourself out! You hear?”
“I hear ya!” I answered.
Troc stood and brought my breakfast over to me – salt pork and bread drippings. He removed the rod from the door so he could put the food inside.
It was now or never! I lifted myself from the ground and gave the door a hard shove. The shove knocked Troc to the ground. I leapt out and stabbed him dead with the knife. The Major started towards me. I grabbed Troc’s gun, turned, and shot the Major. This was all carefully planned out – it was over in only a couple seconds!
The Major dropped to his knees. "You had no right to escape.....you were my prisoner." The Major fell to the ground. He was dead.
They were both dead. I grabbed the key to the chains bound around my feet and unlocked them. I was free.
As soon as I got home, Mark fixed me something to eat. I sure needed it! As Mark brought the coffee over to me and poured it, he yawned. “You better get to bed, son. Riding with Micah all night must have tuckered you out!”
"No Pa, I'm not tired,” Mark argued. "You’re the one who needs the rest! Must have been pretty bad, huh?"
"Yeah,” I answered with a sigh. “It was worse for them, Mark...being like that fifteen years later."
Micah came in with the Major's things. He slapped the saddle bags on the table and asked me how I was feeling. “I tell ya, I’m glad I’m here!” I retorted.
While we were talking, Mark picked up a confederate flag. "You always told me a flag was a symbol of courage Pa. What right did they have to carry this?"
"It was their flag Mark," Micah explained.
"Yeah, but...look at the type of people they were...what they did to
Pa!" Mark was very protective of me. He didn’t like it when others mistreated me. I reckon we both have that in common!
"You can't rightly blame them son,” I explained gently. “Donnerton Prison was responsible for that." I took the flag from him. "This flag stands for the bravery of all the men who fought and died under it. The men who fought against it. Only to prove in the end that victor and loser were one and the same-free men in a free country."
piddlin' stuff..... John Dehner played in four episodes of "The Rifleman" - 'The Money Gun' ~ he played Tom King a hired gun. 'The Blowout' ~ he played Al Walker a gunslinger. 'The Baby Sitter' ~ he played Wood Bartell a self-righteous, bigoted father. [he was Fancy's Father] 'The Prisoner' ~ he played Major Aaron King, an ex-Confederate officer who seeks revenge on Lucas.
He also starred with Chuck in "Branded" ~ 'One Way Out' as Joshua Murdock, "Airplane II: The Sequel" ~ "Support Your Local Gunfighter " & "Bigfoot Wallace"
He started out as an animator for Walt Disney Studios and was a professional pianist. He was on the radio version of "Gunsmoke" regularly cast as a bad guy. He also did Paladin - "Have Gun Will Travel" on the radio; and later when it went to TV he was their first choice for the role of Paladin, but he was already under contract with Warner Brothers for "The Roaring 20's." He was on "Hardcastle & McCormick" - Guenther Riesemen - 'Surprise On Seagull Beach' ~ Love that "Hardcastle & McCormick!" I guess you all know that by now!
Adam Williams starred 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 starred with Chuck in the movie "Dragonfly Squadron."
Joan Taylor played Millie Scott. Joan Taylor appeared in 18 episodes as Milly Scott - 'Miss Milly' — 'Dead Cold Cash' — 'Miss Bertie' — 'Face of Yesterday' — 'The Wyoming Story': Part 1 & 2 — 'Dark Day at North Fork' — 'The Prisoner' — 'The Clarence Bibs Story' — 'The Lonesome Bride' —'The Queue' — 'Sheer Terror' — 'The Long Goodbye' — 'A Friend in Need' — 'Sporting Chance' — 'A Young Man's Fancy' — 'Tinhorn' — 'Millie's Brother'
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"The Rifleman" as Sweeney the Bartender.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
Dark Day at North Fork
around The McCain Ranch