"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
'Requiem at Mission Springs'
It was after church on Sunday that I had invited Lou out to the
ranch to go for a ride on horseback.
We left Mark back at the
ranch to finish his chores that he didn’t get completed on
Saturday. As we were riding, Lou’s hair was whirling around in
the wind; she had forgotten her hat back at the ranch. I wanted
to go back and get it but she said that she would be okay
Suddenly we heard Mark yelling to us. He was calling for us to
wait. In his hand, he was holding Lou's hat. “Well, it looks
like Mark found a good excuse to postpone his chores!” I
Lou smiled. “Just the same, it’s still a nice thought!”
We were watching him race towards us when Blue Boy took a mis-step
over an uneven place in the ground, and in trying to regain his
balance, the cinch on the saddle broke and Mark went for a
really bad tumble. Without hesitation, I raced Razor to back to
Mark. As I jumped off Razor and ran to Mark’s side, he was
laying face down on the ground, shaking his head. I asked him if
he was hurt as I turned him over to sit up. He said he was
alright. I helped him get to his feet. I looked away from Mark
as Lou rode up behind us. As I turned back to Mark, his legs
suddenly gave way and Mark fell back to ground. "You are hurt
son...where?" I asked him worriedly.
"No...I'm not hurt, Pa...It's my legs...I can't move 'em! Feels
like I don't have any." Mark’s voice couldn’t hide his fear.
"Feels like I don't have any legs at all!"
I left Lou with Mark while I raced back to the ranch to get the
buckboard to get Mark home. My mind couldn’t focus, I was scared
for my boy. We got Mark back to the ranch. Lou stayed with Mark
while I rode hard to get the doctor.
Later that evening, after Doc Burrage had examined Mark in the
bedroom, Lou and Doc were sitting at the table, and I was
pacing. I couldn’t bring myself to sit down. "Doc.....I just
don't understand. If his backs not hurtin' and there's no other
physical injury, why can't he move his leg?" I was upset.
"Being thrown this morning put the nerve that controls his legs
in kind of a spasm. They're paralyzed until that nerve relaxes,"
said Doc Burrage.
“Well, how long will that be, doctor?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
I got even more upset and wanted an answer. "I don't
know...there is no sure cure for this kind of an injury," Doc
explained. “Mineral baths is the most effective treatment I have
ever heard of. Where was I going to find a mineral bath for
Mark? Then I happened to remember Missions Springs. It was an
old burned down Mission near the Mexican border. They had hot
mineral baths. “I don’t know, Lucas. That’s dangerous country.”
I got angry! This was my son
we were talking about. "What do you
mean you don't know? There's Mineral baths there.....will they
or won't they help Mark?" All he could tell me was that it might
That was enough for me. “Lou, will you help me get Mark ready?”
“Mm hm,” Lou answered. “And I’m going with you!”
“Yeah. I figured you would,” I said.
Before long we were on our way. The closer we got to the
mountains the colder it got. I asked Mark if he was warm enough.
He said he was fine. I asked him if he was tired. He said he
was, but not much. “Well, the roughest part of the trip is over.
We oughta be there by tomorrow.”
I hurt for my boy. I wanted to take him in my arms to tell him
everything was going to be okay, but I was scared. I understand
gunshot wounds and stabbings, and even illnesses, but nerves and
paralysis; I couldn’t get my mind around. Could my hugging my
boy cause him more harm. He’d taken after his Ma so much, being
so much slighter of build.
We finally reached Mission Springs. I carried Mark to one of the
springs and Lou rolled up his pant legs. We put Marks legs in
the springs. We waited. After a while, we pulled his legs out of
the water, and dried them down. But he didn’t feel anything. I
was desperate for my boy to walk! I told Mark to try and move
his toes. I watched, but nothing moved. “Go on, son. Go on!” I
“I just can’t, Pa!” Mark stated.
I was discouraged. “This is only the first treatment. We’ve got
to have lots of patience,” Lou told me. I knew she was right. It
was just hard watching my son suffering. A father couldn’t help
I guess I expected a miracle right away.
The sun would be setting soon, so I went to cut some wood for
the fire when I noticed riders in the distance. I went back to
the camp to get my rifle. Lou paused in building the campfire.
“Is there something wrong?”
“I’m not sure, but I…better play it safe,” I answered.
I went part way down the mountain to get a closer look. To my
horror, the men I spotted were three armed convicts with a
prison guard for a hostage. I hurried back to the camp and bent
down to talk to Lou quietly. There was no reason to upset Mark.
“Three escaped convicts with a prison guard for a hostage,” I
“Convicts? Here?” I told her they had probably escaped from Yuma
prison. They were probably here for water.
I told her there wasn't much cover where we were at and that our
best bet would be to head for the trees and stay out of sight
until they leave. I put out the camp fire as Lou gathered up our
things. I went to where Mark was sitting against a boulder; I
picked him up and carried him to the buckboard. I tucked Mark in
good and tight to keep him warm. “Hurry, Lucas!” Lou declared
impatiently. She was worried.
Lou and I got in the seat and drove the buckboard away from the
springs; the only hope my son had for recovering. I hid the
buckboard in among some bushes and trees a distance from where
we had been, but it was still too close for my comfort. I took
my rifle and went back to check on the progress the convicts
were making towards the springs. Hoping and praying all the time
that they would keep right on riding by. They decided to camp
for the night not too far from where we had originally camped.
The prisoners talked about what they were going to do once they
got across the border – get Mexican girls, eat…
As the sun set and night fell, it was getting colder and colder.
I was getting frustrated. We couldn't build a fire. We didn't
want to alert the convicts we were there. So we just waited.
They had built a fire, which helped me to keep my eye on them
the best I could. Yet, seeing that fire angered me. My boy
needed those springs. Rance, the leader of the gang was getting
edgy. He said the place gave him the creeps, it was like a
church to him.
When they bedded down for the night I went back to check and see
how Lou and Mark were doing. Lou was worried about Mark. She
said he needed more than blankets, he needed a warm fire and
warm food inside him. “I know.”
“It’s gonna be freezing up here soon!” Lou declared.
“I know that too, Lou.”
“Bricks need to be heated. We’ve got to have a fire!” Lou
“NO!” I said quietly. “They’d spot it.”
She said that maybe after they have eaten maybe they would
leave. I told her I didn't think they had any food. She thought
maybe we could offer them some, maybe make them a deal.
"Lou.....convicts don't leave witnesses to point their back
trail." I snapped at her. She looked discouraged, but I had no
words to offer her. Right now we just had to go unnoticed as
long as possible. I’d never felt so helpless in my life, except…
when Margaret took sick and died. Guess down deep inside I was
worried that this was more than just a spasm, what if it was
something else. I couldn’t lose my boy too.
After the convicts had beaten the guard unconscious, they tied
him up for the night before they fell asleep. Sometime during
the night the guard woke up and saw that the three convicts were
sleeping. He quietly got to his feet and tried to sneak out of
the campsite. He didn't get very far when Rance woke up to see
him walking out. He ran after him. The other two convicts woke
up and went to see what the commotion was. There was Rance,
shoving the guards face in the dirt. He was getting even for
some of the treatment that was put on him. With the hand Rance
was leaning on as he was pushing the guard’s face down with the
other, he noticed that there were ashes around the dirt and that
they were warm. “Somebody was camping here just two or three
They spotted fresh wagon tracks - our wagon tracks. They knew
someone was there and didn't want them to know it. "There ain't
many of them or they wouldn't be hidin'," said Smiley.
"Where there's a camp there's usually food," said Dove. Rance
told Smiley to get rid of the guard. Then they decided to look
Mark was falling asleep sitting in the back of the wagon. I was
having trouble keeping him awake. "You've got to keep your eyes
open Mark! You've got to stay awake...if you don't you'll
freeze!" He wasn't responding. The only way I could get him to
wake up was to slap him across the face. I didn't want to, but
this was my son's life, I had no choice. Down deep, it hurt me
more to slap my son. "I'm sorry son...but you've got to stay
awake to stay alive! Do you hear me Mark? Force yourself
son...Force yourself!" I begged him desperately.
“I’ll try,” Mark mumbled.
I told Lou get some food into Mark. Lou went to get some beans.
I stood there helpless, pleading with Mark to stay awake. I
finally got him to wake up and I told him to make sure he stayed
awake. He said he would. When I walked away, Lou was feeding
Mark. I had to go see what our situation was.
As I went to check on the convicts, I came to another
realization. They knew we were here. I saw two of the convicts
looking for us. I stayed hidden as they looked.
I didn't know how long I could hold them off. When I went to
hide in another spot Rance saw me. He wasn't sure if I was alone
or not so he decided it would be best to come at me from three
sides. He had Dove circle around to the left and Smiley went the
other way. Rance was going to keep me busy from the front. Rance
shot at me and I fired back. Rance kept me busy by firing at me
while the others closed in. Then Smiley started firing at me and
then Dove. I put up a pretty good fight. I shot at Dove and my
bullet ricochet off a rock and nicked him. Smiley and Dove went
back to where Rance was. Their plan didn't work. They hadn't
figured on how good I was with my rifle. They had to find
another way to take me. Rance decided they would wait for the
temperature to drop, knowing I wouldn't light a fire. I didn’t
want to give away Lou and Mark’s location. Soon, they would be
able to see me with the full moon. All they had to do was wait
until I froze and then walk in. Dove told the other two to get
some sleep; that he owed me something for wounding him. Rance
and Smiley returned to their campfire to get warm and to get
some rest while Dove kept me busy. It was getting colder and
colder. And if I were getting that cold while moving around, I
couldn’t imagine how cold Mark must be, just sitting there.
Things had quieted down some and I decided to check on Mark and
Lou. I put my arm around Lou’s shoulders and led her away from
Mark. “Are they coming?” I told her that they were waiting on us
to freeze to death. "It'll be morning soon and it’ll be warmer,"
"Lou...Mark can't last 'till morning and my hands are getting so
stiff I can’t fire a gun.” I put my hands on her shoulders and
spoke softly to her. Her faces were very close together as I
spoke. “Now look...I want you to take the buckboard and make a
dash for it while I draw their fire."
"No,” Lou whispered. Then as the realization of my request hit
her, she screamed, “NO!"
I grabbed her. "I don't want Mark to hear this!" I told her as
quietly as I could.
"I won't leave you!" Lou stated passionately.
"Lou...there is no chance in the world for all three of us to
get out of here alive." I pleaded with her.
"Then none of us will...I won't go without you!"
"Lou, listen to me...I want life for my son. You've got to help
me give it to him. You're the only one who can! Lou...please!
Please!" I’m not a man to beg, but this was my son’s life. She
looked at me hurting, not wanting to leave me behind.....but she
knew what Mark meant to me and how important what I was asking
of her, was to me." She nodded her head and walked away.
As I waited, I remembered the times I had sent Mark away in the
past. The Ordeal in the desert or trying to get Jax and Andy to
jail after murdering an old timer and shooting me or when we
came up against the Skull Ranch. The only times I never wanted
Mark at my side was when I realized there was no way both of us
could survive. Knowing in those moments that I may never see him
again. Never see him grow up, fall in love, get married, have
children of his own. But regardless of me, I wanted those things
for my son. Leaving him in the care of those who would see that
he was raised right, be it Micah, or Hattie, or Millie, or now
Lou! I wanted my son to have life!
While I was talking with Lou, Smiley went back to the camp and
told Rance and Dove that there hadn't been a sound out there for
over an hour. The three of them left their camp to come look for
Lou and Mark were ready to leave. I handed Lou the reins. “No
matter what happens, Lou, you keep going.” Lou nodded.
I then walked to the back of the wagon to get one last look at
my son before they left. He was trying so hard to stay awake,
but I knew the cold was winning out. I saw him as the young boy
when we first arrived in North Fork, to the young
man he was
becoming now. I couldn’t speak to him. If I had, my emotions
would have come out and he’d of known what I was planning.
The three of convicts decided I must be too frozen to fight.
Rance slowly started toward my area. He got a little ways and
then motioned for the other two to come ahead. I was waiting and
watching for them. They were out in the open. They didn't expect
what happened next. First I shot Smiley, then Dove and Rance
last. Relief flooded my body.
It was over!
The next day, we worked hard on Mark’s feet again. Lou was
trying to cheer Mark up as she told him stories of her “Dear Old
Father”, but it wasn't working. He still couldn't walk. He hung
his head, looking down, shoulders slumped, wringing his hands.
Lou told Mark a story about climbing trees. “Well, I won’t have
to worry about…climbing anymore trees!” Mark declared
Lou came over to me as I returned with the firewood. I asked her
how Mark was. “The same. I think he’s losing all hope,” Lou
answered. “Talk to him, Lucas.
My heart ached to see my son this way. I hurt as much for him
now as I did when he contracted Typhoid. I knelt down next to
him. I just looked at him, trying to get a sense of exactly how
he was feeling. Then I spoke. "You know son, they have missions
like this all over California. The northern part of the state
clear down to the Mexican border. Some day maybe you and I
He stopped me. "Pa...it's no good...I can't walk...I can't
walk!" He sounded so hopeless! I could tell he wanted to cry,
that he saw himself a cripple for the rest of his life.
"No you stop that and you listen.....you are gonna walk! It may
take a long time, but you are going to walk son! I know you're
frightened.....but we're gonna see this through! All three of
us! You just gotta have a little faith!"
I pulled his legs from the springs and started to massage them.
Maybe a little harder than I should have, but his self pity was
upsetting me. I’d not raised my boy to give up.
“It doesn't matter how much I bathe you in these springs or how
much I rub your legs with my hands, it's gonna be up to you in
the long run! You've got to believe that and you've got to try!
You've got to keep believing and keep trying!" I happened to
look up at Mark, to see if what I was saying was getting through
to him. Mark’s expression hand changed. He wasn’t looking at me,
he was looking at his legs. “What is it?”
"Pa...I think I can move my toes...but my legs...they feel
funny! They hurt Pa!"
“Do your legs hurt?” Mark nodded. I stood up and put my hand out
and told him to stand up. He just sat there looking at me. I
know he was scared and confused. "Mark stand up," I yelled as I
grabbed him and pulled him to his feet. My heart leapt when, as
I let go of his arms and stepped back, I realized he could stand
on his own. I saw hope in his eyes. Now I just had to get him to
try to walk.
I backed up and held out my hand to him. "Come. Come on son." I
kept saying these words over and over as I encouraged him. He
slowly took a step and then another. He made it close enough to
me that he collapsed in my arms.
“I can walk! I can walk, Pa! Mark, Lou, and I stood there
embracing in one big hug. Quietly I was thanking the good Lord
for answering my prayers.
piddlin' stuff.....Dean Fredericks
appeared in two episodes ― 'Squeeze Play' as Phil Carve, he was the
one with the studded leather cuffs ― 'Requiem at Mission Springs' as Rance, the leader
of the gang.
George (Goober) Lindsey played Dove, he was the one who was gonna get him a Mexican girl, one that fights.
Dal Jenkins as Smiley, he was the one who wanted to eat.
Joe E. Benson appeared in The Rifleman many times, probably
more times than listed. Sometimes credited & sometimes not.
*Please note: In
'Dark Day at North Fork' he appeared as two different characters - as
one of the townsmen & the Bartender.
Joe was a good friend & a neighbor of Chuck's. He helped Chuck build a
tree house for the boys and also help build the addition onto the house
which was later called the den. (One of the several
Blair as Lou Mallory. Patricia was first introduced to The
Rifleman in 'Lou Mallory'. She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a
razor-sharp businesswoman. She joined the cast in the
fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes. Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott
owner of The General Store.
Ralph Moody appeared in a total of twelve
episodes of The Rifleman beating John Anderson and John Milford out at
eleven episodes. He appeared in nine episodes as Doc Burrage and in three other
episodes. 'The Visitors' as Jonathan Dodd — 'The Spoiler' as Roy
Merrick and 'The Hangman' as Eban Muchen.
Doc Burrage: 'Six Years and a Day'
― 'The Actress' ―
'Dark Day at North Fork' ―
'The Mescalero Curse' ―
'Man from Salinas' ―
'Quiet Night, Deadly Night'
― 'Mark's Rifle' ―
'Requiem at Mission
Doc Burrage was a regular character ~ how many different actors played Doc Burrage?
Can you name them?
Archie Butler was not in this
episode - he was on the set, who knows what all he was doing.
Doc Burrage was a regular character ~ how many different actors played Doc Burrage? Can you name them?
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear
Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie
and wondered who is that guy?
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
around The McCain Ranch