"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
'Which Way'd They Go?'
I would have never believed it if I weren’t there to see it first
hand. Mark and I agree this is one of the craziest things that’s
ever happened in these parts. Well, early one morning Mark and I
went up to the old Jackman farm to say goodbye to Neb
and his three sons. Their home was being sold to pay for taxes,
which was something ol’ Neb just failed to do. Neb and his three
boys were friendly folk, and Mark and I got along with them just
fine. It just seemed that they took life a little slower than most;
if they could wrangle a free meal or a easy job, well, they would be
all for it. Emphasis on the word “easy.”
Well, they were preparing to leave, and the deputy was nailing the
eviction notice on the front porch when we got there. Neb didn’t
give any fuss, except to his son Moss. Moss loved books, and he was
standing in the doorway reciting the territorial statutes on the
need to pay taxes. Neb said, “It ain’t our fault we ain’t got no
money.” Mark said, “All you needed was just one crop this year, Mr.
Jackman.” “We had a crop doggone it… corn!” Neb pointed to his son
Haslam, who well, wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. “Haslam
here, he planted the seed his-self. You put `em in the ground,
didn’t you Haslam? Haslam was paying no attention, which was normal
for Haslam. Bo, the strong, slightly smarter son was loading the
last items in the wagon. Neb wanted to get to the bottom of the seed
planting story, so he swatted Haslam with his hat and got all three
boys in a frenzy of recounting how the field was to be taken care of
that year. “Had it all figured out,” said Neb, “Haslam for the
plantin’, Bo for the pickin, and Moss for the shuckin’. But the boys
had their own versions and began hollerin’ at each other the orders
as they remembered them. Finally Neb said to Haslam, “Do you
recollect them seed bags leaning against the barn? Did you or did
you not plant that seed like you were supposed to?”
Haslam said, “I thought they was for feedin’ the chickens!” Bo said,
“You mean I’ve been watering the plain ol’ dirt?” Moss said, “And
I’ve been waitin’ to pick somethin’
that’s never been put in the ground?” To his defense, Haslam said,
“We had the chickens, they was good!” I almost laughed out loud.
I smiled and said, “Neb, maybe you and the boys weren’t cut out to
be farmers. Maybe now that you’re leaving North Fork you’ll find
another town, settle in and try something else.” “You know, Lucas,
that’s just what I’ve been a-thinkin’” said Neb. He turned and
looked sternly at his boys, “We might even have to get ourselves a
JOB.” The boys complained right away. I said, “Well, whatever it is,
I wish you a lot of luck.” They took off, nearly leaving Haslam
A while later the Jackman's arrived in Paradise, a town roughly the
size of North Fork, but different in that it had no sheriff. Another
difference was that the townspeople didn’t really care one way or
another if there was one. It was election day, and the town leaders
were in the saloon opening up the ballot box to see who won the race
for sheriff. The judge opened the box. “Empty, same as last year.
Well, that’s life, we closed the bar for nothing. Now we can start
thinkin’, and drinkin’.” The judge (who was seldom sober) ordered
the saloon to reopen, and the only person concerned about the
election was Marcello Ciabini, the man who operated the Bank in
Paradise. He was furious that no one was going to be sheriff.
“Didn’t anybody vote?” “What for, nobody was running for office.”
said Goldie, the saloon owner. It was clear Marcello didn’t want his
bank robbed again. Goldie said, “We had sheriffs, five of them in
three years.” “Poor souls, all of them dead, save one,” said the
judge. “And he ran away.” said Goldie. Marcello stormed out after
threatening to close his bank and move on. Goldie made a little
speech to those in the saloon, trying to muster civic pride in hopes
that someone would step up and agree to be sheriff. “The job’s wide
open and waitin’ on ya'!” she said.
As I understand it, Neb and the boys had just walked in and Neb
heard the word, “job.” “Now, just what job would that be?” asked
Neb. Everybody turned to see the Jackman's standing in the doorway
of the saloon, and within three minutes the town had itself a
sheriff and three deputies.
They all followed the Jackman's over to the sheriff’s office and it
was a cobweb-filled mess. The judge, trying to
invent some history on their predecessor said, “The last sheriff
wasn’t too tidy, that’s why we had to let him go.” Goldie let slip
with, “The poor soul,” but the Jackman's were so happy to get a job
they didn’t catch on. Neb did not tell them that their “work in a
peace office” meant only cleaning up Micah’s office to pay off their
fine every time Micah tossed them in jail for being drunk. The
Jackman's became the Law in Paradise.
Well, the desk was locked so Bo jerked the top off the desk so they
could get their badges. They finally realized something was wrong
when they saw that every badge had a bullet hole through it. They
decided it was “time to go back to farming.” “Starving ain’t so bad
when you get right down to it,” said Neb. They all started running
out the door when Neb thought of something and made his boys go back
into the sheriff’s office. “That’s the trouble with this family.
Every time something happens in our lives that we are supposed to
face up to, we run,” said Neb. Moss said, “The last sheriff that
wore that badge, looked like he faced up to somethin’ when he
shoulda’ been runnin’.” But Neb quieted his boys down, “Well, he
done our work for us didn’t he? Look out in the street. Do you see
any trouble out there? As I see it, we got a nice peaceful job in a
nice peaceful town. I say we stay. We do our job and draw our pay.”
It sounded good to Bo, “We ain’t done nothing for anybody to get mad
at us fer’. There ain’t no reason for us to have no trouble.” But
Moss looked at his father and asked, “Supposin’ trouble do come?”
“Then we run.” Said Neb.
That same day, back on the ranch, I was waiting for Mark to get home
from school. I was preparing to go on a five-day trip down to
Lordsburg to buy cattle. When Mark showed up he had a note from
Micah for me to take to the town of Paradise on my way through. The
U.S. Marshall at Lordsburg was warning people about Stack Wade and
his gang of bank robbers, who broke out of prison the night before.
I read in the note that Paradise had no sheriff or telegraph office.
They wanted me to warn the town. I told Mark to stay at the hotel,
and headed out.
Halfway to Paradise I stopped for the night. As I was sleeping,
Wade’s gang sneaked up on me and one of his men clubbed me a good
one on the head. They took my gun and my horse, and when they
searched my pockets they found and read the U.S. Marshall’s note.
They took off for Paradise right away, as they saw the town was
defenseless. I woke up the next morning with quite a headache, but I
was able to find a traveler on the road making his way towards
Paradise. He let me ride along.
Stack Wade’s gang made it to town by midday, and were sitting in the
saloon when the bank manager walked in and spotted them. Running to
the Sheriff’s office, he stepped on a board outside the office that
triggered a makeshift alarm clock, awakening the sleeping Jackman
family. Neb had swatted a fly with Stack Wade’s wanted poster
earlier, and it was laying face up on the floor.
Instantly trying to act busy, Neb did his best to calm the banker
down, but the nervous banker ran to look at the wall filled with
wanted posters, standing on the very poster he was looking for. He
threatened not to pay Neb if he didn’t go and at least talk with the
men in the saloon, so they took some dusty shotguns off the rack and
headed towards the saloon.
They were all pretty worried until they saw my horse tied up in
front of the saloon. They thought it was me, and came running in the
saloon to see me. But it was Stack Wade and his men. When they came
up against Stack Wade, he said that his name was Joe banks and that
Micah had hired them to come and help keep the peace. “Your friend
Lucas McCain was kind enough to lend us his horse for the emergency.
This telegraph explains everything. Read it yourself.” He handed the
note to Neb, who had Moss read it for him. The banker should not be
nervous, said Stack. “We’re going to work together against this
Stack Wade, ain’t we sheriff?” The Jackman's turn tail and almost
trip over each other to get out of the saloon. But then Stack said,
“Of course there’s a reward if we get him. Last I heard it was
$500.” That stopped Neb, Moss, Bo and Haslam in their tracks. Neb
turned and stammered, “Five hundred… if that Stack Wade comes around
here we’re gonna’ be waitin’ on him. We’ll stand out in front of the
bank all night, all day if we have to.” “Oh no, you don’t want to do
that,” said Stack. “You’ll wear yourselves out. Now my boys and I
have been riding all day and we are pretty tired. Here’s what we’ll
do. You stay up and watch the back tonight and we will rest up. Then
tomorrow morning well be rested and we’ll come and take over.”
Everyone was in agreement, and the Jackman's sensed nothing was
Morning came, and the Jackman's were found sleeping, standing up,
each leaning against a post in front of the bank. The Stack Wade
gang came out to relieve them and woke Neb first, who said, “I was
so busy keeping my eyes open that I didn’t notice the sun coming
up.” The boys all woke with a start, running around and yelling,
“Which way did they go?” The Jackman's take off to get more sleep,
with Neb saying to Stack, “Now if you need us, make sure you wake
us.” “We’ll do that, sheriff,” says Stack.
As far as I can tell, here’s where things start moving fast. The
Jackman's go back to the sheriff’s office to get some sleep. Haslam,
still not the sharpest knife in the drawer, plops down on the couch
to get some shuteye. When his hand hits the floor it lands on Stack
Wade’s wanted poster. When Haslam sees the poster, he gets excited
and shows his pa the poster. Neb says, “Well son of a gun, them
fellas went and told us they was somebody who they ain’t instead of
somebody who they is.”
They all throw caution to the wind. Moss takes his book on law to go
have a talk with them. Bo is just plain mad that they lied to his
pa, and he is going over to have a talk with them. Moss, completely
by accident, knocks out one of the bank robbers. Bo goes into the
bank and catches them in the act of holding it up. He told them that
they should be ashamed and that they need to go and apologize to his
pa for lying to him. One of the bank robbers comes up behind Bo and
whacks him over the head twice with his pistol, but that just upsets
Bo and he slugs him hard, sending him into street and into the land
of unconsciousness. Another breaks a chair over Bo’s head, which
just adds fuel to the fire and Bo takes care of him too, tossing him
into the street. This just leaves Stack. But then Stack pulls a gun
on Bo, and Bo faints.
Neb and his boy Haslam are still sitting in the sheriff’s office
when Neb gets the idea to take the bank robbers’ horses. “They can’t
get away without their horses. All we gotta’
do is capture their horses.” Haslam takes off after the horses just
as Stack heads out after them. They collide,
sending both men to the ground and the bag of money into the air,
which lands in Neb’s clumsy hands.
I arrived just in time to see the Stack Wade gang strewn out on the
ground and Paradise’s new sheriff, Neb Jackman, holding the loot. He
saw how confused I was and he just laughed and laughed. I pointed at
the bodies strewn about and asked, “Is that Stack Wade and his men?”
“That’s them,” laughed Neb. Then he looked real serious. He said,
“You know Lucas, it was me who was supposed to plant that corn
seed.” The boys started in again, jawing about who had what job on
the farm. The town immediately threw a party in the saloon, honoring
Neb and his boys. It looked like they were proud of their new
sheriff and deputies, even though in the middle of the festivities
Bo woke up from his faint, walked into the saloon and asked, “Which
way did they go?”
I sure am glad my hometown is North Fork.
*Stan Owen out of Roann, Indiana wrote this episode 'Which Way'd They Go? He was the winner of
"The Rifleman" episode contest.
Not sure how many of you remember this contest, but it was back in late November until the end of December 2005.
Stan had won the "All American Cowboy Cookbook" for writing this episode.
Stan did a really good job and I really enjoyed his humor.
"Thanks Stan.....you did good Cowboy!"
piddlin' stuff.....Peter Whitney
appeared in nine episodes ― 'Eddie's Daughter' as
Tracey Blanch, he's the big dude who came looking for Lil ― 'Mail Order Groom' as John
Jupiter, he was the 'Mail Order Groom,' the one that Jess
Profit (John Anderson) kept picking on ― 'Heller' as Andrew
Bechtol, the mean stepfather ― 'Strange Town' as Ott Droshek,
he ran the Strange Town ― 'The
Queue' as Vince Fergus, again he was the bully, the instigator
who picked on Wang Chi ― 'Long Gun
From Tucson' as John Holliver, he was the cowboy who came back
for revenge ― 'Lou Mallory' as Neb
Jackman, the Pa of the Jackman clan ― 'Gun Shy' as Vantine,
he was the man who was holding Lou hostage ― 'Which Way'd They Go?'
as Ned Jackman, the Pa of the Jackman clan.
two episodes as Halsam Jackman ― 'Lou Mallory'
as the one who was suppose to wed Lou ― 'Which Way'd They Go?' as
the one who was suppose to do the plantin'.
Mickey Manners played Moss Jackman. He is the one who keeps quoting the law book.
John Craig as Bo Jackman. He's the brother who swept the Marshal's office out and took out two of the outlaws.
Vito Scotti appeared in four episodes ― 'Waste'
1 & 2 as Alphonso, he was the leader of the bandits ― 'The Sixteenth
Cousin' as Soto the honorable servant of Hikaru
Yamanaka.....Imperial Lord.....fifth warrior of the
Samurai.....sixteenth cousin in the family of his Imperial Highness.....
Emperor Japan) ― 'Which Way'd They Go?' as Marcello Chabini the owner of the
bank in Paradise.
Beatrice Kay as Goldie Drain,
the lady that owned the saloon.
appeared in two episodes ―
'The Bullet' as Judge Hopkins ―
'Which Way'd They Go?' as Judge Moze.
Leo Gordon appeared in two
episodes ― 'The
Angry Gun' as Abe Jordan, he was one of the gang members who came to
free Johnny ― 'Which Way'd They Go?' as Stack Wade, the leader
of the gang and the one who claim Razor as his horse.
Robert F. Hoy appeared in three
episodes ― 'Woman from Hog Ridge' as Lester Boyle, one of
Ma Boyle's boys, he was the one steeling the horse from the livery
stable that Lucas shot ― 'The Promoter' as Dabbs, the cowboy
Ruben shot and killed him in the beginning of the episode ―
They Go?' as one of Wade's gang.
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
Rifleman many times, probably more times then listed. He
always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Cap Somers/Frederick "Cap / Fimp" Somers appeared in seven
episodes ― 'Day of the Hunter' as one of the townsmen ― 'The Deserter'
as a card player ― 'The Vision' as a cowhand ― 'Woman
from Hog Ridge' as a townsmen ― 'The Decision' as one of the townsmen
― 'Which Way'd They Go' as the bartender ― 'The Anvil Chorus' as one
of the townsmen.
coordinator—Actor - Archie has been in more episodes then anybody with the
exception of the regular cast and he probably was in more episode then some
of them. ~Arnold
Remember him in 'The Sharpshooter?' Remember when Lucas shot the
whiskey bottle and it shattered into pieces? Archie was the cowboy who slid
the whiskey bottle to Lucas.
Sometimes Archie was a stand-in for Paul Fix.
*This was considered as a pilot
for Levy-Gardner-Laven Production's first comedy TV series.
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