The Rifleman "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 Jackman 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 behind.
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 wrong.
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 has appeared in nine episodes of "The Rifleman." 'Eddie's Daughter' as Tracey Blanch. He's the big dude. '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. 'The Queue' as Vince Fergus - again he was the bully. 'Long Gun From Tucson' as John Holliver. 'Lou Mallory' as Neb Jackman. 'Gun Shy' as Vantine. 'Which Way'd They Go?' as Nebeneezer 'Ned' Jackman - he played this character in two episodes and the father of this clan.
Another guest star on the "Untouchables." He was on just about everything back then. From "Superman" to "In the Heat of the Night."
Conlan Carter played Halsam Jackman. He was the one who Lou was to marry. He played this character in two episodes 'Lou Mallory' and 'Which Way'd They Go?' He was the one who was gettin' the colley wobbles when he saw Stake Wade's wanted poster.
He was a regular on the 1954 TV series "Lassie" ~ "The Law and Mrs. Jones" and "Combat."
While attending Matthews High School, he became Missouri State champion in the Pole Vault (1951-52) and was named to the All-State Track Team. In college, he was conference Pole Vault champion. Currently a corporate pilot working in Florida for a large corporation.
Mickey Manners played Moss Jackman. He is the one who keeps quoting the law book.
He is known mostly for his work as an actor in numerous television shows of the 1960s such as "Get Smart" and "Hogan's Heroes," and Jerry Lewis movies, Manners is also a singer, dancer, and stand-up comedian. He also had appeared on "The Johnny Carson Show" several times.
John Craig as Bo Jackman. He's the brother who swept the Marshal's office out and took out two of the outlaws.
John received a Bachelor of Science degree from Butler University in Indianapolis, and, for all intents and purposes, was planning on post-graduate work at George Washington University when fate stepped in. At a formal French embassy gathering John sang by chance and was encouraged to try a professional musical career along the lines of an Alfred Drake, Howard Keel or John Raitt. Inspired, he headed to New York and eventually won a role in a touring company of "South Pacific," Broadway's biggest hit at the time. He went on to perform in other plays as well before breaking into TV work with such established shows as "I Remember Mama." Broadway came his way with the Ethel Merman musical "Happy Hunting" and an understudy job in the title role of "Li'l Abner" starring Peter Palmer. John eventually replaced Palmer in the popular country bumpkin role. While singing in Las Vegas, he was spotted by a talent scout and signed by the William Morris agency for films and TV. He made the typical rounds in such rugged fare as "Tales of Wells Fargo," "Surfside 6," The Rifleman," "Rawhide" and "Wagon Train" as well an occasional sitcom like "Here's Lucy."
Vito Scotti appeared in several episodes of "The Rifleman" besides 'Waste' 1 & 2 he was in 'The Sixteenth Cousin' as Soto and
'Which Way'd They Go?' as Marcello Chabini the owner of the bank in Paradise. Didn't he do just great in 'Waste?' He sure convinced me he would have enjoyed killing any of them. Except for Mark. Those Mexican bandits sure liked Mark, remember Vaqueros?
Along with Lon Chaney he was know as a man with a thousand faces.
Vito started out with a solo nightclub act, and was known as both a suave magician and a fine mime. He was the most frequent visitor to Gilligan's Island. He appeared in four episodes as the WWII Japanese sailor and as Dr. Balinkoff. He was to be scheduled to portray a pirate in the 4th season (before the show was canceled).
He was the voice of the Italian cat in "The Aristocrats."
I know you have seen Vito over and over again! You name - he's done it!
Beatrice Kay as Goldie Drain. She has appeared in such show as "77 Sunset Strip"— "Bonanza"—"Hawaiian Eye"—"Ironside Katie"—"Night Gallery"— "The Alaskans"—
"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"— "The Colgate Comedy Hour"
Dal McKennon as Judge Moze. He also appeared in another episode of "The Riflemen," 'The Bullet' as Judge Hopkins.
In The early 1950s, McKennon created and hosted his own daily kids TV wraparound show, "Space Funnies"/"Capt. Jet." He also had starring roles in "Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse" as Courageous Cat—
"Daniel Boone" as Cincinnatus— "The Archie Comedy Hour" as Archie Andrews/Mr. Weatherbee/Hot Dog/Salem/Chilli Dog/Coach Cleats—
"The Archie Show" as Archie Andrews/Hot Dog/Mr. Weatherbee/Pop/Mr. Lodge/Coach Cleats—"The Woody Woodpecker Show" as Buzz Buzzard/Willoughby/Hickory/Dickory/Paw. He also appearred in "Ben Casey"—
"Bonanza"—"Cannon"—"Colt .45"—"Gunsmoke"— "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"—"My Three Sons"—"The Andy Griffith Show"—"The Big Valley"—"The June Allyson Show"—"The Tall Man"—"The Untouchables"—"The Virginian"—"U.S. Marshal"
Leo Gordon appeared as Abe Jordan in 'The Angry Gun', he was one of the gang members who came to free Johnny. He also appeared in 'Which Way'd They Go' as Stack Wade as the leader of the gang and the one who claim Razor as his horse when asked whose horse it was..
Hulking, brutish-looking actor, one of the screen's nastiest heavies, who also writes screenplays. A student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Gordon did some stage work before making his film debut in "China Venture." His other films (as actor) include "Hondo"—"Seven Angry Men"—"The Conqueror"—"Baby Face Nelson"—"The Intruder""—Tarzan Goes to India"—"Night of the Grizzly"—"Beau Geste"—"The St. Valentine's Day Massacre"—"You Can't Win 'Em All"—"My Name Is Nobody"—"Nashville Girl"—"Circus Boy" and "Bog." He has written or co-written the screenplays for "Black Patch"—"Hot Car Girl"—"Tower of London"—"The Bounty Killer"—"Tobruk" and "You Can't Win 'Em All," among others.
Robert F. Hoy appeared in three episodes of "The Rifleman." 'Woman from Hog Ridge' as Lester Boyle and 'The Promoter' as Dabbs & 'Which Way Did They Go?' as one of Wade's gang. He also appeared with Chuck in "Branded" in the episodes 'Rules of the Game' aka Elsie Brown & 'Seward's Folly' as Grimes.
He was a regular on "The High Chaparral" as Joe Butler. He played in "The Untouchables." He did a lot of stunt work. He doubled for Charles Bronson, Audie Murphy, Tony Curtis, Tyrone Power, and Robert Vaughn. This man has credit forever long! Great work cowboy!
Tom Kennedy as one of the townsmen. You will see Tom in "The Rifleman" many of times, probably more times then listed. He always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Once a boxer, this brawny character actor began his film career early in the silent movie era. He frequently played big, dumb, likable, working-class types as in "The Case of the Stuttering Bishop" (1937). He also worked with W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy in a career that lasted until his death at the age of 80.
Archie Butler—Stuntman—Stunt 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 Laven
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.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's Memories
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
Old Man Running
around The McCain Ranch