The Writer's Corner
The Battle Within A Young Gun
Written by Frank Charles aka
In the television series, The Rifleman, we are given one of the West’s most memorable fictional characters. Not only did he see extensive service in the Civil War, scout for the Army, fight Indians, serve the law, and become a cattle rancher, he raised his only son as a single father. A number of episodes depicted Lucas as being haunted by characters from his past. We are given small clues as to what happened in those days before the TV show began, but the entire picture is left in mystery. A common theme in many of the episodes is that Lucas McCain must protect his son, Mark, from that past and provide him a normal childhood. In the course of the story, both father and son teach each other and come to grips with harsh reality. While much of the show is lighthearted and of a very family friendly nature, there is also a rough and tumble aspect as is familiar in most Westerns. Gun fights and death are frequent. Mark sometimes suffers things that do not occur in a normal boyhood and Lucas must explain those things to him.
A man such as Lucas McCain would have much to reckon with over death and violence. He could not stand to see an injustice and was quick to talk tough and set the bad guys straight. As a soldier, he has known the worst of death. Having killed so many men has rendered his conscience tortured, yet in tact. The hard lessons he learns during the show prove to humble him and teach him a rare brand of wisdom. In this story, “The Battle Within A Young Gun”, we shall explore some of what may have happened in The Rifleman’s past that now affects his future. We shall include some of the characters that appear in the show and tie them in to see how things might have been for Lucas in the times after the show ended.
The two episodes that furnish the foundation of this story are:
Number 3, “End Of A Young Gun” At the end of this episode Will Fulton rides off to turn himself in after being a part of his older brother Hank’s gang. He meets a neighbor girl, Ann Bard, and falls in love. Lucas and Mark help him to decide to go straight as he spends a month on the ranch healing from a broken leg which he suffered saving Mark from falling off a ledge. Michael Landon played a very compelling role and we were left wondering what would become of him.
Number 109, “Death Trap” In this episode we are introduced to a character out of Lucas McCain’s past. Simon Battle was once a well known gunfighter from Oklahoma, which is where he and Lucas knew each other. They clash when Lucas first sets eyes on him and recalls his evil ways. But when Lucas discovers that he has changed to become a doctor he is forced into working with him and facing a tough gunfight together. They overcome their differences and bond as friends at the end. Phillip Carey played Simon Battle and did a fantastic job as a mean faced ex-gunfighter. He was just as tough as Lucas and forceful when challenged. We are given a few clues about the past of Lucas here, but yet again are left wondering what it was all about.
So hang on to your hat and ride along if you dare. And now, “Get Ready For This!”
I want to thank Margie and all of the fellow wranglers at the McCain Ranch. Margie and I met a few years ago when I was searching for information on TV westerns. I was on a trivia hunt for the singer of the Bat Masterson Theme. This lead me to a man by the name of William Lee. The singer of Masterson is not credited, but Lee is a good guess. He is credited on
www.imdb.com as being the singer for “The Ballad Of Jake Pardee”, episode 28. I wanted to hear Lee’s voice, which lead me to Margie’s wonderful site. If you compare the two songs you can hear a great similarity. I have a huge love of The Rifleman from childhood and it took little time for Margie and I to get to know each other through email. I began reading the many stories and facts at the ranch and became inspired to write a story of my own. But it is much more than my own. It is in great part inspiration from many sources, Margie being a very giving one.
The many stories on the site show great love for the show and attention to detail. You all do so well and give me much joy and inspiration. And we should never forget the awesome writers, directors, and producers of the show itself. For a half hour format, they sure packed in whole lot of drama and well designed stories. Finally, Chuck and Johnny, THANK YOU. Who else could ever play these roles? We have some of the most iconic characters in TV Western history. Mister Connors’ face and fatherly ways go far to enrich our lives. How many boys wanted a rifle just like his? I recall many days of my childhood filled with playing cowboys and Indians. Johnny Crawford did such a great job as the world’s most inquiring son. I’ll never stop hearing his voice or the word “Pa”. So with all of these episodes, characters, and inspiration in mind, I hope you enjoy “The Battle Within A Young Gun”.
Thank you for taking part and reading on.
Battle Within A Young Gun
- Chapter 1 —
Get Ready For This
This is a story based on the TV series “The Rifleman”
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
Table of Contents
around The McCain Ranch