"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
'The Wrong Man'
There was a carnival in town, and you know where we were. Every child was
there that day, I’m sure. And as I would soon find out, some would not be
This lawman by the name of Jay Jefferson had ridden into town. Micah
recognized his name. He was looking for a man by the name of Pete Dawson. He
showed Micah a poster. “40 years old. Blue eyes. Bald…” Micah read from the
wanted poster. Micah informed Jefferson that he didn’t know anyone by that
“Does anyone in this neighborhood fit this description?” Jefferson
“That description can fit a lot of men in this town as well as a lot of
other towns.” But Jefferson told Micah he wanted to know about this town.
Micah told him he knew men that could fit it, but none of them were his man.
Well, Jefferson didn’t exactly like that answer. “Marshall, I don’t like to
brag on my name. But it usually meets with more respect then you’re giving
me,” Jefferson stated.
Micah only frowned. “Maybe that’s because the legend of the name doesn’t fit
the truth as I know it,” Micah stated bluntly. Then he folded up the wanted
poster to where the word “dead” could be seen. “This is what your after,
Since Mark and I were enjoying the carnival and spending some good, quality
family time together, I wasn’t aware that there was trouble just lurking
around the corner. Mark and I had just watched a show about a wild man of
Borneo. Mark asked me if he was really real. “You don’t have to believe it,
son, but it makes it more fun if you do,” I stated.
We went to check out the games. I decided to try my luck at an honest game
of hitting the bottles. But Mark got very interested in a shell game. The
object of this game was to guess the shell that the pea was under. If the
person guessed right, they’d get double the money they paid in back. Well,
Mark watched for a minute and decided he could do it. "Round and Round the
shell goes, where the pea hides, nobody knows, the hands slicker then the
eye, Why not double your money," said the operator of the shell game.
Mark hurried up to me. "Pa, I saw where the pea went! Alright if I bet my
I didn’t think it was a good idea, and I tried to discourage him. "That's a
game of chance son," I said.
"But there ain't no chance to it, it's a sure thing Pa."
I knew it wasn’t as easy as he thought, but sometimes it’s better to let a
child learn a lesson the hard way. “Are you prepared to loose just in case
it’s not a sure thing?” Mark said he knew the eye was quicker than the hand.
I didn’t argue anymore but decided to let him try. “It’s your money, Mark.”
I stated as I went to watch him.
Mark decided to bet his whole dime. Mark picked the shell with so much
confidence. But he picked the wrong shell. I saw the look of shock and
disappointment cross his face. I scratched my nose waiting for him to say
something and prepared to answer him sternly if needed.
Sure enough, it
was needed. “But, I saw it go under there, pa!” he argued.
“You saw it, or you thought you saw it?” I simply asked.
“But I dug five post holes to earn that money,” he complained. I told him
he’d have to dig five more, letting him know I didn’t want to hear anymore
about it. We live and learn.
I went back over to my “hit the bottle” game. “Here, want to try this?” I
“No,” Mark started to pout.
I wasn’t going to have any of that for sure! “Now just a minute, son. In a
way you were lucky back there!” I stated quite sternly. “It only cost you a
dime to learn a lesson a lot of men spend a fortune learning.” He wanted to
know what that was. I gladly told him. “Well, that you don’t figure on
getting anything in this life free and easy. You have to work for it. And
even when something seems free…well, you find out it’s not.” I handed him
the ball again. This time he gladly joined in, knowing I was right.
Everything was okay in the world again!
Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but Jay Jefferson was right behind us
and heard part of our conversation. He went to play the shell game. But
instead of betting a couple coins, he bet twenty dollars. The attendant was
quite pleased about this. He mixed the shells up. “And where is the little
pea?” the attendant asked.
Jefferson picked up two shells and stated it was under the middle shell.
This upset the attendant, who asked him why he was picking up two shells. “I
called the middle shell. The pea has to be under the middle shell if the
game is honest,” Jefferson stated with a sneaky grin on his face. He knew
the game wasn’t honest.
The smile never left Jefferson’s face while he insisted the man pay him his
money. The man started to argue and said he’d give him his twenty dollars
back. Jefferson suddenly pulled his gun out and reminded him that “the hand
is quicker then the eye.” The man was forced to pay Jefferson the money he
I came up as Jefferson was walking away from the game with his forty
dollars. I watched in surprise as Carnie threw something at him and knocked
him out. Then Carnie went over to Jefferson and tried to get his forty
dollars. That’s when I cut in. I had seen enough to know that the money was
legally Jefferson’s. I hurried over to Carnie and told him that wasn’t his
money as I lifted him away from the passed out Jefferson.
I bent down to help Jefferson (not knowing who he was at the time) when
Carnie suddenly turned around and gave me a punch! Naturally, I wasn’t going
to let him punch me and get away with it, so I punched him back. All of a
sudden, I was faced with three men in all fighting me. These Carnie brothers
sure did like to stir up trouble! I did my best to fight them all off, and I
was doing a pretty good job I guess. Nevertheless, I was certainly glad when
my friend Micah showed up and shot a couple shots in the air! Everyone
froze, knowing the fight was over. "Alright, that's enough," Micah
proclaimed. “Now you men pack up your gear and get out of town!” Micah
“That was sure some humdinger of a fight!” Mark stated. I’m glad he enjoyed
it because I certainly didn’t!
Suddenly we heard a man being beaten. We went to investigate and found
Jefferson pistol whipping the Carnie brother that had knocked him out. Micah
quickly put an end to his rough treatment.
"All in a days' work, aye friend?" said Jefferson as he patted Mark then
Micah asked me if I recognized him. Then he informed that was Jay Jefferson.
This impressed Mark so much that he begged me to let him go talk to him. I
gave him permission, but told him to meet me in the lunchroom later.
“The great man himself comes to our town for a visit, and let’s hope a short
one!” Micah complained. I was a bit surprised at his attitude.
“Didn’t he clean up Cedar Grove when six other men before him had failed?” I
asked, still not understanding the problem.
Micah stated he did it by clearing out the opposition. “If anyone got out of
line, he didn’t stop to ask questions. He just shot ‘em!” Micah continued
telling me other stories about him killing and ambushing people that got out
of line. I hadn’t ever heard that side of the story. Micah stated that was
the problem. Everyone thought he was operating on this side of the law.
Micah then told me why he was here – he was looking for an outlaw named Pete
When he gave me the description, I stated, “That could be Curly Smith.”
“Or Frank Hardy,” Micah stated. “I don’t think it’s either one of ‘em!”
I left to go eat lunch. Meanwhile, Jefferson had made his way to the
lunchroom too. He was looking for a poker game. Curly Smith was sitting at
the table and agreed to play a game with him. Mark had walked into the café
shortly after Jefferson had. He was staring at him. Finally, Jefferson
turned to him and asked him if something was wrong. Mark told him he just
wanted to ask him a question. “Ain’t that sort of a funny place to wear a
gun?” Mark asked.
Jay Jefferson enjoyed being in the lime light, so of course he played it up.
“It isn’t how or where you carry a gun, son. It’s what you do with it when
you need it.” Quicker then a snap of the fingers, he drew the gun out on my
son and pointed it right in his face. Mark was only shocked for a
half-second before he smile at Jefferson’s technique. “In a hurry. I keep
the gun barrel greased. That way she comes out slick and fast!”
Mark asked for one of his bullets, and Jefferson gave him one. Mark felt
like he had just met a real celebrity!
After Mark left, Curly made a very wise remark. “If that boy’s daddy had
seen you drawn on him, he’d cut you in half!” he warned him. But Jefferson
didn’t seem worried. He stated that I knew the difference between a friendly
move and an unfriendly one. Curly was right – I would have done some sever
bodily damage on that man if I had seen it. As it so happens, I walked in
while they were having this conversation.
Mark was admiring the bullet as I sat down. “Jay Jefferson’s quite an
impressive man, huh Mark?” I stated when I sat down. I reminded him that
being fast on the gun wasn’t a quality to be proud of unless it was tied up
with good intentions. I’m not sure he was paying attention. He was too
impressed to have one of his bullets.
That boy of mine! I even had to remind him AGAIN to take his hat off
While we were eating lunch, Curly and Jefferson were busy with their
cutthroat game. Jefferson was really watching Curly. He even wanted to know
how long he had live in North Fork. He said Curly reminded him of someone he
used to know. They played a hand. Jefferson finally called the game. He had
2 Kings, 2 tens, and a seven in his hand. Curly was pleased. He had beat
with an all heart flush. He reached out to take the money when Jefferson
stopped him. "Not good enough, full house, kings over 10's.” Here’s the
problem: he didn’t show Curly his cards. Curly wasn’t happy and stated he
hadn’t seen the cards. “They were there for you to look at,” Jefferson
I walked out of the dining room in time to hear Curly state, “I didn’t see
your cards, so as far as I’m concerned, I’ve been cheated!”
This upset Jefferson and he stood up, preparing to take on a fight. I had to
intervene and fast! I put an angry look on my face, stomped forward and
grabbed Curly by the arm. “Why you old fraud! You can play poker, but you
can’t afford to pay me back the twenty dollars you owe me, huh? Well, maybe
I’ll take it out of your hide!” With that, I drug him out of the café and
down the street.
I thought Mark was right behind me, but Jefferson had stopped him before he
got out the door. “Your pa’s a pretty smart man,” Jefferson stated.
“Yes sir,” Mark stated proudly. “There ain't no flies on my Pa!
Jefferson succeeded to tell Mark that it was his duty to give a law
enforcement officer any information asked for. Then he showed Mark the
wanted poster on Pete Dawson.
I didn’t know this was going on. Had I known, I would have made double sure
that Mark had followed me out there. After I got Curly outside, I apologized
to him for man handling him, but told him he was about to get himself hurt.
As soon as I mentioned Jay Jefferson’s name, Curly decided that Jefferson
hadn’t been lying. I told him I would apologize for him then went to find my
As I walked back into the door, I heard Mark telling Jefferson where Frank
Hardy lived. “That’s enough Mark!” I stated, angry that this man had turned
to my innocent son for information. I came inside. “Do you often look to
youngsters for help?” I accused, not appreciating him using my son’s respect
for him to get what he wanted.
Jefferson started giving me some bull about it being the responsibility of
every citizen to help him, regardless of the age. I took the poster and
looked at it. “Forty years old, huh? Frank Hardy’s 50 if he’s a day!” I
I didn’t think the picture was much to go on, but Jefferson apparently
didn’t need a picture since he used to know Pete Dawson back east. I watched
in anger as he walked out the door and, no doubt, rode off toward the Hardy
Jefferson did show up at Hardy’s ranch. He barged into Hardy’s house and was
recognized right away. There was a thousand dollar reward out on him. Jay
stated that he had only made one mistake in his life and was still paying
for it. Jefferson began looking at Hardy’s bank statement and commented on
how much money he had. Finally, he asked him how much would be worth his
while to go back and report him dead and buried. Jefferson would do just
that if Hardy paid him $2,000.00.
Mark and I were hanging around in town waiting for Jefferson to get back. I
was concerned that Hardy would turn out to be Pete Dawson and that Jefferson
would kill him. Mark asked to go to the Blacksmith’s and I told him not to
get into trouble.
Micah and I started talking about Hardy. I was remembering when Hardy and I
rode together on the spring round up. Hardy had started talking about his
family and such when he suddenly clammed up. This had me worried. “Could be
Jefferson’s got another feather in his cap,” Micah commented.
But suddenly, Jefferson was riding back into town. “Maybe not,” I said.
“Empty handed,” Micah stated a bit relieved.
“Ain’t that a shame!” I said sarcastically. I must say that I was quite
relieved to know Hardy wasn’t the man.
“He’ll be leaving now and taking trouble to some other town, which I’m so
everlastingly grateful!” Micah stated.
I agreed, then I headed for the stables to pick Mark up.
If only I knew where Jefferson was headed. He barged into Curly Smith’s
hotel room and called him Pete Dawson. “You’re mistaken, sir. That isn’t my
name!” Curly worriedly argued.
“It is now,” Jefferson answered with a grin.
Suddenly, there were two shots that rang through the air. I rushed to the
hotel to see what was going on. By the time I got there, there was a whole
crowd outside the room. I pushed the gawkers out of the way so I could get
inside to investigate the problem.
Jay Jefferson was in there. “Pete Dawson,” Jefferson stated. “Otherwise
known as Curly Smith.”
“You played poker with him this morning. Why didn’t you take him then?” I
had trouble believing this man’s story. The situation was quite fishy to me!
“Well now, you gave me the impression you had known him for a long time!” I
questioned him further.
Jefferson stated that his chin whiskers and mustache had fooled him. With
that, Jefferson walked out into the hall.
Naturally, Mark had heard the gunshots and was curious about what was going
on. But I didn’t want him underfoot or gawking like the others, so I told
him to wait for me in the hall. He was disappointed, but he obeyed.
Micah was examining Curly. “Two bullets right through the heart,” Micah
Well, Mark did go out in the hall, but he started talking to Jay Jefferson.
Of course, Jefferson was trying to feed my son some bull about how he had no
other choice but to shoot him. As I was coming out into the hall, I heard
Mark state, “Well, he shouldn’t have tried to resist arrest!”
What was with this man trying to influence my son? “Mark,” I called, perhaps
a bit too harshly. “Come along, son!”
As I went outside to the horses, Mark commented that if Jefferson hadn’t
come to town, no one would have ever known Curly was really Pete Dawson. I
didn’t know it yet, and I voiced that opinion out loud. Mark was a bit taken
back by my comment. I wanted to say more, but first I wanted to see exactly
where my boy stood, so I asked him a question. “How would you feel if you
found out Jay Jefferson isn’t the great man you think he is?”
“Why pa, you should say things like that! It ain’t like you to go talking
bad about people for no reason.” Mark answered. Okay. I got my answer, so I
decided to say nothing more about it. I told Mark I’d be back later and to
meet me back by his horse. Then I mounted up and rode out to Frank Hardy’s
ranch to see what he had to say about this.
After arriving there, I thought I’d start our with casual talk…sort of to
break the ice. Then I asked him to ride into town with me. “There’s been
some trouble, and I was thinking you could help me straighten it out. We’ve
got a distinguished guest from the east in town. His name is Jay Jefferson.”
I saw the look of guilt on Hardy’s face. That’s when I knew my suspicions
He merely stated that he had heard of him. I knew I needed to get a little
more direct. “Ever meet him?”
I could tell Hardy was really shaken by our conversation. “Yeah. As a matter
of fact he was out here this morning. He…he thought I might have been
someone he was looking for,” Hardy answered.
"An outlaw named Pete Dawson?" I asked.
He said he thought that was the name. Guilt was all over his face, and I
decided it was time to deliver the final blow. “Well, about a half hour ago,
Jay Jefferson shot and killed Curly Smith. He claimed Curly Smith was Pete
The final blow had met it’s mark. My final piece of news really shook up
Hardy. I watched his face as the truth registered. His entire face was
suddenly filled with regret and sorrow. His hush money had contributed to
the death of an innocent man, and he would have to live the remainder of his
days with that thought. He looked like he was about to cry. I was right. He
was Pete Dawson.
Jay Jefferson ordered Micah to send information back to Missouri swearing to
the fact that he had killed Pete Dawson. He and Micah were just coming out
of Micah’s office when Hardy and I rode up.
"Micah, Frank's got something he wants to tell you," I announced.
"My name’s not Frank Hardy. It's Pete Dawson and I'm wanted in Missouri for
robbery. I guess I'm part to blame for Curly's death,” Frank announced with
Jefferson was listening. Suddenly, he knew that we knew the truth. He pulled
out his gun and warned us all to stay right where we were. Mark came up in
time to see this. Micah tried to place him under arrest but Jefferson took
his gun. “Looks as if I got in a little over my head this time. Got a little
too greedy,” Jefferson commented. Then he told me to hand over my rifle.
He told me to toss it to him. Obvious he didn’t know that I was a legend
with this rifle and tossing was the wrong thing for him to tell me to do.
But I obliged him. As I tossed it, I flipped it. It hit him his gun hand and
knocked the gun right out of his hand. I was able to knock him out.
Mark stood at his head and stared down at him. It was easier for him to see
it for himself then if I had tried to explain. Mark had
a very disappointed look on his face as he realized his idol was a fraud.
It was finally over – another problem resolved. We were getting ready to
leave. “Well Mark, I guess you learned that you can’t always believe
everything you hear,” Micah stated.
Mark smiled. “I know, Micah. But don’t you think it’s more fun if you do?”
Micah laughed and patted Mark on the back.
Micah told me the reward money would be coming to me. I had forgotten all
about that money. I felt bad for the whole situation…Curly’s unnecessary
death, Hardy’s past catching up to him… “Say,” I started. “Isn’t Curly
Smith’s son working his way through law school back east?”
Micah nodded. “Well, send it to him. He could use it.” I didn’t want that
Mark didn’t like that too much. He never said no when money came his way.
"That's an awful lot of money to be giving away, isn't it Pa?" He argued.
"Yes it is son, but I don't think we'd enjoy spending money earned that way
do you?" I asked sternly. This was just another one of those growing up
opportunities for my son!
"I'll have to think about that one Pa!" Mark answered. Micah and I laughed
at his statement. That boy! Then we rode off for home.
piddlin' stuff.....Lyle Bettger
appeared in two episodes
'The Wrong Man' as Jay Jefferson,
he was the
corrupted marshal who was looking for an outlaw with a
price on his head ― ‘Skull’ as
Holt Coyle, the owner of the notorious Skull Ranch that
has become a haven for outlaws. "Holt Coyle invites
you to stop by The Skull Ranch"
appeared twice in "The Rifleman" ―
'The Wrong Man' as the Carnival Barker ― 'Stopover',
as Vince Medford, the loud mouth - greedy - whiskey salesman.
Frank Sully played the
second spieler, Carnival Barker. (Spieler is a barker, at a circus side
He appeared in over 240 films between 1934 and 1968. Sully was often cast as
a heavy or villain throughout his career. He had a recurring role in "The
Virginian" as Danny the bartender.
Robert H. Harris appeared in two
episodes ― He
played a duel role in 'The Wrong Man' ― Col. Beauregard 'Curly' Smith / Frank
Hardy / Pete Dawson, he was the man Jay Jefferson was looking for ―
'The Tension' as Ezra
Martin as the father of Clemmie (Harry Dean Stanton) and Gavin (Jack
— 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.
Sometimes Archie was a stand-in for Paul Fix.
Fred Krone actor &
stuntman appeared in 'The Wrong Man' as a Brawler. To quote action
director William Witney: "Fred was a legendary stuntman know for his
fisticuffs." "The best screen brawler I've ever used."
Baseball gave burly Fred Graham his start in motion pictures. In 1928 he was
working for the MGM sound department and also playing semi-pro baseball on
the side. The studio was making a murder mystery called "Death on the
Diamond" (1934), starring Robert Young and Nat Pendleton. Graham was
hired to tutor Young and Pendleton in the fine points of the game, and
doubled Pendleton in the catching scenes. This started him on a more than
40-year career as a stuntman and actor.
Roydon Clark as a
Brawler at the carnival. He was a stuntman, stunt coordinator, actor &
second unit director or assistant director in many of his movies. He was a
stuntman for James Garner, Roy Clarke & Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
besides many others.
Jack Perkins as a
brawler at the carnival. He was a stuntman and often cast for his ability to
play drunks and also a heavy.
was a well known and respected stuntman, he appeared in several episodes of
"The Rifleman." Whitey had over a 50-year career as a
stuntman and stunt coordinator, he has been praised as one of the top
stuntman in Hollywood. Whitey was the
best of the best!
Fred Aldrich appeared in
‘Eight Hours to Die’ as a spectator at
the hanging ― 'A Matter of Faith' as a cowboy in the crowd — 'The
Challenge' as a Barfly
— 'The Wrong Man' as one of the townsmen
at the carnival.
Rod McGaughy has
appeared in nine episodes ―
'The Dead-eye Kid'
as one of the cowboys looking for Mahoney ―
'The Wrong Man'
as one of the townsmen
at the carnival ―
as Old Man Healey's Henchman
Gun' as one of the townsmen ―
'A Matter of
as a cowboy in the crowd ―
'The Spiked Rifle'
as Henchman in the Bar ―
as Card Player
'The Baby Sitter'
as a Barfly
'Short Rope for a Tall Man'
as One of Crown's Henchmen/Mob Member.
appeared in nine episodes ―
'Duel of Honor' as Ed Simmons, one of the passengers on the stagecoach
― 'The Safe Guard' as Charlie the bank teller ―
'The Sister' as one of
the cowboys watching the fight ― 'The Challenge' as a customer in the
store ― 'The Photographer' as a cowboy on the Jury ―
Man' as the hotel clerk and a townsman ―
'The Obituary' as a
townsman ― 'The Illustrator' as the man getting off the stage ―
'The Grasshopper' as the man in the booth who sold the
Fritz Ford appeared in many episodes of
Rifleman", besides acting he was a stunt double for Chuck Connors on "The
Rifleman" along with many other TV Series/movies.
Bobby Somers — has done
many of stunts in his day. He worked with some of the best! Sadly Bobby went
unaccredited in most of his movies/shows. His list of credits is way to far
to list. Please checkout
for a list of his credits.
Although Bobby is known for his stunts, Bobby did a lot of different thing
such as Miscellaneous Crew and Acting.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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