We had this young Englishman who worked a ranch owned by his brother, who lived in England. The Foreman’s name was Waggoner. Waggoner and Mr. Ashford were working together rustling his brother’s cattle for Waggoner to keep as his own. One day while they were on the land looking for more cattle to rustle, they found one of my bull calves on the Crown Ranch. They discovered that this calf did not belong to Lord Ashford, but to me. The Young Ashford tried to stop him but Waggoner acted as a heavy and bullied Mr. Ashford, telling him he was taking that bull calf.
Well, Mark and I were riding down the property one day and saw a cow crying. I had a pretty good idea what was going on and bent down behind her to have a look. I was right, so I immediately started looking around. My young son asked me what I was doing. “You’re not remembering your lessons! Take a close look at her!” I reminded him.
Mark bent down behind the cow to look at her. He thought back to the lessons I taught him about cows and birthing. Then he suddenly jumped up as if he just had a revelation that I didn’t know about. “Pa, she calved not so long ago!” he declared. I guessed it was no more than two weeks ago. I also knew a calf that young would never wonder off by herself. We went to look for tracks.
The tracks led to the Cottonwood Ravine. Mark wanted to just run in there and see what was going on, but I thought it would be best to go talk to Mr. Ashford at the Crown Ranch first. I had heard he was pretty fair.
As we rode up to the Crown Ranch, Parker, one of the ranch hands saw us. I asked to see the boss, and he got snotty with me. “Well, you’re gonna have to travel and swim some if you wanta see Lord Ashford! See, he don’t mind owning a ranch as long as he can do it from England.” he declared.
“I wasn’t talking about the owner.” As if I had to tell him that!
He proceeded to tell me where the foreman was. I didn’t want Waggoner. I wanted the Young Englishman that runs the place. Parker wasted no time to tell me that Mr. Ashford simply kept the books. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was one nosey ranch hand! He asked me what my business was, and I stayed silent. He also tried to tell me I didn’t want to “bother” Mr. Ashford. When Parker figured out I wasn’t going to tell him anything, he let me go inside to wait.
We did. Mark was ready for his second lesson of the day. As we went inside, Mark wanted to know what all the stuff we saw was. There were a lot of English artifacts in the house – things that Mark had obviously never seen before! “Just what exactly are they teaching you in school these days?” I asked Mark when he wanted to know what all these things were.
“The three R’s,” was his smarty-answer!
“I know that. What else?” I asked.
“Well, they’re teaching us a little on doctoring animals like how to care for pink eye and such, but you taught me all about that!” Mark answered.
“Oh yeah, American.” Mark answered. “Did you know that less than fifty years ago, the top price for beef was a penny and five? I don’t see how a man can afford to feed his stock at that price!” Mark held up a weapon. “Use this to kill their cattle with?”
“No son,” I answered. “Years ago, the soldiers used that to break through their enemies armor.” Of course, that was a new word to him as well. “Soldiers used it for protection,” I explained as I banged on the armor standing in the room.
I explained to him that the range wasn’t the whole world. I explained that some of the biggest ranches were owned by Lords from England, and when they came to visit, they liked to have their own things around them. Of course, I also had to explain that the oldest son was royalty, but the younger was treated like “one of us.” Those were Mark’s words, not mine!
I didn’t know it, but Parker had run to tell Ashford that I was waiting on him. Of course, since Ashford knew that Waggoner took one of my calves, he was nervous to talk to me. Parker went to warn Waggoner, and Ashford stated there was to be no gunplay.
When Ashford came in, I got right to the point. I told him I had reason to believe that one of my calves was carried out of Pine Valley a couple days ago. He questioned the “carried” word I used. Since I’m not one to mince words, I stated “Rustled.” He told me that was nonsense.
“Well, I hope so as far as you’re concerned. On the other hand, there’s been a lot of talk about your foreman Waggoner. I understand he’s got a sizable herd under his own brand down in Cottonwood Ravine. The talk is the herd is multiplying a little to fast.”
Mr. Ashford didn’t like what I was implying. I told him that “A hundred head or one, especially when it’s mine, is rustling.” Ashford proceeded to accuse me of being obsessed with rustling. I didn’t think it was an obsession, and I questioned him further. He got very defensive, so I decided to leave. I had figured him different…
I decided to take a run up to Cottonwood Ravine and check the situation there. Parker decided to ride ahead of me and warn the others that I was on my way. When Mark and I got there, Waggoner and some other cowhands were there with a herd of cattle. Several calves too. I told Mark to stay in the saddle. If trouble came, I wanted him safe. I told Waggoner that a calf of mine had been taken from it’s mother in Pine Valley. It wasn’t branded, but I was pretty confident I could find it. I could tell Waggoner was fishing to see how much I thought I knew. I told him I thought I’d find it in Cottonwood Ravine with his herd.
“You ain’t dressed to fit your talk, McCain,” Waggoner threatened.
He didn’t scare me. “I’ll be in Cottonwood Ravine tomorrow morning,” I stated. Then for good measure, I added “Dressed!”
“McCain, if I catch you with any of my brand, I’ll gun you down the same as I would with any other rustler!” Waggoner thought he could scare me!
“Rustler?” I repeated. “Folks around here think that name would fit you a lot better than it would me!” I declared.
I turned to walk away. Snap! The whip sounded as he cracked it, hitting my face. I shot my hand to my cheek in shock and pain and turned to look at him. I was angry! As I eyed all the men, their eyes spoke volumes. They were waiting for me to react with violence – for me to start something so they could gun me down. I was going to be the bigger man though! Without saying a word, I turned and walked away.
“Pa, are you going to let them get away with it?” Mark asked as I mounted my horse. Ashford rode up and apologized to me. I remained silent, turned my horse around, and rode away.
We stopped, and I turned and look back up the road. That’s when Mark decided to get brave and say, “I hoped you’d yank that whip right out of his hand!”
“Mark, there’s a time for fighting and a time for backing away,” I explained. “I think this was a backing away time. We’ll get our calf. Tomorrow morning.”
The next morning, I was preparing to leave and told Mark to make sure he closed the south gate when he let the sorrow out in the south pastor. Mark was worried about me. In his ten-year old mind, he didn’t understand the importance of risking my life. “After all, it was only one little calf,” he stated.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s one calf or a dozen. There’s a principle involved,” I explained. Mark asked to come along with me. I didn’t think there would be that much danger, so I allowed him too.
We rode to Cottonwood Ravine with the mama cow. I left Mark away a safe distance and ordered for him to stay put. “Don’t worry,” I assured him. “I don’t figure on any trouble.” I wanted him to stay back so he wasn’t in the line of any gunfire, should it happen.
I approached the herd with Bossie. Together, the two of us went from calf to calf. I knew the two would recognize each other, and the bond would prove that it was my calf. As I went around to different calves, they rejected each other. Waggoner rode up and reminded me “If you throw a rope around any one of them, we’ll shoot you.” I just looked at him and moved on.
I came to some white-faced calves, simply waiting for the right one to come along. Meanwhile, Ashford showed up above where Mark was waiting. “Where’s your father?” Ashford asked my son.
“Down in the ravine,” Mark answered.
“What’s he doing there?” Mr. Ashford asked.
My boy simply stated, “I think you know, Mr. Ashford.”
“He’s acting ridiculous! There’s no way to tell one calf from another in that herd!” he protested.
“That’s what you say!” My boy had so much confidence in me and Bossie!
I kept finding more calves. Finally, a white-faced calf began sucking on Bossie. I found my calf! “Well, come on, mama. Let’s see if you can make him follow you back home before our friends shoot me!” I must have been mad – I was talking to a cow!
“Looks like your cow met a friend, McCain,” Waggoner shouted as he tried to make trouble.
“More than a friend, look like!” I answered.
“You see my brand on it.” I told him it looked fresh. “Come on, throw a rope on him!” I think this man was waiting for a chance to kill me!
But I stayed calm. “You got me all wrong. I don’t plan on touching the calf,” I promised. If he wanted to shoot me, I sure was going to make it hard on him!
I started leading them out. Waggoner couldn’t’ stand it. He told his boys to kill me. I saw what was about to happen and ran for the ditch as a gunshot went off. All three began firing shots at me. I hid behind a tree and began shooting. Finally Bang! I got one man. Two to go!
As we continued the gunfight, Mark jumped on Blue Boy and started down there, disobeying my orders to stay away.
We continued shooting, but I couldn’t seem to hit Waggoner or Parker. Mr. Ashford showed up and told Waggoner to stop shooting. Waggoner turned and started shooting Mr. Ashford as he ran for the ditch. He didn’t have time to get his rifle. Suddenly, Mark showed up. Mark jumped off the horse and was standing right in the middle of gunfire! “Come here, Mark!” Mr. Ashford ordered.
At the sound of Mark’s name, I stopped and looked. Fear gripped my heart! He hadn’t obeyed me, and is now in danger. “Get back, Mark!” I ordered, fear laying heavily on my voice.
My boy was trying to help me fight. He grabbed Mr. Ashford’s rifle from it’s boot and stood in between the horses. I continued to stare at my boy who had put himself in this danger! Fear raced through me. Suddenly, Parker and Waggoner discovered Mark holding the gun. “Mark, I told you to get back!” I ordered, trying to keep the authority in my voice.
Waggoner raced from the ditch to get Mark. Mark handed him the rifle. Waggoner ordered Parker to kill MY BOY!!! As Ashford and Mark raced for the ditch, Parker fired his shot.
They both fell. I had no idea if my son had been shot or not. I immediately fired a shot at Parker. Bang! And killed him. Now all I had left was Waggoner!
It took three shots, but I hit him. My senses weren’t as on guard as they should’ve been. I was too worried about my son. I had to know he was all right, so without checking to see if Waggoner was indeed dead, I stood and raced toward the ditch. Waggoner had turned back to shoot me.
I walked cautiously to the ditch calling Mark’s name. I was so afraid for my boy! Fear kept me from running toward him.
I froze as a shot rang out.
Ashford had seen Waggoner aiming to kill me and fired a shot, killing Waggoner. I was now out of danger, but was my boy okay?
As I stood frozen, I saw Mark lift up. He was alive! “Mark!” I called with less fear in my voice this time.
Mark stood up and smiled. “Pa!” he cried. We ran toward each other. I lifted him into my arms and hugged him. I held him there for a minute, silently thanking God he was okay. I had tears in my eyes, grateful he was okay! “I’m all right son,” I assured him. “Mark, I guess you saw part of what happened here.”
Mark smiled with pride. “I sure did.”
That worried me a bit. “Then I hope I can make you understand. Look son, as long as you remember those men lying there I want you to remember that I didn’t want this to happen. You know what I’ve told you about a rifle. It’s a weapon only as a last resort. This was a last resort, Mark. I wish it hadn’t come to that.” I couldn’t keep the tears from my eye as I told him this. Mark stated he understood and went to get his calf.
I went to thank Ashford for his help. “You’re not responsible for Waggoner,” I assured him.
I was surprised when he said, “Oh, but I’m afraid that I am. Except that I told him I wanted no violence.” I was surprised he was in this with Waggoner. He didn’t admit to it, but told me he’d make sure the cattle got back to where they belonged.
I’m a forgiving man, and I knew he learned his lesson. “Did you ever hear of the Homestead Act? Six hundred acres – yours for using it and working it. It could be the beginning of a ranch you could call your own.” I asked him. “It’s a great land. Everybody’s welcome,” I explained when he reminded me he wasn’t an American citizen.
I told Mark to take that cow home. As Bossy and Mark started walking towards home, I turned to the calf. “You too,” I ordered.
piddlin' stuff.....'The Young Englishman' was Jeremy Ashford played by Allen Case. I remember him when he starred in the deputy with Henry Fonda. I don't remember him ever carrying a gun. Allen was on "Gunsmoke" a few times. The episode that he was in that I liked the best was 'The Good People' ~ He played Gabe Rucker - A respectable rancher and his son hung an innocent man and allow a bewhiskered bounty hunter to go on trial for the murder. Morgan Woodward starred as his father. Excellent episode! Did you ever see it?
He also starred in the TV series "The Legend of Jesse James." He played Frank James. Robert J. Wilke played Marshal Sam Corbett.
I was sad to find that he had died at 52 years of age in 1986. I tip my cowgirl hat to you! You were always one of my favorites!
James Coburn played Ambrose in the episode 'The High Country'. He was the vengeful mountaineer and the one who wanted to buy Lucas's rifle. He also was in another episode of "The Rifleman" as Cy Parker a ranch hand in 'The Young Englishman.'
I think we all know who he is, don't we? He starred "The Magnificent Seven" as the knife throwing, quick shooting "Britt" ~ "The Great Escape" - excellent! Did you see him in "Snow Dogs?" A 2002 Disney movie. He too was on "The Untouchables." He also directed an episode from "The Rockford Files" - 'Irving the Explainer' and was the Executive Producer for the movie "The Mists of Avalon". He was the voice for Henry J. Waternoose III in Monsters, Inc. He also is known for his role as Derek Flint in "Our Man Flint" and "In Like Flint".
Coburn, along with Steve McQueen was a pall bearer at Bruce Lee's funeral. He and Lee were very good friends. He appeared on the cover of Paul McCartney's 1973 album 'Band on the Run'. He loved to play the flute.
Ted de Corsia played Waggoner - the heavy in this episode - also the crook. Here again is one of those actors with a familiar face, but no name to go with it. He usually played the heavy. He starred in just about every western TV series there was, including being an Indian. He also, like many was on "The Untouchables."
Dick Rich as the Line Boss. He was the one who Waggoner told to watch the road & the first one to get shot. He also appeared in 'Lariat' as Fred the disgruntled card player.
Dick has starred in a lot of things, I just listed some of the many TV Series/episodes. "Cheyenne"—"Wanted: Dead or Alive"—"Laramie" —"The Deputy"—"Bronco"—"The Alaskans"—"Bonanza"—"The Rebel"—"Colt .45"—"Tales of Wells Fargo"—"Have Gun - Will Travel"—"Frontier Doctor"—"Lawman"—"The Rifleman"—"Behind Closed Doors"—"The Texan"—"Frontier Justice"—"Sugarfoot"—"Letter to Loretta"—"Casey Jones"—"Wagon Train"—"Perry Mason"—"The Roy Rogers Show"—"Broken Arrow"—"Zane Grey Theater"—"Gunsmoke"—"The Gene Autry Show"—"Jungle Jim"—"The Ford Television Theatre"—"Captain Midnight"—"Hopalong Cassidy"—"Adventures of Superman"—"The Adventures of Kit Carson"—"The Lone Ranger"—"Mr. & Mrs. North"—"The Cisco Kid"—"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok"
Jesse Wayne was a Stuntman for "The Rifleman" in 23 episodes. Besides a Stuntman, Jesse also performed behind the scenes as an Actor - Second Unit Director or Assistant Director - Special Effects - Miscellaneous Crew - Director - Camera and Electrical Department - Cinematographer - Archive Footage
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
The Angry Gun
The Apprentice Sheriff
around The McCain Ranch