"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Micah knew me so very well. He knew that if ever there was a person who could help Henry Trumble, it was me. I’d helped so many people in my life – it was a calling, I guess you could say. And Henry was a simple soul, but one worth rescuing. So, I said yes to Micah’s request. Henry had been locked up again for becoming publically intoxicated – that was the official charge. Unofficially, he was a drunk. Of course, with Micah’s past experience, I think he had a lot of sympathy for the man. And so did I. So I agreed to hire Henry, and for that, Micah would let him out of jail.
I think that Henry was just a little surprised to see me when Micah told him he had a visitor. “You feel like doing some work for me out at the ranch?” I asked him.
Henry seemed a little surprised. “Are you letting me out, Marshal?” Micah told him he was only letting him out to work for me, and he wanted him to stay out of the saloon. He turned to me, still a bit surprised. “Oh, well sure Lucas, I feel up to doing a job of work for you. It’s only, uh…”
I could tell something was bothering him, and I asked him what was wrong. “Oh, it’s probably nothing, I reckon. I just figured that nobody around here had any use for me no more.” That statement was kind of sad, but it gave me a reason for his drinking.
Micah told him that I was only doing it for him, he was tired of locking him up.
Suddenly, gun shots rang out, breaking the quietness and silence of the town. Micah and I ran to the window and saw a lot of people running out of the saloon as more gunshots went off. Micah told Henry to stay there as we left. He didn’t even need to ask me come – I was always there to back him up, and he knew I would always do so.
"Marshal, you gotta stop them," Sweeny ordered us. Micah asked who. But Sweeney didn't know who they were. "They came in about two hours ago and started drinking, I mean really drinking! When I asked for some money, they started shooting up the place."
Micah and I started for the Saloon. We walked as far as the doors then stopped to assess the situation. There were three men in there going wild. I suddenly jumped out of the way as a chair came flying through the doors.
As we looked through the doors, we could see that there were three of them, and they were throwing everything they could get their hands on: Chairs, bottles, and glasses were flying through the air. Micah and I cautiously walked inside. I went first, readying my rifle just in case they decided to take a shot with me. Micah had his shotgun ready. All right, that's enough," Micah shouted, but I’m not even sure they heard him over all the noise they were making. "Alright," shouted Micah and shot his shotgun in the air. I was standing right beside him and flinched at the loud noise his shotgun made!
That got their attention. It was suddenly very quiet in the saloon, but only for a second. One of the men suddenly walked up to his brother (Jud) and put his arm around him. “Brother Jud, Brother Ben, that little ol’ fella there looks like he wants some shootin’ trouble!” Then the fella named Stump began shooting again. He was shooting at the bottles and into the air.
I figured it was about time he figured out just who was in charge, so I fired several shots from my rifle, shooting the gun right out of Stumps hand. I didn’t even need to say a word. Stump started toward me. I’m not sure what he was planning on accomplishing, but then his brother Ben started firing at me. I took a shot at him, which took his aim off of me and onto his brother. He shot his brother, killing him.
Ben went to check on his brother. “He’s shot clean through, Jud. You hear? This here feller done made me kill my own brother! You hear what you done?”
Suddenly, an angry Ben ran towards me to fight. He was so drunk that it only took one hard punch to knock him down. I did the same with Jud.
We kept our rifles trained on them. “You keep that up and You’ll join your dead brother!” Micah threatened.
“You just wait until our Pappy hears about this! And he’s gonna be coming in here soon. And he’s gonna get ya!” Jud warned us. “Yessiree Bob, he’s gonna get ya both for what ya went and done!”
I reminded Ben that he shot his own brother. He yelled at me, telling me that he was aiming at me, then he called me a sod buster. I reckon I’ve been called worse things though.
Now, these two bad boys were drunk…I mean really drunk! They continued accusing me of killing their brother. “All right, that’s enough!” Micah suddenly demanded. “I don’t know who you are or where you come from, but if your Pa does come looking for ya, he’ll find you where you belong: in jail.”
Ben was mad. “You’re making a mistake, Marshal! Ain’t no jail gonna hold us, no sir! You’re making a mistake!”
I don’t know why, but as Micah led these two off to jail, I just had this bad feeling. I followed them across the street and made sure Micah got them locked up okay. As we walked out of the saloon, I continued to keep my eye on the two men as we stopped to talk to Sweeny. Micah told him to get the body out of there and that their father would probably show up to claim the body. Sweeny was worried about getting paid for all the damage these boys had done. “First thing’s first, Sweeny!” Micah answered. I stopped and gave Sweeny a sympathetic pat on the back without saying a word.
We finally got those two bad boy locked up in jail. Micah asked them for their last name. “Malakie. We’re Daniel Malakie’s boys!” Micah stated he had never heard of him. “You will! You and that sod buster out there’s gonna wish you was never born! You hear me Marshal? You hear me sodbuster, you’re gonna wish you was never born!”
Micah did seem concerned, wondering just what their Pa was like. I thought maybe I should hang around until he showed up just in case he gave Micah any trouble, but Micah thought he could handle it. I was still a little apprehensive about leaving him, but I wanted to get Henry home and settled before Mark got home from school.
As I started to leave, Micah thanked me. There was no reason to. I would have hated for him to have had to handle those boys alone. He and I both knew how it was.
Just as we were riding out, Pop Malakie rode in. He saw his sons’ horses outside the saloon, and Micah noticed that he was studying the horses. He wanted to talk to him, but after the way his sons acted, Micah decided to get his shotgun just in case there was trouble. Pop Malakie walked into the saloon and looked around. He saw all the damage, and saw Sweeny trying to clean up the mess. He stated he was just looking for somebody, having a pretty good idea that his boys were involved in the mess. But as he turned to walk out, Micah walked in, asking if he was looking for the owners of those three horses outside.
Pop told him he was and extended his hand for Micah to shake, but Micah just kept talking. Micah proceeded to tell Mr. Malakie that two of his boys were locked up. “Locked up? What fer? They do all this?”
“They did,” Micah simply stated.
“Dog gone!” Malakie suddenly exclaimed. “I told those boys not to fool around! Can’t leave them out of my sight for two minutes without they getting into some kind of-“ Suddenly, Malakie stopped as he realized that only two of them were locked up. Then he asked what happened to Stump.
“You joshing me, Marshal?” Malakie suddenly asked in shock. Micah told him that Ben accidently shot him while trying to kill someone else. “Poor Stump! That poor boy…my…those poor boys! I spent half my life, Marshal, trying to learn them proper. Now this…”
Micah apologized for his loss, but told him that his boys brought this on themselves. “I know. I always expected it. I mean, they were always fighting, carrying on…We was only passing through, Marshal, on our way to California…” He kept going on, convincing Micah that he was truly sorrowful and was a good man. He played a very convincing story too. Sadly and nicely, he begged to see his boys. Micah told him he could take Jud home if he was willing to pay for the damages to the saloon. Malakie was more then happy to pay.
Micah took Malakie across the street to the jail. His boys sure were happy to see him! “He tell you what happened? He tell you? Well, don’t you believe it! It was him and that sod buster! That’s why Stump is dead!” Ben declared angrily.
“No siree! I seen it Pa! It weren’t Ben’s fault. It were that sod buster that was shooting at Ben, and him a trying to protect hisself!” Jud told his Pa.
Malakie told them to shut up. He put on a really good act for the Marshal, telling his boys that he was ashamed of them both. He began yelling at Ben, telling him he didn’t care if he rotted in jail. He acted like he was mad – blaming him for Stump’s death. Then in a gentler voice, he turned to Jud and told him he was taking him home because he charges were dropped. Then, he turned to Micah, and as sweet as could be, he asked Micah to let him out.
But they all had another plan! After Micah got the cell door open, He caught Micah off guard, hitting him over his head with the butt of his gun. Then the two boys grabbed him and began beating on him. Malakie was truly evil as he sat outside the cell listening to them beat on Micah and laughing an evil laugh. “He wouldn’t shake hands with me!” he suddenly declared. Then he turned around and told them that was enough. “If you kill a lawman, we’ll have good trouble!” He stated.
As his sons walked out of the cell, Malakie gave them both a good punch in the mouth, telling them that was for getting into trouble. “If I had more time, I’d whip you both good!” Then they thought about me. “Ain’t no sod buster gonna kill a boy of mine and get away with it!” he said as they left the jail.
Malakie went over to the saloon. He figured Sweeny would know where to find me. He was really nice to Sweeny, tricking him just like he had fooled the Marshal. He started out by asking Sweeny what my name was. He wanted to go by and apologize to me for how his boys acted. Sweeny fell for it…hook, line, and sinker! “Luke McCain? The Marshal could have told you that,” Sweeny told him.
But Malakie told Sweeny that he had forgotten to ask, and he was on his way over there to get three bottle of whisky anyhow. Sweeny turned to get the three bottles, telling Malakie where I lived. After that, Malakie showed his true colors. He pulled a gun on Sweeny and demanded him to give him back the $25 he had paid him for the damages earlier. Sweeny did so. Then Malakie knocked him out and hurried out the door with his whisky.
When he walked out of the saloon, Ben showed his father Micah’s shotgun with the steel balls. They decided to use it on me when they got out to my ranch.
Of course, I was back at the ranch and Mark and I were having our first meal with Henry. We had finished up, but he was still eating as if he hadn’t had a meal in a long time. He suddenly looked up and laughed, complimenting us on our food. "Them's mighty fine vittles. I can't remember eatin' like this in a month of Sunday's.”
"There's plenty more where they came from, Henry. Three time a day, as long as your working for me." I smiled. Now that he was here about to work for me, he did look happy.
My son had walked over to me and put his arm on my shoulder. He did that a lot, liking to be close to me. "Pa always said if a man feeds his soul with good thinking and his stomach with good food, then he's never got anything to worry about,” Mark told Henry. I couldn’t keep the proud smile off my face. It was good to know Mark actually listened to my lectures from time to time!
“You know them’s true words, Mark? True indeed! Yet the good Lord knows that up till now, I ain’t done much of neither. But things are gonna be different! What with your Pa here and the Marshal having faith in me. You know, that's all a man really needs is for someone to have faith in him… and a chance," Henry stated. I think it gave both Mark and me joy and pride to know we were helping this man restore faith in himself. "I'm gonna work good for you Lucas," he suddenly promised. Somehow, I believed it meant it.
"Fine! Let's get at it. There's a pile of harnesses in the barn I’d like to get soaked up tonight.” He was raring to get started.
Mark told me he’d work on the dishes. “Fine son,” I stated. I was glad he was so willing to do his chores tonight!
We were working in the barn…actually, one of us was working in the barn. The other was working on soaking up bridle bits out behind the barn. And Mark was hard at his washing dished in the house. The Malakies rode up without anyone even noticing. They first walked up to the house and looked in the window, but they only saw Mark inside. So they then made their way in the barn. They saw who they thought was me bent over, working.
Bang! A short was fired. The shadow suddenly lifted up in surprise. Bang! A second shot was fired. The shadow fell to the ground in a pool of blood.
Mark was inside wiping a plate when he heard the gunshots. Startled, he dropped the plate and ran to the door. Then he hurried out onto the porch. “Pa?” He hollered.
But when he got no answer, he ran to the barn. One can only imagine what thoughts raced through his mind as he suddenly saw that body lying on the floor. I wish I could have protected him from that horrid moment. “Pa…” Mark suddenly cried when he saw the body.
“Pa…Pa!” Then he suddenly threw himself to the ground and wept, convinced it was me that laid dead on that floor. My poor little boy thought that he had just lost his father, and he was devastated!
I had heard the shots and quickly made my way around to the front of the barn. You can only imagine what I felt when I saw my boy laying in the dirt in the doorway of the barn. My heart stopped as I thought something had happened to him. “Mark!” I suddenly cried in fear as I ran up to him. I lifted him from the dirt. “Are you all right son?” I asked desperately. Mark just stared at me in shock. “Are you all right?”
He couldn’t answer. His body was shaking from shock of first seeing what he thought was me laying dead on the floor, then realizing it wasn’t me. He turned his head again toward the body. I turned and looked in the direction he was looking in. Fear gripped my heart as I realized Henry laid dead in my barn. I suddenly realized what Mark had thought, and I knew I had to get him out of there and calm him down. So I quickly swooped him up in my arms and hurried him inside.
It took awhile to calm him down, and I sat as he was finally able to wash his face. I grabbed the towel so he could wipe his face and gently put a hand on him, knowing that we both needed that physical contact. “You feel better?”
“I thought it was you,” Mark was finally able to speak.
I was still very upset by these events, but I knew Mark had been through a rough ordeal, and I wanted to stay calm. So I tired to keep the feeling out of my voice as I spoke. I told Mark I was in the back washing down the bridle bits. I hadn’t seen who did it. “Why?” Mark suddenly questioned, fear still in his voice. “Why would anyone want to kill Henry? He never did anything to nobody!”
I knew it’s not what Mark wanted to hear, but I had to be honest with him. I told him that I figured they were after me – not Henry. I knew I had to get into town to get this all sorted out. I also knew I wanted to get Henry’s body in the buckboard and covered before Mark came outside – I couldn’t leave him there alone after what happened, but I didn’t want to cause him anymore stress then he’d already endured, so I told him to stay in the house while I got everything ready.
But I knew the minute we got into town that something wasn’t right. It was quiet. I told Mark to stay in the wagon while I went to check things out. I walked into Micah’s office, but Micah wasn’t there. There was no one in the cells, and the doors were standing wide open. I didn’t know what was going on, but I had an uneasy feeling about all this.
Suddenly, Sweeny ran up to me. His head was bandaged. “Sweeny, what’s happened around here?” I asked, very concerned.
Suddenly, Sweeny saw that I had a body in my buckboard. I told him it was Henry, and whoever did it thought it was me. “Well, I’ll tell you who did it,” Sweeny suddenly said. “It was them Malakie’s and their old man! He came into town and I got this out of it.” He pointed to his head. “But you oughta see what they did to Micah!”
The mention of my best friend suddenly gripped me with fear. “Micah?” I suddenly said. “Where is he?”
Sweeny told me the doc was fixing him up. I still wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew I couldn’t leave Mark alone – not when there were mad men running around loose! So I told Mark to come with me to see Micah. But Sweeny was very upset and grabbed my arm. “It was Micah’s shotgun that did that. They took it. And Micah said the last thing he remembered was them saying something about getting you! And I even told them where you lived!” Sweeny was very upset, but I didn’t have time to console him now. I had to get to Micah – to see how my best friend was!
I certainly was relieved to see Micah sitting up and moving around in extreme agitation! That meant he was still himself. I asked him how he was. "Well I'll tell ya…it don't hurt so much, and the inconvenience ain't so bad…but the aggravation of being so stupid is unbearable!” I could tell this was really eating him up. He was glad to see that Mark and I were okay. I told him about Henry and how they must have thought it was me that they killed.
Micah suddenly announced that he was going after them. Doc Burrage told him he wasn’t going anywhere, but Micah said he was going. I worriedly told Micah to listen to the doc. I was already planning on going after them.
But Micah was mad. "Henry Trumble was a simple soul Lucas, but I liked him. Even with all his faults…and nobody…nobody's gonna go and kill him and get away with it. No sir, nobody's gonna come into my town and do what those swamp rats did and live to tell about it. I'm goin' after 'em," Micah stated in that determined voice that I was all too familiar with. There would be no changing his mind.
“Well, you’ll need a posse!” I stated.
But he didn't want a posse, there wasn't time and Micah felt this fight was personal. I didn’t even ask. There was no reason to, and I was as stubborn as Micah anyhow. I turned and ordered Mark to stay with the doc, then we went to saddle horses and ride out after these bad boys. Like the man said…this was personal!
We went back to my ranch and found their tracks. They were headed north and so were we.
We rode hard for a while…up hills and down in valleys. But Micah wasn’t as strong as he should be, and he suddenly begged me to stop. “I want to be worth something when we find them!” He stated.
I knew he was tired, so I agreed to let him rest. We could see ole' Tim Cassidy's salt mine ahead, but he had left sometime ago.
But as we sat there, we heard laughing. “There is now,” I commented. “Come on.” We dismounted our horses and snuck up closer.
It was them alright. They were having their own fun. They were drinking. “Hey, you boys ate all them beans? I’m getting’ hungry!” Malakie complained as he sat down and started eating.
Pop Malakie started talking about the bartender. “You boys should have seen the look on his face when I stuck my gun right under his nose!” All three Malakies started laughing as if that was the funniest joke in the world.
“You know something, Pa. I still say we oughta go back and finish that Marshal off. He riled me, he sure did!” Pop laughed and told his boys they might just do that someday when they didn't have anything better to do. He went to take another long swallow of whisky.
Bang! I shot the bottom right out of his bottle and scared him to death!
“Come on down, Malakie! Or we’ll blow you right off your feet!” Micah suddenly warned them.
Malakie was scared, trying to see who was out there. That’s when I decided to give them my little surprise. “Remember me? The sod buster?” I suddenly announced. They didn’t understand that. They were so sure they had seen me dead in the barn.
They suddenly began shooting, and we shot back. But they made their way for the mine. I fired off a long range of bullets, killing Jud as he tried to escape inside.
They began shooting at us as we made our way up to the outside of the mine. We managed to get there without catching any more stray bullets. The two remaining Malakie’s were taunting us, urging us to come on in and get them. I broke a window out and had a good aim at Ben, but as a fired my rifle at him, the two men ran further into the mine, continuing to shoot at us.
We sat down just outside the shack to reload our rifles. Suddenly, Micah removed the shotgun shells from his gun and asked me for a knife. I gave him my knife and asked Micah what he was going to do. "I want those two alive, Lucas, just long enough to see them hang. Don't want to have to kill 'em. Lucas, that's salt. It's all over the place. The mine is full of this stuff. You know what happens when salt gets into a powder burn?”
I suddenly looked at Micah like he was crazy! I was surprised that he was going to such lengths to keep them alive, and I wasn’t so sure about the salt thing…sounded like cruel and unusual punishment to me…but he was the Marshal after all…
“I'll just tap them down lightly with some of this stuff. Shouldn't take long." He put salt in his shells as I continued watching them to make sure they didn’t come out.
Suddenly, they yelled at us, taunting us to come in and get them. “Don’t you worry, Mr. Malakie, we’re coming!” Micah said with a short laugh.
While Micah was getting ready, they were getting nervous, trying to figure out what we were doing.
We started into the mine. I went in first, walking very slowly as we tried to find exactly where they were hiding. Micah stayed a bit behind me, knowing I had the better eyes and the better aim. Suddenly, a bullet went right over my head. Micah and I ran to the other side of the mine and hid as we continued shooting bullets at each other. But Micah wanted to get in closer so he could take his shots. I covered him, shooting off random shots to keep them distracted as Micah moved around to get in a better position.
He only had two shots, so he had to make them good. The boys and I continued shooting at each other I wasn’t really trying to hit them, not that I could have from my position. I knew Micah’s wishes and respected them. But suddenly, I heard the blast from his shot gun. The boys started yelling, so I knew that Micah’s first bullet must have hit it’s mark.
“What are they doing?” I heard Mr. Malakie ask.
“I don’t know, but it sure does burn!” Ben cried. Suddenly, he realized what was going on. “They’re shooting rock salt at us!”
Well, they weren’t ready to give up yet, and that was for certain! They continued shooting, but Micah took aim and fired his last shot.
We heard a lot more yelling as they were suddenly overcome with pain! They were screaming that they were on fire. I shot off a couple more shots, but they never fired back, so we moved in on them. They were overcome with pain and could no longer fight. We watched them cry from the pain. “Well, I guess that does it!” Micah declared.
“I guess it does,” I said as I sat down my rifle and went to get them up and moving. They sure were mad at us for doing this. That Micah…he had some pretty good ideas!
They were really hurting. They were moaning and saying to call a doctor.
As we rode back into town, Doc Burrage and Mark came running up to us. "Got 'em huh," Mark cried proudly.
“Sure did, son!” I stated proudly and relieved as I dumped Ben into the water trough. Mark grabbed my rifle from the rifle boot on the horse. I’m supposing he sure was ready to go home and put this whole mess behind us!
I dumped the Pa into the other trough.
Doc came up to Micah. “What happened to them?” he asked.
"We took some of the starch out of them and replaced it with salt," Micah stated, quite proud of himself for coming up with such a good idea. Micah started to leave, but then turned and told the doc he’d be around for a check up in the morning. I think doc was sort of amazed at Micah’s ingenious plan as much as Micah and I were!
“Can we go home now, Pa?” Mark asked. He had probably worried the whole time I was gone and wanted to make sure I was going to be there with him for the rest of the night, offering him the comfort he so needed.
“Yeah, we can go home now, son,” I answered him as I took my rifle from him.
Micah went up to the Malakie’s in the troughs and promised them they’d feel better after they washed the salt off of them. He hoped they enjoyed their last bath!
I watched Micah lead the two bad boys toward the jail. Mark and I sat together on the wagon seat and I waved goodnight, knowing the peace was once again restored in North Fork.
piddlin stuff.....Buddy Hackett appeared in two episode ― Bloodlines as Daniel Malakie, the father of the the three disruptive cowboys. I thought he was excellent in this part! I remember when I first saw him in this role, I couldn't believe my eyes. Buddy Hackett being a bad guy, yeah right! He did great! He also was in The Clarence Bibs Story as the slow witted handy man who gets himself into trouble when he accidentally killed a skilled gunfighter.
Denver Pyle and Buddy Hackett appeared together in Bloodlines and The Clarence Bibs Story.
Denver Pyle appeared in five episodes ― Bloodlines as Henry Trumble, he was the one that the Malakie clan mistakenly killed, they thought he was Lucas ― The Legacy as Seth Mitchell, he was the Pa of the two young men that was accused of killing Pa Simons ― The Clarence Bibs Story as George Tanner the gunfighter who came to North Fork to find out what happened to his partner Pretty Man Longden ― The Decision as Frank Hazlitt, he was the dude who threaten Lucas because he was going to testify against his son ― The Hangman as Harold Tanner as the hangman and the killer of Eban Muchen.
Warren Oates appeared in five episodes ― The Marshal as Andrew Shelton, he is the brother who took off his hat and said..... "Why Florry, you ugly old devil. You went & got yourself kilt" ― Bloodlines as Jud Malackie, he's the brother Micah knocked the gun out of his hand ― The Prodigal as Santos ― Miss Milly as Marty Ryan, the heavy of the two ― Day of Reckoning as Will Breen, he's the one wearing the derby.
Warren Oates played a brother in three episodes - Bloodlines - The Marshal - Day of Reckoning.
Christopher Dark played Ben Malakie, the brother who shot Stump.
John Durren appeared in two episodes ― The Challenge as Davey Pardee, Jake's brother ― Bloodlines as Stump Malakie, he was the one brother/son who got killed in the saloon.
Bill Quinn appeared in thirty-eight episodes as Sweeney the owner/bartender of The North Fork Saloon. Sweeney was first introduced to The Rifleman in The Marshal.
Rhys Williams appeared as Doc Burrage in six episodes ― Blood Brother ― Bloodlines ― Letter of the Law ― A Case of Identity ― Sins of the Father ― The Prodigal.
There were two doctors before Doc Burrage although neither of them were ever named or given credit. Those two episodes were The Sharpshooter and The Marshal. In End of a Young Gun Lucas told Hank he would go get Doc Sedley? Doc Burrage was first introduced to The Rifleman in The Pet.
Doc Burrage was a regular character ~ how many different actors played Doc Burrage? Can you name them?
Franklyn Farnum appeared in two episodes ― Bloodlines and Obituary as one of the Townsmen.
Archie Butler as Abe, one of Big Jim's men—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.
Whitey Hughes was a well known and respected stuntman, he appeared in twenty-seven episodes of The Rifleman and still counting. 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!
Bloopers - Bloodlines
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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around The McCain Ranch