"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
You want to talk
about your hard-days work, you should go on a cattle drive! That’s
exactly what me, Mark, and a friend of ours named Sid Halpern did!
He picked up a whole bunch of cattle in
Willow Springs, and the three of us worked really hard driving those
cattle all the way back to North Fork. Part of Mark’s job was to
handle the pack horse, which he was doing rather well. Besides that,
he was doing a really good job at running the smaller cattle. I was
happy he was able to come along with us – it was a good learning
It was getting to be about sundown, and Sid and I were beat and
decided to camp for the night. I rode over to Mark who looked about
as tired as we were. All three of us were covered from head to toe
in dirt. We’d be in North Fork tomorrow, and I sure would be happy
to take a bath! “How does it feel to be running somebody else’s
cattle?” I asked Mark.
His only comment was, “I like it, Pa!” I couldn’t help but to allow
a big, prideful smile on my face. I was happy to see that I was
raising me up a fine rancher! I just sat there and watched him for a
minute, overcome by pride at times. Then we started gathering up the
cattle to settle them in for the night and I stopped and watched my
boy. I sure was proud of him!
We didn’t know it at the time, but there was a man by the name of
Clemmie Martin lurking around. When he saw me, he raised his rifle
up to shoot me. But then suddenly Sid rode up and he realized he was
going to have to investigate the situation further. He pulled out a
Wanted Poster from his hat and looked at it. It was a poster for a
man named Roy Coleman, and the description could fit either one of
As I worked on getting our supper together, Sid worked on calming
the cattle. Mark suddenly asked him why he was singing to the
cattle. That’s another thing that made me proud – he wanted to learn
about everything! I told him he was singing quiet while the water
was nagging at them – by morning they would be so thirsty that they
would have no trouble getting them across the river.
As Sid and I sat by the fire talking, a stranger rode up and said he
was low on funds and looking for work. He wanted to hitch a meal
from us. Sid welcomed him to do so but I was always a little
skeptical of strangers. Sid was the boss though, so I let him play
it his way. We introduced ourselves. His name was Clemmie Martin.
We ate supper and sat around the campfire talking for awhile. I told
“I was up in the nations years ago. The wind got so bad a friend of
mine had a $20 gold piece in his hand when it got swooped up. Well,
when it came down again, he looked at that twenty and by golly if
the wind hadn’t blown it into two fifty cent pieces and a plug
Of course my son laughed it up! “That story’s as old as I am Lucas!”
Sid declared. “And you’re just laughing to make your Pa happy!” Sid
Mark automatically jumped to his own defense with a little joke of
his own. “No, honest!” he declared. “Of course, the way I heard it,
it was $50.00!” We both laughed at that!
Suddenly Clemmie, who had been quiet all this time, spoke up. He
wanted to know if we’d ever heard of a man by the name of Roy
Coleman. Sid suddenly jerked around and looked at him and before he
could get his gun out, Clemmie drew his on Sid. Mark and I just sat
there trying to figure out what was going on. I tried to jump to
Sid’s defense and reached for my gun. “Stay out of this, Lucas!” Sid
Clemmie suddenly warned me to get Mark back if I didn’t want him to
get hurt. That made me jump up and drag Mark over by the tree really
fast! I was shocked when I heard that Sid was wanted for a $2000.00
reward. Clemmie was apparently a bounty hunter planning on taking
Sid back to Texas.
Sid began saddling his horse. Clemmie began talking while waving his
gun around. “He was about the size of your kid there when he started
running wild. And according to what I read, he could really run
things! $20,000.00 off the Texas Southern! June the 5th, 1871. I was
13 years old on my birthday.”
I told Sid we could run the cattle without him. I wanted him to go
straighten out the mistake. “There’s no mistake, Lucas.” That’s all
he said, but he spoke volumes with his eyes. He regretted what he
had done. He ran so long that he had really thought he’d gotten away
with it, and now it was all catching up to him. I saw regret and
dread in his eyes.
Clemmie’s brother had found him. He saw him in Willow Springs
Monday, then saw his poster the next day. Clemmie decided to come
after Sid to collect the money because his brother was a little lazy
sometimes. “I’ll show him I can be just as good as he can and
better!” There was a look of determination
on Clemmie’s face – deadly determination! Then we found out
something else. did Sid have a gun hidden?
Suddenly, Mark could keep quiet no longer. I’m sure this was all
overwhelming and confusing to him. “Aren’t we gonna do anything,
Pa?” he suddenly asked. I put a hand on him, warning him to keep
But Sid and Clemmie both turned and looked at us. “Take care of
things, Lucas. The cattle was bought with…honest money.” Sid’s voice
was sad and defeated. But there was nothing we could do about it.
Suddenly, Sid turned to Clemmie. "The reward gets paid in Texas if I
remember. No place else. You think a kid like you can ride me 400
miles to Texas? Maybe your biting off more then you can chew boy.”
This just upset Clemmie. "You think because I got a bad leg I can’t
shoot straight? Everybody thinks just because I'm a kid with a bum
leg that I ain't good for nothing. We'll see about that." Suddenly,
Clemmie untied our horses and chased them off, so that I couldn’t
come after them and try to stop him from taking Sid in.
I continued to stand by the tree with Mark. Sid started for his
horse, but he stopped and looked at us. “I’m sorry this had to
happen if front of the boy, Lucas,” he said.
I was too. I was angry at the whole situation and wished that I
could protect Mark from these things. “Part of his growing up,” I
Sid then turned to get on his horse while Clemmie mounted his own.
But Sid had a gun hidden. Suddenly, Sid turned and fired at Clemmie.
He was hit but still sitting on his horse.
Clemmie fired at Sid. Sid fell to the ground, wounded. I suddenly
got in front of Mark and hugged him to me in order to protect him
from being shot himself. Clemmie fired several more shots into Sid.
Then he fell from his horse.
Clemmie was dead. It was all over.
I suddenly ran over to Sid. “Your wasting your time, Lucas,” he
moaned. He was shot bad! I ordered Mark to get the water. “Thought
I’d release you from having to make a decision. I thought I got away
from that fella.” I gave him a drink of water.
He was fading fast. He would die very, very soon.
He looked at Mark then. “Too bad you gotta do so much growing up in
one night, boy,” Sid commented. Mark was sad. I’m sure my boy was
confused and had a million questions racing through his head. “He’s
just a pup kid…a nobody…” Sid stated regretfully. He was in a lot of
pain and tried to hang on to tell me his dying wish.
His wife didn’t know. His boy was always proud of him. He suddenly
looked at me to tell me his last wish. “Lucas, can you find a way to
not let ‘em know the truth? To let ‘em keep on thinking that I-“ He
could say no more and I only nodded.
He died in my arms. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe how fast this
Meanwhile, Clemmie’s older brother and father were looking for him.
Gavin, his brother, was mad that Clemmie was trying to beat him out
of the money. They were looking for him.
We buried Clemmie. Then Mark and I packed up when it was daylight. I
tied Sid’s body to his horse to take him back. I told Mark we could
handle the cattle. I knew he just wanted to go home, but we had to
follow through with the cattle. Mark rode up to me. “You think
taking Mr. Halpern back is right Pa?”
“We gotta do it, Mark. He’s got a family,” I answered regretfully.
Something else was bothering Mark though. He wanted to make sure we
did the right thing. “Well, we won’t tell nobody, will we? I mean
about what happened? We’ll make up a story like he asked us?” I
could hear the questions in his voice. But right now I didn’t even
know the answers.
“We’ll tell Micah the truth just to keep the record straight. The
rest is just between us?” That was the only answer I could give him
right now. Mark nodded in agreement. I could see the grief and
confusion in his eyes. "Head 'em up and move 'em on boy." That was
all I could say. We had to get started!
Clemmie’s older brother, Gavin, and Pa, Ezra were right behind us.
They came upon the place where we camped not long after Mark and I
left. They could tell someone had bedded down there the night
before. There were fresh tracks. Ezra suddenly saw the grave. “Lord
Almighty, Gavin!” he mumbled. They hurried over to the grave and
Ezra realized it was his son. He began crying, mourning for his son.
Then he found the wanted poster in Clemmie’s hat. Gavin took the
wanted poster. “We can add murder on the list,” he said simply.
“We shouldn’t have lost his trail! We could have stopped him!” Ezra
cried. Gavin wanted to go on – to find Roy Coleman. But Ezra finally
grew hysterical, begging Gavin not to go. He wanted to leave it to
the law enforcement. But Gavin was full of greed. He wanted the
money. He told his father to go get himself drunk.
Gavin was mad. He ran over to the grave and grabbed Clemmie’s gun
belt. “Now, there’s Clemmie’s gun and that’s all he left ya!” He
threw the holster on the ground and sneered at his Pa, "Maybe an old
man who lost his nerve oughta use it on himself if he ain't got the
spine left to use it on the one who killed his own flesh and blood."
Mark and I attended Sid’s funeral. It was a sad occasion for
everyone – especially his wife and son, who were leaving to meet the
stage right after the funeral. “I can’t find words to thank you for
all you’ve done for Toby and me, Mr. McCain,” Mrs. Halpern stated in
her grieved voice. “Sid was so careful…then to be killed in…such an
unusual accident…” She was acting natural, trying to find the
answers to questions that we all ask at times such as these.
Micah was standing there. His Bible was in his hand. “Not so
unusual, Ma’am,” he tried to assure her. “Things like that happen on
the trail. Micah turned his attention to Toby then. "Toby, now that
your the man of the house, your Ma's gonna be lookin' to you for a
lot of help.”
"I know sir, I'll try to do my best," he answered in the bravest
voice a newly fatherless boy could muster.
“You just grow up to be strong and honest. That’s what Sid always
told him,” Mrs. Halpern stated.
"Ma, we better hurry if we don't want to miss the stage.” He was
already trying to act grown up!
I told Mrs. Halpern how much I and the town would miss them. She
felt it was best for her and Toby to go back east. They had a few
things to pack and then they would be on the stage.
Micah and I watched them leave. “Closed chapter,” I stated.
“As far as I’m concerned, Sid Halpern lies dead in that grave,”
Micah stated. “Not Roy Coleman.” I sadly walked away from the
The gravedigger was working at filling in Sid’s grave when Gavin and
Ezra rode up. “Is that somebody’s handy work or did he just die
natural?” Gavin asked.
“Neither. Fella got himself killed driving cattle down from Willow
Springs…Fell off his horse during a stampede. Got shot with his own
Gavin thought it to be an unusual accident. He asked who brought him
in. “Fella going down the road there. Lucas McCain. Him and his boy
were traveling with him,” the gravedigger answered.
Gavin whipped out the Wanted Poster. “Fits the description like a
glove full of grease!” he mumbled as he watched me ride away. He was
now convinced that I was Roy Coleman. He was ready for revenge for
Clemmie’s death. But more so, he was ready to collect the $2000.00!
They didn’t waste any time in coming for me. They came while I was
outside cleaning my rifle. Gavin and Ezra rode up and asked for a
drink of water. They used that opportunity to get to me. I was
standing beside Gavin when he started to get off his horse. He
started to tell me that my place looked mighty…then he kicked me
right in the face and knocked me down to the ground. I doubled over
in pain. Mark ran forward. “Pa,” he cried. But Ezra suddenly grabbed
Mark and kept him back. “Let me go!” he cried.
I was on my knees trying to adjust to the pain I was feeling. I held
my face and moaned. Then Gavin reared back and punched me, knocking
me flat on the ground again. I was knocked out.
“Take the kid in the house!” Gavin ordered his Pa. Mark fought the
whole way, crying my name over and over. Gavin grabbed my rifle.
Then he grabbed me by the arm and dragged me into the house.
I sat in front of our cabinet that held our dishes, feeling pretty
whipped. Mark sat beside me touching my face. “Pa, you’re alright!
You’re alright, Pa!” Mark cried. I moaned. “You’re alright!” He was
hoping I was.
I couldn’t say anything. I was in too much pain and didn’t really
have my senses. Gavin got tired of it, I guess. He came up and
grabbed me by the hair. “He ain’t hurt, kid!” he said as he began
banging my aching head against the cabinet. “You ain’t hurt are ya?”
My head hurt so bad! I held my forehead as the pain grew worse.
Mark stood to fight him. He pushed Mark roughly down onto the floor.
I reached out to grab him, but I was in too much pain and barely
knew what I was doing. I was too weak to fight. “Seven years they’ve
been looking for you, Coleman! Seven years and my brother had to
play the fool and thought he could take you along!” He waved the
Wanted Poster in front of my face. Then he slapped me again. I
reared in pain.
Mark cried out again. Oh, how I wish he didn’t have to see this!
“Leave him alone! He’s my father!” Mark cried angrily.
Gavin had my rifle and buried the barrel into the side of my cheek.
He pushed it in so hard it hurt. “I don’t know what Clemmie tried or
how he found you, but I’m gonna tell you killed a boy that didn’t
even know how to handle a gun right.”
Mark was screaming, begging me to tell the truth. “You’re real sure
of yourself, aren’t you, Mister?” I declared.
“Just like you,” Gavin answered me. The barrel of my rifle was still
buried into my cheek. Then he started telling me about the story in
town I told about how my “friend” had shot himself with his own gun.
“Well, I figure you killed him when you killed Clemmie so they
wouldn’t find out the truth about ya.” The barrel continued to be
buried in my cheek. I continued to wince from the pain.
“That’s a lie!” Mark cried as Ezra continued to hold him back.
“You’re gonna hang, Coleman! Yes sir, you’re gonna hang!” Gavin
spoke these words in a very evil voice. I knew that’s all he wanted
was to see me die! I stayed quiet. “Before I finish with you, you’re
gonna wish you let Clemmie kill ya!” He drug the rifle barrel across
my face. I winced again in extreme pain but continued to stay quiet.
“I’m gonna look forward to everyone of them 400 miles! But before,
I’m gonna go out and feed the horses, because I always say that a man
oughta have a good house for a long trip!”
I moaned in pain as he pressed my head up against the cabinet and
dug the rifle’s barrel into my other cheek. Then he threw me to the
floor. He ran over to the door and got a rope. “Alright Pa, give me
a hand!” He ordered. Ezra didn’t move. “I said give me a hand! We’re
gonna tie ‘em up!”
They did just that.
"Why didn't you tell them Pa?" Mark questioned me after we were tied
up. I was laying face-down on the floor and Mark was on top of me.
We were back to back, both of us tied up.
"If I told them the truth son, they’d have to go into town and check
my story. That means they would have questioned Mrs. Halpern and
Toby. I had to help them have time enough to get out of town.
Another hour, they'll be on the noon stage, then it won't matter." I
groaned through my explanation.
Gavin and Ezra were outside getting everything ready. Gavin shot my
rifle and thought it was pretty handsome. “You know, 400 miles is a
long way,” he stated to his Pa.
“You’re talkin’ murder!” Ezra stated, but Gavin said he was just
Mark and I were still tied up when they came back in. “Seems like
it’s been more then an hour, Pa!” Mark stated. He was getting tired
of being tied up. “The stage must have left by now.” I heard them
coming, so I told Mark to hush.
“Well, we’re about ready to go, Coleman!” Gavin declared when he
came back inside.
It was time to tell the truth. “You made a mistake, Mister.
Coleman’s dead. They buried him this morning.” Ezra wanted to know
why I hadn’t said anything before. “Your brother found Coleman
alright. They killed each other. My boy and I were there when it
happened. We kept quiet to protect Colman's wife and boy. They don’t
know. They were getting ready to go back East. Now you can go into
town and check my story."
Gavin didn’t believe me. “Your brother had the same problem. That
description on the poster fitted both of us.” Ezra believed me but
I tried again. "The poster said Coleman pulled that train robbery
seven years ago, June the 5th. I was a thousand miles away at the
time.” Ezra said that was just talk. “Get my Bible. It’s on the
table. Look at the second page. I buried my wife in Oklahoma City,
June the 3rd, that same year. It’s written there. That’s my name,
Lucas McCain. I haven’t changed it."
They looked at it. It didn't matter to Gavin, all he really cared
about was the reward money. Ezra tried to talk him out of taking me
in but Gavin wouldn't listen. “The way I figure it, you’re just as
guilty as the man that killed him. You just stood there and let him
“We had nothing to do with it!” Mark cried weakly.
“Tell you what, kid. The fact still remains your old man fits that
poster,” Gavin stated as he got a knife and started cutting the
ropes. I stared at him in horror as I realized what he was saying.
He was planning on taking not only me, but also Mark, back to Texas
to tell our story. I knew that neither Mark or I would make it to
Texas alive. Ezra got mad.
“Well, you don’t have to come along if you don’t want to, Pa. But
I’m gonna tell you something! If you don’t, you can forget that I’m
your son and you’ll have nobody!” Gavin screamed at his Pa while he
held the knife towards him. “You can die alone somewhere!” Gavin
gave him a push and ordered him to go get him a rope.
Mark and I walked out ahead of him. “Why drag it out? Get it over
with now!” I advised. Ezra wanted to know what I meant. “He’s not
gonna let me live long enough to tell my story,” I explained
Ezra suddenly realized what I was saying. “You gonna kill ‘em?” He
asked his son.
"It’s $2,000.00,Pa" he said. "That's more money then we’ve ever seen
in our lives."
“You think that’s a good price for my boy’s life too?” I suddenly
asked. I was getting desperate!
Ezra looked around. I saw the look of fear on Mark’s face. Ezra’s
face held regret and sadness. He would have to go against his son to
do the right thing. Slowly, he turned to his son. "I can't, I
I suddenly knocked Gavin down with the rope and ordered Mark to the
barn. We went inside and I shut the door quickly. I ordered Mark to
climb up into the hayloft and threw the rope up to him. I started up
after him but didn’t have time.
Gavin came in shooting. I hid behind the ladder as he randomly shot
the rifle. Then my boy came through for me. I watched with pride as
my boy lassoed the rifle and grabbed it out of Gavin’s hands. He was
now without a rifle! I knocked the ladder down, but missed him.
I drove my knee into his hand, hoping to knock the knife out of his
hand. Gavin began throwing things at me in desperation. But I
punched him, knocking him down into a stall. We continued fighting.
I was down on the floor and he began charging at me.
Mark was watching from the hayloft.
Gavin’s father was watching from the doorway.
Gavin fell onto the pitchfork and screamed as the pitchfork went
through him. He died.
Unfortunately, Mark saw it and cringed at the sight.
I saw it, not quite believing it was over.
had to watch his son die the violent death. I felt so bad for him!
It was finally over.
Micah was over later to wrap up the case. As he walked out the door,
he stated, "Justice doesn't always hang a man does he?"
I closed the door to our cabin. "I guess not Micah. The one I feel
sorry for is the old man. He's got to carry on the rest of his life
alone. What little there is left." I told Micah Ezra headed for the
hills. He said he wanted to bury his son. Micah then left.
There was certainly a lot to think about, and I think this was one
of those times that Mark and I would reflect on our own thoughts
before discussing it together as a family. But Mark did have one
question to ask me before I went to reflect.
He stopped me before I went inside. "Pa, do you think he loved his
son even at the end?"
There was only one thing I could say to Mark in that moment. He
needed to know the truth. "I think a father never stops loving his
son Mark." Then I went inside and shut the door.
Mark stood on the porch reflecting on my words.
piddlin' stuff.....Jack Elam
appeared in five episodes — Duel of Honor
as the arrogant Sim Groder who constantly picked on the Count —
Tension as Gavin Martin,
he was the cowboy who got killed with the pitch fork
Man as Gus Smith, he's the dude that John Beaumont killed
in the saloon — Knight Errant as Gates, he was Don
Chimera Del Laredo's Esquire, the one who declared there was a
rattlesnake in the woodpile —
Shattered Idol as Russell
the pool shark.
Harry Dean Stanton as
Clemmie, he was the one that shot and killed Sid Halpern aka Roy
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 ―
Tension as Ezra
Martin as the father of Clemmie (Harry Dean Stanton) and Gavin (Jack
Gregory Walcott appeared in two
episodes ― The Angry Gun as Blade Kelby, he was one of
the gang members who came to free Johnny ― Tension as Sid Halpern,
he was the cowboy that Clemmie had a wanted poster on.
Scott as Mary Halpern. She was the wife of Sid Halpern aka
Ted Stanhope as the grave digger.
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!
Toby Halpern was played by
Jeff Connors. He is one of four sons of Chuck Connors, he also
appeared in The Schoolmaster and
While filming Tension they used what they called shiny
boards instead of lights back then. When it came time for Jeff to
say his lines, the shiny boards kept shinning in his eyes. Jeff told
his Dad that the lights were really bright and Chuck said....."Just
do your lines son, say it, it's hot out here."
*Reflectors, Mirrors, Shiny boards.....A reflector is designed to
redirect or bounce light. The reflector has a hard side (sometimes
called a lead side) with a smooth surface that gives a hard, bright
light. The other side, called the soft side, gives a diffused
Tension on the set
Bloopers - Tension
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's