"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
A Young Man's Fancy
There are many things a father experiences throughout the way or raising
a child. Some experiences are hard while others are just plain tuff.
Well, I’d say this one was pretty tuff because I had to watch my son go
through his first heartbreak over a girl.
The stage pulled into North Fork one day with a visitor for Milly. She
was really happy to see her niece, Sally all the way from Denver. Sally
had a heavy bag. It was that heavy bag that would be the start of Mark’s
Milly saw Mark walking over by the store and immediately called him
over. Of course, Mark was always glad to help Milly and came to her
rescue. “Hello Miss Mil-“
Mark suddenly stopped. He had just seen the prettiest girl he ever saw!
He stared at Sally Walker – couldn’t take his eyes off of her! She
smiled back. Milly asked Mark to carry her bag, but Mark didn’t hear
her. Milly suddenly realized he was staring at Sally and quickly
introduced them. Milly had written Sally about us so she knew Mark was a
nice young man. She extended her hand out for Mark to grasp. “Hello,”
Mark said as he continued staring at her.
Boy, but that boy was smitten! He took a big swallow as he took her
hand. Milly told Mark to help with the heavier bag. But Mark continued
to stare at Sally. He was unaware of anything being said or done around
him. “Mark!” Milly called. “Mark!” Milly called again. “The bag!”
Mark suddenly gasped and took his hat off. After all, he was in the
presence of a beautiful young woman! He turned, the whole time keeping
his eyes glued to Sally. He stepped backwards to get the suitcase. In
the process, he bumped into Milly. “Mark!” Milly gasped. Mark finally
removed his eyes from Sally to see why Milly was yelling at him. Then
Milly and Sally laughed and hurried into the store.
Mark just picked up the bag and stared straight ahead with a silly grin
on his face. That’s when I come in. I saw Mark standing by the
stagecoach holding onto a bag. I couldn’t help but wonder what Mark was
doing in town since he was supposed to be at home. “Mark? What are you
doing in town?”
He was in a daze – didn’t’ even turn to look at me. "Carrying a bag," he
answered. I couldn’t help but to wonder about the way he was acting.
Something was going on.
I followed him to Milly’s store. Milly saw me come in and told me I was
just in time to meet Sally. Ah, so that’s what’s wrong with Mark!
Milly asked Mark to introduce Sally to me. "Pa.....this is Sally," he
I gave her a friendly smile. "Hello Sally, welcome to North Fork. I hope
you enjoy your visit." She thanked me.
"She'll enjoy herself much more once she's had a chance to change into
something comfortable and had a good rest!" Milly declared. She then
thanked Mark for carrying in Sally's bag.
I told Milly I’d see her at six tonight at the ranch. “Where?” Mark
“At your house. For dinner,” Milly reminded him. I reminded Mark we’d
invited them to our house for supper a week ago.
"Oh yeah, that's right. You can even come a little bit early if you
like," said Mark.
Milly thanked him. “Come on, son.” He didn’t move. “Come on.” Mark
turned to go. He’d forgotten about the suitcase that was sitting at his
feet. He tripped over it. Thankfully, I was there to catch him and
That boy! “Excuse me,” Mark said bashfully. I sighed and looked at my
Sally spoke up then.
"Mr. McCain, do you go by the Willow Ranch by any
“Well, it’s a few miles out of the way, Sally. Why?” I asked.
She explained she had a letter to be delivered. My boy bolted forward.
“Oh, I’ll take it!” he declared with a great big grin on his face. She
asked him if he would if it wasn’t too much trouble. “My pleasure.”
I couldn’t help staring at my boy! This was my Mark??? She gave him the
letter. "This is his name...Bruce Henry," said Sally. Sally asked Mark
if he knew Bruce. He said he had seen him around. "He's an old friend of
mine from Denver," said Sally.
Mark assured her he'd take the letter there now. Mark put his hat on and
backed up to the door. "Come on Pa, let’s go." Out the door Mark went.
I said nothing, but followed close behind Mark as he walked down the
boardwalk. When we got to Micah’s office, I couldn’t stand it anymore.
My boy was acting too peculiar…even for Mark! I grabbed him by the back
of the neck to stop him. “Hey young man!” Mark stopped and turned as we
leaned over the hitching post. “How come you’re willing to ride five
miles out of your way to deliver that letter?”
Mark studied the letter. “I don’t mind,” he stated with a grin.
“Five miles out of your way and you don’t mind.”
But Mark was still off in la la land! "Sally! Isn't that a nice sounding
"What were you doin' in town, you were suppose to be checking cattle."
It took Mark a moment to realize I had asked a question. "Oh my stirrup
leather broke; I had to get Nils to fix it."
"Did he?" I asked.
All of a sudden Mark was in a hurry. He finally came to. "Say Pa.....we
better get goin'! Why I gotta deliver this, we got the house to clean up
and dinner to
fix!" He hurried off. I laughed. Boy, he sure was gone!
Mark rode out to the Willow Ranch. Bruce Henry was in the corral
whipping one of the horses. Mark watched in disgust. He took a look at
Sally's letter. He was having second thoughts about delivering Sally's
letter after seeing that. Bruce walked over to Mark. "Somethin' you
"Your Bruce Henry aren't ya'?"
"So who are you?"
"I'm Mark McCain. I live over there and-"
Bruce rudely interrupted him. "Yeah, yeah. I know where you live. What
do you want?"
"What are you doin' to him?"
"I'm teachin' him a lesson. I was breakin' him and he threw me."
"They...uh...let you use a whip around here." Mark was surprised.
"I use anything I please. You don't like it?"
He didn’t, that that was none of his business. Mark decided to get to
his business. He gave him the letter. Bruce ripped it open and read it.
“My my,” he laughed. “Well, if that don’t beat all!” He laughed again.
“I said that gal was loco. Imagine that, a girl like that…she was
chasing me all the time when I was in Denver.”
His words bothered Mark. He didn’t want to hear about it. Especially
when he mentioned that she came all the way to North Fork looking for
him. "She came to visit Miss Milly at the store!"
"That's fine as long I don't have to put up with her." He tossed her
note away. He asked Mark if he wanted anything else. Then he eyeballed
Mark to leave.
We had a really nice dinner. Milly and I stayed inside and had our
coffee and Mark and Sally went
out onto the porch. Mark took his guitar
along. He wanted to sing for Sally. He was having some trouble getting
started. I'd say he was somewhat nervous. He started singing, but had to
stop to clear his throat. Then he started the song again. He sang
"Something Special” to her as she smiled. Mark certainly was working
hard to impress her!
When he finished, he politely asked her if there was something else he
could sing for her. But Sally was preoccupied. She told him she didn't
care. He should pick something.
Mark asked her if there was something
wrong. She hesitated, then asked Mark if he was sure that Bruce Henry
didn't say anything more when he gave him her letter. “Well, he thought
it was kind of funny.”
That upset her. “He did, did he? Well!”
“It seemed like sort of a peculiar way for a friend to act.”
"He's no friend of mine!" Sally declared.
Mark suddenly needed to know something. "Sally...I'm your friend, aren't
"Of course you are. A very nice friend." She walked over to him and put
her hand on his. From the look on Mark’s face, he sure did like that -
it made him very happy; not really realizing that's all he meant to her
was a 'friend'.
We all had a nice time and now it was time for them to leave. We watched
them leave. Mark was off in la la land again. “Well, that sally is a
nice girl,’ I commented.
“She sure is.”
I turned and looked at my boy. He was still watching them after they
rode off. I wondered just how gone he was. "I think I'll go jump off the
"Alright," said Mark.
Boy, he was that far gone! "Do you wanna go with me?" I asked.
"Huh? Go where?" Asked Mark.
"To bed, come on." I turned to walk inside.
"Pa?” I stopped and turned around as I stood in the doorway. Mark was
still looking in the direction the buggy had gone off in. “When you met
Ma...I mean at first. How did you know she was the one?"
“Hm…Well that’s kind of hard to explain, son. It’s just a feeling you
get…you just know…You understand?” He thought he did, but he kept
staring down the road. Boy, he had it bad!
The next day, Bruce Henry rode up to the General Store while Sally was
sweeping the porch. He started into the General Store acting all cool,
but then turned and looked at her. “Ain’t I seen you some place else?”
Sally smiled. “Well, that’s possible. Like Denver maybe?”
“Denver…Yeah, that’s it!” Bruce declared with a smile.
He told her he was in town to do some shopping for the ranch. She told
him that she had wrote him a letter. Bruce started to tell Sally about
Mark never telling him she was in town, but Milly walked out, suddenly
interrupting them. He wondered if she was going to be around as he
walked into the General Store. Milly studied Sally for a moment and told
her not to sweep a hole in the floor. Sally just smiled.
When I said Mark had it bad, I didn’t know how bad! But I was about to
find out. Mark came in one evening while I was doing paperwork. “Where
have you been?” Mark surprised me when he told me he was over on the
West range. I asked him what he was doing over there. “Oh…like you said,
checking on cattle.”
I told him that was two hours and the cattle were on the south pasture.
Mark didn’t really have anything to say about that. "What were you doin'
on the west range Mark?"
He didn’t answer. He bent leaned over the desk. "Say Pa...are you still
figurin' on maybe selling' that land? I mean you said it wasn't much
good! Didn't have any water and it wasn't any good for grazin' or
crops." I told him I might sell it if I got the right price. "Would you
sell it to
I was surprised. “What?”
ya' a fair price! I'd go shares and then I could start building
a house and gettin' it all fenced in..."
Okay he lost me! I had to put the breaks on! "Wait a minute! Just wait a
minute! One thing at a time. What do you want with that land?" I asked a
"I wanna live on it! It would pay Pa, you know that spring north of here
that runs underground...well it comes up over there. I could sink a well
and I'd have all the wa-"
Okay, the boy lost me again. "You wanna live on it?” Boy, but I was
confused! “Mark...what's wrong with this place?" I asked.
"You live here." Mark sort of laughed. "Pa, we all couldn't all live
together." He sure was acting strange!
"We! Who's we!" I asked, totally confused at this point.
He was all smiles. "Sally and me. After we get.....married!" I was
surprised!!!!! "I'd turn that into the best piece of grazin' land in the
whole territory. Why when Sally saw it she'd....." By this time I had my
hand over my head. Mark asked me what was the matter. I told him I
thought I was out in the sun too long. He told me I better take it easy
and to think about what he had said. He headed out to do his chores.
Boy, I think I was gone now! I was trying to figure out how a 13 year
old boy suddenly decided he was going to get married. I watched him walk
out the door, then I thought more on the strange conversation I’d just
I just had to head into town. I wanted to tell Milly about this and see
if she knew anything about how Sally felt. Milly found it funny. "Oh
Lucas.....you can't be serious."
"I am and so is he!"
She stuttered around for the right words. "You know perfectly well it
must be some kind of faze he must be going thru," she finally managed to
"Sure.....but I'd like to know what Sally has to say about it! She must
know how old he is! She doesn't strike me as the type of girl that would
lead Mark on."
Milly got all defensive on me then. "Now just a minute Lucas!” She stood
right in front of me as she spoke. “I'm sure Sally has had nothing to do
Just then Sally came out. She told Milly she was leaving now. Sally was
going on a picnic with Bruce Henry at Miller's Pond. Sally then asked me
how Mark was. She said she hadn't seen him since the church social and
she'd like him to play his guitar for her again real soon. She then
left. "Does that answer your question," Milly asked.
“Bruce Henry, huh?”
Milly nodded as we watched her leave. “Nearly every day. I can’t say
that I exactly approve, but he is more her age. Besides, she’s going
home day after tomorrow.”
So, it was one-sided. I knew Mark would never take my word for it – I
had to show him she wasn’t interested without actually telling him
myself. I had to show him. It was the only way. So I took him by
Miller’s pond. He was so smitten he couldn’t think on anything else. He
sang “Something Special” as we walked. Then he stopped. He saw Sally and
Bruce picnic by the pond. She was feeding him and they were laughing. It
was obviously more then a friendly picnic! I watched the hurt creep over
his face. I allowed him to watch only for a moment as reality sunk in.
"Come on son, we better go. I think we're intruding."
I knew he was hurt, but it was the only way. I allowed my boy to deal
with it in his own way. We didn’t talk about it until that night.
That night, I was sitting out on the porch smoking my cigar. Mark came
to stand in the doorway. "I guess you think I'm kinda silly, huh?" He
sat down next to me.
"Why should I think that?" I asked.
"Well...all that talk I was makin'."
"You mean about settlin' on the land? Maybe gettin' married. No
Mark...my only thought was maybe you were a little too young." We looked
at each other. "You know son, I saw a colt once who got himself into a
lot of trouble. He ran away from his mother to try and get at some green
grass on the other side of a fence. He got his head stuck." He asked
what happened to him. "Oh she got him out alright once she caught up to
him. You know a funny thing I think she got it across to him that if
he'd wait a while, 'till he was full grown, he'd be able to jump that
fence and get all the grass he wanted."
Mark knew what I was saying. "You knew they were down there, didn't
"Yes son, I knew. You angry with me?"
"I was for a while but...but now I guess I'm kinda angry with Sally."
"Why? You figure she lead you on?"
"Course not! It's just that…well…she should know better!" I asked him
how. "Kissin' Bruce Henry!"
I stopped him right there. "Now wait a minute Mark! They were not
"Well maybe they weren't and maybe I'm not the right one for her! Maybe
I'm too young and all that! But golly Pa...Bruce Henry! He's not good
for a girl like Sally! He's got a mean streak in him a yard wide! She
should know about it...before she gets hurt." I told him he was right.
"Pa...you've had more experience then I have...how do you tell a girl a
thing like that?"
"You'll find a way son. You know Milly and I are having dinner tomorrow
night. Why don't you come along? Sally's leaving the day after tomorrow
and if she's not busy I'm sure she’ll join us. She did tell me she'd
like you to play your guitar for her again."
He was pleased. "She did?" I shook my head at him.
Mark had asked Sally to dinner, but she already had made plans. Mark
told her he wasn't that hungry anyway. He thought he'd sing for her
until whoever she was waiting for came. He again sang “Something
Special” for her as he looked at her and smiled. Just as he was
finishing up the song Bruce Henry rode up. Mark started to sing another
He decided to show her the truth about Bruce Henry
the only way he knew how.
be patient while this song loads, it may take a few seconds to load
but is well worth the wait!
note..... when clicking on the link to this sound wav - it will
download to your computer.)
Bruce wasn’t too happy about his singing to
Sally. He climbed off his
buggy and walked up to them. "What's this?" Bruce asked.
Mark suddenly stood up and faced him. "What do you think your doin' any
how? Can't you see I'm trying to romance my girl?"
"Mark!" Sally exclaimed.
"What's he talkin' about?" Bruce asked then.
"Well I'll tell you what I'm talkin' about” Mark shouted as he went
face-to-face with Bruce. “I…I don’t like trail bums like you pushin' in
when I'm busy! Now beat it!"
Mark’s plan was working. Bruce was getting angry. “You better watch what
you’re saying, kid!”
Mark folded his arms. “Well, look who’s talking!”
“Mark, please!” Sally begged.
But Mark ignored her. He put down his guitar and put up his fists.
“Well, ya'…Yaw anta make something of it?”
Bruce gave a laugh and pushed Mark down. “I can’t be bothered!” Then he
took Sally’s arm as they started down the boardwalk. But Mark bolted out
of the chair and Mark gave Bruce a shove.
Bruce turned and punched Mark hard. That sent Mark flying off the porch
down onto the ground. Sally begged him to stop. Bruce thought he needed
a lesson. Sally told Bruce that Mark was just a boy. “So what?” Bruce
Mark came up out of the dirt and came toward Bruce. Bruce punched him
again, and again Mark fell into the dirt. Bruce then grabbed Sally and
told her to come with him. Mark jumped up again and reared toward Bruce.
Bruce again punched him. This time, Mark just laid in the dirt. He’d had
So had Sally. She was mortified! Bruce ordered her to go with him as she
bent down to check on Mark. “Come with you after doing this? You’re
horrible! Just horrible!” Bruce told her that Mark had started it, but
she told him he had no right. “Look at you! You’re a beast!”
“Now you listen here. Anybody that treats me like that and starts
shoving me around get the same thing.” He was yelling at her. “I don’t
take nothing from nobody!”
Sally turned. “Including me, I suppose!” He agreed that she was included
in that. She never wanted to see him again. She told him to leave, and
Then she turned her attention back to Mark. Mark was going to soak up as
much attention as he could, and that was for sure! He grinned as she
turned back to him, giving him her undivided attention.
Milly, Mark, and I saw Sally to the stage the next day. She hugged Milly
and shook my hand. Then she turned to Mark. "I'll be a year older next
year!" Mark announced.
Sally smiled at his persistence. "So will I."
"Oh...I didn't think about that!" Mark stated bashfully as he turned and
glanced at me. Then she kissed Mark on the cheek and thanked him for
everything. He thought she would be mad, but she wasn't. He did her a
favor. She kissed him again. Sally said goodbye. Mark helped her up into
the stage and closed the door. Then the stage left.
The silly dazed look was back! "She kissed me," said Mark. Then his eyes
piddlin' stuff.....Cheryl Holdridge played Sally Walker. This
was Mark's first real crush! Cheryl, like Johnny, was a Mouseketeer too. What other
appeared on The Rifleman?
Richard Evans appeared in two
episodes ― Sins of the Father
as Shep Coleman, the arrogant young punk who pushed Andy Moon into
killing him ―
A Young Man's Fancy as Bruce Henry, again he plays
a arrogant young punk, this time he liked Sally and pushed Mark
Joan Taylor played Milly Scott. Milly
bought The General Store from Hattie Denton. Hattie had to leave to
go and help her sister in Denver. Joan Taylor appeared in eighteen
episodes as Milly Scott and was introduced to The Rifleman
in Miss Milly.
Joe E. Benson appeared in The Rifleman many times, probably
more times than listed. Sometimes credited & sometimes not.
*Please note: In
Dark Day at North Fork he appeared as two different characters - as
one of the townsmen & the bartender.
Joe was a good friend & a neighbor of Chuck's. He helped Chuck build a
tree house for the boys and also help build the addition onto the house
which was later called the den. (One of the several
appeared in thirteen episodes
― Death Never
Rides Alone as one of the townsmen at the saloon ―
as one of the townsmen ― Gun Shy as a the townsman/man
getting off of the stage ― The Decision as one of the
Executioner as the man reading the newspaper ―
Day of Reckoning
as a churchgoer ― Guilty Conscience as one of the townsmen
Which Way'd They Go? as a barfly ―
Outlaw's Shoes as one of the townsmen ― The Challenge
as one of the townsmen ―
Blind as one of the townsmen ― A Young Man's Fancy as one of
the townsmen ― End of the Hunt as one of the townsmen.
You can see Tom in
Rifleman many times, probably more times then listed. He
always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Songs of The Rifleman
Can you name the episodes these songs were in?
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
around The McCain Ranch