"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
And the Devil Makes Five
(I hate snakes!!!!!)
No, I’ve tangled with a snake or two in my
time, so I’m not exactly a stranger to them. And I don’t mind snakes. As
long as the tend to their own business and stay out of mine, I’ll leave them
be. But when they get up close and personal with me, well n
there’s where I draw that line! Never in all my live-long days did I
ever…EVER…think I’d get this up close and personal with one!
You see, Mark and I were having some good ol’ quality father/son time. We
went fishing up in the mountains for three whole days! Boy, we’d forgotten
how hot it got down here – made me appreciate the mountains. I knew one
thing for sure though – we were never going to make it home with these
While we were looking for a place to camp, we noticed someone already
camping up ahead – it was Micah. We rode into his camp to see what he was
doing in this area.
When Micah heard us coming, he reached for his gun just in case. He said he
had been over to Marietta on some business. He knew we had gone on a fishing
trip and asked us if we caught anything. "A whole mess of speckled trout,"
said Mark proudly.
"Well now...that's better than eatin' beans out of a can. Got enough of them
trout for me boy?" I was surprised to hear someone else talking. Sure
enough, under a tree sat a prisoner of Micah’s.
"Scully Potter...I'm taking him back to North Fork to stand trial before the
circuit judge. He shot and killed Ted Bennett, the sheriff of Marietta a
couple of days ago," Micah explained
“Ted Bennett?” I glared at Potter. “Why?”
“No reason,” Micah answered. “He just hates lawmen and everybody connected
Potter started telling us how he liked his fish cooked. Micah informed him
that a man who‘s about to go to the gallows doesn’t get special privileges
for his last meal. Potter lifted his hat off his head. “You ain’t hung me
yet…lawman!” Then he gave an evil laugh
We cooked up the fish over Micah’s camp fire. The fish sure were mighty
tasty. Scully wanted more, but all we had left were beans. He figured he had
enough. He told Mark he was a real good cook, he made the fish just the way
he liked them. I decided that after Mark got the dishes cleaned up, we could
ride on another half hour or so before we bedded down.
Mark went to get the plates. Micah warned him to stay away from Scully. He
went to get Sully’s plates himself. But as Micah reached for his plate,
Scully hit Micah in the arm hard. “Pa!” Mark cried out.
I turned with rifle in hand and cocked
and pointed it straight at Scully. I hurried over to help Micah up. "How do
you figure that will do you any good?" I asked Scully.
"I don't like lawmen...I don't like nothing about 'em!" Scully yelled.
I took a look at
Micah's arm. It looked like a bad sprain. Micah told us everything would be
alright. “Lucas look, why don’t you and Mark go on? You shouldn’t have
stopped here in the first place. It’s not good for the boy.
I told Micah he wouldn't be able to use his arm for a couple of day. He
jerked his arm away from me. "I have to use it!" Again he told us to move
on. I told Micah to go for his gun. He couldn't even draw his gun. Scully
I told Mark to get out the bedrolls and we'd heat up some water so Micah
could soak his arm. “I’ll stand watch,” I stated as I looked at Scully.
Micah told me to listen to him. “I won’t listen, and don’t you argue!”
Scully laughed evilly as I started tending to Micah’s arm. “Now you look
after him good, Mr. Lucas.
Later that night, the camp had grown quiet. Mark and Micah were sleeping. I
thought Scully was too. In fact, it was so quiet that I almost dozed off
myself. Scully waited until he thought I was asleep then quietly started
moving toward me. I had my head turned away, but I was still very aware of
what was happening. When I realized he was on the move, I turned around.
“Uh-uh,” I said.
He froze in his tracks and started laughing. "You can't blame me for trying,
" he said.
Just then, I heard Micah stirring around. He couldn't sleep; his arm hurt
too bad. He told me he would stand watch. I handed him my rifle and told him
to call me if he needed me.
The night passed uneventfully. The next morning, Mark got up with Micah.
“Well, looks like everybody got a good night’s sleep!” Scully declared. “You
figure to make North Fork today, Marshal?”
"I do...tonight you'll be sleeping behind bars," Micah stated. Scully
laughed and then asked Mark if he was going to fix breakfast. He was hungry.
Mark told Micah that we had some cornmeal and that I made good flapjacks.
“Let your father sleep, son. He’s been up half the night!” Micah said he'd
stoke up the fire and Mark could brew up some coffee.
Scully told Mark to be sure and make the coffee strong and black. "Hey
Marshal...too bad you didn't get a hard night's sleep like the boy's Pa
there...he ain't moved an inch since he laid down.”
Mark turned and looked toward me where I was still sleeping. “He sure must
Mark got the coffee and flapjacks around and Micah told Mark to give Scully
breakfast while he went to fill the canteen. Mark slowly approached Scully
with his breakfast. “Hey boy,” Scully said as he started eating his
breakfast. “Yeah…this sure does beat it – how you cooked that fish last
night and now these here flaps…just the way I like ‘em! Hey, I tell you
what. Next time I hit the trail, I’m looking for you. You and me, we make a
team! Why anybody that cook’s like this-“ Mark was feeling uneasy being that
close to Scully. Scully kept talking to Mark until Mark interrupted him and
said he had to go wake me up.
Mark walked over to where I sleeping in my bedroll. "Pa...Pa...you better
wake up, breakfast is ready.” I didn’t move. “Pa come on...its morning!"
Still, I didn’t move. "Ah Pa come on..." He took my hat off of my face.
He was puzzled when he saw the look on my face, I was all sweaty and bug
eyed and unable to move. Mark seeing me like that – he knew something was
terribly wrong. "Pa...Pa...what's wrong?" I rolled my eyes. "Pa...Pa...say
something!" Just as he was starting to reach out to grab me, he heard a
noise. It was the sound of a rattlesnake. That’s when he realized what was
There was a rattlesnake trapped in my bedroll! I could see fear etched all
over his face. I wanted to tell him everything would be okay – but I wasn’t
sure how I was going to get out of this myself. I’d have to leave this
problem up to him and Micah to figure out!
Mark backed away slowly, suddenly fearful that any sudden move could send
the snake to attack me. Scully noticed Mark’s fear and wanted to know what
was wrong with me, but Mark said nothing. He hurried up to Micah. He
couldn’t quite get the words out. He told Micah I had a rattler in my
bedroll. “He can’t move!”
Scully started yelling, wondering what was going on. Micah demanded him to
keep his voice down. “You sure it’s a rattler?” Micah hurried over to me to
investigate for himself.
Scully continued yelling, wondering what was going on. Mark rushed up to him
and bent down in front of him. “Please…there’s a snake in my Pa’s bedroll…a
rattler. So just don’t make any noise. Huh?”
Scully thought this was truly funny. He started laughing as he hollered out
to Micah. "Hey how about that! Hey lawman...your gonna have your hands
full...cause that snake don't like where's he at!" Scully got to his feet
yelling..."Ain't' that right Mr. rattlesnake?"
Micah took the canteen and hit Scully with it; knocking him out. He then
unlocked Scully's chains so he and Mark could move him far enough away not
to bother anybody, especially the snake.
The snake just rattled and rattled. If
you don’t think I was scared…well…let’s just say I was terrified! I couldn’t
help but wonder how they were EVER going to get me out of this one!
Micah and Mark had to figure a way to get that snake out of my bedroll.
"You...you think we could shoot him," Mark wondered.
"No...we couldn't do that. It would have to be in the head...we can't even
tell where he is," said Micah.
“Well, we gotta
do something!” They were helpless. “You…You suppose I could grab him?” Mark
wondered then. “I’ll get my saddle gloves and what…with that blanket”
But Micah stopped that idea. He knew I wouldn’t approve of that either. Mark
looked at me. All I could do was look at him. “How long can he stay like
that?” Mark became upset. “Who knows what that snake might do!” Micah told
him to calm down.
Mark wanted to get his saddle gloves and try and grab the snake, but Micah
wouldn't let him. Mark started to get upset. Micah told him to calm down.
Scully finally came to. He called to Micah and told him he needed to see me.
"Hurry up...it's about that snake!"
Micah hurried over to him. "What do you want?"
He offered Micah some advice. Micah started to leave. “I’ve been around
these parts all my life! There ain’t much I don’t know about what lives
here. People…animals…snakes…One time I got stranded. Lost my horse. Had to
live off the land. I used up my bullets. And I wouldn’t have made it if I
hadn’t of caught this big rattlesnake with my bare hands.” Micah told him
they had thought of that already. Scully told him he was too scared. Micah
started to leave. “I’ll make a deal with ya!”
"No deals!" He asked for one of Micah's cigars, said he could use a smoke.
That gave Micah an idea. He asked Mark if he still had the knife that he got
him for his birthday. Mark said he did. He told Mark to cut a piece of reed
and to be careful not to break it. “How’s that gonna help Pa?” Mark
wondered. But Micah didn’t have time to explain. He told Mark to get going.
Micah cut the reed up to make a tube. He smoked his cigar and blew it up
into the tube. Micah looked at me. I understood what he was going to do and
gave him a slight nod to let him know I was ready. Micah burned a hole in my
blanket with his cigar. He was going to blow smoke up under the blanket,
hoping it would chase the snake out.
Before he started, he turned to ask Mark if his aim was pretty good. He told
Mark that if his planned work, he should wait until the snake was pretty far
away than shoot it. When we all understood what was going on, Micah put his
plan into action.
It didn't work. All it did was cause me to cough. I tried not to cough but
couldn't help it. It just irritated the snake.
Just then, Scully started yelling for Micah again. Micah rushed over to him.
He had to keep him quiet. Scully asked him if he was ready to make a deal.
He told Micah if they didn't soon get me out of the bedroll I would be baked
alive. It was getting hotter and hotter outside. Scully told Micah to hear
him out. He said he could save me. Mark wanted to know what Scully meant by
that remark. Micah told him it was just talk.
But Mark was desperate. He was willing to do anything to save me. “What do
you mean you can save my Pa?”
“Oh, did I say that?” Scully asked. Mark started to get up and leave, but
then Scully stopped him. “Wait a minute! Yeah, I reckon I did say that. I
also said that he’s gotta make a deal!”
"No deals," said Micah.
"Micah...please!" Mark was anxious. He knew time was short. Mark looked at
Scully "Go on."
"Like I told him...you gotta know how to handle a rattler. Now me...I know.
Fact is...that would be easy because he's under a blanket." Micah thought it
to be too dangerous. Scully said he figured the rattler would have a hard
time biting through the blanket. “I figure my chance would be pretty good.”
“I’m not talking about your chances!” Micah declared. “It’s him I’m thinking
"You got any other choices?” Micah knew he didn’t. Scully told Micah if he
took off the handcuffs he'd be willing to give it a try.”
“You mean set you free?”
“No, I didn’t say that!” Scully answered. “Once it’s over, why you can put
‘em back on me!” Scully explained his reason. “For awhile, I thought you’d
put a bullet in me. That would be quick….easy. That’s why I’ve been riling
ya.” Micah told him to get the point. “I think maybe I can help you save
that man’s life…you’d put a word in for me to the circuit judge. Maybe he’d
go easy. That’s the deal.”
Micah thought on that. "You might get off with life. That's all." said
"That's good enough.”
Mark turned and looked at me. "Please Micah," pleaded Mark. Micah agreed and
threw the keys to Scully and told him he would have a gun on him the whole
time and if he tried any tricks it would be his last. Scully said that was
Scully took the cuffs off his wrists and ankles. Then he stood up and slowly
made his way over to the bedroll. Micah and Mark followed him with rifles
trained on him.
The three of them slowly made it to my bedroll. The rattler started making
sounds as Scully stooped down by me. "Hey Mr. Lucas...everything's gonna be
alright now. I'm gonna help you get out from under there. Cause I'm gonna
get that snake." Scully then turned to Micah. "And then I'm gonna back up
and you better start shootin'! Cause that snakes gonna be mad. Alright?"
Micah nodded; he was ready.
Scully was making me nervous. He walked closer to my bedroll and stopped
down again. He was laughing and joking, but I didn’t see the humor in it. He
told me this wasn’t going to hurt a bit. “Now, you be sure that when I get
my hand in there between you and that reptile, that you roll away. Alright?”
Boy, but I was nervous! He felt around my blanket for the snake. The snake
started rattling. He was getting irritated. Scully smiled at me and assured
me that he’d get him. Suddenly, Scully turned and looked at Micah. “Suppose
uh…I was to say to you right now unload that gun and throw it away? And the
same thing to the boy. And if you don’t…”
That angered Micah. “You’d be a dead man!”
And my son…”You made a deal!”
“That’s right.” Scully laughed. “I did.”
Micah motioned for Mark to get
in position with my rifle. Scully sure was taking his time in doing this! He
was still joking about it. We were all anxious.
Suddenly, Scully grabbed the blanket with the snake and threw it at Micah as
he yelled out. Then he ran and took my rifle from Mark. Micah shot him.
Scully fell to the ground dead. Micah then turned and filled the snake with
Mark ran to me. I was covered in sweat
as I gasped in relief and exhaustion. Mark asked me if I was alright, but I
couldn’t talk. He ran to get me a drink of water. It was over!
We buried Scully and packed up. I told Mark to mount up. I was ready to go
home! I saw Micah starting to mount his own horse and went to give him a
“Lucas...do you think we can make it fifteen more miles to the next
waterhole before dark?"
"Well if you don't mind...I'd just as soon make it all the way to North
Fork. I don't relish sleeping in a bed roll again. Not for a while anyway,”
"I'll go along with that Lucas," said Micah. With that, I led the way
Chapman appeared in two episodes ― The Long Trek
as Stanley, the prisoner Micah was transporting to Santa Fe ―
And the Devil Makes Five as Scully Potter,
Michael was taking him back to North Fork to stand trial before the
circuit judge, he shot and killed Ted Bennett, the sheriff of Marietta.
Was this suppose to be the last episode?
And the Devil Makes Five the entry for the late great Arthur Browne Jr. says,
“When asked about the final episode of The Rifleman, Browne said
they came up with the plot of the snake in the bedroll because there was no
money in the budget. The show was being canceled and they had one more show
to do, so he wrote a plot in which Luke (Chuck Connors) and his son were out
on the trail. They didn't have to hire any big name stars to appear in the
episode and the scenery was cheap to put together”.
The episode being referred to seems unmistakably to be And The Devil
Makes Five, which, as you note on your site, was not the last episode
shown, whatever order it was written in. It was shown eighth from last, on
Feb 11, 1963. I wonder why it would have aired so far out of sequence. But
that’s definitely the only episode that takes place on the trail and
involves a snake in a sleeping bag, and was written by Mr. Browne.
Or could it be that after Mr. Browne wrote what he was told would be the
show’s last episode, some producer was able to come up with enough money to
write, shoot and show seven more episodes, to fill out the final season? If
so, that could mean that this hypothetical producer was cherishing the hope
that a successful conclusion to the season might prevent its cancellation
after all. A tantalizing possibility, if so....but sadly, one that didn’t
pay off. Thanks Woody Smith!
*I dedicate this episode And the
Devil makes Five to Marshall.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear
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