"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Angry Gun
One day, Mark and I were returning home from a cattle sale on the stage
coach. There were two other men on the stagecoach with us. Mark wanted to
know how long it would be before we were home. He didn’t like my answer: ten
or twelve hours. “It’s just the
sittin’ that bothers me. I always feel like I’m getting’ itchy!” Mark
complained. I told him maybe I should have left him at home. “Well gee, pa,
I don’t itch that much!” he suddenly insisted. I couldn’t keep from
laughing. I put hat on and dozed off.
Suddenly, the man across form us started talking to Mark. “That’s a fine
lookin’ rifle your pa’s got there!” he stated. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen
a lever action quite like that one.”
Mark informed him that I made it myself. He asked what I used it for.
“That’s all right what it’s for!” Mark answered. “My pa’s the best shot in
the whole world!” he suddenly bragged.
I wasn’t asleep enough to let him get away with that! “Mark, I told you not
to brag so much on that,” I reminded him quietly.
The man stated he saw me shooting in the matches at Fort Sumner. The man
thought I was a pretty good shot, almost as good as him. “We went to sale
our herd. We didn’t go for the match,” Mark explained. The man was bragging
on himself so much that Mark finally commented that he hadn’t seen him in
“I’m Johnny Cotton,” he said. “You didn’t see me because I didn’t enter.
Important business came first. But if I’d a entered, I’d a won!” he
"You’d a lost! I told ya', there ain’t nobody no better than my pa!”
Again, I had to correct my son. “There’s always somebody better, Mark.” Then
I looked towards Cotton and the other man. The coach hit a bump and I saw
that the man was handcuffed to the Marshal. Now I know what his important
As we rode along, I tried to doze off, but it was hard knowing my boy was in
a coach with an outlaw. So I dozed, but stayed aware of my surroundings.
This is something a father can do! Johnny thought I was asleep, so he tried
his hand at escaping. I opened my eyes to find his hand working it’s way up
my rifle. I reached out and grabbed his hand. This woke up the Marshal, and
he told Cotton to sit back and behave himself.
“I was just admiring that rifle of yours. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a
finer one!” Cotton explained.
“I like it,” I answered him.
“So much so, you don’t carry a handgun?” Cotton asked.
“Each man to his own,” I answered him as I wiped sweat off my neck.
“What do you got against pistols, McCain?”
“Nothing. They may come in handy for some men,” I explained. “I’m a rancher.
I use my gun for hunting animals, not men!”
The Marshall stated that a handgun is useless beyond 40 yards. Cotton
finally agreed that a rifle is good for a distance beyond 40 yards. “But
anything under that, there’s nothing like the feel of a cold iron handgun!”
The stage stopped to water the horses. Mark and I went to snack on apples
while we rested a few minutes. We sat on a hill and started eating. I
suggested to mark to get our canteens and go feel them up with some fresh
water. He obeyed and went to get them from the top of the stage.
Unfortunately, there were some men waiting to bushwhack us. One of the
bushwhackers grabbed Mark off the stage. Another shot the Marshal. I reached
for my rifle, but the gun man pointed the gun at me.
Mark came to stand beside me. Cotton simply walked up to me and grabbed the
money I had gotten for selling my cattle. Then he grabbed my rifle. Mark
started to say something about his taking the rifle, but I quickly hushed
him. I didn’t want anymore trouble than we already had! “You’re buying
yourself a lot of trouble, Cotton,” I warned.
One of the bushwhackers shot open the strongbox. They put the money in
Johnny’s saddlebags. It was very evident that Cotton was the leader of the
three-man gang. He even reached in my pocket and grabbed the rest of my
bullets. He then grabbed the rest of the fruit we had for our trip. Then the
gang rode off.
I watched the men leave, paying attention to the direction they were taking.
“You were worried about me, weren’t you, pa? If I hadn’t been along, you
would a done somethin’!” I didn’t want Mark feeling guilty, so I told him it
would have made no difference.
The Marshal was still alive, so I helped the driver get him back on the
stage. He wanted to hurry and get him to Ten Mile Station. I knew what I had
to do. I looked down at Mark. I didn’t want to leave him, but I knew I had
no choice. “Mason, see my boy to Mrs. Peterson’s. She’ll look out for him
‘till I come.” I said. I told him I had to go after them.
“Why your just right off in the head, McCain! You’ll never catch those men
on foot!” he stated. I knew they wouldn’t be riding their horses very much.
Suddenly, Mark called my attention. I bent down to him, gently touching him.
“But, you don’t even got your rifle. Do you hafta?” I could see worry all
over my little boy’s face!
But I had to be stern with him. “I have to, son.” I simply stated. “He took
all the money we’ve got.” I told him to wait at Mrs. Peterson’s and I’d be
there as soon as I could. He hugged me. He knew what I was doing was
I lifted him up and put him in the stagecoach then closed the door. “You’re
just plain bull-headed loco, McCain! You’ll never catch those men!” Mason
stated. I knew I had to try though. As the driver pulled away, Mark stuck
his head out the window and watched me for as long as he could. I stood and
watched the stagecoach disappear. The distance between us growing each
second. Finally, I turned and walked in the direction the men rode off in.
The gang watched the stagecoach leave. Then they started arguing over
counting the money. Johnny was holding the money and the other two wanted to
count it. But Johnny had other plans. He grabbed my rifle and pointed it
toward one of the men, letting them know he was in charge. I began trailing
them while they rode their horses through the rough mountain terrain to
avoid a posse.
As they were packing up from their camp, they spotted me. Johnny immediately
knew it was me and fired a shot at me. I had to fake being shot by falling
down the mountain side.
That was not a comfortable thing to do, but it worked! The men wanted to
make sure I was dead, so Johnny sent Blade Kelly down to check on me to make
sure I was dead. Johnny had promised Blade he’d wait for them. But he and
Jordan went on after Blade came down.
When he got down there, I was ready for him. I Surprised him by coming up
from behind and knocking the gun from his hand. Then we began fighting. At
one point, Blade was able to get the gun again, and I had to again knock it
out of his hand. It fell on some rocks and broke. I punched him three more
times. The third time, I hit him too hard and he died.
I was disappointed to discover that the gun was broken. But I was happy to
discover Blade’s horse at the top of the mountain. So I jumped on his horse
and went after Cotton and Jordan.
That night while they were camping, Johnny was laughing his fool head off.
This annoyed Jordan, who didn’t understand what was so funny. Johnny started
joking that maybe I was alive and killed Kelly. This worried Jordan. Johnny
had fun with this and annoyed Jordan even more. Jordan told Cotton that his
sense of humor would get him killed someday.
The next morning, I was back on their trail. I hurried ahead of them and
went up on top of a mountain, getting a trap ready. I had a pile of rocks
ready on top of the mountain to attack them with when they were at the
bottom. Sure enough, I got my chance. The two remaining outlaws stopped so
Jordan could fix his saddle at the bottom of the mountain. Only Jordan got
off, though. Johnny saw the rocks falling and screamed for Jordan to look
out. Jordan could only stare at the rocks coming down. They fell on top of
him, severely injuring him. He begged for Johnny to help him, but Johnny was
so evil that he just sat there and watched him die. In fact, while Jordan
lay there dying, he lit a cigar and smoked it while Jordan took his last
Johnny tried another shot at me but missed. Since he had my rifle he was
sure now he could kill me and then he'd have all the money for himself. I went down to check on Jordan. He was dead,
but Cotton had left his gun. So I grabbed it and stuck it in my pants. Then
I took off after the only remaining outlaw.
That night, Mark sat at the window in Mrs. Peterson’s house and watched for
me. My boy was worried sick about me, I know. He couldn’t sleep, worried if
I was okay. Mrs. Peterson came in to check on him and found him at the
window. “Won’t you try and sleep, Mark? It’s not gonna do you a bit of good,
you staying awake all night worrying. You’re pa’s gonna be all right.” She
tucked him into bed and left. As soon as Mark heard a horse and rider
outside, though, he sat up in bed, hoping it was me. I’m sure he was
disappointed when he realized it wasn’t.
I was trying to get back as fast as I could.
The next morning, I ran out of water. I knew today had to be the last day. I
got to a set of big rocks and looked around, trying to figure out where
Cotton was. It was then that I realized he was on top of the rocks waiting
for me. “Hi McCain! I’ve really enjoyed the game. Too bad it has to end!” He
knew he had me. He had my rifle. He thought I had nothing.
“I want to thank you for saving me the trouble of figuring out what I was
gonna do about Kelly and Jordan!” he said. That’s when I knew he was about
to shoot me. I dived behind a rock as the shot went off. It barely missed
I took out the gun I had. Out of desperation, I tried shooting it. I knew it
was a hopeless case, but I had to try! I fired two shots, then realized I
had a problem. Cotton wanted to prove to me that he was a good shot. He shot
at the knot hole, hitting it dead center. Then he fired another shot.
Suddenly, I got an idea.
Grabbing the piece of wood, I went to work. His shooting the knot hole
actually worked to my advantage. I stuck the gun in the knothole and lined a
twig up as a firing position. I was doing this as Cotton climbed higher up.
He had a perfect shot of me now. But he was like a sitting duck. I took my
first shot at him, barely missing him. He suddenly had fear in is eyes. I
didn’t miss the second shot. I fatally injured him. I grabbed the gun and
started climbing up to him. He sat down my rifle. I got up there in time to
see him fall over dead. I grabbed a hold of him to make the fall more
pleasant, laying him on the ground gently.
Now I had my rifle, my money, and the money from the strongbox back! It was
now time for me to get the most important thing in the world back in my
I raced towards North Fork on the horse. Mark was washing up when he heard
the horse racing up the road. He grabbed his shirt and ran out the door as
fast as he could. Somehow he knew it was me! As he ran up to me, I stopped
the horse, reached down and grabbed him in one motion. I hugged him close to
me and gave him a kiss. Then we pulled away and we looked into each other’s
eyes as I smiled joyfully. “How are ya', pa?” he asked me with a smile.
“I’m just fine, son!” I said with a big smile. Then I hugged my boy again.
Oh, it felt so good to have my boy back in my arms! I turned him around to
sit in front of me as we rode the rest of the way together into North Fork!
piddlin' stuff.....Vic Morrow appeared in two episodes ―
The Angry Gun as Johnny Cotton, he's the cowboy who took Lucas' rifle and
money ― Letter of the Law as Brett Stocker, he was the
cowboy who had double action handmade guns with the fancy gun handles. He
just had to come back and get them - that's what lead to his demise.
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.
Leo Gordon appeared in two episodes ―
Angry Gun as Abe Jordan, he was one of the gang members who came to
free Johnny ― Which Way'd They Go? as Stack Wade, the leader
of the gang and the one who claim Razor as his horse.
appeared in four episodes ― The Sharpshooter as Nancy
Hanavan, the clerk at the hotel ― The Actress as the Landlady,
she was the lady who tended Jacob until Lucas could fetch his
wife ― Eddie's Daughter as the lady who was talking to Eddie before the stage came in -
she gasped when she saw Lil stepped off the stage ― The Angry Gun
as Mrs. Peterson, the lady who took care of Mark until Lucas returned.
as Mason, Stagecoach Driver.
Joe Quinn as the
Marshal. who was taking Johnny Cotton to justice.
appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in
The Rifleman he was also a stunt
double for Chuck Connors.
appeared in twenty-three episodes as Johnny Crawford's stuntman. Not sure who doubled for Johnny in the episode of
Requiem at Mission Springs but he is a possibility, especially after that bad tumble Mark took.