"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Everyone stood on the street one day staring as four Union soldiers rode into town. They weren’t staring at the soldiers, though. They were staring at a great big wooden box tied on the back of a horse. Boys on their way to go fishing stopped and stared, pointing in amazement at what they saw. Others paused in their walk to the General Store, wondering what the box was all about.
The four men stopped in front of the Malory House. A sigh over the walkway said, “Welcome Senator Borden. The soldiers dismounted their horses and walked into the hotel. The leader of the group, Lieutenant Price, greeted Lou warmly. He announced that they had written ahead for reservations. Lou was glad they had. With the Senator in town, they were almost out of rooms!
They got two rooms. The Lieutenant got one room, and his men another. Lou offered to put the large box in storage, but the Lieutenant assured her they’d keep it with them. It was a present for the Colonel.
“I didn’t think she’d understand if I told her it was really a surprise for the senator,” the lieutenant told his men a little later when they were up in the room. They laughed.
The first thing the soldiers did when they got to their room was check the view. It was a perfect view of the main street and a good view of anyone entering the town.
They opened the book. The lieutenant smiled as he looked into the box. “That’s what I call a vote against the Senator!” he declared as he looked at the box’s contents. “One might say…the decisive vote!” For in the box was a Gatling gun!
We were having a North Fork Cattlemen's Association meeting in the Marshal's office. I was in charge of the meeting and I couldn't emphasize enough how important it was for statehood to come to North Fork and how it would open up new things for us. That was one of the main reasons Senator Borden was coming here. Tom Burroughs, one of our town folks asked why the senator would stop here. He felt the senator was a mighty big man to be stopping here in North Fork, which he classified a small town. “Now Tom, we’re not just cattlemen, we’re citizens. In his campaign for Statehood, Senator Borden considers our vote just as important as the vote of the richest cattlemen in the territory.”
Nils asked what I thought about New Mexico Territory becoming a state. “I’m in favor of it, Nils. Not only will it help the people in general, but us as cattlemen. For one thing, we’ll have better shipping and inspection regulations.
Tom was concerned about more taxes. “Of course it’ll mean more taxes, Tom. But those taxes will go for the building of new roads, schools, irrigation systems, things we've needed for a long time. Now Gentlemen, the west is growing. We can't be caught standing still. Senator Borden is due here tonight When he arrives, I would like to be able to tell him that he has the unqualified support of our association.” We didn't even have to put it to a vote, every man was with him.
I adjourned the meeting and started to leave when Nils approached me and asked me if I ever thought about going into politics. I told him I better stick to ranching, one thing about cattle, they can't talk back.
I thanked Micah for the use of his office. He asked me if we voted for or against. I told him for the statehood. I told him since the senator was coming in tonight I thought Mark and I would stay in town for supper. “That’s a good idea,” Micah teased me. “Keep the boy away you’re your cooking for awhile!” I just gave Micah one of my looks.
Just then, Mark rode up in the buckboard. I had left him to chores at the feed store. He came up to me an announced he got it all: 10 grain, 4 mash, and a sack of barley. It all came to $7.90. Mark folded his arms. “You know the price on grain went up 4 cents a sack?” I knew that. “Took an awful lot of talkin’ to get that price back down to where it belonged.” I looked at Micah. Unbelievable!
But Mark had a plan. "Now about the money I saved, Pa...Maybe I could put it away and start saving for that rifle I was telling you about." I told him to start washing up for supper. “Alright. But Pa, about that rifle-“ Mark started.
“We’ll talk about it later!” I said sternly. As Mark was getting ready to leave, Micah called to him. He tossed Mark the slingshot he was working on. "A sling shot" Questioned Mark.
"Well granted, it's not a rifle...but it's all David needed to slay Goliath," said Micah. Mark laughed and went on his way.
Amos, the telegraph clerk had just received a telegram for Micah. It was from the Provost Marshal at Fort Clayton. “Seems he has information, there might be an assassination attempt on the senator while he was on tour.” The telegram said that there were some men who were held up in Mexico and left three days ago.
The telegram upset me. “I know there’s a lot of opposition to statehood, but to stop it by assassination…” I couldn’t figure that out! Micah was glad that the troops were in town, they would be able to help us if we needed them. They were on patrol from Fort Clayton and would be around for a day or two.
Guess who was planning the assassination? While we were down on the street talking, the lieutenant and his men were up in the hotel room setting up the Gatling gun and positioning it just right so it would “cut him down.”
That night, Mark and I were having supper at the hotel when Lou came in to check on how everybody was doing. One of the soldiers, Coley, told Lou he wanted some more water. When she went to pour it, he grabbed her arm. “Easy, soldier. I’m not government property!” she warned him.
"A pretty girl like you shouldn't be so touchy. You got a beau lady or don't they grow them in a town like this?"
The lieutenant was upset by Coley's actions. The last thing he wanted was to draw attention to them. "That's enough Coley," he warned. Coley released Lou's hand and she walked away.
She then came over to us. She noticed we hadn't eaten our pie. "Don't you like the pie?" Lou asked.
"To tell you the truth Lou, your cook does better with meat and potatoes," I said.
My answer didn’t please Lou "It so happens I baked the pie!". Boy did I put my foot in my mouth that time! I was lucky I didn't choke on my coffee when she said that. Mark and I just sat there and looked at each other. When I saw the look on Lou’s face, I suddenly felt the urge to leave – and fast! "Well...come on son, we better get going." She said she would walk us out.
As we started to walk by the table where the soldiers sat, Coley put his leg up on the next table, blocking our way. "So that's the way it is, maybe stretch here is your beau," he said.
Lou asked him to move. "Why don't you get out of the ladies way?" I warned.
“Well now, looks to me like her way’s your way, stretch! Why don’t you speak for yourself?”
“Alright.” I stepped in front of Lou. “Why don’t you get out of my way?”
Coley started to get up when the lieutenant stopped him. "I told you before, that's enough!" The lieutenant apologized and told us that Coley was a new recruit and he had a lot to learn.
Something just didn't seem right here. We walked out into the lobby of the hotel; my mind was on something the lieutenant had said. "Some men think that by puttin' on a uniform they can act any way they want," said Lou in her feisty way.
“Hm?” I mumbled. I’d been thinking on something while she spoke. Lou could tell I was distracted and asked me what was wrong. “Oh nothing,” I answered. “Dinner was fine, Lou.”
Lou put her hands on her hips and looked at me sternly. “Even the pie?”
Hm, now how could I answer that? I didn’t have to because while I was trying to come up with a safe answer, the solders walked by us and went upstairs. I said goodnight and we went on our way.
After we got outside, I stood on the porch still mauling over something. Mark noticed and asked me if something was wrong. Yes, something didn’t sit right. “Well, that lieutenant said that Coley was a recruit, yet he had a hash mark on his sleeve. That means three years regular service.” Mark then looked at their horses still tied up to the hitching post. He mentioned that they didn't take very good care of them.
I went to look them over and saw their horses were Mexican shod. I told Mark to get the buckboard and meet me at Micah's. I was unaware that two of the soldiers were watching me as I looked over the horses and they saw me go over to the Marshal's office. The lieutenant told Will, one of the soldiers, to go the back way and see what he could find out. They have come over three hundred miles to assassinate the senator and they were going to do it, nothing was going to get in their way.
I shared my suspicions with Micah. “You mean you don’t even think they are soldiers?” Micah asked me.
“I don’t know, Micah. But suppose they’re not. I can think of a lot of better ways to put North Fork on the map then by having the United States senator shot here,” I answered him. Micah figured they could have ambushed some real troopers in the hill country. Micah said he would wire Fort Clayton and see if he could get some information on Lieutenant Price and his men. I told Micah I'd gather up a few men and ride out to meet the senator. I wanted to stay close to the senator until Micah got to check out the soldiers. He told me he should have an answer by the time I came back.
Will watched me ride out of town and he saw Micah go into the telegraph office. Amos told Micah he was just getting ready to close. Micah told him to stay open for a while, he wanted a telegram sent to Fort Clayton and wanted an answer as soon as possible. Just as Amos was getting ready to send the telegram, Will came in to the telegraph office holding a gun on the two of them. Will grabbed the telegram out of Amos’s hand. “What’s the big idea?” Micah asked.
“If you don’t mind, Marshal, I’d like to see what you’re so anxious to get through to Fort Clayton.” He read it. “Now how’d you know?”
“I didn’t. Until just now,” Micah answered.
Just then Mark pulled up with the buckboard. Will told them to get rid of Mark or he'd blow a hole through both of them.
Mark was on his way to Micah's office when he saw Micah was in the telegraph office. He walked in and started to talk to Micah. “I thought your Pa told you to go home!” Micah shouted.
“But Micah, he said…” Mark started.
But Micah interrupted him. “You don’t listen to anybody, do you?” Micah spoke in a really mean, hateful voice.
“What’s the matter?” Mark asked.
Suddenly, Micah reached out and slapped Mark across the face really hard. Mark gasped in shock and just stared at Micah. He couldn’t believe Micah had just done that! "Now go on home Nils! You hear me Nils? Go home!" Mark wasn't sure what to make out of this, he was hurt and confused. Micah wouldn't lay a hand on him for any reason - and Micah called him Nils.
Will commented that Micah was really tough on Mark. “It’s the only way to handle the boy.”
Will sent Amos over to the hotel to get the lieutenant. As Amos started out the door, he warned him not to talk to anybody or North Fork will have a dead lawman on their hands.
Mark rushed over to Nils’s place. Nils could tell he was really upset about something. “One of the troopers who checked in at the hotel is holding Micah at the telegraph office!” Mark declared. Nils thought Mark might be imagining things at first. “Not after he slapped me and then called me Nils!” Mark declared. “Something’s might wrong!”
Mark wondered where I was. Nils told him we’d gone to meet the Senator. Nils decided he better get out there and let us know what was going on.
When the lieutenant got to the telegraph office Will showed him the telegram Micah was getting ready to send. The lieutenant stood before Micah. “I’m going to put to you one question, Marshal. Three or four riders left here a little while ago. Where were they riding to?” Micah told him we were going to the county fair. That wasn't the answer the lieutenant wanted, so he slapped Micah across the face.
One of the soldiers sat down by Micah. “Answer the lieutenant, Marshal. We don’t want to hurt anybody.” Micah stayed quiet.
They decided they’d just start killing people around here. Colby grabbed Amos by the shirt and hit him. “Hold it!” Micah suddenly said. “They…went out to meet Senator Borden…to escort him to town.”
Then they heard a rider. It was Nils heading out of town. Lieutenant Price told Draft, another one of the soldiers, to go after him and bring him back. “Nobody else leaves town. Not until what we came here to do is done!” The lieutenant then told Will to stick around outside and let them know when the senator was coming. He then took the butt of his gun and broke the shaft of the telegraph. They took Micah over to their hotel room with them and waited for the senator to come into town.
I ran into Senator Borden outside of town and told him who I was. He was surprised to see me out on the road, he’d expected to meet me in town. “Our Marshal had a wire that there might be an attempt on your life.” I wanted to escort him into town.
“I appreciate your concern, Mr. McCain, but I can assure you there’s no cause for alarm. Men in public life are frequently the target of such threats, but fortunately, they are usually just that – threats.”
I hoped that was all it was. I told him about the four soldiers that arrived earlier and the possibility of them not being who they said they were. We would still like to ride along if he didn't mind. He said it would be his pleasure.
Mark was still in town waiting for me to get back. He was staying out of sight. When he saw that Will was waiting outside of the hotel he climbed up onto the roof of the hotel to wait and watch. He tried to peak into the window of a hotel room to see what was going on. It was dark and he saw one of the soldiers sitting there. Mark lost his balance and he made a noise. The soldier hurried to the window and looked out. He didn’t see anything because Mark had managed to hide on the side of the wall.
Mark then saw Draft bring Nils back to town. "You'd think a man that fat wouldn't be able to ride that fast," said Draft. Draft told them he could see dust about a mile behind them, which meant the senator wasn't far behind. They took Nils over to the hotel with them. Mark waited and watched quietly outside of the window where the soldiers were staying. He had no idea there was a Gatling gun inside the room.
But Micah did! The soldier guarding Micah told him they had stolen it from the Mexican border patrol. The lieutenant got the gun ready for the assignation.
They could hear horses approaching the town. Will signaled to Price and hid behind some barrels. We slowly approached North Fork. Nils and Micah knew if they were to try and do something it had to be now. Nils charged at Draft and Micah at Coley. They tried their best but it didn't work. They couldn't do anything.
The two soldiers kept an eye on Micah and Nils while Price took aim. Mark watched from the balcony. He suddenly saw the Gatling gun slowly poke out of the window. He realized things were bad…really bad! Mark pulled out his slingshot as he thought on a way to stop the assignation.
As we rode into town, I stopped and looked around. The senator asked me what was wrong. “Town’s awful quiet, Senator,” I answered softly. “And the Marshal should have been here to meet us.”
The Gatling gun took aim as I spoke. Mark slowly aimed his slingshot toward the window and shot through the window. That broke the window, causing a loud noise. It surprised Price and the gun went off repeatedly.
I ran and hid behind the buckboard. I aimed at Colby who was in the hotel room and I managed to shoot him on my third shot. Colby flipped over the bed and landed on the floor with a hard thud.
But no one paid no mind. Bullets were still flying all around. I had to keep myself protected behind the wagon. Finally, I was able to take aim. I fired three bullets fast. I shot Price. He was wounded, but kept shooting and shooting. Will was behind the barrels which were in back of the buckboard that I was hiding behind. I didn't know he was there. He came out from behind the barrels and was getting ready to take a shot at me when Price, still shooting wildly, hit him with one of the bullets. Price had killed Will. Price then collapsed and died.
Draft was the only one left. He held the gun on Micah and Nils. “You better…give me that gun, soldier,” Micah ordered. He didn’t move. Micah started toward him, but Draft started backing up. He could go too far though. Micah took the gun from his hand without a fight. It was finally over.
I was still behind the wagon waiting for somebody…anybody…to tell me the coast was clear. “Lucas,” Nils called from the window. “It’s all over.” I walked out onto the street toward the hotel. I stared right at the Gatling gun.
The next day the senator was getting ready to leave town and embark on his journey. "Well...I do believe this is the most explosive reception I’ve ever received. Seriously, I want to thank you Mr. McCain...you Marshal...you, Mr. Swenson.....and you young Mr. McCain, I want to thank you too. And I want you to remember something. Right now, statehood for this territory is little more then a dream...but there is no stopping it. When men of good will, men of vision stand together, they're unbeatable. I doubt it will ever come in my life time, but you'll see it!” He looked at Mark. “And I want you to know it makes me proud to leave this dream and this land, it such fine hands.” He then tipped his hat, got on the stage and rode off.
Mark and I walked down the street together, feeling humble and proud.
piddlin' stuff.....New Mexico Territory was the 47th state in the USA; it became a state on January 6, 1912.
Lou can't bake a pie? Oh my! She has 19 more episodes to learn! ; )
I know she can do it!
John Milford appeared in eleven episodes ― (Hmmmmm.....does this set any record or maybe there's a tie or maybe someone did more then John? Who could the other Cowboy be?) ― The Blowout as Ross Porter, one of the Porter brothers who was after Al Walker ― The Coward as Dub, he was the one who was reading from George's Journal and making fun ― The Horse Traders as Jonah Winters, he was the dude with the knife ― A Time for Singing as Bro Hadley, he dude who was a bit slow ― Meeting at Midnight as Morgan ― The Pitchman as Marsh Watson, he was the one who tied Mark up ― Baranca as Hadley, he was the one who killed Sanchez ― Dark Day at North Fork as Jack Solby, he tried to kill Lucas when he was blind ― The Clarence Bibs Story as Reade, he was one of the cowboys edging Clarence on to kill Tanner ― The Journey Back as Jess Grady, as one of the squatters, he was the one who held the rifle on Will Temple ― The Assailants as Lt. Price, the soldier in charge.
Steven Marlo appeared in four episodes ― The Patsy as Doke Marvin, one of Sully Hobbs' gang ― The Hero as The Domino Kid, he was the one that Colly Vane shot in the back ― The Assailants as Sgt. Will is the one who confronted Micah in the telegraph office ― The Anvil Chorus as Stagg the cowboy who said he wouldn't give his guns to nobody.
Noam Pitlik played Trooper Dalt. He was the one who Lieutenant Price who was told to go after Nils.
William Bryant played Trooper Coley in The Assailants he was the trooper who had his eye on Lou ― The Apprentice Sheriff as Sandy Dixon, the cowboy who Dan shot and killed ― Karl Hollis in Gun Fire as one of Gordo's gang pretending to be a cattle buyer ― Jerry in Shivaree one of the rowdy cowboys.
Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory. Patricia was first introduced to The Rifleman in Lou Mallory. She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a razor-sharp businesswoman. She joined the cast in the fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes. Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott owner of The General Store.
Edward Platt played Senator Borden.
Benny Carle played Amos Blaine, he was the telegraph clerk.
Henry Allin played Tom Burroughs. He was the one who asked the question in the Cattlemen's Association meeting why the Senator was coming to North Fork.
Tom Kennedy ― Death Never Rides Alone as one of the townsmen at the saloon ― The Assailants as one of the townsmen ― Gun Shy as a the townsman/man getting off of the stage ― The Decision as one of the townsmen ― 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 ― None So 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 The Rifleman many times, probably more times then listed. He always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Jimmy Noel appeared in four episodes ― The Assailants ― Outlaw's Shoes as one of the townsmen ― Short Rope for a Tall Man as one of the Crown Henchmen ― The Apprentice Sheriff as a Barfly.
Joe Higgins played Nils Swenson. Is it Nils or is it Nels/Niles? What is his last name.....Swenson/Svenson aka The Blacksmith? Joe Higgins holds the record for playing Nils or was it Niles or Nels? There were four episodes that Joe did not play Nils or was it Niles or Nels?
He played the bartender in Strange Town — Rafe the blacksmith in The Wyoming Story part 2 — Short Rope for a Tall Man as Henry Schneider the horse thief — Stopover as Scotty the Stagecoach Driver.
Stopover was the only episode to run one day over schedule.
Archie Butler—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.
Bloopers - The Assailants
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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