"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Deadly Image
It all started late one night when two men rode into a camp. “We
found one of our steers slaughtered down the way,” one man stated.
That beef your roasting…We don’t h old for poachers, mister.” But as
the man at the camp fire slowly stood up, Len Richards recognized
the face. “McCain! I’m sorry. I didn’t know that was you. I’m sure
you’ll wanna make good for the steer.” The stranger, who Richards
thought was me, aimed and fired, killing Richards’ brother. Then he
aimed his rifle at Richards. “No! No, McCain!” he held up his hand
as he pleaded for his life.
Richards turned and rode out of there as the familiar stranger
A few days later, Len Richards rode into North Fork and went
straight to the Marshal’s office. “I want you to arrest Lucas
That surprised Micah, to say the least. “Arrest-What are you talking
“He shot down my brother in cold blood!”
“Lucas?!” Micah asked as he stood up from his desk. “Why, that’s
“Impossible?” Richards asked. “I was there.”
Just then, I walked in to talk to Micah. I saw Mr. Richards there
and went to shake his hand. “Arrest him, Marshal,” Richards said
“Now, now just a minute here! Let’s find out what this is all
about,” Micah said.
I didn’t know what was going on. “It was him alright! I saw him with
my own eyes,” Richards declared.
“Saw what?” I asked.
“Oh, stop it McCain! After what you did!” Richards yelled at me.
Micah tried to calm him down. He wanted to know what happened.
Richards began explaining in a calm voice. “Ab and I were riding the
fence. We came across a dead steer and we stopped to investigate.”
He stopped pacing and looked straight at me. “No disease killed that
steer. Someone slaughtered it.”
"Are you saying I killed it?" I asked.
"I'm saying you killed my brother!" Richards yelled at me.
He came towards me. “You did it alright!” He turned to Micah. “He
and another man had made camp and they were roasting the beef. I
merely asked him to make good for the steer. Instead, he picked up
that rifle and shot my brother, Ab!” I told Ab I hadn’t been up in
Red Wing in months.
It had happened two days ago just after dark. "It couldn't have been
Lucas! He was right here in town two days ago. I know. I saw him at
"That's right; I sold one of my mares!" I told Richards.
He insisted it was me. “I’ve known you long enough and you were
carrying that rifle!”
“Now wait a minute,” I said angrily. “This man might a looked like
Micah asked Richards if the man he saw was dressed like me. Richards
told him the man was wearing a blanket coat. “Len…look at my face,”
I said, hoping to calm him and make him really think this through.
"It was your face!
It was unshaven, dirty and you had a mustache.
There was a scar..." Richards stopped.
Now we were getting somewhere. I pointed out that I didn’t wear a
mustache and had no scar. Len realized he was wrong. Micah reminded
him it was dark and the light was bad. He said anyone could have
made that mistake. Len sat down feeling defeated. “Len…Come on, Len.
You know me better than that, don’t you?” I asked as I leaned in
“I’ve come such a long way and it seems to be for nothing at all,”
Len declared. Micah offered him a cup of coffee, but he said no. “I
couldn’t believe it was McCain. Didn’t say a word, just raised the
rifle.” He started to leave.
I stopped him. He’d had a long ride. I told him he should stay in
the hotel tonight. Micah said he’d fixe it up for him. Micah
wondered if I was going to be around a while. I told him I was
delivering a mare, then going home. I told Len I was sorry about his
brother. Then he left.
That night, who do you think should ride into town but the real
killers. They went straight into the saloon. Sweeny was busy
stocking the shelves and was up on a ladder when he heard someone
come in, so he just said he’d be “with you in a minute.”
The man who killed Ab, Bantry, walked up to the saloon girl sitting
at the table. “We want a drink,” he stated. “And one for the lady.”
“First time you ever took any notice of me, Mr…McCain.” She suddenly
realized it wasn’t me. Bantry had a hand on her face and was smiling
“Hold on, Lucas,” Sweeny said.
The saloon girl was scared. Something didn't feel right. She stood
up, saying she had to leave. “No, you ain’t going! You’re staying
with me!” He grabbed her and started walking toward the bar. He
tapped Sweeney with his rifle. Sweeny turned. "Hey, I said I want
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Sweeny said as he stepped off the ladder. “I…took
you for somebody else. I thought for sure you were Lucas McCain!"
"Whiskey!" Bantry ordered. Sweeney kept starring at Bantry; he just
couldn't get over how much this man looked like me. "What are you
gawking at...like I'm McCain?"
"You two sure enough alike to be brothers," said Sweeney.
That was the wrong thing to say. Bantry grabbed Sweeney and asked
him what he knew about his brothers. “This McCain…he live here in
town?” He told Bantry that I lived about three miles out on the
south road. “What is he?” Bantry shoved Sweeny back. “Sod buster?”
“No, he’s got a nice little ranch.”
“Ah, a nice little ranch,” Bantry mocked him.
“You do look like Lucas McCain,” the saloon girl said then.
He mocked her. Then he grabbed her and spun her around. “Get out of
here!” His partner, K.C. chased her out as if she were a chicken.
K.C. then returned to the bar and suggested they have that whisky.
Sweeny just stood there so Bantry grabbed him by the back of his
neck and shoved his head forward. He was very clear in what he
wanted. He motioned for Sweeney to pour him a drink. Sweeney was so
nervous that when he poured Bantry's drink he spilled some. Bantry
told him about it. He then hit Sweeney's arm and the bottle broke.
"Now you spilled it all," said Bantry. Sweeney cleaned up the mess.
Sweeney told him he was all thumbs that maybe he should pour his
Bantry tasted it. “Is this the best you got?” Sweeny said yes.
Bantry spit it out. “Rotten! Rotten whisky…Rotten town. People, all
mangy and rotten!”
“It’s the best we got,” Sweeny announced. “Town, whisky, and people.
Course, there’s some bigger towns to the south. Maybe you boys would
find them more to your liking.” Then he turned back to his work.
That made Bantry really mad. He shoved everything off the bar and
reached over to grab Sweeny. He laid Sweeny down on the bar and put
his rifle to Sweeny’s throat. “Now, you trying to tell us to get out
of town?” He made Sweeny say no sir. “Now you listen to me. My name
is Bantry! Earl Bantry! I don't want no one tellin' me I look like
this McCain. You understand?" Sweeney was scared. He told him he
Just then. one of the cowboys that was in the saloon ran out and
over to get Micah. K. C. watched him run into the office, then he
saw Micah walk out, shot gun in hand, and head over to the saloon.
He warned Bantry that Micah was coming. They were ready for him.
Micah walked right up to them. “I’m gonna have to ask you and your
partner to come along with me,” he announced. Bantry asked why. “A
man fitting your description killed Ab Richards up in Red Wing.”
“Well, from what I hear, I ain’t the only one fittin’ that
“The other man’s been cleared. There’s a witness in town. I think
he’ll be able to identify you. So uh, come along with me, both of ya'.”
K. C. started easing away. Micah turned to stop him and Bantry hit
him over the head with a whisky bottle. Micah fell to the floor, out
cold. Bantry picked up his rifle and started to cock it. “Earl,
don’t kill him,” K. C. cried.
Bantry pushed K. C. out of the way. “Oh, what good is he?”
Bantry finished cocking the rifle. K. C. grabbed onto him. “Earl,
he’s a Marshal! You kill a Marshal, you’ll have every lawman in the
territory after us, Earl.”
Bantry to the cigar out of his mouth and threw it on the floor. He
agreed not to kill the Marshal. Bantry and K.C. left after ordering
Sweeny to give him another bottle of whisky.
K.C. was ready to leave. They could be miles out of there by dark.
“No, no we ain’t leaving just yet, K.C.”
“You just said that-“ K.C. realized Bantry had a plan. “Come on,
there ain’t no sense making any more trouble here.” Bantry said he
had an idea. “Earl?” Bantry looked down at him. “You uh…You got your
mind set on doin’ something, haven’t ya'?”
Bantry nodded. “We’re gonna pay us a visit to this McCain fella.”
So they were on their way to my ranch. I wasn’t there. Mark was home
alone getting supper ready. He heard me coming and quickly put the
plates on the table. He knew I’d be hungry after my long ride. The
door opened. “Pa?” Mark turned to greet me, a smile on his face. But
when he saw two strangers standing in the doorway, he lost his
“K.C., check the barn,” Bantry ordered. Then he walked right into
the house and checked the bedroom.
“Who are you?” Mark asked.
“Nevermind, kid,” Bantry answered as he opened the door to the
bedroom and peered inside. Mark wanted to escape while Bantry’s back
was turned. “Stay where you are, boy!” Bantry demanded suddenly.
Mark froze in his spot. He walked up to Mark and hovered over him.
Mark told him I wasn’t there. That wasn’t a good enough answer. Mark
told him I was delivering a horse. Earl wanted to know if anyone
else lived there. Mark shook his head no. Suddenly, Bantry heard
footsteps on the porch. He turned toward it with his rifle. It was
“When’s he coming back?” Bantry asked Mark then. He threw down his
rifle. Mark just stared at the two outlaws and didn’t answer.
“When’s he coming back? Don’t make me repeat it.”
"I don't know!" Mark answered in a shaky voice.
Bantry smelled the stew cooking. K.C. wanted to leave. He hoped he
wasn’t planning on staying. “That wouldn’t be smart. That town
Marshal knows you now.”
“That mangy Marshal, forget about him!” Bantry ordered. “Put the
horses in the barn. We don’t want to scare McCain when he comes
home, do we?”
“Earl, what are you thinkin’ of?” K.C. suddenly yelled.
Bantry grabbed his partner. “Now K.C., you’ve been getting’ awful
contrary lately and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.”
Bantry ordered Mark to set some more places at the table – he’d be
having company. “I don’t think there’s enough,” Mark answered.
Bantry grabbed Mark roughly by the shirt. “Where’s your old man keep
Mark didn’t answer. “Why did you come here?” he asked instead.
“Where is he?”
“You sure look like my pa, but that’s about all!”
“Where does he keep the whisky?”
“ If I tell you will you leave?" Mark asked.
Earl mocked him....."If I tell you will you leave?" When Mark
wouldn't tell him he started looking for it himself breaking
whatever was in his way. Mark didn’t want him destroying our house,
so he rushed to the cupboard where I kept it and gave it to Bantry.
“That’s better,” Bantry stated. “Now next time I ask you a question,
boy, you better answer. You understand?”
They made themselves right at home. Mark walked up to the table. He
slammed the glasses down on the table. "There's only enough for Pa
and me! Now you better leave before he comes home and finds out what
you did! Or you'll really be sorry mister!"
“Well now, if you ain’t the spunkiest, yes sir! Real spunky kid.” He
slapped Mark on the cheek a few times. “But, I don’t like kids.
Especially fresh ones. So now, you get that supper on the table or
I’ll make you wish you never opened your yap to me.”
Mark was mad that he was being treated like this. He threw Bantry’s
hat in anger. Bantry and K.C. just laughed as they drank my whisky
and waited for me to get home.
Bantry and K.C. heard me ride up. They just sat at the table. Mark
started for the door to warn me, but Bantry went and blocked his
way. “Pa!” Mark started to call. Bantry stuffed a hand over Mark’s
mouth to keep him quiet.
When I opened the door, I saw K.C. sitting at the table. “Who are
you?” I asked.
Suddenly, Bantry jumped out from behind the door. He grabbed my
rifle as he held his own on me. “Well…” Bantry said.
“I’m sorry, Pa,” Mark said.
“It’s alright son. Stay out of the way,” I told him. I didn’t take
my eyes off of Bantry.
Bantry just laughed as he stared at me. He couldn’t believe how much
I looked like him. He laughed. “K.C., you ever see anything like
that?" I just glared at him. “I swear, McCain. They weren’t lyin’.
It’s like looking at myself in a mirror glass. You know, you could
be my brother.”
I assessed my situation to see what I could do to save us from this
madman. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard so much about you I…kinda wanted to see for myself,” Bantry
“You’re the man who killed Ab Richards!” I declared. Bantry acted
like he didn’t know who I was talking about. “You know who it is!’ I
yelled. “The rancher in Red Wing!”
Bantry didn’t deny killing him. Just then, K.C. showed him my rifle.
He cocked the lever and it went off. Thankfully it was pointing up
at my ceiling. He laughed hysterically. He turned and fired again.
It shot out a lantern. He fired again. He was going crazy. Mark was
in the line of fire so I had to do something to stop him.
I bolted forward, attempting to grab him from behind, but he turned
and hit me in the stomach with the butt of my rifle. As I slowly
stood back upright, he had the barrel of my rifle in my throat. He
told me not to make another mistake.
Meanwhile, in town, Sweeny was bandaging Micah’s head. “Bantry, that
bit one, he was about to kill you and the other one stopped him.
He’s a mean one, alright.” Micah needed to find out where they went.
They were both wanted for murder. Suddenly, Sweeny remembered
something. “Say, you know that Bantry was curious about Lucas.
Wanted to know if he lived around here. Sweeny told Micah that he
had told him. Micah was suddenly concerned. He had to get to my
ranch fast. He knew we were in trouble.
Bantry and K.C. ate while I sat in my chair. Mark picked up their
dishes and made his way to the kitchen to busy himself with them.
The outlaws really scared him. “Alright Bantry, you got what you
wanted. “Now why don’t you and your friend get out of here?”
“We ain’t welcome no more,” Bantry whined. He said my whisky was
better then the saloon’s. “That’s where I left your marshal. Imagine
him wanting to take me in! Nobody’s taking me anywhere! And nobody’s
telling me what to do!”
“You won’t take anything from anybody, will you Bantry?” I asked.
Bantry stood up. “No I won’t! I’m sick and tired of people pushin’
me! ‘Better move on, we don’t want no troublemakers.’ ‘That’s our
beef you’re cookin’ there.’ Everybody tellin’ me what to do and what
not to do ever since I was a kid.” K.C. started to tell him to sit
down. “Well, are you tellin’ me too?” he screamed at K.C. K.C. shook
Bantry sat down. “I had two brothers who used to ride me – bigger
and older, and me just a kid.” He grabbed his face angrily as he
remembered back. “They pushed me and they pulled me. Man, they beat
me every livin’ chance they got! ‘Till I growed up to my full size.
Then I gave them back everything they gave me! Double!”
Bantry threw over the table. “So, don’t you start with me, you
mangy, miserable sodbuster! I’m sick of you!” He stood and walked
over towards me. “Sick of hearing your name and how much you look
like me. I’m gonna settle you too before I’m finished!
I spoke then as I looked him right in the eye. “What your brothers
did to you…still bothers you, doesn’t it?”
“No, no, it don’t bother me none. I killed them both!”
"You killed your own brothers?" I asked. He went crazy.
“Yeah, I-“ He suddenly stopped. His stone-cold face turned even
colder as he spoke his next words. “No. No, I didn’t kill them. You
killed ‘em.” He grabbed me by the shirt. “You killed my brothers!”
he screamed. He punched me really hard and practically threw me
across the room. “You killed my brothers!” He repeated it over and
over and he slapped and punched me in the face over and over…and
I winced at the pain as he continued slapping me. Mark tried to run
to me, but K.C. grabbed him and held him tight. “Pa!” Mark screamed,
He finally quit and stood up. He stared into the mirror. “You! You!”
Bantry screamed as he touched his chin. Suddenly, he rammed his fist
through the mirror, shattering it. He leaned against the mirror,
totally spent, the fell to the floor.
Mark was able to tend to my wounds then. He was worried about me,
but I assured him I was alright. Bantry mocked me again. Bantry took
a long drink out of the whisky bottle then threw it against the
door, shattering it. “Ah Earl!” K.C. complained. “Now we’re all out
“K.C., there’s a town about three hours south. You can get all the
liquor you want. He’s lucky to have a friend like you, K.C. You seem
to be the only one who makes any sense.”
That sort of riled K.C. “You better shut up, McCain.”
But I continued. “I’ll bet if it weren’t for you, he’d a been caught
and been hung a long time ago. And if he hurt Marshal Torrance, the
whole town’s gonna be lookin’ for him. As a matter of fact, I can’t
understand why they aren’t here already.” I sighed. “K.C., the best
thing you could do for your friend is to get him movin’…fast!”
K.C. stood up and got right in Bantry’s face. “He’s right, Earl! We
better get going!”
Bantry gave him a hard shove. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you,
McCain?” Bantry asked. Earl again asked him to leave. “No, I got a
“What’s that?” K.C. asked.
“Alone?” K.C. asked then. He was really nervous.
K.C. started to argue. “What’s a matter? You afraid to go alone?”
“Well…that would me us bustin’ up,” K.C. stated.
“So what?” Bantry asked. “You been itchin’ to go all day. So go on.”
He never took his eyes at me. It’ like he was trying to stare me
down or something. “I don’t need ya'.”
"You mean that Earl? You…you don't need me?" Bantry said he meant
it. K.C. wanted to believe there was a good reason for him to go.
“Yeah. Might be better that way, after all.” Bantry would need
anyone lighting his cigars anymore either.
K.C. stood up. “I’ll tell ya' what, Earl. If anybody comes lookin’
for us, this way they’ll have two trails to follow.” K.C. started
backing up to the door. “That’s smart, Earl.” He opened the door.
Bantry cocked the rifle. “Adios.”
As soon as K.C. turned, he pointed the rifle at him. I called out a
warning to K.C. and he turned, but it was too late. He hit the floor
That was the moment I was waiting for. I bolted towards Bantry and
tackled him to the floor. I had him almost pinned to the floor and
grabbed my rifle, but Bantry was strong and pinned me. We struggled
for the rifle as I rolled over on top of him again. We struggled
some more and I lifted up and aimed the rifle at him. I was able to
pull the trigger.
He fell to the floor dead.
A horse was quickly approaching the ranch as I picked up the rifle.
Micah ran inside. I just stood and stared at him. It was all over. I
felt so much emotion as I looked at my boy and Micah.
Mark and I went into town with Micah to get things settled. So
Richards, Micah, Mark, and I were all in Micah’s office having a
late-night discussion. "I'll never forget that Earl Bantry," said
"Hope you'll be able to forgive me, Lucas," Richards apologized.
"It was a honest mistake Len, forget it."
"I'll never forget it,”
Mark declared. “Him beaten up on you and
then smashing his own face in the lookin' glass.”
"Well he wanted me as a whipping boy. But his real problem was
"Oh I see...he hurt you cause you looked like him, Guess he kinda
felt like Cain after killing his brother Able.”
We all looked at each other, very surprised at Mark’s assessment.
Micah spoke his surprise. "You study your Bible real good Mark.”
Then Micah changed the subject. "Say...how about us having something
Mark got excited at the prospect of food. He sat straight up in his
chair. “Yeah, what are we gonna eat?” Richards said it would be his
pleasure if we would all join him at the hotel as his guest. I
thanked him. “Can I eat anything I want, Mr. Richards?” Mark asked.
"Sure Mark...why do you ask?"
I could explain that one! I put a hand on my boy’s shoulder. "Well,
you see uh...last night, Mark cooked the stew and I don't think it
turned out to well.”
"Oh...what are you gonna have?" Richards asked.
"Well.....anything. Just so long as it's not stew," said Mark.
"That figures!" I said as I pushed Mark’s hat down over his eyes. We
laughed and headed over to the hotel.
piddlin' stuff.....Chuck Connors starred as Lucas McCain/Earl Bantry. I love this episode! I really enjoyed watching Chuck as a bad guy. Earl reminds me of Chucks character Buck Hannassey in
The Big Country. Very good movie!
Well lets see now, we have as far as Lucas worst enemies, Charlie Gordo (Lon Chaney Jr.) in
Gun Fire is right up there with Dan Maury (Lee Van Cleef) in
The Deadly Wait. Now I think we could add Bantry to this list. Even Mark said
he'd never forget how he beat up Lucas and then smashing his own face in the lookin' glass.
But then we know what happened to all of them, don't we?
"What say you?"
appeared in two episodes ― Miss Bertie as the nervous gambler in the saloon
― Deadly Image as K. C. Peters, Bantry's sidekick.
appeared in four episodes ― The Mind Reader as John Hallager, he was
the man killed that Billy Mathis (Michael Landon) was accused of
The Coward as Ben Smith,
the Trail Boss of the cattle drive ―
as the warden of the
New Mexico Territorial Prison
The '7' Prisoners
Deadly Image as
Len Richards, he was the one who
accused Lucas of killing his brother.
Bill Quinn appeared in thirty-eight episodes as Sweeney the owner/bartender of The North Fork Saloon.
Sweeney was first introduced to The Rifleman in The Marshal.
Gloria Moreland was the dance hall girl
in the North Fork Saloon.
Troy Melton appeared in two
episodes ― First Wages as Wally Pierson, he was Ben
Vargas' partner, the one Ben killed and took back his share of the
money ― Deadly Image as Ab, Len
Richard's brother, the cowboy Earl Bantry killed.
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
Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Character Actors Index
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