"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 stared on.
A few days later, Len Richards rode into North Fork and went straight to the Marshal’s office. “I want you to arrest Lucas McCain.”
That surprised Micah, to say the least. “Arrest-What are you talking about?”
“He shot down my brother in cold blood!”
“Lucas?!” Micah asked as he stood up from his desk. “Why, that’s impossible!”
“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 quietly.
“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 the auction!"
"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 me…”
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 towards him.
“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. Sweeney 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 at her.
“Hold on, Lucas,” Sweeney 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. Sweeney
turned. "Hey, I said I want some whiskey!"
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Sweeney
said as he stepped off the ladder. “I…took you for somebody else. I thought for sure you were Lucas McCain!" Said
"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 Sweeney
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. Sweeney
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 own.
Bantry tasted it. “Is this the best you got?” Sweeney
said yes. Bantry spit it out. “Rotten! Rotten whisky…Rotten town. People, all mangy and rotten!”
“It’s the best we got,” Sweeney
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 Sweeney. He laid Sweeney down on the bar and put his rifle to Sweeney’s throat. “Now, you trying to tell us to get out of town?” He made Sweeney 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 did.
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 description.”
“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 Sweeney 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 smile.
“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. “Where’s McCain?”
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 K.C.
“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 his whisky?”
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 answered.
“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, Sweeney 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, Sweeney remembered something. “Say, you know that Bantry was curious about Lucas. Wanted to know if he lived around here. Sweeney 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 his head.
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 over.
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, crying.
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 of whisky!”
“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 better idea.”
“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. “Well, adios.”
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 dead.
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 Mark.
"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 himself."
"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 to eat!”
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?"
Leonard Stone appeared in two episodes ― Miss Bertie as the nervous gambler in the saloon ― Deadly Image as K. C. Peters, Bantry's sidekick.
Robert Bice appeared in four episodes ― The Mind Reader as John Hallager, he was the man killed that Billy Mathis (Michael Landon) was accused of killing ― The Coward as Ben Smith, the Trail Boss of the cattle drive ― Seven 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 tree house pictures)
Be sure & check out the Ladies of the Night
Bloopers - Deadly Image
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
Two Ounces of Tin
around The McCain Ranch