"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The story begins in another town. It was inside a house belonging to
a man by the name of Ralph Hayden. He was a mortal enemy of mine. In
his study, a very large picture of me hung on his wall beside his
desk. On this particular day, another man by the name of Mario Rosati was there – not to admire his house, but to discuss business.
And I was the subject of that business. Hayden pointed to my
picture. “I keep that there to remind me every minute of every day
that the slug from his rifle put me in this wheelchair for the rest
of my life. I’ve died a thousand deaths since that shootout with
Lucas McCain. But I’ll settle for one fast finish for him.” He gave
Mario everything he had on me. “Remember…Remember this. Before he
dies, he’s got to know that I arranged it. I went to a lot of
trouble bringing you here from New Orleans. I don’t want it to be
Mario assured Hayden that he took a lot of pride in his work.
“You’ll get only one chance. Don’t make a mistake!”
“They’ll be no mistake!” Mario assured Hayden.
“How can I be sure?” Hayden asked then.
“I have ways. I am different.” He suddenly turned and threw a knife
toward my picture, hitting me right in the throat.
“Is that the way you will do it?” Hayden asked.
“It will depend upon my mood,” Mario answered. Then he took out the
knife and stuck it back up his sleeve.
When Mario got into North Fork, he sat up on a hill above our house
and waited for us to leave. He soon found his opportunity. Mark rode
out to the south section of our ranch to check on some of our cattle
when he noticed several post's were down. It looked as if they might
have rotted off at the base. We rode out to round up the ten head of
cattle that was grazing there and took them over to the east pasture
until we could put up some new post.
As soon as we left, Mario cautiously rode up to our ranch. He knew
us well. He knew Mark and I were the only two occupants of the
house, so he could go inside and make himself at home. He did so
quietly and carefully. While he waited for us to come home, he
looked through our house – including our cabinets and doors.
When we returned home, Mark and I tied our horses by the shed. But
when I turned to go in, I saw the white horse tied up outside our
house. I didn’t say a word as I grabbed my rifle from the scabbard
and motioned for Mark to stay where he was. I slowly approached the
house. Quietly, I opened the door with my rifle aimed. I must admit
that I was a bit surprised to find a man leaning over the table with
his back towards me. "Looking for somethin' mister?" I asked him as
I held my rifle on him. he turned to face me I noticed he had his
right hand behind his back. "What are you doing here?" I asked him.
"The Door was unlocked...I took the liberty of entering," said the
stranger. I looked at his right arm and motioned for him to show me
what was in his hand. I thought it might be a weapon, but it was
only a pencil. "I was just about to leave a note to let you know
that I had called Mr. McCain." I was still not sure if he was a
friend or a foe. "You are Lucas McCain?" He asked.
I moved from the door and stepped further into the room. “That’s
right. Who are you?”
He smiled at me. “My name is Mario Rosati. I’m sure you’ve never
heard of me, but I certainly have heard of you!”
Still not convinced…”Oh? How’s that?”
“In your hometown - Enid Oklahoma.” He then showed me a card from a
lawyer, Johnny Morgan, one of my oldest and best friends. He told me
on his way out west he had stopped in Oklahoma, he needed some legal
advice and Johnny was most helpful to him. I told him I was glad to
meet him as we shook hands. We then talked over coffee. He told me
he was on his way to San Francisco and Johnny had suggested he stop
by and meet me.
Now I was convinced he was a friend. I apologized for the greeting
that I had given him. He understood. I told him anyone who was a
friend of Johnny's was no stranger to me. Mark was standing at the
door listening to our conversation. When I went to introduce him to
Mark, he already knew his name. “Well, it seems like Mr. Rosati
knows a little bit about us, son!” I declared as they shook hands.
I started to tell Mark who Mr. Rosati was, but he already knew.
“Well…it seems like Mark knows a little about you to!”
“Well, I sorta saddled up to the door,” Mark admitted with a grin.
I asked Mario where his baggage was. He told me he’d left it with
the stage master. He’d rented a horse in town and rode out. “Well
Mark, do you mind saddling into town and picking up Mr. Rosati’s
baggage? He’ll be staying with us.” Mario started to decline the
invitation, but I wouldn’t hear of it!
Neither would Mark. He heartily declared, “And we don’t take no for
I told Mario we’d set up a cot in the living room. He was to call me
Lucas. He told me he was expecting anything like this. “Who says you
were? It was strictly my idea!” I declared. “You finish your coffee.
I’ll put your horse away. You’ve had a pretty long ride.” He wanted
to repay me, but I told him to just make himself at home.
That night, Mario was getting ready to settle in when Mark
approached him. "Mario...I was thinking...it sure is hard to
believe," said Mark.
"What?" Asked Mario, wondering if Mark suspected something.
“Your reason for coming here.”
"Hard to believe?" He questioned, wondering if Mark was aware of
something. "Yeah...what you were tellin' Pa and me at supper. About
the way things are in your country," stated Mark.
"Oh," said Mario as he told Mark to sit down next to him. Mario had
told Mark and I how his father was killed by the Society. "All those
people workin' the land from the time they were young...'till the
time they die and then just to have someone just come in and take it
all away from them...to always live in such fear."
"Society is something to fear...never knowing when or where it's
going to strike," said Mario.
"Yeah but they're just a bunch of bandits!" Exclaimed Mark. Mario
told him it was much more then that, they are an organization. Which
spread's far and wide like the tentacles of an octopus. Mark could
get over no one trying to stop them. Mario told him that fear
paralyzes most men. Some brave men have spoken up, but unfortunately
their voices were stilled by either bullets to the heart.....a
stiletto to the throat or a garrote, which is a weapon of
strangulation prided by the societies trained by the professional
assassinations. He told Mark they would come in the middle of the
nice while the victim was sleeping and with one hard pull the life
is snuffed out.
"Anyhow...that's all behind you now," said Mark.
"The wound heals Mark, but there's always the scar to remind one of
the pain," said Mario.
“You’ll forget,” Mark assured him. “In this country a man keeps what
he works for.”
"I guess I'll have to get used to that," said Mario.
"Like my Pa says, with hard work there's nothing you set your mind
to that you can't get. And there's
nothing to fear either. Course
I'm not saying that we never run into any trouble but then my Pa,
why he stands up and fights!”
“And he usually wins?” Mario asked.
“Well, he always wins, against all comers!" As Mark talked, Mario
could see the devotion and admiration Mark had for me.
I walked in then and put up my rifle. “Lucas, I envy you!” Mario
declared. I wondered what that was all about. “You’re the passionate
I laughed. Point at Mark, I said, “I wouldn’t say he’s a fair
"Well I'd like to know of anyone around here who can get the better
of ya'!" Exclaimed Mark. I told them there must be somebody.
Mario disagreed, he knew how Mark felt because that was the exact
way he felt about his father. "So it must be true." I told Mark that
we had a big day of ahead of us and that we better turn in for the
Mario waited for us to close the door, then he opened a case. Inside
were all kinds of weapons. The bedroom door suddenly opened. Mario
quickly closed the case as Mark walked out. He handed Mario a
blanket, warning that it could get pretty chilly here at night. Mark
turned to go to the bedroom, but then he turned. “Mario, I sure am
glad you are staying here.”
Mark’s presence made Mario uncomfortable. He knew it wouldn’t be as
easy to carry out his job with Mark there. He took out the garrote
and stared at it. He practiced tightening it around a pillow. Mario
had a lot of anger inside himself.
The next morning, I was outside shooting my rifle for practice.
Mario went to the front window and watched me. He started to come
out the front door, but thought better of it. Quietly, he made his
way out the back door and slowly crept up behind me. I was startled
when he suddenly appeared. He apologized, telling me he had the
country habit of walking too quietly.
I thought it must be pretty dull for him around here and thought he
might like to take a ride up to Twin Peaks. He said he couldn't he
had promised to help Mark as soon as he came back from town. “Oh,
he’s been working on you, huh?” I smiled. “He’s been working on me
too. He wants you to stay a while longer. Mario, he’s taken more
than an ordinary shine to you. He’s never met anyone quite like
you.” I couldn’t convince him to stay. He said he MUST be on the
train tomorrow night.
The way he said that was odd…There was something about him…I just
couldn’t put my finger on it!
. Mark and I were clearing the supper table while Mario went outside
to take in the night and the thoughts that have been running through
his mind. Mark saw Mario go outside and took this opportunity to
talk with him. Mario was leaning over the corral deep in thought as
Mark slowly and quietly began approaching him. Mario saw the axe on
the post and pulled it out.
Mario had the axe in his hand, and when Mark tapped on his shoulder
he turned and raised the axe as if to hit Mark. "Never do that!
Never sneak up behind me like that! Do you hear me? Never!" Mark was
shocked at the behavior. "You could have been killed!" Mario turned
from him and leaned back over the fence. “Why did you come to me
“I…I…I thought something was wrong,” Mark explained. “The way you
were standing there and looking over there…I…” Mark stopped. “I’m
sorry if I frightened ya'.” He turned to leave.
“Wait!” Mario stopped him. He put a hand on Mark’s shoulder and Mark
half-turned to look at him. “It is I who am sorry. Please forgive
He was starting to feel the pressure of having to kill me and liking
us, especially Mark. "I was looking into the past, reliving that
day," said Mario.
"What day?" Mark asked quietly.
"That Day," answered Mario. There was such loneliness in his voice.
“First it was the morning in the market place of our village. My
father spoke to the other men who had gathered there. Spoke openly
against the Society. He dared to say in public that they had the
right to stand up for what was right for them…I can still see the
dazzling fire in his eyes and the new born hope it kindled in the
eyes of his listeners.” He spoke so sadly – as if it had happened
“Your Pa was a brave man,” Mark stated quietly. He had tears in his
“He was a beautiful man,” Mario agreed. “That afternoon, my father
and I were out in the field. It was early spring, just as it is now.
My father sang as we walked. The sun was pleasant on our backs. Then
the horsemen rode up. Not a word was said. The horsemen fired his
gun. My father fell dead. The horseman turned and rode away. There
was a hill on the edge of our field. Some strangers gave him that…My
father loved that place the most. When we finished inspecting the
fields, we would sit there…He would tell me stories. Being with him
– listening to him…I was completely happy. He was such a wonderful
man. I buried him there. And I sat out for revenge to find his
Mark listened quietly with mixed emotions. He spoke in a little more
than a whisper. When Mark finally spoke, he did the same. “Mario?
Did you…find the man who killed your Pa?”
“I found him,” Mario answered.
“Did you kill him?”
“Many times!" He slammed the axe into the fence post. He was
tormented in a lot of different ways. He saw his father and him in
Mark and me. And that terrified him. “Many times.”
Later that night, I was sitting at the table reading my Bible and
Mark was in my leather chair reading his. But he couldn’t seem to
concentrate. “I don’t understand, Pa. The way he got up and went out
after supper without saying anything…”
I smiled. Mark was such a worry wart! I reminded him that he said he
was going for a walk. “There’s nothing mysterious about a man
wanting to be by himself for a bit, son.”
“Yeah. But that was a couple hours ago.” I told him to go back to
his reading. Mario would be back when he was ready.
“Many times,” Mark muttered. He was remembering the conversation
from earlier. “Maybe you misunderstood.”
“No. I heard him clear, Pa,” Mark argued. Many times, he said. What
could that mean?”
“Well, it could mean he’s lived it over and over again. A thing like
that’s not easy to forget.”
We went to bed.
That night while Mark and I were sleeping Mario got his garrotes out
and thought of strangling me while I slept. Tonight was his last
night – he had to get his job done. He slowly opened the door.
Standing in the doorway, he looked at me as I slept peacefully.
He knew what he had to do. He HAD to do it. He told himself that as
he walked into the room. But as he started to approach me, he looked
at Mark sleeping so peacefully and innocently. How could he take
from Mark what was taken from him? How could he allow Mark to see
the same thing he’d seen as a child?
He couldn’t. He turned and left the room.
The next day, I was outside sawing wood when Mario came out carrying
his suitcase. “What is this Mario?” I asked.
“It’s time for me to leave.” I told him it wasn’t even noon yet.
“Nevertheless, it’s time for me to go.” I reminded him that his
train didn’t leave until 8:00 tonight. “I’m not going to San
Francisco. Change in plans.”
I wanted him to stay until Mark came home for lunch. “It’s best that
I never see him again. Best for me and him.”
“What are you talking about?”
He reached into his jacket and pulled out a derringer. I was
startled. “What are you doing, Mario?”
“What I was paid to do,” he answered. “What I came here for – kill
you. I waited until now because I had an unexpected problem – your
son. But in my business I can’t afford personal feelings. A job is a
job – just as it is now.
I started to look out of the corner of my eyes to get a fix on how
far my rifle was, but he warned me not to try for it, that I didn't
have a chance. Mark came around the side of the barn then. He saw
Mario holding a gun on me. “Why me?” I asked.
He told me Ralph Hayden was his client. “And he wanted the
satisfaction of you knowing it before he died. Those are his
feelings in the matter. Mine are purely business. Now…” Mario cocked
Neither of us heard Mark slowly coming up the side of the barn. When
Mark heard what was being said, all he could think of was getting my
rifle to me. When Mario triggered his pistol Mark yelled to me.
"Pa!" He threw me my rifle. I caught it, turned, and shot Mario
once. He started to fall very, very slowly. But as he fell, I saw
something on his face. It was almost like…relief or happiness…and he
fell to the ground. Mario was dead. As I looked over at Mark I could
see the anguish on Mark's face.
So many questions – but very few answers.
Mark was taking it pretty hard. That night he was outside going over
in his mind the past couple of days. I went out to talk to him,
maybe somehow ease his mind. "What are you thinking about son?"
"All along Mario had planned to kill you." He still couldn’t believe
"Something's happened to change
his plans," I suggested. Mark
wondered what I meant. "Well…in that split moment he found himself
in his father in as you and me," I said.
"When you tossed me that rifle. Mark, he could have easily fired he
was an expert, a professional. He had me son.....but he didn't
squeeze the trigger."
"Then he wanted to die?"
"I think in that one moment he realized he no longer had anything to
live for....he found a way of going home Mark...for good!"
"You know Pa...it may sound kinda strange but...I think I know how
Danova (pronounced Chez-a-ray Da-NO-va) played
Count Alfredo Di Marcosini Montova in
Duel of Honor, he was the foreigner who is singled out by Groder
for his different dress and ways ―
Baranca as Baranca, he is the one who came to North Fork to administer his own
law, Baranca's law ― The Guest
as Mario Rosati, the man who was hired to kill Lucas.
Walter Sande played
Ralph Hayden, the one who hired Mario to kill Lucas.
I bet this is the
same white horse that was in Baranca
How would you interpret the ending to this episode?
I'm not saying an alternate ending, this is different, I'm saying
If you had to write your 'interpretation' of what you believe (just
for pretend) really happened when we see Mario Rosati 'appear' as
though he was going to kill Lucas. In other words, without changing
the episode in any way, could you interpret the ending differently?
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
around The McCain Ranch