"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The stage was coming into town and
Mark was sure excited! He was expecting a package, and he sure was
hopeful that package would arrive today. He practically stormed the
stage in hopes that it arrived, but the driver shook his
head. Mark sure was disappointed, but I assured him he’d just have
to wait until the afternoon stage arrived.
The door to the coach opened just then and an interesting woman
stepped out. She was dressed in black from head to toe and had one
of those really big, fancy hats on. I tell you, she sure did get
everyone’s attention! All the men started laughing at her looks. “A
lady can’t show herself in public these days without
being…insulted!” I hurried forward to help her down. Then I closed
“Hab! Hab!” she cried. I didn’t know anyone else was in there. I
immediately opened the door and a boy stepped out…er…fell out – flat
on his face. The woman started brushing the dust off of him, stating
he was a good boy and would flesh out some as soon as he started
shaving. Mark and I looked at each other and laughed.
Just then, the stage pulled out. The woman looked around at the
crowd and saw someone standing there. She let out a terrifying
scream and fainted. I caught her before she fell to the ground. Mrs.
Ramirez hurried over from the hotel and told me to take her there –
she’d cut her corset strings.
Hab was outside the hotel waiting for him mother. He started carving
on a piece of wood and Mark wondered what he was making – a link
chain. Mark introduced himself. The boy’s name was Habcuck Caraway.
Mark gave a short laugh. "Habcuck?" He stopped laughing when Hab
looked at him.
"That's what she called me after Pa snuck out on us, Habcuck," said
"With a name like that you must really have a time in school," Mark
"It's learned me box fighten'. I can whop lots of grown men if it
wasn't my elders," said Hab.
I couldn’t help wondering what happened to her. Micah said it was
fits. I didn’t think so. "You know, they've been in there a long
time. Maybe we ought to go in," I suggested.
"Two women with a chance to feel sorry for each other...it's better
than whiskey for 'em," said Micah.
"What do you know about women?"
"Enough to have stayed single," said Micah. I told Micah he was sour
grapes on them. "Me? I love the little critters for cookin' and
washin' my shirts. And that's the way I wanna keep it!"
Just then Mrs. Ramirez came out of the hotel. "Poor woman. She's had
a terrible experience!"
"Injuns?" Asked one of the old towns folk.
"Much worst!” She looked out over the crowd. “A husband!"
Leota came out. "Come here to your mother Habcuck.” She looked at
Micah. “That there’s the father who abandoned you on your birth
night!" Micah looked around, sure she wasn’t talking about him.
I was in shock! I stood up and stared at her. Maybe I hadn’t heard
her right! "You said what Ma'am?"
"Norman Ambrose Carreway. My lawful wedded husband and I stood by
faithful and true going on sixteen years and gave him a fine son
too!" She pointed her finger at Micah. I stared at Micah waiting for
his explanation. “How could you do it to us, Norman? We’ve searched
this wide…weary world. But the closest we ever gained on ya' was the
Boot hill on the bank of the river Healer, with the water slowly
sippin’ into it.”
You should have seen the look on Micah's face. "Me! She's talkin'
about me? Why you all know me! My name isn't Norman! I'm old Micah
Torrance your elected Marshal!"
“Alias Ambrose Dicky, Alias dick Hickey, Alias Major Pantoo, Alias
Charmin’ Billy.” I just looked at Micah, waiting for him to explain
himself. "He was charming too!” She started crying. “Oh Norman!
There ain't no need for you to go on lyin' and purgerin'. In this
here bosom your only find wifely forgiveness!" Micah insisted he
never saw this woman before.
Mrs. Ramirez called him a liar. She’d heard Micah call the boy
“son.” Micah insisted he called every young man “son.”
I stepped in then. Quietly to Micah, I spoke. “Charmer, Old buddy,
maybe you better let me explain.” Micah said he’d sure be obligated
if I did. “One thing first.” I looked him sternly in the eye. “Are
you, so help you guilty or not guilty?”
“Well…uh…to the best of my knowledge an’ recollection…” Micah
started as he thought on it.
I couldn’t believe this! “To the best of your-“ I was going to have
to get to the bottom of this one way or another! I turned back to
Leota . “Look ma’am, the Marshal is a little shaken. Maybe we oughta
discuss this in his office tomorrow about 10:30? Nice and friendly,
we’ll thresh it out.”
agreed. I grabbed Micah by the arm. As I started to drag him out of
there, I said, “One thing is working for you, Norman. Nobody’s
brought up the subject of lynchin’…so far!”
We went back to Micah’s place. There were cats everywhere. He even
had a mother and her babies in the stove! I started thinking on our
problem. “You know Micah, the way I see it, this woman is an
adventuress. She’s cold, she’s smart, and she’s ruthless. She picked
your name from a hat, she rented that boy from an orphanage, and
she’s here to shake the bushes.” Micah laughed – what would she want
from him? Wealth? Political pool? Social position?
“Of course, there’s always the charmin’ Billy. I-“
I stopped him. “Oh, it’s not you. That’s some filthy lie she made
up!” Mark stood up and looked at himself in the mirror. “You know,
Lucas. You must try to understand, there actually are certain men
who have this mysterious power over the female sex. And we don't
lose it just because we live to be after forty." I just looked at
him – he was loco!
The next day, we met in Micah’s office. Leota sat while people stood
outside the building looking in. I think everybody was there! I
started questioning the woman. “Well, may I ask, ma’am, where this
alleged marriage took place?”
She said they were married at Massacre, Texas 16 years ago. “And
our son was born the followin’ year, July 30.” I wanted to see the
lone star marriage license so we could settle this matter. I still
thought she was lying. She pointed at Micah. “My husband can tell
you what become of my marriage lines. All prettied up so pretty…An’
at the fee of one dollar, paid by me.” She was crying again. “Oh
Norman, I tried to be understandin’, but why did you set the house
on fire when you was leaving?”
Micah stood up to deny this. “Set the house on fire?” I asked in
shock. This was getting crazier and crazier!
“Mister, them flames was bustin’ right through the roof! And me and
Habcock busted out with the stove axe!” Everyone started yelling.
They wanted to lynch Micah for what he’d done. I quieted everyone
down. “I’m sure it’s real kind of ya'…offering to lynch my husband
for me. But how’d that get my poor boy his Pa back? Supposing we
leave that up to Norm’s conscience for a few days? Then if he still
ain’t got one, me and Habcock will go away and never bother him no
more! Not in this life, anyways.”
She turned to leave. Micah suddenly jumped up and ran to get the
door for her. “At least your manners has politened, Normy.”
"Well charmer boy you really have her eatin out of your hand," I
stated as I sat down at his desk.
"A man must have been a fool to desert a woman like her," said
"Really wasn't you then huh?" I asked.
"That's what teases me Lucas. As near as I can figure I was in Texas
about the time she mentions."
"As near as you can figure?" I was hoping for a little more
reassurance than that!
"You forget that for almost twenty-two years I never drank much less
than a quart of whiskey a day...so my memories of that stretch are
naturally a little spotty."
"So you could be her husband?"
"Deserted her to! But as far as settin' the house on fire..."
"I'm glad we can cross that off!" I declared.
"Lucas.....if you desert me I won't have a friend left!" I told him
I'd tack up the wanted posters for him. He went back to his duties.
I sat down in Micah’s chair and started rummaging through the desk.
Mark came in as Micah was leaving. “Hello, son.”
"What are those Pa?"
"Now these are…Now, don't you start teasin' me that you want to tack
these up on the bulletin board."
"Are those wanted posters?" Asked Mark with some excitement.
"Oh gosh Pa...why not. Let me hang 'em up please?" I gave in to my
adventurous son. I handed him the hammer. I thought I had tricked
him into hanging up the posters but he made me well aware that he
knew what I had done. "And...uh...now you can sit back and catch
your forty winks in Micah's arm chair." He then went out to hang up
the posters. I at back in Micah's arm chair to catch my forty winks.
Mark started hammering. Suddenly, I heard Mark
yell..."Pa...Pa...come here - hurry!"
At my boy’s yelling, I jumped up from the chair. "What did you do?
Smash your thumbs?" I hurried out. Mark was standing against the
tack board. "What is it?" I asked.
He backed away from the board. I just stared at him trying to figure
out what the problem was. He pointed toward the poster.
I turned my head to look and got the shock of my life! It was Micah!
I mean Walt Hacklock Alias Wilbur Dickey, Dick Hickey, Major
Rantoul, and 'Charming Billy' Carreway'. I tore the poster down and
tucked it inside my jacket. I looked around, hoping nobody had seen
me do that.
When Micah got done with his duties he went home. He was pleasantly
surprised to find Leota there. She had cleaned his place which
definitely needed it. She even fixed him his favorite supper –
Spring Lamb Stew. Micah wondered how she knew that. “Now Norman,
there’s certain of a man’s taste and preferences that a married
woman don’t forget too soon. And quit calling me ma’am! My name’s
Leota, as you know quite well.” Micah wondered if he could call her
Lee. “Always has…In private, that is.” She gave Micah a great big
smile. Micah gave her one of those silly grins.
That evening Mark and I stopped by Micah's place. Hab was setting on
the steps whittling away on that link chain. I asked him if the
Marshal was around. “You got visitors, Pa!” Hab yelled up the
stairs. Mark and I stood there looking at each other. Micah started
down the stairs.
“Been wonderin’ if somethin’ happened to you,” I stated. Micah said
there were no problems now. “Son, go check the horses.” I wanted a
moment alone with my friend.
But as Micah got to the bottom of the steps Leota came out of
Micah's place shaking the table cloth. I grabbed Micah by the arm
and pulled him aside as Mark hurried off. "What are you up to here?"
I asked Micah.
"You were right there with me, the whole town insisting that I'm
husband and father...what's my opinion against so many? And the
conditions aren't so bad." He had no socks or boots on. He explained
that his socks were in the wash.
I asked him if he knew a gun slapper named Walt Hacklock. He said he
did, by reputation. “I understand he’s been workin’ in Stud City
recently.” He said that he was old and passed his prime. He just
stuck to shaving cards and petty gambling. The law basically leaves
him alone. “Well, like I said…if North Fork needs any law tonight,
they’ll find the marshal in the spare jail cell.
“Good place for him,” I answered with a nod.
I decided to travel to Stud City and check out this guy. He could
very well be the man I was looking for. Mark said he didn’t mind
staying alone a couple of nights. I was afraid that this could be
the real Micah. Mark said it wasn’t if we were his friends. I told
him things weren’t that simple. “Yeah but…Well, once you bring back
her real husband from Stud City, then we can quit worrying.” I sure
did hope he was right!
When I got to Stud City, I tied my horse in front of the saloon.
There was a horse right beside mine with a hat hanging on the horn.
I went into the saloon to find this Hacklock. As I walked through
the doors, my eyes laid on a familiar face at the poker table. It
was Micah – but then, it wasn’t Micah! I did a double take. I just
stood there, amazed, and stared at this man. I shook my head in
I walked up to the table and just stood there staring at Hacklock.
One of the men didn’t like my staring over his shoulder. “I’m not
interested in your poker hand, mister. I'm looking for Norman
Ambrose Carreway alias Walt Hacklock."
"And whom might you be...you long, lanky, ornery lookin'..."
I didn’t let him finish that. “I’m the fella holdin’ this gun on
you. And it’s loaded.” At that, all the men jumped up from the table
and scrambled away.
“Don’t you know it ain’t polite or mannerly to behave so unfriendly
to a man you ain’t even be introduced to?”
I sat down and told him this would
do for an introduction. “And get that hand back on the table.”
He asked me what my pleasure was. “I’m bringin’ you in, and it’s no
“Now just a minute, Long Draws. What makes you imagine you can
deliver me?” I pushed at him and knocked the poker table over. Then
I shot a row of whisky bottles off a shelf, hitting each one as it
fell. He was impressed, but warned that I had just used my last
bullet. “If that’s your hunch, draw to it,” I ordered.
“Oh, I don’t like the look in them eyes. You unpack, Long Draws.
Mortimer? Would you be obliged enough to de-gun for this gent? He
seems nervous.” I stood with him and we stared at each other. “Ain’t
you a miniature loco. Do you get off from being killed quick on
Friday afternoon, a man settles to have his neck stretched slow on
Monday morning.” Norman started to reach behind his ear. I told
Mortimer to get the little utensil behind his neck as I pushed
Norman’s hand away with my rifle. I grabbed his stuff and we started
out the door.
One night, Micah was sitting out on the porch smoking when Leota
came out. She had just gotten “their” boy to sleep. “When he’s full
grown, I want for him to be exactly like you, Norm. Kind and true,
with a shnin’ star on his chest.” She laid a hand on Micah’s arm.
Micah touched it with his hand and smiled into her eyes. They sure
were cozing up to each other. Leola liked who he had “become” and
Micah didn’t understand why he had ever given her up. Leota was just
asking Micah to come home when I rode up with Norm.
Micah saw us rode up. Concern etched on his face as I announced that
I brought a man. “What man?” Leota asked.
“Yours, ma’am.” I gave Norman a shove. “Get on up there to her,
Hacklock, an’ I oughta make you crawl!” He obeyed. Both Leota and
Micah were taken back by his looks.
Norm took off his hat as he looked at Leota. “Leota, darlin’. My,
but the years have been kind to you.”
“They spared me nothing Norman!” Leota exclaimed. “Except getting me
to hate my boy’s Pa!”
“Leota,” Micah warned.
“Try an’ forgive me, Mr. Torrance. I so wanted you to be my Norman.
I imagined you – you was. Mr. McCain, ain’t they just as like as two
“Yeah, sore thumbs,” I answered. They didn’t agree. They didn’t
think they were anything alike!
“And another thing,” Norm stated as he looked at Micah. “I don’t
take kindly to a galoot chasin’ after me wife the second my back is
turned. And another thing…Marshal or no Marshal, it’s just a good
thing for you I’m not in a fightin’ mood.”
“It’s a good thing for you I’m not either,” Micah declared. Norm
said Micah’s talk didn’t impressed
in the least. Micah suggest that maybe a punch in the nose would
impress him. Norm dared him to. Micah punched him in the nose, which
sent him flying down the stairs.
I went to check out the damage Micah had done. Leota wondered if he
was badly hurt. “I’m afraid not, ma’am,” I answered.
Hab heard the commotion and ran down the stairs. Norm stood up while
Hab stared at him. “Well, this is a fine kettle of fish. An’ I guess
I know when I’m not welcome. Now, where’s my Betty horse?”
“Howdy, Pa,” Hab suddenly said.
Norm turned around and stared at him. He couldn’t believe Hab was so
big. “What’s your name?”
“Habcock,” he repeated.
“Well, that ain’t a name! That’s a fightin’ word,” Norm declared.
“Now see here…from now on, we’re gonna call you Tom. Not Thomas. Not
Tommy…But Tom…T-O-M. You understand?” Norman shook Hab’s hand and
told him it was nice meeting him. Then he started to leave.
“You ain’t going nowhere, Pa,” Hab stated. Norm asked him what he
meant. “this time you’re stayin’ and you do your fair share of
listening to her!” He nodded toward his mother.
Norm laughed and told him to go on upstairs to his mother. Norm
picked up his hat and started to leave. Hab punched him and knocked
him to the ground. Norm told him that wasn’t very respectful. “My,
but you hit like an outlaw mule.” He chuckled and pulled Hab down
beside him. Hab started crying and said he wanted a whipping like
the other kids used to get.
Norm put an arm around Hab and told him a story. "I was blind drunk
when you was born. Been loosin' my wits for three days and when I
heard ya' squalling inside I...I just took off. I must have rode
twenty miles through the dark night. When I woke in my saddle I knew
there was something wrong. I was afraid and I thought...'What am I
doing here?' I'll go back to him. But that wasn't it and suddenly it
came to me, somethin' about knockin' a lamp over. I turned and I run
from it boy! And I kept on runnin'. And even when I found out you
were both alive and trailin' me I just couldn't pull up no ways. So
you see boy, what good is a daddy you can’t but look down on?”
“But Pa, at least you’re somethin’ better than nothin’.” Hab hugged
him. Hab hugged him back. Father and son held each other and cried.
The next morning, Norman and his family got ready to leave. Norman
thanked me for kidnapping me. Mark and Hab…er…Tom said goodbye.
That morning Leota, Hab and Norman headed out of town. Micah just
stood there looking on. He seemed sad and lonely. I know I did the
right thing.....but for who? “Ha Long Draws, I don’t deserve this,”
“Who does, Norman?” I asked.
Micah and Leota said goodbye. She kissed her hand and laid it on
Micah’s cheek. Micah watched sadly as Leota made her way down the
stairs and took her proper place beside her husband.
I smiled as I patted Mark on the back, glad that problem was
settled. Then we looked at Micah. He looked so heartbroken and
alone. Mark hurried forward to comfort him. I followed right behind.
“Well Micah, at least you got window curtains out of it,” I stated.
That didn’t help matters any.
Mark noticed the chain link sitting on the step. He said Hab forgot
it. “He didn’t forget that, Mark,” Micah said. “He…gave that to me.
And you know something…I’m awfully glad he did.” We watched as Micah
slowly turned and walked back up the stairs and into his room.
I was so sad for him. I never realized it before, but Micah really
had no one to call his own. Mark thought the same way. “Pa?” I
turned from staring at the closed door Micah had just entered.
“Let’s go home,” Mark said.
We both knew at that moment just how lucky we were to have each
the Paul Fix! Yeah!!!!! Paul Fix played two characters in this
episode of Guilty Conscience: Marshal Micah Torrance and
Norman. Norman is the long-lost husband of Leota Carreway/Walt
Hacklock Alias Wilbur Dickey, Dick Hickey, Major Rantoul, and
'Charming Billy' Carreway.
Lee Patrick played Leota Carreway,
the woman looking for her long-lost husband, Norman.
Tommy Nolan played Hab Carreway,
Argentina Brunnetti played Mrs.
Ramirez. She was the lady that cut Leota's corset for her.
Chubby Johnson appeared in three
episode of The Rifleman ― The Horse Traders as
Kansas Sawyer, he originally bought the stallion, but then took
it back ― The Spoiler as
Mr. Avery, he was the father of The
Spoiler, Bud Evans ―
Conscience he was the Old
Bill Cerone played Mortimer. He
was the cowboy in the saloon at Stud City who told Lucas about
looking over his shoulder and the one who took Normie's holster and
gun off of him. This episode is the only thing I can find on this
Tom Kennedy ― Death Neve
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 ―
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
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
Rifleman many times, probably more times then listed. He
always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Earl Spainard was in ten episodes ―
Day of the Hunter
as one of the townsmen ― Silent
Knife as a barfly ― The Assault as one of the townsmen -
Friend in Need as Harry the Bartender - Two Ounces of Tin
as one of the townsmen ― Outlaw Shoes as one of the
townsmen ― Guilty
Conscience as one of the townsmen, you can also see Earl in the
bar in Stud City ― Short Rope for a Tall Man as one of the
townsmen ― The Spoiler as one of the townsmen ―
None So Blind
as one of the townsman.
Why wasn't Normie
ever charged, he was a
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