"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
It was a quiet and dark night in North Fork. Micah walked toward his
jail as a deputy sat outside
the jail. He looked around The Rifleman - Gun Fire - Episode
126nervously and told Ben and Nils to go have their dinner. Micah
told them to take their time. He’d be in with me. “Hey Marshal,” a
man called from the back.
Micah opened the door to the jail and walked inside. A man was
playing solitaire. “You tell one of them deputies to bring me in a
steak. I’ve been eating this jail slop for four days now and I’m
sick of it.”
Micah assured him that the U.S. Marshal from Denver would make sure
he got anything he wanted when he got here. “Yeah. I hear they feed
you real good just before they put the rope around your neck. But
you remember this, they ain’t gonna hang me.” He laughed. “Remember,
it’s a long ride from here to Yuma Prison. I’ll kill anybody who
tries to take me there. Including you, your deputies, or anybody
else that thinks they’re gonna hang…Charlie Gordo!” Micah didn’t say
a word. He turned and walked out of the jail, closing the door
Later, Mark and I met Micah at the hotel for supper. We both ordered
steak, potatoes, and coffee. I looked over at my boy who looked as
if he were about to hang himself with hit tie! I wondered if he was
going to order anything to eat. “Gosh, no Pa…I…I don’t wanna spoil
my appetite!” Mark declared. I reminded him that he wasn’t going to
a regular supper. “Oh, I know! But they’ll have cake, an’ cookies
and stuff like that. An they’re even gonna have some of that new
Mark started tugging at his tie again. “Just cuz I’m goin’ to
Lucille Bandy’s birthday party…I…I don’t see why I have to wear a
tie!” Micah reminded him that the tie was his idea. “I look
alright?” Mark asked then.
“Fine…Fine…” Micah nodded his approval.
Mark suddenly picked up his water and gulped it down. “What are you
so nervous about, son?” I asked suddenly.
"Who's nervous?" Mark asked quickly. He looked at Micah nervously.
“What time is it?” Micah took out his pocket watch and told Mark it
was ten minutes until 7. Mark sighed. “Well, I…I better get goin’.
“Mark, the party is no ‘til seven thirty. Only takes five minutes to
get there,” I reminded him. Boy, he sure was acting funny!
“I know, but I don’t’ wanna be late!” Mark stood up and hurried
toward the door. “Mark? Didn’t you forget something?” Mark looked
around and grabbed his hat. Then I held up the gift.
I couldn’t help but give Micah a look as he took the gift. Oh, to be
13 again! “Have a good time, son.”
Mark turned to leave, but suddenly he came back to me. In a low
voice, he spoke. His words were nervous! "Pa...how come girls make
fella's feel like...well, you know...all butterflies inside? Even
worse than the first time you try to rope a calf."
I tried to keep from laughing as I explained. "Well Mark…” I started
as I tried to come up with a good answer. “I guess the best way to
explain it is that.....with girls it's knowin' that you might get
roped back.” From the look on my son’s face, I’d say that wasn’t
exactly the answer he was looking for. “Have a good time son."
After Mark left Micah and I had ourselves a good laugh.
Micah and I went to meet the stage. He was really nervous – it was
late. I told my friend that he was letting Gordo bother him too
much. “I haven’t eaten or slept right since Gordo’s been in my
“I know.” We watched as the stage drove in. “Well…I guess you’ll
sleep tonight.” I gave my friend a relieved smile.
When Preston rode up, he explained
that they were 3 hours late in leaving Pagosa Springs that morning –
they sure had a time trying to make up for time. We watched the
passengers get off the stage. “Didn’t you have another passenger?”
I listened as Preston delivered the sad news. “No, Micah. The lawman
from Denver didn’t make it.”
“What do you mean he didn’t make it?” Micah asked then.
“Well, when we were ready to leave for Pagosa Springs this mornin’,
he wasn’t there so I went to look for him. I found him lying dead in
“What?” Micah was shocked.
“He was shot, Micah. The Sheriff up there, he questioned everybody,
but nobody had seen or heard anything. Told me to go on. Said he’d
notify Denver and they’d probably get a hold of you.”
I was curious about the other
passengers. Preston told me they were a couple cattlemen from
Denver. I could tell Micah was really worried. I assured him they’d
send another Federal Marshal for him. “All you have to do is keep
“Yeah. Like Ted Burks up in Salinas a couple of years ago,” Micah
stated. “He had Gordo locked up. Just one night, that’s all. They
killed Ted, one of his deputies, and a couple of townspeople getting
him out. The same thing happened in Waco six months ago. Lucas, I
need more help!” I could tell my friend was really scared. I agreed
to stay and help him. I went to see if Mark could stay at the
Benson’s until I got back.
Ben was standing guard in front of the Marshal’s office. When Micah
walked by, he wondered where the Marshal was. Micah gave him the
news. "What do you mean he was killed?" Ben asked as he walked
“Just what I said,” Micah answered. Nils walked in then. Ben told
him the news.
“Then that means someone is coming after him, just like he’s been
saying!” Nils declared.
“Looks that way,” Micah stated. Ben wondered how many. “Hard to
tell. Maybe one, maybe a dozen. Who knows?”
Ben walked over to the window. He was really nervous! He turned and
looked at Micah. He told Micah he’d do deputy duty anytime he was
needed. When he heard he needed a deputy, he had come right over.
Micah agreed. Ben tried to say what he needed to say, but he
couldn’t. Micah saved him the trouble. “You don’t have to tell me, I
know. A man with a wife and four kids. It’s alright, Ben. You go on
home.” Ben felt bad, but he had to think of his family. He took off
the deputy star and tossed it on the table.
“Micah? I’ll take the door,” Nils stated.
Ben’s leaving worried Micah even more. He was very thankful Nils was
staying to help.
When I got back, I asked Nils to bed Razor down for me. Nils ran to
do that while I went inside to talk to Micah. I questioned Micah on
Ben’s drinking on duty. I had seen him heading toward the saloon.
“Ben’s not on duty,” Micah announced as he picked up the star. I
understood and took the deputy star. I pinned it on the right side
of my shirt. "You’re supposed to wear that over your heart.”
"I've got a big heart Micah."
Just then Gordo hollered for Micah. He wanted to talk to Micah. I
followed Micah inside as they talked. Gordo said he was getting
lonesome. He announced that he overheard the talking and that he
knew the Marshal from Denver wasn’t coming. “Seems like he went and
got himself killed or something? Now who’d do a thing like that? You
know, pretty soon there ain’t gonna be a lawman left!” He laughed.
I glared at him. I saw no human in this sick man! "Your name is Luke
McCain, ain't it? They call you 'The Rifleman'. You know, you and
me…we’d make a good team together." Micah told him to shut up. “I’ll
bet you they’re out there right now, just breathing down your neck.”
Micah turned around and walked out. I was right behind him. “I’ve
been listening to that for four days! It’s enough to get on a man’s
nerves!” Micah declared.
I studied on this situation. Then I questioned Micah on the two
cattlemen that got off the stage. Something just didn’t seem right
with them! Micah thought they were respectable looking. “I don’t
think they’d arrive in town just as big as life if they has
something besides cattle on their minds.”
“Well…It won’t hurt to find out.”
Micah looked at me. “Lucas, there’s another stage arriving in the
morning and another one in the evening. Besides that, there are
people coming and going through town all the time. Now, I can’t stop
and question all of ‘em!” I asked him if he minded me checking
around. He told me to go ahead. I walked out the door. But as soon
as Nils announced he was back, Micah shouted, “Lucas, I’m coming
We had just started toward the saloon when I noticed Ben’s horse. We
hurried to see what was going on. We found Ben slumped over. He was
barely alive. Micah wanted to know who did this. Ben tried to speak,
but he couldn’t. He died.
I watched them take his body off. Sweeny was there with us. I just
had to question him again! “Sweny, you didn’t hear anything? You
didn’t see anything? Nothing at all?”
Sweeny was upset. “Lucas, I told you. Ben came in for a drink. We
talked for a few minutes. Then he left for home. That’s all.” We had
already questioned Nils. He had seen the same thing. Ben had come
out, got on his horse, and rode off. About five minutes later, the
two cattlemen left the saloon and went straight to the hotel.
I told Micah to take the lantern. I wanted to check out the scene of
the crime – just in case we overlooked something. I studied the
ground. Ben was dragged in here.
Micah agreed. "Yeah...maybe they’re out there right now, breathing
down out necks."
“You quoting Gordo again?" I asked.
"Yeah...I guess I am," Micah fearfully. Just then someone shot at
us, hitting the lantern and knocking it over. We heard horses
I looked out into the darkness. “Well, I guess that answers your
Nils heard the shot and came running. He wanted to know what was
going on. Micah asked him who was guarding the prisoner. Nils
stuttered sheepishly that nobody was.
“Nobody!” I grumbled as we all three ran back to Micah’s office. We
rushed to the jail. We were surprised to find Gordo was still in his
cell. He was lying in the bed. "Howdy Marshal, what's going on out
there? I keep hearing gunshots. That deputy, he come in here and
told me that the other fella got himself killed. Is that right?"
"How many are out there Gordo?" I asked.
He laughed. “Well, I remember in Salinas, 12 and uh…down in Waco
five...no, seven. But don’t you suppose, Marshal, they’re just out
there having some fun riling you up before they kill you?” We left
We went out to Micah's office. Micah lit into Nils. "You know better
than to leave this office unguarded! The back door is doubled locked
but that won't stop them!" Nils apologized. He started to explain,
but he was nervous…upset…maybe even scared. Thee was a lot of
tension in the room. He told Micah he needed to get away for a few
minutes. He needed a drink.
“Yeah, you look like you need
drink!” Micah declared angrily. Then his voice gentled. “Oh
Nils…You…ah…you’re coming back?”
"Sure I'm comin' back!" Nils rushed out the door. I grabbed his
rifle from him as he walked out the door. I told Micah I still
wanted to talk to those two cattlemen. Since Nils had left, Micah
had to stay here in his office.
They were at the hotel eating a late supper. I greeted them, asking
them if they were the two cattlemen who cam in on the Denver stage
tonight. They announced they had come here to buy some cattle. “I’m
beginning to wonder.
I assured him I was a deputy, not the Marshal. “Oh I’m sorry. Is
that a safe job now?” they asked. “It seems like lawmen in this part
of the country don’t live long.” They were referring to what
happened in Pagosa Springs. “Well, that and what happened here
tonight. That other Deputy…Say…who is this Gordo anyway?
Bartender over at the saloon said you have him over at your jail.”
“You never heard of ‘em?” I was a bit surprised.
“Our business is cattle…not outlaws.”
I decided to investigate that further. “Well now, my business ain’t
lawman either. I’m a cattle rancher myself.” They were happy to hear
that – even wanted to get together and do some business with me. The
man introduced himself as Dave Chester. The other man was Karl
I told him my name. “Just what is it you’re looking for in the way
of cattle?” I asked then.
“Any at all,” Chester declared. What you got? The beef market is
high in Denver.” This was turning into a very interesting
conversation after all!
“Yeah, I guess it is,” I stated as I thought on this. “Well, if you
fellows are gonna be around, soon as I’m free maybe we can ride out
to my place and look over the stock.” I left and headed back to
Gordo called for Micah again. This time he wanted a drink. As I walked into the office, I called
out for Micah. He turned from Gordo. “In here, Lucas.” That was a
mistake. Gordo grabbed him. I picked up a box of shells and studied
Suddenly, I heard a noise from the back. I ran to the back to find
Micah in a headlock. I rushed over and punched Gordo hard. Then I
grabbed Micah and hurried him out of the cell block, closing the
door behind us.
“Ignorant ape!” I’m gonna kill you sodbuster! Nobody ever hits
Charlie Gordo and live to tell about it!" "I'm gonna kill you.....do
you hear me?" We listened as he continued yelling that stuff over
and over. Boy, he was really mad!
“How long is this gonna last?” Micah asked then.
I turned and looked at him. “Micah, how long would you say it takes
to build up a cattle herd?” Micah looked at me, wondering what I was
talking about. “Well…six months ago, this territory was hit with the
worst hoof and mouth plague in its history. There weren’t enough
cattle left to fill one loading pen.”
“So, now that we’ve barely started to build up our herd, along come
two cattlemen who wanna buy our stock…to me that adds up to either
they don’t know the cattle business or…they are not in the cattle
Micah shook his head. He had a very tired look on his face.
“Sometimes I don’t think this job pays enough.” I could be wrong.
“Best we figure, you’re right!”
Just then, Nils stepped out of the saloon and started back toward
Micah’s office. He was shot and fell in the street. We heard the
shot. I hurried to the door and opened it. Nils was in the street,
shot. “Micah!” More shots came from a room in the hotel. Nils was
shot again. I fired several shots into the window, but didn’t get
“Cover me, Micah!” I yelled as I ran out onto the street. I helped
Nils into the saloon. More shots fired. I ran out of the saloon to
face the gunfire. I was shot. I groaned and fell facedown in the
street. I was out cold.
Micah saw me fall. His eyes were grieved. “Lucas!’ Micah cried.
“Lucas Boy!” He started
out his door to help me, but he was shot in the shoulder. He grabbed
it and went back into his office, closing the door behind him. He
The two so-called cattlemen decided it was time. They left the
window. Micah blew out the lantern and broke the window out so he
could hold his shotgun out the window. He was scared.
A laugh erupted from the cellblock. “You out, Marshal? Are you still
alive, sodbuster?” Gordo called.
Micah turned and looked at me laying still out on the street. “Lucas
Boy,” he called softly. But I didn’t move. He was grieving for me.
He didn’t know if I was alive or dead. A horse neighed. Micah looked
up to see a man coming up the street with the horses. “Alright, hold
it!” he ordered. “Stay right were you are!” Micah looked up to see
the two cattlemen coming out of the hotel.
“Marshal, you hear me? You better throw that gun outside, and keep
yourself from getting killed!”
“You might try to take Gordo, but you’ll have to face this shotgun
first," Micah told them. All three men started firing over and
over…Micah stayed low and allowed them to shoot. Several bullets hit
the windows. Over and over the gunshots sounded. Finally, Micah
raised up and peered out the window. He fired his two shotgun
blasts, but hit nothing. More gunshots erupted. Micah went to
He was hit. He fell to the floor gasping. He was hurt bad.
The men slowly and cautiously made their way to the Marshal’s
office. One man stuck his rifle in my face, but I was out cold. They
rushed inside and knocked Micah out. “Sure didn’t make good sense,
Marshal,” one of the men said as he picked up the keys. He turned to
the other men. “Save him for Gordo.” He took Micah’s keys and headed
for the back to release Gordo.
Micah tried to lift his head, but he was hurt too bad. Micah saw
Gordo standing over him – free. “Well Marshal…Looks like you’re
troubles are all over. Ol’ Charlie Gordo ain’t gonna be around here
Micah lifted his head off the floor. Gasping, he said, “Gordo,
someday they’re gonna…catch up with you!”
One of the men told him to finish Micah off so they could leave. “I
don’t wanna finish him off. I want him alive. So he can tell
everybody what Charlie Gordo done. And you’ll tell ‘em, won’t you,
Marshal?” He roughly lifted Micah off the floor. “You tell ‘em
good.” He dropped him back to the floor…hard. It hurt Micah. “So
They walked outside. They stood over my body. “Quiet, ain’t it?”
Gordo commented. He handed off his gun. “I guess I’m not gonna need
They didn’t know I had come to. I waited until they turned and
started to walk to their horses. Then I lifted up and turned over. I
held my rifle in my hand and fired. I killed the third man. The two
so-called cattlemen went for their own guns, but I fired several
shots one after the other. Hollis and Chester were dead. Only Gordo
was left. Gordo tried to shoot me with his rifle, but I fired first.
He fell over…dead.
Four men…all dead…laid in the street now.
It was over. They were all dead.
But was that all that was dead. I had to find out! “Micah!” I
breathed. Then I walked into his office. Part of me didn’t want to
know – the other part had to know.
I saw him lying there on his floor. I sat down my rifle and grabbed
him by his vest, pulling him up. "Lucasboy, I thought you were…"
Micah said. He was happy to see me alive.
I leaned him against his desk, and breathed a sigh of relief! I was
afraid for him! I didn’t know what to say! It took me a minute to
speak. "How bad are you Micah?"
"I had worse," Micah answered. "Gordo?"
"He said that you'll sleep tonight.” It was hard to keep my emotions
in check! I wanted to weep with happiness that my friend was alive!
I looked at Micah and smiled. “So will I." Because when my best
friend has a problem, so did I!
The next day, Mark and I were sitting outside Micah's office. I had
a bandaged wrapped around my head. Mark sighed. “Mark, you don’t
mind staying in town a few days until Micah gets on his feet, do
you?” I asked.
“Oh, no Pa!” Mark declared as he leaned back in his chair to relax.
"Staying in town is like a vacation to me.”
“Maybe so, but you still have to go to school.”
“Yeah, I know,” Mark answered a bit less enthusiastic! “Of course,
after school I can always help Lucille Bandy break that new
colt that she got for her birthday.”
That reminded me. I had to tease my young, adolescent boy! "Mark you
never did tell me, how was Lucille's birthday party?"
Mark sat straight up in his chair, suddenly excited about it. "Oh
Great! Oh boy, we had a swell time Pa! They had a..." He suddenly
realized I saw his excitement. He sat back in his chair and folded
his arms. He got subtle all of a sudden. "Oh it was alright, I
guess. But you know…”
"All those girl?" I asked.
"Yeah.” Mark suddenly seemed really uncomfortable! “Well, I'll be
seein' ya'." I smiled as Mark bolted from his chair and ran off. I
laughed as I touched my sore head.
Chaney Jr. played Charlie
Gordo. He was the outlaw that Micah had locked up in his jail.
Elliott played Ben Johnson, the cowboy who didn't want to
be Micah's deputy anymore when he heard what had happened to the
marshal in Pagosa Springs.
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
the rowdy cowboys.
appeared in three episodes ―
The Apprentice Sheriff
as Reed Barnes, he's the cowboy who pretended to be drunk and
kill Sandy in the saloon ― Gun Fire
as Dave Chester, he claimed to be a cattleman, but really was
there to break Gordo out of jail ― Tin Horn as John Keeler,
the crooked gambler.
*William Bryant and Grant Richards both appeared together in The Apprentice
Sheriff & Gun Fire as bad guys.
Price was the stagecoach driver. Lucas called him Preston, but
the credits say: Preston Price as Joe ~ This is the only thing I
could find on this cowboy.
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 &
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
Joe Higgins played Nils
Swenson. Is it Nils or is it Nels/Niles? What is his last name.....Swenson/Svenson
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?
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
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.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear
Character Actors Index Page
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