"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
I Take This Woman
This story starts out simple enough –
Nils rolling a fixed wagon wheel down the street. That’s a common
occurrence in North Fork. Even a broken wagon sitting in the middle
of the street isn’t THAT big of a news-worthy item. Watching two men
trying to lift a loaded wagon so they can get a wagon wheel on isn’t
that rare either. Nils and Pete didn’t get far. After several tries,
Nils finally decided they better unload it.
Enter an Irish man – a stranger to North Fork. He looked around the
town, then noticed the trouble Nils and Pete were having. "Allow me
gentleman, would you, please?" The man then pushed Nils out of the
way and lifted the wagon all by himself! Nils and Pete were so
surprised by this, they just stood there looking in amazement.
“Please, don’t just stand there! Please get something under it!” The
man groaned. Then he sat it down gently. "I've heard people say that
most of my brains are in my arms and my back...and you know
something, I'm forever trying to prove they are correct," said the
stranger. Nils told the stranger he’d have him lift the roof on his
house when he got ready to roof it. The stranger joked that he
didn’t want the house more than three stories tall.
After joking around with the two men he went over to get his horse
that was where Micah was standing. "You know that was quite a
compliment coming from a blacksmith," said Micah.
"Oh...thank you sir, that comes from lifting stones to find enough
sod underneath them to plant potatoes," said the stranger.
"Am I right in thinking it's the sod of County Down you're referring
to?" Micah asked.
"Yes you are sir, yes indeed! Yes, I'm a County Down man...Dennis
O'Flarrety is the name." Micah then introduced himself. Dennis
thought it to be a good omen that the first man that he met was an
Irishmen and a better omen that he was the law too. He then pointed
to the sign above the hotel and asked about the Mallory House.
“Would that Mallory be a red haired, green eyed Irish girl of more
then passing beauty?”
“You’re a friend of Lou’s?” Micah asked.
“Now, does the description fit the name?” Micah grinned and nodded.
“Well…then a friend of hers I am indeed! And one that’s eager to see
her too!” Dennis went straight to the hotel.
Dennis walked into the hotel, he threw his bag onto the desk and as
he rang the bell he noticed the bar. When he walked up to the bar,
the bartender asked him beer or whiskey. Dennis told him that was a
poor thing to offer him, being that he had been twenty days on the
road. When the bartender mentioned 'Irish Whiskey,' that was more to
Just then Lou noticed Dennis's bag on the desk, she walked into the
bar to ask Larsen about it but stopped dead in her tracks when she
saw Dennis. She was shocked! “Of course, my dear heart! Now, who
else would it be but myself…” He held up a finger. “Ah…” Then he
picked up his drink. “Drinking to the health of the future Mrs.
Lou was very surprised then. She was actually speechless! Dennis
begged her to say something. “Hello, Dennis.” That’s all she could
muster out at the moment. She was quite surprised! Dennis told Lou
he thought about writing her, but thought it would be better to
surprise her. Dennis declared that things had changed for the
“A lot of things have changed, Dennis,” Lou declared.
He agreed. “But not the old things…no. Not the loyalties…the
friendships…the old promises, Lou. Lou told Dennis it hat been ten
years since she left Ireland. Dennis told her it had been ten times
ten years. He took a good look at Lou and decided she was the same
radiant, lovely creature that she always was. “How about a kiss from
your future husband, huh?” He started to kiss her. Lou silently
turned her head away. He kissed her cheek instead. He knew it was
stupid of him to think about kissing her when he was so dirty.
I was in town and thought I'd stop by and say hello to Lou. I didn't
see her in the lobby of the hotel when I walked in. I called out her
name. "In here Lucas," Lou called.
I went into where she was and started to ask her a question. But I
stopped when I saw Dennis. I apologized for interrupting and started
to leave. She said I wasn't interrupting and she introduced me to
Dennis. We shook hands. "Lucas is my dearest friend here in North
Fork." She told me that Dennis came from the same part of Ireland as
she did and that they had joining farms.
Lou started to go get Dennis a room, but Dennis stopped her. He
turned to me. “Mr. McCain, um…seeing as herself doesn’t have any
relatives here abouts, and that you are her best friend, I was
wondering if you would do me a favor.”
“Name it,” I nodded.
“Well…uh…be best man at our wedding, huh?”
That sure took me by surprise! “At your wedding?” I couldn’t believe
what I was hearing! Lou told me to wait, but I wanted to discuss
this with Micah!
“They may even ask you to give the bride away!” I was telling Micah.
Micah asked me what I was going to do about it. “Nothing.”
“Nothing?” Micah was surprised.
“Micah, she was standing right there at the time. She didn’t say
anything. She’s a grown woman. If she gets it in her heat to get
married, well, she’s got the right.
“Well, I won’t argue that with ya', only I…I sorta figured…”
“Well, you better start re-figuring things!” I told him. He guessed
he better, though he doubted it would ever make any sense!
I told Micah I needed to get home. He couldn’t believe I was leaving
without talking to Lou, but I figure I’d see her next time I was in
Just as I was leaving Lou walked into Micah's. "I asked you to wait
"I know...but you were involved," I answered.
"Don't you want an explanation?"
"You don't have to explain anything to me Lou!"
"Ohhhhh Lucas...will you please stop acting so contrary!"
"Contrary! I thought I was being a gentleman!" I exclaimed.
"Then would you please stop being a gentleman and listen to me?" She
was getting irate.
"Alright...I'll listen. What is it?"
Lou explained. "When I was eight my mother died. And there was my
father with six children and me the oldest. And…and he was a sick
man as well. So Dennis agreed to help on our farm and see that we
had food and clothes. He kept us alive during the drought and bad
crops and before my father died he offered to give Dennis our farm."
"Sounds to me like he might have earned it," I said.
"He did," Lou agreed. "But he refused it. He wanted something
else.....my father agreed. It was a debt of honor.” I couldn’t
believe it! I just pointed at her in shock. “That's right...me! They
shook hands and with my father’s last breath on earth, he promised
me to Dennis."
"Well you were only a child...nobody has the right to give you
away," I said. Lou told me I didn't understand the ways of the old
world and that a father had the right to pledge his daughter in
marriage. “But you’re not in Ireland now – You’re in America!” She
said her birth ties go deeper, especially when a pledge is a dying
pledge, given in bond for a rightful debt. “You telling me you feel
duty bound to marry this man?”
“I am!” I shook my head in disbelief. “Well, aren’t you gonna say
“Of course.” I stood up and smiled at her. "Good luck Lou.” Then I
walked out of Micah's office and headed home.
“Good luck?” she gasped with her hands on her hips.
Later, Dennis walked into the bar at the hotel and was surprised at
how quiet he was. He told the bar tender to keep it Irish Whisky.
Larsen told him the other was a lot cheaper, but Dennis insisted.
“I’m sure Miss Mallory won’t mind the expense.” Dennis was going to
need a few things. Larson told him Nils had some used saddles, but
Dennis wanted everything new. Dennis then wondered what people did
when the sun goes down.
“Sleep,” Larson answered.
“And for those that are interested in a little manly conversation
or…sport?” Larsen told him that Sweeny’s place always has Pharaoh
games going on over there. That made Dennis happy. He wanted to
hurry on over there and meet Sweeny.
As Dennis was leaving, Larsen mentioned something important. “Might
as well let you know…uh…Miss Lou doesn’t have an account over
"Well, she will!" Dennis declared.
I decided to tell Mark about Lou’s pledge to be married while we
were having supper that night. “Why, Pa?” Mark asked.
As a father, it’s my job to explain to Mark why things are the way
they are. I did my best, though I didn’t much understand it myself.
“Well son, people seek things differently in different parts of the
world. Now in Ireland, they have a lot of old fashioned customs like
a father being able to give his daughter away in marriage without
consulting her first.”
Boy, Mark sure didn’t like that! “What?”
“I guess it’s a man’s world there,” I explained.
Mark thought on that and decided that he sure didn’t want to marry
someone who didn’t want to marry him! “Well, there’s more to Lou’s
decision than that, son.” I explained that Dennis did a lot for Lou
and her family, so it was like paying off a debt.
“Marrying somebody because you owe them.” I don’t think that sat
very well with my boy. “Is that why Ma got married?” He asked then.
“Of course not, son. We were in love. We wanted to be together. And
we were for as long as God let us.”
“Well, with Lou and Mr. O'Flarrety, it’s more of a business deal
then a marriage isn’t it?” Mark asked then.
I told him it was still two people getting married. “Now, don’t get
me wrong. I’m not saying rather it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying
it’s the custom of her country. Does that satisfy you?”
“Sure, if it satisfies you,” Mark answered. I wasn’t quite sure what
to make of that answer!
The next day, I went into town to see Micah. When he asked me what
brought me into town, I told him “Dennis O'Flarrety. What do you
make of him?”
I took Micah’s coffee cup right out of his hand and took a drink as
he thought of how to answer. “Well, something tells me that when St.
Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland he may have overlooked one or
two. I agreed with him.”
Meanwhile, over at the hotel Lou was upset with Dennis when she saw
the stack of bills that Dennis had ran up and had charged to her.
She went to confront him with it. He told her not to worry about
that at all. “In my family, it’s the man that does all the worrying
about the money.”
But that wasn’t good enough for her. “A lot of hard work, sweat, and
paint went into everything that I have! I’m not gonna stand by and
see you waste it away.”
He took her hand and, in a nice way, told her not to talk to him
like that. She explained to Dennis that one of the reasons she left
Ireland was because she couldn’t see herself like the other women –
becoming a drudge for a husband. “No, you don’t seem to understand!
It’s the man that heads the house and makes the rules. Now, if I
want to make you a queen, then it is a queen you are going to be,
but if I want you to be a drudge…” He allowed the remainder of that
sentence to die.
Lou tried to explain that she wasn't the little girl she used to be
and he couldn't scare her with his threats and his bulling. “I can
still you are still a child of your father’s. Beautiful and radiant,
but willful and forgetful of her promises.” He assured Lou that she
would come around to his way of thinking and with that he started
squeezing her wrist. Lou flinched from the pain. At the same moment,
he assured her he wanted to be kind and gentle to her. He reminded
her of the promise and her not appreciating what he had done for her
family and reminded her what was hers was his and what was good for
him was good for her. He kept twisting her wrist as he spoke.
“Let go of me, Dennis!” she screamed. He was really hurting her.
But he refused to stop twisting her wrist until she gave him her
answer. Suddenly, Larson came from behind the bar. “Leave her
alone,” he demanded.
Dennis slowly turned and looked at Larson. He walked up to Larson
and punched him right in the stomach. He then grabbed Larson around
the neck and started squeezing.
Lou jumped up. “Dennis, don’t! ! I won't fight you!" He let go of
Larson and pushed him across the room. He wanted her to repeat it.
“I won’t…fight ya',” Lou answered quietly. He told her that was a
wise decision. He knew she’d see it his way in the end. He then
wrapped his arms around her and hugged her. Lou was miserable!
Lou came back into the bar later and apologized to Larson for what
happened earlier. Then she sent him to the General Store for more
coal oil. I passed him on my way out. Lou walked around the bar. She
was about to check the stock. “Well, we can still talk, hm?” She
didn’t want to talk today. “Yeah I know, but I’ve got some time on
my hands while Nils is shooing my horse. Anyway, it’s too hot to
Lou was really edgy. She snapped at me, telling me I didn’t just
walk over here to discuss the weather. “Just an innocent statement.
Don’t get riled.”
“I’m not riled!” Lou practically yelled at me.
“Oh, of course you’re not.”
“I’m busy, Lucas.” Lou turned away from me.
“Can’t you call him Dennis?” she snapped.
“Mm…It’s a quaint old Irish name. Must admit though, I was surprised
when you said you were getting married.”
“Well, it didn’t seem to bother ya' any,” Lou reminded me.
“Yeath, that’s right. But it did bother Mark. I was talking to him
about it last night.”
“What were you talking to him about?”
“Well, I was telling him all the things you told me about this
“What is so difficult about the name of Dennis?”
I held a finger at her and shook it at her. “You’re getting riled
again,” I warned her.
“I am not getting riled!”
I apologized. She even got mad at me about that! “Well, like I was
telling Mark…uh…this Dennis?” Lou gave me an awful look. “O'Flarrety
…That’s a real man, I said, Hard working, industrious, man of honor,
loyal…the kind of man any woman would be proud and thankful to
marry.” I just looked at her.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell me how to run my life. I’d
also appreciate it if you didn’t discuss my affairs with Mark!”
Well now, Mark figures he’s a friend of yours. Since he has your
best interest at heart…”
I told her I could see she was very happy. “Men!” she declared.
“There’s nothing aggravates me like the superior male who thinks he
knows everything about everybody’s character!”
“Did uh…did I give that impression?”
Boy, was I ever getting a tongue lashing! “You know absolutely
nothing about Mr. O'Flarrety!”
I shook my finger at her. “Dennis,” I reminded her.
“I know his name!” she screamed at me. “And I know a lot more about
him than you do. It just so happens that Dennis O'Flarrety is-“ She
stopped. I asked her to tell me what. “Just stay away from him!” The
anger left her voice. She suddenly sounded worried. "Please
Lucas...you don't know anything about him, he'll do anything to
anyone who gets in his way."
"Then send him packing!" I said.
"You can if you want too!" I said. She said it was enough with one
man telling her what to do she didn't need another one giving her
orders. I told her I was trying to help. She told me she didn't want
my help or any man's help anymore. I asked her if she was in
“Trouble?” She started to walk around the bar. “Trouble’s what got
me beholden to one man. I’d just as soon…” She paused when she saw
Dennis. “…soon it didn’t get me beholden to another.”
I turned around and glared at Dennis. "Well if you’re so interested,
why don't you just come in,"
"I'm standing here just quietly protecting my property," said
Dennis. "Is that what she is to you?" I asked. He told me it was
none of my business and it was an arrogant question and called for
an apology. "That my friend is a matter of opinion!" I said as I
started towards him. Lou stopped me, she told me Dennis was right,
what was between them was their business. “None of my business.” I
didn’t like leaving her. I knew there was more going on then she
mentioned, but I had no choice. I had to respect her wishes. I said
goodbye, then turned around and walked out.
They watched me leave. Dennis told Lou that if she did the right
thing by asking me to leave.
That night, Mark and I were both reading our Bibles. Mark had been
bugging me all evening about what he’d heard. I kept telling him to
tend to his lessons and keep quiet about it, but he couldn’t seem to
do that. “Well, it wasn’t old women talking. It was Nils and Mr.
Sweeny.” I told him again to forget about it and tend to his
lessons. “Pa, Lou is our friend. How come we’re not doing anything?
And I mean doing – not talking!”
“Well, because I was told it was none of my business, Mark,” I
answered as I again turned back to my Bible.
Mark declared that he was bleeding her dry – buying things with her
money. I wondered if all the kids did was listen to old women’s
gossip. Mark got defensive. “Well, if it was me and I was a doing
friend instead of a talking friend, I’d saddle up and go do
something about it!”
Mark’s words really got to me. I sat my Bible down and stood up.
Grabbing my hat, I went to the door. I opened the door, then turned
to Mark. "Thanks for some good fatherly advice.”
While I was on my way into town to be a doing friend, Dennis was on
his way to the saloon for a game of cards. He told Lou to go to bed
like he had told her and she'd wake up feeling like a queen.
Lou was happy to see him leave. This was the chance she was waiting
for, she was getting out of this situation no matter what! Even if
it meant she had to leave behind everything she had worked so hard
for. She hurried up to her bedroom and got her already packed bags
out of the closet, and hurried down the steps. She then headed for
the back door, but to her surprise when she opened the door, there
"Well, there you are my love. What is it we've got here? Traveling
bags, are you going some place? An over night trip perhaps.....huh?"
Asked Dennis as he picked up her luggage and tossed it aside. He
startled her; she had not expected him to be outside the door. She
was afraid of what he might do knowing she was going to leave. “Why
are you looking so frightened, darling?” Lou started backing away
from Dennis. She was terrified!
Lou then told him she wasn't going to marry him. She told him that
if her father were alive today and would know Dennis as he is today,
he would not hold her to that promise. He grabbed her and told her
to promise him she would never try and run away again. He told her
she would never be lonely with him there. Just as he started to
embrace her I walked in.
Lou finally found her voice. “I’m not going to marry you, Dennis.”
Dennis told her she didn’t know what she was saying. “If my father
were alive to know what you are, he wouldn’t hold me to that
promise! I believe that with all my heart.” She backed up, but he
kept coming towards her.
Finally, he grabbed her. “You run away once before. Now you’re doing
the same thing again.” He pulled her against him. He told her to
promise him she’d never try that again. He kept talking to her in
that threatening voice as he held onto her really tight.
Then I walked in. Dennis acted like he was thrilled to see me. He
wanted to give me a drink of Irish whisky. But I just stood there
and stared at Lou. I saw it in her eyes. Silently, my eyes asked her
if she was really happy, and the answer I got back was that she
wasn’t – she desperately needed my help. This man was hurting her.
The whole time we looked at each other, Dennis kept talking. I
refused his offer of a drink, so he drank his alone instead.
When Dennis finished his drink he sucker punched me and I fell to
the floor. I got up and took a swing at him. We just kept hitting
each other harder and harder. We fought though the hotel lobby and
then I knocked him through the window of the lobby and out into the
street. We fought in the street. He tried to throw a wagon on top of
me. As we kept fighting, Dennis knocked me through the window into
the gunsmith's shop. We fought out into the street again then I hit
Dennis and he fell into the water trough. He got back up and we kept
fighting and ended up across the street into Sweeney's. That's where
Dennis finally had enough, he collapsed.
I was exhausted! That was one humdinger of a fight; and I sure had
taken a beating. I slowly walked back to the hotel; Lou was standing
in the doorway. It took me awhile to get the energy up to speak.
When I did, I said, "You said it was none of my business, so I guess
you'll want me to pay for some of the damages,.”
Lou burst out laughing. It was nice to hear her laugh again. I knew
that I should have done that a long time ago! I joined her and
Lou came to have supper with me and Mark at the ranch that next
evening. Mark served us. “Mill Lou, I can’t help wondering. If you
had gotten to run away, would that mean that we would have never
seen her again?”
“You don’t have to answer that, Lou,” I stated. She was honest with
She didn’t know what the answer was. “I know running away doesn’t
solve any problems, but at the time it was all I could think of.
Getting rid of some of the old world customs I grew up with is more
easily said than done.
Just then I knocked on the table. "Well...it's all over now.
That’s just what she meant. She knocked on the table. “It’s an old
Irish custom to knock on wood so the Leprechauns will hear and know
you are thanking them for a piece of good luck.” When Mark heard
that, he knocked on the table. We all started knocking on the table,
then. We were laughing and enjoying each other’s company once again!
“What is the origin and true meaning of knock on wood or touch
To touch wood or knock on wood is a superstition action to ward off
any evil consequences or bad luck, perhaps because of some recent
action you’ve taken or untimely boasting about your good fortune; it
can also be a charm to bring good luck.
Blair as Lou Mallory. Patricia was first introduced to The
Rifleman in Lou Mallory. She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a
razor-sharp businesswoman. She joined the cast in the
fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes. Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott
owner of The General Store.
McClory appeared in two episodes ―
Knight Errant as Colonel Black,
an old friend of Lucas', the union officer ―
This Woman as Dennis O'Flarrety, the Irish man came to
claim what he was promised, Lou Mallory.
Charles Cooper played Will's older brother
Hank Fulton in this episode of End of a Young Gun. He also
appeared as Rudy Crofts in The Stand-In, he was the
prisoner who escaped ― Matt Yordy in Honest Abe, he was the
man who kept picking on Abe ― Larsen the bartender in I Take
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
coordinator—Actor - Archie has been in more episodes then anybody with the
exception of the regular cast and he probably was in more episode then some
of them. ~Arnold
Remember him in The Sharpshooter? Remember when Lucas shot
the whiskey bottle and it shattered into pieces? Archie was the cowboy
who slid the whiskey bottle to Lucas.
Sometimes Archie was a stand-in for Paul Fix.
appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in
The Rifleman he was also a stunt
double for Chuck Connors.
What a great fight this was
between Lucas & O'Flarrety. But we must give credit to the following two
Fritz Ford was Chuck's double in this episode.
George Robotham —
Stuntman. Doubled for Sean McClory in this episode.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear
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