The Rifleman
"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"

Meeting at Midnight
Episode 74

Three men sat on horses on top of a road looking down into the beloved city of North Fork. The Rifleman - Meeting at Midnight - Episode 74“There’s North Fork, Benton. You straight?” Schroeder announced.

“Straight,” Benton answered.

“Just make it look good. Maybe you’ll win a medal.”

“I don’t want a medal,” Benton stated. “I just want money, and plenty of it.”

“Midnight tonight at the south road,” Schroeder reminded him.

“Midnight at the south road. I’ll give your regards to Miller.” With that, he rode down into North Fork.

The two men left but didn’t trust him. That’s why they were planning on killing him as soon as they were finished with him.

It was your typical day at the McCain Ranch. I was drying the dishes and Mark was working on memorizing a poem.

“The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck

He was suddenly frustrated. “Having trouble memorizing, son?” I asked.

Mark sat down and picked up his book. “Oh no, it just trying to get the gestures with the right words,” he answered. Who did he think he was fooling? “This lady, this Hemans that wrote this, she sure was some writer!” Mark commented then. I wonder if I should be a writer?”

“I thought you wanted to be a stagecoach driver!” I reminded him lightly.

“That was last week,” Mark stated. “Before Miss Adams gave us this assignment on poetry.”

It was lecture time! “Well son, being a writer’s a fine thing. But any profession you choose, the only way you can be a success at it is to work hard,” I informed him. “Give it everything you got.” Of course he knew that already. I told him we needed to get into town. I had to get Razor shod and he needed to pick up his books Hattie ordered for him.

Mark just sat there. “Come on,” I said again.

“Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm; “

“Mark!” I called from the door.

“A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.”

He finally grabbed his hat and closed the door behind him.

When we got into town I invited Micah to come out to the ranch for supper that night. He wouldn’t be able to because he had Carl Miller, the Kansas bank robber, in his jail. He was being extradited to Wichita tomorrow, and he was anxious to get rid of him. I asked him if he was expecting trouble. “When I’m holding a man like Miller, I’m always expecting trouble!” Micah answered.

Of course Mark wanted to know what that fancy word, extradited, meant. “Well Mark, that’s when they catch a criminal in one place and they take him back to the place where they committed the crime to put him on trial.”

"Yahooooo," I suddenly heard. I looked up towards the saloon and saw a man throw a whisky bottle up in the air and slide off his horse. He proceeded to get his saddle bags off his horse. I watched him closely.

I didn’t know it, but he was talking to a man behind him. “Midnight tonight on the south road,” he stated. “Did you tell the Marshal.” The man shook his head, stating that he didn’t know if he could trust him.

I watched him pat the horse on the backside, then heard him say, “You stay out here, old buddy. You’re too young to drink!”

I recognized that man! “Mark, son I think I just saw Tom Benton.” Mark asked who he was. I continued starting toward the saloon. “Well, he was my captain in the army. I told you about him.” I told Mark to get his books from Hattie while I went over to say hi.

Nosey Mr. Hannabury was sitting there at the time and asked Mark who I said that was. “Tom Benton, a friend of my Pa’s,” Mark answered. Then he yelled in his ear, “They did special work behind enemy lines during the war!”

Benton asked the bartender for a glass then poured whisky from his own saddle bag into it. He started to take a drink when I called from behind him, “Alright, Benton turn around!”

He turned around alright! But he pointed his gun straight at me. That startled me a bit, but he immediately put the gun away when he realized it was me. “That’s not much of a welcome, Tom!” I declared. We greeted each other warmly, then Benton grabbed his stuff and made his way over to a table, ordering the bartender to give him another glass.

“Coffee!” I said. “Better make it two, Sweeny.” Sweeny wanted to know who that was. Boy was he surprised to learn that this drunk was my army captain!

As I sat down, I hinted that he had enough to drink, but he told me not to reform him. I asked him why he was here. “Just passing through. Soldier of fortune, tha
The Rifleman - Meeting at Midnight - Episode 74t’s me!” Then he asked me if I remember Mary Lee Gene. I couldn’t believe he was still seeing her!

“Hey, hey do you remember that Turkey Shoot we entered in Denver?” he asked then. He suddenly turned and looked at the bar. “Lucas, don’t move!” he said as he stood up. I had beat him in that turkey shoot, but he wanted to bet me that he could shoot off the tops of every bottle in the bar.

Boy, this guy was really drunk! I started to stand up to stop him from doing something foolish, but he took out his gun and pushed me back down. With a smile on his face, he turned and fired. He fired six shots, and all six shots knocked the tops off of the bottles.

I suddenly stood up and grabbed his gun from him. "What's the matter with you?" I asked.

He laughed. "You've changed Luke, lost your sense of humor."

I was angry with the way my great Captain was acting! “I’m not the one who’s changed, Tom!” I declared.

Suddenly, Sweeny was mad and demanded Tom to pay for the damage. I quickly told Sweeny we’d settle up with him later. I wanted to get my friend out of there before Micah showed up and threatened to throw him in jail.

But I wasn’t fast enough! Micah barged in with his shotgun in hand. "What's going on here Sweeney?"

"I guess he had one too many," said Sweeney.

Micah told Benton he was under arrest. I told Micah he was a friend of mine and that I could vouch for him. "Friend of yours?” Micah sounded surprised. “Suppose we talk about it in my office.” From the tone of his voice, I knew that was an order, and I better follow it!

As we headed for his office, I assured Micah that there was no need for this. "Lucas, when a man's as drunk as your friend he should cool his heels in jail for the sake of everyone."

"Micah, he's not that drunk," I argued. But then Benton staggered out into the street and into a cowboy riding a horse. He swung back and Micah and I caught him by the arm.

"Not that drunk, huh," Micah asked. We headed over to Micah’s office. It didn’t help much that he was staggering, then he started singing!

Oh boy, what a time I had trying to talk Micah into leaving Benton go. I knew he needed help, but I just couldn't leave him there. I was in the arguing mood and Micah was in the ignoring mood. I threw my hat on his desk, bent over it and stated quite firmly that he had received every decoration the army had to give. That didn’t impress him. He continued to ignore him. “I don’t know what’s happened to him in the past few years, but it’s obvious that he needs help! I can’t just leave him here,” I declared.

"The usual bond is fifty dollars. You willing to pay it to have him in your custody?" Well, at least he was talking to me now.

But I had to argue about that! "He's a friend, Micah,” I yelled at him.

"Fifty dollars," Micah answered again.

"Fifty dollars, how's twenty five?" I shot back. We were both being stubborn, but I wasn’t going to leave my captain in a jail!

"Fifty dollars and that's flat!" Said Micah.

"That's my store money," I yelled.

Micah agreed as long as Benton behaved himself. "If he starts shootin' up the town again, you'll answer to me." I knew I would too!

I told him I appreciated what he was doing as I signed the release form. “Thanks,” he answered
The Rifleman - Meeting at Midnight - Episode 74sarcastically. I just looked at him and threw down the pen.

Micah released Benton in my custody. "Alright Benton. Your friend here's vouchin' for you with cash on the line."

But he argued with the Marshal! “No, I’m a not good drunk, Marshal. I belong in jail.”

I had to go inside the cell and practically drag him out kicking and screaming! I didn’t understand what had gotten into him! But I knew he’d feel better once we got a hot meal in him.

As I started leading him across the street, I told him it was plain to see that he needed help. “The only thing I need is to get back in that jail!” Benton stated.

I couldn’t believe what he was saying, but suddenly he wrapped his arm around a post and told me to listen. I turned and stared at him. I grabbed his arm as he told me to keep walking. “You see, for the past two years I’ve been working for the Federal Government. Miller, that prisoner in there, robbed a stage carrying money from the government mint and we haven’t recovered it yet.” We were walking down the street. He was acting drunk and I knew that now, but I didn’t know why. He had been traveling with Schroeder and Morgan all this way and he planned on breaking Miller loose tonight. I bailed him out before he had a chance to talk to Miller. He didn't have a chance to tell me before or he would have.

“We’re gonna have to figure out a way to get you back in that jail,” I stated.

“That’s right,” Benton said. He grinned. “And there’s only one way I know.”

I stepped in front of him. “Oh, I know what you mean,” I answered. And somehow I knew he was going to enjoy this!’

He suddenly punched me twice, knocking me down on the street. Then he tackled me. We began rolling around on the ground. “Does the Marshal know?” I asked in a grunt as we turned over.

“I haven’t had a chance to tell him,” Benton answered.

“Well, I think we better tell him. You can trust him. You’re gonna need his help in your get away!” We continued rolling around in the dirt.

I pinned him to the ground. “Alright, tell him! But not until I get back into that cell block with Miller!”

Suddenly, he stood me up and gave me two hard punches, knocking me down into the dirt again. He ran onto the walkway of the General Store and started throwing things at me – they were hitting me, and they hurt too! He threw a crate of fruit and a big, heavy sack of flour at me!

Suddenly, he came towards him and I pushed him into the wagon, knocking over several barrels! Everyone stood on the street watching us fight. Even Mark had a surprised grin on his face as he watched. I gave him one last hard punch, sending him sprawling into the street.

Suddenly, Micah was there. And boy was he ever angry! He picked Benton up by the shirt. I came forward and grabbed Benton. “I made a mistake with you, Benton,” I said in my angriest voice.

Micah ordered us to break it up. I called Micah’s name. “I wish you’d make up your mind, Lucas!” he said angrily as he hauled Benton off to jail.

I smiled victoriously as I watched Micah and Benton head for the jail. Then I picked up a piece of fruit and tossed it to Mark. Mark wanted to know what we were fighting about, but I wasn’t about to tell this boy! “Now, there’s some things you’re gonna have to leave to my judgment to pick the right time and place to tell you, alright? Now, I’d like you to go home, son. It’s gonna be dark soon.” I told Mark I was going to get Razor shod. He obeyed me and I headed down to the Blacksmith.

Schroeder and Morgan had come out of the saloon to watch the fight. After it was over they asked Mr. Hannabury who the big man was? "Oh that's Luke McCain. He sure did wallop that other fellow didn't he?" Hannabury laughed. "It seems kinda funny them fightin' like that. Seems that he and the fellow he whipped were once good friends. Luke's son said that they hadn't met since the war when they were doin' some secret work for the army." Mr. Hannabury suddenly looked up at the sky. “Say Mister, look to you that…uh…maybe there’s a storm blowing up round here?”

“Yeah, gives every indication of that,” Schroeder stated.

Micah took Benton back to jail. "This time your gonna stay put,” Micah told Benton. “No bonds, no friends, no nothing. Clear?"

"Clear," said Benton.

"You sober?" Micah asked then.

"No sir!"

"Well no singing either," Micah
The Rifleman - Meeting at Midnight - Episode 74declared. After Micah left, Benton took a derringer out of his boot. "That's gonna get us out of here Mr. Miller." Miller asked him who sent him. He told him Schroeder and Morgan. They were suppose to meet them tonight at midnight on the south road.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Schroeder and Morgan were on their way to the Blacksmith’s to pay me a visit. They knew something was up and decided to ask me some “friendly” questions. Nels and I were both working on horseshoes, so we had our backs turned when the men walked in. They silently approached. Morgan hit Nels over the head. I turned to look over my shoulder after hearing the noise and saw Schroeder holding a gun on me!

I had a hot horseshoe in my hand, but Schroeder ordered me to drop it. He then told Morgan to drag Nels to the back and tie him up. “What do you want?” I asked in that rough, threatening voice of mine.

“I want to talk to you about a friend. A mutual friend.”

I carefully looked over toward my horse where my rifle was sticking out of the boot. “What do you mean mutual f-“ I started, but he knew was I was doing and cocked his gun. He told me to stand easy so he wouldn’t have to shoot me down without reason. He told me my mutual friend’s name was Tom Benton. They hung the “closed” sign out on the door.

“Now, you’re in quite of a predicament, Mr. McCain. Suppose you start talking.” I just stared at them.

Back at the jail, Benton was talking with Miller. Miller started boasting about how no town could keep Carl Miller locked up. Come tomorrow, they were going to bust this town ride open. Benton only grinned. Benton asked Miller about the money being cashed up in the hills someplace. Miller said it is. “You better take care of me, friend, cause I’m the only one that knows where it is.”

Benton struck a match to light his cigar. “That’s what I’m here for, Mr. Miller.”

Meanwhile, back at the blacksmith’s I had myself in quite a mess. They had me tied to a chair and were slapping me, trying to get the truth about Benton from me. But I wasn’t going to tell them anything! “I don’t know him anymore, mister, and I don’t wanna!” That was my answer to their questions.

“I go by an old saying, McCain. Judge a man by his friends.”

“Well, that should answer ya',” I answered angrily. He knew too much about Benton. He knew the whole truth – that Benton was here on special assignment to recover the money – but I wasn’t going to tell them that. I said nothing more, but just stared at them.

Then knocked me out and gagged me.

About this time, you may be wondering where my good friend, Micah was. Well, he was at the saloon
The Rifleman - Meeting at Midnight - Episode 74 having a glass of beer and supper. Micah teased him telling him he was eating a little soon after dinner. Then he offered to give Micah some calves’ brains. Micah wasn’t too interested in that! He just wanted a slice of beef. “You…uh…seen Lucas around the last few hours?” Micah asked then. “He was supposed to look in on me before he went back to the ranch, but I guess it’ll wait.”

It was 10:00 pm.

When I came to, I found myself still tied to the log with the anvil on top. I looked around assessing my situation. I certainly was tied up good! I knew I had to get out of here to go help my friend…somehow! I saw the forge and worked at knocking it over. After several ties, I succeeded.

While I was working on freeing myself, the Marshal finished in the saloon and headed back over to the jail. But Benton suddenly called out to him. “Marshal, did my friend McCain give you anymore trouble?” Benton asked.

“I haven’t seen him since you have, Benton. I guess he gave you up as a lost cause!” Benton was suddenly worried. I was supposed to inform Micah about what was going on.

Miller wasn’t sure why Benton hadn’t broken them out of jail. Benton tried to explain that it was too soon. He was worried about me!

10:15: the boys were getting worried. Benton hadn’t sprung Miller yet. Schroeder was right about him He decided they’d go break Miller out of jail by himself. Morgan reminded him that it would mean gunfire and it would wake up the whole town. “It’s a chance we’ll have to take.”

When they walked out of the saloon they saw Benton’s horse. Miller always liked his horse. He told Morgan to synch it up – they’d be riding out fast.

Now came the hard part for me! I had to knock over the log I was tied to. I moaned and groaned, but I finally did it! Then I rolled it over into the hot coals. They burned through the ropes and I quickly got myself free. Then I grabbed my rifle and headed for Micah’s, where I’m sure trouble was brewing!

Schroeder and Morgan went to the jail and pulled a gun on Micah. They led him to the back. Benton wasn’t happy to see them. “What are you doing here? You were supposed to meet us at the south road!” He was annoyed.

"You sure you would have made it Benton?" Schroeder asked.

"Of course! Why did you jump the gun?" Benton asked impatiently.

"Cut out the gabbin' and get me out of here," Miller suddenly said.

Schroeder handed Morgan the keys. “Before we go, Carl, I think there’s something you oughta know.” Schroeder started to tell Miller about Benton, but something suddenly stopped him.

"Alright, turn around, nice and easy!" I ordered. I was standing at the door. My rifle was trained on them .

But they didn’t heed my warning. They turned to shoot and I fired several rounds from my rifle, killing them both. As I walked in to check on the two I had just killed, Benton held his derringer to Micah’s head. “Hold it Mister! I’ve got the Marshal covered. If you want him alive, put down that rifle and come in with your hands up!”

I didn’t put up a fight but did just as he told me to do. “Now pick up those keys and unlock this cell,” he ordered. Again, I did exactly as he told me.

I stood silently and watched as he locked me and Micah in the cell then unlocked Miller’s cell, helping him escape. Miller ran out the door, then Benton turned around and smiled at me. “Good luck,” I said as I gave him the okay sign.

He grinned at me then threw me the keys. We waved good-bye. I smiled, sort of proud that we were able to pull his plan off. But then I stopped frowning when I realized my friend Micah, aka the Marshal, was standing right behind me. He was confused, and not too pleased with me at the moment. I suddenly realized I had a lot of explaining to do. “Well, you see Micah,” I started.

Boy, was I in the doghouse now!

When Benton was done with his mission, he came back to see me. We had dinner together one night. Mark was sure anxious! “Now Pa?” he asked the second dinner was over.

I turned and looked at my zealous son. “Alright, son.” I turned to explain it to Benton. “Tom, Mark has been learning a poem. He’d like to recite it for ya'.” I told him to go ahead.

Mark backed away from the table and stood in front of the fireplace, propping his foot up as he recited. He did a pretty good job, too! I must admit that I was mighty proud of my boy!

"The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet....." Mark was stumped. He forgot his next line.

I just sat there smiling. I knew he would be able to remember in a minute. After all, I had the smartest son in the world, didn’t I? But Benton finished it for him.

“Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.”

Mark sure was impressed!
The Rifleman - Meeting at Midnight - Episode 74"Well gee, you recite that real well,” he exclaimed. But then he looked down at his book and groaned, “guess I better do a little more studying," I laughed at Mark.

“You did real well Mark. That just happens to be one of my favorite poems," Benton explained.

I turned to Tom and asked him what he was going to do now. “Well, I’ll report back to the Denver office. I imagine they’ll have another assignment for me,” he answered.

Mark commented that he traveled a lot. “I’m going to be a writer. Do writers travel?" I heard the hopefulness in my adventurous son’s voice.

"Sure they do. I know one writer who travels all over the world. As a matter of fact he's got the same name as you, Mark, Mark Twain." Mark thought that was neat. He laughed.

I decided to get a few laughs in myself. "Sure Mark, you can travel as a writer if you want. As a matter of fact I once knew a fellow who lived in St. Louis who was a writer. Lived there all his life. Never left town once," I said.

"Really," questioned Mark. "What sorta writer was he?"

"Well he wrote the addresses on the labels down at the sauerkraut factory," I replied before I broke out in laughter. We all laughed.

That was a pleasant evening – one Mark and I would remember for a long, long time!

piddlin' stuff.....Claude Akins appeared in three episodes ― The Safe Guard as Floyd Doniger, he was from Abilene, a Texas Gunfighter who John Hamilton, President of North Fork's Bank, personally hired to guard the safe ― Meeting at Midnight as Tom Benton, Lucas' old friend and army commanding officer and now an undercover agent ― Strange Town as Bletch Droshek, the guy Micah was bringing in to stand trial for cold-blooded murder.

Chris Alcaide appeared in ten episodes ― The Trade as Hamp Ferris, he was the cowboy who wanted to turn Morley in for the reward ― Obituary as Panama Billings, he was the gunfighter who rode into North Fork trying to make a name for himself and another notch on his gun ― A Case of Identity as Lon Perry, he was the cowboy along with his partner Captain James Gordon who scheme to make Wingate think Mark was his son ― A Time for Singing as Spence, the leader of a gang of bank robbers who were going to rob the North Fork Bank ― Meeting at Midnight as Schroeder, he was working with Benton & Morgan to break Carl Miller out of jail ― Dead Cold Cash as Ben Casper, the attorney for Sara Caruthers ― The Wyoming Story part 1 & 2 as Ross, the Henchman for Forbes McKee the Indian Agent ― The Journey Back as Will Carney, he was looking for revenge for his brother's death ― Squeeze Play as Dave Rankin, the heavy for Willard Prescott.
Gee how many times did John Anderson star in The Rifleman?  Who appeared in the most episodes Chris Alcaide or John Anderson? How about John Milford?

John Milford appeared in eleven episodes ― (Hmmmmm.....does this set any record or maybe there's a tie or maybe someone did more then John? Who could the other Cowboy be?) ― The Blowout as Ross Porter, one of the Porter brothers who was after Al Walker ― The Coward as Dub, he was the one who was reading from George's Journal and making fun ― The Horse Traders as Jonah Winters, he was the dude with the knife ― A Time for Singing as Bro Hadley, he dude who was a bit slow ― Meeting at Midnight as Morgan ― The Pitchman as Marsh Watson, he was the one who tied Mark up ― Baranca as Hadley, he was the one who killed Sanchez ― Dark Day at North Fork as Jack Solby, he tried to kill Lucas when he was blind ― The Clarence Bibs Story as Reade, he was one of the cowboys edging Clarence on to kill Tanner ― The Journey Back as Jess Grady, as one of the squatters, he was the one who held the rifle on Will Temple ― The Assailants as Lt. Price, the soldier in charge.

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.

Frank DeKova appeared in two episodes ― The Indian as Chief Hostay ― Meeting at Midnight as Carl Miller, the man who was in jail waiting for someone to break him out.

Ian Murray played Harley Hannabury in seven episodes ― The ChallengeBlood BrotherObituaryMeeting at MidnightThe HangmanThe Illustrator ― The Fourflushers as one of the townsmen.

Duke Fishman as a Fight Spectator.

John Barton appeared in five episodes ― The Sharpshooter as a Townsman ― Eddie's Daughter as a Townsman ― Heller as a Townsman ― The Lonesome Bride as a Barfly ― Meeting at Midnight as a Townsman.

Archie Butler — Stuntman — Stunt 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 Laven
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.

Fritz Ford appeared in twenty episodes and still counting.  Besides acting in The Rifleman he was also a stunt double for Chuck Connors.

Richard "Dick" Alexander played Nels the Blacksmith in four episodes ― Smoke ScreenThe MartinetThe Deserter and Meeting at Midnight.  How many actors played Nils or was it Niles or Nels?  Was it Swenson or was it Svenson?

How many actors played Nils or was it Niles or Nels? Was it Swenson or was it Svenson? There were six different actors who played Nils or Niles or Nels. Here is a list of all of them - who played them and any conflicts in the episodes - to who's who?????

Chris Alcaide and John Milford appeared together in three episodes of The Rifleman ― A Time for SingingMeeting at Midnight and The Journey Back.

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
In Category: War.
Author Category: English. Written in 1810

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.

The flames roll'd on...he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He call'd aloud..."Say, father,say
If yet my task is done!"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father!" once again he cried
"If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames roll'd on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death,
In still yet brave despair;

And shouted but one more aloud,
"My father, must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud
The wreathing fires made way,

They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And stream'd above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound...
The boy-oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea.

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part;
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.

Casabianca, It tells the story of Giocante Casabianca, a 12-year old boy, who was the son of Luce Julien Joseph Casabianca. Casabianca was the commander of Admiral de Brueys' flagship, l'Orient, Giocante Casabianca stayed at his post aboard the flagship L'Orient during the Battle of the Nile. Giocante Casabianca and his father both died in an explosion when the fire reached the gunpowder store.

I can't help but wonder if this episode gave the writer's the idea for the episode The Shattered Idol?

Bloopers - Meeting at Midnight

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