"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
None so Blind
Micah and I were out on my range.
There was a sick cow – she didn’t look too good. Micah wondered what
it could be. “Same as the pair last week, only this one’s worse,” I
I heard a horse whinnie just then. Looking up, I saw my boy riding
up on Blue Boy – just out of school. He was riding Blue Boy hard. I
got up and went toward him. “Hey, you’re punishing that horse, son!”
“Well, he’s out to run today, Pa. Can’t hold him in. Gosh, isn’t it
fine outdoors?” Mark smiled as he looked around. He noticed the sick
steer. "What's wrong with the steer?"
"Well he's not feeling too good son."
"Oh...maybe if I ran him a little bit," said Mark.
I thought it best not to burden him just yet with losing the cattle.
Not until I knew more. And I was in no mood for his chipperness!
"You know...you're too full of mustard. I'll tell you what...you
take the afternoon off, I'll mind your chores."
He was thrilled. "Gosh, Pa, thanks! Today I feel like the west wind
a blowin'.” He then rode off hollering. “Woo hoo!”
While out riding, Mark heard a banjo playing. He stopped as a man
♫ Tell me the tales that to me were so dear,
Long, Long ago, Long, Long ago
Sing me the songs I delighted to hear,
Long, long ago, Long ago
be patient while this song loads, it may take a few seconds to load
but is well worth the wait!
note..... when clicking on the link to this sound wav - it will
download to your computer.)
He stopped playing as Mark rode up. “Sure, the banjo’s singing’,
Laddie Buck!” He sat down his banjo. Mark liked the way he did it.
“You just wasn’t expectin’ music out here. Well, stop off an’ visit?
Name’s Lafayette Bly.”
Mark jumped off Blue Boy and walked up to the man. "Howdy Mr. Blye.
My name's Mark McCain." He corrected Mark by telling him his friends
call him Faye.
He offered Mark coffee. "I guess once wouldn't hurt. Smells so
good," said Mark. Faye said good coffee tasted like it smelled.
Mark thought he picked a nice spot. “Always listen for runnin’
water. Stop when you feel the coolness of shad tree. He chuckled.
“An’ then if you hear runnin’ water…” He started playing his banjo
again as he sang:
♫ Tis springtime, Tis springtime
Cold winter is past,
Warm breezes are blowin’
An May’s here at last
The birds are returnin’,
Their songs fill the air,
An’ meadows are smilin’
with blossoms so fair!
Mark smiled. He
loved listening to him sing. Faye enjoyed singing too. He laughed as
he sat down his banjo and took out a rubber ball. Mark asked what it
was. “If I said rubber ball, develop your hands, bound to be
stronger all over, all human physics connected up?” Mark figured he
had a pretty good grip. “I had to swear off shakin’ hands.” He
tossed the ball and laughed. Mark went to retrieve the ball, but he
yelled for Mark not to move.
Faye crawled on his hands and knees and found the ball. Mark watched
with surprise as he felt around for it. When he found it, he laughed
as he walked back to where he was sitting. "Sorry Marco, just had to
listen where the ball rolled."
Mark was surprised, to say the least. “You're blind!" Mark realized
he should have said that and immediately apologized to Mr. Blye.
"Thought I told you my friends called me Faye."
Faye explained about his blindness. Well, Marko, I…I ain’t exactly
partial to being sightless, but I ain’t bashful to have it spoke of.
A man’s bashful over a nose pimple or a missin’ tooth, hmm…But a
sightless is bigger…You go your ways in darkness.” Mark wondered if
anything could be done about his eyes. He said no. “But it ain’t all
that bad. Why…I can tune up on any street in this here nation and it
ain’t a minute till some kindly hand is guiding me into the swing
doors. An’ then I hear the voices calling for a song or story before
I’ve even had my fill o’ beer or free lunch.
Mark wondered what kind of stories he told.
“Lies. Mostly about myself.” Mark laughed. “But more truth than lies
by my 21st birthday, I’d been 3 years in a whalin’ ship. I’ve known
warfare an’ I’ve known love. But of the two, love is the most
painful.” Mark wondered where he fought at. “It was just a forages
myth. But at Channel Church, I fought in the last scratch reserve
an’ lived a boast of it. In front of Pittsburg, we brung the forges
clear to the siege lines to mend smashed guns. An’ right under the
eyes of Grand an’ Sherman, a splinter of brownshot came boundin’ up
an’ glanced off my head. Well, when Uncle Billy Sherman sees I’m
only knocked senseless, he says to Grant, ‘General,” he says, ‘Now
we know for sure which is harder, the enemy cannon balls or the
sculls of our fearless troops. How can we lose?”
They both laughed at that. Suddenly, Mark and Faye heard a gunshot.
It was me. I had to kill the cow. I was upset. “I know how you feel
Lucas, but you couldn’t let ‘im suffer.” Shooting that head was like
shooting down a ten dollar bill I sweated for. Micah wondered what
made them so sick.
“Like I read in the Bible. I midwife this one into the world, now I
gotta bury him. Can’t leave ‘im for the coyotes.” I turned to leave.
I went back to the ranch while Micah went back to town.
Mark strummed on the banjo as he and Faye continued talking. “Get
many strangers in town?” he asked. Mark said some. Mark wondered why
his strumming didn’t sound the same as Faye’s. “Practice, you’ll be
a good player.”
“With this one chord?” Mark was doubtful. He said he’d master it.
“By some information I got, there’s a stranger who’ll be passin’
through here this week. You see anyone, will you let me know?” Mark
told him he would, besides he’d be coming by for his banjo lessons.
“And uh…promise not to mention to anyone about me campin’ here.”
Mark agreed to keep quiet, though he didn’t feel Faye had anything
to worry about. “Got my reasons, boy. Big reasons. Blind man
Mark stood up. He suddenly realized he was going to be late for
supper. But as he started to leave, Faye roughly grabbed Mark’s arm
and spoke in a desperate voice.
"Mark! I loved a girl back there in my seeing days. Oh my.....she
was like an out of reach red apple at the top of the tree. Till he
come by lookin' up at her." Faye was holding Mark’s arm so tight, he
hurt. Mark was gasping from pain. "You know what he done? I'll tell
you what he done! He blinded me! Makin' out to be my friend with all
them eye medicines!"
"Let me go! You're hurtin' me!" Mark begged.
"In just under six years my sweetheart was dead in the grave from
"My wrist!" Mark cried out in pain.
"Now a smart boy like you should know him pretty easy. Six foot five
with a lanky leg way of walkin' and pale colored eyes over his cheek
bones. Now I don't know what name he goes under All I've ever know
him by was Mack!" Faye let go of his arm and Mark fell to the
ground. He began talking softer. He felt bad for grabbing Mark so
"I'll tell you what Marco, we'll forget about all that promisin'...from
here on in I'm trustin' your loyalty to this fine friendship we
struck up.” Mark hurried off. Confused and scared.
After supper Mark and I was getting ready to head out to bury the
steer. Mark figured we’d need the buckboard for bringing back the
hide. I told Mark I had no heart for skinning him. I was still
really stressed that it happened. "Pa...Did you ever injure anyone
real severely, say maybe blind him?"
Talk about a question out of the blue! "What?"
"For instance on a count a Ma?"
My boy sure had an imagination! “You’ve been readin’ too many of
those books,” I declared. “You mean Ivanhoe.”
“No, I don’t mean Ivanhoe.” Suddenly, we heard wolves howling.
They’d gotten to the steer. I suddenly turned and looked at my son.
He was acting strange. "Mark...you've been lookin' at me all evening
like you never saw me before. Is there something troublin' you,
He handed me the shove and said "Nothin' especially Pa." Then he
mounted his horse.
As the days went on we lost more cattle. One day, Mark and I went
out to bury some more cattle. Just then a stranger rode up. I was
surprised when he knew my name. He was surprised to see how tall I
was. He usually didn't run into anybody as tall as he was. We stood
back to back and I had Mark measure us with the shovel. There was
only a hair difference in our height.
He shook my hand "Mack's the name. M-A-C-K. J. J. Mack." I asked him
what I could do for him. He asked if he could take a look at my
"Bunch? It's not a bunch...it's a herd, help yourself." I said.
“McCain, I’ve been lookin’ at herds up to 3500 head all summer. To
is just a bunch!”
I suddenly grew defensive. “Well that’s all I got, Mister. What do
That’s when he got down to business. He said he just asked my
permission out of civility. “Actually, I have a warrant.” He handed
me the warrant. It was from the territorial governor authorizing him
as veterinarian pharmacist to inspect all livestock for epizootic
hoof and mouth disease.
I held the letter up. “It’s just a letter, Mister.” I let it fall to
the ground. “Not worth the paper it’s written on.”
Mack bent over and picked up the letter. “I can have this enforced,
I threw down my shovel. “Well, do it!” I demanded. “In the meantime,
get off my land.” He told me I was making a big mistake. I watched
Mark went to see Faye for his banjo lessons. They talked some more.
“What’s his name again?” Mark asked.
“Mack,” he answered. “Mack.”
“What would you do to him?”
“I don’t know. Why ain’t he here yet? North Fork’s on his ‘tinerary.
Could he have been and went?”’
“No. I would have heard,” Mark answered. He needed to know what Faye
would really do to him.
“Just let me get my hands on ‘im for…ooh about 2 minutes. ‘Till I
teach ‘im his lesson. All without end everlasting.”
The next day Mack came to my ranch with Micah. We went out to the
pasture together. Mack checked my cattle over. He said that the
steers were drooling and that was a contagious stage.
They have to be destroyed.
I wouldn’t even look at Mack or Micah. “Hear him? He wants to
condemn four head of prime beef, almost $50!” The thought of it
But what he said next made me even sicker. “I’m afraid I’m not
making myself very clear. Your entire herd now classifies as being
infected. Under the law, they have to be buried no less than 5 feet
deep with no parts removed or missing.”
I was growing angry. They didn’t understand what this meant! “The
government says that?”
“It’s to your benefit in the long run as a cattleman.”
“It is, huh?” I shouted. “Does the government know that those cows
are cash income for the whole year. I’ve got land payments, mister.
If they’re not met, I can be sold at public auction. He told me to
go on back to the ranch - he and Micah would handle this for me.
"Get him off my land Micah! I still slaughter my own cattle!"
Micah tried to talk to me. "Now Lucas.....be reasonable!”
"Let me have today!" I couldn’t think. This news was just too much
for me! "Tomorrow I'll be reasonable." Micah and Mack left. With
tears in my eyes, I turned and cocked my rifle. Then I killed my
cattle - one by one.
Mark was on his way out when he heard me shooting the cattle. He
rushed up to me. Jumping off his horse, he rushed to my side. I just
stood there with my rifle in hand staring at the dead cattle.
"Pa...it's just about like shootin' your feet out from underneath ya'."
"This year we'll have to break 20 acres of new land to come out
Sod busting was hard, hard work. I didn’t like it – but I had to
provide for my son. I had to make sure we kept our home. I would
have to be a sodbuster until I could build up a new herd. The work
of breaking new land was hard, painful, and tiresome. The days would
be very long under the hot sun as I pushed a blow behind a horse.
Mark decided to get revenge
Mack for condemning our cattle. He went into town and watched for
the man to show up. Then he raced out to Faye's camp.
"Faye.....Faye.....the man you're lookin' for.....Mr. Mack.....he's
in town. I seen him Faye!"
Mark took Faye into town with him. Mark told Faye this was his last
chance because Mack was leaving the next day. They hid along side of
the General Store.
Mack rode into town. So did I. I pulled my horse up beside his at
the same hitching post. Mack greeted me warmly. “Seen my boy
around?” I asked. He’d seen Mark that morning. Mark had asked him
when he’d be leaving permanently.
“Oh McCain,” Mack stopped me. “Oh…How’s the boy doing with the ranch
work while you’re plowing?”
“Ranch work?” I had to laugh at that. “There’s no cattle.”
My words made Mack uncomfortable. “I don’t make many friends in my
“I owe you an apology, sir.” I held out my hand and we shook. We
ended on friendly terms.
Mark and Faye were alongside the General Store, but neither Mack or
I were aware of this. “run along, Laddie Buck. No call for you mixin’
in this,” Faye said.
Mark wondered how he’d know it was Mack. He quickly hushed him when
he heard someone walk by. “A lady, around 40, tired an’ plenty
bothered.” Mark watched her walk by, declaring it was Mrs. Ransom, a
whiskey husband and eleven kids.
More footsteps sounded. “A young galoof. Nothin’ on his mind but
girls an’ ructions.”
Then another pair of footsteps sounded. “Well, this one’s quite
somebody. A man, about 55. Quiet an’ I bet he got authority.” That
Then another set of footsteps. “Hear? Hear it? It’s him. Six foot
five...one hundred and ninety pounds, walk like a hind end of an
Arkansas mule," said Faye.
"Give him something to remember you by Faye," Mark replied.
Just then Faye lunged forward. Except it wasn’t Mack. It was me. He
had a tight bear hug on me. As I struggled to get free we fell to
the ground. Mark ran over to get Faye off of me. He started yelling.
“Faye...it's not him. Let go! Let go!”
Faye kept choking the life out of me.
Mark was screaming desperately. He was terrified. You could hear
pure terror in his voice. “It's not him...it's my Pa!" But Faye
wouldn't let go he was choking me. Mark continued screaming, begging
him to let go of me – he had the wrong man. I continued struggling
as Faye tried strangling me with his bare hands. Mark was screaming
at the top of his lungs and jumping on the back of Faye for him to
let go. The air was slowly leaving my lungs. I was losing my fight.
Micah heard the commotion and ran over to us. He pulled Mark off of
Faye then hit him hard over the head with the butt of his gun. Micah
lifted me off the ground. I was struggling to breathe. "Cough Lucas!
Cough!" Micah ordered. I coughed the breath back into my lungs.
"I'm awful sorry Pa. I just wanted to get even with that vet. It was
him, not you! Will you forgive me?"
"Get even with the vet?" I asked.
"I'm sorry Pa! I'm sorry." Mark laid his head on me and started to
"Vengeance is mine sayth the Lord," I said.
Micah had locked Faye up. I told him I wouldn't press any charges.
Micah didn’t agree with me.
felt he should learn a lesson. “He’s not a criminal,” I stated.
“He’s learned somethin’ already.” I looked at Mark. “And I think
Mark has too.” Mark didn’t look to pleased with himself right now.
Mack wanted to talk to Faye before Micah released him.
Faye knew it was Mack when he came in. He stood up and faced Mack.
“This time it’s really you. How could I have been mistook?” Mack
wondered why Faye wanted to kill him. Bitterly, Faye answered with a
question. “Why did you wanna blind me, John?”
“Blind you?” Mack asked. “The bark solution. Faye, I’m a pharmacist.
I could tell you were losing your eyesight. The eye drops were just
to sooth you.”
“Sooth me?” Faye snapped. “While you got round my sweet woman!”
Faye knew she would have been willing to marry him blind. Mack
agreed she would have if she had known in time. “But Faye, I
don’t…think you could have done that to her.” Faye called Mack a
liar. “I never touched her or spoke to her, even looked at her,
except in loving kindness. I swear that. She died in childbirth. At
least you’re spared the blame of that.” Faye had trouble believing
him from behind bars. Mack unlocked the cell. “It’s open, Faye.”
Faye stepped out. He laid his hands on Mack’s chest. Then he grabbed
him and shoved him against the bars. But then he softened. He laid a
hand against Mack’s chest and bursted into tears. He wept as he laid
his head on Mack’s shoulder.
Mack led Faye out of the jail and into the street.
"John? Just one thing. Why is it that you never marked her resting
"I hoped that you might help with the inscription,” Mack answered.
"I guess there ain't but one good enough for her," Faye declared.
"I am the Rose of Sharon, the Lilly of the Valley." Mack turned
around. "Are you there folks? Could you lend me a minute? I got a
little song for you tonight. Now hear the blind man. I said to my
kind old friend that his heart was a black gila monster, but that
monster was in my own darkness."
Faye then started to sing Battle Hymn of the Republic and the town
joined in. I came up behind Mark and laid a hand on his shoulder. He
turned and looked at me. I gave him a small smile. We had our own
battle to work through now. We started on our way home so we could
work on it…together.
♫ "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
be patient while this song loads, it may take a few seconds to load
but is well worth the wait!
note..... when clicking on the link to this sound wav - it will
download to your computer.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto
wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the
Osmond played Lafayette Blye. He is the blind man with an acute
sense of hearing — and a very strong grip! This was Osmond's
Jeff York played John J. Mack.
He was the state veterinarian. He was the man Faye was looking for.
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.
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
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
Tom Kennedy ― Death Never
Rides Alone as one of the townsmen at the saloon -
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.
was in four episodes ― The
Marshal as the
― The Babysitter as a Barfly ― None So Blind
as one of the townsmen ― Panic as one of the townsmen that goes to
Lucas' to help burn down the ranch.
Custer appeared seven times ― None So Blind as a
Townsman ― Woman from
Hog Ridge as a Townsman ― The
Lariat as a Gambler ― The Vision
as a Cowhand ― Panic as a
Townsman ― The Jailbird as a
Townsman ― A Case of
Identity as a
Songs of The Rifleman
Can you name the episodes these songs were in?
Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and
wondered who is that guy?
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around The McCain Ranch