"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
The Quiet Fear
The stage would be here soon. I was so excited! An old friend of
mine was coming to live in North Fork and I hadn’t seen him in a
very long time! Mark and I both were there to meet the stage when it
rode into North Fork that day.
greeted him with a hearty handshake as he climbed off the stage. It
had been 15 years! I introduced him to Mark. Jake Stryker was his
name. He and Mark shook hands.
His wife had died. I sure was glad to have him! Farming was lonely
and it was nice to have friends. “I’m not exactly alone, Luke. I
want you to meet Abby. She’s my daughter.
I couldn’t believe it! He never told me he had a daughter! I
heartily took her hand. “Pleased to know you. You know, this old
codger of a father of yours, he’s full of surprises! I remember
Jake interrupted me. “Luke uh…She uh…she can’t hear and she can’t
talk.” Some of the excitement left me. I felt for my friend.
I packed their stuff up on my buckboard to take them home. Just
then, I saw Brice Hornsby coming out of the saloon. I called him
over so I could introduce him. Jake put out his hand to shake it,
but Brice refused it. "He didn't buy my farm, he stole it.”
“I ain’t sure I understand what you mean,” Jake stated.
I spoke up. “You had no call to say that. You got your price,” I
told him sternly.
He saw Abby. “I thought you said he was moving in by himself. Maybe
I should have stayed on out there after al.”. That was enough, I
Just then Bud came out of the saloon laughing. "Imagine...a woman
who can't talk back at cha'," said Bud.
Brice was puzzled by that remark. "What's that suppose to mean?" Bud
told Brice he was over at the hotel when the stage came in. He
overheard Jake tell me that Abby couldn't hear or say a word. This
made Brice feel bad about his actions earlier towards the Stryker's.
Being a neighborly man, I invited Jake and Abby to our ranch for
supper that night. After supper, Mark and Abby settled down with a
book while Jake and I talked. Jake was still thinking on the meeting
with Brice earlier. “What does Hornsby mean…He should have stayed
“Oh, the Marshal and I thought it would be a good idea…if you needed
help. You see, the boy’s been hanging around the saloon ever since
he moved out. I hear he’s lost half of his money already over the
Suddenly, we heard Mark. He was trying to teach Abby words out of
the book by using motions to explain what they were. Jake shook his
head. “Pictures she knows what she sees with her eyes…If I could
only learn to read, it would be such a pleasure for her.” He’d never
learned to read or write himself.
I suddenly wondered something. I had to ask. “Why didn’t you tell
Jake turned to me. “I figured you’d find out soon enough.” I
suddenly wondered if he was ashamed of her. “Why should I be
ashamed? She was given beauty and good health. Ain’t her fault just
because something got left out.” I started to ask another question,
but he interrupted me. “Lucas, it’s people. They just don’t
“And you thought I wouldn’t?”
“I hoped you would. It’s been fifteen years. I don’t know…you
could’ve changed. But I do now.”
Mark was still working with her. I couldn’t help but smile at my
boy’s efforts. He was using one of his old picture books, showing
her the picture with the word. He was sure patient and understanding
After we went outside,
Mark decided to teach her to write her name. He wrote it for her,
explained that word was her, then helped her copy the letters. He
held her hand as she wrote – writing so patiently. He helped her
with that A and the B, then he told her to write another B by
herself. She wrote it big, but she wrote it alright. Mark sure was
proud of himself!
The next day Jake ran into Brice as he was coming out of the General
Store. Brice gave him an unfriendly hello. Jake started inside, but
Brice suddenly stopped him. “Mr. Stryker? How are things going out
there?” Jake told him things were alright, that things were starting
to shape up. Brice told Jake about the gate on the bottom land and
how he had made it and that all it needed was a turn screw, but he
didn’t have any money. Jake complimented him on the gate. Jake told
him that was one of the items he had come to town for.
Jake started inside, but turned back toward Brice. “Oh, if uh…If
your ever out that way…uh…your welcome to stop by. That made Brice a
Brice turned from the door to the store and looked up the street.
Abby was sitting alone in the wagon. He took off his hat and walked
over to the wagon. “Hello,” he greeted her. She didn’t respond, so
he reached out and touched her. His touch startled her. He assured
her in a gentle voice that he wasn’t going to bite her. She couldn’t
hear him, but his face was friendly and made her smile. “That’s
better.” He didn’t know what to say. “This uh…this is something,” he
said with a smile.
Suddenly, Jake hurried up to the wagon, calling Brice’s name. He got
between the wagon and Brice. “What are you doing?” he asked
“I…I was just trying to say hello to her, that’s all,” Brice
“That’s all?” Jake asked as he looked at Abby then back at Brice.
“Yeah, I was just being friendly. I wanted to explain to her about
the other day you know…The way I acted and…Well it…Oh uh…what’s the
Brice walked away. Jake looked up at his daughter and could tell by
looking at her that he had overreacted. "Brice...I'm sorry, I didn't
mean to jump on you. It's just that some folks.....they.....they get
the wrong idea about Abby. They don't understand. Do you know what I
Jake tried to explain to Brice, but he got upset. "Maybe it's you
who don't understand!" He walked away.
Mark and I went over to the Stryker Ranch the next day. While I
helped Jake put in some posts, Mark and Abby sat on the porch
working hard. I wondered when Jake was going to start his planting.
“Next week,” he answered. “If I can find a hand to do the heavy work
around here. You know Lucas, I ran into that Hornsby boy yesterday.
He was uh…kinda curious as to how I was getting along out here. If I
thought he’d tend to business-“
I stopped him right there. “You thinking of offering him a job,
Jake?” He admitted he’d been thinking on it. “Well don’t. He had his
chance. If he wants a job, let him ask for it like any other man.”
There was something else I needed to advise him on. “Jake, uh…any
man you hire…meet him half-way.” He immediately asked me what I
meant. “Abby. She’s a grown woman. You can’t protect her forever…be
suspicious of every man that comes around. You gotta find out for
yourself. If you don’t, Jake, your be denying her rights and
feelings as a woman.”
“You know, Luke…A farmer, he plants a seed. You gotta know how to
care for it…Help it grow. I guess being a father ain’t much
different.” He laughed.
Mark saw us approaching and told Abby to write it just the way he
showed her. They stood and we watched as she wrote something on a
piece of paper. As we waited, Mark winked at us. Finally, Abby
turned and held up the pad. With a big smile, she held it out to
Jake. Jake took it. He read it and looked up at his daughter
proudly. “Papa,” he read. Father and daughter smiled at each other,
then they embraced. He was all choked up. He couldn’t believe his
daughter had called him Papa.
It was time for us to leave. Softly, I told Mark we had to go. We
started to leave when he stopped us.
“Mark-“ Mark turned and looked at him. “I can’t tell ya'…what this
means to me…what you’re doing for Abby.”
Mark brushed it off. “Oh, we haven’t done much. But at least she can
write her name and things like this. Well, when she knows the
alphabet, well…she’ll learn.” Mark turned to look at me. He was a
bit uncomfortable with all this attention. Suddenly, Abby kissed him
on the cheek. That made Mark even more uncomfortable. They weren’t
smiling, so Mark was concerned. “Something wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, son,” I smiled at him proudly. “Everything’s
The next day or so, I was walking on the boardwalk by the saloon
when suddenly Brice slammed out of the saloon very angry. He banged
his fist against a post. I walked up to him to try to calm him down.
I didn’t have to wait long to find what the problem was. “It was
just luck…it was just plain luck! I had kings and tens…and Martin
comes up with four duces!” He was yelling and angry. “You know, if I
didn’t know better, I’d-“ He couldn’t finish the thought. “It’s all
the same! He’s always egging me on – all the time pretending to be
“No friends in a poker game, you oughta know that.” Brice didn’t
reply to that. “Why don’t you quit before he cleans you? Or is it
too late for that?”
He gave me an annoyed look. “He called me farmer boy and he laughed
right in my face. Told me to go back and dig in the dirt! And all
that time he just had his palm out there with his money loaning it
to me!” I wondered how much he owed him. “A Hundred dollars.”
“Yeah, he did you a favor!” I muttered. I informed Brice that Bud
Martin was weaned on a poker table – there’s no way he could ever
beat him. He should’ve realized that. “Brice, there’s nothing wrong
with digging in the dirt…being a farmer. You know that. The trouble
is, you never learned how and you’re too stubborn too stubborn to
ask for help.”
Brice knew I was right, but he didn’t know who would want to help
him now. I took him to the message board to show him something.
There was a sign that read:
Live in $20.00 and
“That signs been up there a couple days,” I explained. “Think it
over before somebody beats you to it.”
Brice decided to ask Jake for the job. “A man who works for me…A
young fellow like you…I’ve gotta have his trust,” Jake answered
Brice’s request. “You understand what I mean?”
Brice looked him straight in the eye. “Yes sir, I do.”
“Now, there’s three of us here. I expect everyone to get along. No
reason for one to be worrying about the other. Farming’s work. I
guess you know that. Making a farm pay and prosper – that’s even
“Yes sir, I reckon it is,” Brice answered. “And that’s what I want.
I want to see something made of this place. And I want to see how
it’s done.” It took a lot for Brice to admit those things. Jake told
him they’d get along just fine. Brice thanked him for the job and
they shook hands.
They all got along. Brice
Abby seemed to get along really well! Abby started doing things for
him like his laundry. Brice tried to argue, but she would “hear”
nothing of it, so he carried the laundry for her instead. They
played well with each other. One day while he was washing up, Abby
dumped a whole pitcher of water over his head. Brice went running
Jake watched with a smile. He knew what was happening and it pleased
him. There’d be somebody to care for her after he’s gone. The young
couple were falling in love.
Mark came home late from school one day. That boy knew how I
worried! I came out of the barn as he rode up wanting to know where
he’d been. Mark told me he had stopped by the Stryker Ranch to give
Abby his speller she wanted to borrow. I told him that wasn’t
necessary since we were going over there tonight. I told Mark to put
his things up then help me with the brush. Mark started for the
house, but turned back around to me. “Say, Brice Hornsby is working
out real good for Mr. Stryker.”
“That’s what I heard.”
“I reckon he found out that poker playing’s only for suckers.” I
smiled as I started back to work, but then stopped and thought about
it. I turned to ask him the question on my mind, but then thought
better of it. “Nah,” I said. My boy knows better!
That afternoon, Brice was in town working hard. He had Abby with him
and was busy loading the wagon when Bud saw him and decided to give
him a hard time. “Well, if it ain’t the farm boy!” He was being rude
when he asked him how he liked it all the Stryker’s.
Brice wasn’t in the mood for him. He just glared at Bud. Brice saw
Abby walk out of the General Store. He lifted his eyes to look at
her. Bud turned and saw what he was looking at. “I reckon you like
it a lot,” Bud stated rudely. “Yes sir, I reckon you like it a lot.”
Bud’s comments and looks toward Abby infuriated Brice. “Go on about
your business,” Brice warned.
He reasoned that he was there on business – a hundred dollars worth
– but Brice wouldn’t get that kind of money pushing a plow. “But
maybe you don’t care since you got something else that makes it
worthwhile.” As he spoke, he kept looking back at Abby.
Abby started across the street. Bud walked up to her and offered to
help her in the wagon. Brice demanded he take his hands off her, but
Bud told him to get out of his way. Brice had had as much of Bud as
he could take. His messing with Abby was the last straw! He punched
Bud and Bud fell to the ground. The two men started punching at each
other as Abby ran to the wagon and climbed into the seat.
Micah came out of his office and saw the fight. Brice hit him a few
more times, then lifted him off the ground to punch him again when
Micah told them to hold it. He threatened to throw them both in jail
if they didn’t’ stop. Bud was mad. He pointed to Brice. “He hit me
first, he did!”
“I know what he did!” Micah stated. He turned to Brice. “Get that
girl out of here!”
When they got back to the ranch, Bud unharnessed the team. While he
was putting the stuff in the barn, Abby came out with some balm. She
showed him she wanted to doctor his wound he got defending her
honor. Brice told her it was nothing, but she made him sit down as
she started doctoring him. “Bet ya' Martin’s jaw hurts worse, huh?”
Brice declared. Abby just looked at him.
As she tended to his wound, they looked at each other several times
and smiled. She was so attractive. He couldn’t stop looking at her.
“You know, I know why your Pa would be worried about ya'. But uh…he
doesn’t have to worry anymore because I’m around.
Abby bandaged his arm. Then she signed a question to him. She wanted
to know who that was he had been fighting with. He told her it was
Bud Martin, but she didn’t understand. He started pronouncing it,
but she was still confused. He turned and scratched his name on the
wall. She was able to mouth the word then. “That’s right, that’s
right!” He said proudly. “Bud.” He looked lovingly at her. “Boy,
that McCain kid…he’s sure teaching you good!” They stared deeply
into each other’s eyes. “You…You better go back in and uh…cook that
chicken.” He motioned for her that he was hungry and wanted to eat.
She got up. He watched her leave. Abby turned at the door and smiled
at her. Neither wanted to leave, but they had to. Brice had a big
grin on his face. Anyone with eyes could tell he was madly in love!
Abby ran out, obviously in love with him too.
Brice looked down and saw the salve sitting there. He picked it up
and started to run out the door after her, but suddenly he was hit
from behind. He fell backwards. Bud had knocked him out cold!
Abby only got halfway back to the house when she realized she had
forgotten the salve. She turned and hurried back into the barn to
get it. Bud was there waiting for her. Abby saw Brice laying on the
ground and went over to help him. Bud hurried up behind her and
grabbed her. Abby struggled. She bit him and he cried out and let
Abby ran from him and grabbed a pitchfork. She threatened him with
it. When she went for him, Bud jumped out of the way and grabbed
her. He fought her for the pitchfork and she let go. That sent him
flying across the barn. Abby started running up the hayloft ladder.
Bud climbed up after her and captured her at the top. She fought him
hard. They struggled on the ladder and he pushed her. She fell to
the barn floor with a loud thud. She was unconscious.
Mark and I rode up to the house about that time. Jake was happy to
see us here early. “There’s a reason, Jake. You better have plenty
of fried chicken! Mark’s been starving himself all day!” Jake
assured us there was more then he could eat.
Mark noticed something. “Pa, look!” he pointed toward the barn. We
looked and saw Brice on the ground. He was holding his head as if in
pain, stumbling around. We all ran to him. “Brice, what happened?”
“Where’s Abby?” We asked.
“I don’t know,” Brice said, still in a lot of pain from being hit on
Jake suddenly saw her lying in the barn. He ran to her. Jake called
her name but she didn’t stir. He jumped to conclusions and rushed
over to Brice. "I’ll kill him! So help me...I'll kill him!" Jake
slapped Brice. He grabbed Brice and started shaking him. "What
happened? I trusted you! What did you do to her?"
Brice was obviously scared and confused. He said he didn’t know what
happened. But Jake was mad and kept yelling and threatening him. I
interrupted and told him to leave Brice alone. I had to restrain
him. “Jake, take care of Abby,” I ordered sternly. I told Mark to
get the towel and water from the washstand outside. “Jake,” I said
again. I motioned for him to go to Abby. He obeyed.
Brice started to go to Abby, but I put my arm out to stop him. I
didn’t want another fight erupting. “Sit down, Brice!” He obeyed me.
It took some coaxing, but Jake was able to bring her around. As she
started opening her eyes, he lifted her to him and hugged her. “Who
did this?” he asked then. “Is it him?” He pointed to Brice. “Did he
do it?” Abby pointed toward Brice. “Who? Who hurt you?” She
continued pointing toward Brice. “Brice?”
“No, no!” Brice insisted.
“She’s pointing at you,” Jake declared.
“No, I…She can’t be. I-“ Brice was confused. So was I.
Abby took her father’s head in her hands and forced him to look at
her. She shook her head no. She stood up and walked over to the
wall, pointing at the word “Bud.”
Just then, pieces of hay drifted down from the hayloft. “That’s what
she was-“ Bud started.
I put a finger to my lips, and motioned for them to be quiet. I
started toward the entrance to the hayloft, motioning for Mark to
get back. Mark nodded and stepped back to safety. I readied my
rifle. "Alright Bud, Come on down."
Bud hesitated, then fired a shot at me. I fired back immediately. I
missed him. "All right!” Bud threw down his gun and held up his
hands. “You wouldn't shoot an unarmed man would ya'?"
I threw Jake my rifle and started up the ladder. As I suspected, Bud
was ready to fight. He tired to hit me with a harness. I grabbed it
and pulled him down. He fell to the barn floor with a bang! Bud lay
there. He was hurting pretty bad.
Jake turned to Brice. “Brice…I um…I just don’t know what to say.”
Brice told him it was alright.
Jake left the barn. Abby lifted up and stared into Brice’s eyes as she
smiled. They stared into each other’s eyes. Brice brushed her hair
back. Abby laid her head against his chest. She was happy everything
had worked out. Brice put his arms around her and touched the top of
her head with his lips. They held each other.
Jake decided to take Abby away to a school in Denver so she could
learn sign language. They would be gone for about six weeks. Jake
asked me to look in on Brice and make sure he didn’t loaf. I had a
feeling he’d grown up since going to work for Jake and…uh…Abby.
Brice was going to look out for their place while they were gone.
Jake went to get on the stage, but Abby didn’t follow. She turned
toward Brice. Brice took h is hat off and kissed her tenderly. They
didn’t want to leave each other, but they’d be together soon enough.
Abby got on the stage and Brice watched them leave.
I walked over to stand by Brice as he kept his eye on the stage. I
put my hands on Mark’s shoulders and pulled him against me. "You
really have taken to…uh…farmin', haven't you?"
Brice smiled. "Yes I have.”
piddlin' stuff.....Patrick McVey
appeared in two episodes ―
as Walt Hake/Reed Young, the man who was wanted by Flack ―
The Quiet Fear as Jake Striker,
the father of a deaf daughter.
Richard Rust played Brice. He was
the Cowboy who fell in love with Abby.
Enid Jaynes appeared in six episodes
of The Rifleman ―Panic as Amy Barker, she was the
lady who had the fever ―
The Wyoming Story -
part 1 & 2 as Aggie, the woman who wanted Lucas to
take her with him when he returned to North Fork. She and Dabbs
Greer played in two of The Rifleman episodes
The Wyoming Story.
Quiet Fear as Abbey Striker, the woman who was
deaf — Waste - part 1 & 2, she was the pregnant
woman, the one who slapped Lucas's face at the end of the
She did not have one speaking line in Waste or in
Perils of a
Dennis Cross appeared in six episodes
― 'The Safe Guard as Witcherly
Gaucho as Ned Dunnell, he was killed by Manolo for like his sister -
'The Hero' as Dorn, the gunslinger
in charge ― The Vision as Fance Degnan.
He was the cowboy by the wagon that laughed when Mark told Hazel
he thought she was pretty ― Martin in
The Quiet Fear. He was
the cowboy who attacked Abby Striker in the barn ―
The Patsy as Lafe Oberly, a member of Doke's
appeared in twenty episodes and still counting. Besides acting in
The Rifleman he was also a stunt
double for Chuck Connors.
*A friend of mine, Sylvester, who is blind,
sees things that we don't see, but with his ears. Some blind people
are more sensitive to sound and listen more closely.
Here is his summarization of what Sylvester felt when he listened to
this episode: The Rifleman family was again, very gentle in its
approach to another one of its episodes, concerning a deaf girl and
her father. The story to me again, showed the sensitivity of the
writers of the show to the human condition, and how people in the
west responded to the genuine needs of the individual.
Thank you Sylvester!!!!!
Read what Sylvester had to say about the episode
Dark Day at North Fork
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear
Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and
wondered who is that guy?
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
around The McCain Ranch