"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. I 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 Abbey. 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 once-“
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 Abbey. “I thought you said he was moving in by himself. Maybe I should have stayed on out there after all.”. That was enough, I rode off.
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 Abbey
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 Abbey to our ranch for supper that night. After supper, Mark and Abbey 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 on?"
“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 poker table.”
Suddenly, we heard Mark. He was trying to teach Abbey 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 me, Jake?”
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 understand.”
“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 with her!
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 little uncomfortable.
Brice turned from the door to the store and looked up the street. Abbey was sitting alone in the wagon. He took off his at 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 anxiously.
“I…I was just trying to say hello to her, that’s all,” Brice answered.
“That’s all?” Jake asked as he looked at Abbey 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 use?”
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 Abbey. They don't understand. Do you know what I mean?"
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 Abbey 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. “Abbey. 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 Abbey 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, Abbey 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 Abbey.”
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, Abbey 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 right!”
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 my friend.”
“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 harder work.
“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 and Abbey seemed to get along really well! Abbey 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, Abbey dumped a whole pitcher of water over his head. Brice went running after her.
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 Abbey 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 Abbey 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 Abbey 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 Abbey 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 Abbey.
Abbey 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 Abbey was the last straw! He punched Bud and Bud fell to the ground. The two men started punching at each other as Abbey
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, Abbey 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. Abbey 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.
Abbey 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. Abbey 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! Abbey 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!
Abbey 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. Abbey
saw Brice laying on the ground and went over to help him. Bud hurried up behind her and grabbed her. Abbey
struggled. She bit him and he cried out and let go.
Abbey 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. Abbey 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 Abbey?” We asked.
“I don’t know,” Brice said, still in a lot of pain from being hit on the hid.
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 Abbey,” 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 Abbey
. He obeyed.
Brice started to go to Abbey, 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?” Abbey 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.
Abbey 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 Bric. “Brice…I um…I just don’t know what to say.” Brice told him it was alright.
Jake left the barn. Abbey lifted up and stared into Brice’s eyes as she smiled. They stared into each other’s eyes. Brice brushed her hair back. Abbey 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 Abbey 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…Abbey
. Brice was going to look out for their place while they were gone.
Jake went to get on the stage, but Abbey 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. Abbey 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 ― The Hawk 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 Abbey
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 together ― Panic and 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 episode.
She did not have one speaking line in Waste or in Quiet Fear.
Perils of a Producer's wife.....
Dennis Cross appeared in six episodes ― 'The Safe Guard as Witcherly ― The 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 Abbey Striker in the barn ― The Patsy as Lafe Oberly, a member of Doke's gang.
Fritz Ford 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
Bloopers - The Quiet Fear
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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