"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Mark and I were on our way into town one evening when Nils stopped
me on the road – he told me to stop by and see Micah. So, when I got
into town, I stopped by Micah’s office to see what he needed. We
were going to have
with Milly, but this wouldn’t take long. I sent Mark over to fetch
Milly while we talked.
As Mark was leaving, he ran into John Hamilton. He handed me a note
that came in this morning from Yuma. $50,000.00 in cash was being
delivered via the Yuma stage tomorrow night. John was supposed to
hold it in his bank for the army – they were using it to buy some
Texas beef from Fort Sumner. John felt it was safe enough in the
special strong box built into the body of the coach, and John was
holding the only key that would open it. Here was the problem: we
had to transfer the money by hand from the strongbox into the bank’s
That’s where I came in. Micah was going to stand guard during the
transfer, but they’d feel better if I helped them out. I agreed to
help them out. Then I headed over to the hotel for supper.
After dinner, the three of us walked outside. "It was a wonderful
dinner,” Milly said as she walked between Mark and me. “Thank you,
"My pleasure Milly,” I assured her with a smile. “Sorta help to
repay taking care of this monkey tomorrow night."
"You don't have to repay me!” Milly declared. She turned and smiled
at my boy. “Mark's always welcome!” I took her arm as we stepped off
the porch and into the street. “Besides, we have fun playing
checkers and reading," said Milly.
"Yup, and you're still three games up on me from last time," said
"We'll just have to see what we can do about that," laughed Milly.
I wanted a few moments alone with Milly. "Son...you mind getting the
Mark smiled and looked at Milly and me. "Alright Pa."
Milly smiled at me as we walked slowly alone. "If the stage is too
late getting in, Mark could spend the night," said Milly.
"Oh I don't think that will be necessary...the stage is always on
time," I assured her.
"But carrying all that money.....would they keep to their regular
schedule?" Asked Milly.
Ah, now what a sweet lady she was! I couldn’t help but look into
those beautiful eyes of hers as I spoke. "I don't see why not. Like
John Hamilton said, it's safe, least until it gets here. Then all
we'll have to do is transfer it from the stagecoach to the bank.
It'll be well guarded!" I said.
She stared into my eyes. I heard the worry in her voice. "You will
be careful, won't you Lucas?"
I grinned. It felt good having someone like Milly worrying about me.
“Stop worrying, Milly.”
She looked down at the ground and swallowed. Then she looked back up
into my eyes. I was grinning really big. "I guess I can't help being
Boy, but that got my heart to racing! I looked her up and down – I’d
noticed that myself! "No you can't!" I said as I grinned lovingly at
her. [ teehee.....Cowgirl said ;) ]
Suddenly, our spell was broken. "All ready Pa," yelled Mark.
I turned toward him. "Ready son?" I turned and said goodnight to
I started to leave, but she stopped me with a soft touch and that
beautiful smile, and her soft, beautiful eyes and…"Thanks Lucas,"
spoken in such a…WOW!
We then headed for home as Milly headed inside her store.
Had I known that Milly was in danger when she entered her store I
would have done something to help her. Maybe if I would have gone in
with her to make sure everything was alright, I could have protected
her…and my son. But I didn't and know, because I wasn’t the
gentleman I should have been. I didn’t know that two men, Sloan and
Andy were hiding out in Milly's store. As she entered the store she
went to light the lamp. Sloan, the master mind, surprised her. When
Milly struck the match, he put his hand over her mouth. Milly’s eyes
filled with terror.
“Be quiet now! Quiet!”
voice from behind her ordered. He blew out the candle. “I don’t want
to hurt you, so don’t make a sound!”
Andy closed the blinds and reported no one was outside. Only then
did Sloan remove his hand from Milly’s mouth – but he ordered her
not to make a sound.
Milly was terrified! She had no idea how they had gotten into her
store or what they wanted. “Just be quiet, young lady. You’ll find
out in good time,” Sloan assured her.
Again, Milly asked what they wanted. The man reported that they
would be keeping her company for awhile. “At least until tomorrow
night. Now, the more cooperative we are with each other, the easier
it will be,” Sloan stated slowly. Milly was stuck on the tomorrow
night part of Sloan’s answer. “Only until the Yuma stage arrives,”
It only took a moment for his words to sink in her brain. She knew
what they were planning to do and remembered that I would be there.
Fear gripped her heart. "No,” Milly said softly at first. Then she
shouted, “No you can't!" She ran for the door.
Andy reached out and grabbed her, wrapping his arm around her neck.
"Mr. Sloane told you...don't you give us any trouble."
Sloane stopped Andy. “I believe the young lady understands. It
wouldn’t do for you to act up again, you know. Andy sometimes uses
his gun…on impulse.
Milly turned and stared at Andy. “Please…” Milly walked up to Sloan.
“Please, will you go away?”
Sloan assured her they would leave in time. "Surly you don't intend
to stay here until tomorrow!" He did. "But tomorrows a work day!
People will expect the store to be open," said Milly.
“The store will be open,” Sloan assured her. "As usual, until it’s
regular closing time. And all day long...just remember one
thing...as I said before...Andy sometimes uses his gun on impulse."
"He'll kill you, or anyone else, for that matter, who interrupts our
plans. Is that clear?"
She nodded. Just then someone started jiggling the door to the
store. It was Micah making his rounds. Sloan put a hand over Milly’s
mouth and Andy drew his gun, ready to kill anyone who came in. He
walked around the back and tried that door, but it too was locked.
Sloan moved Milly to the back of the store and motioned for her to
get down. He motioned for Andy to get down by them.
Micah started to leave, but for some reason he decided to give one
more look. He looked through the window but saw nothing, so he
Just then, Milly knocked over a lamp top. Fear gripped her – she
feared for Micah’s life. Micah heard the noise and came back. He
looked in the window again but saw nothing. Then he left.
The next afternoon, Mark and I were getting ready to head into town.
But I wanted to make sure my rifle was in perfect condition just in
case I needed it tonight. While examining in, I found something
wrong and sat down to work on it while Mark finished up his chores.
I fixed the firing pin and it worked perfect after that. Mark ran up
to me. “Say Pa, where’d you put my saddle bags?”
I gave him one of my famous looks. "Where did I put your saddle
“Yeah, I’ve been looking all over for them!” Mark declared as he ran
into the house.
“What would I be doing with your saddle bags?” I wondered. "Look
under the bed," I suggested.
"Nope.....not there," yelled Mark.
"Well try the closet then," I said, as I worked with my rifle.
"Not there either," Mark called out again.
"How about the kitchen? Look behind the wood box."
Just then I heard a thud. I shook my head as Mark came running out
of the house. I don’t even
to know how they got there!
"Wonder how it got there?" asked Mark.
“Yeah, I wonder!” I declared.
I checked to see if all his chores were done – he sure had a long
list of chores to do today, and he assured me they were all done.
“Everything’s done just the way it should be,” Mark assured me. We
started to leave, but Mark stopped me with a question – you know
Mark and his questions! “Pa, do we have to come home tonight? After
you finish your work with Micah?”
I put a hand on my shoulder and looked down at my son. “Why not?”
“Oh, I don’t know. It’s just that we haven’t spent the night in town
for a long time,” Mark stated.
“Ohhhh…” I slapped him on the shoulder. "You know something, son? I
worked hard building up this ranch and someday it’s gonna be yours
and I'm beginning to wonder....." I leaned down next to him.
"About what," asked Mark.
"The way you like to go to town these days. I'm wondering if you
wouldn't rather be a city slicker then a rancher," I said.
"Me?" Mark said it really sarcastically, but he turned away from me.
"Well...you never say no to an opportunity to go to North Fork these
days. You know, the time was when you use to like to stay here and
work the animals.....fish the pond.....herd the cattle."
"Well I don't see you stickin' around anymore then you have to,”
Mark argued. I smiled at that. “Especially since Miss Milly showed
up," said Mark. I gave him another look and from the look on my
face, he knew he was right.
"You know somethin' Mark?" I asked.
"You left the front door open." We looked at each other and laughed.
"And you’re gettin' too big for you're britches," I said. He laughed
and went to shut the door.
It was hard for Milly to pretend like nothing was wrong all day. In
fact, she was a bit impatient and irritable with people. Her last
customer – a woman – was insisting on getting the material she had
ordered. Milly promised her she’d look for it tonight. “But I need
it today!” Milly had no choice – she was about to burst out crying
and begged her to come back tomorrow. The customer left in a huff.
Milly quickly went over and locked up the store. She looked out the
window and saw me and Mark coming into town. She threw a hand to her
mouth and quickly began closing the blinds. She was hoping we
wouldn’t come by if the store was closed up. Sloan came out of
hiding. “May I offer you my congratulations? You did nicely all day
long. Not a single slip up.”
Milly had her back turned to him and stayed quiet. She didn’t want
him to know what the plan had been for that night. He stopped
talking as he sensed a problem. Peeking out the blinds, he saw me
and Mark ride up. “Who are they?” he asked. Milly stayed silent.
“Who are they?” This time his voice held a warning in it.
It broke Milly’s heart to answer. She was suddenly so afraid for us!
“Lucas McCain and…and his son.”
“So?” Andy asked.
Milly cried. “The boy was going to stay with me…While his father
helped the Marshal take the money off the stage.”
“He comes here, you get rid of him!” Andy demanded.
But Sloan overrode that order. “Decisions will be made by me If the
boy was to stay with you, so he shall. If the boy is turned away, it
may seem odd. Suspicion will be cast in this direction. We can’t
afford that.” He said Mark would stay.
“No!” Milly said sternly as she turned around. She didn’t want
Mark’s life in danger.
“You don’t have a choice,” Sloane stated. “Your life now depends on
what you do. Yours. The boys…Yes, even his father’s.” Sloan smiled,
knowing he had Milly cornered.
I walked Mark over to Milly’s while Andy gave Milly some last minute
orders. He reminded Milly that if there was any trouble, he kill me
first. “People would hear,” Milly warned. “You’d never get away with
tempt me lady!” Andy sneered. “Don’t you tempt me!”
Sloan slapped his hands together to interrupt the threats. He was
sure Milly understood her orders.
When we got over to the store, we were surprised to find it all
locked up. “Hey, you closed early!” I stated after she finally
opened the door. She quickly explained that she was working on
inventory. “Oh, well if Mark can help you with any, you put him to
I started to leave, but Milly stopped me. She wanted me to stay for
supper – she was baking an apple pie. “Oh boy!” Mark declared.
“You can see – apple pie is his department.” I slapped Mark on the
shoulders. “You behave yourself, boy!”
Mark came in sniffing the air. He didn’t smell anything. He turned
and saw Milly lean against the door. He could tell something was
wrong. "Somethin' wrong?" He asked.
"Oh Mark!" She grabbed Mark and hugged him as she cried.
"What's the matter?" Mark was bewildered. He’d never seen Milly so
“Sounds like you were gonna slip a little.” Mark shot around and saw
Andy standing in the doorway. “But you did just fine.”
Mark saw the two men standing in the doorway. “Who’s he? What’s he
doing here?” Mark asked. Mark had walked toward them. Milly hurried
up to him and put a protective hand on him. Andy told him to do just
like I had told him to – behave himself.
“As soon as we finish with our…business here…You won’t have to worry
about us anymore,” Sloane promised.
“They’re gonna rob the stage when it comes in,” Milly told him in a
The news scared Mark. “No!” He cried. He ran to the door, but Andy
grabbed him by the neck.
“Leave that boy alone!” Milly pleaded.
“I’m gonna tell you what she already knows,” Andy stated sternly.
“If you try that again, somebody’s gonna get hurt! That goes for
your daddy or anybody else that gets in your way! You understand?”
Mark nodded slightly.
“Listen to him, Mark,” Milly warned. “It’s the only thing we can
Sloane ordered Andy to take Mark and Milly in back.
They took Milly and Mark in the back, tied their hands, and gagged
them. Then they watched as Micah and I made our way down the street.
The town was quiet, but Micah wanted to make sure everything was
good. The stage would be here in ten minutes.
Sloane went to the back room one more time. “Well young lady, you
did just fine. Just fine…” Sloane stated. “In a little while, we’ll
be done with our business here and will leave your little town
far…behind…So don’t spoil it with any…last minute heroics!” He
grabbed Milly’s face and forced her to look at him. “Do you
understand?” Milly shot her head back around and nodded. He looked
at Mark and grinned. “Son, tomorrow you can tell all your friends
The minute he left, Mark and Milly went to work.
I went to look over the saloon when a rider came up. He stated he
came down from the plains – he was a buffalo man – they were dying
out. I told him he was in cattle country now. Then he went into the
I went to pet his horse, but I realized something odd. I thought I
should ask Micah about
Mark and Milly were working at getting loose. Milly motioned for
Mark to get over to an ax that was sitting on a barrel. Mark grabbed
it behind his back and waited for Milly to come over to him. Then
Milly grabbed it from him and began sawing the ropes on his hands.
I went to Micah and told him about my concern – the buffalo man’s
horse was dusty but not sweaty. It didn’t look like the horse had
ridden very far. Micah decided we should have a look.
Just then, the stage came. Sloane was excited. It was time for
action. Micah and I headed toward the stage. Milly had freed Mark
hands and Mark went to work on hers.
We walked up to Oliver, the stagecoach driver. He reported that
everything went fine. Sloane stared out the window with a big smile
on his face. “When they open the box,” he told Andy. “Not until they
open the box!”
Milly and Mark were loose. They crept up to the door and Milly put a
finger to her lips, telling Mark to be quiet. She grabbed an empty
canteen and waited until they went outside. When the coast was
clear, she leapt out the door and threw the canteen toward the
window. “Lucas!” She screamed. At the same time, the window
I turned toward the window and saw two men standing in the shadows.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!” They both fell over – dead. The
so-called buffalo hunter came out of the saloon. “Bang!” Micah
It was over before I really knew what was going on!
. It was suddenly quiet once again. Milly and Mark ran to the doors.
Mark ran straight into my arms. “Pa!” Mark cried. Milly hurried out
to me, but stood back.
I held my arm out to her and she wasted no time. She ran straight
into my arms. The three of us stood there hugging. I was happy to
have my best boy and my best gal in my arms – safe and sound!
While Micah and I wrapped up our job, Milly and Mark went to lock up
the store. "I don't know what good locking the door’s gonna do,"
Milly said as they started down the steps.
"Miss Milly...were you scared?" Mark asked as they walked across the
"Well to be perfectly honest with you...I was really scared."
"So was I," Mark said.
She turned and looked at Mark.
She put a motherly hand under his chin. “There’s nothing to be
I came up to the two loves of my life just then and announced the
money was all locked up safe in the vault. "Say Pa...why don't we go
get Micah and Mr. Hamilton and go get something to eat! I'm hungry!"
"Hungry? What about all that apple pie you ate?"
"Well...how could I eat with my mouth gagged and my hands tied
behind my back and..."
I put a hand on my hungry son’s shoulder to stop his explaining.
"Alright...we'll go get Micah and Mr. Hamilton and we'll get some
That made Mark happy. We took off racing toward the restaurant.
Macaulay played Sloan. He was the man in charge. Mr. Fancy
Tommy Cook played Andy Carr. He's
the youngest of the bad guys.....really just a kid.
Joan Taylor played Milly Scott. Milly
bought The General Store from Hattie Denton. Hattie had to leave to
go and help her sister in Denver. Joan Taylor appeared in eighteen
episodes as Milly Scott and was introduced to The Rifleman
in Miss Milly.
Joe E. Benson appeared in The
Rifleman many times, probably more times than listed. Sometimes
credited & sometimes not.
*Please note: In Dark Day at North Fork
he appeared as two different characters - as one of the townsmen &
Joe was a good friend & a neighbor of Chuck's. He helped Chuck build
a tree house for the boys and also help build the addition onto the
house which was later called the den. (One of the several tree
Paul Wexler appeared in four episodes
― The Pitchman as Cleek Watson,
he was one of the brothers looking to kill Swifty for selling his Pa
bad medicine ― Sheer Terror as
Harris the buffalo hunter ―
as Les Foster, Vince's drinkin' buddy ―
Outlaw's Shoes as
Joe Weiden, he brought a mob to the Sheriff's office.
Bruce Hayward played Oliver, the stagecoach driver.
Betty Lou McVay/Betty Lou Varnum as
the lady customer in The General Store.
Harlan Warde appeared in eighteen
episodes as John Maysfield Hamilton, President of the North Fork
Bank. He was first introduced in The Safe Guard. In
this episode North Fork's Bank was first established and John
Hamilton was new to North Fork.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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