"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
It was a regular day on the McCain Ranch. Mark and I were hard at work out on the ranch. This time, we were cutting wood out on the North Ridge. I had sent Mark to look for more firewood while I sawed some bigger pieces down. It sure was a hot day and I was getting mighty thirsty! But when I went to take a drink from the canteen, I realized it was empty. That boy! He’d forgotten to fill the canteen! I went back to sawing wood while I waited for my boy to get back so I could give him an earful!
I didn’t have to wait long. I had just started to saw again when I heard Mark rapidly approaching on Blue Boy. He announced that he couldn’t find any wood out on the south ridge, but there was a ton of good wood down by Saw Lake. “We still have our morning’s work left here. We’re move over this afternoon,” I said. Then I looked toward the canteen. “Would you like a drink of water?”
He thanked me then made his way toward the canteen. I watched closely with a stern look on my face. Mark walked toward the canteen and suddenly realized the problem. He stopped. I was right in his face. “I’m sorry, Pa. I forgot to fill it up.”
“Well, get to it, huh?” I ordered.
When Mark got to the ranch he found the door to the house standing open. He paused and cautiously poked his head in. Seeing nothing, he slowly proceeded to enter the house.
"Just hold it there!” Mark froze when he heard the voice. “Drop the canteen!" Mark did as he was told. "Hands up...easy!" The voice demanded. Mark raised his hands in the air. "You Lucas McCain's kid?" Mark nodded. "Where's your Pa?"
Mark started to answer. "Ahh...He's..."
"Don't cross me kid! I said where's your Pa?"
"He's...he's...in town at the hotel," Mark answered. “Who are you?” Mark dropped his hands and turned.
Mark was surprised to see a boy his age standing there. The boy had a load of trail dust on him and was holding a six shooter. “You’ll find out soon enough!”
“What do you want my Pa for?" Mark stammered. He was still in shock at the sight he was looking at.
“For murder,” the boy answered simply. Mark stared in surprise as the boy holstered his gun, turned around, and walked out of the house. He headed to North Fork. It never occurred to him that Mark had lied to him.
Mark hurried back to tell me what happened. “Pa, there’s someone at the house who pulled a gun on me!” He shouted as he jumped off his horse.
“Pulled a gun on you?” I was a bit shocked at the news.
“He’s no older than I am! He’s just a boy!” Mark declared in a worried voice. “He wants you for murder.” I couldn’t imagine a boy Mark’s age wanting me for murder! He told me he’d sent the boy to the hotel. “Pa, he’s packing his own gun. What’s it all about?”
I was clueless, and worried. “I wish I knew, Mark. I wish I knew.”
The stranger headed into North Fork and straight for the hotel. Lou got a smirk on her face when she saw this boy walk into the hotel. She couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing. He told Lou he was looking for me. Lou told him that she was sure I wasn't coming to town today. He told her it was important that he find me. She told him he looked like he needed a rest and a meal. She also told him he needed a bath.
"Lady...I've got a thousand miles of honest sweat and dirt. It don't smell bad to me!" As he started to walk away Lou asked him if he'd like a room. He started to go through his pocket for some money, but he knew he didn’t have any.
Lou knew it too. "If you don't have the money now, I'll trust ya' for it.”
"I never let a debt go without paying it off, you'll get your money," said the stranger as he signed the guestbook.
"A thousand miles...Oklahoma Territory?" Lou asked. “You know, I have a sister with a boy very much like you. Good looking…liked to roam. Guess I was closer to him then his own parents. Maybe because I was such a footloose wonderer myself. You know, one day he up and left and we never heard from him again.” He just looked at her. “I’ll be willing to bet you haven’t written to your folks since you left the territory, have you?”
“My folks are dead!” He threw down the pen. Lou apologized and wondered if they’d died from illness. “My Ma died sick, but my Pa wasn’t sick a day.” Lou wondered if he was killed. He didn’t answer her question, but changed the subject and asked about the food.
"First the bath...then the grub," Lou answered.
"Look lady...I don't like to be treated like a kid. You treat me like a grown up and we'll get along just fine."
Lou just kept smirking at him as she turned and got something off the counter. "Here's a towel and some soap. Don't forget to wash behind your ears. And if you don't have another shirt, wash that one and hang it on the rack.” She then handed him the key. "Room 3...the only one without a shavin' mug."
When I got to town I went to the hotel. Lou was behind the desk. I asked her if someone had been looking for me. She told me there was a boy who came from the Oklahoma Territory looking for me. She showed me the guest register. Gridley Maule Jr. She asked me what it was that he wanted to see me about. "Seems he wants to kill me," I said. Lou was surprised when I said that. I kept trying to remember the name. Maule...Maule...I did remember shooting a bank robber by that name years ago in Oklahoma Territory. I asked Lou what the boy was like. She said that's just what he was...a boy who acted twice his age and pretended to be mean and tuff. Just as I started for the stairs, the boy was coming down the stairs. I looked toward Lou, who nodded that it was Maul.
I waited until he was heading out the door. Leaning against the banister, I said, “Gridley Maule Jr.?" He froze in his steps. Then he turned and looked at me. "You pulled a gun on my son. I don't like that boy!"
"Well now...you must be Lucas McCain! I've come to even up the score for my Pa!," said Maule. “So let’s get outside and get it over with!”
“You’ve got a big advantage of being, young, son. Don’t press it,” I warned.
“I ain’t pressing it, mister, and don’t you consider it neither! You coming out?”
“You’re just a little itchy, aren’t you?”
He walked up to me. “Don’t stall me! I’ve come a long way for this.”
"Look boy...there's something you ought to know about your father..." I started, but he didn’t want to hear it.
"I know enough about my father!" he declared.
I told him he was going to listen anyway. “I didn’t come this far to talk!” Then without warning, he slapped me across the face.
“You don’t leave a man much choice, do you son?”
“After you,” he answered. I turned and looked at Lou, then I walked outside. Grid walked out onto the street while I tried to decide what I was going to do about this. I’d never found myself in this situation before. I slowly slid my rifle out of the boot and turned to look at him. I had to do something – because I knew I’d be a dead man in a shootout – there was no way I was going to shoot him! I walked back toward the porch of the hotel and looked down at my rifle. Then I looked toward him. “Now, don’t you want to know WHY I shot your father?”
I don’t want to know nothing from you, McCain! Just make your move!”
I got an idea. I started searching my shirt for some matches, but realized I didn’t have any.
Just then Micah came out of his office. He approached me and asked me what was going on. “Micah, I’ll tell you later. Have you got any matches?” Micah was confused by my question. “Some more matches.” Micah handed them to me.
“I’m waitin’, McCain!” Grid declared. I handed Micah my rifle and walked out to the hitching post across the street. I stuck six matches on a hitching post. I called out to Micah and he threw me my rifle. I turned and fired six shots at the matches, lighting them.
I looked at Grid as he watched the burning matches. “You willing to talk now?”
He didn’t answer. In response to my question, he pulled out his six shooter and shot the burning tops off of all six match sticks. I was quite surprised. I just stared at him. "I'll be reloaded in a jiffy!"
It was then that I realized my scare tactic wouldn’t work. I looked to Micah. I walked across the street – back toward my horse. This boy had a real problem. I couldn’t help him. “Are you ready now, McCain?”
I turned and looked at him. Then I slid my rifle back in its boot. “No.”
My answer irked Grid. “You killed my Pa, and now you won’t fight me? I’ve come a thousand miles to get you.”
“Go back where you came from son.”
"You’re scared of someone who will stand up to your rifle! You lousy coward!"
I just glared at the boy. He sure was doing his best to irk me into a fight, but I wasn’t the kind of man to draw against a kid – for any reason. "I'm gonna get me some coffee," I said as I headed into the hotel.
I rushed toward me as I walked into the hotel. “You think you’ve seen the last of me, don’t you, McCain? Well you haven’t! I’m gonna make you fight!” Micah told him to get on his horse and ride out of there. Without another word he mounted his horse and rode on.
I didn't know what to do about the boy. I'm sure this wasn't the last of it. Micah said if he came back to town he would find an excuse to lock him up until he cooled off. Lou asked us if we would like a woman's opinion. She thought we should consider his upbringing and what makes him act the way he does. But I didn’t even hear all of what she said. Something suddenly dawned on me. My eyes grew wide. “He said he could make me fight.” The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. "Mark!" Without another word I rushed out the door and headed out to the ranch.
Mark was unloading the wood from the wagon when Maule rode onto the ranch. Mark watched as Maule tied his horse to the hitching post and casually took a pistol out of his saddle bag. “I thought you were in town,” Mark said.
“Now, don’t tell me you’re scared too.”
“I don’t expect so,” Mark answered.
“I slapped your Pa’s face today, boy. In front of people too. He wouldn’t shoot it out. He's lily livered boy.....just plain lily livered!"
"You don't know what you're talking about!” Mark yelled.
Maule threw the gun on the ground. “Pick it up!”
Mark stared down at the gun, then up at him. “What for?”
“I can get even with one McCain just as good as another,” Maule stated. Mark just stared at him. “Pick it up.”
Mark looked at the gun again. “Where’s my Pa?”
“Drinking coffee to settle his nerves. Pick it up or I’ll kill ya'.” Mark just stared at him. Maule drew his gun and pointed it at Mark. “Pick it up!”
Mark picked it up. “I’m not allowed to use a hand gun.” He told Mark it was about time he did. He started giving Mark the instructions. He told Mark they’d turn around. Then he’d count to ten. Then they’d turn and shoot. Mark threw the gun. “I’m not gonna…have a gunfight with you or anyone else!” he declared.
Maule smirked at Mark. “Just like your Pa, ain’t you, boy? Now, when he gets here, I want you to tell him what happened. I’ll be waiting for him inside.” Mark watched as Maule walked inside our house to wait for me.
Maule went inside and made himself at home. He loaded the gun Mark had thrown down on the ground. Then he took one of my cigars, lit it, and sat down in my chair.
I raced into the yard. Mark hurried up to me. “Where is he?” I asked. Mark told me he was inside. He also told me what Maule had done. I looked toward the house. Mark wondered what I was going to do. I silently motioned toward the house.
“Maule? Maule, you hear me?” I called. He said he heard me. “Alright, I’m waiting for you outside.”
“That’s good enough for me!” He cautiously opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. I was standing off of the porch. He turned toward me and Mark grabbed him from behind. He struggled as Mark held him tight. I grabbed his gun out of his holster then grabbed his arms. I held him hard as Mark went to get some rope. We tied him up and I took him into town in the buckboard.
When we got to town, I untied his feet and ordered him out of the wagon. I told Micah he started up again at the ranch. “He tried to force Mark into a shootout.”
Lou saw me come into town with Maule and she came into Micah's office. “I wasn’t gonna shoot him!” Maule declared. “I was just trying to force his Pa’s hand.”
"I want him in jail Micah. I'll swear out a complaint right now." Maule said he'd be out in two days and he'd come for me again. Micah said he could write to Washington and they have a corrective institute for boys there. He would have to apply for a commitment and that could take 3 or 4 months.
"I don't lie!" Maule argued then. "Both of the guns were empty, you gotta believe me, I wouldn't shoot a kid," said Maule. He seemed really sincere about that.
My heart softened. I grabbed a chair and went over to him. Straddling the chair, I sat down and spoke to him. "All this trouble you're causing...you think I shot your Pa purposely, don't you?"
"I was eight when they brought my father home. It took me more then a half day to dig the grave. And when I got done, the only thing I could do to keep from bawling all the time was to take his gun and learn to use it. For a year I had to use two hands. And then another year until my thumb got big enough to cock it. I practiced night and day, McCain, for three years more. I can shoot and I can shoot in the dark, and I mean to pay you back for what you did."
"Did you know your Pa was in the act of robbing a bank?" He said he knew he was robbing a bank. “He was running with the money. I just happened by between him and his horse. He took a shot at me. And he would have shot at me again - there was nothing I could do.”
Maule said it made no difference. “When he was alive he was good to me. Maybe you don’t understand, McCain, but he was my Pa!”
“I understand.” I knew this boy had been deeply hurt. “If I don’t swear out the charges, will you be willing to go back home and forget about the revenge?” He refused my offer. He left me no other choice. I told Micah I was ready to swear out the complaint. As Micah started to lock up Maule, he swore he come back and kill me after he was sent to Washington. Micah told him to cool down as he locked him up.
Lou thought the boy needed a little kindness and food. “Now Lou, let’s not get all tangled up in your apron strings!” Micah declared. I told Lou there was nothing I could do. She wanted to talk to the boy. Micah told her she’d be wasting her time.
Reluctantly Micah left her talk to him. Lou started to ask Maule some questions about his mother. He was three years old when she died. He never really knew her. It was his Pa who raised him. Lou felt that his Pa left him do whatever he wanted to and he had been doing it ever since. He told Lou he learned fast how to take care of himself. She knew he never had any guidance. He told her to get out. “Never being told when to go to bed. Never being told what to wear…what to eat…what to learn!” He again told her to get out.
“Do you like it here in jail, Grid?” Lou asked then.
“Oh sure, it’s just dandy!” Grid answered sarcastically.
“Suppose…” Lou looked toward us. “Suppose I ask the marshal to put you in my custody. Would you behave?”
“Does that mean forget about McCain?” Grid asked.
“For one week.”
“One week isn’t so long now, is it Grid?” Lou asked desperately. After one week, they’d talk about what then. He wondered if that was all. “But for that week, you’ll put yourself into my hands.”
“Would you behave?” Lou asked again. He said he could act nice and proper with her. “Would you behave?” He agreed he would.
Well Lou did it. Even though we reluctantly agreed, she won. When she announced she wanted us to release him in her custody, we thought she was crazy! She convinced us that he was a different boy with her and she could handle him. Micah and I went over to talk to him. He promised he would behave while he was with Lou. We agreed. Lou and Maule headed over to the hotel to get something to eat.
At the hotel, Lou told Grid to sit down and he could order anything he wanted. "First I'll have a large bowl of bean soup and then a steak, uh…” Lou wondered how he wanted it cooked. “Rare! Real rare!” and then a big bowl of mashed potatoes…”
“And for dessert?” Lou asked as she wrote his order down.
“A big bowl of peas…”
“Oh uh…no…apple pie. A double order of apple pie with cheese.” Grid cleared his throat. “And coffee." Lou folded her arms and gave him that look. “I said coffee! I want it black.”
Grid sat down at the table to wait. “Alright.” Lou nodded with a determined look on her face. “It’ll be ready just as soon as you finish taking your bath.”
“Bath? I don’t need a bath!” Grid stated.
“I want you to take a bath,” Lou stated sternly.
“I said I didn’t need a bath.”
Lou still held that determined little look on her face. You could tell that Grid was in deep trouble for defying her. She turned and slowly walked to the doors of the dining room and closed them. She walked back to the table and leaned on it so she could get down to his level. “Grid, I'm ordering you to go take a bath."
“Now I ain’t doing nothing wrong, so just don’t be giving me orders!” Grid talked back.
“I’ll be giving you all the orders I want to, and you’ll be taking them!” Lou ordered angrily.
He told her she was wasting her breath. That was the wrong thing to say! Lou overturned the table with him still sitting at it. Grid fell to the floor with a crash. He stood up and started toward her. “Look lady, I don’t want to hit you so I think I better go back to jail.
But Lou grabbed him by the arm. "Listen to me young man.....we made a deal and you're gonna stick with it! Now get upstairs and take that bath!"
“I didn’t make no deal to be pushed around!” Grid stated.
That was another mistake. Lou shoved him against the wall. “Discipline is what you’re missing, and discipline is what you’re gonna get!” Lou screamed as she slapped him across the face. Grid warned her to move – he was getting out of there. She grabbed his hat. “And take your hat off when you’re talking to a lady.”
“I said move!” Grid warned.
She slapped him again….and again…again…five times or something like that. The whole time, she screamed at him Finally, he tried to get away from her. She stuck her foot out and tripped him. He fell to the floor. She reached down and grabbed him by the arm.
Just then, Micah and I slid the door open. I’m not sure who I was rescuing – Lou or the boy. It looked like he’s the one who needed rescued! They just looked up at us. Grid stood to his feed and brushed himself off. “Oh, we were just having a little talk, weren’t we Grid?” Lou said with a smile. Grid agreed. He actually asked us to excuse him – he had to go upstairs.
“What for?” Micah asked.
“To take a bath!” Grid declared.
Micah and I just stood there in amazement. I could not believe the power of this woman!
The next day, we were having Sunday dinner at the restaurant. As we were finishing up dinner Nils stopped by the table to compliment Lou on her dinner. He asked Maule if he had thought any more on the offer of being his apprentice. Maule agreed to take the position. Just then Maule pulled out of his pocket three cigars. He gave one to Micah and one to me and kept one for himself. We were all surprised when he said he’d bought them for himself. Micah told him he was a little young for cigars. He agreed.
As Micah and I lit our cigars, Mark turned to him and whispered, “Grid, don’t you think you’re laying it on a little thick?”
“You think so?” Grid asked.”
Just then...BANG...BANG. Our cigars exploded. Grid and Mark started laughing at us. Lou tried to keep from laughing herself, but it was hard.
"Good cigar Lucas...a little noisy, but a pretty good smoke," said Micah.
piddlin' stuff.....Billy E. Hughes Jr. appeared in three episode ― Day of Reckoning as Aaron, Jamison's son Billy ― The Sidewinder as Gridley Maule, the boy who came to North Fork to seek revenge on Lucas ― Long Gun from Tucson as Jeffrey Waller, he was the son of the gunsmith and the boy that he and Mark sat on together in his bedroom crying.
Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory. Patricia was first introduced to The Rifleman in Lou Mallory. She played a hot-tempered Irish lass who was a razor-sharp businesswoman. She joined the cast in the fifth and final season and appeared in seventeen episodes. Patricia replaced Joan Taylor who played Milly Scott owner of The General Store.
Joe Higgins played Nils Swenson. Is it Nils or is it Nels/Niles? What is his last name.....Swenson/Svenson aka The Blacksmith? Joe Higgins holds the record for playing Nils or was it Niles or Nels? There were four episodes that Joe did not play Nils or was it Niles or Nels?
He played the bartender in Strange Town — Rafe the blacksmith in The Wyoming Story part 2 — Short Rope for a Tall Man as Henry Schneider the horse thief — Stopover as Scotty the Stagecoach Driver.
Stopover was the only episode to run one day over schedule.
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.
Colt Single Action Revolver
This is the weapon use in The Sidewinder by Grid Maule played by Billy Hughes Jr.
'Sidewinder' the alternate ending ~Thanks rooster!
Bloopers - The Sidewinder
You've heard 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?
Bloopers for this episode & other episodes
The Sixteenth Cousin
around The McCain Ranch