"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
I’ve had some men challenge me in my life, but never something quite like this!
The stage rode in one day carrying a man – a strange man! Micah went to meet it and watched the man climb down. He greeted the man warmly. The man was a British gentleman. He called Micah a constable. Micah introduced himself. The stranger’s name was Jeremy Pennebroke. It wouldn’t be long before Micah realized just how “strange” this stranger was!
He told Micah he had come all the way from Birmingham England. Micah noticed the fancy “gear” he had. Pennebroke bragged about the fact that he made it himself – the repeating rifle inside he made himself also. “You must be a gunsmith,” Micah stated.
“Yes…I suppose one could say th-Tell me, are you acquainted with a gentleman by the name of Lucas McCain?”
“Lucas? Why yes, he’s a friend of mine. Do you know him?”
“Oh no.” Pennebroke grinned. “But I’m certainly looking forward to meeting him!”
“I take it you have some business with him,” Micah stated.
“Yes,” Pennebroke stated. “Yes indeed I do. I’m gonna kill him!” You should have seen the look on Micah’s face at that announcement!
Well, needless to say, the stranger didn’t stay on the street to long. Micah quickly ushered him to his office to talk to him. Pennebroke insists he did nothing wrong. “You get off the stage and tell me you’re going to kill my best friend, that’s enough!” Micah declared as they went inside his office.
"Best friend.....oh I am sorry about that. Of course he'll have every opportunity to defend himself," said Pennebroke. Micah hardly heard him. He was watching something out on the street as they paused in the doorway. Pennebroke saw what Micah was looking at. I had just ridden into town. When he saw me get my rifle out of the scabbard he knew right away who I was. "Upon my word! That's him, isn't it? That gun...the rifle with the firing ring!"
Micah ordered him inside. “We’ll settle this once and for all!”
“Once and for all?” Pennebroke suddenly questioned. “But my gun’s gotta be oiled and cleaned…and I need rest!”
Micah pushed him down in the chair. “Just sit down! And keep that gun in it’s case!”
Micah hurried outside to get me. He brought me inside the office, telling me he wanted me to meet somebody. He introduced me to Mr. Pennebroke. “Mr. McCain, this is indeed a great pleasure! The Rifleman himself!”
Micah explained Pennebroke was from England. He told Pennebroke to tell me why he was here. “Well there’s no need to rush.”
So Micah told me. “He said he’s going to kill you!”
I was surprised, to say the least. I looked at Micah, then I turned and looked at Pennebroke. This must be some kind of a joke! “Oh, if only it were!” Pennebroke stated. “Now, I realize it’s in very bad taste…”
“Yeah,” I answered.
“But you see, Mr. McCain. I have no other choice. I’m truly sorry, but…” I wondered how you figured to kill me – and why.
He started opening his rifle case. “Well, taking your questions one at a time, this is how.” He took out his rifle and showed it to me.
I was still confused. “Well tell me something, Mr. Pennebroke. You came all the way from England to kill me. I don’t even know you. What do you got against me?”
“Nothing! That’s the pity of it. But you see, I must! I simply must! Your death will be my salvation!” He began telling me his story. He’d been gone from England for three years. His family was wealthy arms manufacturers.
He pointed the gun and checked it’s sights. I swung my rifle to cock it. He turned and looked at me. I glared at him! He smiled. "Your reputation is formable, but mine shall be even more so after I..."
Micah finished his sentence for him. "After you kill him. They'd call you a murderer."
"I said it would be fair” Pennebroke reminded us. I told him I had no intention of fighting him. He insisted. He said it was important to him. I told him he'd have to settle his problem some other way. Micah jumped in stating that he heard they needed a gunsmith in Las Cruces. "Thank you Constable...but no! I create guns I do not prepare them! Such a menial position would not earn me the funds I require. Killing 'The Rifleman' is the only thing that will do that!" He sat down. “My plan is simple. I shall be the man who dispatched Lucas McCain. I shall have the money I need to go into business to make rifles like this.
This was crazy! "Don't you think you’re over looking something? Suppose I kill you?"
He thought on that. “Hm…There is that possibility. I hadn’t thought of that. But in that event, I wouldn't need this anymore, would I? And I would like to think that you would accept it. My answer was still no! "Please," he begged.
I decided to go another direction with this man. "Alright...on one condition." I said. I asked Micah to bring him to the ranch tomorrow. I asked Pennebroke to bring his rifle. We were going to have a shooting match!
“What would that prove?”
“That you might wanna change your mind,” I answered.
“Very well, sir. You’re on! The practice would do us both good!” He stood up. He said a spot of beer, a hot bath, and a short nap would be refreshing. “If you’ll excuse me?” I excused me. I just stared as he left. Unbelievable!
"What next?" Micah asked.
"Well a spot of beer would be most refreshing now, don't you think Constable?" I said with my best British accent. We laughed.
Well, in the morning, Pennebroke was there as promised. He sure didn’t’ know how to ride a horse! I had Mark with me. He was all ready to meet this man. He sure was surprised to see what this man was like – certainly didn’t look like a gunfighter! I introduced Mr. Pennebroke to my son. He was surprised. “Your…son? Well…I…”
“What’s the matter? I thought you knew all about me. Didn’t you know I had a son?”
“No, I didn’t. In fact, I hardly pictured you as a…family man!”
“Well, now you know.”
“Yes. Now I know. “ He looked like he was going to be sick. “Distressing, isn’t it?”
First we shot at some targets on a tree. We both got 3 dead center and 3 inside. Then Mark threw two tin cans in the air for Pennebroke and me to shot at. We both got 6 out of 6. Then Micah and Mark lined up bottles on a downed tree. We had out back. Given the signal we, at the same time, turned and fired. There was one bottle left standing. It was Pennebroke's. “Dear me, I…uh…seemed to have missed!” Pennebroke stated.
“You sure did!” Mark stated proudly.
We went up to take a better look. Pennebroke picked up the bottle. He couldn’t believe he’d missed it. “Well,” Micah said, “First miss in three matches. Pretty good I'd say that's, but not good enough. Appears Mr. McCain takes it!"
I was willing to forget the whole matter but Pennebroke wasn't. He wasn't about to back out. After all it was just practice, so he said. I couldn’t believe he still wanted to go through with this shootout! “That’s why I came out here!” Pennebroke stated. “You’re not gonna disappoint me, are ya'?”
I sighed impatiently. "Look Mr. Pennebroke...I don't condone killing for the sake of killing in any form. If you do, find someone else." I told Mark to come on.
Pennebroke stopped me. "Mr. McCain! Am I given to understand that you are…'backing out?"
That hit a nerve. I walked up to Pennebroke and said..."Call it whatever you want." I continued staring at him as I spoke to Micah. "Micah, Mark and I have work to do. Would you escort Mr. Pennebroke back to North Fork?" I thanked him then turned around and walked away.
“Well…I rather imagine this will take some thought!” Pennebroke declared as he watched me leave.
When he got back to town, Pennebroke posted a sign. “Mr. Jeremy Pennebroke challenges Mr. Lucas McCain to meet him face-to-face with appropriate weapons at whatever time and whatever place Mr. McCain so chooses.” This sign was posted outside the saloon. The men who hung out in the saloon found this rather funny as they read it. There was laughter as the reader said, “Looks like McCain can’t find the appropriate weapons, huh? ”Micah told me that if I did that, it would be the same thing as accepting his challenge. “Pennebroke thinks he’s gonna needle me into a shootout, he’s wrong!”
Micah told me to tell him that – I have and all he does is smile at me! Every day, he just…sat there! Micah had no reason to lock him up. If he did just one wrong thing, Micah could lock him up. “Well, I have a ranch to run.”
I left Micah’s office. But when I stepped out, Pennebroke called me over. He gave me a friendly greeting. “Well, I must say I…had no idea your weather out here was so delightful!” I took a seat beside him, stating I was glad he enjoyed it. He would like to stay on here if he didn’t have to go back east for his manufacturing. The men walked over to us. “Mr. McCain, why be stubborn? You just have to say the word-“
“What’s the matter, Mr. Pennebroke? The waiting getting you down?” I asked him. He thought maybe it was wearing on my nerves. “Oh no. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve got all the time in the world!” I said goodbye to him and started over toward my horse.
Milly was outside the store when some men called to me. "Hey McCain! I don't blame ya'...he looks pretty tuff to me too!" They were laughing. I just kept walking and ignoring them.
Milly was getting upset at it. "Lucas! This is ridiculous! The whole thing.....that.....that.....poster is idiotic and just plain nonsense!” I agreed with her there. “Don't you give in Lucas McCain! I'm proud of you, so don't give in. I don't care what that Al Collins or any of the others are saying!"
"Just what are the others saying Milly?"
"Well...you know...some of my customers have been saying that you've lost your nerve and your afraid of Mr. Pennebroke."
"I am! I'm afraid I might hurt him Milly." At that, I turned and mounted my horse.
Then there was Mark. Even he was worried. I remember one morning when he was getting ready to go to school He hurried out the door and hung his books over the saddle horn. Then he stopped as he thought about Pennebroke. I walked out to find him still standing there. Instantly, I knew something was bothering him. "What's the matter son?"
"Oh...nothing," he said.
I knew better then that! I could tell when my boy was upset. "Come on...out with it!" I ordered.
"I guess it's that Mr. Pennebroke. Pa, the kids at school...I don't like what they're saying. That Jimmy Daniels...I almost punched him yesterday! He said that you were chicken! Chicken scared of another chicken. They’re all laughing at ya' Pa!" Mark was mad.
"Laughter never hurt anybody Mark!"
"Well this kind does...you loosin' face, people's respect," said Mark.
I studied him. "Yours too?" I asked.
He looked up at me. "Of course not! You know that would never happen. It's just that..." Mark’s voice died.
"It's just what, son?" I coaxed him to go on.
"I think you ought to do something." Mark walked away from me a bit. He didn’t look at me.
"Do I have to kill a man to save face, gain people's respect?” I walked toward him and stood behind him. I bent down behind him as I spoke gently. “If I do son, I don't want it! And besides what good would it do you or me or anybody else if Pennebroke got off the first shot?"
That got Mark to thinking. He turned his head to look at me. "I see what you mean. Of course, that won't happen," said Mark.
"No because I'm not gonna give him the chance."
"You mean your just gonna wait him out?"
"I'll wait but I'll also talk to him to see if I can get him to change his mind."
"Yeah ya' know how far that'll get ya'!" Mark declared.
I laughed. “You’re not gonna get to school on time unless you get started. I gave him a smack on the backside to get him started. “Go on.” That got Mark moving. I stood on the porch and watched him leave.
Then one day Micah ran into Pennebroke…literally…as he came out of his office. “Say…haven’t you…forgotten something? I mean this is the first time in nearly a month I’ve seen you without that fancy gun of yours.” He told Micah he had left it in his room, and that it was quite cumbersome to carry around all the time. Micah asked him if he wasn't taking a chance not carrying it with him because of him having such set ideas.
“Frankly, Marshal, I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that it’s a lost cause. McCain simply won’t cooperate!”
“Well, that sounds like your maybe getting ready to leave us!” Micah seemed happier about that! He’d just sort of been hanging on here…hoping. He was getting tired of waiting. He already booked passage on tomorrow's stage. He said he was heading for Deadwood. He said he heard of a man by the name of Hickok.
As he spoke, Micah suddenly stopped paying attention to him. He was interested in something across the street at the saloon. Pennebroke asked Micah what was wrong. Micah suddenly drew his attention back to Pennebroke. “Oh yes…you said you were uh…going to leave us. I think that’s fine. I…uh…I’m glad you came to your senses! Lucas will be very happy to hear the news. I’ll tell him about it tonight at dinner.”
Pennebroke wanted to join us. Micah didn’t see anything wrong with it. Micah told him to meet us there a sundown.
Micah waited until Pennebroke left, then he went across the street. He put his hand on the shoulder of a man reading the Pennebroke’s sign. “Carr, what are you doing in North Fork?” he asked.
Carr told Micah he’d heard about the sign and wanted to see for himself. "Is it true...McCain won't take it up?"
"There's nothing to take up, it's all off, so why don't you just get out of town?" Micah ordered.
"It's a free country Marshal. There ain’t no law against me being here, .is there?" He laughed and then went into the saloon.
When Mark and I got into town, Micah told me about Carr. He said he’d been there all afternoon having a good laugh at my expense. “Well, it doesn’t matter. Pennebroke’s leaving. It’ll all be over tomorrow,” I assured Micah. Pennebroke called out to us. He’d been waiting for us.
“McCain!” I suddenly heard Carr yell to me. He was walking up the street toward me.
“Mark, wait in the dining room, son.” Mark left without any argument.
I greeted him. “I had to see for myself. This uh…Penny-brokemust be some man to make you back down.” Pennebroke was more than happy to correct him. Carr laughed at him. “Come on, McCain! You gotta be kidding! This?” He laughed some more.
“I don’t think I understand.” Carr was more than happy to explain. Pennebroke set me up for anybody that comes along. I wouldn't be able to face anybody after this. "What's the matter McCain? Are you afraid of him?"
I didn’t answer him. I just glared at him. "Come on...let's eat," I said as we headed for the hotel.
But Carr would let it drop. "McCain! Are you? I mean if you are then you must be afraid of me too."
I knew what he was trying to do. "You’re wastin' your time Chuley."
"You’re a coward McCain!” That did it. I started for Chuley, but Micah stopped me. "Don't you understand? I'm calling you out!"
"Don't you understand? I'm not fighting you or anybody else Chuley!"
He laughed. "Well what do you know! I made Luke McCain back down! Pennebroke...You hear that? That makes two of us! We made 'The Rifleman' back down!"
Pennebroke stepped into the conversation then. “Yes, though I never really quite looked at it that way.” He verified that I was refusing to fight this man. He never really relished the idea of killing me anyhow. “But now…Two of us can’t share this reputation, can they? I mean the credit should belong to just one man. Don’t you agree Mr….Chuley?” Pennebroke challenged him.
Carr began laughing. He said he couldn’t be bothered. "Then obviously, sir, you are the coward!"
Carr stopped laughing. Pennebroke had just made him mad! "What did you say?"
"You are a coward! A sniffling coward!" Pennebroke slapped him with his glove. Chuley grabbed his glove and hauled off to hit Pennebroke when I stopped him.
"Mister, you better get a gun! Any gun you want! And you better get it fast!"
"There'll be no gun play on this street or any place else in this town, and I mean it!" Micah ordered. They agreed to face each other outside of town. I warned Pennebroke that Chuley had a side arm and he was good with it. He said he was proficient in all guns, in his business he had to be. Chuley told Pennebroke he had an extra gun in his saddle bag...he'd be glad to loan it to him. Pennebroke told us if we were hungry we should go ahead without him, he'd only be a moment.
Yeah right! He actually thought we were going to go in there and eat? He was crazy! I couldn’t believe this! “Chuley Carr never fought a fair fight in his life!” Micah stated worriedly.
“Well, he’s gonna fight this one fair,” I declared. Then I took off after them.
We went outside of town with them. They agreed on 15 paces. Pennebroke twirled his gun to show off.
We watched as they backed up 15 paces from each other. “Yes, Mr. Carr! Shall we have a go at it?” Pennebroke said, then he drew. He drew faster then Carr! Carr paused waiting for Pennebroke to shoot him.
But he didn’t. Pennebroke fell to the ground. “Micah, he fainted!” I declared.
Carr drew his gun and slowly aimed to shoot. I was ready with my rifle! I shot the gun out of his hand! Carr fell to his knees holding his hand. Micah grabbed his gun.
Then we walked over to Pennebroke. “And he wanted to be a gunfighter,” Micah said. I smiled at that.
We saw Pennebroke off the next morning. I wished him a safe and pleasant journey back to England. He said he had a most instructive visit. Mark wondered what he meant. “Well, I’ll never forget that shooting at a tin can is quite different from shooting at a living target.
He shook our hands. "Well, Tootaloo, pip pip, I'm off!"
Micah and I laughed. “Well we…jolly well get them in North Fork, don’t we?” I said as we all three laughed!
piddlin' stuff.....Arthur Malet played Jeremy Pennebroke. He was the man who came to North Fork to challenge The Rifleman
Arthur is originally from England, UK.
James Luisi played Chuley Carr. He was the one who had the duel with Pennebroke.
Al Collins played Pete. Milly calls him Al Collins - that is his real name - take a look at the credits - his name was suppose to be Pete.
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.
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. You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
Bloopers - Sporting Chance
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
A Young Man's Fancy
The Quiet Fear
around The McCain Ranch