"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
It seems like Mark and I are always
facing trials. The older he gets, the harder his trials get. Well, I
can’t imagine the feelings he felt this time!
You see, Mark and I were traveling across the desert alone. It was
hot and dry. At the moment, we were walking our horses. Mark
complained about it being so hot and dry. He wondered how far we’d
come from the Rio Grande. I told him about 150 miles. “That’s a long
way to come just for a seed bull,” Mark commented.
I smiled. Silly me, I thought he wanted to see Mexico! At least,
that’s what he had told me. “I do,” Mark answered. “When it stops
looking like New Mexico!” I turned and smiled at him. That’s my boy!
Suddenly, I heard another voice. "Señor!” I looked up to see a
Mexican standing in front of me. “Buenos Dias, Señor!"
He startled us. Who'd ever expect to come across anyone in the
middle of nowhere! "Buenos Dias," I said.
He looked at Mark and nodded. "Leetle one." Mark nodded. "Welcome to
I asked him what he wanted. I didn’t ask it nicely either. My gut
feeling told me this wasn’t a friendly greeting. “Want?” he asked.
“Only to pass the time of day and to collect the taxes for…uh…how do
you say? Trespassing!”
I flipped my rifle. He didn't back off or even blink an eye. "This
is free land mister," I stated.
"You would shoot Miguel? Miguel is your friend. You do not put such
a high value on your life.....huh amigo? It's such a beautiful gun,"
said Miguel. He laughed. "More beautiful then the three that are
pointing to your back, amigo."
I suddenly turned to see three men surrounding us from behind. I
asked him what he wanted. He said he only wanted to do his job – “I
am patron of this land!” He announced proudly. “You wish to cross
this land, you must pay!” I told him no one opened this land – it
was open Mexican land. "Si, but still you must pay.....just a little
for your safety." Mark didn’t understand – but I did! He was being
sarcastic that I figured he was a bandit – I had no doubt in my
mind! That’s exactly what they all were! I asked him if he had a
better name for it. He said he preferred the term patron. “It is
Miguel grabbed my rifle, but I kept my hand on it. We stood there
staring at each other for a few seconds before I finally released
it. I had Mark to think about – no matter what I did, I had to keep
my son safe! The men were proud of the rifle they now had. They were
glad to have our horses too. I told him we needed the horses. I
reached into my pocket to take out my money. I wanted to get rid of
them – I had to protect my boy!
He said he’d take my money – and everything else. “You gonna leave
us out here?” Miguel laughed at my question. Those were my last
Suddenly, Miguel took the butt of my rifle. He called to me. When I
turned toward him, he slapped the rifle at me, hitting my squarely
in the throat. I fell to the ground, suddenly overcome in pain. Only
a grunt came out.
“Pa!” Mark rushed over to me. Miguel grabbed Mark and lifted him up.
Mark continued crying my name as he struggled in Miguel’s arms.
Miguel was happy Mark was strong, but he suddenly made a demand.
“Hey stop it! Stop it or I will kill him right now!”
"No.....please," Mark begged. Miguel pushed the boy toward one of
his pals and told him to take him to camp. Mark called out to me as
they dragged him away.
I heard my boy crying, but I could do nothing. The hit in the throat
had left me unable to get up. I had to just lay there, listening to
my boy crying out to me and knowing I could do nothing to stop them
from taking my boy away from me.
The next thing I knew, they had taken my hat and shirt off of me and
tied me from a tall limb on a tree. The sun burned down on me and in
no time I had sweat pouring off of me. I was hopeless. They had
stripped me of everything – including my power and my son.
The men were dividing up my clothes
among them – one took my hat, one my boots, and the other my shirt.
The fourth man had ridden back to camp with the only possession I
cared anything about – my son.
They laughed about using my money to buy drinks. Miguel walked up to
me and laughed in my face about drinking on me. “Thank you very
much.” He slapped my arms playfully as he put his lips right up to
my ear and spoke. “Hey, don’t you worry about your boy.” He gently
slapped my cheek. His words made me angry and I jumped at him. But I
could do nothing. “We’ll treat him like he’s one of us now! Oh, and
we’ll put him to work, maybe. Fix the fire and take care of the
horses and cook the food…” He went on. They were planning on making
my boy a slave. He promised he would not harm him.
I was so angry! My blood was boiling! I wasn’t only angry because
they were leaving me out here to die slowly under the hot son – but
I was angry because they had my boy! I couldn’t act on my anger and
that tormented me even more!
Miguel kept talking. “And as for you…well, if you die, it’s your own
fault!” He pointed in one direction. “You see, your country is that
way many miles.” They weren’t going to kill me – they were going to
just leave me here to die!
I watched them leave, barely aware of their leaving. I was panting,
parched from thirst. The hot son was burning down on me. I knew I
didn’t have long to live. But determination and love for my son made
me work. I began swinging my hands back and fourth to rub the rope
against the limb. I don’t know how long I worked at wearing that
rope down, but finally…after a lot of patience on my part…my hands
were loose. I could now begin my long track to find my boy. I would
live until Mark was safe.
Lazaro had Mark at the camp. He was busy telling Mark a story when
Miguel and the others made it back to the camp. Mark jumped up and
hurried over to Miguel. He grabbed him. "Please.,” Mark begged. He
was very worried. “Where's my Pa? Please!"
Just then Ramos yelled to Lazaro that he brought him the gringo's
shirt. Mark heard him and ran to him, yelling. "Give me that! That's
my Pa's!" He tried taking it from them but to no avail. They laughed
about it. Mark was so worried about me. He then ran back to Miguel
and begged him to tell him where I was. He told Mark he would take
care of him now.
Those words frightened Mark. Miguel put an arm around him and hugged
him. Mark cried. "You killed him!" "You killed him!" Mark cried at
"Be brave leetle one" Suddenly, Miguel pushed Mark away. “Now we
eat. Fix the fire.”
Mark went to do what he had to do, but his heart wasn’t it in. He
felt completely lost and alone without me. He sobbed as he worked on
his chore that was being forced upon him while the men joked about
my things and what they planned to do with them.
After I got myself loose, I fell to the ground. I was hot, sweating,
and half dead. I immediately got up and started walking in the
direction the bandits had left in. I bit at the ropes, trying to get
them off my hands. I stopped and gasped for breath as I grasped my
throat. It was so sore – crushed by the rifle’s blow. But I had to
keep going for Mark’s sake. If it wasn’t for my son, I probably
would have laid down and died. But my boy was out there and I had to
I didn’t walk – I ran at first. I had to hurry before it was too
late. But the sand was hot, and my fee were bare. As I crossed the
hot desert sand, my feet were becoming scorched like the rest of me.
I walked the rest of the day and all night. Mark was the only thing
that kept me going – I had to stay alive for my boy.
Mark was miserable, thinking I was dead. The men sat around the
campfire joking about going
into town to drink and watch the pretty girls dance. But Mark wasn’t
listening. His heart was broken and there was simply nothing to be
happy about. Without me, he was lost. Suddenly, he was ordered to go
get some more firewood. Mark slowly got up and went to do their
bidding, but he couldn’t handle the loss he was feeling. He finally
leaned against a tree and wept bitterly.
The next morning, I was still walking – I was still on my feet by
barely. The sun was once again climbing into the sky. Cold at night
– hot during the day – it was more then one body could stand. Mark
kept me going. I fell to my knees several times, but I got up and
began walking again. Just in time, I wondered into a small village.
I entered it, then collapsed. I could go no further.
The town folks just stood there. They stared at me as I walked into
their village, and watched as I collapsed – almost at their feet.
When I was out cold, they continued staring at me. No one dared come
near me. They didn’t know who I was or why I was here.
Lucky for me, a very nice, pretty girl named Maria came outside to
see what was going on. She saw me lying there in the dirt and
hurried up to me. She bent down beside me. “Who is he? How did he
get here?” But only one person answered, and her answer was that
they didn’t know. “Well just don’t stand there! Come help me! We’ll
take him to my grandfather’s house.”
It took four men to carry me in. Maria helped her grandfather from
the chair. He came over to look at me. He touched my throat – it
hurt so bad! I didn’t want him to touch it! Maria asked her
grandfather what he thought. He motioned that my throat had been
I was pretty out of it. In fact, when Maria brought me water, I
didn’t even realize until I felt the cool water fall onto my face.
My instincts immediately told me that was water to drink and because
I was literally dying of thirst, I began drinking it. I grabbed the
cup wanting to gulp the water down, but Maria gently reminded me not
to drink too fast. I felt much better now that I had water in me!
But I still just laid there. I hurt all over from the scorching sun!
Her grandfather was mute and again motioned for her to ask me
something. “He wants to know who you are.” I tried to answer her
question, but I could make no noise. My throat was sore and dry. I
grabbed the water and took another long drink of water. She then
moved out of the way so her grandfather could rub some balm on my
That night, I awoke. Maria was right there at my bedside. She was a
nice, gentle woman. I had so much to say, but I still couldn’t
speak. I motioned with my hands, trying to communicate the best I
could. I motioned about my throat and the man that scarred me. She
figured out that he had an earring. "Miguel...the patrõn," she
guessed. I nodded. "The beast!" My feeling was mutual, but that
beast had my son! She explained to me just how evil he was. “He was
here two years ago. He told the village they had to pay if they
wanted to live in peace. My grandfather said no. So he…cut his
That hit me hard. That same man had my son! “He took everything we
had. He comes here very often…always looking for Maria.” She slapped
her chest, upset. “Maria, that’s me! He call me his woman. My
people…they uh…they do not like me. But what can I do?”
I motioned again. I made motions of holding a rifle. "You want to
kill him to?" Maria asked. I nodded. She smiled a sad smile. "It is
no use.....we have nothing. Miguel took all our guns two years ago."
This news upset me very much.
How was I ever going to get my son back? I felt hopeless. She told
me to rest, and for now, that’s all I could do.
They had Mark doing hard labor. Mark was so depressed and lost that
he couldn’t even eat. His strength was gone. It was hard for him to
saddle the horses – the saddles were so heavy, but the bandits gave
him no mercy. While they sat around and ate and talked, he did the
work. Mark was just so very miserable without me – thinking I was
I don’t know how long I’d been there, but I do know that one day, a
group of women gathered outside Maria’s house and demanded that I
leave. Maria went outside and begged them to go away. She came back
inside and complained to her grandfather. “They will not go away.
They keep coming everyday. They think he brings evil to us.” I
lifted myself from the bed. I had finally gained enough strength to
move. It was time for me to go looking for my boy, but first…I’d
need a gun.
Maria saw me getting up and
ran over to help me. She had nursed me back to health and was
suddenly worried about me. I told her I was alright, surprising her
by being able to talk. I told her I needed to go talk to them. She
begged me not to, but I had no choice – my son was out there!
One woman in the group spoke for all of them. “Tell the gringo to
leave us,” she said as I walked into the doorway and peered outside.
“I’ve got to talk to you,” I pleaded with them.
“We don’t want to hear you,” the spokeswoman said. “We don’t want to
be killed. We don’t want our tongues cut out like the old man’s.”
I had to explain – had to make them understand! "I came to Mexico
with my son, that’s all. Miguel robbed me. He left me to die. He's
still got my son and I want him back!"
My news upset Maria. She began yelling at the group of women, trying
to get them to understand. "Miguel has his son! Don't you understand
that's why he must wait here!"
"I need a gun. Has anybody got a gun?" I asked. She tried talking to
them. Nobody would answer me or her.
She turned to me. “It’s no use. I told you, there’s no guns.” She
apologized for them and said that they were scared. "If you fight
Miguel.....you do it alone.”
I felt so frustrated! I didn’t have my boy…my partner…Without him, I
felt so incredibly alone! I was so weak with no strength, and I knew
that if I had my son, my strength would return. I had no choice but
to go inside and lay down – hoping that soon enough strength would
come back so I could go find my son…with or without a gun!
That night, Maria had to go to the Cantina and work. I felt stronger
and went outside to get some fresh air like I often did. But this
time – this time Mark would be joining me. I looked out over the
big, scary land. My son was out there somewhere! He was scared and
alone – being treated like a slave, no doubt. I just prayed to God
that he wasn’t hurt – and that I would be able to rescue him soon! I
hit the side of the door in disgust. What was I going to do? I
needed a gun!
The old man was frustrated as well. I finally got up and took
something out of his drawer. He walked over to me and touched my
arm, handing my the wrapped bundle. I grabbed it and unwrapped it.
It was a gun. “You had this all along?” At first I didn’t understand
why he didn’t tell me about this gun sooner. I had hope now.
“Ammunition. You got any bullets for the gun?” He gave me a
sorrowful look. I suddenly understood why he didn’t tell me about it
– he had no bullets. “A gun without bullets isn’t much good.” My
frustration was back. But it wasn’t the old man’s fault. I turned
and patted his shoulder, letting him know I was thankful he tried to
He turned and walked away. I turned back to look out the door.
Suddenly, there were gunshots. I looked up in surprise to see some
riders coming in and the villagers scurrying for cover. The patron
was back. I suddenly moved back inside and peaked out. I didn’t want
Miguel to know I was here. I looked around. Suddenly, I saw him –
the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen! My boy was there – and he
was unharmed! Relief flooded my heart, and I knew that Mark would
not be leaving with them. I would get him back even if it killed me!
He would be free!
Miguel called him over and told Mark to go watch the horses – inside
the cantina was no place for him. Wasn’t that the truth! Mark slowly
walked back over to the horses and sat down. He was so very sad! I’m
sure he thought I was dead and he was all alone and scared.
I quietly stared at him. My boy…my Mark…
I had to get him to safety – then I’d deal with these bandits! I
threw a big pebble at him but he paid no attention. He was too
distraught – about to burst out into tears again. I’m sure he had
done a lot of crying over the last few days! I threw a second pebble
That got Mark’s attention. He lifted his head and looked around. He
then saw me standing in the doorway. At first, he was confused. I
was supposed to be dead after all, but then surprise and relief
appeared on his face. He wanted to cry with joy. He mouthed “Pa,” as
he looked toward the cantina. I shot a finger to my lips, warning
him to be quiet. Then I waved my fingers toward me, telling him to
run over to me.
He didn’t hesitate for a second. He jumped up and ran as fast as his
legs would carry him! He ran so fast that his hat fell off. He
walked inside and I grabbed him. I was again touching my precious
little boy! Thank God! We just stood there for a few minutes staring
at each other. “Pa!” He cried in a loud whisper. He could hardly
believe it was really me. I could say nothing. I just drew him close
to me and held him in my arms. We both cried, relieved we were
finally back together!
But there wasn’t much time for a family reunion – we were still in
grave danger and I had to get rid of the danger before we could have
our happy reunion. I told Mark my plan, then with a very heavy
heart, sent him back to the bandits. It was the only way!
Maria put on a good show for them. She did it with a smile and
allowed them to caress her and have their fun. But suddenly, the gay
laughter died. Mark came inside, disobeying Miguel’s strict orders
to stay out – but he had my orders to go inside! Miguel yelled at
him. But Mark turned to Angelo. “Senior Angelo, it’s your horse,”
Mark said. Angelo wanted to know what was wrong with his horse. “I…I
think he’s gone lame,” Mark answered.
The men fell for it. Angelo went out to look at his horse. Before
they walked out, Mark turned to see where my rifle was sitting. He
saw it on a table and hurried outside. He walked Angelo to the
horse, telling him it was his right foreleg. Angelo told him that
wasn’t his horse, but he decided to take a look at it anyhow. As
Angelo lifted his head to tell Mark there was nothing wrong with the
horse, I came up behind him and hit him hard with the pistol the old
man had given me. It knocked Angelo out.
That was one man down. I grabbed Angelo’s gun. Mark grabbed my arm.
“Pa, your rifle’s on the table nearest to the door.”
I patted his shoulder. “Wait here son!”
Maria was dancing around really making the men happy. I snuck into
the doorway, but stayed hidden from the men. She looked toward the
door and saw me there, but she didn’t let on that she saw me. I
motioned with my head for her to lure them away from my rifle. I
wanted her out of the way. She knew what I was planning on doing.
She had seen my boy and knew I’d fight to get him back.
Maria knew what she had to do.
She immediately set to work helping me. She smiled and coaxed and
lured them out of my path. When all three were up against the
bar, Maria suddenly moved out of the way into the back room. At the
same instant, I raced in while they were staring at her and grabbed my rifle. I fired one shot at
them using Angelo’s gun. Then I grabbed my rifle and fired every
shot into the three men. They fell to the floor dead.
When the shots stopped, Mark
came running in. He stood in the doorway and stared at me. I held
out my arm to me as he ran into my arms and hugged me again. Now we
could cry and have our reunion. Everything was okay now!
The next day, Mark and I were ready to head home. Maria said goodbye
to us. “I wish there was some way I could repay the both of ya',” I
stated. I was now wearing my shirt and felt fresh and like a new
man. I had my strength back because I had my son back.
After a good nights rest we were getting ready to head out. I told
Maria I wished there was something I could to do to repay her and
her grandfather. "You risked your life for us.....you got rid of the
patrõn, that is enough. We are the ones who are grateful." said
Maria. "Vaya Con Dios or McCain!" There was nothing more for me to
say. Mark and I got on our horses and rode out of there…together!
almost suffered the same fate twice — once in The Rifleman
in The Vaqueros — he was stripped to the waist, tied to a
tree, and left to die under a scorching sun by a group of Mexican
banditos ― and in
Fill No Glass for Me ―
he was stripped to the waist, tied to a tree, and left to die under
a scorching sun by a group of Indian warriors.
Martin Landau played Miguel, the
patrõn. He did an excellent job in this episode!
Ziva Rodann as Maria, she is the
lady who helped Lucas.
Vladimir Sokoloff played the
grandfather, the man who had his tongue cut out by Miguel.
Than Wyenn as Ramos, he's the one
Roberto Contreras as Angelo, he's
the one who took Lucas' hat. He's the one that Mark lured out of the Cantina
by telling him his horse has gone lame.
appeared in six episodes — New Orleans Menace as
Tiffauges Rider ― Legacy as the preacher — Lariat
as the card dealer — Baranca and on of
Angels ― The Vaqueros as one of the townsmen and
Quiet Night, Deadly Night as one of the townsmen.
Pepe Hern appeared in three episodes ―
Waste 1 & 2 as Sleeper, one of Alphonso's men ― Vaqueros
as Abuelito Lazaro, he's the one that was given Lucas' shirt and the
one who took Mark on ahead.
Al Haskell appeared as one of the
townsmen in Vaqueros and Day of Reckoning.
John Michael Quijada appeared
in two episodes ― Baranca, he was one of
Baranca's Angels ― Vaqueros as one of the men who
helped carry Lucas into Maria's.
Núñez as the guy with the mustache bringing in Lucas.
as one of the Townswoman.
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's
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