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Which Way'd They Go?
I would have never believed it if I weren’t there to see it first hand. Mark and I agree this is one of the craziest things that’s ever happened in these parts. Well, early one morning Mark and I went up to the old Jackman farm to say goodbye to Neb Jackman and his three sons. Their home was being sold to pay for taxes, which was something ol’ Neb just failed to do. Neb and his three boys were friendly folk, and Mark and I got along with them just fine. It just seemed that they took life a little slower than most; if they could wrangle a free meal or a easy job, well, they would be all for it. Emphasis on the word “easy.”
Well, they were preparing to leave, and the deputy was nailing the eviction notice on the front porch when we got there. Neb didn’t give any fuss, except to his son Moss. Moss loved books, and he was standing in the doorway reciting the territorial statutes on the need to pay taxes. Neb said, “It ain’t our fault we ain’t got no money.” Mark said, “All you needed was just one crop this year, Mr. Jackman.” “We had a crop doggone it… corn!” Neb pointed to his son Haslam, who well, wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. “Haslam here, he planted the seed his-self. You put `em in the ground, didn’t you Haslam? Haslam was paying no attention, which was normal for Haslam. Bo, the strong, slightly smarter son was loading the last items in the wagon. Neb wanted to get to the bottom of the seed planting story, so he swatted Haslam with his hat and got all three boys in a frenzy of recounting how the field was to be taken care of that year. “Had it all figured out,” said Neb, “Haslam for the plantin’, Bo for the pickin, and Moss for the shuckin’. But the boys had their own versions and began hollerin’ at each other the orders as they remembered them. Finally Neb said to Haslam, “Do you recollect them seed bags leaning against the barn? Did you or did you not plant that seed like you were supposed to?”
Haslam said, “I thought they was for feedin’ the chickens!” Bo said, “You mean I’ve been watering the plain ol’ dirt?” Moss said, “And I’ve been waitin’ to pick somethin’ that’s never been put in the ground?” To his defense, Haslam said, “We had the chickens, they was good!” I almost laughed out loud.
I smiled and said, “Neb, maybe you and the boys weren’t cut out to be farmers. Maybe now that you’re leaving North Fork you’ll find another town, settle in and try something else.” “You know, Lucas, that’s just what I’ve been a-thinkin’” said Neb. He turned and looked sternly at his boys, “We might even have to get ourselves a JOB.” The boys complained right away. I said, “Well, whatever it is, I wish you a lot of luck.” They took off, nearly leaving Haslam behind.
A while later the Jackman's arrived in Paradise, a town roughly the size of North Fork, but different in that it had no sheriff. Another difference was that the townspeople didn’t really care one way or another if there was one. It was election day, and the town leaders were in the saloon opening up the ballot box to see who won the race for sheriff. The judge opened the box. “Empty, same as last year. Well, that’s life, we closed the bar for nothing. Now we can start thinkin’, and drinkin’.” The judge (who was seldom sober) ordered the saloon to reopen, and the only person concerned about the election was Marcello Ciabini, the man who operated the Bank in Paradise. He was furious that no one was going to be sheriff. “Didn’t anybody vote?” “What for, nobody was running for office.” said Goldie, the saloon owner. It was clear Marcello didn’t want his bank robbed again. Goldie said, “We had sheriffs, five of them in three years.” “Poor souls, all of them dead, save one,” said the judge. “And he ran away.” said Goldie. Marcello stormed out after threatening to close his bank and move on. Goldie made a little speech to those in the saloon, trying to muster civic pride in hopes that someone would step up and agree to be sheriff. “The job’s wide open and waitin’ on ya'!” she said.
As I understand it, Neb and the boys had just walked in and Neb heard the word, “job.” “Now, just what job would that be?” asked Neb. Everybody turned to see the Jackman's standing in the doorway of the saloon, and within three minutes the town had itself a sheriff and three deputies.
They all followed the Jackman's over to the sheriff’s office and it was a cobweb-filled mess. The judge, trying to invent some history on their predecessor said, “The last sheriff wasn’t too tidy, that’s why we had to let him go.” Goldie let slip with, “The poor soul,” but the Jackman's were so happy to get a job they didn’t catch on. Neb did not tell them that their “work in a peace office” meant only cleaning up Micah’s office to pay off their fine every time Micah tossed them in jail for being drunk. The Jackman's became the Law in Paradise.
Well, the desk was locked so Bo jerked the top off the desk so they could get their badges. They finally realized something was wrong when they saw that every badge had a bullet hole through it. They decided it was “time to go back to farming.” “Starving ain’t so bad when you get right down to it,” said Neb. They all started running out the door when Neb thought of something and made his boys go back into the sheriff’s office. “That’s the trouble with this family. Every time something happens in our lives that we are supposed to face up to, we run,” said Neb. Moss said, “The last sheriff that wore that badge, looked like he faced up to somethin’ when he shoulda’ been runnin’.” But Neb quieted his boys down, “Well, he done our work for us didn’t he? Look out in the street. Do you see any trouble out there? As I see it, we got a nice peaceful job in a nice peaceful town. I say we stay. We do our job and draw our pay.”
It sounded good to Bo, “We ain’t done nothing for anybody to get mad at us fer’. There ain’t no reason for us to have no trouble.” But Moss looked at his father and asked, “Supposin’ trouble do come?” “Then we run.” Said Neb.
That same day, back on the ranch, I was waiting for Mark to get home from school. I was preparing to go on a five-day trip down to Lordsburg to buy cattle. When Mark showed up he had a note from Micah for me to take to the town of Paradise on my way through. The U.S. Marshall at Lordsburg was warning people about Stack Wade and his gang of bank robbers, who broke out of prison the night before. I read in the note that Paradise had no sheriff or telegraph office. They wanted me to warn the town. I told Mark to stay at the hotel, and headed out.
Halfway to Paradise I stopped for the night. As I was sleeping, Wade’s gang sneaked up on me and one of his men clubbed me a good one on the head. They took my gun and my horse, and when they searched my pockets they found and read the U.S. Marshall’s note. They took off for Paradise right away, as they saw the town was defenseless. I woke up the next morning with quite a headache, but I was able to find a traveler on the road making his way towards Paradise. He let me ride along.
Stack Wade’s gang made it to town by midday, and were sitting in the saloon when the bank manager walked in and spotted them. Running to the Sheriff’s office, he stepped on a board outside the office that triggered a makeshift alarm clock, awakening the sleeping Jackman family. Neb had swatted a fly with Stack Wade’s wanted poster earlier, and it was laying face up on the floor.
Instantly trying to act busy, Neb did his best to calm the banker down, but the nervous banker ran to look at the wall filled with wanted posters, standing on the very poster he was looking for. He threatened not to pay Neb if he didn’t go and at least talk with the men in the saloon, so they took some dusty shotguns off the rack and headed towards the saloon.
They were all pretty worried until they saw my horse tied up in front of the saloon. They thought it was me, and came running in the saloon to see me. But it was Stack Wade and his men. When they came up against Stack Wade, he said that his name was Joe banks and that Micah had hired them to come and help keep the peace. “Your friend Lucas McCain was kind enough to lend us his horse for the emergency. This telegraph explains everything. Read it yourself.” He handed the note to Neb, who had Moss read it for him. The banker should not be nervous, said Stack. “We’re going to work together against this Stack Wade, ain’t we sheriff?” The Jackman's turn tail and almost trip over each other to get out of the saloon. But then Stack said, “Of course there’s a reward if we get him. Last I heard it was $500.” That stopped Neb, Moss, Bo and Haslam in their tracks. Neb turned and stammered, “Five hundred… if that Stack Wade comes around here we’re gonna’ be waitin’ on him. We’ll stand out in front of the bank all night, all day if we have to.” “Oh no, you don’t want to do that,” said Stack. “You’ll wear yourselves out. Now my boys and I have been riding all day and we are pretty tired. Here’s what we’ll do. You stay up and watch the back tonight and we will rest up. Then tomorrow morning well be rested and we’ll come and take over.” Everyone was in agreement, and the Jackman's sensed nothing was wrong.
Morning came, and the Jackman's were found sleeping, standing up, each leaning against a post in front of the bank. The Stack Wade gang came out to relieve them and woke Neb first, who said, “I was so busy keeping my eyes open that I didn’t notice the sun coming up.” The boys all woke with a start, running around and yelling, “Which way did they go?” The Jackman's take off to get more sleep, with Neb saying to Stack, “Now if you need us, make sure you wake us.” “We’ll do that, sheriff,” says Stack.
As far as I can tell, here’s where things start moving fast. The Jackman's go back to the sheriff’s office to get some sleep. Haslam, still not the sharpest knife in the drawer, plops down on the couch to get some shuteye. When his hand hits the floor it lands on Stack Wade’s wanted poster. When Haslam sees the poster, he gets excited and shows his pa the poster. Neb says, “Well son of a gun, them fellas went and told us they was somebody who they ain’t instead of somebody who they is.”
They all throw caution to the wind. Moss takes his book on law to go have a talk with them. Bo is just plain mad that they lied to his pa, and he is going over to have a talk with them. Moss, completely by accident, knocks out one of the bank robbers. Bo goes into the bank and catches them in the act of holding it up. He told them that they should be ashamed and that they need to go and apologize to his pa for lying to him. One of the bank robbers comes up behind Bo and whacks him over the head twice with his pistol, but that just upsets Bo and he slugs him hard, sending him into street and into the land of unconsciousness. Another breaks a chair over Bo’s head, which just adds fuel to the fire and Bo takes care of him too, tossing him into the street. This just leaves Stack. But then Stack pulls a gun on Bo, and Bo faints.
Neb and his boy Haslam are still sitting in the sheriff’s office when Neb gets the idea to take the bank robbers’ horses. “They can’t get away without their horses. All we gotta’ do is capture their horses.” Haslam takes off after the horses just as Stack heads out after them. They collide, sending both men to the ground and the bag of money into the air, which lands in Neb’s clumsy hands.
I arrived just in time to see the Stack Wade gang strewn out on the ground and Paradise’s new sheriff, Neb Jackman, holding the loot. He saw how confused I was and he just laughed and laughed. I pointed at the bodies strewn about and asked, “Is that Stack Wade and his men?” “That’s them,” laughed Neb. Then he looked real serious. He said, “You know Lucas, it was me who was supposed to plant that corn seed.” The boys started in again, jawing about who had what job on the farm. The town immediately threw a party in the saloon, honoring Neb and his boys. It looked like they were proud of their new sheriff and deputies, even though in the middle of the festivities Bo woke up from his faint, walked into the saloon and asked, “Which way did they go?”
I sure am glad my hometown is North Fork.
piddlin' stuff.....Peter Whitney appeared in nine episodes ― Eddie's Daughter as Tracey Blanch, he's the big dude who came looking for Lil ― Mail Order Groom as John Jupiter, he was the Mail Order Groom, the one that Jess Profit (John Anderson) kept picking on ― Heller as Andrew Bechtol, the mean stepfather ― Strange Town as Ott Droshek, he ran the Strange Town ― The Queue as Vince Fergus, again he was the bully, the instigator who picked on Wang Chi ― Long Gun From Tucson as John Holliver, he was the cowboy who came back for revenge ― Lou Mallory as Neb Jackman, the Pa of the Jackman clan ― Gun Shy as Vantine, he was the man who was holding Lou hostage ― Which Way'd They Go? as Neb Jackman, the Pa of the Jackman clan.
Conlan Carter appeared in two episodes as Halsam Jackman ― Lou Mallory as the one who was suppose to wed Lou ― Which Way'd They Go? as the one who was suppose to do the plantin'.
Mickey Manners played Moss Jackman. He is the one who keeps quoting the law book.
John Craig as Bo Jackman. He's the brother who swept the Marshal's office out and took out two of the outlaws.
Vito Scotti appeared in four episodes ― Waste 1 & 2 as Alphonso, he was the leader of the bandits ― The Sixteenth Cousin as Soto the honorable servant of Hikaru Yamanaka.....Imperial Lord.....fifth warrior of the Samurai.....sixteenth cousin in the family of his Imperial Highness..... Emperor Japan) ― Which Way'd They Go? as Marcello Chabini the owner of the bank in Paradise.
Beatrice Kay as Goldie Drain, the lady that owned the saloon.
Dal McKennon appeared in two episodes ― The Bullet as Judge Hopkins ― Which Way'd They Go? as Judge Moze.
Leo Gordon appeared in two episodes ― The Angry Gun as Abe Jordan, he was one of the gang members who came to free Johnny ― Which Way'd They Go? as Stack Wade, the leader of the gang and the one who claim Razor as his horse.
Robert F. Hoy appeared in three episodes ― Woman from Hog Ridge as Lester Boyle, one of Ma Boyle's boys, he was the one steeling the horse from the livery stable that Lucas shot ― The Promoter as Dabbs, the cowboy Ruben shot and killed him in the beginning of the episode ― Which Way'd They Go? as one of Wade's gang.
Tom Kennedy ― Death Never Rides Alone as one of the townsmen at the saloon ― The Assailants as one of the townsmen ― Gun Shy as a the townsman/man getting off of the stage ― The Decision as one of the townsmen ― The Executioner as the man reading the newspaper - Day of Reckoning as a churchgoer ― Guilty Conscience as one of the townsmen ― Which Way'd They Go? as a barfly ― Outlaw's Shoes as one of the townsmen ― The Challenge as one of the townsmen ― None So Blind as one of the townsmen ― A Young Man's Fancy as one of the townsmen ― End of the Hunt as one of the townsmen.
You can see Tom in The Rifleman many times, probably more times then listed. He always went unaccredited, but not here at the ranch.
Cap Somers/Frederick "Cap / Fimp" Somers appeared in eight episodes of The Rifleman ― Day of the Hunter as one of the townsmen ― The Deserter as a card player ― The Vision as a cowhand ― Woman from Hog Ridge as a townsmen ― The Martinet as one of the townsmen ― The Decision as one of the townsmen ― Which Way'd They Go as the bartender ― The Anvil Chorus as one of the townsmen.
John Bose appeared twice in The Rifleman ― The Fourflusher as a townsman ― Which Way'd They Go as a Barfly.
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.
*This was considered as a pilot for Levy-Gardner-Laven Production's first comedy TV series.
Bloopers - Which Way'd They Go?
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