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The Continuing Saga of The Rifleman

Rifleman: Generations--
 Home Ranch Homecoming

Chapter 1 - Out New Mexico Way
Written by Wayne Skiver aka Winchester4440

North Fork, New Mexico wasn’t the type of town most folks made a point to visit.  It was typical of small towns most anywhere, at one time it bustled and burned bright during the heyday of the railroad, but as the trains died, especially passenger trains, so too did many small towns.  North Fork was one such town, rich in history but long past its heyday.  Its population had dwindled since the mid 1960’s until now.  Roughly 1200 souls called North Fork home now in 2011, but the population was about to increase by two.
A cherry red ’65 Ford Pick Up pulled into a parking space on Main Street next to the Madera House Hotel and Restaurant.  Inside the truck sat a ruggedly handsome man, tall and lean with an easy smile and piercing blue eyes.  He pushed the well worn cowboy hat up as he looked over at a young boy riding in the passenger seat.

“Here we are Jake!  We’ll get a bite to eat and then drive out to see your Grandpa at the ranch.”

The boy smiled weakly at his father in return as he craned his head around looking up and down the street.

“This is the main part of town Dad?”

“I know it seems small compared to St. Louis son, but this is a great place for a boy to grow up, you’ll see.  Once we get you riding horses and fishing you won’t miss the city as much as you think.”  The big man patted his sons shoulder as he replied.

The man’s name was McCain, Chance McCain and he had grown up in the small town until he had left for the military in the late 80’s.  After eight years serving as a military policeman he had settled in St. Louis with his wife Jenny where they had a son of their own.  Jenny had passed away recently from cancer and Chance could no longer stand to be in a City where everything reminded him of his dear wife.  With his fathers health starting to decline he made the decision to move back to the family ranch in New Mexico and make as good a life for he and his son as he possibly could.

As the two settled into the rustic dining room of the Madera for lunch a pair of overly curious and none too friendly eyes scanned the red truck.  The eyes were hidden behind a pair of cheap sunglasses and belonged to an unkempt, denim clad man who looked like the type that would swing at you as soon as talk to you.  The rough looking fellow entered Sweeny’s Bar just down the street and grumbled to the barkeep in a gravely voice.

“Missouri plates on that pretty truck.  A little out of the way dontcha think Renny?”

Renny, the graying, dour faced bartender and owner of Sweeny’s sat a bottle of beer in front of the man as he spared a look out of the large front windows of his saloon.
 
“”Huh…might be McCain’s son.  I heard he might be moving back to take care of the ranch.”

“McCain, Pfft!” Sneered the rough, dark haired man, “Old man McCain’s run me off his land for spotlighting more than once.  High and mighty bastard.  All a them McCain’s is uppity!”

Renny busied himself behind the bar without commenting further.  When local troublemaker Mitch Russell was in a foul mood most folks in North Fork steered clear of him.

Back at the Madera Hotel young Jake was halfway through the biggest hamburger he had ever seen in his life.  Chance laughed as he watched his son struggle with the giant sandwich.

“Welcome to cattle country son!  I’ll be lucky to finish this steak on my own plate, it’s the size of a…”

“A man your size having trouble with a little beef steak McCain?”  Interrupted a gruff but kind voice.

Father and son looked up from their meal at the same time to see the smiling, age lined face of North Fork’s Sheriff and old family friend Clint Bodie.  Bodie was only a few years younger than Chance’s father, Norman and had succeeded Chance’s grandfather Micah as the towns no nonsense face of the law.  Micah McCain himself had been named after North Fork’s most famous lawman of the Wild West days, Micah Torrance.

Chance’s face lit up as he stood and took the older mans hand in a firm shake.
“Mr. Bodie!”
“Chance my boy.  Haven’t seen you since you were about ohhh.. 17 or 18.  Now here you are with a boy of your own!”

Chance put his hand on his sons shoulder as he stood up.

“Mr. Bodie this is Jake.  Jake this here is Mr. Clint Bodie, hes a friend of your Grandpa’s and knew me when I was a boy.”

The Sheriff offered a smile to the 12 year old.

“Glad to know you Jake.  I realize our little town might not look like much, but there's no finer place in the world for a young boy to grow up.”

Bodie placed his hat on his head as he snatched up the bill from the table.
“Lunch is on me boys, welcome home.  Come on and I’ll head out to the ranch with you.”

As the three left the Madera House and climbed into their respective vehicles Mitch Russell’s foul mood continued to fester as he watched from the saloon window.

“Ain’t been in town an hour and already cozy with the Sheriff.  Damn McCain’s are all alike.”

Renny scowled at the roughneck.

“Chance grew up here you know?  Why do you want to get all riled up about him and his kid moving back?”

Mitch tore the sunglasses from his face and fixed the barkeep with a cold stare.
“They’re name is McCain that’s why.  That family has always been a thorn in my family’s side, ever since his old man put my Grandpa in the ground!  I remember Chance plenty good too, always telling me to mind my place when we were in high school. Hmph!  I’d love for a little misery to visit the McCain’s.  Yes sir.”

Turning on his heel Mitch Russell stormed out of the bar towards his own beat up truck, leaving Renny the bartender shaking his head.

Rifleman: Generations - Welcome Home

These stories are based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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