Welcome to The Writer's Corner
Chapter 30 - The Rifleman is Born
Written by Michelle Palmer
His gentle caressing slowly awakened her early that morning. The
sun was just beginning to cast its first rays of sunshine
through their spacious bedroom window. Margaret cuddled down in
the bed and gave a satisfied smile as she felt his hands gently
caress her shoulder and down her arm. “Mornin’,” Lucas’ groggy
voice whispered an inch from her ear. “I was hoping you’d wake
up.” Margaret didn’t say a word as she closed her eyes,
anticipating the feel of her husband’s lips on her skin. And
Lucas McCain didn’t disappoint her that morning. Margaret felt
his lips touch the nape of her neck below her ear softer than a
Then there was no contact. Margaret started to open her eyes
when she feared he had left her, but just when her eyes started
to blink open, his lips had returned. This time, he left a trail
of soft kisses down her neck until his lips settled on her
throat. Lucas groaned before lifting his head up to her face.
This time, Margaret did open her eyes as she settled onto her
back. She placed a hand on his stubby cheek and smiled into his
soft eyes that told her what he had planned for her before
breakfast that morning. “I love you, Mrs. McCain,” Lucas said
huskily before bringing his mouth down onto hers and capturing
her in a passionate kiss that left every inch of her body
Margaret shifted onto her back so she had better access to him.
Already, she felt the hem of her gown being lifted. Their kisses
turned more passionate, but she grasped his wrists and opened
her eyes wide before he could lift her nightgown any higher.
“Luke…” Margaret took some ragged breaths. “Luke, I want to so
Lucas pressed a finger to her lips. “Shh…It’s been three weeks
now, my dear wife. I’ve been ready for quite some time. It’s you
that has kept the intimacy at bay.”
“Only because I worry about you. The doctor said…”
“JASON said that I was ague-free and as healthy as a six year
old boy. He said I could return to my regular activities.” Lucas
kissed her as he rested his body gently on top of hers. “And
this is definitely one of my ‘regular’ activities.” She started
to argue further, but his wide, boyish grin stopped her.
Suddenly, she was overcome with passion and wanted nothing more
but to feel all the love her dear husband had to give her.
Lucas lost contact only long enough to remove his long johns.
Then after pulling the covers off of her, he pulled the gown off
over her head and gently caressed her. “I think it’s time we
start seriously working on that son we’ve been talking about
having, my Love.” His fingers slid down her side, down her
thigh, and back up again. Margaret let out a loud gasp before
Lucas hurriedly closed his mouth down onto hers and laced his
fingers through hers.
For the next hour, they relished being husband and wife in each
Margaret lay still in his arms, enjoying the gentle caress of
his fingertips down the side of her body over and over. His
other arm was wrapped snuggly around her, and his cheek rested
on her shoulder. She hadn’t realized until that very moment just
how much she had been missing the intimacy. The length of his
body pressed up against the back of hers and she ran a hand up
and down his arm. “Luke…” Margaret breathed softly.
“Promise you what, Honey?”
“Promise me we’ll always be like this…no…no matter what.” There
was silence as Lucas’ fingers paused at her thigh. Then slowly,
he slid his hand up and wrapped it around her body as well. He
hugged her tighter against the length of his body and pressed a
kiss to her cheek. “Luke?”
“Margaret, you know I can’t promise that.” Lucas sighed. “Just
recently, we proved it’s possible it may not ALWAYS be like
“Oh, Luke…” Margaret cried softly.
“I’ll promise you today, my Love. I want to promise you
Lucas shifted his weight just a bit and turned her on her back.
His hand once again began caressing her softly as he stared into
her eyes. “I will promise you this…” Lucas kissed her softly and
trailed kissed down her cheek. “I promise you that no matter
what happens, I’ll always remember these special times along
with the special way you take care of me…cooking and
cleaning…loving me no matter how badly I behave.”
Margaret smiled. “And I you, Luke.” She giggled as his hand
paused at a ticklish spot on the side of her rib cage. Lucas
chuckled as he wiggled his fingers even more. Soon, the bedroom
was overcome with the sound of laughter as husband and wife
enjoyed each other.
“Luke…” Margaret whispered at she stared into his eyes.
“Yes, My Love?”
“There’s chores to do.” Lucas groaned, laying his head down on
her chest. Margaret giggled as she lifted his face up. “Now you
are the one that said Jason declared you fit to return to all
your normal activities.”
“I was leaning more toward the…fun one’s,” Lucas said as his
hand once again found one of her sensitive areas.
“Now Lucas McCain, you STOP that!” Margaret declared as she gave
him a hard shove and sat up on the side of the bed with her back
toward him. She reached for her robe and stood. She turned back
to him only after her sash was securely fastened. “I’ve got
breakfast to fix!” Lucas groaned again. Margaret walked toward
the dresser and grabbed a fresh pair of long johns. She threw
them to him from where he still laid in bed – butt stuck up in
the air. “Get dressed, Mister!” Lucas groaned again. Margaret
threw him a fresh pair of jeans and his orange shirt. “You’ve
been lazing around too long! It’s time you start being a rancher
Only after Margaret left the room did he attempt to get up.
“Yes, My Love,” Lucas mumbled as he put his leg in one of the
holes of his long johns. “I’ll even remember this…but I hope
I’ll never have to live with only the memories…”
“Oh, Good Lord Almighty!” Abe shouted as he sputtered his coffee
and sat straight up in his chair. Abe had been reading the
Oklahoma City News a boy in town had given him the day before.
He’d been so busy, this was the first chance he’d had to read
Julie turned from the stove and brushed hair out of her face as
she sat a large platter of pancakes on the table. “What is it?”
Abe clutched the newspaper tighter in his hand and stood up. He
mumbled words quietly under his breath, and from his tone, Julie
was sure she didn’t want to know what those words were.
“Abraham?” Julie questioned again as she walked toward him.
“Papa, I need fifty cents for…” Julie held up a hand to silence
Laura as she hurried out of her bedroom. Abe had already called
her and the boys twice. Abe folded the paper and started toward
“Abe, I’ve got breakfast!” Julie declared as she shifted Scarlet
on her hip.
“Later,” Abe mumbled as he opened the door.
“What about my fifty cents, Papa?” Laura asked.
Abe paused and turned to look at his little sister. “What for?”
“School dues,” Laura declared. “You gave Charlie his yesterday,
but you forgot to…” Laura stopped, knowing he hadn’t forgotten.
He only had fifty cents yesterday.
Abe sighed. “Later.” Then he hurried out the door.
“Mama…” Laura turned. “What’s wrong with Papa Abe?”
Julie sighed. “I don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll find out in time
if it’s anything major. Now eat your breakfast.” Julie turned
toward the bedrooms. “Boys, get in here and eat your breakfast!”
“Mama, the teacher said I MUST have my dues today!”
“Well, you’ll just have to wait for Abe, sweetie.” Julie turned
from her then to go see to the boys.
Something similar was happening down the path at Peter’s house.
Peter’s words of surprise were much more colorful, and Tiffany
put her fists on her hips and ordered, “Not in front of the
children!” Peter stood slowly and walked toward the door. “I’ve
got breakfast!” Tiffany declared.
“Later,” Peter mumbled as he opened the door. He was surprised
when he came face to face with his oldest brother.
“Did you see it?” Abe questioned angrily as he shook the paper
he still held in his hand.
“Just now,” Peter nodded.
“Blasted!” Abe roared as he stomped into the house. “Blasted!
Just wait until I get my hands on that stupid fool!”
“Abraham and Peter McCain!” Tiffany turned and looked at her
children. “Ruthie, take your brother and go to your room.”
“Oh Mama…” Ruthie started. Tiffany lifted her head and pressed
her lips tightly together. “Yes Mama.” She grabbed Willie’s hand
and helped him toddle toward the bedroom. “Anytime there’s
somethin’ good, we hafta go!”
Tiffany turned back to the brothers. “Now, what is the meaning
of this uproar?”
“Some fool…He went and did it. I mean, he really did it!!!” Abe
cursed again, then apologized when he was able to come to his
Jeremiah barged into the house then. “Hey Peter, did you…” His
voice died when he saw his other two brothers.
“I warned him this would happen! I warned him!” Peter shouted so
loud it shook the rafters.
Tiffany put a hand on her hip. “Don’t you three have anything
better to do then read the newspaper? And how does it just so
happen that all three of you had a chance to read your own
newspaper this morning?”
She was ignored as the brothers continued growling over the
article in the newspaper. “As soon as we eat, we best take a
ride out to Lucas’ ranch and get to the bottom of this!”
“Yeah,” Abe growled. “And if he don’t have a way out of this
mess, I’ll flatten him!”
“Willie! Blasted!” Suddenly, Ruthie’s voice erupted from the
Tiffany turned from the door, her eyes wide. “Abe…”
Peter sighed. “I’ll go talk to her.”
“Good. And you let her know the next time I hear the word from
anyone’s mouth I’ll wash their mouth out with soap!”
Lucas stepped from the barn and whistled as he carried the
bucket of fresh milk toward the house. He saw a shadow from the
corner of his eye, and turned to investigate. Nothing was there
that he could see. He turned to walk toward his house again when
he heard the sound.
He froze dead in his tracks.
He’d recognize that sound anywhere. It was the sound of a gun
being cocked. “Alright, McCain…turn around.” The voice was a
growl and unfamiliar.
Lucas, still clutching the bucket of milk slowly turned around.
He came face-to-face with a man holding a gun right towards his
chest. Lucas squeezed the rifle he held in his other hand. “Who
are you?” He asked the red-headed man with a tick beard. “Do I
“Nope,” the man answered. “But I shore do know you! Yes sir…I
wanted to see just who this “Rifleman” was!”
Lucas scrunched his eyebrows together and gave the man a
confused look. “The Rifleman?” He shook his head, totally
The man gave Lucas an evil laugh, then reached for the paper
from his back pocket. “This…” the man flung the article toward
Lucas. “THIS is what I’m talking about you…” He allowed the rest
of his words to die.
Lucas slowly opened the paper. His eyes grew wide at the title
of the article. “The Rifleman is Born.”
Lucas sucked in his breath as he studied the top of the paper.
“Oklahoma City…” Lucas lifted his head. “This was printed two
“And I got here as FAST as I could!”
“Why?” Lucas cocked his head to one side. “What you wantin’?”
“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Harold T. Fiske.”
Lucas’ eyes grew wide at the name. “That’s right! About a year
and a half ago, you were in Texas on a cattle drive. You knew my
brother…Hezekiah T. Fiske.”
“Yes. I knew your brother.”
“You KILLED my brother.”
“How do you know that?”
“His friend was there and saw the whole thing. He said you were
a fast draw.” Fiske’s eyes moved toward the rifle Lucas held in
his hand. “Of course, you didn’t have that ugly looking rifle
then…but that’s mentioned in that there article as well.”
“Lucas…” Margaret’s voice was heard from behind him. “Lucas,
what?” she suddenly sounded alarmed.
“Margaret, get back inside and close the door,” Lucas growled.
“Luke…” Margaret’s eyes grew wide when she saw Fiske pointing a
gun at him.
“DO AS I SAY!!!”
Margaret closed the door to the house. Lucas turned back to
Fiske. “Alright, I killed your brother. He was trying to rustle
some of the heard we were working on driving through for our
boss. I caught him and gave him a chance to be peaceful but…”
“You gave him a chance?”
Lucas remembered back to that time in his life. He had
discovered what Hezekiah Fiske had been trying to do. Instead of
going to his boss and telling him of his discovery, Lucas snuck
up on the man and held his rifle on the man. The man turned and
drew, and Lucas fired. He knew in truth he hadn’t given the man
a chance. He wasn’t intending to kill him, but the gun had gone
off all the same. The man was dead all the same.
Lucas swallowed the lump that was rapidly forming in his throat.
“I gave him one,” he said with a nod. “He just didn’t take it.”
He didn’t know it either, Lucas thought. If only he hadn’t
approached the man from behind, he may be alive today…
“Well, the way I hear tell, I’m giving you more of a chance then
him. But I’m gonna kill you!”
“Not today!” Lucas looked up to see his brothers standing at the
edge of the yard. Abe had his gun pointed at the offending man.
“Now…ride on out while you still got the chance.”
The man turned back to look at Lucas. “You wouldn’t shoot a man
in the back…Who are these men, your personal bodyguards?”
“We’re his brothers.”
The man laughed and rolled his eyes. “Well, you know I ain’t
made much of myself and I always wanted ta hear my name spoken
with respect. Maybe if I kill the Rifleman, I’ll get that
“You kill him and…” Abe didn’t get a chance to answer the
question. Fiske drew his gun and Lucas pulled the trigger on his
rifle. The man fell dead at Lucas’ feet.
Nobody said a word. The door to the house opened and Margaret
hurried out to stand beside her husband. Lucas didn’t look at
her, for he could only stare at the dead man laying at his feet.
Slowly, his brothers slid from the saddles and walked to stand
over Fiske’s body. Nobody spoke for several moments. “This
didn’t have to happen,” Peter muttered.
That was when Lucas finally lifted his eyes to look at his
brothers. He saw the accusations laying there. He knew he was
guilty of a crime, and they were going to make sure he paid
dearly. “Well, say it!” Lucas demanded angrily.
“Say what?” Peter asked when Lucas settled his eyes on his
“I told you so.”
Peter looked down at Lucas’ rifle. He remembered the
conversation he had with Lucas, warning him what would happen.
Peter shrugged and shook his head. “I don’t think I have to do
Abe cleared his throat. “We’ve come about this article.”
“Yeah, seems I’ve gotten a lot of company on that article this
morning. Funny thing…” Lucas emptied the used cartridge from his
rifle. “I haven’t had a chance to read the article myself.”
“What article, Luke?” Margaret questioned, suddenly confused.
Lucas allowed his eyes to settle on his wife’s face. He closed
his eyes, dreading what this article would hold. “I’ll…tell you
later.” Lucas put his arm protectively around her. “I think you
can manage getting this body to town.” Lucas turned and walked
with Margaret into the house.
“Wait! We want to talk to you!” Peter declared at his brother’s
retreating figure. “Did you hear me, Luke? We want to talk to
you about…” But Lucas and Margaret stepped up onto their porch
and disappeared into the house without a word or a backwards
glance. The pail of milk sat in the yard, forgotten.
Jeremiah picked up the pail and sat it on the porch. He signed
as he shook his head. “We’ll come back later.”
The Rifleman is Born
Anyone who lives in the untamed and unsettled West has seen
their share of gunfighters and outlaws, but rarely is there a
man heard of that can rapidly empty thirteen bullets into a man
under five seconds.
Recently, it has come to the attention of many that such a man
now exists, and he is quickly making a name for himself. There
is confidence growing in Oklahoma Territory that this man will
someday be known as The Rifleman.
Lucas McCain comes from a well-known family in Enid, Oklahoma.
Born and raised there, Lucas had done little traveling before
the war. At the age of eighteen, Lucas left his family in order
to join the Union Army and fight on the side of the blue. A
witness who worked closely with Lucas during the war states that
he was one of the best shots in the war.
After the war, Lucas traveled to Texas where he worked for a
year. During his time in Texas, he found odd jobs working cattle
drives. He worked with such famed men as bank robber, Tom Birch;
and gun fighters, Johnny Drako and Sam Morley. He was not a
stranger to gun fighting. Lucas was even involved in a
scandalous cattle rustling scheme, one he claims he’s innocent
of. Though witnesses place him with the known rustles, there was
never proof of his involvement.
The famed rifle was not made until McCain moved back to his
hometown. There, it is known that he created the rifle. A
witness quoted the rifle as being “a mean-looking rifle with an
enlarged firing ring, and a pin that allows the rifle to fire
automatically upon being cocked. There’s only one reason this
rifle was created – to kill man.” The witness also stated the
rifle was made after McCain’s current firearm couldn’t save the
life of a fellow war veteran, Ned Majors, who was shot down by
known gunfighter, Jackson Black. It is believed that he is
waiting for Jackson Black’s return.
Since its creation, the rifle has been witnessed as being a
third arm for the man who declares himself a rancher. Some close
to the family, however, feel that he’s a gunfighter.
The Rifleman is married to Margaret Gibbs-McCain, the daughter
of another well-known family in Enid. His brothers are all
married as well. At the time of this printing, Lucas’ entire
family lived in Enid, Oklahoma. His brothers and families are as
Abraham McCain is married to Julie. Together, they have seven
children. They have four sons, two daughters, and the McCain’s
Jeremiah McCain is married to Emily (though everyone calls her
Em). They have one child together, and are in the process of
adopted two orphaned children. They lost a son at birth.
Peter McCain and his wife have two children. It’s rumored that
they are expecting their third child in the fall.
Emily McCain married Dr. Jason Livingston after a rather brutal
kidnapping and rape. They have one child. Further investigation
yielded the fact that the kidnapping occurred during the war, so
Lucas McCain didn’t have a chance to use his rifle on the
outlaw. He was brought to justice, tried, and hung.
The youngest McCain, Laura, is being raised by her brother
We mention the above in order to show that Lucas McCain was
raised in a rather large family. It’s told that all the brothers
wear guns, and the brother-in-law doctor also wears a gun. When
asked if Lucas plans to be a father soon, the source states that
Margaret has been unable to give her husband a much-anticipated
son as of yet. Lucas hopes to have a large family, and
undoubtedly raise his sons in his footsteps – as gunfighters.
Many killings have already taken place at the hand of the
Rifleman. More articles will follow. The next article will be
printed in a week.
Because of the large family Lucas McCain has, there are fears
that his actions are putting his entire family in danger. Some
say elevating the Rifleman will make his family safer.
What does the future hold for the Rifleman? Stay tuned for
Lucas felt sick as Margaret sat his breakfast in front of him.
The smell alone was enough to make him want to heave. “Take it
away, honey. Please,” Lucas groaned as he waved his hand toward
“Luke, you have to eat!” Margaret argued.
Lucas slowly stood. His legs shook unsteadily beneath him. “I…I
can’t, Margaret. I have to go into town.”
“Luke, what’s in the article?”
There was NO way Lucas was EVER going to let her see this
article! It was bad enough that his brothers knew of his past.
It was bad enough that his entire family had been exposed. If
Margaret read the words printed about her, it would cause all
sorts of pain for his young bride.
Lucas put his hat on and reached for his rifle. It suddenly felt
hot in his hand and he jerked his hand back. His eyes stared at
the long piece of steel that could possibly be tearing his
family apart. Peter’s words, warning him against making the
rifle echoed in his head. Peter himself had called Lucas “The
Rifleman” in mockery when Lucas was creating the rifle.
“Nothing,” Lucas lied. He forced himself to pick up the rifle.
Shifting it in his hand, he turned and pointed a finger at
Margaret. “I want you to stay inside today, ya hear?”
Margaret sucked in her breath at his order. She knew something
was wrong…terribly wrong. “Does this have anything to do with
that man you killed?”
Lucas’ head jerked up. He glared at Margaret, her words stinging
him in a way she would never know. “I didn’t kill him!” Lucas
shouted. “I…” He closed his eyes to regain some of his
composure. “Just do as I say and…lock the door behind me.”
“Lucas McCain, I will not…” Margaret started in her defiance
tone of voice.
“YOU WILL!” Lucas shouted. His words and tone stung her. He saw
it in her eyes. “Just do as I say. I’ll be back.”
Margaret stared at the door after it closed. “Lock it!” Lucas
demanded as he stood on the other side of the door. Margaret
hurried forward and did as she was told. Then she watched out
the window as he stomped angrily to the barn.
“What was in that article, Lucas?” Margaret hugged herself,
fearful for her husband. “And why are you once again shutting me
“Damn it, Luke!” Abe smacked the paper on the kitchen table at
Peter’s house. “It’s bad enough the McCain name is being dragged
through the mud, but they’ve involved our wives and children!”
Peter had come storming back into his house and asked Tiffany to
take the kids to Em’s house for awhile. Paul had been asking for
them, and this was as good a time as any for Peter’s kids to get
to know their adopted cousin better. Tiffany had warned the
brothers before she left that God still had his ears wide open.
Peter kissed her briefly, nodded his head, then watched her
leave. Only after Abe was sure Tiffany and the children were out
of ear shot did he dare to speak. Up until that time, Abe glared
at his baby brother, working his jaw in anger as he did so.
“I know, I know!” Lucas shouted. “At least they didn’t say such
hurtful things about YOUR wife!”
“And our sister!” Jeremiah shouted, his face blazing red-hot as
well. “Who would tell this reporter about our sister’s past? Do
you know the pain this is going to cause her if she…”
The door opened, and Jason Livingston walked in. “Why’d you do
it, Luke? WHY???” No one had ever seen the doctor so mad. “After
all the HELL my wife has been through, why did you allow them to
print about her attack??? Do you know she saw this article? Do
you know she is currently experiencing the hell she went through
during those horrid days? WHY???”
“Jason, I’m so sorry…” Lucas started. But he didn’t get a chance
to go any further. Jason reared back and gave Lucas a hard
punch. His anger drove him, causing the punch to send Lucas flat
on his back. Lucas stared at Jason from the floor and swiped the
blood from his mouth.
“The hell you are!” Jason shouted. He reached down and grabbed
Lucas by the shirt, intending to give him some more. Peter and
Abe bolted forward and grabbed Jason, restraining him. “Let me
go!” Jason shouted.
“Just calm down!” Abe ordered. “I mean it now, calm down!”
“I had to sedate her, she was so upset!” Jeremiah shouted
“And I’m about to ‘sedate’ you!” Abe shouted back, just as
angry. “Punching Luke isn’t going to solve anything!”
Only after Jason was calm did they let him go. “I don’t think
Lucas had anything to do with this article,” Jeremiah finally
stated in a calm voice. “But I must say I’m not happy about
having the impending adoption of Paul and Genni mentioned in the
paper either. This only means trouble!”
Lucas didn’t take his eyes off Jason. Jason’s eyes finally
softened and closed in regret. When they opened, he gave Lucas a
sorrowful, but cautious, look. “I’m sorry…” Jason ran a
frustrated hand through his hair. “The paper was hand delivered
to us yesterday. I didn’t think anything of it…if only I had
known.” Jason punched his other hand with his fist. “I heard
Emily crying when I came in from delivering the Wilson Baby this
morning. She was shaking and sobbing…I hadn’t seen her that way
since…” Jason allowed breath to slowly leave his lungs. “She
hasn’t even spoken of the attack since before we were married. I
thought she was over it.” Jason turned and looked at Abe. “She
became hysterical. I read the paper she was pointing to. It
didn’t mention make, but just the thought of it being exposed
for the world to see…She said she felt she was being…” Jason
swallowed, unable to say the word. “…all over again.” Jason
wiped a tear that had left his eye. “I was finally able to
settle her down enough to give her the shot, then I sent someone
for Aunt Jenny. She was there sitting with Emily when I left.
‘Don’t act in haste, Jason,’ she warned me.” Jason shook his
head. “I guess I let the anger build up the whole way over
The room was quiet as the men listened to Jason’s grief. Then
Abe cleared his throat. “When I was in town yesterday, a boy I
didn’t know came and gave me the paper…said I should have a
copy. I wasn’t sure why at the moment.” He looked at Jeremiah
and Peter who also reported they had been given a copy.
“So…whoever spilled the information to this reporter was
intentally trying to hurt us.”
“Who would do such a thing?” Lucas asked then, his voice
shaking. “Who would put our entire family in danger?”
Peter folded his arms and slowly walked to look out the window.
“It has to be someone close to our family.”
“Who knows about the rape?” Lucas asked.
“Oh well…” Abe pressed a hand to his forehead. “That’s common
knowledge, unfortunately. She confessed it at the trial out
loud…everyone heard that.”
“I see…” Lucas sighed. “But they know about things that happened
when I was away…I didn’t tell any of you about some of those
“Yes.” Abe folded his arms across his burley chest and stood
squarely in front of his brother. “And we’ll discuss that later,
little brother. But for now…who was with you when that stuff
Lucas shrugged. “Those mentioned in the paper were with me off
and on. I saw my army Captain, Tom Benton, but he wouldn’t do
anything. Johnny Drako and Tom Birch hung out with me several
times. We did some pretty wild things…” Lucas lifted an eyebrow
and shook his head, assuring his brothers he wasn’t going to go
into detail at the moment. “Then, of course, Reef and I did some
crazy things together... I knew several others during that time
Abe rubbed a hand across his face as he mumbled. “Pa always
tried to teach us we should be careful what we do, because
things can come back and hurt those we love.”
“Abe, now’s not the time to…” Jeremiah started.
“Now’s the perfect time!” Abe shouted. “Our baby brother has
already gotten himself and his family into trouble! Now his year
of sowing wild oats is putting our ENTIRE family in jeopardy!”
“Don’t you forget what they said about my wife!” Lucas shouted
back in frustration. “If she ever reads that…”
“Okay, but WHO did it?” Abe questioned then, bringing them all
back to the problem at hand. “Does anybody know who the boy was
delivering the papers?” They all shook their heads. “Yeah…and
we’ll probably never find him.” Abe placed his hands flat on the
table and let out a long breath. “Alright…we know that every gun
fighter in the country is going to try take out the great
“I told him this was going to happen!” Peter shouted as he
punched the wall. “I told him, but he wouldn’t listen! He
insisted on making that blasted rifle just so he could…”
“Now that’s NOT fair!” Lucas shouted. “I have to protect my
“You and I BOTH know it’s not to protect your family! It’s for
revenge – revenge on one man…Jackson Black.”
“If Black ever shows his face in this town again, I’ll kill
him!” Lucas shouted. “And if I ever find out who talked to this
reporter, I’ll kill him too!”
“Then you’ll end up in jail!” Peter shouted. “Can’t you ever
think of anyone but yourself?”
“I’m not thinking about myself!” Lucas was face to face with his
brother now. His face was red from anger. “But let me tell you
something, Peter McCain…NO MAN, and I mean NO MAN is going to
come in here and…”
“HEY!” Suddenly, Abe’s authoritative voice shouted, causing the
room to fall into dead silence. He glared from brother to
brother. “Now, you are allowing this man to do EXACTLY what he
intended! You are allowing him to break us apart.”
Jason sighed and shook his head. “This is obviously a plot
against Lucas. But why would somebody want to see Lucas killed?
Why doesn’t he just kill Lucas himself?”
“Because…” Lucas grumbled as he continued to glare at Peter.
“He’s a coward.”
“And now the Rifleman has been called out. He’ll have no choice
but to use that great and powerful weapon of his…getting himself
killed in the process!”
“Peter, that’s ENOUGH!” Abe ordered gruffly. “We’re brothers,
and Lucas needs our protection now.”
Lucas took offense to that. “I don’t NEED anybody’s protection!”
He started toward the door. “I can handle it myself!”
“Pride cometh before a fall, little brother,” Peter declared
Lucas froze in his tracks and whirled around. He gave Peter a
hard punch in the jaw. Peter gasped in shock after regaining his
balance and stared at Lucas. Everyone saw the regret in Lucas’
eyes, but it was too late…his temper had gotten the best of him.
“And you two can’t see that this is driving us apart? That’s why
he attacked the family like he did – because he’s trying to
isolate Lucas to make sure Lucas is easily killed.” Abe came to
stand in front of Lucas. The look on his face was enough to stop
any more outbursts. “Lucas Mark McCain, what would our father
Lucas lowered his head and rested a hand on his forehead in
instant repentance. “I’m…sorry, Peter. That was uncalled for.”
Peter said nothing as he stubbornly crossed his arms. Abe turned
his full attention on him. “Well?” Peter glared back at Abe, but
his glare easily melted under his brother’s stern look. “Peter,
I’m warning you…”
“Alright, alright! You can stop treating us like kids…” Peter
ran a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said
the things I said.”
“I could make you kiss and make up…” Peter glowered at that. Abe
shook his head. “But I won’t. We have a problem in the family,
and it’s up to us in this room to…”
“Abe, I don’t want to drag the entire family into this. I…”
“Luke, the family was dragged into this when this article was
written,” Jason said lightly. “Our family is going to hurt over
“We can’t tell…”
“We have to, Luke,” Jeremiah immediately said, breaking him off.
“Papa always taught us not to keep things from each other. I
think we’ve all learned through our wives what the price of
Lucas didn’t want to agree, but in time he had to.
“Alright. Now then, I think we should ask the women to prepare
us a meal here tonight. We’ll tell the entire family then.” Abe
could tell Lucas didn’t like the plan at all. “This is a family
matter, Luke. They have to be told before they find out some
“My wife is going to lock me in the bedroom and won’t let me out
for ten years!” Lucas grumbled, knowing how protective she was.
“That may not be a bad idea,” Peter grumbled. Abe shot him a
warning look and he immediately recanted his remark.
“Alright. For now, we’ll leave it be. After we tell our wives
tonight we’ll try to find some way to repair the damage. We may
have to go to Oklahoma City and talk to that so-called
Jeremiah thought it was wise to lead the men in prayer. After
they prayed, the brothers all went back to their families.
Lucas didn’t know it, but someone was kind enough to deliver a
newspaper to his house while he was gone. When he got home, he
found Margaret at home busily scrubbing the kitchen floors.
Margaret was humming a hymn while she scrubbed the floor. Lucas
leaned in the doorway, folded his arms, and shook his head. He
couldn’t help admiring her; even when she was doing chores she
did it with a cheerful heart.
One time Lucas had questioned her on her cheerfulness while
sweat poured down her cheeks and she stood shaking out clumps of
sod. Margaret smiled and said she did it all to please him, and
that gave her great joy.
Lucas cleared his throat. Margaret didn’t pause in her humming
but kept on at it as if she hadn’t heard him. Lucas cleared his
throat louder. She did stop then and turn around. Margaret
lifted to her knees and planted her fists on her hips. “Now
Lucas McCain, if you plant one foot on my clean floor, I’ll…”
“I have to talk to you,” Lucas said as he continued grinning,
though his face had lost some of its humor.
Margaret saw the seriousness in his eyes and knew what he had
come to talk to her about. She took out the newspaper from her
apron. “About this?”
Lucas merely stared at the newspaper in her hand. Slowly, he
pushed himself off the door jam and walked toward her. He
kneeled in front of her and took the paper from her hands.
“Where’d you get that?”
Margaret didn’t miss a beat. She bent over and went right back
to her scrubbing. “A young man dropped it off while ago.”
Margaret wiped wisps of hair off of her forehead with her arm.
“Yes. I’d say he was about oh…eight or nine.”
“Who was he?”
“I don’t know,” Margaret shrugged as she soaked her scrub brush
in the soapy water and scrubbed in circles around the table.
“I’ve never seen him before.”
Lucas studied the article. “So…you read this?” Margaret nodded.
“The whole thing?”
Margaret heard the unspoken question in her husband’s voice. She
stopped her scrubbing and looked up at him. “Now, if you think
some harsh words on a paper are going to send me in tears pining
away for you and hurt, you don’t know me very well!” Margaret
declared. She went back to scrubbing as Lucas watched her. “I
must admit I’m hurt by the words that were said about Emily…and
me…but Luke, they were just spoken in spite!” Margaret kept
scrubbing as she said her last words. “I suggest you go and find
whoever it is and make sure they know what happens when they
start messing with a McCain…for Emily’s sake!”
Lucas reached out and put his hand under her chin. He lifted her
head and smiled into her eyes. “You are an amazing woman, do you
Margaret grinned back at him. “Of course.” She shrugged as her
grin grew into a smile that covered her face. “Only an amazing
woman would dare to marry Lucas McCain!” She studied his face
more intently, then touched the swelling on his cheek. “What
Lucas rubbed his jaw. “I’m afraid my brother-in-law also read
the article. He wasn’t too happy with me.”
Lucas shook his head. “Jason.”
“Oh.” Margaret gave him a small, worried smile. “I’m surprised
he didn’t offer to examine you to make sure nothing was broken.”
“He was too upset,” Lucas answered as he lost his smile. “So was
“Emily was there?”
“No,” Lucas answered as he shook his head. “He had to give her
something to calm her down. She got the paper before he did and
read the article. All her memories came flooding back.”
Margaret closed her eyes in regret. “I’m sorry for her, Luke. It
was a really hard time for her.” Margaret looked into his eyes.
“Any idea who did this?”
“No.” Lucas sighed. “The four of us discussed it at Peter’s
house while ago. It’s really putting a strain on our
Margaret shrugged lightly. “The McCain brothers are tough. You
love each other.”
“Yeah, but is love enough? We said some pretty rough stuff to
each other…Peter and me.”
“I have faith in you, Luke. Nothing can ever tear your family
apart.” Lucas saw a hint of regret in Margaret’s eyes as she
thought of her own family. The damage done to her family was
irreversible. They’d never be as close as they once were again.
Lucas suddenly had the desire to take that look of regret from
Lucas bent over and kissed her. As always, his kiss muddled her
brain, and Margaret wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled
him closer to her. Finally, they parted and stared into each
other’s eyes. Then she gave his arm a smack. “OUCH!” Lucas
“I told you not to dare come onto my clean floor, Luke! Now I
have to wash it all over again!”
“Yeah, but this was an emergency,” Lucas explained in a
“You’re going to have another emergency if you don’t…”
“Alright, alright I’m going!” Lucas turned from the door. “But
your attitude sure has changed from earlier this morning. But
then again since you are scrubbing my floor and…”
Lucas dodged, barely missing being hit flat in the face with the
soapy scrub brush.
He rode into town slowly, with his head held high…too high…The
smile on his face was prideful, smug, and daring. His face was
familiar to some. Some knew exactly what he was doing in town.
Others knew he was in town for a bad reason. As the boy paused
in cleaning the boardwalk, he gaped at the man as he took a long
puff off his cigarette and sat on his horse looking around the
small town of Enid. The boy slowly stood to his feet and backed
away as the man’s piercing, icy blue eyes stared into his. The
man uttered words and the boy turned and ran to the Marshal’s
The man slid off his horse and spread out his legs, looking
around the street until he had the attention of every man,
woman, and child there. He threw his cigarette down on the dirt
and squashed it with the toe of his boot. After giving the
citizens one more look, he tipped his hat back on his head and
slowly walked into the saloon, giving the doors a hard swing as
he went through.
The men inside the saloon could only stare. Most of them knew
who he was and why he was there. By this point, the article was
common knowledge, and they remembered the last time this
particular man had been in town. Nobody said a word as the man
stepped up to the bar. He slapped his hand down on the bar. Ike
jumped, but lifted his eyes to the piercing ones of the man.
“Y…Yes sir,” Ike declared, turning quickly from the man and
filling the mug with the foamy liquid.
A young man, no more than eighteen, threw down his cards and ran
from the saloon.
A fierce knock sounded on the McCain’s front door as they were
finishing their noon meal. Lucas stood and went to answer the
urgent knock. He stared down into the eyes of Josiah. “Well
boy?” Lucas prompted as the boy stared up at him.
Josiah swallowed hard. “He…he…I mean…” He swallowed again. “In
Lucas crossed his arms and leaned against the door. He knew his
stance was intimidating the boy, but he didn’t have time for
this. “Well, spill it, boy!” Lucas gruffly demanded.
“He’s in town!” Josiah finally confessed.
“That man who…Who…”
“Sir, you said you’d kill him if he came to town. Well…he’s
there…and I reckon he’s waiting for you.”
“What man, son?” Lucas asked as he straightened his form over
the boy, his eyes boring into the boy’s frightful ones.
“Jackson Black,” the boy whispered.
As soon as the name left the boys’ mouth, any softness left
Lucas’ as well. “Black…” Lucas muttered angrily. “Thank you,
Margaret slowly stood from the table when she saw Lucas’s back
straighten in a hard stance. “Luke…” Margaret started as her
heart pounded in her chest.
Lucas slowly turned. His eyes met Margaret’s before they
traveled to the rifle sitting in its stand proudly by the door.
He remembered the bitterness and anger he felt after his friend
was gunned down in town by this gun fighter. He remembered the
promise he made to himself and the reason he made the rifle in
the first place.
Margaret’s eyes grew wide when she saw Lucas reach his shaky
hand toward the rifle. “No! Lucas, NO!” Margaret bolted forward
and grabbed his hand. “You can’t!”
Lucas angrily worked his jaw. “Get out of my way, Margaret.” His
voice was icy cold as he spoke.
“You can’t do this!”
“He’s come to town for me, Margaret.”
“Luke, can’t you see? Whoever wrote that article is taunting
you! They made the challenge, not Black! Can’t you see that?”
“He’s here all the same, Margaret.” Lucas’ voice was low, yet
she heard so much more in his voice.
Margaret didn’t release his hand, but her eyes softened.
“Alright, Luke. Go. But leave the rifle here.”
“You know I can’t!”
“If you don’t have your rifle, he won’t have cause to shoot you,
Luke. He’ll turn and walk away. I’ve heard the stories same as
you. He doesn’t fight unarmed men.”
“Stay out of this, Margaret,” Lucas ordered harshly. He shoved
her hand back and grabbed his rifle. “This is not your fight.”
Lucas hurried to his desk and took out more bullets, filling his
rifle, though he knew he’d only need one to kill the man.
“Luke…NO!” Margaret ran to him. She grabbed his arm as Lucas
started toward the door. “PLEASE, LUKE, DON’T DO THIS! PLEASE
DON’T…” She continued crying and pleading, but Lucas shook off
her hands and hurried out the door. Margaret stood, her hands
clinching each side of the door frame in fear. “Luke, DON’T DO
THIS!” she screamed. She watched her dear husband get on his
horse and quickly ride away without a backwards glance. She fell
to her knees and buried her face in her hands. “Oh God, go with
him…” she cried as she wept.
It wasn’t long before Margaret felt hands on her shoulders. Ann
had heard the commotion from across the street and came to her.
“Margaret, what is it? What’s wrong?”
Margaret frowned as she stared into her best friend’s eyes.
“Jackson Black’s in town,” she whispered.
“Dear God!” Ann breathed.
Margaret stood and stepped off the porch. “I need to borrow your
“No Margaret, you mustn’t!” Ann cried.
“I MUST! He’s my husband!” Ann only nodded after several moments
of silence. She knew Margaret had to be there.
Black looked up when he heard the saloon doors swing harshly. He
turned his head to see who had come inside. Lucas McCain stood
in the door, his rifle held tightly in both hands, his legs
spread apart, and his tall form towering angrily over the men at
the tables. “You asked for me?”
Black turned in his seat, spreading his elbows back on the bar
from behind him. A stupid grin crossed his face. “I didn’t say a
word.” Black looked around the group. “But then…I reckon I
didn’t have to.” His grin widened.
Suddenly, those occupying the tables between the two men jumped
up and hurried to the back. Lucas turned to look behind him and
saw men and women staring in from the saloon doors. “Clear out!
Clear out NOW!” Lucas shouted. The people scattered, afraid of
the look of rage they saw in Lucas’s eyes.
Nobody had ever seen Lucas quite like this. He looked back at
Black and nudged his head toward the street. Ned smiled as he
slid from his seat and looped his fingers through his gun belt.
He walked to stand in front of Lucas and looked him up and down.
“Well, well, well…if it ain’t the great Rifleman himself!”
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!!!” Lucas ordered through clinched teeth.
Lucas glared at the men behind Black. “You men, clear out! This
is none of your business.”
It was just the two of them now. They stood facing each other.
Black threw his head back and started laughing. “Ha ha ha ha…The
great Rifleman! Yessiree…” He gave Lucas a mock bow. “It is my
pleasure to stand in front of you, oh great one!”
“Just tell me what you want,” Lucas ordered. “You come back to
mock me? You come back to kill me after gunning my defenseless
friend? Why are you here?”
Black took out the newspaper and threw it down on the table.
“THAT’s why I’m here!”
Lucas lowered his eyes to look at the paper, then lifted them
back up. “Black, I said I’d kill you if you ever came back into
town! And I will! I’ll kill you right here and now!”
“What did I do that would make one of the GREAT McCain’s kill
“You MURDERED my friend!”
“Oh, he drew first and you know it,” Black stated
matter-of-factly as he rolled his eyes. “That’s why nobody came
after me to arrest me. Your cop friend knew I was innocent…the
cop friend who, I hear tell, was shot down himself not long
ago.” Black lowered his eyes to the rifle. “And I have the
honor of being the reason for the famous rifle.”
Lucas said nothing. When Black started laughing, Lucas declared
through gritted teeth. “I’ve had a bad day, Black. And it’s
gonna be an honor to kill you! What’s your pleasure?”
Black chuckled and shook his head. “Aw now, you ain’t gonna kill
me, Luke!” Lucas stared at Black in silence as Black unstrapped
his guns and threw them on the floor. He held up his hands and
laughed at Lucas. “See? I’m unarmed! You CAN’T kill me! You
won’t shoot me with that rifle!”
Everybody outside heard the sudden gunshot, but nobody saw it.
Black fell to the floor.
Lucas stared down at Black, his eyes growing wide. The echo of
the gunshot still rang deep inside him. He hands became
sweaty…too sweaty. The rifle left his hands and fell to the
floor, but Lucas heard nothing. His eyes grew wide as he stared
down at the body. He had just taken a life! Shock registered on
his face, his eyes growing wide at the realization at what he’d
“Oh God…” Lucas felt his eyes fill with hot, angry tears. He
dropped to his knees and closed his eyes as he lifted his face
toward the ceiling. “Oh God, what have I done?” His body started
shaking with sobs at the bitter realization that he had just
intentionally taken the life of a man. “What have I done?”
Lucas didn’t hear the men walk into the saloon. He was too
filled with grief and regret to hear anything but his own moans
and tears, cries of guilt escaped his lips.
Men mumbled, discussing what they believe had been murder.
“Lucas McCain will hang!” one man mumbled in disbelief. “Never
thought I’d see the day!”
But the mumbling stopped when another person walked into the
saloon. Their mouths gaped open and they were shocked to
silence. Margaret held her head high, her chin was thrust out in
determination as she made her way across the saloon floor. She
kneeled in front of Lucas and took his face in her hands. Lucas
opened his eyes, his cries silenced for a moment as he stared
into his wife’s eyes. She spoke softly, as if she were consoling
a small child. “Luke, we all have to make mistakes to learn. I
love you, and I want you to come home.” Lucas stared silently
into her eyes for a long time, then slowly shook his head. How
could she invite him back into her home when he had just killed
Margaret didn’t say a word as she held him in her arms. She
kissed his tears and repeated her words. “I love you, Luke. I
want you to come home.” Her words were soft, but firm. With
strength, she lifted Lucas to his feet, put her arm around his
waist for support, picked up his rifle, and walked out of the
saloon. People stared as she led him to his horse and helped him
into the saddle.
“Ma’am, the Marshal will need to question your husband,” one of
the citizens said softly.
Margaret paused in mounting her own horse. “He knows where we
live,” she said before swinging into the saddle. She grabbed the
reins and turned her horse around. Laying Lucas’ rifle across
her lap, she stated, “I’m taking my husband home.”
The citizens watched as the couple rode out of town.
Margaret remained on her borrowed horse and watched as Lucas
slid from the saddle and stood staring down at the ground. He
was numb, thinking about what had happened earlier she knew.
Margaret walked to her husband and took his hand. “Let’s go
inside,” she said softly, still holding his rifle. Lucas didn’t
move. Margaret wrapped her arm around his waist. “Let’s go.” She
spoke in a little more than a whisper. Lucas turned and walked
into the house. His eyes were far off, as if he were thinking of
another time and another place.
“Sit down here, Luke.” Lucas obeyed her as she pushed him down
in a chair at the table. “I’ll get you some coffee.”
Margaret carried the rifle to the case by the door and slowly
put it in its place.
Suddenly, something inside Lucas snapped. He bolted from the
chair and rushed over to the rifle. Cursing, he picked the rifle
up and started toward the fire. “NO!” Margaret cried out as she
grabbed his arm. “Don’t do it, Luke!”
“Margaret, this rifle has destroyed me! It’s destroyed us!”
“THAT rifle didn’t do it, Lucas McCain!” Margaret reminded him
sternly. “That rifle only did what YOU told it to do. The RIFLE
is a tool like an axe. It can only act when someone else uses
it.” Lucas stared down at the rifle, then turned and looked into
her face. “Come…sit down at the table.”
Lucas did so. His hand continued clutching the rifle. He laid it
across the table and stared at it. Margaret brought him a cup of
coffee and sat down beside him. “I love you, Luke.”
Lucas closed his eyes in regret. A tear slipped from the corner
of his eye. “Why?”
Margaret didn’t answer right away as she silently sipped her
coffee. In time, she cleared her throat. “I don’t know why
exactly. I’ve…I’ve always loved you.”
“I don’t deserve your love, Margaret.” When she didn’t say
anything, Lucas lifted his head. His eyes were filled with
bitterness, regret, and disgust. “I killed a man today,
“I’ll agree that your actions caused a man’s death,” Margaret
“You should be angry with me.”
“Oh, I am!” Margaret declared passionately. “I’m furious with
you! I’m angry that you ever made that rifle! I’m angry that you
took it to town with you today. I’m angry that you felt you had
to take the law in your own hands.”
“I could…I could hang for this.”
Those words hung between them in bitterness. Margaret’s eyes
filled with tears. The truth was, he very well COULD hang for
this. She burried her face in her hands and wept. “Oh Luke…What
are we going to do?”
It broke his heart to see her hurting like this. He was the
cause of her hurt. He dropped to his knees in front of her
chair. “I’ve done this to you, Baby!” He laid his head in her
lap, wrapped his arms around her thighs, and burst into tears.
Margaret spoke softly to her husband. “Luke, I don’t know
exactly what happened in that saloon, but I know you didn’t kill
that man in cold blood.”
“Margaret, he died by my rifle. I killed him!”
“No, I don’t believe that, Luke.”
“Why not?” Lucas asked as he barely lifted his head.
Margaret forced her tears back and gave him a stern look as she
lifted his face from her lap. “Because Luke, I know that you
could NEVER intentionally kill a man.”
After one more long look, Lucas again buried his face in her lap
and wept for his loss of innocence. Margaret’s eyes focused on
the rifle. “Luke, if we get out of this…I want you to keep the
rifle. May it always serve as a reminder of how deep you made
yourself fall today. You made that rifle in anger. You allowed
your hatred for a man to be the motivation for that tool. But
you must always keep it…to remind yourself every day why hatred
of any kind is wrong. Hatred kills, Luke.”
Her words quieted his sobs. Slowly, Lucas lifted his head from
her lap. With a keen awareness, he pressed his hands to her
cheeks and studied her face as if he’d never seen it before.
“You are the most amazing woman, Margaret. How you could
ever…love me after all I’ve done…I’ll never understand.” Tears
flowed down Margaret cheeks then. Lucas pulled her face down to
him. Their lips met in a kiss that was filled with fear, love,
and questions. After their lips parted, Lucas pressed his
forehead against hers. “What am I going to do?”
Margaret bit her lip. She knew things looked bleak. “You’re
going to allow the marshal to arrest you. You are going to go to
jail and stand trial if it comes to that.”
“But what if they…” Lucas allowed the question to die. He
couldn’t put his thought into words.
Margaret closed her eyes. Her forehead was still pressed against
his. “Father God…You know what really happened in the saloon
today. Please allow Your truth to be revealed. Don’t take Luke
from me. I love him so. Amen.”
A knock sounded on the door.
The knock was like the sound of a rifle going off. It caused
Lucas and Margaret to fall against each other and cling to each
other. “Come…” Lucas choked on his words. “Come in.”
When Marshal Stevens walked through the door, he saw husband and
wife kissing. They held each other as if they would never be
able to hold each other again.
“Luke…” Marshal Stevens stepped further into the room as Lucas
slowly stood to his feet. “I don’t want to do this.”
“Does my family know?” Lucas questioned.
“Peter was in town a bit ago. He went to get your brothers.”
Lucas stepped forward with a nod. “Margaret, you stay with Hal
and Anne until someone comes for you.”
Margaret sobbed, her body shook. Lucas ached, wishing he could
hold her and take the pain…the pain he’d caused her…away. “Lucas
McCain, you are under arrest for the murder of Jackson Black.”
The Margaret Years — The
Rifleman on Trial
These stories are based on the TV series
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
Table of Contents
around The McCain Ranch