The Writer's Corner
The Next Step…
Chapter 4 - Deputy McCain
Written by Deanne Bertram
He collected his rifle; put his hat back on, and with a spring
in his step he walked back to Micah’s. He stopped and petted
Blue Boy on the neck and offered him a sugar cube. As he
entered, he set his rifle on the desk and felt very self
conscious and alone. He walked to Micah’s chair and spun it
around. He couldn’t bring himself to sit in it. He walked to the
chair where Johnny sat and he ran his hand across the top of the
Mark’s thinking was brought back to the present when he saw John
Hamilton standing in the doorway.
“Mark, I thought I saw you come in here.”
“Mr. Hamilton, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in,” Mark replied.
“That’s okay, I saw you were thinking and didn’t really want to
disturb you. Just came to say, if you need anything while Micah
or Johnny are out of town…”
“I appreciate the gesture Mr. Hamilton. I really do. I mean,
I’ve had the badge for more than six months, but this time, it
just feels different.”
“Have you talked with your Pa?”
“I’m planning to. He’s supposed to be in town around five
o’clock then we’re having supper with Miss Hattie. Mr. Hamilton,
did you know that Hattie Denton is back in town.” Sheepishly
Mark continued, “She came here to help me in my time of need,
just recently read about Micah’s and Pa’s deaths in an old
“No, I hadn’t heard she was back in town,” John replied.
“She’s over at the hotel. I’m sure she’d enjoy seeing you
again,” Mark said with schoolboy grin on his face. “Mr.
“Do you think it would be alright if I made rounds of the town?
Walked the streets like Micah or Johnny would?”
“Mark, I think the people of North Fork would expect that from
their deputy. Believe in yourself, Mark. I’ll see you later.”
Mark did walk the town. He kept his rifle in his hand and walked
from one establishment to the next. All the shop owners stopped
whatever they were doing to have a few brief words with Mark.
Offering support and encouragement. Waving goodbye as he
proceeded down the street.
Lucas arrived in town shortly after five o’clock and walked into
the Marshal’s office. Mark was sitting in the chair on the front
side of Micah’s desk, looking through the most recent stack of
wanted posters that came the day before.
“Evening Deputy,” Lucas called as he entered.
“How’re things going for you son?” Lucas asked as he sat down on
the edge of Micah’s desk.
“Everything’s going fine. Mr. Hamilton met me here earlier, said
he believed in me as much as he believed in Micah, Johnny and
you. I asked him if he felt it okay if I walked the town. He
said the people expected no less from me. Everyone was genuinely
happy to see me. Sure felt funny though.”
“You know. All the times that you filled in for Micah and now
it’s my turn, but more so, me being so young. But it felt
different when the shopkeepers spoke with me. I didn’t feel like
it was Mark McCain they were talking too.”
“So just who did you think they were talking to?”
“They treated me… just like they treat Johnny. It just felt
“Mark, treat the people with respect and they’ll answer in
kind.” Lucas was tempted to ruffle Mark’s hair, but it took a
good resolve to treat Mark for the man he was becoming. “Well,
did you get a chance to ask Milly and Hope to join us for
“Yes, Pa, I told them we’d expect them at the restaurant around
Lucas and Mark McCain shared the company of three very fine
ladies for dinner that night. No one touched on the subject of
Hope’s past, but Hattie was immediately taken in by the girl’s
grace and the fact that Mark cared so much about her.
When the topic of Hattie staying in North Fork came up, she
didn’t know if she should. It had been a long time since she had
left and she wasn’t sure there was a place for her.
“Non-sense,” Milly stated. “But you don’t have to make up your
mind right away. At least stay through Thanksgiving next week.
Hattie accepted the offer. Soon the evening came to an end.
Lucas saw Hattie up the stairs to her room. Then he and Mark
escorted Milly and Hope home.
“Pa, it’s getting close to nine o’clock, time to make my
“You want me to tag along.”
“No, sir. I appreciate the offer, but… Maybe you could just have
a seat in front of Micah’s, just in case?”
“Sure son,” Lucas stated as he smiled. He walked with Mark to
Micah’s and took a seat, then watched his son perform his
Nearing ten, Mark returned. “So, are you going to spend the
night in the jail or in the hotel?” Lucas asked.
“I was thinking for at least tonight inside. Lou has a room for
me at the hotel that Johnny said you could use too.”
“Alright son, I’ll see you in the morning.”
The Next Step — Doctor Burrage
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch