The Rifleman

Season 1 Episode 4

The Marshal

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Oct 21, 1958 on ABC



  • Trivia

    • This is the first of 39 episodes in which Bill Quinn appears as Sweeney the Bartender - the genial owner/operator of The North Fork Saloon.

    • Marshal Micah Torrance calls McCain "Lucas Boy" throughout the series. That affectionate practice begins with the aging marshal's very first appearance - in this episode.

  • Quotes

    • Carpenter: I just can't see how a crippled old drunk figures so large.
      Flory: If it makes any difference, it's a family concern.
      Carpenter: I'm goin' with - to watch. You might just acquire a bullet hole right through your mean, old heart.

    • (Micah awakens in jail and is introduced to Lucas by the Sheriff)
      Lucas: Mr. Torrance, I've heard a great deal about you.
      Micah: Nothing complimentary, I trust. I'm gettin' old and bitter, Mr. McCain, and useless. I was a good peace officer once - fast, too fast. Quit thinkin', thought I'd let my gun hand do my work for me. Don't ever let that happen to you, friend. Cost me this … (rubs his right arm) my nerve.
      Lucas: You're lucky, Mr. Torrance. Not many men with your reputation live long enough to take off their badges.
      Micah: Don't call me lucky, son.

    • Micah: (standing to leave) Thanks for the lodging, sir. Now, possibly you or your friend here could advance me a few dollars? I seem to be temporarily without funds. I'll pay you back, sir, you can depend on that.
      Lucas: No, you won't, You're a drunk. I wouldn't give you a dime for a drink, but I'll give you a job.
      Micah: (disbelievingly) You'll give me a job. Doin' what, swattin' flies?
      Lucas: Buildin' fences, mister. Hire out to me, you'll do a man's work - if there's any man left.
      Micah: Mr. McCain, you just hired yourself a hand--one of 'em anyway.

    • Micah: I'll sleep in the barn, Lucas.
      Lucas: No, you can stay here, Micah.
      Micah: Later, later. For the next few nights I'm companion to owls and brother to the dragon. You know what it is.

    • Micah: I got visitors, Lucas.
      Mark: I don't see nobody.
      Micah: Just a case of the whips and jingles, sonny. I better be gettin' back to town.
      Mark: What are the whips and jingles?
      Micah: Oo, uh, animals of a sort, come in various shapes and sizes - pretty big, generally. Now, you wouldn't know it, but I got a big one sittin' on my shoulder right now … Saddle me a horse, Lucas.
      Lucas: No.
      Micah: It won't work, I tell ya. I've got to leave.
      Lucas: Then start walkin'. You oughta make town by sun-up.

    • (Micah leaves, slamming the door, and Mark tries to follow)
      Lucas: You can't help him with this, son, he's gotta do it by himself. Now sit down and finish your dinner. (Mark is upset, thinking Lucas is being mean) Micah used to be a peace officer, son, one of the best. Then, well, he got hurt and he... went all the way to the bottom and now he's a-he's afraid. He's afraid to carry a gun... afraid to pin on a star - so he drinks too much.
      Mark: Whiskey, ya mean?
      Lucas: Yes.
      Mark: I know just how he feels. (Lucas is surprised) I took a big swallow once, Arch Quinn dared me. Guess I felt sick for an hour afterwards.
      Lucas: Well, I'll bet that taught ya a lesson.
      Mark: Taught Arch, too. He got sick just watchin' me. (Micah reenters, slamming the door)
      Micah: McCain! I'm useless here.
      Mark: Whiskey make ya work better...? Supper will. (Micah smiles and sits down to eat)

    • Andrew: Are we gonna get drunk or are we gonna finish Torrance?
      Flory: Well, we wuz drunk the first time we met Torrance, only seems proper and fittin' we're drunk on this special occasion.
      Andrew: Flory, I do believe that you're scared a that old man.
      (a fight ensues before they join together in trashing the bar)

    • (the Sheltin boys ride up while Micah is out working on the coral alone)
      Flory: My, my. How the mighty have fallen.
      Micah: Well, well, if it ain't the Sheltin boys.
      Flory: You see, Andrew, a marshal never forgets them he shoots holes into. We're still packin' your lead, Mr. Torrance.
      Micah: Must have been ten years or so since I straightened you boys out. Figured you'd be hung by now.
      Flory: Oh, we don't hang easy.
      Micah: What are you coyotees doin' around here, anyway? Lookin' for some eggs to suck?
      Andrew: We're lookin' to have another try at ya, Micah. Go get your gun.
      Micah: You're way too late. (holds his arm) I ain't been able to draw a gun in five years. Andrew (throws a gun on the ground): Jus' pick it up.
      Micah: (turns his back to them) Why bother with me? I'm already dead.
      Flory: (pulling out his gun) I aim to make sure.
      Andrew: Let me have him.
      Lucas: (comes up with his rifle at the ready) Not today, boys.

    • (the Sheltins head back to the bar)
      Andrew: We went off with our tails 'tween our legs, didn't we?
      Flory: I thought it was the thing to do at the time.
      Andrew: You just full a cautions, ain't ya?
      Flory: You thinkin' I made a mistake, little brother?
      Andrew: I think that this here is a puny, no account saloon in a puny, no account town. Mr. Bartender, (slaps coins into his hand) you have been paid.
      Flory: In advance! (they begin trashing the bar again)

    • (after killing Sheriff Tomlinson)
      Carpenter: Now, boys, this town ain't got a telegraph or a peace officer. But it's got a pretty little girl … and money enough to make our stay worthwhile.
      Flory: Wh-what about McCain?
      Carpenter: You boys behave … and I'm gonna deliver him to ya - lock, stock … and rifle barrel.

    • Micah: You're makin' a mistake.
      Lucas: No. It's my town and Fred was my friend. I didn't ask for this, but it came - and I'll handle it.
      Micah: You're way too quick with that rifle, Lucas Boy. Forget the gun, start thinkin' about men. You're ridin' into town on nothin' but the word of a stranger with an easy way and a hole in his hat.
      Lucas: I'll keep my eye on him.
      Micah: You better. You don't know who he is or where he came from.
      Lucas: Maybe you wanna come along?
      Micah: Somebody should!
      (Micah looks down, hesitant and uncertain)
      Lucas: Stay here with Mark.

    • Micah: Your father's ridin' into more than he can handle.
      Mark: He's the best shot in the world.
      Micah: That ain't always enough. He's a fool goin' in blind like that - too sure of himself.
      Mark: So who are you to talk? You're not a marshal anymore. Who are you to go tellin' my pa what to do?
      Micah: That's a good question, son. (turns to go into town)

    • Andrew: Hey, Flory, did you see that? I got me that rifleman! Hey, Lloyd, you saw it, didn't you? I got him. It was me, wasn't it?
      Carpenter: Yeah, you got him...
      Andrew: Hey, Flory, Lloyd said I got that rifleman!
      Carpenter: ...and he got Flory.
      Andrew: (seeing his dead brother) Why Flory, you ugly old devil, you went and got yourself kilt.

    • (out in the street, Carpenter smiles, not knowing about Micah's extended range)
      Carpenter: Well, if it ain't the old Marshal. Gonna try it one more time, Micah?
      Micah: I reckon.
      Carpenter: You're gonna have to get a lot closer to make that scatter-gun pay for its freight.
      Micah: That's my intention. (begins advancing)
      Carpenter: That's far enough, old man
      Micah: I reckon it is, sonny. (shoots Carpenter dead)

  • Notes

  • Allusions