The Rifleman and Job

Saturday, February 27, AD 2016


From the second episode of The Rifleman television series entitled Home Ranch, first broadcast on October 7, 1958.  Lucas McCain and his son are taking possession of their ranch outside of North Fork that McCain purchased in the first episode.  Agents of a local cattle baron, who has been using the range of the abandoned ranch, burn down the house on the property in order to force McCain to sell the land to the cattle baron.  His ten year old son Mark, in despair, says it looks to him as if the Lord is dead set against them ever owning a ranch.  McCain responds by telling his son the story of Job.  Director Sam Peckinpah loved the Book of Job, and would often recite verses from it when he encountered bumps in the road during his life.

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4 Responses to The Rifleman and Job

  • Few if any TV shows like this any longer.

  • One of the greatest compliments a soul will ever receive is being told that they have the patience of Job. God in his great love for mankind gives us Job and thus, a reality that all is never lost. Never.

    The suicidal tsunami seems to be gathering momentum. No hope. This as more and more sophisticated parents and teachers do not advocate any formalized religion. I’ll always remember my wifes nephews response as I mentioned baptism for his first newborn son; “Never! My son will pick out his own if he so chooses, but I hope he never chooses a religion.”

    Meanwhile, the answers for the truly despondent are found by ending their own lives.

    Because many do not understand or attend church services, you are their hope. You are the only Church a soul may have encountered.
    You may have saved a life without ever knowing it. That’s Good News. Thanks Job.

  • Late in my morning prayer.
    Today’s reading from Micah; “Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will agian have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt?

    In the daily readings that stretch from East to West in our Catholic Church, this first reading, partial reading (Micah 7:14-15, 18-20), caught me after the earlier post above. About Job and souls who despair and give up, unlike Job. The souls who might not of ended their lives if they had only known Gods love and forgiveness.

  • Thanks. I needed that.

Royal Dano and Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 19, AD 2016

Royal Dano as Lincoln



Last night I was watching an old Rifleman episode and it was an odd one.  One of Lucas McCain’s neighbors turns out to be Abraham Lincoln!  Well, not the real Abraham Lincoln, but rather a man who incurred psychic trauma during his Civil War service and now he believes he is Abraham Lincoln.  However, the man, portrayed by the late actor Royal Dano, looks and acts just like Abraham Lincoln.  This show was broadcast in 1961 when the Civil War centennial was big news, and this was a clever way of getting Lincoln on the Rifleman show, a series set in the 1880’s, without having to invoke time travel!  The episode was moving and as I listened I thought the actor portraying Lincoln sounded familiar.  Then it struck me: the Disney Animatronics Lincoln!

Dano provided the voice of the Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln show which Disney premiered at the World’s Fair in 1964. Disney chose Dano because he believed his voice was most like what Disney imagined Lincoln sounded like.  In this Disney was probably incorrect.  Most contemporaries described Lincoln as having a high pitched voice.  However, Disney was a showman and not an historian, and I think Disney hit upon a voice that did fit the popular imagination of what Lincoln sounded like, said imagination having been formed by deep voiced portrayals of Lincoln on film by actors such as Walter Huston, Henry Fonda and Raymond Massey.  The Animatronics Lincoln now has a new voice actor as Lincoln, but to generations that came of age in the final decades of the last century and visited Disney World, Dano’s voice will be that of Lincoln’s.

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5 Responses to Royal Dano and Abraham Lincoln

  • The 1950-60s cultural preference to baritones did a great disservice to America (as did the 60’s preference for JFK hair styles). Anyone who has listened to recordings of Teddy Roosevelt’s voice knows that voice has little to do with manliness.

  • on the other hand TomD, if you heard John Charles Thomas, Lawrence Tibbett or Leonard Warren or G.B Shea Speak or sing you would glimpse the love affair with the Baritone voice. Which i might suggest started much earlier, with the talkies and the Fox studios and 20th century merger @ 1931.
    Royal Dano was an effective actor.

    none of these men affected a disservice to the culture of their nation. quite the contrary i think…….. then there is a joke of a baritone singing ol man river at the end of the film salute to the genius of Jerome Kern @1946 – ‘Till the clouds roll by’ – a.k.a. Sinatra. that should start a clash of opinion. I should not write the names of these baritones together in the same post- one of these is not like the others…. like the scribes, i should get up, change my clothing, do a cleansing bath, put on new duds and then begin writing again – o well.

    the kennedy line i won’t touch – how dare one criticize ” Camelot” or any part thereof ;

  • Royal Dan also played a maimed and wounded Confederate soldier in another Rifleman Episode, too. Somehow this Confederate AND Phil Sheridan end up at the Lucas place where high jinks then occur including an assassination attempt on Sheridan by Dano’s character! Of course, after much blustering and name calling bluebelly, reb and secesh scum, Sheridan arranges for surgery to fix the maimed Confederate’s arm.

    McCain notes in at least two episodes that I remember that he served in either a Wisconsin or Michigan regiment.


  • I think McCain said in one episode that during the War he was a Lieutenant in the 8th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. I have also seen the 11th Indiana cited as his regiment. Of course, during the War a man might serve with several regiments.

  • Thanks. I knew the face but never the actor’s name. Royal Dano was a talented character actor and to me the best of the Lincolns.

The Rifleman

Saturday, October 3, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  The theme from one of the my favorite childhood shows, The Rifleman.  Broadcast from 1958 to 1963, The Rifleman featured Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, the eponymous star of the show, and his son Mark McCain, portrayed by Johnny Crawford.  Unlike almost all other westerns of the time, the title character, Lucas McCain, was not a sheriff, a rich rancher or a gunfighter, but rather a widowed farmer raising his son near the town of Northfork.  Each of the 30 minute shows was a skillfully done morality play focusing on the human condition.  Some of the episodes had plots drawn from the Bible and placed in a western setting.  McCain’s modified Winchester 73 almost always came into play, but simple gun play and violence was not the focus of the series.  The episodes were studded with appearances of actors and actresses who would go on to achieve fame, and with frequent appearances by classic Western character actors and actresses.

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17 Responses to The Rifleman

  • . You can buy that ( retail $975) in .44 mag.,357 mag,.45 colt at Henry.

    We in New Jersey can’t have that because it’s cool and they’ll call it a rifle to make the barrel illegally short.
    The Lord knew I meant well and saved my butt when many years ago during one stint in New Jersey, I brought in an AT9 for home dense which looks like a uzi type but was semi auto with a 25 shot clip. It was visible when a meter reader passed through the house but so illegal in NJ. Fifteen minutes later the meter reader rings the bell again and now a cop is with him. But I had since put the AT9 away from sight. They lied saying they had to check the meter again but the cop was really brought back because the meter guy knew it wasn’t Jersey kosher. The cop was smiling and talking but he couldn’t see a gun and since the meter reader might have seen a toy, he doubted probable cause and never mentioned he was looking for a gun…he just kept laughing nervously and they both left both laughing nervously.
    I then read NJ gun laws on the net and delivered the gun to NY next day for resale in a gunstore. I could have gotten five years in NJ for the AT9 itself for exceeding 15 shots and a small barrel though a judge would have gone lighter. Why a 25 shot clip CNN and all lberals ask? Two men break in your house in the dark and are firing in the dark at you…, 25 shots are not enough if you’re missing in the dark….unless you’re Shaw or Root or Reese from Person of Interest….especially Root.

  • Large loop lever tv show conflation.

  • I loved the Rifleman. I loved it even more when I found out Chuck Connors played for the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Dodgers and was even drafted by the Chicago Bears. Add in his Catholic faith and conservative leanings and that was a trifecta as far as I was concerned.

  • Another wonderful reminiscence. Passing it to my brother; a favorite of his and my dad’s. Thank you.

  • Pray for this rifleman priest who obviously was joking around with an empty musket over a Giants Cowboys game with an 8 year old boy. Now the diocese; N.J. prosecutors of course; and whoever first reported him have lost their sense of humor….and he looks totally depressed. Pray for him seriously.

  • I shall pray for the Little Ferry, New Jersey priest. I left New Jersey fifty years ago. It has become a totalitarian state, as regards firearms. The priest did not show good judgment in pointing the Civil War rifle-musket at the child but it certainly seems everyone else involved over-reacted to an otherwise innocent jest.

  • Thank you William, the priest seems the victim of his context time in the Church plus NJ madness…You did well leaving…especially given the highest property taxes on earth probably.

  • Bill, We no longer live in a free republic, but in a police state. Prudentially act accordingly.
    That priest may go “up the river” as they used to say in old NYC. But, a gun runner that sold scores of illegal weapons to career felons, got probation from the Obama regime, which incessantly shrieks that the NRA and law-abiding Americans are the problem.
    And, the tyrants say they can’t deport 11,000,000 illegals, but will disarm 83,000,000 Americans.
    Come and take them.

  • T Shaw,
    Read my first post to the end for police state….thankfully he lied about reason for entry and that probably kept him silent also.

  • I moved from New Jersey fifty years ago and my oldest friend left about forty years ago, he to Massachusetts, I further north. My friend became a police officer in that almost as bad as Jersey police state. One day on a visit to our place up north, he gave me two boxes of .45 Long Colt ammunition, along with a story. There were two teen aged boys shooting a pistol at a sand bank in a rural area. My friend asked them about the gun and one boy said, it was his brothers, that they took it from his sock drawer and were just having a little fun, with no harm meant. My friend gave them a cautionary lecture about the serious trouble they could bring upon themselves if they were to be arrested with a handgun, made sure it was empty, and after taking all their cartridges, told them to put the gun back in their brother’s sock drawer, and never do that sort of thing again in Massachusetts. My friend, a good cop and an even better man passed away this year. Rest in peace Mike.

  • Bill. I saw that. Now, I am in a position where I can emigrate from NY to America. You were in a tough situation. If it was me, I could be a convict today.
    The most dangerous weapon on earth is the gray matter giggling between our ears.

  • America. Its map of red and blue states reminds me of a patchwork quilt of freedom and oppression.

  • Person of Interest, season 3, Beta….highway diner:
    Shaw: ” I never thought I’d love the sight of New Jersey…are you sure we’re safe here?”
    Root: ” From everything but the coffee.”

  • The ‘Rifleman’ , good father figure. Moving on to loving ‘Laramie’ with John Smith (Slim Sherman)and Robert Fuller (Jess Harper) and Spring Byington with their quiet, understated. masculine good humor making their stagecoach way station work in the face of law breakers and other human need; and ‘The Virginian’ with Lee J. Cobb (Judge Garth), James Drury (unnamed forever the VIrginian), Doug McClure (Trampas – usually tragically unlucky at love and a loyal friend), Clu Gulager (Emmet Ryker – Sheriff’s fair and cool handed/headed deputy), and great singers Roberta Shore (Betsy Garth) and Randy (mind slipped) in stories about the good and bad battle and accountability which is lost in time now; and , last but not least, ‘Matt Dillon’ on to ‘Gunsmoke’ with – John Wayne’s endorsed James Arness (the Marshall), my man for zeroing in on right and wrong, and Doc Adams (not a ten minute wonder) taking his oath seriously and his two deputies, Festus Hagen, who could discern people and sing, and the other played by Dennis Weaver. The stars were on them with appearances as younger people – fun to see. Morality. Sobriety. Courage. Happiness and Sadness. Good or bad guys and girls. and on and on … Fearful of life today. Shows today – nope.

  • Patricia,
    Marshal Dillon and Kitty flirted for twenty years. I’m no therapist but committment phobia perhaps.
    Here’s your man on it and he was a man who lived through his daughter’s suicide…not mentioned here though….

  • “Gunsmoke” was a favorite of mine too. The stories were good and uplifting. Matt always did the right thing. The title caught me too. From that 1863 Springfield rifled musket, acquired at age eight, onward, I have fondly enjoyed the sweet smell of gun smoke lightly hanging in the moist morning air at the rifle range.

  • My favorite Chuck Connors role was in Airplane. There was the scene with the No Spitting sign. Connors hockey a loogie and an explosion ensued.