The Rifleman: Season 4, Episode 10

The Shattered Idol (4 Dec. 1961)

TV Episode  |   |  Family, Western
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 25 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Lucas and Mark meet Mark Twain. Later they find out that he has a sad secret.



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Title: The Shattered Idol (04 Dec 1961)

The Shattered Idol (04 Dec 1961) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Episode cast overview:
Marshal Micah Torrance (credit only)
Russell - Pool Shark
John Harmon ...
Eddie Halstead, hotel clerk
Bud Osborne ...
Mr. Loomis - Stagecoach Driver
Mary Jo Tierney ...
Holly - Restaurant Waitress


Mark McCain is agog when the stagecoach stops at their ranch because of trouble with a wheel. The only passenger on board is Samuel Clemens, none other than Mark Twain. Mr. Twain isn't very nice and doesn't really want to talk to anyone. When Mark asks him to tell him what happens in a future chapter of his serialized book Huckleberry Finn, he tells him that Finn is dead and tells him to go away. Lucas learns that Twain is carrying a heavy burden but Mark is not in a forgiving mood. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Western




Release Date:

4 December 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The billiards table being used is a carom table which as the episode shows involves hitting both of the other two balls with your cue ball. The other white ball has a dot on it and is the other player's cue ball while third ball is the object ball and is red. When Mark Twain is challenged to make a shot it is in the three-cushion billiards variation of carom billiards. See more »

Crazy Credits

Chuck Connors breaks the 4th wall in the opening credits after he shoots his riffle and then stares into the camera. See more »

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User Reviews

Let's fake history!
10 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've given this episode a low rating, because it blatantly ignores historic fact, and is a cheap attempt to get the McCains involved with A Famous Person.

Samuel Clemens, in this case. Clemens shows up at the McCains' door when a coach axle breaks. He's even crankier than usual, because He Carries A Heavy Weight In His Heart -- in this case, the death of his son Langdon from pneumonia. He blames himself because he let Langdon get chilled during a carriage ride, while he was thinking of literary matters.

This is totally bogus. Langdon died of diphtheria, about 15 /years/ before this episode occurs.

Of course, with the help of Lucas and Mark, Samuel Clemens Learns An Important Lesson. (The mind boggles at the thought of how the series would have handled a visit from Walt Whitman. The "Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman" * Whitman episode was a notorious disaster.)

Kevin McCarthy does a decent job as Clemens -- though one wonders whether any attempt was made to get Hal Holbrook, who even then was well-known for his Twain impersonation. (As I write this, he's been performing "Mark Twain Tonight!" for 59 years!)

* The greatest series title in TV history. It's such perfect self-parody it can't be improved on.

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