The Rifleman: Season 1, Episode 16

The Sheridan Story (13 Jan. 1959)

TV Episode  -   -  Family | Western
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 36 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Lucas McCain hires an bitter ex-Confederate to help him around the ranch. When General Philip Sheridan and his staff stop at McCain's ranch to camp, Lucas is afraid there will be trouble.

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Title: The Sheridan Story (13 Jan 1959)

The Sheridan Story (13 Jan 1959) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Lawrence Dobkin ...
...
William Meigs ...
Maj. Cushman (as Bill Meigs)
Stephen Chase ...
Fritz Ford ...
...
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Storyline

When an ex-confederate soldier stops by the ranch, Lucas McCain offers him a meal and then a job. Frank Blandon was severely wounded in the war and bad surgery has left him with the use of only one arm. He's still traumatized by those events and occasionally will go off on a rant. Lucas soon welcomes others when General Sheridan arrives looking for a place to spend the night. It turns out that Blandon and Sheridan have met before, though the General has no recollection. It leads to a bit of soul searching on the part of both men. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Family | Western

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Release Date:

13 January 1959 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Goofs

Blandon is outside soaking his shirt when Mark gives him a drink, but a few seconds later when Lucas calls for him to come in the house, Blandon's shirt is completely dry. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Mark McCain: Bye, Mr. Blandon! Be sure to come back when you're arm's all well.
Frank Blandon: I sure will.
Lucas McCain: Mark, I want you to tell me somethin' honest. Did you mean what you just said to Blandon?
Mark McCain: Pa, he got me thinkin'... well, you was in the war, too. It could have been you got his arm all shot up.
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User Reviews

 
"He stinks and he's crazy -- but he's a human being."
18 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is another superior Cyril Hume script, with his trademark literate, rapid-fire dialog.

When a homeless man (Frank Blandon, played by Royal Dano) who hasn't had a bath in months shows up, Mark is repulsed, but gives him water. When Mark suggests he use the outdoor shower, the man suggests the boy is trying to insult him for his lack of cleanliness. Frank is similarly combative with Lucas, refusing to accept a few dollars' charity. Lucas hires him for $10 a month, and the man proves a hard worker, despite his handicap.

The handicap is an infected Civil War wound he's carried for over 15 years. It was not properly treated, and is not only a constant source of discomfort, but it smells. Mark (and to a lesser degree, Lucas) can't tolerate it. Mark even says "He's so ugly, I don't want to be around him." (This seems comic -- to me, anyhow -- as Royal Dano was a good-looking man.) In his anachronistic liberal fashion, Lucas suggests that their intolerance shows they have more problems than Frank does.

Another issue -- which isn't directly commented on by any of the characters -- is that Frank is at least marginally psychotic. Royal Dano gives a fine performance, striking the right balance between "cute"-crazy and threateningly loony (though leaning in the latter direction). For probably the first time in his life, Mark is faced with having to at least tolerate someone who isn't a danger, but isn't at all "likeable".

By great coincidence, General Sheridan and his entourage show up on some sort of inspection junket, and Sheridan sort-of remembers Lucas. Lucas is afraid Frank (a Rebel) is going to do something bad, which he does, pulling a Derringer on Sheridan. Sheridan defuses the situation in an intelligent and gracious fashion (which I found a little hard to believe), and no one is killed. The story ends with Frank hauled off for surgical treatment, which will presumably allow the wound to properly heal. It's not too icky (the ending, not the wound).

Definitely worth seeing, and more than once, as Hume's dialog flies by at near-optical velocity.


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