The Rifleman (1958–1963)
2 user

The Prodigal 

A fleeing bank robber decides that the McCain ranch is a good place to hide out, so he holds Lucas and Mark prisoner in their own home until the heat dies down.


Don McDougall (as Donald McDougall)


Robert Sherman


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Episode cast overview:
Chuck Connors ... Lucas McCain
Johnny Crawford ... Mark McCain
Rhys Williams ... Doc Burrage
Kevin Hagen ... Billy St. John
Lee Van Cleef ... Stinger
Warren Oates ... Santos
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr. ... Luis Torre (as Rodolfo Hoyos)
Hope Summers ... Hattie Denton
Josephine Hutchinson ... Christine Havercourt


Billy is a bank robber who deceives the rest of his outlaw gang and comes to North Fork so that he can see his mother as she passes through on the stage. He has been deceiving his mother into thinking that he is legitimate and has a son who is Mark's age. In order to maintain his story, he holds Lucas and Mark at gunpoint so that Mark will pose as his son. His mother arrives, but turns out to be dying. To make matters worse, Billy's outlaw associates surround him and the others at Lucas's ranch house. Lucas helps Billy to make the most difficult decision of his life. Written by Charles Delacroix

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Western







Release Date:

26 April 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Billy St. James's mother gets off the stage, Lucas has a gun to Billy's back, she hugs him, grabbing the gun, but seemingly not to notice it. See more »

Crazy Credits

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

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User Reviews

A fine cast produces a fine show.
22 February 2014 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

Billy Havencourt (aka outlaw Billy St.John) gets a letter from his mother stating that she will be arriving in North Fork to see her grandson and view his lovely ranch. However, Billy has no ranch or grandson and with his mother dying he wants her to think that he is a self-made rancher instead of a bank robber. So Billy basically kidnaps Lucas and Mark and will show his mother the McCain's ranch, which he will say is his, and Mark will stand-in for the grandson.

But it will not be long before a criminal gang, that Billy had swindled out of stolen cash, comes riding into North Fork looking for Mr St.John. When they find out that Billy is out at the McCain's ranch there is going to be trouble.

There are some familiar faces in this fine episode. Josephine Hutchinson, who is always wonderful, plays the mother of the outlaw. Kevin Hagen, Warren Oats and Lee Van Cleef make up the rest of the guest cast that viewers will easily recognize. With the fine cast this episode was bound to please. Good watch.

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