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A Matter of Faith
Episode 34
Writer: Harry Kronman
Director: Don Taylor
Original Air Date 05/19/1959


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Guest Cast
Parley Baer as Walter Mathers

Parley Baer was an American radio, film and television actor.  He performed in more than 250 movies and television shows in a career spanning nearly six decades.  Baer began his career as a performer with the circus and developed an affinity for animals, both of which became lifelong interests.  During fallow periods in his acting career, he returned to performing with circus and animal acts, serving as a ringmaster for Circus Vargas and Barnum & Bailey, a board member of the community L.A. Circus, a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo, publicity writer for Al. G. Barnes Circus, and performing in an act with seven tigers at Jungleland in Thousand Oaks, California.

In his early career, Baer also worked in the radio industry, later founding the Pioneer Pacific Broadcasters with Ralph Edwards, who went on to have a long television career.  He played the role of Chester in the radio version of "Gunsmoke" (1952–1961), a role played by Dennis Weaver in the long-running classic TV western series.  Baer had recurring roles in several series, including Darby in "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" (1955–1965), Mayor Arthur J. Henson in "The Addams Family(1964–1966), "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1981–1984) and Buck in "Newhart" (1984–1987).  He also guest-starred in numerous other popular TV series, often making multiple appearances playing different characters in a variety of genres, including the crime drama, "Perry Mason" (1957–1966) and numerous comedy series, including "Hogan's Heroes" (1965–1969), "Petticoat Junction" (1965–1970) and "Bewitched" (1966–1972).  Baer made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Walter Mathers in "A Matter of Faith" (episode 34) and Neff Parker in "A Friend in Need" (episode 123).  In addition to THE RIFLEMAN, Baer guest-starred in many other western series, including "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "Bonanza" (1959–1973) and "The Virginian" (1962–1971).

Royal Dano as Jonas Epps
Royal Dano as Jonas Epps in A Matter of Faith

Royal Dano was an American actor whose career in film and television spanned four decades.  Born in New York, he purportedly ran away from home at the age of 12 and ever restless, lived in various places ranging from the east to west coast, including Florida, Texas and California.  Eventually, he made an agreement with his father to continue his education on the condition he would still have the freedom to travel.  Eventually, Dano attended New York University.  His performing career began as part of the 44th Special Service Provisional Company during World War II.  He soon branched out to the New York stage and made his Broadway debut with a small role in the hit musical "Finian's Rainbow."  Dano was nominated by the New York Critic's Circle as one of the Promising Actors of 1949.

Tall and lean with gaunt features, a thatch of dark hair, a rangy build and a distinctive deep croaky voice, Dano usually was cast both in movies and television shows as gloomy or sinister characters. &nsp;He appeared most often in westerns and worked several times with James Stewart and director Anthony Mann.  He made his film debut in "Undercover Girl" (1950).  Among his best-remembered supporting roles in the western genre were film appearances as a sickly bookworm bad guy in "Johnny Guitar," (1954), a cattle rustler in "The Culpepper Cattle Company" (1972), and Ten Spot in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976).  He also made numerous television appearances, including the western series, "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "Wagon Train," "The Virginian," and "Little House on the Prairie," among many others.  Dano also had memorable roles as Elijah in "Moby Dick" (1956) and President Abraham Lincoln, whom he portrayed several times in his career, including in the "Honest Abe" episode of THE RIFLEMAN.  Dano made five guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode, including Frank Blandon in "The Sheridan Story" (episode 16), Jonas Epps in "A Matter of Faith" (episode 34), Aaron Wingate in "A Case of Identity" (episode 57), Abe in "Honest Abe" (episode 118), and Jamison in "Day of Reckoning" (episode 138).

Dano continued to work in film and television until his death at age 71, in 1994.  Some of his later work in television included guest spots in "Ben Casey," "Lost in Space," "Night Gallery," "Route 66," "Planet of the Apes," "Cannon," "Little House on the Prairie," "Kung Fu," "CHIPs," "Quincy M.E.," "Fantasy Island," "Twin Peaks," "Amazing Stories."  Among his more memorable later roles in films were his portrayals as a coroner in "Electra Glide in Blue" (1973), a profanity-spewing preacher in "Big Bad Mama" (1974), a minister in "The Right Stuff" (1983), a stuffy high school teacher in "Teachers" (1984), rascally zombified old-timer Gramps in "House II: The Second Story" (1987), a cantankerous farmer in "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" (1988), and in his last role, a cemetery caretaker in George Romero's "The Dark Half" (1993).

Michael Hinn as Jeff Borden

Michael Hinn was an American film and television character actor, as well as a director and producer.  He appeared in nearly 50 movies and television shows in a 20-year career.  He is best-remembered for his portrayals of authority figures in the western genre.  Although primarily an actor, Hinn also directed and produced the western TV short "The Night Rider" (1962).  In television, he guest-starred almost exclusively in westerns, notable exceptions being the crime drama "The Untouchables" (1959–1963) and the action series "Mod Squad" (1968–1973).  Hinn also had a few film roles, including a stableman in the western "Gun Fever" (1958), starring Mark Stevens, Joe Dobbs in the dramatic comedy "The Reivers" (1969), starring Steve McQueen, and an uncredited rifle range attendant in the action film "The Mechanic" (1972), starring Charles Bronson.

Hinn made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Jeff Borden in "A Matter of Faith" (episode 34) and one of the henchman in "The Fourflusher" (episode 72).  He also guest-starred in many other westerns of the 1950s through the 70s, including "Sheriff of Cochise" (1956–1958), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "Sky King" (1951–1962), "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), "The Texan" (1958–1960), "Johnny Ringo" (1959–1960), in which he made multiple appearances as George Haig, as well as other characters, "The Deputy" (1959–1961), "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "Rawhide" (1959–1966), "The Big Valley" (1965–1969), "The Guns of Will Sonnett" (1967–1969), "Death Valley Days" (1952–1975) and "Bonanza" (1959–1973).

Bing Russell as Hode Evans

Bing Russell, born Neil Oliver Russell, was an American film and television actor.  He appeared in more than 150 movies and television shows during a career spanning almost 40 years.  He is the father of actor Kurt Russell.  In addition to his acting pursuits, Russell was the owner of the Portland Mavericks, a minor league baseball team.  He created a baseball park without corporate sponsorship and hired the first female general manager in professional baseball.

Russell had roles in several memorable films, including Robert in the western "The Magnificent Seven" (1960), starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and James Coburn.  He portrayed Vernon Presley in the biographical drama "Elvis" (1979), starring Kurt Russell and Shelley Winters; he played the van driver in the action comedy "Tango and Cash" (1989), starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell; and he was a Club Ritz patron in the superhero action movie adaptation of "Dick Tracy" (1990), starring Warren Beatty.  He had minor parts in many films, including the noir film "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955), starring Ralph Meeker and Albert Dekker; the western "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1957), starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas; and the western drama "Rio Bravo" (1959), starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson.

Russell guest-starred in many popular television shows, including the anthology series "Playhouse 90" (1956–1960), the action crime drama "Highway Patrol" (1955–1959), the road series "Route 66" (1960–1964), the crime drama "The Untouchables" (1959–1963), the comedy "Hazel" (1961–1966), the family comedy "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960–1968), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), the war drama "Combat!" (1962–1967) and the adventure drama "The Fugitive" (1963–1967).

Russell made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Hode Evans in "A Matter of Faith" (episode 34) and Sanchez in "Seven" (episode 79).  He guest-starred in many other westerns, including "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), starring John McIntyre and Ward Bond; "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), starring Hugh O'Brian; "Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958–1961), starring Steve McQueen; "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood; "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), starring Richard Boone; "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts; and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), starring James Arness.

A decrepit old trail bum rides into town on a mule and announces that he can bring rain to North Fork in the midst of the worst drought in years. A railroad labor boss who is trying to recruit workers, resents the old man's intrusion, because the townsfolk half-believe he really is a water witcher—a belief that dissuades several men from coming to work for the railroad which needs them badly.  When the labor boss tries to get rid of the old man by roughing him up and scaring him out of town, Lucas defends him and invites him out to the ranch, where the old man insists he can bring rain—and whether by design or by coincidence, proceeds to do so.