‘The Rifleman’: Why Marshal Micah Actor Paul Fix Told Writers to Respect His Character

by Joe Rutland

Veteran actor Paul Fix truly wanted writers for ABC’s western hit “The Rifleman” to make sure his character had a modicum of respect.

Fix, who played Marshal Micah Torrance on the show, said in a 1961 interview that he had some definite ideas about his character.

“All I make sure of is that the old guy (Micah) doesn’t lost his dignity, that he’s not made a fool of,” Fix said. “I see the writers sometimes and see to that. It’s important for the kids who watch that they have respect for this badge.”

“The Rifleman” starred Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, a single father who’s raising his son Mark, played by Johnny Crawford.

By the time Fix joined the show, he’d been a consistent actor in Western movies dating back to the 1930s. But he was born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., just north of New York City. He reportedly had to learn a lot about roping, riding, and other cowboy-related activities by doing them.

The Western show ran for five seasons on ABC, making a television star out of Connors. Speaking of Connors, he actually had a career in pro sports as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball. He also played for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association. But he turned his attention to movies and TV, a career that spanned 40 years.

Connors died on Nov. 10, 1992, at 71 years old. Fix died on Oct. 14, 1983, at 82 years old. Crawford died on April 29, 2021, at 75 years old.

‘The Rifleman’ Star Connors Wanted Change Of Pace For His Character

Fix wanted his character to be shown dignity by writers on “The Rifleman.” Connors, who played the widowed rancher with a fast-firing Winchester, desired a change himself.

Connors, though, just wanted another side of McCain to appear to the show’s fans. In order to do this, he wrote an episode called “The Visitor” for the show’s second season.

In the episode, Ann Dodd, played by Christine White, who is a friend of McCain’s late wife, arrives in North Fork. She is on her way to Albuquerque, where Dodd is collecting an inheritance from her late uncle. Dodd and McCain are attracted to one another, but it’s complicated as her uncle’s son and his wife plan to kill her for the estate.

McCain saves her, then asks her to come back to North Fork. McCain and Dodd share some kisses before she leaves for Albuquerque. Dodd will not return, though, because she can’t replace his son Mark’s mother.

“The Rifleman” showed the strength between a single father and his son. But Connors also wanted to show that Lucas McCain had another side to him, too.