Traumafession:: Reader Machete on The Rifleman Episode “And The Devil Makes Five”

When I was a very young child I saw an episode of “The Rifleman” that frightened me more than anything I have ever seen on television or at the movies. I am a life-long fan of horror and science fiction and yet an episode of a western TV series made it a struggle for me to sleep for a long time after I viewed it. The episode involves Chuck Conners as part of a posse that captures an outlaw. As they are far from town they have to set up camp outdoors and sleep in their bedrolls. When morning arrives Conners’ son approaches him. Conners is sitting bolt upright in his bedroll. His face is covered in sweat. His eyes are wide open and staring fixedly straight ahead. His son says, “Pa, What’s wrong? At that moment the sound of a rattle is heard. A rattlesnake has crawled into his bedroll during the night. Conners is afraid to move or make a sound for fear of being bitten. The episode ends happily with the snake dead and Conners (as series star) very much alive and well. As for me, well, I didn’t sleep so well that night and a few more. When I went to bed the folds and furls of the blankets and sheets felt like snakes in the bed with me. I got over it though and now I watch mostly horror and science fiction, but I’ve never forgotten how the most unlikely of TV series frightened me so much. The name of the episode was And the Devil Makes Five. It was the last episode filmed. It was shot in all outdoor settings as a way to save money as the series’ budget was depleted at this point.

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Princess Fluffernutter
Princess Fluffernutter
10 years ago

To this day, I have trouble watching the show’s opening credits. Something about Chuck Connors firing his gun (while staring so knowingly into the camera) always makes me wanna dive under the bed.