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There is no Next Episode of The Rifleman planned.
Lucas and Mark decide to enter a local turkey shoot to raise money to buy a ranch. The competition pits Lucas against the young sharpshooter, Vernon Tippert, who is sponsored by his bullying uncle, Wes Tippert. Although Vernon is a crack shot, he is no match against Lucas's superior skills as a marksman. The dramatic tension in "The Sharpshooter" turns on McCain throwing the match after the competition's promoter threatens to harm Lucas' young son should Tippert lose the competition. The unfolding story shows Lucas McCain reconciling the moral dilemma of protecting his young son and participating in a rigged competition.
"The Sharpshooter" introduced not only the main characters, setting and back story for THE RIFLEMAN series, but also established its thematic distinctions from other popular western adventure programs produced during the Golden Age of television. To be sure, the staples of the genre inform THE RIFLEMAN's storylines—law and order, right and wrong, pioneer spirit and rugged individualism—but the central themes revolve around the father and son relationship—the first primetime television series to portray a single parent raising a child alone—and nuanced morality plays that explored human nobility and very human frailties, foibles and failings, as well as the archetypal white-hatted good guys and black hatted bad guys and outlaws.
Two tough hired hands beat up Lucas and burn his ranch house, when he refuses their demands that he move off the property in order to please a wealthy cattleman who has been using the ranch as grazing land. On foot, Lucas pursues the gunmen, finds himself facing their boss and is challenged to a vicious fistfight.
Lucas is forced to give refuge to a young bank robber who has been injured while saving the life of Lucas' young son Mark. Trouble ensues when the rest of the outlaw gang appear. The young robber has had a change of heart and wants to go straight, but the gang insists that he will rejoin them. Wanting to help the young man, Lucas is caught in the fight.
Micah Torrance, formerly a famous Marshal, but now a drunken derelict with a crippled arm from a gunfight, turns up in North Folk and is taken on as a hired hand by Lucas McCain, who wants to give the man a chance to rehabilitate himself. His good deed backfires when three outlaws ride into town bent on avenging themselves for past troubles with Micah. The outlaws kill the local sheriff, leaving Lucas and Micah to protect the town alone.
Lucas welcomes an old friend who turns up at his ranch for an unexpected visit. Knowing that his friend Tom Birch has a reputation for lawlessness, Lucas is at first concerned but then is reassured by Tom's statement that he is just passing through North Fork on his way to Denver. Later, however, Lucas finds himself involved in a plot to rob the North Fork Bank and must choose between backing up the Marshal and helping the friend who once saved his life.