Bonanza

Season 2 Episode 7

Day of Reckoning

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Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Oct 22, 1960 on NBC

Episode Recap

Ben is ambushed on his own property by the son of an Indian chief, rabid with hatred for the white man. Matsou, the Indian's brother, and Matsou's wife Hatoya, find Ben and take him back to their tent to nurse him. Matsou's brother (Largosa) comes to look for him, but Matsou hides Ben and forbids Largosa to enter his home. Matsou's brother tries to humilate Matsou for being soft "like a woman" ever since he married Hatoya; but he finally leaves without seeing Ben. It is the spiritual influence of Hatoya's living three years with a white couple that has led her to Christ, and Matsou's love and devotion to her compel him to respect what she says.

Back at the ranch, Ike, who is living on land acquired from Ben, complains to Joe and Hoss and Adam that he refuses to live with "Injuns," after finding a skull of one of them on his property and glimpsing some of the tribe nearby.

Matsou and Hatoya bring Ben back to the Ponderosa. Out of goodwill, Ben gives them a piece of land to farm, which at first Matsou does not want. He has no knowledge of being a farmer, but his wife urges him to accept it, and he does. Members of the white community help them learn to plant, and Matsou and Hatoya also adopt the fashions and hair common to the white man.

One day, Matsou's brother Largosa pays a visit and warns him that their people want payback for their property and for being driven out by the whites. He also tells Matsou that their father has just died, making Largosa the new chief. Matsou refuses to heed the warning out of love for his wife, and also the child that she is now carrying.

That night, Largosa and some of the tribe attack the home of Ike, Matsou's neighbor, killing Ike's wife and burning their house. The next day at the funeral, Matsou and Hatoya appear at a distance, Hatoya offering prayers for the slain woman. In a fit of hysteric rage, Ike grabs a gun and shoots Hatoya and her unborn child dead. Matsou tries to go after him, but is deterred by the Cartwrights.

Matsou takes his revenge by defacing Ike and sending him back to the Cartwrights, and Ben comes looking for Matsou. Stringing Ben up with rawhide, Matsou lets the sun beat down on Ben and stretch the rawhide, hoping that Ben's suffering will ease his own pain. As the heat grows more intense, Ben begins praying "The Lord's Prayer" and Matsou tells him to stop. Ben continues, and finally, Matsou can no longer take it. It was the prayer so often that he'd heard his wife say. He finally cuts him loose, telling Ben that he was hoping his hatred for Ben would cause Ben to retaliate, and set him free from the knowledge of this grace.

The episode concludes with Matsou stating that, since his brother was killed, he is now chief of his people, and he leaves Ben to return to them. There is a sense that there will be new hope for them as this courageous man, now no longer harboring hatred, will be leading them.
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