Bonanza - Season 12

NBC (ended 1973)




Episode Guide

  • An Earthquake Called Callahan
    Dusty Rhodes, a Ponderosa ranch hand is jailed, and the one person who can prove him innocent is nowhere to be found. Joe searches for and finds the man, a vagabond wrestler named Tom Callahan. Not only does Callahan prove to be an ornery cuss, but his seemingly-fragile girl is a lot tougher than she looks.moreless
  • Kingdom of Fear
    Kingdom of Fear
    Episode 27
    Ben, Hoss and Joe, Candy and a fellow rancher are jailed on false trespassing charges by a greedy mining tycoon known as "The Judge." The despot runs a gold mine (really a thinly-veiled prison camp) and acquires slave labor by pressing phony criminal charges against the unfortunate inmates.
  • Winter Kill
    Winter Kill
    Episode 26
    Ben tries to help a group of ranchers from the Sierra Nevada who lost most of their herd during the brutal winter. He brings in a sturdier breed from Montana that can withstand the harsh weather, but faces sabotage from a rival rancher.
  • A Time to Die
    A Time to Die
    Episode 25

    When a friend of Ben's comes to the Ponderosa and is bitten by a wolf that might be rabid. April must now come to terms with the fact that she could die a horrible death.

  • The Stillness Within
    Joe becomes withdrawn and bitter after losing his sight in an explosion. Ben brings in Ellen Dobbs from San Francisco who teaches blind individuals how to navigate the world. The divide between Joe and his family gets wider as he refuses to learn from Miss Dobbs.
  • Terror at 2:00
    Terror at 2:00
    Episode 23
    A racist and his henchmen steal a Gatling gun with plans to massacre everyone on the street at 2 o'clock; that's the time of a peace treaty signing between the U.S. Army and the Paitues in Virginia City. The man's hope is that the tragedy will spark another war and eventually lead to the genocide of all Native Americans.moreless
  • The Silent Killer
    The Silent Killer
    Episode 22
    When the flu strikes the ranch hard, a doctor's wife's new techniques to combat the flu has everyone on edge. When Ben falls ill, Ms. Woodtree's ideas on treatment slowly help him become stronger, and help people realize the old way is not necessarily the best way.
  • Shadow of a Hero
    Shadow of a Hero
    Episode 21
    Famed Indian fighter, General Ira Cloninger, plans to coast into the governor's office based on his reputation and his friendship with Ben. His election becomes less certain as a reporter from San Francisco investigates claims that the general was less a hero and more a genocidal murderer.
  • The Reluctant American
    A British investment firm sends Leslie and Gillian Harwood from London to Virginia City to take over a ranch it owns. The Cartwrights become involved in their adventures when they mistakenly arrive at the Ponderosa, thinking it's their ranch. Before it's all over, Leslie changes from a fish out of water into a real westerner.moreless
  • The Desperado
    The Desperado
    Episode 19
    A black couple seek refuge in the mountains after having been accused of killing two white men. They take Hoss as a hostage, fearful that they'll be lynched. Hoss tries to convince the desperate couple that they'll be given a fair trial, though he's not totally convinced of that himself.
  • A Deck of Aces
    A Deck of Aces
    Episode 18
    Two Ben Cartwrights leave chaos in their wake. A look-alike con man, Bradley Meredith, pretends he's the Ponderosa patriarch and agrees to sell a large piece of land to the railroad. The actual Ben had earlier given an unambiguous "no" to the idea.
  • Top Hand
    Top Hand
    Episode 17
    Ben chooses veteran cowboy Kelly James to lead a huge local cattle drive, but rancher Weatherby is against the choice, having once fired James for drinking. Meanwhile, Weatherby's cocky, ambitious foreman Yates is actively gunning for the position.
  • The Gold-Plated Rifle
    An insecure Jamie is unsure of his place in the family, having trouble adjusting at his new school. Without permission, he takes Ben's prized gold-plated rifle and accidentally breaks it. Ben punishes Jamie, who then runs away.
  • A Single Pilgrim
    A Single Pilgrim
    Episode 15
    New Settler Tom Brennan accidentally wounds Hoss, and has his wife, Dilsey, nurse his wounds. Tom's distrusting father, convinced Hoss will seek revenge, does not inform the Cartwrights of Hoss' whereabouts. Additionally, he manipulates his son's jealousy, feeding him lies about Dilsey and her patient.
  • For a Young Lady
    For a Young Lady
    Episode 14
    Jamie's young friend Carri Sturgis lives in fear of her guardians, child-hating Uncle Gifford and Aunt Vella. He can't understand why the pair are so intent on keeping the child. The answer turns out to be unadulterated greed; Carri is the heir to her grandfather's gold mine.
  • Honest John
    Honest John
    Episode 13
    A truth-stretching vagabond who goes by the deceptive name of Honest John lands on the Ponderosa. The Cartwrights want to get rid of him, but Jamie has become chummy with the character. Honest John finds himself in a tight spot when Jamie suggests the two of them hit the road together and live the hobo life.moreless
  • The Impostors
    The Impostors
    Episode 12
    Joad Bruder's son may be in jail for holding up a stage coach, but he's holding onto the money. Hoss and Joe contrive a ridiculous strategy to get the money back. They visit Joad, posing as members of his jailbird son's gang. Things go as planned, until the real gang members start to drop by.moreless
  • The Luck of Pepper Shannon
    Pepper Shannon is a former robber and outlaw whose reputation has been exaggerated to epic size by dime novel writers. Ben hires him on one condition: he stays away from Jamie. The boy idolizes the folk hero, but gets a disappointing lesson in reality when Shannon turns out to be less than brave.moreless
  • El Jefe
    El Jefe
    Episode 10
    A cold-hearted mine owner and a corrupt sheriff team for a land grab. The Mexican born sheriff, Aranda, frames one of his own people for murder, part of their plan to buy up the farmers' property at pennies on the dollar. The Cartwrights become involved.
  • The Love Child
    The Love Child
    Episode 9
    When a mother realizes she is dying, she comes back to her parents, hoping they will take care of her child after she is gone. She doesn't mention her health because she wants them to take her son out of love for the child. Unfortunately, the child was born out of wedlock and her father doesn't want anything to do with his grandchild.moreless
  • Thornton's Account
    Thornton's Account
    Episode 8
    While away from home, Ben suffers a fall from his horse that leaves him badly injured. Joe brings his father to a nearby town seeking assistance, but arrives in the middle of a range feud. The only person offering their help is a mysterious stranger named Thornton.
  • The Trouble with Trouble
    Hoss finds himself named temporary sheriff of Trouble, California, one of the most lawless towns in the state. It lives up to its name. Before Hoss is through, he's thrown most of Trouble's residents in jail.
  • Gideon, the Good
    Gideon, the Good
    Episode 6
    Joe turns to one of the state's most respected lawmen, Sheriff Gideon Yates, to report a murder that he witnessed. Yates is mortified when he realizes the identity of the killer: his wife, Lydia. The enforcer of the law shirks his duty and goes about the unpleasant business of permanently silencing Joe Cartwright.moreless
  • The Power of Life and Death
    Joe and an injured Ben are trapped at a desert watering hole with the killer they were searching for. Ben's heath is rapidly deteriorating and a group of renegade Indians are approaching. Joe is forced to leave his father behind with the fugitive as he set out on foot for help.moreless
  • The Wagon
    The Wagon
    Episode 4
    The sadistic wagon-boss of a group of prisoners replaces an escapee with Hoss. Facing years of hard labor, Hoss teams up with another prisoner to hatch an escape plan.
  • The Weary Willies
    The Weary Willies
    Episode 3
    The Weary Willies are hippie-like Civil War veterans who are now drifters living off the land. Despite protests from fellow ranchers and the people of Virginia City, Ben allows the traveling band to stay at the Ponderosa. The trouble begins when a teen-aged girl is molested and the Willies are blamed.moreless
  • A Matter of Faith
    A Matter of Faith
    Episode 2
    Dusty Rhodes arrives with a young teen orphan, Jamie Hunter, in tow. The son of a recently-deceased rainmaker, Jamie announces his intention to carry on his father's work and bring rain to drought-stricken Virginia City. Ben is skeptical--and fearful that local ranchers will harm the youth when the rain doesn't come. In the end, Ben hires Dusty as a ranch hand and invites Jamie to stay with them.moreless
  • The Night Virginia City Died
    As Season 12 opens, a series of deadly fires, all set at night, are destroying Virginia City. Sheriff Coffee and Deputy Clem face an angry public that demands they capture the arsonist immediately. On the side, Clem has begun a romance with new town resident Janie.