It's inevitable...classic tv series always seem to have a quicksand episode, a quitting-and-running-away episode, and a having-a-baby-episode. This one is the baby episode.
I guess there's supposed to be something exciting about being forced to deliver some woman's baby, and according to its frequent occurance in TV world, it seems to be a sure thing that we're all going to have to do this at some point in our own lives. I guess that we see it so much on TV, that we probably could...why take the wife to an expensive hospital? Just boil some water...
Hoss, a dimwit just a few episodes ago, now seems to have the knowledge it takes for this childbirthing. Presumably, his knowledge comes from delivering farm animals; a few episodes previous to this, he didn't know what a naked female looked like, but he seems to figure everything out here, and handles the task just as skillfully as Dr. Welby might have done. If that's not absurd enough, the pregnant Native American doesn't look like a Native American, nor does she look pregnant. Add in a few explicit hunting scenes (Hoss hangs a rabbit, and Joe kills a duck by biting its neck), and we have a remarkably bad episode going on here.
It does have a few high points. The snowy landscape is a great change of pace, and the scenes with the elusive ram are almost surreal. Perhaps these are reason enough to endure this episode...or perhaps not.