a passion for justice
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A Passion for Justice Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #05, Episode #2

In this Bonanza episode, Jonathan Harris, who would later portray a villain in “Lost in Space,” takes on the role of the esteemed British novelist Charles Dickens. When the Virginia City newspaper begins publishing Dickens’ latest work without his consent, the author arrives in town to voice his objections and finds himself unjustly arrested and fined. Despite Dickens’ adamant refusal to pay the fine or defend himself, he finds unexpected allies in the Cartwrights, his fervent admirers. Other notable cast members include Victor Maddern as Dave, Frank Albertson as Sam Walker, and Charles Irving as Rogers. Originally airing on September 29, 1963, A Passion for Justice is a compelling episode highlighting themes of integrity and advocacy.

Explore the plot details, along with intriguing trivia, or enjoy the complete episode by watching it below.

Table of Contents

Watch the Full Episode of A Passion for Justice

Watch the Full Episode of A Passion for Justice:

Main Cast

In addition to the main cast, “A Passion for Justice,” the second episode of Bonanza Season 5 showcases several recurring and guest-supporting actors. The featured performers in this episode include:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Jonathan Harris as Charles Dickens
  • Victor Maddern as Dan Stoker
  • Frank Albertson as Sam Walker
  • Ray Teal as Sheriff Roy Coffee
  • Charles Irving as Prosceutor Rogers
  • Sydney Smith as Judge
  • E.J. André as Jeb (as E.J. Andre)
  • Don Washbrook as Tim the Typesetter
  • Alice Frost as Prominent Townswoman
  • James Stone as Henry
  • Clegg Hoyt as Drunk
  • George Bell as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bill Borzage as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Danny Borzage as Townsman (uncredited)
  • John Bose as Townsman (uncredited)
  • John Breen as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bill Clark as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Betty Endicott as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • Herschel Graham as Juror (uncredited)
  • Michael Jeffers as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Martha Manor as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • Rod McGaughy as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bob Miles as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Ernesto Molinari as Juror (uncredited)
  • Fred Rapport as Juror (uncredited)
  • Tony Regan as Juror (uncredited)
  • Danny Sands as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Phil Schumacher as Juror (uncredited)
  • Amzie Strickland as Lady in audience (uncredited)
  • Jack Tornek as Trial Spectator (uncredited)
  • Sid Troy as Bailiff (uncredited)
  • Max Wagner as Juror (uncredited)

Full Story Line for A Passion for Justice

Ben extends an invitation to Charles Dickens, inviting him to Virginia City to conduct a reading from “Oliver Twist” as part of his lecture tour throughout America. During his stay at the Ponderosa, he becomes incensed by the townsfolk’s indifference towards the unauthorized distribution of his stories, which lack protection under copyright laws.

The newspaper’s office is vandalized upon confronting the local newspaper publisher about the issue. With his reputation already tarnished among the townsfolk, Dickens is wrongly blamed for the ensuing violence.

Full Script and Dialogue of A Passion for Justice


Excuse me.

Uh, what are all these
people doing here?

I'm so excited I
can hardly wait. Oh!

Uh, well?

The stage will be on time.

Henry said the stage
is on time, ladies.

It'll be here any moment.

- You didn't answer my question.
- Please.

What's all the commotion about?
Is there gonna be a hanging?

- Ugh. We are all waiting for Boz.
- Boz?

What's Boz?

Ah, Boz happens to be none
other than Charles Dickens.

Oh, what do they want
him for? What'd he do?

What has he done, heh?

Mr. Dickens has written
some distinguished novels,

that's what he's done.

Well, they shouldn't ought
to hang a man for that.

Impossible man, heh.

Oh, there's Mr. Cartwright.

I do hope he has a nice
welcoming speech ready for Boz.


Mr. Dickens, on
behalf of myself and...

On behalf of the Virginia
City Literary Society,

- myself and my sons...
- No, no, Pa.

Pa, go easy with that part

because you don't wanna sound
like one of those Carson City senators.

- Oh!
- No, no, easy, easy.

Joseph, it isn't every day you welcome
a man like Mr. Dickens to Virginia City.

Why not say something simple to him
like, uh... Like, "Howdy, Mr. Dickens"?

Let him think the
rest for himself.

TROTTER: Oh, oh, oh, Mr. Cartwright.
- Morning.

- Are we all ready for Mr. Dickens?
- Well, I...

As ready as we can
be, I suppose, heh.

Mr. Cartwright. Great
day for Virginia City.

- Yes, it certainly is.
- You care to join me.

Oh, it's a bit early for
that, isn't it, Danny?

Must you?

This is no occasion
for drinking, Mr. Stoker.

Half the town is drunk already.

Oh, Mr. Dickens ain't
gonna mind, ma'am.

He's a real broadminded
gent, is old Charlie.


- Do you know him?
- Of course I know him.

Him and me's both born in
Portsmouth, England, you know.

Wait till he sees a fellow
Englishman here in Virginia City.

It's gonna be a real reunion.
Hands across the sea.

MAN 1: Stage is
coming! MAN 2: Hyah!


Hello, Mr. Dickens. Dan Stoker's
the name, a fellow countryman.

In that case, what
are you doing here?

- Are you an ex-patriot?
- Oh, no, sir. I'm a printer.

Born in Portsmouth,
just like you.

- Hands across the sea.
- Thank you, my good man.

And you'll find a still
larger bag on the stage.


Welcome to Virginia City,
Mr. Dickens. I'm, uh, Ben Cartwright.

I liked your letter inviting
me here, Mr. Cartwright.

- Thank you.
- It piqued my curiosity.

Oh, uh, ahem.

Mr. Dickens, on
behalf of mys... Uh.

On behalf of the Virginia
City Literary Society,

my sons and myself,

I want to take this opportunity
to welcome you to Virginia City.

I'm certain that your
presence on the stage

of our social hall
will be a, uh...

- memorable one.
- Yes, yes, quite so.

However, Mr. Cartwright, at
this point, I feel a warm bath

would be far more welcome
than a welcoming speech.

So if you would direct me to whatever
serves as a hotel in your community.

Uh, this way, Mr. Dickens, sir.


Wanna read the speech to me?

A counsel was
held, lots were cast

who should walk up to the
master after supper that evening

and ask for more.

And it fell to Oliver Twist.

Child as he was, Oliver Twist
was desperate with hunger

and reckless with misery.

He rose from the table,

and advancing to the master,
basin and spoon in hand, said:

"Please sir, I want some more."

The master was a fat healthy
man, but he turned very pale.

"What?" said the
master in a faint voice.

"Please, sir," said Oliver,
"I want some more."

The master aimed a
blow at Oliver's head,

pinioned him in his arms

and shrieked aloud for
Mr. Bumble the beadle.


The workhouse board was
sitting in solemn conclave

when Mr. Bumble rushed into
the room in great excitement

and addressed the
gentleman in the high chair.

"Mr. Limbkins, beg
your pardon, sir.

Oliver Twist has
asked for more."

"For more," said Mr. Limbkins.

"Answer me distinctly,
Bumble. Do I understand

that he asked for more
after he had eaten the supper

allotted by the dietary?"

"He did, sir," replied Bumble.

"That boy will be hung," said the
gentleman in the white waistcoat.

I know that boy will be hung.

I know that boy will
be... [APPLAUSE]


I note that a great
number of you

are more than a little
familiar with my work.

We sure are, Mr. Dickens.

In other words, you have
not only read Oliver Twist,

- you have memorized it?
- Yes, sir.


Uh, not only that, Mr. Dickens,

but we're also following
The Old Curiosity Shop.

And we all pray that
you don't let Little Nell die.

Your devotion to my work
might be an honor, madam,

were it not for the fact that
I have never given America

the right to
publish my writings.

But it seems that certain
unscrupulous American publishers

have stolen my work and
distributed it wholesale.

Even in places as remote as
this unimportant mining hamlet.

I need hardly say that I find
your participation in my reading

completely without merit

and a thoroughly disgraceful
example of impertinence.


Oh, come on, Charlie.
Quit the preaching.

Let's have some
more of little Oliver.


There will be no more of
Oliver or of anything else.


My performance is over.


We want some more little Oliver!
We paid to hear for little Oliver.

He can't get away with
this. Come on, fellas.

Pa, you want me to call
Mr. Dickens down for breakfast?

No, let him sleep.

He'll get more sleep than he
would in that hotel in Virginia City.

Heh, people in Virginia
City had their way,

they'd give him some
sleep for a long time.

Yeah. Kind of sore that I
allowed myself to be talked into

inviting him here
in the first place.

Yeah, but, Pa, he was good. I'll tell
you, when he was reading that thing

about that little Oliver
Twist. I dang near bawled.

I sure would like to know how

- that thing came out.
- Oh.

Hey, listen to this.

Joseph, will you eat your
breakfast first, please?

"Mr. Charles Dickens in
dramatic reading at the social hall."

Big thing here.

"Last night, the
citizens of Virginia City

turned out to a man
at the Social Hall

to hear Mr. Charles Dickens,
celebrated English novelist,

enchant us with dramatic
readings from his novels.

We were enchanted,
true, but only up to a point."

Heh, but here's where they
really give it to him, ha, ha.

"Then we were disenchanted
and disillusioned."

- Ahem, uh, Joseph.
- "Halfway through the performance,

Mr. Dickens stopped
the reading and..."

I'll give you the
paper in a minute.

"Mr. Dickens stopped the
reading and then proceeded to say

that Virginia City was an
un-important mining hamlet.


We found Mr. Dickens, the
celebrated English novelist,

to be quite rude.
We also found..."

- Uh, found this big sale here, Dad.
- Let me see that, young man.

Grossly insulting.

No sense of justice at all!

Imagine, mocking me on the
stage like the barbarians they are

and then condemning me.

No, I don't think they were
mocking you, Mr. Dickens.

By reading along with you,
they were just telling you,

in their own way, how
much they like your work.

Bare-faced theft.

A further installment of
The Old Curiosity Shop.

That's where that dreadful
woman read about it.

Oh, names misspelled,
dialogue mutilated.

I have never given a
common newspaper anywhere

permission to publish my work.

Oh, it's not that I
care about the money.

It's the principle of the thing.

Well, if the people like your work,
and you don't care about the money,

doesn't that sort of take
care of the principle?

Nonsense, my boy.

It's not a matter of my
personal considerations.

It is a question of justice.

I am going to tell the
editor of this penny dreadful

what I think of him.

Adam, ahem, I think you'd
better go along with Mr. Dickens.

Sam Walker has a pretty
good temper of his own.


Thank you very much for reading
us that newsworthy item, Joseph.

Now will you finish
your breakfast?

Hyah, hyah. Hyah.

Whoa, there.

- Well, here we are.
- I've enjoyed your company, Adam.

It's rare to find someone in these
parts who can discuss books intelligently.

But this is a matter I
prefer to handle alone.

Well, I just thought I'd
introduce you to Sam.

Is it possible he
doesn't know who I am?

Well, it's possible, but I
thought I'd introduce you anyway.

Morning, Sam. I'd like you
to meet a friend of mine.

Never mind the formalities, Adam.
I know this gentleman quite well.

It's a pleasure to have you
visit my small shop, Mr. Dickens.

The feeling is not mutual.

I am not here to discuss your
notice of my performance last night.

That is freedom of
the press, I suppose.

But this. This pirated
passage from my work.

I want to know by what
authority you dare to publish it.

Well, seems like I didn't
need much authority.

I liked the story,
so I printed it.

I did send $25 to a Chicago publisher
for the right to print his version.

Of all the impudence.
His version. His rights.

What about my rights?

Hear, hear, Boz. You tell him.

Did you hear that, Mr. Walker?
What about his rights?

Always on the side of
what's fair, I am, Boz.

Only my friends are
allowed to call me Boz.

Get back to work, Dan.

Mr. Dickens, you know publishing
as well or better than I do,

so you should know that without an
international agreement on copyright

you haven't a leg to stand on.

So should we forget all this
and you and Adam be my guests

over at the hotel for lunch?

Sir, this will be
the last installment

of my work to appear in your
paper, is that understood?

Sorry, I can't buy that.
Disappoint too many readers.

But I'll tell you
what I will do.

I'm running Pickwick Papers
after The Old Curiosity Shop.

The devil you are.

And, just to be fair,
I'll give you the $25

instead of sending
it to Chicago.

- Did you hear that, Adam?
- Sounds reasonable to me.

Bah! Walker, you will stop
publication of my work as of today

or I shall see to it that
your paper is closed down

and your name discredited
from here to New York!

I'm sorry, I can't oblige.

You see, there's so many
people threatening to close me up

that getting the same threat
from you is quite an honor.


SAM: Oh, Mr. Dickens.

I hope you're not going
to let Little Nell die.

If it disappoints you, she will.

Well, I knew you wouldn't
get very far with Sam.

Citizens of Virginia City, may
I have your attention, please.

- What are you doing?
- Demanding justice.

I'm gonna tell them the
kind of man Sam Walker is.

This is not the way to do it. Sam
Walker is a very popular man here.

These people will ride
you out of town on a rail.

For expressing my
views in a free country?

Citizens of Virginia City,
you all know who I am.

I appeal to you as
fair-minded Americans.

The editor of that
paper is a pirate.

Like the worst kind of
buccaneer on the high seas,

he has plundered
me of my property.

He is a brigand, a
highwayman, a freebooter.

And all of you are little
better if you support him.

I demand, as a
simple matter of justice,

that you stop buying his paper.


Pipe down, lime juicer!

MAN 1: Tell it to the queen.
MAN 2: Go on back to England.

MAN 1: Yeah, go
back where you belong.


MAN 2: Tell it to the queen.

Where is your sense of justice?

Is that man to be allowed to...?

Mr. Dickens. Mr. Dickens!

Would you autograph this book,
Mr. Dickens, for a fellow countryman?

Always on your side, you
know. Uh, Dan Stoker's the name.

Hey, what you doing to my book?

I'm destroying it, my good man.

It's contraband.



- Where have you been?
- See what you done, Mr. Walker?

Turned him against
his fellow countryman.

He'd have autographed this
if you hadn't turned him nasty.

Let me see that.

Why, this is my
property, not yours.

It ain't your property either. That's
contraband, that's what that is.

Do you realize what you've done?

Most of this is missing.

It'll take me two weeks to
get another copy from Chicago.

Yeah, you can't blame
me for that, Mr. Walker.

I never tore up the book. It
was Dickens what done it.

I've had just about all I can take
from your toadying and your drinking.

Now get out of here,
and this time, stay out.

You bet I will. You're
no better than what he is.

Him with his grand
airs and his books,

and you with your
picayune newspaper.

Out of my way, Tim.
I'm getting out of here.

This ain't no place for
an honest gentleman.

Adam, where's Mr. Dickens?


Well, he's had his
fill of Virginia City.

And, uh, he's waiting
for tonight's stage east.

What happened down
at the newspaper?

Well, he didn't get anywhere with
Sam, so he tried it out on the crowd.

Oh, and?

Same thing at the theater,
only on a smaller scale.

I just hope he stays in his hotel
room and, uh, keeps out of trouble.

Ugh... We invited
him here, we...

I guess right after supper we should
go in town and see what's happening.




Did you have
anything to do with this?

Undoubtedly. Splendid illustration
of poetic justice. Don't you agree?

Now, I don't know
about the poetic part,

but I'm gonna
have to take you in.

- Now, come on.
- Sir, are you quite insane?

SHERIFF: Suppose we
let the judge decide that.

Release me, sir! Release me at once
you hear, or take the consequences!

Release me, sir, you
hear. Release me at once.



Sheriff, for the last time,
I shall not tolerate this.

Sheriff, I demand that you send at
once for the English ambassador!

Ben, I had to lock him up.
He admitted responsibility.

DICKENS: Sheriff!

Ah, thank heaven you're here.

Not only have I been
held incommunicado,

but in a cubicle obviously
reserved for common felons.

Now, if this overzealous
official will release me at once,

I'll agree not to
prefer charges.


Well, Mr. Dickens, I know that
there's been a very bad mistake.

But, uh, the fact
of the matter is

that charges have been
preferred against you.

- By Sam Walker.
- What charges?

Willful and malicious
destruction of property.

Preposterous. Sir, every hour
that I am unlawfully detained

makes your position
more and more perilous.

But, Mr. Dickens,
the sheriff tells me

that this whole thing can
be cleared up right now

if you'll only tell him

what you were doing at the
Enterprise office this evening.

I shall tell him nothing.

- All it requires is a simple explanation.
- It may seem simple to you, Adam,

but if I explain, I
automatically admit that

my presence at the
Enterprise was suspicious,

and as I hope you know,
Adam, I am above suspicion.

Now, how much longer is this
sorry jest going to continue?

Now, you listen to me, Roy, you
know very well he couldn't have done it.

No, I don't know. Look he ain't
stopped shooting off his mouth

ever since he come to our town.

He's been doing nothing
but criticizing conditions here,

he's inciting the people to
close up Sam Walker's paper

- and he's telling me how to run my jail.
- Oh, he's not...

Oh, Ben, I wouldn't put it past him
to wreck that Territorial Enterprise

just out of sheer cussedness.

- All right, all right, all right.
- All right.

Now, will you do
something for me?

- What?
- Release him in my custody.

- Ben, the folks ain't gonna like that.
- I'll take full responsibility.

Will you also guarantee to
have him show up at his trial?

He'll show up at his trial.

All right.

All right, Dickens. You're out
on Ben Cartwright's say-so.

- That is, until the trial.
- What trial?

What trial?

Listen, I'll, uh... I'll
explain that to you.

Fetch my hat.

God save the queen.

"Fetch my hat."

- Had about enough?
- By no means.

Ah! Splendid country.

Hard work, clear mountain
air, the scent of pine.

A tonic for the soul
as well as the body.

You know, Mr. Dickens,

you'd be mighty welcome to
stay on here permanent if you liked.

Thank you, Hoss.

It is a temptation.

But, unfortunately, men have a
way of spoiling even the best of things.

Mr. Dickens,

there's something you
don't quite cotton to,

and maybe I can
explain it to you.

Folks around here, well, they
judge a man for what he is,

not what he was in some other
place, whether he was good or bad.

You figured everybody ought to
like you because of your reputation,

but the fact is, all they care
about is what they see in you now.

And what do they see?

Well, it's sort of hard
for them to understand

why you get so touchy
about that copyright business.

I mean, after you yourself said that
the money didn't amount to nothing.

Sort of hard for me to
understand, as a matter of fact.


all this land, your land, you
love it very much, don't you?

Yes, sir.

Then suppose, just for
the moment suppose,

there were no laws
to protect your land,

that anybody could come
along and take all or part of it.

What would you do?

Why, my Pa poured his life
into this land, Mr. Dickens.

I reckon we'd
have to fight for it.

Then you do understand, Hoss.

I've poured my
life into what I write.

And I have to fight for it.


I don't reckon I ever
looked at it like that.

Few people do.

They fail to realize how
much a writer gives of himself.

How much of his soul
is locked into every word.

Most men better themselves
as they grow older.

My father did just the opposite.

Many months of my early
childhood were spent with him...

in debtor's prison.

Then, later, still
a small child,

I graduated to a
blacking factory,

filling bottles with shoe
blacking for a few pence a week

in a dingy basement room.

I was sure it was
going to be my future,

that there'd be nothing else.

Many of the stories that amuse and
entertain you came out of the struggles

and deprivations of those years.

You know, maybe if you'd
just explain it that way to them

then folks would
understand, Mr. Dickens.

I have never chosen to expose
my private emotions to the world,

and I certainly don't
intend to start now.

Come, Hoss. There's
work to be done.

- Well, hello, Tim. TIM:
Howdy, Mr. Cartwright.

Let me give you a hand there.


- Sure is a mess, isn't it?
- Yeah.

Mr. Walker said it'd
take about three weeks

to get the place
back in working order.

Somebody had to get pretty
riled up to do this to Sam.

Any trouble with some
of your readers lately?

Only that Mr. Dickens.

- Where's Dan?
- Mr. Walker fired him again.

This time I think it's for good.

When was that?

The day that you and
Mr. Dickens were in here.

You know, Dan's a real
good printer when he's sober.

And how often is that?

Not very often, Mr. Cartwright.

Eh, thanks, Tim.

- Sam.
- Oh, the great liberator.

I tell you, the Cartwright's have
got themselves quite a cause

in Charles Dickens.

Look, Sam, this
whole thing is wrong.

I don't think Dickens is any more
capable of, uh, wrecking your place

than I am.

Have some lunch?

Look, now, as the
editor of the Enterprise,

you undoubtedly have made
some enemies in this town.

Now, uh, isn't it just possible that
somebody else might have done it?

Well, Dickens was found in
the shop, not somebody else.

Look, if Dickens will admit
that he wrecked my shop

and pay the damages,

I'll drop the charges.
Now, is that fair enough?

Well, not if he didn't
have anything to do with it.

Now, all we have to do is
to get Mr. Dickens to tell us

why he was at the
Territorial office.

That ain't gonna be
easy. You know how he is.

Well, we gotta try.


What are you going to try?

Well, we're gonna try
to get you to explain

what you were doing
at the Enterprise.

My dear sir, I have no intention
of contributing anything further

to the outcome of this farce.

Now, if one of you
young gentlemen

would be kind enough of to assist
me with the valise in my room.

Now, hold on there.

You saying you're, uh... You're
leaving here before the trial?

Yes, I do.

Even though I personally guaranteed
your appearance at that trial.

That's right,
Mr. Cartwright, so you did.

This will play the
devil with my timetable.

Still, I can't but admire
your respect for the law.

Even though the
law is usually an ass.

Now, Jeb, you haven't formed
an opinion on this case, have you?


You wouldn't be afraid of
bringing in a verdict of guilty

just because the
defendant happens to be

a famous English
author, would you?

Ha, ha, I wouldn't be afeared if
it was Billy Shakespeare himself.


All right, Jeb,
you're fine with me.

That completes the jury
for the plaintiff, Your Honor.

Is the defendant going to challenge
the qualifications of this juror?

I haven't challenged any
of the others, My Lord.

Dickens, we don't have
lords and ladies in this country.

From now on you'll address the bench
as "Your Honor", like everyone else.

This, uh, person
needs counsel, Ben.

Your Honor, I tried to get
him to engage a lawyer...

but he refuses.

All right, Rogers,
proceed for the plaintiff.

And then the defendant
demanded, with threats,

that Sam Walker discontinue
publication of a certain piece of writing

known as The Old Curiosity Shop.

Not a certain piece of
writing, sir, my piece of writing.

Don't interrupt, Dickens.
You'll get your turn.

And when all his
vocal efforts failed,

the defendant resorted to
a shameful act of violence.

In the dead of night, like
some marauding redskin,

he stole into the office of
the plaintiff's newspaper

and he wrecked every piece of
equipment in the establishment.

A wanton and vindictive act

that will take many
thousands of dollars to repair.

Now, gentlemen of the jury,

there is only one verdict you can bring
in when I have proven all these facts.

The defendant has attempted
to bludgeon Sam Walker

and the citizens of Virginia City
into submission to his arrogant

and illegal demands.

Now, if you arrive at a
verdict of guilty as charged,

then you will be known throughout
the world as true Americans.


By Jove, that man was almost
as good as Sergeant Buzfuz

in my own Pickwick Papers.

All right, now, Dickens,
we'll hear from you.

- No comment, Your Honor.
- Didn't ask for comment.

Just want you to open for the
defense in the proper manner.

There is nothing proper in this
whole proceeding, Your Honor.

I have no intention of
lending myself to a trial here.

This is a star chamber,

and it is quite obvious to me
that you already consider me guilty.

You're guilty, all right.
Guilty of contempt.

That'll be $10. Now, sit down.


Now, look, let me
ask for a continuance

and get you a lawyer,
or at least tell the judge

what you were doing at the
Enterprise office that night.

I've already said all I
intend to say, Mr. Cartwright.

Now, Dickens, are
you gonna stand up

and say a few words for yourself
before I give this case to the jury?

I have nothing to say.

All right, gentlemen, it
looks like that does it.

You can retire to the back
room to consider the verdict.

Four minutes. That ought
to set some kind of a record.

Yeah. Sure ought to.


It's guilty as charged.

Just the verdict I expected.


Or asked for.

JUDGE: The defendant
has been found guilty.

He will pay the
plaintiff, uh, let me see,

$1260 plus the
cost of the action,

and don't forget the $10
I fined you for contempt.

Court's adjourned.


Not one penny, sir. I'll
not pay a single penny.

You prefer jail?

For the rest of my
life, if necessary,

rather than submit to
this mockery of justice.

Your Honor, I know that
Mr. Dickens is innocent of the charge.

You got proof?

- Well, no, not yet, but...
- Do what's needful, bailiff.


Well, I guess we showed
that fella a thing or two, huh?


Exactly what do you
think you showed that fella?

He was asking for it,
and we sure gave it to him.

We sure did.

Yeah, you gave it to him.


Heh, you sure gave it to him.

You listen to me, all of you.

Now, Mr. Dickens came
to Virginia City as my guest.

He came here as a guest
of a Virginia City club.

He gave a performance in this
very hall which you all enjoyed.

He didn't finish it because
when he tried to tell you

what he thought about
people who pirated his works

you howled him down.

Now, I don't think he was right
not to finish his performance.

And I don't think he was right to
say what he did to Sam Walker.

But that's not the point.

Mr. Dickens is in jail right
now not because he's guilty

and not because
he can't afford to pay,

but because he's a bull-headed
man who'll fight the world

if he thinks that somebody
is rustling his rights.

Just as every one of you would.

But one thing he's not

is a sniveling coyote who
would take his spite out

on somebody else's property.

And when that sniveling hooligan

who did wreck the
Enterprise office is caught...

and he will be...

I look forward to seeing every
one of you hang your head in shame.

Pa, you want me to take Mr. Dickens'
stuff into jail to him in the morning.

Yeah, might as well.

My American Notes,
by Charles Dickens.

- Hey, Pa. BEN: Hmm.

Come here a minute.

Look at that.

"Dear Dickens, I'm
ready to come to terms.

Let's talk it over in
my office this evening.

S. Walker."

That's funny that Sam wouldn't
have mentioned this note.

- Probably because he didn't write it.
- Then who did?

Well, I got a pretty good idea.

I think I know
how to handle this.

HOSS: This here's a little petition
that a bunch of us are getting together

to get Mr. Dickens out of jail.

That's on account of him being
such a famous man and all.

We figured you being a countryman
of his, you'd sure wanna sign it.

Well, he, uh... He ain't been
very nice to me, you know.

Still seeing as how he's been
found guilty, I suppose I can be

as merciful as anybody else.

There you are.


What's going on?

Just making sure
there's no mistake.

- You wrote this.
- No, I never. I never wrote nothing.

Look at it. That's your
handwriting. Well?

Oh, so what? That
don't prove nothing.

I think you'd better have
a little talk with the sheriff.

I ain't going to jail for
the likes of Dickens.

Throw out your guns.
Come on. Come on.

I'll shoot, I tell you.

I'm not joking.


Yeah, what is it this time?

I shall need more writing
paper, at least a ream.

And more pencils.


Jeb, what's this?

Start counting up
the collections, sheriff.

And if that ain't
enough, we'll get more.

- Enough for what?
- For Mr. Dickens.

For the damage to the Enterprise

and that $10 fine the
judge hung on him.


- All right, Dickens, you're free.
- Not now, not now.

- Did you say I was free?
- That's what I said.

I wondered how long it would take
you people to come to your senses.

I shall send for my things.

Why are all these people here?

We just paid up your
reckoning, Mr. Dickens.


Well, we don't know whether
you done like they say,

but we do like the way
you stuck by your guns.

Yes, sir, Mr. Dickens. Takes
a real man not to weaken

when it's all gone against him.

And another thing.

That there Oliver Twist
you was playing out for us

in the social hall, [CHUCKLES]

we sure had a lot of fun listening,
even though you didn't finish.

And some of us figured it
ain't right you being in jail.

Not when you give so
much pleasure to people.

So we sprung you.


My dear fellow, do you know
what these fine people have done?

They've paid my reckoning.

I'm free.

Sheriff, I think you'd best give
these good people back their money.




All right, I'm the man you want.

- Come on, Stoker.
- Take your hands off me.

Mr. Dickens, being as
it's all straightened out,

maybe you would
consider, uh, finishing

where you left off
on little Oliver, please.

I should be delighted.

DICKENS: "Mr. Brownlow
adopted Oliver as his son,

removing with him and
the old housekeeper

to within a mile of
a parsonage house

where his dear friends resided.

He gratified the only
remaining wish of Oliver's warm

and earnest heart,

and thus linked
together a little society

who's condition approached as
nearly to one of perfect happiness

as can ever be known
in this changing world."


Thank you.

Dear, dear friends, thank you.

Like my hero, Oliver Twist,
you have asked for more.

Unlike the gentleman
in the white waistcoat,

I am very grateful.

The more so since you
have reminded me of

a certain piece of
magnificent writing not my own

which I had almost forgotten.

It was written upon
another occasion

when an Englishman
and some Americans...

misunderstood each other.

I would like to
recite it to you.

When in the course
of human events

it becomes necessary
for one people

to dissolve the political bands which
have connected them with another

and to assume among
the powers of the Earth

the separate and equal station
to which the laws of nature

and of nature's
god entitle them,

a decent respect to the
opinions of mankind requires

that they should declare the causes
which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths
to be self-evident

that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed
by their creator

with certain inalienable rights,

that among these
are life, liberty

and the pursuit of happiness.


Even words as eloquent as
these can often be distant and cold.

It was not until I reached
this unimportant mining hamlet


that I realized that
men do actually live

by the spirit of justice
contained in these words.

As Mr. Bumble the
beadle might say:

"May your worships be happy
and healthy and flourish everlasting."


And as for myself,

I shall never forget what I
have learned here in America,

nor will I cease to be grateful
for the uncommon generosity

you have shown

to a poor misguided Englishman.


Behind the Scenes of A Passion for Justice

Jonathan Harris portrays Charles Dickens, who indeed embarked on book reading tours across the United States from December 1867 to April 1868. However, it’s worth noting that he primarily visited New York and Boston during his tour.

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Bonanza provides wholesome entertainment suitable for individual enjoyment or family gatherings. A Passion for Justice stands as the 136th episode out of a total of 430. Produced by NBC, Bonanza graced their network from September 1959 to January 1973, spanning 14 seasons.

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