a stanger passed this way
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A Stranger Passed This Way Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #04, Episode #23

After suffering from amnesia due to an accident, Hoss Cartwright is cared for by an elderly farm couple, Christina (played by Signe Hasso) and Klaas (played by Robert Emhardt), who are grieving the loss of their son, Hendrick. Upon regaining consciousness, Hoss is led to believe by the couple that he is their deceased son, Hendrick, and they insist he remains with them indefinitely. Their heart-wrenching deception faces potential exposure when Hoss’ father, Ben, arrives, searching for his missing son. Penned by William Stuart, A Stranger Passed This Way premiered on March 3, 1963.

You can explore the entire episode by watching it below to understand the plot and uncover fascinating trivia comprehensively.

Table of Contents

Watch the Full Episode of A Stranger Passed This Way

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Main Cast

In the twenty-third episode of Bonanza’s fourth season, titled “A Stranger Passed This Way,” several recurring and supporting cast members appeared. Notable members of the cast include:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Signe Hasso as Christina Vandervort
  • Robert Emhardt as Klaas Vandervort
  • Addison Richards as Dr. Hickman
  • Robert Carricart as Don Escobar
  • Bob Miles as Bushwacker #2 (uncredited)
  • Dan White as Stableman (uncredited)

Full Story Line for A Stranger Passed This Way

Left disoriented and suffering from amnesia after being ambushed, Hoss is discovered wandering by the Vandervorts, an elderly couple. Eager to fill the void left by their deceased son, they welcome Hoss into their fold. However, when Ben begins his search for his missing son, the Vandervorts deceitfully deny having seen him. They withhold Hoss’s true identity from him, intending to relocate him to Michigan and separate him permanently from his family and the Ponderosa.

Full Script and Dialogue of A Stranger Passed This Way

Well, I think we can
use the whole string.

Your father will be
pleased, Senor Cartwright.

I imagine he will, Don Escobar.

They're mighty handsome animals.

Ah, si.

You know, 100 of
their sires left Barcelona

for the trip around the Cape...

only 20 survived.

Would you care to join
me in some refreshment?


No, thank you, sir. I've
gotta push on into Placerville.


Senor, you will never
reach there before nightfall.

No, I reckon not, but
I, I got to get home

as quick as I can.

Let's see, I think
you quoted to me

the price on those horses...

$100 a head, did ya?

You disappoint me, Senor.

I was hoping to do
some bargaining.

You see, the joy of
breeding fine horses for sale

comes from the pleasant
hours discussing the price.

Well, sir, I'd like
to oblige you, but

I got to go on back
home. We've been in


round-up now for about two
weeks and if I don't get back there,

my brothers are
gonna have my hide.

I understand, Senor Cartwright.

The horses will be
delivered in about ten day.

Muchas gracias, and a
pleasant journey to you.

Thank you, sir.



Give me that picture.

I said give me that picture.

Money first.

Now give me that picture.

You must want that
picture pretty bad.

What is she your sweetheart?

Pick that up.

You're forgetting...
I've got the gun.

You're gonna pick that up.

- Mama.
- Yeah, Papa?

You should have brought
the pretty flowered kind

instead of the black again.

Maybe next year.

Christina... three
years is too long mourn.

Maybe next year, Papa.

Whoa, whoa.

We're going a few
miles before we turn off,

but you're welcome
to ride if you like.

Thank you.

It ain't often we
find a young fellow

way out here riding
on Shank's Mare.

But if you're going to walk,

there's nothing like a
fine autumn day to do it on.

Jump in, jump in.


Whoa, whoa.

This will be as far
as we go, mister.


Whoa, baby.

Hi, Pa.

Well, what are you
doing back here?

I figured I'd let
Adam finish the tally

and I'd start riding
that east fence...

as soon as I get
something to eat.

Hungry as a bear.

Where are our copies
of the agreements

Hoss brought back?


Your brother, Hoss.

Didn't he give you our
copies of the agreements?

Heck no.

Didn't he join you
at the round-up?

No, I haven't seen
hide nor hair of him.

Well, he telegraphed
over a week ago

that he closed that
deal in Sacramento.

Yeah, but he was going to stop
off at San Vnuese, wasn't he?

See Don Escobar
about those geldings?

Yeah, even so.

He should've joined you
three days ago at the latest.

Well, he didn't.

He'd be carrying a lot of
money with him, wouldn't he,

from that Sacramento deal?

Yeah, he certainly would.

Saddle my horse, Joe, will ya?

What are you gonna do?


I'll just backtrack
a little, just in case.

Well, I'll go with you.

If I need your help, young man,
I'll see that word gets to you.

Saddle up the horse.

How long did you say he's been
unconscious, Mr. Vandervort?

It is five hours we
make it now, doctor.

He will get well, doctor, yes?

Well, I know one thing.

When he wakes up, he's
gonna to be mighty hungry.

You should not joke in
a matter like this, doctor.

If you'd seen this boy, the
way he fell down on the road

before our very eyes.

Now, you needn't
worry, Mrs. Vandervort.

His, uh, respiration, his heart,

his reflexes are excellent.

Remarkable as a matter of fact.

But he seems to have been

wandering for quite a while...

probably without food or sleep.

Is there anything else we
could do for him, doctor?

No, the lacerations
at the base of the skull

are quite minor.

They're starting to
heal nicely already.

So, uh, given care,

he should be
himself in a day or so.

Take this horse.

I was told I'd find
Don Escobar here.

Don Escobar?

- Buenos dias, senor.
- Buenos dias.

My name is Ben Cartwright.

Uh, one of my sons

was to have bought
some horses from you.

Of course.

A very pleasant young man,
your son, Senor Cartwright.

Then, then he was here?

Yes, I promised him

I would deliver the
geldings in about ten days.

Did he not tell you?

Well... he hasn't
reached home yet.

Actually, I'm, I'm
trying to locate him.

I'm sorry to hear that, senor.

Especially with all
the bandits around.

Well, I guess I'd better
get on my way then.

If it will help you,

your son left
here for Placerville

about this time of day,

intending to make
an overnight camp.

I think I'll do the
same thing then.

Gracias, senor.

No ida quest, senor.

Good morning.


I guess, I... must
have been pretty weak,

falling down like I did and all.

Oh, it is nothing. You
have slept now five,

ten, that makes 15 hours,

and you will be hungry.

This is my husband,
Klaas Vandervort,

and I am Christina Vandervort.

Uh, what is your
name, young man?


Look, I'll...

I'll not be bothering
you folks anymore.

I'll just be getting home.

Well, The doctor said you must
have good care for a day or two,

and eat.

You are hungry
now, aren't you, Mr...?

Mr., uh...?

Ma'am, if...

if you'd get me my clothes,
I'd... I'd sure appreciate it.

Oh, one thing the doctor
was very sure about,

you must eat and
get your strength back.

You will eat this now, and
then sleep some more, yes.

Come along, Papa.

He's a fine young
man, isn't he, Papa?

I wonder why he would
not tell us his name.

Something is troubling him.

Ach, you'd be
troubled, too, Papa,

if you'd been wandering for
days with a lump on your head

the size of a goose egg.

Now, I have work to do,
and you should have been

- in the fields an hour ago.
- Ja, Mama.





Wait, please, wait.

You would not go
without saying good-bye?

Ma'am, I... I just didn't want
to be any more bother to you.

Bother? But you are no bother.

What troubles you so?

Oh, please, I
would like to help.

Ma'am, I... I don't
know who I am.

No matter how hard I try, I...

I can't remember anything.

I don't know.

But... the doctor said

you would be well
in a day or two.

Yeah, but... even
so, it's pretty scary

not knowing who you
are or... what you are.

But, uh, you couldn't have
been anything but good

and kind and gentle.

But, ma'am... I
ain't got a name.

A name. Ach, what's a name!

Something you have
been given by others,

something you can change.

Uh, we will give you a name, ja?

Now, uh... Willem?





Rum... That's a
pretty unlikely name.

Ja. Most unlikely name, ja.

Hendrick... Hendrick!

It is a name I'm most fond of.

It is big like you, and good.

- Hendrick.
- Ja.

Hendrick Vandervort, ja!

And now you must
do as the doctor said...

Rest a bit longer and eat.

Come along, come
along... Hendrick.



Hendrick is sleeping
peacefully, Papa.

You have given
him our son's name?

He must have a name.

Why Hendrick? Why the
same name as our son?

Why not?

It is interfering, Christina.

It may be a... a hurtful thing

to interfere in
the lives of others.

Wasn't our life interfered
with when our son died?

Mama... he is not our son.

He could be anybody.

He could be a man with
wife and children of his own.

Hm. The West...
took a son from us.

Perhaps now it is returning one.

Mama, you must
not think these things.

It is wrong.

You must forget about Hendrick.

Forget about Hendrick?

You ask me to forget
about my own son?

Maybe that is why I never left,

why I stayed here so long...

Because I knew he
would come back.

I knew that one day

my son would come back to me.


Good morning.


Good morning. Mrs. Vandervort?

Ja, I'm Mrs. Vandervort.

If you wish to see my husband,
I'm taking his noon meal

- out to him in the field now.
- Well, no,

that-that won't
be necessary. I...

- My name is Cartwright...
- Ah.

And, uh, I'm-I'm
looking for a young man.

He's my son.

Light complected, uh,
weighs about 280 pounds.

A pretty big fella... I think
you'd probably remember him

if you'd seen him.

Uh, what is your son's name?

Well, his name is Eric,

but his brothers
and I call him Hoss.

Then you have other sons?

Well, I have two other sons,

but I was rather
worried about Hoss

- because he was...
- His mother must be worried, too.

Well, his mother died
when he was a baby.


If you do see him,

I'd like him to know that
his father's looking for him.

I will tell my husband,

and if we should see
your son, uh, we'll tell him.

Thank you, ma'am.


Well, we had a visitor.

That's why Mama's
late for the nooning.

Ah, here comes Mama.

A new neighbor, Mama?

No, Klaas, just a stranger.

Boy, that food sure
does smell good.

I've been so hungry
the last half hour,

I didn't hardly have
enough strength

to pick up one of
them little seeds.

What'd the stranger want, Mama?

He was just asking his way.

His name was Cartwright.

- Cartwright?
- Yah.

I don't know
anybody by that name.

The blessing, Papa.

Oh, Lord, for that which
we are about to receive,

make us truly thankful.

- Amen.
- Amen.

When it rains, Hendrick,
that is when they are good.

Yeah, they're a
little stiff though,

aren't they, Mr. Vandervort?

Yah, stiff.

But never the wet feet when
you wear the wooden shoes.

Yeah, but it don't
rain much out here.

Yah, Hendrick, but
when the rains do come,

our wooden shoes and
our tulip beds bring us

a bit of old Holland, yah, Papa?

Yah, Holland. I
miss it very much.

What Klaas really misses
is our Holland in Michigan.

Holland in Michigan?

When we came to this country,

we came with Dr. Van
Raalte to form a new colony.

Already there is one thousand
of our people in Michigan.

We have a church and a school,

and soon they are to have
a college to be named Hope.

And the land is
so fertile and rich.

Not even in old Holland do
they grow such beautiful tulips.

Let us go back, Papa.

But you have always said...

I know what I have said.

When our son died,
I didn't want to leave.

Even in his grave, I
felt he was close to me.

But I know how Klaas
is yearning for Michigan

and for our friends there.

And now you will go?

Yah, Papa, now I will go.

As soon as we sell the farm.

That could be tomorrow.

For two years now, we've
had an offer from Mr. Adamson.

Then we could go
right away, Papa.

As soon as we pack the wagon.

If you folks will excuse
me, I think I'll go to bed.

No, Hendrick.

This concerns you, too.

I don't understand, ma'am.

Now that you're here and
have become like a son to us,

I can bear to leave
if you go with us.

Mama... Come with
us, Hendrick, please?

Ma'am, I-I couldn't do that.

But why not? Aren't
you happy here with us?

Oh, yes, ma'am.

Well, then do come
with us, please.

We'll have a good life
together in Michigan.

You and Mr. Vandervort
are about all I've...

I'll go wherever
you go... and gladly.

Thank you.

Good night.

- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.


Isn't that wonderful?

Tomorrow we can
prepare to start.

I don't know, Christina.

I... I don't believe it's right.

But you heard what he
said. He wants to go with us.

But in Michigan...

he'll be so far from
everything he knows.

- He will...
- He will be happy.

We are all he has in
this world now, Papa.

Everything will be fine.

It will be like a
new life for all of us.

Come in.

Oh, Dr. Hickman?


What can I do for you?

Dr. Hickman, my
name is Cartwright.

Could I talk to
you for a moment?

Why, of course. Sit down.

I was, uh... I was told
over at the livery stable

that a couple of days ago

you treated a young
man for a head wound.

Yes, yes, a rather
large young man.

Yes. That... That's my son.

Was it serious?

Well, he'd received
a rather severe blow

in the back of the head,

but, uh, that should have
cleared up nicely by now.

At least I wasn't called
back for any further treatment.

Well, that's... that's a relief.

Uh, where-where
could I find him?

He was with a
family of Hollanders.

They'd found him wandering.

Name of Vandervort.


Well, that's funny. I...

I was by there just yesterday,
and the lady there said

that she hadn't... she
hadn't seen any young man.

I wonder why she wouldn't
tell me he was there.

Well, I don't understand.

The Vandervorts are nice people.

Certainly not the kind you'd
think would hide the fact

if, uh... if there were
any complications.

Good morning.

Good morning, Doctor.

Good morning, Klaas.

What's going on here?

Looks like you're
getting ready to move.

Ja. Mama finally agreed
we go to Michigan.

We're leaving as
soon as we're packed.

Well, the, uh,
doctor here told me

that, uh, you've had a young
man staying here with you.

Said he treated him
for a head wound.

This is Mr. Cartwright, Klaas.

His son is missing,

and he thinks,
from my description,

that his son might be the
young man I treated here.

I dropped by here yesterday.

Your wife didn't even mention

that such a young
man had been here.


Well, young man, I'm
certainly glad to see you.

Why, I'm... I'm
happy to see you, sir.

You're happy to see...

Is that all you have to say?


Excuse me, sir.

Mr. Cartwright?

Mr. Cartwright, your
son does not know you.

What do you mean,
he doesn't know me?

I'm his father.

When he regained

It was after you left, Doctor...

He could not
remember who he was,

or anything about himself.

And he hasn't
remembered anything since?

No, Doctor.

He becomes very
upset, almost ill,

when he tries to
remember and he can't.

Well, I'll see to it that
he remembers right now.

Mr. Cartwright, just
a moment, please.

Your son's injury was perhaps
a great deal more serious

than I thought.

He looks perfectly healthy.

Well, that's not what I mean.

If Klaas is right,
then it's possible

that your son is suffering

from a condition known
as amnesia, loss of memory.

Well, I've heard of amnesia,

but surely the
cure is very simple.

I'll just tell him who he is.

It may not be that
simple, Mr. Cartwright.

Your cure could be dangerous.

Thank you.

That thing was
getting pretty heavy.

Mr. Vandervort, you
want me to check the barn

and see if we forgot anything?

Ja. If you would, please.

Mrs. Vandervort,
why did you lie to me?

What's going on here?

Where are you taking my son?!

To Michigan.

To be with our people.

There it will not matter if
he can remember or not.

They will become his people.

You would take him,

knowing that I'm
looking for him?

Ja. But we did not force him.

He wants to come
with us. He wants to.

And he will be happy in
Michigan in his new home.

You wanted to take him away

before I even
discovered he was here.


What gave you the
right to do such a thing?

Because each time
someone reminds him

that he knows nothing
of his past or who he is,

he becomes fearful,
full of pain and suffering.

And I cannot bear to see that.


Is he the man who called on us

that day when Hendrick and
I were working in the fields?

So he is the reason

you so suddenly decide
we must go to Michigan?


I have told you we
ought not interfere

in the lives of others.

He must come home
with me, Mr. Vandervort.

You can see that, can't you?

He must be given every
chance to remember.

Mr. Cartwright, there's
something you should know.

What, Doctor?

In struggling for
him, it's possible

that he could be
lost, even to himself.

He should be given an
opportunity to remember,

but he must never be
pressed to remember.

Like all amnesiacs,
he's terribly concerned

that all this is due to
some fault of his own,

particularly since he's
faced with people and places

that he should recall instantly.

He's not mentally ill now.

It's just that we don't know yet

what tensions can
do to the human brain.

Doctor... if he
were to come home,

just so that his-his brothers
could see him once more,

and if-if no pressure
was put on him,

what harm could there be?

Well, we could never be sure.

No, it would not do any good.

It would only
upset and hurt him.

We will stop on
the way, Christina.

No, Klaas, no!

Mrs. Vandervort... he's my son.

If you had a son,
you'd know how I feel.

We had a son.

We know what
it is to lose a son.

Cruelly and suddenly,
we know, we know.

Mrs. Vandervort, I promise
you that we will do nothing,

say nothing that might
upset him or hurt him.


We will stop by your ranch.


Now Hoss and those people
will be here in a little while.

Now remember what I said...
You won't like what you see.

He's going to look right at you
without a spark of recognition.

Well, what I can't
understand is that woman,

thinking she can just-just
cart him off with her.

Well, she has
no right to do that.

Why do you even listen to her?

Legalities and rights
have nothing to do with it.

I haven't been able to tell
you everything the doctor said,

but please, do as I ask you.

I know what I'm doing.

When he gets here,
treat him as a stranger.

Take care of my horse.


Well, I'm glad you
found the place.

These are my, uh, two
sons... Adam, Little Joe.

Mr. and Mrs. Vandervort.

And this is, uh, Hendrick.

Happy to meet you fellas.

It's mighty nice of you to
invite us to spend the night.

Well, we're happy
to have you here.

You have a long
trip ahead of you.

We'll have supper shortly.

Perhaps you'd
like to freshen up.

Adam, would you show
Mr. and Mrs. Vandervort

to the guest room?

Thank you. Thank you.

Joseph, would you, uh,
take care of the team?

Yes, sir.

Well, let me show
you to your room.

Yes, sir.

Oh. This is, uh,
the room you'll be in.

Beautiful old ship.


Hey... that's a mighty big bed.

Yes, uh... yes, it is a big bed.

We-we had it made
in San Francisco.

Oh, yeah?

For a big man.

Yeah. Never saw
one that big before.


Nice room.

I thought you might like to
clean up a bit before supper.

Yeah, yeah, I would, thank you.

Pretty lady.

Yes, she's, uh... very pretty.

Well, I'll, uh... I'll
see you downstairs.

Yes, sir.

It's just gonna
take more time, Pa.

It's just gonna take more time
for us to help him remember.

Pa, he's our brother.

He doesn't know that, Joe.

And according to the doctor...

to face him with that
knowledge, to force it on him,

could be dangerous.

Could set him back even further.

Well, we have to do something.

We can't just let him ride
off with the Vandervorts.

We'll, we'll do nothing.

Just let him look at familiar
things, familiar faces,

and hope that something
sparks his memory.

And what if it doesn't work?

You mean we can't once call
him brother before he rides out?

I said no.

It's going to be hard to resist.

But, Pa, what do you
think we're made of?

I know what you're made of...

and that is why you
will not call him brother

and I will not call him son.

Would you like
another helping of cake?

No, thank you, Mr. Cartwright.

You sure set a fine table.

One of our team managed to
get a cut on a fetlock foreleg.

I have a notion I ought to
go out there and take care of it

so we can get an early
start in the morning.

You'll find a lantern
on the front porch.

Thank you, sir, excuse me.

Maybe we should
give him some help.

We'll be careful.

Hi, fella.

His name is Chubby.

Oh, yeah?

He's a handsome
critter, ain't he?

You fellas have any
liniment I could use?

I'll get you some.

Papa, we have
far to go tomorrow.

We should go to bed.

Before you do, I must
have a word with you.

Mr. Cartwright, we have
done what you asked us to.

We stopped by your place.

But the doctor said it would
take one day or ten days...

Or a lifetime.

Didn't the doctor say that, too?

Yes, yes, that's what he said.

We have far to go and much
work to do before the snow falls.

Please let your son go with us
tomorrow as you agreed, please.

I must have more time.

He is my son.

But you still have
two sons left.

If I had a dozen sons, he
would be as important to me.

So important that you forget
the other thing the doctor said...

That it might be
dangerous to press him?

Christina, you are being
cruel, and I will not permit it.


Have you forgotten
the pain you felt

when our own Hendrick
was taken from us?

How could I forget?

But that is why I
could help your son.

He needs the love
of a mother now.

I can give him that.

Mrs. Vandervort,

I had to raise my boy alone,

without the help
or love of a mother.

But I raised him and I love him

and I would give him
up if deep in my heart

I felt I would hurt him
by telling him the truth.

Mr. Cartwright, if you want
to tell your son the truth,

if you are willing
to take the chance,

I will call him.


Yeah, Mr. Vandervort.

Would you come to the house?

Well, looks like they
need me in there.

We'll finish that for you.

Oh, thanks.

Yes, sir.

This will take only a moment.

Mr. Cartwright has
something to say to you.

Yes, sir.

Uh, w-won't you sit down?

Mr. and Mrs. Vandervort...

they tell me that, uh,

an accident affected
your memory...

that, uh...

that you can't
remember who you are...

anything from the past.

That's right.

I-I know how difficult it must
be for you to think about it,

but if there were
someone who could tell you

who you are or
where you come from...

would you want to know that?

I don't know.

Why does the question
make you so nervous?

I don't know.

I... I can't remember anything.

I, I'd rather not talk about it.

Well, don't you understand?

I, I was only trying.

I'm sorry.

I think I'd best be
getting back to the barn.

My, uh, my sons will,
will do your chores for you.

Why don't you, why
don't you go up to bed?

You have a long, long
journey ahead of you.

Good night, folks.

- Good night.
- Good night, Hendrick.

Mr. Cartwright, should
your son recall who he is,

we will help in every
way we can for his return.

Good night.

- Good night.
- Good night.

Mr. Cartwright,

we are ready and
Hendrick isn't down yet.

I'll get him.

Thank you.


Come in.

- Morning.
- Oh, good morning.

Did you call Hoss?

Oh, yes, uh, it's a, it's an
old mountain expression.

Means "friend."

Oh, thank you.

Uh, the Vandervorts are ready.

They're waiting for you.

Yeah, I'm running a little late.

That dad-blamed bed
was so comfortable,

I reckon I
overslept a little bit.

- Oh.
- Oh, here.

I'm sorry, I...

Pick that up.

You pick that up.


You're going to pick that up.

You pick it up!



I was about to hit you.

Hoss, I... It-It's
all right, son.

B-But, Pa, I was about to...

It-It's, it's all right, son.

Pa, I ain't never
lifted my hand...

It wa... it was nothing.

I-I-I'm sorry I... busted
your ma's picture.

- Pa...
- We'll get that fixed up.

But why, Pa?

Son, please.

Look... get yourself
ready for breakfast.

Come on now.

Is he ready?

Mr. Cartwright, he is all right?

He's fine.


Hey, Pa, whose
wagon's this out in front?

It ain't one of ours.

Come down, son, we have company.


I, uh, I want you to
meet Mrs. Vandervort.

Mrs. Vandervort,
this is my third son.

How are you, ma'am?

Good morning.

Your name is...?

Well, most folks just
call me Hoss, ma'am.



Ja, Papa, we must leave.

You, uh, you folks figuring
on settling around nearby?

No, no, we're just strangers
who passed by to ask our way.

Your father was kind enough

to offer us breakfast
and water our horses.

You, uh, you got far to go?

Ja, Hoss, far... to Holland.

To Holland?

Holland in Michigan.

- Oh.-Ja, that is where
our people settled.

We are going back there now.

We are needed there.

We have been away long enough.

Come, Papa.

Thank you for your
hospitality, Mr. Cartwright.


Well, I don't know
about you fellers.

I'm hungry; let's go eat.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is an excellent, wholesome program suitable for individual or family viewing. A Stranger Passed This Way represents the 123rd episode among a total of 430. Bonanza, produced by NBC, aired from September 1959 to January 1973, maintaining its popularity over 14 seasons.

You can find more about any of the 430 Bonanza episodes here>>

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