between heaven and earth
Bonanza Western TV
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Between Heaven and Earth Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #06, Episode #09

This gripping Bonanza episode centers primarily on Little Joe Cartwright. Wrestling with a fear of heights, Joe battles intense nightmares after misplacing his rifle on the treacherous Eagles Peak. To find solace, Joe must confront the peak and retrieve his weapon, though the challenging journey may cost him his life. Ed Adamson’s screenplay is said to have drawn inspiration from Michael Landon’s fear of high places, a personal struggle he openly shared with his devoted fanbase. The ensemble cast features Richard Jaeckel as Mitch. Between Heaven and Earth made its television debut on November 15, 1964.

Discover this captivating plot and intriguing trivia, or watch the full episode below.

Table of Contents

Watch the Full Episode of Between Heaven and Earth

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Main Cast

Apart from the main cast, “Between Heaven and Earth,” the ninth episode of Bonanza Season 6 presents a diverse array of recurring and guest-supporting actors. The cast includes:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright (credit only)
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Richard Jaeckel as Mitch Devlin
  • Robert Biheller as Ken (as Bob Biheller)
  • Bob Miles as Les
  • Bill Clark as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Betty Endicott as Brunette Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • Martha Manor as Blonde Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • William Moss as (uncredited)
  • Arnold Roberts as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Cosmo Sardo as Bartender (uncredited)
  • Ted Smile as Barfly (uncredited)

Full Story Line for Between Heaven and Earth

Little Joe and his companion, Mitch, pursue a sheep-killing puma into a canyon. Joe scales a steep slope to survey the terrain better, but a slip causes him to drop his rifle into a crevice, triggering a paralyzing fear. Despite Mitch’s calls, Joe manages to descend without his weapon.

Feeling ashamed, Joe keeps his ordeal to himself. As his panicked attempts to retrieve the rifle fail, his bottled-up frustration leads to reckless behavior. Ben senses Joe’s distress and confronts his youngest son. Will Joe open up about his secret and accept the help he urgently requires from his father?

Full Script and Dialogue of Between Heaven and Earth







- You all right?
- Ah, yeah, Pa, I'm all right. I'm sorry.

Sorry, I woke you up. I
just had a little nightmare.

You did have yourself
a little nightmare.

You've been having quite
a few of these lately, Joe.

Ugh, you don't
have to tell me, Pa.

You, um, wanna come downstairs
have something to eat, talk about it?


There's nothing to talk about,
I can't remember anything.

Can't remember
anything that you dreamt?

No, not a thing. All I know
is I have a bad dream.

Next thing I know,
I wake up scared.

- You're sure you're all right?
- Ah, yeah, I'm fine.

Why don't you go on,
go to bed, I'll be all right.



- Good night.
- 'Night.

Pleasant dreams.


MAN 1: Come on.

MAN 2: Come on, man. Come
on. MAN 3: Come on. Come on.

Come on. Come on, man.

Come on.

- Come on, man. Put him
down. MAN 3: Come on, man.

Come on, I got 2 bucks on you.
You can beat the champ. Come on.

Come on, Mitch, he's
just a kid, put him down.

MAN 1: Come on.


MITCH: All right,
who's next here?

Hey, Cartwright, how come
you never challenge the champ?

- What about that, fellas?
- Yeah, why not?

- Look, fellas, I got nothing to prove.
- You're afraid he might take you?

Look, I'm not asking
for any arguments.

Look, I'll be back next Friday,
you hear, I'll take on all comers.

Except your pal Cartwright, huh?

I said I'm not asking
for any arguments,

but I'm not running
away from one either.

And don't forget, you
boys, you practice real hard,

bring plenty of money next
Friday, huh? Come on, Joe.

Come on, I'll buy
you all a beer.

Well, I guess I'll
see you Friday.

Thinking about that Ken fella, Joe,
he was trying to stir up a little trouble

between you and me,
wasn't he? I'm sorry about that.

Forget it. There's
nothing to be sorry for.

Like I said, we got nothing
to prove between us.


Besides, you're unbeatable,
champ. Absolutely unbeatable.

Heh, yeah?

Yeah, but don't let go to your head,
You're liable to get a little top-heavy.



Hey, Mitch, look.

Well, that puma was feeding out
of your sheep herd last week, Joe.


JOE: That way.

- Ah, we better forget about it for now.
- Nothing doing.

Well, he's liable be in the
brush waiting to jump on you.

Yeah, I just hope he is.

That way I can spot him,
by the third Eagle's Nest.

MITCH: That's a
pretty rough climb, Joe.

Well, I want that cat.





Joe? Joe!


I just took a shot at him.

I missed him, Joe, but you're
gonna have a clear shot at him.

coming right underneath you, Joe.

He's coming your way, Joe, you
ought to have a clear shot at him.

Heads up now, right
underneath you, to your right.

Joe, there he goes.


Joe, are you all right?


Joe, are you all right?




He ran on through, went
over Clements Ridge.

come you didn't take a shot at him?

I dropped my gun.

Well, all right, let's
go back up and get it.

Ah, oh, forget it, it's a long
climb, I'll get it tomorrow.

What do you mean, Joe, forget
it? It's an expensive rifle, come on.

It's my rifle, I said forget it.

All right. All right,
whatever you say, Joe.

See you Friday.


What's the matter with
your brother Joseph?

Oh, Pa, you know Joe.
Sleeping is his favorite pastime.

Yeah. He got all the work
to do at the lumber sluice.

You better wake him up.

Ah, that's quite a chore.

It's like wrestling with
an angry, old bear.

- I know. Just go wake him up.
- Yes, sir.


Good morning. Morning, Pa.
Same to you, big brother, Hoss.

Boy, weather is clear, sunny,
like they say, "Top of the day."

The sky is clear, sunshine, I slept
like a lamb and I'm hungry as a bear.

Pass me some of those eggs.

Well, what's up?

- You?
- Me?

Yeah, what's all this
cheer and bright and shiny

before your breakfast
coffee. Is this the new you?

Well, don't try to strain
your brain figuring me out.

Just, uh, take care of the inner
man, but first let me have some eggs.

Thanks. Hey, where's the, uh,
Plato of the Ponderosa this morning?

If you're referring to your
brother Adam, he left on time.


Yeah, the railhead.
I forgot. I'm sorry.

Ah, well, I'll go out and get that wagon
all rigged up. I'll see you at the barn.

Hmm. Well, see you outside.

Hey, Pa, what happened to that
stallion Harry Dickson had on the market?

Met Harry in town
yesterday. Made the deal.

That's gonna be some
fun, training that one.

I bet you the horse
traded the pants off.

It's untried animal,
you never know.

Come on, when it comes
to horse flesh, Pa, you know.

Well, you can never tell an animal
by how he looks or his manners.

Just like people.

Boy, is it good, Pa.

Hey, hey, Joe, come on, wake
up. Put a little steam on it, will you?

Put on a little steam?

All right, we'll put
on some steam.

Hyah! Come on!
Come on, here you go!

- Come on!
- Hey, Joe.

- Hyah! Let's go!
- Hey, Joe. Slow a slim down.

JOE: Hyah!

Joe, slow down. You're
gonna turn us over!

- You want steam, we gonna have it!
- Slow them down! Hyah!


What are you grinning about?
What's the matter with you anyhow?

What's the matter? Not
scared, are you, big brother?

What are you trying to prove?

- What's gotten into you?
- It's like you said,

we haven't got all day.
- No, you don't.

Hyah! Hyah!

Well, I'm going to bed.

JOE: Don't you wanna
play another game?

- Shut up.
- Ha-ha-ha.

- Good night, Pa.
- Good night, Hoss.

I guess I ought to let him
win one, once in a while.

I, uh, I had a talk with
Mitch Devlin today.

What, he come over here?

No, I stopped in at the Devlin
place on the way back from town.

All right. What's he got to say?

Well, he was talking about
what happened yesterday.

Why should he talk about
it? He doesn't know anything.

Well, he could see
how upset you were

about losing that
puma and your rifle.

You did your best. No need to
be so upset about a thing like that.

Is that all he had to say?

Mm-hm. Why? Is there
something else he should've said?

Heh, no. Uhn-uhn.

I think I'll turn in.

BEN: Joe?

Wasn't that your favorite rifle?

Yeah, I'll get it, Pa.
Don't worry about it.

- Good night.
- Good night, son.

What's the matter?

How long you been here?

Just got here. Pa
sent me after you.

What are you doing
up here, anyhow?


That's telling me a lot, thanks.

- Do you have to know everything?
- Look, Joe, you disappeared,

they sent me after you.

I ask you a simple question
and you jump down my throat.

All right. All right.
I'm tracking a puma.

What's pa want?

I don't know. He just told me
to bring you back in a hurry.

How he expects me to find that
puma if they won't leave me alone?

- Funny way to be tracking a cat.
- Yeah, what's so funny about it?

You ain't got a rifle.

JOE: You wanted to
see me? BEN: Sure do.

- What about?
- This.


The horse I traded
Harry Dickson for.


Dynamite on four fuses. It's
all saddled up and ready to go.

And you got your work
cut out for you, Little Joe.

- Pa wanted it to be a surprise for you.
- All right, I'm surprised.

- I thought you'd be pleased.
- Pa, I'm pleased.

I had figured you'd wanna jump
right up there and start working him.

Got nothing to do with not wanting to
jump up there and start working him.

I'm up a mountain
trying to get a rifle

and he tells me to come
back and look at a horse.

- Did you get it?
- No, I didn't get it.

He said you wanted to see
me about something important.

Heh, all right, cool off now.
Cool off. Go on and get it.

Hoss, you try at this horse.

I ain't as good at this as Little Joe
is, but I ain't as scared of him either.


HOSS: All right.

It's for dang sure, he
ain't afraid of me either.

Easy, boy. Easy, boy.


You saying I'm afraid?

I didn't say that.

You get down off there
because you're right,

you're not as good
at this as I am.

You want that horse educated
right, you're gonna let me up on it.

How come just a minute ago you
wasn't interested in educating him?

Maybe I don't wanna
see you ruin a good horse.

And don't you
think I'm ever afraid.

Tsk, you're welcome
to him, little brother.

Oh, boy.

I don't know what
to think of him, Pa.

One minute he's laughing at you

and the next minute
he's snarling at you.

All right, let me have him.

Quit ragging him, Joe.
You'll live a lot longer.

Talking to him is just like spitting
in the eye of a tornado. Is he crazy?


What's he showing
off for, anyhow?

Maybe himself.

Well, I ain't gotta watch it.




BEN: That's enough.
I said that's enough.

Come on, Pa, let me go!

- I said that's enough!
- Look, I can break the horse!

Not in the mood you're in.

You'll not only hurt yourself,
but the horse too. Now, cut it out.

Why can't you leave me alone and
just let me do things my own way?

Just let me do
things my own way.

Hi, Joe.

Hey, Mr. Cartwright.

What you doing, old
friend, how's it going?

- Busy.
- Oh?


Say, Joe, that's a real nice
looking hunk of horseflesh you got...

Look, I said I'm busy.

So you finish what you're
doing, it's all right. I'll wait for you.

- For what?
- To have a little talk, that's all.

- Oh, about me?
- Matter of fact, yeah.

Probably the same kind of talk
you had with my pa yesterday, huh?


Why don't you mind
your own business, Mitch?

Come on, Joe, what's eating you,
huh? Look, what's going on here?

I just come by to give
you a message, that's all.

I don't want to hear
any news from you.

And you keep your mouth shut
if you know what's good for you.

Hey, Mitch.



Oh, come on, this is silly.

What do I have to climb it
for? I got nothing to prove.

Just a mountain, what
am I trying to prove?

I can shoot it down, I
don't have to climb it.

Why do I have to climb it for?

Come on, Joe, take your time.


Come on, hit it.

Shoot it down.

Hit it! Hit it! Hit it!

All right, but I'll be back!




What, are you
waiting up for me, Pa?

- No.
- Look, I'm a big boy now.

Ah, yes, of course, you
are. But it is kind of late.

Tell me, you have a real
nice talk with Mitch today?

Mitch came over to tell you...

I don't care what Mitch
came over to tell me. It's a lie.

He came over to tell you that
Hank Kitterge had shot that puma.

All right, fine.
Then it's settled.

- What's settled?
- The whole thing is settled.

The puma, everything
else, it's settled.

What about the
rifle? Did you get that?

No, I haven't found the
gun. I haven't had the time.

Joe, what else is bothering you?

Come on, Pa, please
don't be a mind reader.

There's absolutely
nothing bothering me.

I don't have to be
much of a mind reader

to know that something's
gnawing away at you.

Now, son, we've been
able to talk things out before.

- Pa, we have nothing to talk about.
- Joseph.

Look, there are some things
that a man has to settle by himself

if he's ever gonna
call himself a man.

MAN 1: Come on, Frank.


MAN 2: You've got him.
Come on, you've got him.

Come on. Come on.

Frank, you didn't practice.

I told you, you've got to practice, else
how you gonna beat the champ, huh?

Why don't you shut up?

Look, I put my money
here where my mouth is.

Now, how about you?

Huh? Uh...

- Heh, all right, who's next here?
- Come on, let's go get a drink.

MITCH: What's the matter,
boys, no takers here?

You gentlemen don't want
fame and fortune, fellas?

Hey, old buddy. Good to
see you. Come on over here.

Look, I'm getting
fat here today.

Yeah, Sir Joe, I'm
glad you stopped by.

JOE: Next.

Hey, did I hear you right, Little
Joe? You say you was next?

Yeah, that's what he said.
We all heard him, right?

ALL: Right.

Hey, he's even got his money up.


Come on, Little Joe.

Is there anything
wrong with my money?

KEN: His money looks
good to us, don't it, boys?

What's the matter? You're afraid
to give him a chance, champ?


- Listen, Joe.
- I said, next.

KEN: Hey, a little less
conversation, more action.

- Come on, get going.
- You stay out of this, you hear.

- You keep your mouth shut.
- Like he said, let's get going.

KEN: Yeah, champ,
put up or shut up.





MAN 1: Joe is the new champ.

MAN 2: Yeah, we got ourselves...

MAN 3: Joe is the new champ.

MAN 3: Attaboy, Joe, next time
we'll all take him. And I'll go first.

- Hey, Mitch.
- Leave me alone, Joe.

- Look, I just want to try to explain.
- There's nothing to explain.

We were friends,
but for years we said

there was never anything we
would have to prove to each other.

Joe, what made today different?

I don't know.

I don't know. I just needed
something today, that's all.

You needed something,
but what about me, Joe?

Joe, you know what that
championship meant to me.

I mean, it made me different.

It made me bigger than
anybody else around here.

It gave me something.

It gave me dignity, it
gave me self-respect.

And nobody could ever
take it away from me, Joe.

Nobody except
my very best friend.

Look, Mitch, I just wanted
to say that I'm sorry.

Joe, it doesn't help.

It just doesn't help at all.


Well, I didn't know
you're up yet, Pa.

I was trying to get an early start
out, was gonna leave you a note.


A note saying what?

I was just gonna go up on the
railhead for a couple of days.

That's saying
where, but not why?

No special reasons,
just help Adam.

Seems to me that Adam has
more than enough hands to help him.

I just want to get away for
a few days, Pa, let me go.


Why the railhead?
Why not St. Louis?

Or, uh, New York, Africa?

Why not to the very
ends of the earth itself?

Or wouldn't that be
far enough either?

- I have nothing to talk about.
- Talk? All you do is avoid talk, Joe.

Pa, it's my problem. Just
let me handle it my own way.

I've been trying to do just
that. And what is your problem?

I don't know.

You've been ripping
yourself apart for a week now.

Your bed hasn't been slept in.
You've been having nightmares.

You hurt your best friend.

You've been like mercury with
your brother Hoss, first up, then down.

You've been
deliberately avoiding me.

Now you're running off and you say
you don't know what your problem is.

- That's right.
- Joseph,

is it that you don't
know what it is,

or that you don't
want to face it?

Who you talking to, Pa?

Your brother Joe.

Joe up this early?

Heh, I know there's
something wrong with him.

- Hoss?
- Yes, sir?


- What do you think is wrong with him?
- Ah, gosh, I don't know, Pa.

He's sure been a caution
these past few days.

He dang near killed us both

racing that wagon up by
Eagle's Nest the other day.

Then yesterday when you
sent me out looking for him

I found him back up
there by Eagle's Nest,

why, but he liked to
have bit my head off.

Eagle's Nest?

What was he doing up there?

I don't know. He was just
standing there looking up at it.

He said he was after a puma.

Is the rifle up there?

- You got something figured?
- I don't know.

Hope we're not too late.

Pa, you want me to come along?


I think I'd better
handle this myself.



Joe, listen to me.

Pa, leave me alone.

Joe, listen to me good,

back down real slow and easy.

I'm right down here below you.


I can't.

Joe, you gotta try.

Pa, please, I can't.

- Why, Joe?
- I'm afraid, Pa.

I'm a grown man and I'm
afraid and I don't know why.

- There's nothing to be afraid of.
- I know that.

I'm not a kid anymore, Pa,
but why am I acting like one?


Do you know how many times
I've come back to this mountain

just to get my rifle?

How many times I stood in front
of it and cried because I'm afraid.

And I just don't know why.

Joe. Joe, listen to me.

When you were about 5
years old, just a little kid,

you ran off one day and I had, uh, a
whole bunch of people looking for you.

And we combed this whole
area and I came up upon you

late that night right up
here at Eagle's Nest.

I carried you down in my arms.

Pa, I'm not 5 years old anymore.

Joe, the human
mind is a funny thing.

You know, man has his little fears
and he gets stored up in his mind

and there's no point in
being afraid of anything.

Especially now and, well, I think
maybe you know why you might be afraid.

Maybe that makes sense to you, Pa,
but it doesn't make any sense to me.

I know that I have to
do and I'm gonna do it.

I'm gonna do it by myself.

Now, please go home because
I'm gonna do it by myself, Pa.

I'm gonna, Pa. Why?

Oh, why can't I?

Joe, I'm coming up to the top
of Eagle's Nest alongside you.

Pa, I know you want to help me,
but you're only making it worse.

BEN: I'm coming up
alongside you, Joe.

Please go home, Pa.

I know I can do it.

Joe, help me!

Help me, Joe! Help, Joe!



Pa, hold on, I'm coming!

You won't be able to reach me
here. You gotta get a long stick.

The rifle, Joe. That'll do it.
Get the rifle. Get the rifle, Joe!

Hold on, Pa!

Hold on, Pa, I'm coming.

Come on, Joe.

Good boy.

Pa, I'm coming.

I'm coming, Pa.

Pa, hold on!

Try to reach it, Pa.


Come on.


Thanks, Joe. Thank you.

Good thing this
rifle was up there.

[IN NORMAL VOICE] You really
didn't need me to help you, did you?


- you ready to go home now?
- I am ready to go home.

Behind the Scenes of Between Heaven and Earth

This episode marked actor Bill Moss’s sixth and final appearance, though uncredited, following an 18-year hiatus from television or film.

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Bonanza provides excellent, wholesome entertainment suitable for enjoying alone or with family. Between Heaven and Earth is the 177th episode out of 430. NBC produced Bonanza, which aired on their network from September 1959 to January 1973, running for 14 seasons.

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