Broken Ballad Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #03, Episode #06
Robert Culp makes a guest appearance as former gunfighter Ed Payson. When he attempts to purchase supplies from the general store owned by Will Cass (portrayed by Dabbs Greer), he is coldly denied service; it turns out that Ed had killed Will’s son before retiring from his violent past. Adam Cartwright befriends Ed to ease tensions with Cass, but their efforts only lead to further complications. Other cast members include Ray Daley as Billy Buckley, Abbagail Shelton as Sally, Robert Christopher as Cahill, and Richard Rosmini as Jamie. Originally airing on October 29, 1961, Broken Ballad was written by John T. Kelley.
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Watch the Full Episode of Broken Ballad
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In the third season’s sixth episode of Bonanza, titled “Broken Ballad,” a lineup of notable guest stars and recurring and supporting actors accompany the main cast to present another captivating installment.
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Robert Culp as Ed Payson
- Ray Daley as Billy Buckley
- Dabbs Greer as Will Cass
- Abigail Shelton as Sally Cass (as Abbagail Shelton)
- Robert Christopher as Deputy Sheriff Stu Cahill
- Richard Rosmini as Jaime
- John Graham as Cass’s Attorney
- John Bose as Barfly (uncredited)
- Jaye Durkus as Barfly (uncredited)
- Betty Endicott as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
- Martha Manor as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
- John Rice as Barfly (uncredited)
- Cosmo Sardo as Bartender (uncredited)
Full Story Line for Broken Ballad
Ed Payson, a former gunfighter, attempts to buy supplies at the general store, only to be turned away by owner Will Cass. This rejection stems from Payson’s past, where he killed Cass’ son during his days as a gunman, resulting in lingering animosity. Adam endeavors to mediate between the two men, but tensions escalate into a confrontation.
Full Script and Dialogue of Broken Ballad
♪♪ He's coming, Stu. You sure it's Payson? It's been over ten years, he's changed a lot, but it's him. Got a guitar slung over his back? Yep. He stopped out in front of Cass's store. Just looking in. Yeah, that's him, all right. Hold on, Billy. Now, you fellas ain't deputies here. I'm the deputy; I'll handle this. I'll bet you never thought you'd have to handle a killer when Sheriff Coffey went off and left you in charge. If Roy was here, he'd run that gunslinger out of town. Well, the Sheriff ain't here. I'm in charge. Now, none of those posters say Ed Payson's wanted anywhere. So we're gonna handle this nice and peaceful and quiet. - Sure, Stu. - We're your friends. We just want to help you out. Well, I don't want nobody starting no shooting match, understand? Adam, I'll... I'll go see what's keeping Pa. Oh. Good day. May I help you? Yes, ma'am. I'd like some flour and coffee and a side of bacon. Sure. Would five pounds of flour be enough? It'll do fine. I haven't seen you around here before. - Are you new in town? - No, ma'am, not exactly. I'll get the bacon for you. Adam, tell that overgrown brother of yours this is the last of the peaches till a new shipment comes in. He better start working up an appetite for rhubarb. I'll tell him, Will. Here's the bacon. Now, how much coffee would you like? Oh, five pounds ought to do it. You. Yeah, it's me. I thought you were dead. Lord knows I prayed for it. Well, look, that was a long time ago, and I'm sorry. Get out of here. How much does that come to? You're not buying anything here, you murdering devil! I said get out of here. Pa, who is he? What's he done? This is Ed Payson. The man who murdered your brother. ♪♪ It wasn't murder. I was faster, that's all. Well, let's see how fast you are now. All right, Will, just put it down. I can take care of this. Billy, get his gun. Careful, Sally. He ain't wearing one. Where is it? In my saddle roll. Well, what's the idea? I quit wearing it. There's no law against that, is there? Well, what do you want here, Payson? Nothing that ain't mine. My daddy left me the ranch when he died, and I figured to come back and settle on it. You mean you came back here to stay? Well, why not? Not much of a life being on the drift all the time. Well... I guess if a man owns a piece of land here, he has a right to live on it. Cahill... you mean you're letting him stay? Now, simmer down, Will. This man's a murderer. He ought to be hanged. If Roy were here, he'd... I don't need Sheriff Coffey to tell me anything! Now, you all know when a man kills another man in a gunfight, it's self-defense... It's the law, you know that. What kind of law is it that let's a wild animal roam the streets? I'm not a wild animal, Mr. Cass. You give me a better name for someone who's killed 12 human beings. Or was it 20? Nope. Six. You almost sound sorry about it. Well, I'm not too thrilled about it, son. Well, it's too bad that don't bring them back. Yeah. And it's too bad I can't make them rest any easier in their graves, my floating around like a ghost from place to place till I die, but I can't. He's got a point there, Stu. All right, but you better keep your nose clean. And if there's any trouble... I don't care where it starts... I'm gonna hold you responsible. I told you, I put up my gun. Well, you see that it stays put up. Now, we have a clean, peaceful town here. Yeah, I know. That's one of the things I like about it. Thank you anyway, miss. He's lucky I didn't kill him. Now, Will, I... I know how you feel, but don't let it eat you up. And you keep staying away from him. You say hello to your pa, Adam. Sally? See you a little later? The nerve of that gunslinger, after what he did, coming in here trying to buy food from me. Man's got to eat, Will. He don't and he won't. I'll see to it nobody in town sells him anything. But, Pa, if you do that, what's he gonna do? That's his worry. Put these on my bill, Sally. Throw in a bag of sugar while you're at it, huh? What's the idea? Making a few extra purchases. - Why? - 'Cause I feel like it. You're buying them for him, aren't you? Once I pay for something, I've a right to do what I want to with it. Then these ain't for sale. Well, now, wait a minute. Are you saying you're not gonna sell them to me? Not if you're gonna turn around and give them to him. You can unload my buckboard. Now, if you don't want the trade of the Ponderosa, there are two other stores in town that'll be glad to get it. Now, Adam, that ain't fair... I've supplied... Don't talk fair to me, Will. I just heard you threaten to starve a man out. Now, you name it... Either I buy what I want or I don't buy anything. Fill his order. Adam, you got no call mixing in this. Do you think you're doing the right thing? I don't know, Sally. Howdy. You're one of the Cartwright boys, aren't you? Adam. Yeah, I thought I recognized you in the store. What's the matter, the... deputy remember something else he wanted to warn me about? No, I, uh, just brought you a little grub. You looked like you weren't having too much luck buying it yourself. Does Cass know about this? The Ponderosa's a pretty good customer of his. Well, how much do I owe you? Oh, a half a dollar ought to cover it. Hey, you really got your work cut out for you. You wouldn't think a house could run down so bad in three years. It's three years in August. Well, the barn's in fair shape. You'd be surprised how much sprucing up you can do with a hammer and saw. Maybe. Once I get used to using 'em again. What's the matter, you a little out of practice? Well, when a man hires your gun, he doesn't expect any other kind of work out of you. I thank you for the grub. Hyah! About time you got here. Pa, before you fly off the handle, maybe you ought to hear what he's got to say. I intend to. Had a visit a little while ago, from Will Cass. Oh, yeah. "Oh, yeah." By the way you say that, I guess you've got some idea what brought him out here. Pa, let me tell you what happened. I just want you to tell me one thing... Did you threaten to take away our business from him if he didn't sell food to that killer that rode into town today? Pa, in the first place... I don't care about the first place, the second place or any other place! All I want's a straight answer from you: did you or didn't you? Well, yeah. I can't believe it. Well, Pa, will you let me finish? You know how many years we've been trading with Will Cass? One of the most generous men that God ever made. You do realize that the first winter we were here he carried us, carried us for five full months till we got on our feet?! Yes, I know. And this is the thanks he gets. You taking the side of the very man that killed his son! Now, what's got into you? I don't know, I... Well, I don't know, I just got mad. I mean... All right, maybe I shouldn't have done it. I'll ride in tomorrow and I'll apologize. I really didn't mean that about taking our business away from him... it... it's not mine to take away. Yeah. Well, let's sit down and eat before everything turns to ice. - Amen. - Yeah, if it hasn't already. Hello, Sally. I thought I might stop in after supper tonight. Not tonight, Billy. Do you mind? - What's the matter? - Pa's in an awful temper. He's so mad he can hardly talk. Well, I... I guess he's got a right to be. I suppose so. But all my life I've been hearing about Ed Payson, the man who killed my brother in a gunfight. I-I thought he'd have horns growing out of his head. Instead he wasn't even armed. Yeah. Funny, wasn't it? I guess without his gun on, there really ain't much to him. Maybe there could be... if people gave him a chance. I've got to lock up, Billy. You sure you won't change your mind about tonight? I'd better not. Good night. Good night. Hey, where you going, Adam? Eh, take a little ride, that's all. - This time of night? - Just as good a time as any. You still thinking about that Payson feller, ain't you? Yeah, I guess I am at that. You know... I must've heard a dozen different stories about that shooting between him and that Cass boy. Sure would like to know which one of them's right. Yeah, so would I. I won't be long. ♪ When a man takes a gun ♪ ♪ In his hand ♪ ♪ He becomes like a scourge ♪ ♪ On the land ♪ ♪ Whether wrong, whether right ♪ ♪ He knows that he must fight ♪ ♪ Soon will die ♪ ♪ Every one ♪ ♪ By the gun ♪ ♪♪ ♪ When he's young ♪ ♪ He is cool as a stream ♪ ♪ And he draws like a man ♪ ♪ In a dream ♪ ♪ Face him down if you dare ♪ ♪ With a curse or a prayer ♪ ♪ You will die ♪ ♪ A mother's son ♪ ♪ By the gun ♪ ♪♪ ♪ Though his name may strike fear ♪ ♪ Where he goes ♪ ♪ He's a stranger ♪ ♪ That nobody knows ♪ ♪ Call him out, make your play ♪ ♪ Here it comes, judgment day ♪ ♪ As you die ♪ ♪ In the sun ♪ ♪ By the gun ♪ ♪♪ ♪ When a man takes a gun ♪ ♪ In his hand ♪ ♪ He becomes ♪ ♪ Like a scourge ♪ ♪ On the land ♪ ♪ For they end as they must... ♪ Morning, boys. - Morning, Pa. - Morning, Pa. Where'd Adam go? He finished breakfast and left. His horse is still outside. Yeah, he took the wagon, Pa. Where'd he go? Well, he took some scrap lumber and some tools over to Ed Payson's place. Payson's? Yes, sir. Reckon that place does need fixing up a little bit. Well, that ought to hold that. Well, let's take a rest. Hey, Cartwright? Yeah? I, uh... I've been studying on something I can't figure out. Yeah? What's that? Why you're doing this. No particular reason, just, uh, being neighborly. Heard you playing last night. I was out taking the air after supper. Why didn't you come on in? Oh, I don't know, I... guess I wasn't sure if I was welcome. Yeah, this, uh, this is an old friend. I first started playing this to keep my fingers nimble for shooting. Did it help? How do you mean? For shooting. Oh, no. Well, I don't know, maybe, a little bit. Most of the time there wasn't any shooting to do. I was working for an old boy over in Oklahoma Territory, this is some years ago. White-haired feller about 60. He looked like a bishop. He ran that whole town. Cattle, gambling, uh... you name it. I was on his payroll... well, it was over eight months. The only time I ever took out my gun was to clean it. Sounds like a soft job. Why'd you leave? Well, there was this girl in town that, uh... I was seeing... and the young feller that she used to go with decided that he wanted her back, and I guess he figured that killing me was the easiest way to do it. So, uh... he walked down to my hotel one night and called me out. James L. Barlow. He was 22. And among his surviving male relatives was a father, three brothers and more cousins than you could count. - They come gunning for you? - All at once. At least they were fixing to when I left town. Against those kind of odds, a man might as well put a rope around his neck and jump off a chair, save everybody a lot of trouble. Well, what about the girl? Well... stacked up alongside all those cousins, she just naturally... lost out. Well...: Say, that, uh... that girl over at the grocery store yesterday, that, uh, Cass's daughter... Oh, Sally. Yeah. Last time I saw her she was all buckteeth and pigtails. Doggone, they sure can fool you. Yeah, they sure can. Young Billy Buckley thinks a lot of her. Yeah. Yeah, I can see where he would. Yeah, they all grow up fast. They do, indeed. Pa, why do you have to do this? - He's getting off easy. - Easy? That piece of land is all he has left in the world. Now, Sally, we're not gonna talk any more about it... I told you, I've made up my mind. All right. But will you tell me something, and don't get mad? I won't get mad. You say Ed Payson murdered Dave. That's what it was. Then why wasn't he tried for murder? Because no one would testify against him. Why? They were afraid. Mr. Cass... that lawyer's waiting for you down at the sheriff's office. Was just leaving. Pa, did you see the shooting? I know what happened. But did you see it? Sally... your brother wouldn't start a fight. He wasn't a troublemaker, honey, don't you remember? Full of fun, played jokes, made people laugh. But sometimes his jokes weren't so funny. You remember how he used to like to tease people, too? You've been mourning Dave for so long, you've almost forgotten he was human. That's the one thing I can't forget. He was human and now he's dead. So how do you expect me to stop hating the man who did it? By forgiving him. Till he walked in here yesterday, I almost thought I had. But it won't work, Sally. I'll hate that man as long as I live. ♪♪ Morning, Sally, Billy. Adam, Pa's figured out a way to get rid of Ed Payson. He's down at the sheriff's office. Get rid of him? There's a 12-year-old tax lien on his property. Pa's gonna pay it up and have Cahill throw him off. How much does Payson owe? Almost $800. Where're you going, Cartwright? Anyplace I please. Any objections? What's going on around here? You didn't have to tell him. Hey... you don't owe Payson anything. Says right here in the statute book, Cahill, when the taxes on a piece of property are this far in arrears, anyone who comes forward and pays them off is legally entitled to take possession of the land, and as Cass' attorney, I've so advised him. Now, you sure you want to go through with this, Will? You'd better get over to the land office, Mr. Cass. I got a feeling Adam Cartwright's trying to beat you there. Adam Cartwright? Sally told him what you were going to do. He headed for the bank. Meddlesome pup. How do you want the tax receipt made out? To the owner of the land... Edward Payson. Ain't that the gunfighter who rode in yesterday? Yeah, that's the gunfighter that rode in yesterday. Any more questions? You're going to be sorry you did this, Adam. Not near as sorry as I'd be if I didn't. I dropped by your store to apologize about yesterday... And I do... But I don't apologize for anything I've done today. I don't know what to say. Gonna be a long time before I can pay you back. Well, there's no hurry; you're not going anywhere. No, I... I guess not, thanks to you. Uh, I got something I'd like to give you for security. Well, you don't have to do that. I want you to keep my gun for me. Now, you're the first feller I've met in a long time that hasn't treated me like a rattlesnake. I figure, if I haven't got this, I can't use it, so maybe I'll stay out of trouble at least long enough so you can get paid. Is anything wrong? I, uh, I wonder if you'd tell me something. You name it. Was it a fair fight between you and Dave Cass? Oh. Well, if, if you'd asked me right afterwards, I'd have said yes, but I'm not so sure anymore. Why not? One fella's bound to have some kind of edge, you know that. Either he's not quite as scared or as mad or as drunk as the other one, or maybe he's just quicker. Dave and I had been drinking that night, and the next thing I knew we were out in the alley shooting at one another. And then it was all over. I got the idea there's no such thing as a fair gunfight. I'll see you in the morning. Yeah. You have a lot of faith in this man, don't you? Well, it's not just a question of faith, Pa. I don't claim to know him that well, but he admits he's led a pretty useless life up till now and he wants to change... and I think he deserves the right to try. Hmm. Can't argue with that. Just that a man of his sort kind of breeds violence just by being around. Wouldn't want you caught in the middle. Well, I won't be, so don't worry. Well... let's hope that there won't be any trouble. Mr. Cass. Good evening, Billy. Sally's gone home. Did you make it up with her? Funny the way she seemed to stick up for him, wasn't it? There's something so evil about a man that can turn members of a family against each other. It's just like it was ten years ago and everything is happening all over again. First I lose a son and now my little girl thinks... You and Sally should get married, Billy. Well, you think she and that gunfighter... Well, she hardly knows him. She knows him. Maybe it's too late already. Good night, Billy. ♪♪ Well, hello, Miss Sally. You're a long way from home, aren't you? I was just passing. I've been out to visit my Aunt Caroline. Oh, I see. Well, that's a very fetching bonnet you've got on there. Thank you. Uh, you'll have to pardon the way I look. Uh, Adam's got me tied at the stove today. I'm making biscuits. You've got the place fixed up real nice. Well, thank you. - How is everything at your house? - Oh, not so bad. We got company. So I see. How you been, Sally? Fine, thank you, Adam. What'd you find out? Well, there's no question about it. Harvey's got some good breeding stock, but I think he's asking too much. Hold out for a while, he'll come down in price. All right, you're the doctor. Sally, will you stay to dinner with us? I don't know if I should. Well, it's going to be a good feed. We got chicken and sweet potatoes and, like I say, the biscuits. Uh-oh. Huh? Oh... Well, I guess we'll have to do without the biscuits. I'll make another batch; it won't take a minute. Well, if you're sure you don't mind, Miss Sally. Well, I don't mind and you don't have to keep calling me Miss Sally. I'm not that much older than you are. How are the mighty fallen. ♪ I was ridin' in my wagon down the road ♪ ♪ My true love for to see ♪ ♪ When out of the woods jumped a big brown bear ♪ ♪ "Bow-wow," says he ♪ ♪ "Not now," says me ♪ ♪ I'll keep ridin' in my wagon down the road ♪ ♪ I'll keep a-rowin' out to sea ♪ ♪ I'll keep a-walkin' on my feet ♪ ♪ Until I find the only one for me ♪ ♪ I was rowing on the ocean on a raft ♪ ♪ My true love for to see ♪ ♪ When up from the deep jumped a flying fish ♪ ♪ "Fly high," says he ♪ ♪ "Not I," says me ♪ ♪ I'll keep ridin' in my wagon down the road ♪ ♪ I'll keep a-rowin' out to sea ♪ ♪ I'll keep a-walkin' on my feet ♪ ♪ Until I find the only one for me ♪ ♪ My own true love, my own true love ♪ ♪ The only one for me. ♪ Oh, I think I could listen to you all day, but it's late and Pa will be upset. I really enjoyed your singing very much. Well, that makes us even. I really enjoyed your biscuits. Next time you're in town, drop in and say hello. I mean it. Sally, I didn't mean to kill Dave any more than he meant to kill me. We were just hotheaded kids. I know. What do you make of that? Well, if you don't know, I'll never be able to explain it to you. Looks like everybody's got the same idea we have. Eh, things get pretty busy here come Saturday. Everybody getting ready for a big night. Uh, I believe I'll step over and say hello to Sally. Ed, do you think it's a good idea? Well, that Billy Buckley doesn't own her. No, but he'd like to. Who wouldn't? Don't worry, you got my gun. Well, how's the grocery business? Booming. Come on in. Pa's not here. Ed Payson just went into your store. Let me handle it. How? In my own way. This doesn't make any sense, and you know it. I don't care. I don't care about anything else. Payson! Do you hear me? I'm calling you out. You know why. Ed, you mustn't go. Not much else I can do. But you're not even armed. Yeah. He knows that. How about it, Payson? You coming out, or do I have to come in after you? Ed, please... let me talk to him. This is on my account. Yeah. Yeah, that'll look grand, wouldn't it? Billy, Cahill isn't going to like this. Stu? That big lawman's out chasing chicken thieves. - Yeah, but I... - Stay out of this. Well? I'm sorry I can't oblige you, son. Still not wearing a gun, eh? Nope. Well, we can fix that. Jaime, lend him yours. Go on! Pick it up and put it on. No, thanks. You're yellow, Mister. You're yellow clean through! You wouldn't take that if you were a man. No, I wouldn't if you were. Get up, you lousy coward! Put up your hands. I got no quarrel with you, son. Well, I got one with you, Mister. If you're looking for a fight, all right, come on. It's no business of yours, Adam. It is now, and I am wearing a gun. Come on! No, Billy. I don't want any killing. You mean you don't want me killed, isn't that it, Will? Not one of the Cartwrights 'cause that'd make an awful mess of things. But it's different with Ed Payson there, huh? He killed my son. Because your boy was trying to kill him. Can't you get that through your head? No, that's not true! That's the way it was. I'm not going to let you talk that way about Dave. Dave was a...: a fine... good son. I don't want to look at him anymore, that's all. I just didn't have to look at him, I'd be all right. Pa? Billy, what are you going to do? Get it over with. Give me your gun. Billy! I want to explain to you about Ed. You don't have to. I know enough about him. Billy, please. Please listen to me. It's not his fault! Billy? Billy, come back! Pa! Pa! Pa? Pa?! Pa, Billy's gone after him. You've got to stop him! Pa, please, answer me. Pa, please! You put him up to this, didn't you? Didn't you?! Aah! Davey. You push hard, don't you, son? I was figuring, since you don't want to fight, maybe you'd still have sense enough to run. Pack up. You're free to take whatever you can carry. Kind of let's out the house and barn, doesn't it? Get going! You're the one who's going to get going, Billy. Don't push me anymore, Adam. You'll never get pushed any harder. Adam, I told you before, this ain't your fight. He's right, Adam. Don't be a fool, Ed. He's trying to goad you into something you don't want to do. So, you want to do it for me. First in town, and now here. I don't want a wet-nurse, Adam. Don't you understand, Ed? You lose either way. You kill him, it'll be just like the rest. You'll keep drifting for the rest of your life. Just another ghost. You got the whole world in your hands here. Don't drop it now. Move out, Adam. It's too late for talk. Billy, I don't mind a man fighting his own grudge, but you're doing Cass's work, and you're gonna have to finish it through me. No. Cass is not the reason he's here. Sally, isn't it, son? Well, it's me he's after, and he's right. 'Cause I want her, too. You don't have to fight him. You've got her. Not as long as I'm alive, he don't. As long as you're alive. Or I'm alive. It's always what it comes down to, isn't it? That's the way it's gonna have to be, Mister. All right, Adam, you heard it. I'm gonna kill him, or he's gonna kill me, and that's the difference that there is between being Ed Payson and Adam Cartwright. All right, son, let's get at it. That's what I've been waiting to hear. I'm sorry, Adam. It was bound to happen one time or another. And if not him, then it would have been somebody else. Go ahead. Ed? You just had to do it, didn't you? You had to push him into it. And that makes you a better man, doesn't it? He was faster, that's all. Billy? Billy?! ♪ For they end as they must ♪ ♪ Lying dead in the dust ♪ ♪ Everyone ♪ ♪ Who would live ♪ ♪ By the gun. ♪
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Bonanza provides family-friendly entertainment that is perfect for watching alone or with loved ones. Broken Ballad stands as the 72nd episode out of 430. Produced by NBC, Bonanza graced their network from September 1959 to January 1973, spanning 14 seasons.
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