Day of Reckoning Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #07
Bonanza, the first hour-long Western series filmed in color, tells of the adventure and drama of the fictional Cartwright family. The thirty-ninth episode, Day of Reckoning, written by R. Hamer Norris and Leonard Heideman, made its on-screen debut on October 22, 1960.
An Indian named Matsuo (Ricardo Montalban) receives a small piece of Ponderosa land as a reward for saving Ben Cartwright’s life.
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Meanwhile, Ike Daggett (Karl Swenson), an anti-Indian neighbor of Ben’s, vehemently disapproves of Matsou’s presence. When a raid leads to the death of his wife, Daggett holds Matsou accountable and, in retaliation, murders the Indian’s wife (Madlyn Rhue).
Read the storyline plus some behind-the-scene trivia, or watch the complete episode below.
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Day of Reckoning, the seventh episode of Bonanza’s second season, featured some of the program’s recurring and supporting actors. The cast includes the following:
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Ricardo Montalban as Matsou
- Madlyn Rhue as Hatoya
- Anthony Caruso as Lagos
- Karl Swenson as Ike Daggert
- Roy Engel as Dr. Paul Martin
- Gail Bonney as Martha Daggert
Full Story Line for Day of Reckoning
Lagos, the son of a Bannock chief, attacked Ben by surprise on his property. Matsuo, his brother, stops him from killing Ben. Lagos thinks it’s right to kill Ben, but Matsou insists they must learn to live with them despite their dislike of white people.
Matsuo and his wife, Hatoya, take Ben to their camping tent to tend to his wounds. Lagos arrives by their place in search of Ben to take his scalp and present it to their father to make him proud. Matsuo denies saving Ben, but Lagos insists on entering their tent to confirm. He also mentioned that it wasn’t wise of Matsou to marry a Shoshone woman like Hatoya, even trying to humiliate him for acting soft “like a woman” since they married. Lagos eventually leaves without seeing Ben.
At the Ponderosa ranch, Ike visits the Cartwrights to talk to Ben about his discovery. He reveals an “Injun” skull that turned up with his plow. Ike complains and refuses to live with the “Injuns,” then reveals Ben gave him land at the Ponderosa to homestead. His area is near where the Indians live, so he wants Ben to do something about it.
Ben wakes up and finds himself at Matsou and Hatoya’s place. Hatoya revealed they’re at his land, but Ben insists that there’s no Indian village at the Ponderosa. Matsuo explained that he was a Bannock while Hatoya was a Shoshone—neither tribe would accept them, so they went off on their own. Ben asked about the Bible he found nearby, so Hatoya told him that he lived with a white couple for three years, and their spiritual belief influenced her.
Upon Ben’s request, Matsou and Hatoya bring him back to the Ponderosa. Adam invites them inside to talk about what happened. Grateful for their help, Adam asks them to stay so they can rest and eat. Hatoya thinks it’s God’s will that they save Ben, recalling his promise to let them stay in his land. However, Matsou doesn’t think it’s right to trust them.
The doctor arrives, and Ben is much better than he was before. Ben gives the couple a big piece of land to farm out of goodwill. However, Matsou rejects it, saying he knows nothing about farming, raising crops, or even caring for animals. Ben tells him they will teach him, and Hatoya persuades him to accept the offer. Seeing his husband still hesitant about the deal, Hatoya tells Ben they’d let him know their decision after they pray and talk about it.
At their tent, Hatoya insists they accept the offer so their sons and daughters can have a chance to have a better life. Matsuo thinks it’ll make a significant difference in his way of living since he would have to be a farmer instead of a warrior and a hunter. He also thinks this would mean they’d stop being an Indian. Although still hesitant, Matsou eventually agrees.
Ike complains to Ben regarding the reward he gave the Indian couple. He thinks they’re bloodthirsty savages that won’t work, then tells him many bad things about them. Ben insists on providing them with a piece of his land as a gift of gratitude, encouraging Ike to give the couple a chance.
The Cartwrights and other Ponderosa settlers assist the couple in performing tasks such as farming, sewing, and more. They eventually adopted white men’s fashion and hairstyles. Lagos enters the house to deliver the news of their father’s death as they eat their meal. He tells Matsou that their father died full of hatred for the white man and scorn for his youngest son, which leads to him becoming the new village chief. Lagos also warns him that their people want vengeance against the white people, expressing his need for his brother to return to the tribe. However, Matsou refuses, prioritizing his wife and their child’s welfare.
Matsuo visits the Cartwrights to deliver the warning—the Bannocks are imposing a war. Ben sends the boys to warn the settlers as they prepare to ride into the valley. However, Matsou thinks his brothers have two people in mind: Matsou and Ben. Matsuo reveals that his brother was the person who tried to kill him before, eventually leading to increasing hatred for him, who refuses to return to their tribe. Ben invites Matsou and Hatoya to stay at their house until the war ends. He also sends Adam to warn Ike, but Matsou insists he warns his neighbor, despite their mutual dislike for each other.
That night, Matsou visits Ike to warn him. However, Lagos and some from his tribe arrived to attack Ike’s home, killing Ike’s wife and burning their house.
Matsuo and Hatoya appear at the funeral the next day, with Hatoya offering prayers for the slain woman. Outraged toward the Indians, Ike draws his gun and shoots at Hatoya, leading to Hatoya and her unborn child’s death.
Matsuo exacts his vengeance by impairing Ike and sending him back to the Cartwrights. They thought it could be Matsou’s doing, and Ike confirms it. Ike tells Ben that Matsou wants to meet him at a cave in the north fork or else every settler will experience what he got.
Matsuo shackles Ben up with rawhide. Letting the sun shrink and stretch the rawhide, he hopes that Ben’s pain will alleviate his own. As the temperature rises, Ben begins to pray “The Lord’s Prayer,” but Matsou tells him to stop. Ben keeps going until Matsou can no longer take it, as it was a prayer that he’d heard his wife pray often. Matsuo finally releases Ben, telling him that he hoped the torture would push Ben to hate him so he wouldn’t have to kill Ben.
The episode concludes with Matsou returning to lead his tribe after his brother’s death, while the Cartwright boys arrive to take Ben home.
Full Script and Dialogue of Day of Reckoning
[Music] why do you stop me because i do not want to pay for the stupidity of my brother wow only you think it is stupid to kill the white man i know that if you scalp a white man the bannocks will be blamed but we must kill them and drive them out they are too many and too wise we'll never drive them out i don't like them any better than you do but we have to learn to live with them you talk like a woman all right brother soon to be chief of my people you handle the white man your way i'll handle him mine you make me ashamed to call you brother [Music] so [Music] um [Music] i'm glad you brought him here you remembered what i read you about love thy neighbor i had to when i found he was still alive i couldn't let even a white man to die in the sun i'm glad he lives i'm not sure i am [Applause] so you would rather leave our village and live here like an outcast what are you doing here largos you should never have taken that shoshone woman as a wife you two are the son of a chief your places with your people my people turn me away this is my home now did you move the body of the white man i killed this afternoon no i did not move him why i went back to take the scalp so i could give it to our father this one would have made him proud you would say the same about any white man's scalp that was not any white man that was the owner of all this land that what's belonged to our people you mean the white man whose scalp i saved is the owner of the range called the ponderosa that is what i mean [Music] i left the white man where he fell i know this kind of woman if the white man lived she would have you take him you might even have brought him here i will look inside to make sure this is my place i say there is no white man inside you will not look i'm sorry you visit our home only on such an errand there is no white man here i believe you even less than i believe my brother you better leave [Music] now he is still bleeding will you change the bandage while i get some fresh water no i can't touch him now stop that you've done enough our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name that's enough thy kingdom come i will be done [Music] well pauline's sitting trapped at this hour don't worry about paul he can take care of himself well he's gone awful close to bannock country yeah and him indian's been acting up out there lately too oh they're getting hungry hoss can't hardly grow anything up in those mountains hunting gets worse every year the park doesn't go into banner country by himself yeah but adam our property runs right up there in them foothills that's pretty close well he took his blankets with him maybe he's gonna sleep overnight hi ike howdy boys where's your car you're up something late ain't he hike what are you on with paul i uh i brought him a present i got something to talk to him about but i think it won't keep much longer where is he well he must have just missed him on the way over he he's been out setting traps in that foothill country right near your place we expect him back any minute dad done it i'd known he was going out that way i could have saved myself to trip you know what'd you bring well i can show you boys while we're waiting here [Music] where'd you get that turned it up with my plow just yesterday it's an indian skull that must be 200 years old yeah they show up every once in a while all over the valley guess there's no question about who originally lived on this land that was then not now i'll get me to bring it to paul i can't figure him wanting a human skull around the place who's anything about a human skull that's an engine skull ike i wouldn't uh use those words with paw you uh you know how he feels on the subject yeah well he knows how i feel about it too i got no kick about engines rolling around under my land but i'll be dead burned if i want any live ones squatting on top of it your land yeah my land your par give it to me to homestead i like i don't think there are any indians living on your land well they're awful turn close to it anyhow your paws got to do something about it we'll give them your message ike no hosh i'll give it to myself i'll uh sit with you fellas for a while and uh wait for him all right you can set a while but no more talk about indians all right suit yourself i like it's liable to be a long wait as a matter of fact it may be all night if it is you can sleep in the bunkhouse and i think we can do without this [Music] [Music] [Music] so [Music] [Laughter] this fever is worse why why did you try to kill me my husband did not try to kill you he found you lying wounded in the clearing and brought you here it was an engine that tried to kill me i know that you're bannock i am ebenic but i did not try to kill you perhaps i should have met so i i didn't mean to accuse you i know you've you've cared for me i'm grateful for your help you would have died if he had left you where you fell what is this place where are we this place is on your land no villages or settlements indian villages in my land this is not a village latoya and i live here alone why are you not with your village i am a bannock she's a shoshone when we married neither tribe will accept us what did you find out about the bible i lived with a man of god and his wife for three years in a white man's town to the west then i met matsu and we will stay together no matter how many times we have to move who said said anything about moving we do not stay where we are not welcome you you are welcome we would still be intruders on white man's land you'd not be intruded if i gave you land you would give land to ebank if you came in peace our people have not signed the white man's peace treaty put me on my horse oh i'll try to find my way home you are not well enough yet to travel i must i must always get to a duck we will get him home it will take all of god's help all right atoya i'll hold him on his horse you pray [Music] what happened where'd you find him he will need a doctor quickly he's badly hurt come inside both of you i'd like to know more about what happened don't let them red devils go in the house after what they've done to your paw they probably tried to kill themselves they brought him home didn't they i shut up how did it happen we found him wounded in the clearing we tried to care for him but the fever is very bad he recovered enough to tell us where he lived we brought him here do you mean my father was in bannock country no no he was on his own land that's where we found him you see i told you i told you that heathen devils was sneaking around on your land it's a lucky thing they were there now keep your mouth shut ike thank you very much for what you did you'll need rest and food you ain't asking them to stay it will be better if we leave your father's a strong man and very brave we both hope he is better soon no please please i i want you to stay well i ain't staying in no house where they ask engines in and they make them welcome why don't you leave all right but don't you forget that i got a big bone to pick with your paw when he gets better if he ever does it's a very very poor way to say thank you i'm sorry you would just make yourselves comfortable here i'll be right back [Music] we shouldn't have come here it was a mistake no matsu it was god's will if we hadn't brought the white man home he would have died he's a good man he's promised to let us live on this land i never believed in any white man's promises he's resting more easily now how long did you have to pack him paul's pretty heavy fella not far we had to take him from his horse the wound was opening again why don't the two of you get some sleep while we wait for the doctor to get here i am sure my father would like to see you before you leave thank you how you feeling boy a lot better than i did well that's all we can do for him for now boys i want you three to take turns making sure that he stays in bed don't you worry doc i'll make sure he takes orders he'll stay in bed dog i don't see to that look i'm sorry about that while ryan coming over doc you can take it easy going back in this indeed i certainly will i don't know how mr cartwright got hurt or why you helped him but one thing i do know for sure if you hadn't helped him when you did he'd be far beyond all help now we can't spare men like ben cartwright thanks adam i see you tomorrow ben now you rest here that's an order thank you doc see a little while boys you mind if i have a few minutes alone with my friends not at all you stay in bed paul i'll be back a minute i don't even know your names you have heard them before but in your favor my name is atoya and my husband is matsu i'll remember them and i haven't forgotten what i told you about that piece of land we didn't ask for it i know you didn't i've been thinking about it i want you to have a big piece of land enough for a farm what would we do with such a piece of land it farmed crops animals live off the land i know nothing of such things the red man knows more about hunting and fishing white man knows more about farming if we put what we know together there will be more than enough for us all this will never be there is no way to begin you offers a farm but i know nothing of such things so i say keep your farm let me ask you a question [Music] would you come to live as a farmer on your own land if i and my sons and the settlers in the valley would teach you and help you with the things you do not now know it would be so wonderful matsu it would also be difficult it might not work i might not learn i've talked too much i never believed such an offer could be made that white man always takes [Music] we will talk and pray and let you know our decision [Music] but i have lived among them in the white man's town i know them better than you do perhaps you do not know me well enough i know you very well beloved and i believe we can do this thing together why can't we stay here i could stay here anywhere alone with you forever matsu but what if our sons and daughters who will be coming if god wills it would you keep them alone too we can go back to the tribe someday they won't always be at war and i am a son of a chief the youngest son and with no great love for his brother lagos who will be the next chief that is true this is a chance to have a better way of life than we have ever known for us and for our children i don't know that it would be better i only know that it would be very different and it is this difference that frightens me frightens you matsu you have told me that nothing frightens you i spoke those words as a warrior and a hunter and they were true and i was raised to be these things and not a farmer you have also told me that our people and the white men must learn to live together in peace but you are asking much more than that you are asking me to put down my bow and arrow and pick up an axe and a plow you are asking me to eat bread instead of meat to wear cloth instead of leather to live in a house instead of a wiki up you are asking me to stop being an indian and i don't know if i can do it [Applause] [Music] so [Music] i shall lift up mine eyes onto the hills from whence cometh my strength i do not know that i can do it well [Music] or even that i will not fail completely but i will try my dearest love if you will stand beside me no can't do what i tell you i couldn't hardly believe my own two ears when i first heard it can't believe it now well you might as well believe it i cause it's true well then i i think you're going out of your mind or else that engine banged you real good on the head before he stuck his knife into you well whichever way it is i ain't gonna have no engine for a neighbor and you ain't got no right to make me look let's just simmer down and talk some sense i i don't want to simmer down now you listen to me the night that you was hurt i come down here to get you to run off two savages that sneak down to your land and they were squatting in a stinking tent right next to my boundary now i find out those same two savages has been given a farm by you right next to my land and you asked me to simmer down those two savages saved my life yeah more like they stuck their knife into you first all right now if you have to give him a reward give him whiskey or money don't give him land don't you think that indians at least have a call to share the land in this valley no not next door to me what have you got against indians i sure would like to know well i sure would like to tell you i don't like them because they're bloodthirsty savages there were some wild animals they're twice as dangerous and i don't like them because they're heathens and i don't like them because they won't work and they can't work and because they're dirty and they stink and they're sneaky and they're drunks and they're thieves and god knows what else most of all i don't like because they scare me i hate them what is it about them that scares you they got long black hair and red skins yeah yeah i'm not gonna try to answer you like not now but someday somebody's gonna have to answer for people who think like you do there's nothing wrong with the way i not gonna think that point either but neither am i gonna back down from what's my right to do i promised matsu and latoya that piece of land and i mean for them to have it get a wife next to me it's not just a piece of land ike it's it's treating them like people i have no intention of giving them some worthless scrap up around the rocks they've already got that i want to give them a piece of land that they can work a piece of land that they can farm and that land next to you is the best i have and it's my intention to give it to them if you put them on that piece i move out well that's a decision that you're gonna have to make ike i'd think about it a long time before i made the move now loco all i'm asking you to do is is give those two a chance i don't want you to be a friend just be a decent neighbor well i'll tell you what kind of neighbor i'll be i'll treat him just like there wasn't there i won't talk to them i won't answer them i won't help them i won't let them help me i won't go on their land and if they put a foot on my land i'll kill them ike [Music] you do anything out of line you'll answer to me all right let it go [Music] [Applause] [Music] look at me months of work and i am now nothing not an indian and certainly not of white man never mind eating bread at a table what a thing for a warrior it is only when you're tired that you get this way you've done so much and we've come so far we're not only at peace with white men we've made friends and enemies our close neighbor i daggered is an enemy he is difficult but i noticed that the other settlers have no love for mr dagger either [Music] i enter this house in peace only because you were born my brother and i owe you something the feather of the chief why do you wear it our father died two days ago full of hatred for the white man and scorned for his youngest son [Music] i am sorry i loved him and i've had no love for you but i hope you will be a better chief than he was i tell you one thing matsu we no longer will sit in the mountains and starve while this valley is full of plenty we no longer will sit in the mountains and talk about peace treaties tomorrow the panic braves go on the warpath and this valley will be full of death i have known you would do this i also know that you are wrong you are the one who is wrong you do not belong here never will as chief of our tribe i ask you to come back the day of the lance is upon us you were once a great warrior until this woman turned you soft come back to the tribe you are needed [Music] i am needed here lagos atoya is with child and i rejoice for the both of you bring her with you the band will be lifted if she carries your child she will be welcome it is mostly for the child that i will stay if you stay then you will die here like the white man you're trying to imitate i give you till tomorrow to think on it i wait no longer [Music] are you sorry now about the child you know i prayed for that child to your god as well as to mine but would you go back if it were not for that if it comes to dying i'd rather die as a warrior fighting with my people than than as a farmer living among strangers then you would go back i might but the child is not only important for us but for the future of our people i will stay for my little wife and for my child what will you do about your brother in the morning i'll write to ben cartwright the settlers have to be warned even though he's your brother i still remember the teachings of my father atoya when a decision is made it must be kept even against a brother hey matt congratulations i just heard the wonderful news about latoya i only heard about it myself three days ago well you know the way that kind of news travels women talk wonderful to see you you don't get over this way often enough yeah why don't you bring your pretty wife with you yeah i'm digging her up a present it's it's a cradle ain't been slept in since little joe jumped out save your welcome until you hear the rest of my news the bannocks are going on the warp path oh how do you know that matt because my brother is now chief of the bannocks and he told me you mean they're planning a raid no more than a raid it will be war how soon is this to start any moment maybe we ought to get word before bradley uh you know the way they are they're not gonna do anything until after there's an incident you better warn the settlers get ready to ride into the valley all right it is good to warn the settlers but uh i came to warn you first that's very good of you no no no no my brother has two people he hates one of them is me because i won't go back and join them the other one is you ben why should your brother hate me it was my brother who tried to kill you the time we brought you home people of this valley are getting to know you more and more matt especially me why don't you and latoya stay with us here till this thing blows over oh thank you i would like to bring atoya here for the sake of the child i i will stay on my land good you do that adam better get word to act daggett right i dagger this my neighbor ben i will take care of warning him matt i don't want you to take that chance don't step foot on his land i don't like i daggered ben but i am not afraid of him you have enough country to cover i will warn the targets on my way home [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] oh why don't you bring that dang gun right into bed with us you paint more mind than you do me martha i told you a hundred times when you got red engines for next-door neighbors you got to be ready for trouble especially at night you've been saying that for months staying up late sneaking around with your dang gun and they having so much to set foot on your dang place that's cause i scared him good and proper to begin with and i kept him scared every chance i heard something out there yep you certainly got them scared all right i'm gonna go see what that is like dagger tiger hi dagger [Music] oh [Music] the lord maketh his face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee the lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace amen amen thanks ben [Applause] quit it you quit that i said quick what is it like what's the matter i won't sand it i won't stand for no heathen saying prayers of my wife's grave now you quit it she ain't know heathen she knows as much about the bible as you do what are they doing here anyway those engines have killed my marty they're trying to pay their respects just like the rest of us now ain't got no more respect for the dead than a coyote [Music] i want to tell you how deeply sorry i am that my people kill your wife i tried to warn you don't you talk to me you engine i understand how you feel i am sorry you dirty rotten lousy stinking savage fight all right i stopped there you savage you killed my wife i killed yours an eye for an eye an eye for an eye ben an eye for an eye it's in the book mike an eye for an eye it's in the book [Music] uh [Music] looks like dagger i can only recognize it paul paul come out here that's engine work paul you don't reckon you don't ride in the met let's get him into the house he sure done a job morning yeah i wonder why he didn't finish it he didn't want him to die help me help me all right it's all right hank you're with me ben bank cartwright it's me like hey ain't so easy to kill like i did he left me left me alive a purpose as soon as i could suffer who i can your friend one you tried to make into a white man matsu know why why he left me let me live man he wants you want you to meet him in the cave north fork he wants ben cartwright so otherwise every settler in the valley will get what i got but we're [Music] just didn't understand what we're trying to do [Music] what are you gonna do now paul matt wants to see me i'll go to him gotta try to bring him to a census i own that he's gone too far now i got killed his wife paul we can't let you take the risk anything i've ever done is have some risk attached to it i'll go up at the north trail if i'm not back by morning you come for me huh hey forgot this that won't bring me back or not either that not so spent cartwright [Music] i didn't think you would come i got your message for mike daggett he said you wanted to see me i'm here then you saw what i did to ike daggert i saw aren't you afraid no matt i'm not afraid you know about rawhide it shrinks in the sun it gets tighter and tighter i know why did you come here last night see if i could help you all right go ahead help me give me back the wife that i loved and the child she carried tying me like this bring her back now i think that making you suffer enough will ease some of my pain i guess you're right i just wanted to help you not hurt you help me you held my arms ben you let that madman shoot atoya right before my eyes do you think if you hadn't held my arms ben he could have done that i say you killed a toya just as surely as if you had pulled the trigger does it hurt yes it hurts good good it will get worse [Music] is it bad it's bad you're a strong man ben i thought you would be screaming by now our father who are in heaven what did you say how long me thy name stop that kingdom come stop that thing stop it you shouldn't have done that ben you shouldn't have prayed is that what pleasure let me go i meant to kill you but i failed here too i failed at everything i lost my wife my brother lagos is dead i failed being a white man i failed being an indian [Music] all right you didn't fail i don't think you could ever fail i wanted to kill you ben it was important for me to kill you and i couldn't do it if i couldn't torture you into hating me then i couldn't kill you can you forgive me for hurting you i did that before you cut me loose [Applause] [Music] i will help you home then now i'll be all right man you're going home dear people yes you'll be back yes we will be back there he is hi you all right yeah what he did this to you yeah i'll get him no no let him alone he's going home back up in the mountains yeah there's a new chief with ebonics now [Applause] [Music] you
Behind the Scenes of Day of Reckoning
Several guest stars from this episode appear in the show Star Trek. Ricardo Montalban and Madlyn Rhue, who acted as Matsou and Hatoya, teamed up again in an episode in the first season of Star Trek in 1967 entitled “Space Seed.” The duo played Khan Noonian Singh and Lieutenant Marla McGivers, respectively. Meanwhile, Anthony Caruso (Lagos) appeared as Bela Oxmyx in the 1968 episode “A Piece of the Action” of Star Trek. Additionally, Gail Bonney also appeared as a witch in the Star Trek episode “Catspaw.”
In one scene (around 9:30), Ben Cartwright’s head moves as he reaches for the Bible. However, his hair does not move accordingly, revealing the actor’s toupee.
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The iconic Western television series, Bonanza, is an excellent show to binge-watch alone or with family and friends. NBC was behind the production of this show, airing all 14 seasons on their network from September 1959 to January 1973. Day of Reckoning is the 39th of 430 episodes and the seventh of its second season.
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