feet of clay
Bonanza Western TV
The Lone Writer  

Feet of Clay Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #01, Episode #30

Bonanza is one of NBC’s Western television shows, airing its 14 seasons on their network from 1959 to 1973. Season one’s thirtieth episode, Feet of Clay, written by John Furia Jr., premiered on April 16, 1960.

David Ladd, the son of film icon Alan Ladd (and a future film executive in his own right), appears as young Billy Allen, who is left alone in the world after his mother dies. 

Hoss Cartwright becomes close friends with Billy in the hopes of waking him up from his depressed state. However, Billy’s emotions and loyalties get torn when his outlaw father, Vance (Logan Field), escapes from jail and commits a cruel murder, forcing Hoss to shoot him down.

Robert Tetrick also appears as Pike in the episode. 

Read the plot, including some interesting trivia, or watch the full episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of Feet of Clay

Watch the Full Episode of Feet of Clay:

Main Cast

Aside from the main cast, Feet of Clay, Bonanza’s thirtieth episode featured several recurring and supporting cast members.

The episode features the following actors:

  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • David Ladd as Billy Allen
  • Logan Field as Vance Allen
  • Robert Tetrick as Pike
  • Victor Sen Yung as Hop Sing
  • Tom Greenway as Sheriff Fred
  • Guy Prescott as Charlie
  • Philip Grayson as Orville Sherman
  • John Eldredge as Mr. Sherman
  • Riza Royce as Sarah
  • Bob Miles as Stagecoach Driver (uncredited)

Full Story Line for Feet of Clay

Billy Allen, a young boy around 11 or 12 years old, arrives at the Ponderosa. Despite his young age, the kid has already been through a lot. His mother died of pneumonia, while his father, Vance, a former Ponderosa ranch hand, is in prison, convicted of murder. The other settlers don’t want to take care of Billy, leaving him to the Cartwrights as they wait for the boy’s uncle.

Books Worth Reading:

Billy refuses to open up and trust the Cartwrights despite their efforts to get close to him. When the Cartwrights were discussing what else they could do, Hop Sing called for their help because Billy stole one of his knives. When Ben decides to discipline the boy, Hoss steps in to do the act of convincing Billy to return the knife.

Hoss finds Billy outside, revealing one of Hop Sing’s knives. There he informs him that the cutting edge of the knife he stole was for carving up meat, not meant for throwing. Hoss offers him a whittling knife that he needs to earn for his time to do chores with him the next day. Although reluctant at first, Billy accepts Hoss’ deal. Hoss also informs him that taking the knife wasn’t right. Billy wants to return the knife, but Hoss does it instead, even eating a few of Hop Sing’s freshly baked doughnuts in the kitchen.

Hoss visits Billy to show him some fancy whittling. Billy declines, but Hoss hints that Billy is tending to the cut he got from the knife he gave him earlier. He brought some medicine for his wound. Billy also starts opening up to Hoss, even showing his parents’ pictures to him.

Meanwhile, Vance and a fellow inmate, Pike, escape from the Nevada State Penitentiary. They later killed a stagecoach driver and an armed guard, robbing the stage afterward. Pike says they go to Sacramento with the money they stole, but Vance insists on getting Billy first. Vance makes his way to the Ponderosa while Pike waits for Vance to return within 48 hours.

The sheriff informs the Cartwrights that Vance and Pike broke out of prison and killed the driver and guard of a stagecoach. They set out to look for the outlaws while Hoss takes care of Billy.

Books Worth Reading:

Hoss and Billy become closer by spending time fishing together. Hoss claims he’s a proficient fisherman, only for Billy to tease him for catching a rock. After much laughter, Billy confesses he wishes he was always that happy.

Later that night, Vance sneaks into Billy’s room to tell him he’ll return as promised. He asks Billy to pretend he didn’t see him, then requests for him to get some food tomorrow night to bring to their secret cave as they wait to set out to California.

The following day, Mr. Sherman comes to the Ponderosa to settle some business with the Cartwrights. Outside, Orville, Sherman’s son, taunts Billy for his convicted father. Billy, not knowing this is true, calls him a liar. Hoss and Sherman stop their fight, and later, Hoss confirms that Vance escaped from prison. He also tells Billy that what other people say about his mother and father doesn’t matter as long as Billy stays true to himself. Billy responds, convinced that his father will return to explain everything to everybody.

Later that night, Hoss finds difficulty sleeping, agitatedly fretting about Billy. He peeks through his window, seeing Billy riding a horse out of the ranch. Billy visits his mother’s grave with Vance. He then asks for the truth, so Vance explains that he got out because he shouldn’t be in prison in the first place.

Vance runs into Hoss as he sneaks back to the cave to rejoin Pike. Hoss reminds Vance about the fair trial, stating that busting out of prison isn’t helping him. Vance insists he cannot go back, then attacks Hoss. He draws his gun and fires, forcing Hoss to shoot back in self-defense. The shot kills Vance on the spot, and Hoss finds guilt thinking about Billy.

Books Worth Reading:

Ben returns to the Ponderosa, followed by Hoss, who confesses what happened to Vance. Billy heard their conversation, heartbroken that his friend had killed his father. Hoss apologizes, but Billy beats his fists on Hoss’ chest while saying he hates him. He runs away after, leaving Hoss sobbing upon hearing Billy say such vile things.

Ben tries to console Hoss. Ben reminds Hoss of what he felt when his mother died, including how he overcame the pain after some time. However, it only offered little comfort to Hoss.

Hoss and Billy, silent on Hoss, set off to bury Vance’s body. They run into Pike, who poses as a stranger. After accepting a cool drink of water to quench his thirst, Pike asks about the body. Hoss says it’s Vance Allen, one of the escapees. Pike reveals he’s the other, then offers Hoss options: to show him through the mountains or he’ll kill Billy. Not wanting to grant any of his choices, Hoss attacks Pike and orders Billy to run. However, Pike gains the upper hand over Hoss, who beats him to the ground.

Ben, Adam, and Little Joe are on their search for Pike when they come across Billy, who’s walking strangely calm and alone. Ben demands to know where Hoss is, stating that Pike could kill Hoss. Billy refuses to tell them about Hoss’ whereabouts, hoping Pike will kill Hoss since he killed his father.

Ben goes after Billy, begging for Billy’s help so they can save Hoss. He made him understand that he loves Hoss like how Vance loved Billy. Billy informs Hoss’ whereabouts and hopes he’ll be all right.

Books Worth Reading:

Pike has beaten Hoss. He dares him to take him to the mountains, and Hoss makes a move for the gun. The two struggle for the weapon, and Pike ultimately shoots himself in the end.

Hoss runs after Billy, who’s at the lake. Billy finally forgives Hoss after a few emotional words, and everything goes well.

Full Script and Dialogue of Feet of Clay

It's a doggone
shame, ain't it, Charlie?

Yep, sure is.

Doc said she had pneumonia.

Time he got here,

wasn't much to do
but call the sheriff.

Well, didn't anyone
know she was sick?

First thing anybody knew was him

riding all the way in
for the doc by himself.


Boy have any relatives?

Not a soul, Ben, except
an uncle back east, 

and the boy's father, of course.

Well, where is the
little feller going to stay?

Well, how about it, folks?

None of you want him?

We got our own to worry about.

Well, I guess I could put
him up in one of the cells

till his uncle can come get him.

He's only a little boy.

He's all alone now.

He... needs a
home and affection.

He's tainted, that kid.

Bad stock...

the whole tree goes
rotten sooner or later.

I don't want him around my home.

Come on, Sarah.

Well, I can't stay
here all day, Ben.

Sheriff... send
for the boy's uncle.

I'll keep the boy with
me on the Ponderosa.

All right. He's all yours, Ben.

That's a... that's
a pretty flower.

Weeds will choke it
out before it takes root.

Uh, son, you'll,
uh... you'll be staying

at my ranch till your
uncle can come for you.

Pa said he'd come back for me,

and I'm going to be waiting
right here until he does.

Well, we'll... we'll see.

Uh, we'd better get your
things from the cabin.

I'll go myself.

Hoss... there's a lot of hate

piled up inside that boy.

Yes, sir.

Hello, Billy. What
have you got there?

It's nothing.

What is it, a secret?

It's nothing!

Well, you... you don't have

to show it to me if
you don't want to.

Let's just have a little talk.

Mr. Cartwright, look,
you've let me sleep here,

and you've let me eat here.

All right, thanks,
but I can do chores.

I can help with the...
Now, hold on there.

You, uh... you don't
have to pay me back.

We're friends.

I want you to trust me.

Well, there's no
one else left, son.

There is, too... my pa!

Do you know where your pa is?

Why he went away?

He had to go away.

My ma said so.

My pa promised he'd
be coming back, though.

Well, you know...

Billy, uh, sometimes we, uh...

we promise things, and we...

well, we mean to
keep the promise, but,

well, something
happens and we can't.

My pa promised
he'd be coming back,

and I'm going to be
waiting here until he does.

He doesn't tell lies.

Why is he so touchy, Pa?

Hmm? He won't let
you get close enough

to reach him with
a ten-foot pole.

How should I know
why he's so touchy?

If I knew that, I wouldn't
be so dang worried.

Take your feet off the table.

Hey, Hoss, how do
you suppose you and I

grew up to be so sweet-tempered

with such a grouch for a pa?

I don't know, Little Joe.

I reckon he must've been

a mite more mellower
when he was younger.

I guess I had that coming.

That boy has me
so... so worried, I...

Well, when's his uncle coming?

Sheriff hasn't heard yet.

Well, he's got to know

about his father
sooner or later.

Maybe you should
just, uh, tell him.

Mr. Cartwright,
Mr. Cartwright, come quick!

Hop Sing's having
trouble again. Oh, no.

Mr. Cartwright!
What... what is it?

What's wrong?

Him bad... him very bad boy.

Oh, what did he do?

He take Hop Sing
knife, the big knife.

What, the butcher knife?

I see him, I say,
"You give back."

He say, "No."

Very sharp.

You better get back quick.

All right, Hop Sing, all right.

Well, I've just got to
discipline that boy somehow.

Wait a minute, Pa.

Let me talk to him.

Well, don't you think I'm
capable of talking to him?

Well, yes, sir, you are, but...

maybe you been talking
to us roughnecks so long,

you done forget how
to talk to a little feller.

Well... maybe you're right.

Go ahead.


Yes, sir?

Be careful of that knife.


Did you find one of Hop
Sing's knives out here?

I didn't find it.

I took it.


Go ahead, let me
see you chuck it.

Go on.

Hey, that ain't bad.

It's hard to throw.

Well, I don't wonder.

Come here, let me
show you something.

See, this here knife's
got a thick edge

here on the back and
a thin edge on the front.

Sure, that's the cuttin' edge.

That's right.

You see, this knife here
was made for carving up meat,

not throwing... Not
like an Injun's knife.

I didn't want it to throw.

I wanted it... to whittle.


How would you like
to have this one?

No, thanks.

Billy, I... I wasn't
going to give it to you.

You got to earn it.


Well, by... by doing some
chores for me tomorrow.

Well... all right.


Go ahead and take it.

You just hold on to
it, sort of as a loan,

till you can do
them chores for me.

Thanks, Mr. Cartwright.

And just one other thing.


it ain't right to take something
that don't belong to you.

Let me take that knife back.

Let me... let me
take it in to him.

Ol' Hop Sing's pretty
riled up right now.

Why don't you... why don't
you let me take it in to him,

and then you can go by
and tell him you're sorry later.

All right.

If you want it that way.

Hop Sing?

♪ ♪

Mr. Hoss.

What happen to little boy?

What you doing in
Hop Sing kitchen?

I just brung your
knife back, Hop Sing.

That so?

The little boy take knife.

The big boy take a doughnut.

Bad boy, very bad boy!

I-I got some real important
things to be doing, Hop Sing.

I'll see you.

Who's there?

It's me, Hoss.


Just a minute.

I sort of thought
I'd come up and...

show you some
real fancy whittling.

Well, I'm sort of busy
now, Mr. Cartwright.


Where did you
cut yourself, feller?

What do you mean?


Don't you think it's
about time me and you

quit playing around like
a couple of puppy dogs

don't know when
they're fighting for real

or just funning?

Let me see it.

I knew you'd cut yourself
when I first come up here.

Should've come right on out

and said it in the first place.

It hurt?


I got some medicine here for it.

Will it sting?

Oh, that's not a bad cut.

They always seem like
they bleed a little bit more

when they're on
the thumb, though.

Here's your knife
back, Mr. Cartwright.

Billy, that wasn't your fault.

It was all mine.

Any fool ought to know better

than to give a man
something that he...

that he don't know
how to use right.

Well... I shouldn't have
told you I knew how to use it.

Everybody makes mistakes, Billy,

but it takes a real
man to admit it.

You go ahead and use that knife

till I learn you how to use it.

Gee, thanks, Mr. Cartwright.


If that thumb don't
get to feeling better,

you let me hear, you know?


Are you hungry?

Yeah, I guess I am.

Well, what do you say
me and you go down

and get us a couple
of them doughnuts

while Hop Sing ain't looking?

Well... would that be all right?

All right?

Why, he'd be downright insulted

if any of them things
was left by supper.


Besides that, I'm
bigger than he is.

You're about bigger
than anyone, Hoss.

Come on.

Hey, Hoss... you
want to see something?

Yeah, I reckon I do.


It's a picture of my ma and pa.

It has "Ellen and
Vance" on the back.

Your ma was a real
pretty woman, Billy.

That's the only thing
that's really mine

except for this knife now.

You know something?

It sure is going to be fun
when my pa gets back.

Ain't it?

Yeah, Billy, it's liable
to be a while, though.

Well, I can wait.

Come on.

Come on.

Hyah, hyah!

Hyah, hyah!

Hyah, hyah!

You, get down.

Come on out, Vance.

It's safe now.

I said get down.

See if... if he's got something
I can use on this iron.

I can barely walk.

Old fool.

We come too far to play games.

Here, stone chisel.

That ought to do it.


Look at this.

Plenty of paper money.

That's luck.

We can get straight
to Sacramento now.

No, Pike, we agreed.

I go for the boy first.

I ain't getting
killed for no kid.

We need him, Pike.

He can get food for us.

It's a long way through
those mountains.

You wouldn't try and lose
me, would you, Vance?

You know these
mountains and I don't.

How do I know you'll
come back for me?

You keep the
money here with you.

All right.

I'll give you 48 hours.

If you're not back,
I go on without you

and the money goes with me.

I'll be back.

Sure, you will.

Now, you better get
that thing off your leg

while I get us a
change of clothes.

Then you and me'll
find me a place to wait...

for 48 hours.

Morning, Ben.

What brings you
out our way, Fred?

It's not election time
again, is it, Sheriff?

Where's the boy, Ben?


Oh, he's off fishing with Hoss.

Say, did you hear
from his uncle?

Nope, but we sure
heard from his father.

Him and a killer named Pike
broke out of the penitentiary.


Three days ago, and
yesterday I got word

a stagecoach was held up
about 30 miles from here.

Driver and guard both killed.

You think it was Vance?

I don't know, but there
ain't been no trace of 'em

since they killed a farmer
right next to the prison.

Probably on their
way to California.

They'd be safe there.

That's what I figured.

Vance knows this
country well enough

to slip right past us
into the mountains.

Yes, he does, and
there are three passes

into the mountains
from the Ponderosa.

I was hoping you and your boys

would point 'em out for us.

Well, we'll... we'll
be right with you.

Thanks, Ben, we'll wait for you.

I'll take some men
to the Truckee.

Adam, you and Joe will
have to take the sheriff

all the way to the Donner gap.

That'll take a couple of days.


Hoss better look after the boy.

I'll get back here
as fast as I can.

Tell Hop Sing to
rustle up some food.

Right, Pa.

Hey, Hoss, Hoss.

Got me another one, Hoss.


Best fisherman west
of the Mississippi.


Hey, hey, hey!

Billy, Billy, I done caught

the biggest dang
fish in the world.


What are you laughing about?

I got a real fish here.

Not one of them puny little ol'
outfits like you got over there.

Look here what I done caught.

Well, I ain't never seen
no fish like that before.

You're not sore, are you, Hoss?

You pistol, you know
I ain't sore at you.

I told you I'd catch
something, didn't I?

Even with my eyes shut.

Now, I'll tell you what
else I'm going to do.

I'm gonna throw you out
there with the rest of them fish.

No, Hoss!

One, two, three!

If I ever hear anything about
this from Little Joe or Adam,

I know a little boy
that's going to have

a mighty sore bottom.

Oh, I wouldn't tell on you.

Well, I wouldn't
spank you either, Billy.

I was just teasing.


I wish I were this
happy all the time.

I do, too, Billy.

♪ ♪



Hello, son.


I come back for you, just
like I promised I would.

I knew you would,
Pa, I just knew it.

Easy, boy.

We can't talk much.

I need your help, son.

Sure, Pa.

Do you think you
can keep a secret

just between the two of us?

Yeah, but...

there's something
I got to tell you.

About your ma?

I know.

I heard before I got here.

I couldn't help it, Pa.

I know.

Listen, you got to
pretend you ain't seen me.

You mustn't tell nobody, hear?

This is what I want you to do.

Tomorrow night, I want you to
make sure everybody's asleep.

Make real sure.

Then get some food.

Now, do you remember
the cave on the back hill

of Spider Creek that
you and me found?

You mean our secret cave?

That's right.

I want you to bring
the food to me there.

In a couple of days you and
me are going to California.


I can't stay no more.


You didn't tell me where
you were all that time.

Son, I kept my
promise, didn't I,

like I said I would?

You sure did, Pa.

Trust me, son.

I'll tell you everything later.


I'll be waiting.

And remember,
son, this is our secret.

Hey, Billy, come on out.

We got company.

Hello, Hoss. Howdy, Mr. Sherman.

How are you, sir?

Fine. Orville.

Hello, Hoss.

Pa's got the contracts
ready for you, Mr. Sherman.

Come on in. Good.

Well, how is the
lumber business?

Well, I don't reckon it could
be any better, Mr. Sherman.

These dang trees keep
growing as fast as we can cut 'em.

That's good.

Keep building in the city

and I'll make you Cartwrights
the richest men in Nevada.

Orville, wait outside here.

Uh, Daddy won't be long.

Hello, boy.

I'm Orville Sherman.

Who are you?

Over here at the desk.

Sheriff must have sworn
in a dozen extra deputies

just to help find
that boy's father.

Yeah, I... I reckon folks'll
be blaming them two convicts

with everything that happens

within a hundred
mile radius of here.

Probably so.

How is the boy taking it?

Well, sir, he... he
just lost his ma.

Don't seem hardly fair to me

to have to tell the boy
about his pa right after that.

I suppose not.

My father told me
he broke out of jail.

You're a liar.

Your pa's nothing
but a dirty ol' convict.

He is not.

He is not.

He's a murderer.

You liar... you liar.

Say it.

Say he's a murderer or eat dirt.


Say it.

Say he's a murderer or eat dirt.

No! Say it or I'll
break your arm.

Say it, say he's a murderer.

You're going to eat dirt.

Say it. SHERMAN: Orville.

He called me a liar, Pa.

I'm going to have to
take a switch to you.

Rolling around in the
dirt like a barroom brawler.

Now, get in that buggy.

Go on.

Billy... you all right?

He said my pa was a convict.

Are you hurt?

It's all right, Mr. Sherman,
I'll take care of it.

You go ahead.

Children can be
very cruel sometimes.

Yes, sir.


He said my pa was
a murderer and...

and that he had
escaped from prison.

Billy... it's true.

I should've told
you a long time ago.

They-they think he
might be coming this way.

Couldn't make me eat dirt.

You're proud of that, ain't you?

No one's gonna say
anything about my pa!

Billy, I...

I ain't sayin' they should.

The... the thing is it...

it don't matter what
your ma or pa was, son,

'cause you ain't them.

Now, my ma was
a real pretty woman,

but that don't mean
that folks have gotta

enjoy lookin' at a big
ugly cuss like me, does it?

Don't you see
what I mean, Billy?

It's more important what you are

than what your ma and pa was,

or what people
might say about 'em...

Good or bad.

But, Hoss,

my pa promised he was
gonna come back for me.

And when he does, he's
gonna explain everything

to everybody.

We better get you fixed up.

I hate to lose a hand

with just me and you running
this ranch by ourselves.

Wouldn't you?

From now on, it's
just the two of us.

We haven't got any friends?

Folks ain't interested
in you and me, son.

They never was,

and they ain't never gonna be.



Pa... w-would it be all right...

if I said I love you?


That's a good thing
for a man and his son.

To say to each other.

We better get back to the cave.



You said you were gonna tell me

about where you been.

You don't know?

A boy said you were a convict...

and a murderer.


I shouldn't have
been sent to prison.

But nobody cared,

so that's where they sent me.

It was pretty bad there, son.

So I... I got out

and I come back for you,
like I promised I would.

I knew you would, Pa.

You'd have done the same
for me, wouldn't you, son?


No matter what.

No matter what.

You better get goin'.

Pa, do you have to
go back to that cave?


But maybe by tomorrow night

we'll have enough food
so we can go to California.

Now you hurry.

I don't want no one
to find you gone.

Be back tomorrow, Pa.

Let me go, Hoss.

I ain't aimin' on pullin' this
trigger unless you make me.

Don't you remember me, Hoss?

I'm Vance Allen.

I rented my farm from your pa.

I remember you, Vance.

You could say you never seen me.

I can't do that.

I can help you turn yourself in,

and then do what I can for you.

I got a bad deal once, Hoss.

Vance, you got a fair trial.

A jury found you guilty.

Now, bustin' out of prison
ain't gonna help you none.

I'll go to California.

Nobody knows me there.

I'll go through the mountains.

Nobody's gotta know.

What about the little boy?

I won't wait for him.

I'll go now.

I'll send for him later.

He brung you that
food, didn't he?

Yeah, he's a good boy.

You could tell him, Hoss.

He'd understand.

Vance, it just ain't no good.

Go on, let's go.

Can't ya understand?

They kept me in a
cage like an animal.

I had to get up when they say,

eat when they say, sleep when
they say, work when they say.

I can't go back!




Good morning, Mr. Cartwright.

You take enough food along?

Yes, everything
was fine, Hop Sing.

Hoss up yet?

He never get up
until he smell cooking.

The other boys
get back? No, sir.

Well, I'm hungry
enough for three people.

Unsaddle the horse,
see that he's fed.

Oh, Hoss!

I thought you were
upstairs asleep.

What're doing up...


Pa, I couldn't help it.

He pulled a gun on me, Pa.

And... I didn't even
have time to aim.

Sure, son.

He came back for Billy
just like he said he was.

Better tell the boy.

Pa... I'll tell him.

Ain't nobody can do it for me.


No, Billy.

He's dead, son.

That's your horse, Hoss.

I'm sorry, Billy.

I'm terrible sorry.

You said you were my friend.

You knew he was
coming back for me!

You killed him!

Well, Billy, he didn't
leave me no choice.

I'm terrible sorry, Billy.

I'd do anything to bring
your pa back to you,

but I can't.

I'm sorry.

I hate you, Hoss!

I hate you!

I hate you!

You killed my Pa!

I hate you! You killed him!

I'm sorry, Billy.

I'm terrible sorry.

I hate you! Stop it, Billy!

I wish I were big enough.

I wish I were big
enough to kill you, Hoss!

Hoss, it's not your fault.

Leave me alone, Pa.

Hoss, that boy was not
responsible for what he said.

You did what you had to do.

Pa, I ain't never had
to do anything like that.

I hope I never
have to do it again.

I didn't even sight
my gun, Pa, I...

I just pulled the trigger.

And if you hadn't,
he'd have killed you.

If I hadn't have butted in,

he never would've
drawed on me, Pa.

No, Hoss, Vance was
a fugitive from justice.

Now, you obeyed
your duty to the law.

There ain't no law

that says I can go out and
take a man's life away from him.

I ain't got no tin badge

that says it's all
right for me to...

to kill a little boy's pa.

A little boy that trusted me.

I wish I had some words

to take your pain away, Hoss.

What am I gonna say to him?

What's he gonna
think about trustin' folks,

and lettin' folks
be his friends now,

after what I done to him?

What did you think
when your mother died?

I thought the world
had come to an end.

But you got over it.

And so did I.


I can still feel
them little fists

hitting and... and hitting me.

It hurts, Pa.

It hurts worse than anything.

I know, son, I know.

I've been sitting here

praying as hard as I know how

that God would tell
me what to say to him.

We were friends, Pa.

I killed his papa with that.

Pa... I got these big hands, Pa,

and I can lift a heifer
clean off of the ground,

and I can whup most
near any man I ever met,

but I'd cut them both off

if it'd make that little boy

quit looking at me
like he wanted to spit.

Why don't God help me, Pa?

Why don't he tell
me what to say?

Why do I have to just be a...

a big, dumb Hoss?

There's nothing you can say.

He'll have to
understand by himself.

Hoss, do you want me
to go along with you?

No, thank you, Pa.

All right, I'll go on ahead.

I'll try to find Adam
and Little Joe.

What about the boy?

He's gonna... he's gonna
come along with me.

Billy... we better get going.


I reckon I ought to let these
old ponies rest here a minute.

Still cool.


Sure am glad to
find you, mister.

Near dying of thirst.

What happened?

My horse broke
his leg last night.

Must've got lost.

Who you got under there?

It's Vance Allen.

He was one of the...

one of the two escaped
convicts the sheriff's looking for.

Well, what about the other one?

I don't know.

Well, you sure
are lucky, mister.

You just found me.

Don't try anything.

Now, put your hands in the air.

You, kid, keep your mouth shut.


sheriff's got every man in
this country looking for you.

You ain't got a chance.

Oh, you're wrong.

I've got every chance now.

I've got all this

and you to show me
through the mountains

instead of Vance Allen.

That's where you got it wrong.

I ain't helping you.

Oh, you're gonna
help me, all right.

Or I'll kill the kid right here.

You'll what?

I ain't no pushover
like Vance Allen.

Now, what's it gonna be?

The kid...

or you gonna show me
through those mountains?

Run, Billy!

You're the one I need now.

It may take me a
while to convince you...

but you'll show me
through those mountains,

won't you?

It's Billy!

Well, Billy, what are
you doing out here?

Where's Hoss?

He's with that other
man, back in the woods.

What other man?

The one... that was with my pa.

Where are they?

Can you lead us back
to where they are, Billy?

Listen to me, boy.

That man is desperate.

Now, he could kill Hoss.

I want you to lead us
back to where they are.

Hoss killed my pa!

I hope he does kill Hoss!

I hope he does!

Did you hear
what I said, Billy?!

Take it easy, Pa. Billy!


Billy, Hoss is my son.

And to you he's big and tough

but he's my boy.

Now, I know how you
felt about your father.

You loved him no
matter what he did.

And he loved you.

And that's a good thing
between a father and a son.

Now, Billy, that's the way it
is between me and my boy.

No matter what you think of him,

I love Hoss, Billy, he's my son.

Now you understand how I feel?

I'm... I'm begging you
to save his life, Billy.

You're the only one who can.

I'll show you.

But, Ben...: he was beating him.

Well, big boy, did
you have enough?

You gonna take me through
those mountains now?


Hoss? Hoss?

Easy, boy, easy.

Took quite a beating.

I reckon I'm lucky my ol'
head's as hard as it is, Pa.

We'd have never found you

if it hadn't have
been for Billy.

He's a good boy. Yeah.

He's gone.

We'd better go after him.

Wait, wait.

Let me go.

Billy, you can't catch many
fish without a pole, can you?

You're alive.

Yep, I'm alive, Bill.

My father, he was like
that man, wasn't he?

Well, I...

I reckon he had a little
mean streak in him, Billy,

but lots of folks do.

Billy, your papa loved you, son.

But he did come
back for me, didn't he?

You bet he did.

Can I go back to the ranch

until my uncle comes?

Come on.

♪ ♪

Behind the Scenes of Feet of Clay

Ben earnestly urges Little Joe to move his feet from the table. This remark turns into a joke frequently used throughout the show.

In the scene where Billy and Orville are fighting, Orville tells Billy, “Say it, say he is a murdered or eat dirt.” The first time Orville says this line appears to be an audio dub since Orville’s mouth doesn’t move to speak those words.

In the scene where Hoss tends to Billy’s wound when he accidentally cuts his finger with a knife, Hoss says, “If that thumb don’t get to feeling better, you let me hear, you know?” The line should have conveyed, “You let me know, you hear?”

Books Worth Reading:

David Ladd, the child actor, appeared in the program for the first time as a guest actor. (He is the only special guest in the episode, which initially aired when he was 13 years old.)

A “wide shot” of the moving stagecoach appears before Pike fires the “shotgun” at the stagecoach. At that scene, a passenger occupies the right rear seat. However, the stagecoach showed no passengers when it stopped.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza offers excellent entertainment for people to enjoy alone or with their loved ones. All 14 seasons of Bonanza ran on NBC from September 1959 to January 1973. Out of over 400 episodes, Feet of Clay was the 30th in its first season.

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