Mr. Henry Comstock Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #01, Episode #09
Bonanza was an hour-long weekly television Western series that originally aired from 1959 to 1973. The beloved Western show lasted 14 seasons and centers on the Cartwright family and the Ponderosa ranch.
Mr. Henry Comstock, episode nine of Bonanza’s first season, was written by producer David Dortort and premiered on November 7, 1959.
An older man with a gun approaches the Cartwright family, claiming they’re on his land, even showing a deed signed by Henry Comstock to confirm it. The episode portrays a flashback to how Comstock, a con man, inadvertently discovered a substantial amount of silver deposits while attempting a fraudulent scheme and how Virginia City got its name.
Read the plot and related trivia, or watch the entire episode below.
Table of Contents
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This list below contains notable cast members of season one’s ninth episode, Mr. Henry Comstock. The listing includes regular cast members, recurring, and one-off supporting guest stars.
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Jack Carson as Henry T.P. Comstock
- Richard H. Cutting as Ol’ Virginny (as Richard Cutting)
- Jack Mather as Heck Turner
- Bruce Gordon as Chief Winnemucca
- Victor Sen Yung as Hop Sing
- Terence de Marney as Pat O’Reilly (as Terrence deMarney)
- John Dierkes as Pat McLaughlin
- Charles Wagenheim as Pike
- Joanne Sages as Princess Saratucci (as Joanna Sages)
- Abel Fernandez as Lean Knife
- Audrey Betz as Party Guest (uncredited)
- Chris Willow Bird as Indian (uncredited)
- Bill Borzage as Miner (uncredited)
- Charles Cirillo as Miner (uncredited)
- Bill Clark as Miner (uncredited)
- Jimmy Dime as Miner (uncredited)
- Al Haskell as Innkeeper (uncredited)
- Jimmie Horan as Miner (uncredited)
- Ron Nyman as Miner (uncredited)
- John Quijada as Miner (uncredited)
- Paul Ravel as Miner (uncredited)
- Peggy Rea as Party Guest (uncredited)
- Carl Sklover as Miner (uncredited)
- Cap Somers as Miner (uncredited)
- Glen Walters as Party Guest (uncredited)
Full Story Line of Mr. Henry Comstock
The Cartwrights stop to cool down by the lake after returning from moving their herd, only for a shot to interrupt their rest. An older prospector accuses the Cartwrights of trespassing on his property, showing them the deed. Ben laughs as he reads it to his sons, then tries to explain how the land is part of the Ponderosa. It appears that Henry Comstock sold the land to the prospector. Baffled by the news, the Cartwrights had to inform the prospector about their first meeting with Henry Comstock, a con man, for him to understand the situation.
Henry Comstock sits atop his mule, awaiting execution by four men accused of claim jumping. Henry requests a moment to pray and asks God why these men have not heard the news. The leader named Heck wants to know what Henry is talking about, so Henry explains that Hang Town altered its name to Placerville and banned hangings within city limits. He then declares the city limits extend to the top of the Sierras. The men take the long journey and escort Henry out of town before hanging him on the other side of the Sierras.
On their way back from cutting and planting Ponderosa pines, the Cartwrights notice a man on a mule pursued by four men on horseback. They don’t like the odds, so they decide to assist the lone man. The Cartwrights take cover on the lower side of the mountain and take turns shooting at the four men with Hoss’ buffalo rifle. Each cartwright made their mark (a canteen, hat, rifle, and arm). The four men flee because they can’t see who is shooting at them. Henry has no idea where the assistance is coming from, but he is grateful.
The Cartwrights meet up with Henry to inquire why he got kicked out of California. Henry Comstock denies the allegation of him claim jumping, stating that may God strike him dead if he did. Joe casually rests his rifle on his shoulder and pulls the trigger for an explosive boom. Henry then informs God that he did not mean right now. The Cartwrights laugh at Henry’s remark, inviting him back to the Ponderosa for dinner. At dinner, Henry narrates some wild stories.
The Cartwright boys have plans for the evening. Adam is on his way to the sawmill, offering Henry a job. However, Ben wants to guarantee Henry won’t be panning for gold on his Ponderosa.
Meanwhile, Henry grew curious after hearing about the discovery of gold at the Washoe Diggings with plans to visit. Hoss accompanies Henry to ensure he does not get into any trouble.
On the other hand, Joe wants to go to Dutchman Pete’s for the weekly dance. However, he can only wish to bring a lovely lady with him. He suddenly got an idea, and he and Hoss left. Hoss instructs Henry and Joe to find a beautiful woman, and Adam is on his way to work.
Chief Winnemucca’s young daughter, Saratuchi (or Saratucci), is Joe’s idea of a lovely woman. He’s brought some precious turquoise material, which he offers to Saratuchi after speaking with the chief and inviting her to the dance. “However, don’t inform Chiefy,” says Joe with a smile.
Hoss follows Henry to the miners. The miners discover bits of gold. However, most of their equipment gets destroyed by “this darn blue stuff.” Henry seizes the opportunity to ask two miners if they’ve filed a claim, stating they’re trespassing on his property otherwise. Despite Hoss’s whispering that Henry can’t do that, he goes ahead, and a fight ensues. The battle draws Henry, only for Hoss to walk away to find another miner. He makes the man an offer of $17 for half of his claim. Pike, the man, seizes the opportunity because all he can find is blue stuff. Henry whispers his plans into Pike’s ear now that they’re partners.
Hoss is having a good time at the dance when Joe arrives with Saratuchi in her new turquoise dress. However, one man, ‘Ol Virginny,’ believes that taking Saratuchi away from her father and the Paiutes was terrible. Hoss agrees, but Joe is unconcerned and proceeds to follow Saratuchi out to dance. He eventually leads her to a corner and kisses her. At that point, Chief Winnemucca and his braves enter the scene.
Joe tries to get himself out of a bad situation, only for the Indian chief to confront him out of a father’s wrath and an upset fiance. A scuffle breaks out the moment Ben and Adam arrive. Adam shoots the knife out of the hand of a Paiute. Ben assures Chief Winnemucca that his son is young and silly and will receive punishment from him, not the Paiutes. The Indians leave, and the dancing resumes.
Pike bursts in, yelling, “I found gold!” Everyone is excited, Henry is complacent, and the Cartwrights have retreated to a corner, worried. Pike intends to show everyone where he discovered gold, but Henry reminds him that it was on his claim. However, Henry is willing to sell shares for $100, cash on the barrel head, for a portion of the Comstock Lode. Everyone starts throwing money at him. Once Henry realizes he’s practically giving away an actual gold strike, he tries to return the money. However, everyone wants to keep their share, so they all rush out of Dutchman Pete’s simultaneously. ‘Ol Virginny falls and breaks his scotch bottle in the crush. He decides to utilize it for christening and calls the place Virginia. Henry refuses and declares for the place to be called Virginia City. The crowd applauds and heads to the excavations while the Cartwright boys remain behind, heads shaking because of what happened.
The Cartwrights end their story to the old prospector, telling him that Henry sold his claim for $11,000. The reason was that he didn’t realize all that “blue stuff” was silver, and since then, people have extracted millions of dollars of silver from the Comstock Lode. The prospector no longer feels stupid for buying the worthless deed. Ben still thinks it would be a great souvenir of their old friend Henry Comstock, then proceeds to offer to buy it from the prospector for the $25 he paid for the land.
Full Script and Dialogue of Mr. Henry Comstock
Sure hard work pushing all that cattle up into that high country. That water sure does look good, too. I can't hardly wait to wash off some of this grit. Careful, Little Joe. That's the closest you've come to taking a bath in months. Now... now, who are you? Never mind who I am. Just get off my land. Your land? Now, what are you talking about, mister? You know what I'm talking about. You ain't deaf, are ya? No, we ain't deaf, but you sure you ain't got just a little bit too much sunshine, old timer? Now, look, maybe you got, uh... kind of got your directions mixed up. All right, now, don't anybody move. Why'd you want to go do a thing like that for, old timer? I know my rights. The law says that I can shoot trespassers on sight. Now, look, you're-you're on the Ponderosa. I bought this land, mister, and there ain't nobody gonna take it away from me. What...? I don't want to kill anybody, but I will, if you push me. Nobody's trying to push you, mister. But what makes you think this is land is yours? I said I bought it. $25 hard money. I got the bill of sale to prove it. "I hereby sell you all the land between the east shore "of Lake Tahoe and Sun Mountain for $25 cash. Signed, Henry T.P. Comstock." Henry Comstock. Old timer, I guess you were just one of the many who were taken in by our dear friend, Mr. Comstock. I guess you didn't know him any too well, did you? I don't have to know him. I got the bill of sale there to prove it. The bill of sale. That old thief would sell him the Territory of Nevada if he could get away with it. Looks like he did, too. You remember the first time we ever seen him, Little Joe? That wild-eyed old mule of his? That black, stove-pipe hat that made him look pious as a preacher. You know how many men have draped this tree? 28 men and one woman. We figure to make it a nice round figure, like 30. All right, let's get it over with. Hyah! Whoa, whoa! What in the name of creation's your hurry? Mind if I have a last word with my friend? Friend?! You haven't got a friend within 50 miles of Hangtown. Lord, I... I'm ready whenever you say the word, but Lord, I-I hope you forgive me, if I... I don't have time to tell these boys about the big new movement going on around here. What in thunder big movement you talking about? Changing the name of Hangtown to Placerville. You boys hear of anything such goings-on around here? Lord, looks like you left these boys up in the hills too long. You know the first law they passed was there'd be no more hangings within the city limits. City limits? How far are they? Clear to the top of the Sierra Nevada mountains. That's a good hundred miles. Mighty ambitious town, Placerville. Lord, you didn't tell these boys nothing. You didn't tell them there's mighty touchy people around here, too, especially about any unnecessary hanging. Hanging you is about the most necessary thing a hard-rock miner could ever do. So we'll escort you the hundred miles over the Sierra Nevada, and hang you there. I thank you. Because, Mr. Henry T.P. Comstock, you're just about the crookedest, slimiest, most double-dealin', weaselin', lyin', thievin', no-good claim-jumper that ever to hit the State of California. Hyah! Hyah! Four hours. It took four hours to bring that thing down. Heh! That isn't such a long time, Little Joe. Not when it took 400 years for it to grow. 400 years. Well, that's even before Columbus sailed out of Spain to discover America. Hoss, there were trees that were living and growing in this forest that were old when Christ pulled fish out of the Sea of Galilee. Don't cut unless you plant. That's right, Hoss. That's why we're here. Not just to take from the land, but to give. Yes, sir. Can you see it? A hundred years from now, standing tall against the sky. Plant it, Adam. Sure, Pa. Well, little Ponderosa, see you around in a couple of hundred years when you're a big Ponderosa. Thousands of people who, one day, will come to this land, will be mighty thankful for what we've done. There's timber up there to build whole new cities, launch fleets of ships. Hear that, Hoss? Older brother Adam is planning to build that Yankee fleet of his again. Well, it's gonna take a mite more water than we got hereabouts to float it in, Little Joe. Water? You don't think Adam is planning to sail his ships on just plain ol' water, do you? I guess you two mountain boys haven't heard... Just so happens I'm planning on ships that sail across sand. Mm! I remember walking across about 600 miles of it the last time Pa sent me to Salt Lake City to file them claim papers. How would you like to be able to do it in under three days? Oh, come on now! From here to Salt Lake City in three days? How you going to do that? I think he's going to fly through the air, Hoss. Maybe two days. Oh-ho! Well, maybe one day. You talking about a railroad, son? I'd be talking about a railroad, Pa. Dreams are mighty good things to have, son. You know what it takes to build a railroad? Track. Track that runs across sand, around mountains and over rivers. And track ain't nothing but a lot of rail and a bed of ties to lay it on. You'd cut down all these wonderful trees, to provide ties for a railroad? I'd cut them down, Pa. And I'd put new ones in their place. Hey, that sounded like a rifle shot. From the California side. Sounded to me like it come off the Ponderosa. Dorothy, if you don't move faster, you're gonna be key witness to a hanging. So he thinks he can sneak away on that old mule? Hyah! Come on. How do you feel about four men chasing one man on a mule? Well, maybe they have a reason for chasing him. But I don't care for the odds. We sure could improve them, Pa. We sure could sweeten 'em up some at that, Pa. We'd better stop 'em too, before they stir up the Paiutes. Last time somebody stirred them up, three families of settlers paid for it with their lives. All right, boys, let's sweeten 'em. Adam? Yeah? How far off you reckon them fellers are? Oh, about a half a mile maybe. Yeah, that's just about what I figured. Hey, Hoss, even with that Sharps buffalo gun you got, you don't figure you can hit a target at a half-mile distance? You watch that feller's hat. What in thunder was that?! Dorothy, that shot come from the direction I thought it did? Oh. Hoss, let me see that little old squirrel gun of yours for a minute? Sure, Adam. See that, Pa? Couldn't be Comstock. He didn't even have a rifle. And, Little Joe, what was all this talk about a half a mile? Good shooting. You want to try it, Little Joe? Yeah, I better! You right sure, now? Well, I think I better if I want to stay living with this family. Ow! That's a mighty fine old gun you got there, Hoss. That was mighty good shooting. Just the kind of thing any New Orleans boy learns to do about the time he learns to walk. Take a crack at it, Pa? Well, if I have to. Just to show you young whippersnappers. Go ahead; you can't miss now. Give me that rifle. Mighty fine shooting, Pa. We gotta get outta here, Heck. They ain't men, they're devils! Where are they shootin' from, that's what I want to know! I don't know where it's coming from, but it's the best darn shootin' I ever saw. Good shootin', all right, but it's done by men like us, not devils. Thank you for looking favorably on the countenance of this miserable sinner, Lord. I sure do appreciate it. I sure do. And to prove it, I won't lie, or steal or ever jump any other feller's claim again as long as I live. Strike me dead if I do, Lord! You strike me dead!! Heck, I don't like this place. Feels haunted to me. Why don't we go back to Californy? Let's go back! We only came here to get rid of that Comstock fellow in the first place. Not get rid of him, hang him! I promised myself to see that old thief hang, and I mean to keep that promise. Well, I think we scared those fellows off. They're heading back to California. Yeah, they are. And maybe they aren't. Quite an exhibition of skill, my friends. Truly the best exhibition of the fine art of rifle shooting I've ever seen since the days of that esteemed gentleman, Quincy P. Strongheart. Ah, yes, I can see it all just as though it were yesterday. My boyhood chum, Quincy P., raised at my side, in sight of the stormy and treacherous waters of Lake Nipishima. What in the tarnation are you talkin' about, mister? What did you do to stir up all that excitement? He's probably one of them claim jumpers they run out of California. Lad, I beseech you, don't mention that evil place to me. I, Henry T. P. Comstock, who have roamed the four corners of the Earth, have sailed every shore and coastline of the seven seas, never want to hear the name of that foul-sounding place again as long as I live. Why were you run out? I? You think I, Henry Comstock, was run out of California? Run out and told never to come back. How many claims did you jump? Did you hear that? Not you, Dorothy. Lord, right where I stand, right where I stand, if I, Henry Comstock, ever jumped or even thought of jumping any other gold miner's claim, strike me dead. Not yet, Lord! I... I know I'm a miserable sinner, and certain things have been known to cling to my fingers, but I'm not ready yet, Lord, to meet the hellfires of retribution! Not yet, Lord, not yet. Hellfires of retribution! You hear that, Little Joe? I figure if a man is gonna get religion, he might as well get it in a hurry. Mr. Comstock, before your time is up, I think there's room for at least one good meal in there to help see you through that final journey. Do my ears deceive me or did I... did I hear you mention food? Well, gentlemen, when do we eat? You, too, Dorothy. Dorothy, food. Come. Gentlemen, I have feasted at the tables of kings and dined in the company of millionaires, but never, I repeat, never have I enjoyed such a meal as this. This is Hop Sing's doing, Mr. Comstock. In all your traveling, you ever meet a finer cook? My good man, worthy descendant of Confucius that you might be, I must compliment you on having acquired a skill and wizardry in the culinary arts unmatched in all this land. He no like the rib? No, he like's 'em, Hop Sing. Oh, very good. I bring more. Got plenty more. Yeah, you do that, Hop Sing, you do that. Mr. Comstock, do you have any late news of my good friend, Captain John Sutter? Sir, you're referring to Captain John Sutter of the Sacramento Valley? Are there any other Captain John Sutters? Ah, well, the poor man, he's, he's a cause of sadness and melancholy to all of his friends. What's the matter, is he getting worse? Not only getting worse, he's almost gone, as has his mind. Young man, pass that plate of sweet corn, please. You mean, you're still hungry? I haven't seen corn as smooth and golden as this since I was a boy on the shores of Lake Simihoochee. I thought you said, over on the mountain, Lake Nipishima. Nipishima on one side, Simihoochee on the other. Lots of lake in that neck of the woods. Just what neck of the woods was that? You, um, you boys familiar with foreign lands? Uh, no, no, we've never been out of the country. Why? Oh, it's a shame that you can't know too much about the wonderful country of my childhood: Canada. Well, this, uh, Nipotchki and Scowchiehatchee, whatever you call it, are they in Canada? On the other side of the Frangitang Mountains. Mr. Comstock, what about my friend, Captain Sutter? Poor man. It's a pity what's happened to him. You wouldn't recognize him anymore. How bad is he, Mr. Comstock? Not just one more? Just a... small one? Later. In fact, I think we've all had enough to eat for now. Hop Sing! Yes, Mr. Cartwright? You like dinner? Yes, dinner was very good, Hop Sing, very good. Very good, Hop Sing. And I do thank you. Very good. We'll have a coffee in here. Yes, Mr. Cartwright. Mr. Comstock, brandy? Yes, don't mind if I do. Thank you, sir. You're very kind. Nice little place you got here. Reminds me of the time I was the guest of Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace. I'll ride on down to the sawmill, Pa. Have 'em bring those trees in we cut down. Fine, Adam, fine. Oh, Adam, uh, do you need any help? Come to think of it, we are a little shorthanded. How would you like to work for us, Mr. Comstock? We pay good money, a dollar American a day. Work? What kind of work is that? Oh, hauling, cutting timber. Good, healthy, outdoor work from sunup to sundown. Sunup? Oh, I'm afraid that's not the kind of work I do. Just what kind of work do you do, Mr. Comstock? I'd be real anxious to know. Uh, well, I'm a, I'm a merchant. Yes, that's what I am, a merchant. Oh, a merchant? Yeah. Sometimes I buy, sometimes I sell. It all depends on the state of business, among other things. Your very good health, sir. Among other things, Mr. Comstock, do you ever indulge in something called "panning for gold"? You mean, you folks don't cotton to folks who pan for gold? I told you I planted the first field of grain with John Sutter in the Valley of the Sacramento. Together, we planted those hillsides with vines, with fruit-bearing trees. Do you know what they did to that land, those locusts, those ravagers who answered the cry of "Gold in California"? They tore out those vines, they chopped down those trees, they trampled that wheat. Is it any wonder that John Sutter sits on his porch now, staring into the sun by the hour, recognizing no one, seeing nothing? You know about him, don't you? I know all about him. And that's why I came to the Ponderosa, my sons and I, and that's why I made my vow: that never would these thousand square miles of God-made country be delivered into the hands of those spoilers, those destroyers. Mr. Comstock, if I so much as see a man digging for gold anywhere on my land, I'll shoot him at sight. Gold? You don't mean there's gold up here in western Utah, do you? That's what we keep tellin' those fellers over at the Washoe diggin's, Mr. Comstock. That they just wastin' their time. There ain't enough gold over there there to fool with. Oh, you think they'd listen to us? I don't know what it is about a gold miner. They must be three-fourths loco and the other fourth stupid. You say they found gold? What I said was that they didn't hardly find enough to fool with. They pan all day, come up with just enough to buy themselves a bottle of whisky. Now, if you were a whisky merchant, Mr. Comstock, you should do rather well down at Washoe. Washoe... that's the name of the place, huh? Washoe? That's what they call it. 20 miles due east of the Ponderosa. Yeah... Where are you going, Mr. Comstock? Dinner was fine, gentlemen. I hate to rush, but duty calls. Duty? What kind of duty? Those miners at Washoe, they're just waiting to buy and sell. Farewell, gentlemen. The fool; the gold-crazed fool. Pa? Hmm? Maybe I ought to follow him. Those fellas from California might still be after him, be trying to kill him. Probably for good cause, Hoss. I thought you were worried about four-legged animals. Well, I reckon he's sort of like a four-legged animal himself. You might say like a jackass. Hey, can I go too, Pa? Every Saturday night there's a dance down at Dutch Pete's at the diggin's. A dance? Why, do they have any women to dance with? They got two or three. They're pretty big. Just some gals who do the miners' washing. You ought to see 'em, Pa. They're big and rawboned as Texas steers. But they can dance! Western Utah's growing up. All right, uh, Hoss, you go after our friend the fool, and, uh, Little Joe, you, uh, go off to Dutch Pete's to your dance. Adam, what about you? What do you want? Hey, come on with us, Adam. Nah, I don't want anything, Pa. I got work to do. But Little Joe, I might just drop by and take a look at one of those big, rawboned women. Hey, why don't you do that, Adam? As a matter of fact, I'll save one for you. The biggest and rawest of the bunch! Yes, I bet you will. Boy, I sure would like to surprise him with a pretty little gal. There ain't no pretty gals within a hundred miles of here, Little Joe. I'm just thinking about one... just one. Pa, you sure his ma wasn't part jackrabbit? Hoss, his ma was all woman. So was Adam's. So was yours. And they left me sons, boy. They left me sons. Whoa. "Rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief..." Which one you think he is, Hoss? I reckon he's most likely been nearly all of them one time or other, Little Joe. Still think those fellas from California might be after him? I don't know. But if they are, he's gonna need some mighty fast help. Yeah, maybe so. And I got a real strange feeling that ol' crowbait can take care of just anything that comes along. Whoa. Oh... Little Dorothy. There you are. Eat hearty. I guess the good Lord watches over fools and little children. Well, just in case the good Lord forgets for a minute, I think I better trail along after him, keep an eye peeled for trouble. I'll see you at the diggin's tonight. You be sure and save me some of that tarantula juice, you hear! When I get to the diggin's, I ain't gonna have time for any tarantula juice. You stay out of that Paiute country. Remember what Pa said about stirring them up. Hoss, what the heck would I want with any ol' Paiute? Come on. Hyah! Hyah! Sorry, Mr. Comstock. Did you hurt yourself? Think nothing of it, my boy, nothing at all. We Comstocks are made of steel. Yes, I remember my grandpappy at the ripe age of 93 chewing iron bars and spitting out nails. Yeah, I reckon you're all right at that. The way you fell back there, I could've swored you broke something. Son, you're looking at a man who did break something... His link with the past. How long has all this been going on? Well, fellers been fooling around these mountains for years, digging up one side and then down the other. Fighting that blue stuff over there, they call it. Blue stuff? Never heard of it. What's that? Well, I don't reckon anybody rightly knows, Something that gums up something fierce. Makes it hard to get at the gold. The gold... yeah, the gold. I like the sound of that word, son. It's like music to my ears. Yes, sir, from now on, I intend to confine all my valuable time to the Comstock Lode. The Comstock Lode? What's that? Everything that meets the eye, son. Everything that meets the eye. But you just got here. How can you even think about naming all this after yourself, when you only just got here? Son, that just goes to show you how wrong a man can be. Because I got the feeling that I been here practically all of my life. Greetings, gentlemen. Henry T. P. Comstock brings you greetings and salutations. Did you two gentlemen file a legal claim for this particular piece of land? Legal claim? Now, what kind of question is that? Simple enough question, friend. You didn't file a claim, you're trespassing on my property. I'm requesting you to move on. Oh, Mr. Comstock, you can't do a thing like that. You only just got here. Son, the law is the law. The law says if a man don't file a claim, he ain't got any more right than a ticker. Now you wait a minute. You just wait a minute. We filed a claim more than a month ago. Up at Dutch Pete's, we did it. Dutch Pete's? Sounds like a purveyor of the old evil eye. Now, if you filed this claim in a legal-like courthouse... Dutch Pete's legal-like courthouse is good enough for us, mister. And give me back that pan. Danged blue stuff. Work and shake all day. Ain't got nothing to show for it but this danged blue stuff! Is this a private conversation, friend, or could you use a little company? Where'd you come from? I'll ask the questions, friend. How big a claim you got here? Clear to the head of the mountain. And all of it ain't worth a... Don't say it, friend. Think it, but don't say it. Got a good-sized claim. Find much gold? Gold?! You say gold?! I tell you, mister, there ain't nothing around here but this danged blue stuff. Not so loud. How'd you like to have yourself a partner? A partner? In what? Your claim, friend. Clear to the top of the mountain. Anyone will do. I'll give you... I'll give you 20, uh... $17 American. Seventeen dollars! But I tell, you mister, all this dang blue stuff ain't worth a nickel. $17, my good man. It's my final offer. I'll take it, mister. Mister... Yeah? You just boughten yourself into half of this claim. Seventeen dollars, huh? Wait'll I tell this to the boys at Dutch Pete's tonight. Partner, there's something else you're going to do at Dutch Pete's tonight, too. Now, at the properly arranged time, I want you to break... Are you following me, friend? Focus. At the properly arranged time... You are brave man. You ride into Paiute village alone. Chief Winnemucca, I believe you know my father Ben Cartwright. I know father... I think you know me, too, and my brothers Hoss and Adam. Matter of fact, Chief, didn't you trade Pa this pinto pony for a buffalo gun? You from high up on mountain. Why you come here? Well, I brought you a little present, Chief. Pretty nice color, wouldn't you say? You bring this for me? Well, not exactly. It's for your daughter. When you see Saratuchee? It was just a little while back down at the river. She was taking a bath. Now, hold it, Chief! She was more than a mile away, just one of many women. Lean Knife. Other women, uh... much big? Plenty fat? Yeah, well, I wouldn't know, Chief. I didn't look at the other women. And what about this material? Got it from a peddler crossed the mountains from Sacramento. Said it was genuine silk. Not very strong. Not much good. Yeah, well, Chief, it's for a dress, not a horse blanket. Mm. Saratuchee! Now you look like a real princess, ma'am. What do you think, Chief? Hmm. Sure fine-tasting meat, Chief. What is it? Rattlesnake. It's really very good. We have lot. You eat more. No thanks, Chief. I'm not a very big eater. Mm. How about showing me that appaloosa horse you were trying to sell me? I bring horse. You eat more. Very good. Sure, Chief. Oh, please. No thank you, ma'am. I'm not a very big eater. Hey, uh... you know how to make this into a dress? You know? A dress? Here. Look. See? See what I mean here? You know, uh... Yeah, well, look now, it doesn't look too good on me. Look, you try it. Sort of a... Yeah, you do it. That's it. That's... Yeah. Yeah. You're getting the idea, Princess. Yeah. That looks nice. Hey, now, listen, there's a... there's a dance down at the Washoe diggin's. A dance? You don't know "dance." Look. A dance... dance. ♪ Da-dah... ♪ Dance. Dance. There... you know? You like to dance? Yeah, well, good. So do I. Now, listen, don't tell Chiefy, all right? Good, 'cause he'd scalp me if he knew what I had in mind, Now, you meet me where the river meets the meadow. Just beyond the waterfall? Then, Princess, you and I are gonna have ourselves a dance. Ah! Yeah, Chief, that's what I call a horse. ♪ Y'all sway 'round, here we go ♪ ♪ Walk on your heels, on your toes... ♪ ♪ All the way, swing that gal ♪ ♪ Everybody swing around! ♪ Yahoo! By all the howling snakes and ring-tailed screamers, that's what I call a real hunk o' woman. Hey... look at what Little Joe brung to the party. Innkeeper, bring me one of those... Never mind. Young fella, I come from Virginia. Which, as you can no doubt hear, is a pretty well-known fact hereabouts. You drunken cod, you don't even know where Virginny is! The Old Dominion, sir. The fairest of all the 35 states. Land where I was born, sir. Born and bred! And been soaking up to your teeth in corn liquor ever since. All right, friend, I know you're from Virginia. The Old Dominion, sir; the fairest place... You wouldn't say that, friend... You ever seen the sun set on Lake Tomahonka? Oh, it's the prettiest thing. Where'd you find the girl, son? The girl? Hey, she's a real looker. Oh, oh, Princess Sara. Gentlemen! Gentlemen and... ladies. I'd like to present to you the princess Saratuchee. Princess Sara for short. Daughter of Chief Winnemucca of our friendly neighbors, the Paiutes. Sir? Do I understand you to mean you were reckless enough to take this Paiute girl away from her kinfolk and bring her here? Excuse me, I just remembered I ordered a drink. Paiutes... the silly young fool. Innkeeper, give me a-a... No, no, never mind. Remember what Pa said about stirring up them Paiutes? Little brother, what you mean about stirring up the Paiutes and what I mean about stirring up the Paiutes... Is two entirely different stirring-ups. Princess, may I have the next dance? Pardon me, man. All right, everybody, grab your partner. We're gonna do the Virginia Reel. ♪ Now forward again, left elbow swing ♪ ♪ All the way back to your place again ♪ ♪ Forward partner, do-si-do... ♪ That's good brandy... Chicken and dough! ♪ ♪ And a do-si-do! ♪ See what I mean, Little Joe? Fat and ugly as a skunk. Yeah! Hey, Comstock's right. She's a looker, boy. Of course, I prefer them wider in the shoulder and broader in the beam. Mr. Comstock, you like a dance? Dance? Oh, dance, yes, yes. I tell you Hoss, I hurt my leg in the war at Lake Montibego... Well, how about one with me? Oh, well, that's different. Excuse us. Yeah, way to go, Hoss. ♪ ...with a do-si-do ♪ ♪ With a chicken in the bread pan pickin' out dough ♪ ♪ All the way back to the head of your set ♪ ♪ ...then go home ♪ Son, I'll trade you Jenny here, and throw in five ounces of gold dust, anytime you want to switch partners. Princess, you sure are beautiful. No, you really are. I don't know if this has ever happened to you before, ma'am, but you're so darn pretty... You take Saratuchee away. Well, I didn't exactly take her away, Chief. I uh, I just asked her to go to a dance with me. What you do, you call this dance? I-I guess I did get a little carried away, Chief, but she's a mighty pretty girl. She Paiute girl. She marry him... Lean Knife. Oh! Congratulations, friend. Haven't been to a wedding for a long time. You know, I had an uncle once... Uncle Jonah. Not the one who got himself swallowed by a whale. No, sir, it's a different fellla entirely. My mother's brother, the one that never did a day's lick of work in his life. Did manage to get himself married, though, seven different times. Mr. Comstock. Yes? I think you've done enough talking for one night. Well, I ain't had a chance to kiss the bride yet. My sons seek no trouble with the Paiutes, Chief Winnemucca. That one is young, foolish. He will be punished if he's done anything wrong. But he will be punished by me, not by anyone else. He is your son. Yes, Chief, and she is your daughter. Take her home. You know, the thing I like about you, younger brother, is you don't care how big a mess you yourself get into, as long as someone else gets you out of it. You know, something, older brother? I just knew you'd be here in time. Just in time to march you back home. Now git. Now wait a minute, Pa, we can't go yet. Adam here ain't even had a dance. Now where'd that ol' big fat gal go to? Why you horse-faced, spindle-legged, old sidewinder... I said I was the one buying the lady a drink. Next time I want a bath, friend, I'll just arrange to have you talk at me. Innkeeper, pour this young lady a shot. Don't you touch that, ma'am. That stuff will poison you. Bartender, pour the little lady a drink of your best whiskey. The kind that we drink down in Virginia. My dear young lady, I've traveled the four corners of the Earth, sailed the seven seas... I'm here to tell you the swill they drink in Virginia will rot a skunk's gut. Ma'am, that's what I like about you. You sure drink whisky like a lady. Hey, Adam, I know she's a little bit on the heavy side, but every bit of her sure can dance. Fiddler, this is a Saturday night. Let's have a little music. Look, boys, I've struck it! I've struck it! There's tons of it, boys! There's tons of it! Tons of it! Enough... Enough gold to make us all rich! I'm gold rich! It's gold! It's gold! Gold! I'm rich, boys, I'm rich! You know what that means?! I'm rich! I'm rich! Cut us in, Pike. I'm rich, boys, I'm rich! Cut us in, Pike! There's a whole ledge of it. A ledge 50 foot wide. A solid ledge of gold. It's a bonanza! Where, Pike? Where, where? Pike! We're your friends, ain't we? Tell us where it is. Up Six-Mile Canyon, head of the mountain, you dang fool. Where do you think? I'm rich, boys! I'm rich! I'm rich! You know what that means, boys? I'm rich! That's where it is... Listen to me, men, listen to me. Thank you. Thank you. Well, hurry up! What's on your mind? Just this: I hate to break your hearts, but all that gold out there, all that big strike... That's all on my land. Every bit of it's on my land. Your land?! Yeah. When'd you stake a claim to it? This afternoon, friend. Ask my partner there, Mr. Pike. We're gonna call it the Comstock Lode. Is that true, Pike? You sell this old horse thief part of your claim? Now wait a minute, wait a minute. To show you what kind of a guy Henry T.P. Comstock is, I'm gonna cut each and every one of you in on the fabulous Comstock Lode for of $100 apiece American. Cash on the barrelhead. It's all right, friend. It's all right. But it's gold, I really found gold. Sure, friend, we'll talk about it later. It's gold! Can't you see? It's gold! What? Pike, it is gold. It's really gold. It's the richest I've ever seen, and here you are just giving it away. I didn't know, I didn't know. Pike... Anybody want their money back? No, no. I'll give anyone double money. Just say the word. You want it all for yourself, you old money-grubber. We want to be rich too, now you hear? Now you get out of the way. Follow me, men. I'll show you where the richest part is. Pike, don't forget the best friend and partner you ever had. Let me, Pike... I'll wait for all of it, Jimmy. Just so it won't be a total loss, I hereby baptize this place... Virginia. That's not the way to do it, boys. Oh, shut up, you old... No, no, this is going to be a great place someday. Fortunes will be made here. There'll be fortunes so great, we're going to need help counting our money. So it ought to have a fittin' name. Shouldn't just call it Virginia. We ought to call it, uh... Virginia City. Hey, look who just showed up. Heck, did you hear 'em? They found gold. Yeah, I hear 'em. Those are the guys after Mr. Comstock. They're not even thinking of Henry Comstock now. They're thinking of only one thing... gold. Well, there it is, boys. What gold will do to men. You know, I don't even feel like going with them. So do I, Little Joe. It's funny what gold will do to a man, ain't it? You saw what it did to John Sutter's dream in the Valley of Sacramento. Let's go home. Well, there you have it. The story of Henry T.P. Comstock. He sure fooled everybody here, didn't he? Yeah, he did, but I guess most of all, he fooled himself. That claim we jumped... Do you know they've taken millions of dollars worth of pure silver out of there? And would you believe it... Old Henry sold that claim for what? $11,000. Hearing that, I don't feel so bad about that worthless piece of paper there. Worthless? Well, I, uh, I wouldn't say it's exactly worthless. You paid, uh, $25 hard money for it. What do you say, boys? Don't you think it'd be worth $25 to have a memento of our dear, departed friend? You know, I'll bet that old crow bait's still jumping claims. Here you are, old-timer. $25 and a little more. Well, thank you kindly. Let's go, boys. Take it easy, old-timer. We'll see you, old-timer. Yeah.
Behind the Scenes of Mr. Henry Comstock
Fans and avid viewers also refer to this episode as “The Henry Comstock Story.”
W.C. Fields’ mannerisms were the basis used to create the character of Henry TP Comstock.
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Bonanza is a fantastic clean show to watch by yourself or with family. Mr. Henry Comstock is the 09 episode out of 430. Bonanza was produced by NBC and ran on their network from September of 1959 to January of 1973. The whole series lasted 14 seasons.
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