mr henry comstock
Bonanza Western TV
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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.

Watch the full episode of Mr. Henry Comstock

Watch the full episode of Mr. Henry Comstock:

Main Cast

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.



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.


Whoa, whoa!

What in the name of
creation's your hurry?

Mind if I have a last
word with my 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.


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 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?


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.


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?


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?


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.


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.


"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.


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.



Now you look like a
real princess, ma'am.

What do you think, Chief?


Sure fine-tasting
meat, Chief. What is it?


It's really very good.

We have lot. You eat more.

No thanks, Chief. I'm
not a very big eater.


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 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."


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.


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! ♪


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 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.


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?


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!


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?


Hearing that, I
don't feel so bad

about that worthless
piece of paper there.


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.


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.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

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.

You can find more about any of the 430 Bonanza episodes here>>

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