Sam Hill Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #34
Bonanza follows the Cartwright family’s Wild West adventures as they face various issues involving themselves and the people surrounding them. Sam Hill, written by series producer David Dortort, concludes Bonanza’s second season on June 3, 1961.
Claude Akins appears as the titular character, Sam Hill, a strong-willed blacksmith with extraordinary strength. When pressed to give up the land where his mother lies, Sam discovers that his irresponsible drunkard father and the property’s new owner, a self-styled dictator, sold him out.
This episode, one of several directed by Robert Altman, also stars Ford Rainey, Edgar Buchanan, and voiceover specialist Robert Ridgely.
Read Sam Hill’s plotline and behind-the-scenes trivia, or watch the full episode below.
Watch the Full Episode of Sam Hill
Watch the Full Episode of Sam Hill:
Sam Hill, the thirty-forth episode of Bonanza’s second season, featured the following cast members:
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Claude Akins as Sam Hill
- Edgar Buchanan as John Henry Hill
- Ford Rainey as Col. Tyson
- Robert Ridgely as Billy Joe
- Caroline Richter as Lonesome Lil
- Howard Wendell as Land Officer Willis
- Ray Teal as Sheriff Roy Coffee
- Mickey Simpson as Percy – Bartender
- Richard Bartell as Hotel Clerk
- Nesdon Booth as Sgt. Hathaway
- John Barton as Barfly (uncredited)
- Rudy Bowman as Barfly (uncredited)
- Bill Clark as Soldier (uncredited)
- Jaye Durkus as Barfly (uncredited)
- Betty Endicott as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
- Michael Jeffers as Barfly (uncredited)
- Bob Miles as Soldier (uncredited)
- John Quijada as Barfly (uncredited)
- John Rice as Barfly (uncredited)
- Rudy Sooter as Barfly (uncredited)
Full Story Line for Sam Hill
Sam Hill, an extraordinarily strong blacksmith, returns to Virginia City to visit his mother’s grave. Colonel Tyson and his private army arrive shortly after, reminding Sam of his offer to sell his land. He also mentions the return of Sam’s father, John Henry Hill, to which he refers as the actual property owner.
Meanwhile, Hoss and Joe believe Sam Hill’s mystical, considering he was able to order a horse from the Ponderosa to do something for him.
The following day, Sam visits the town hotel to meet his father for the first time. However, he finds him at the town bar drunk. Sam carries him to their property.
John finds himself in Sam’s place, then complains about Sam’s loud pounding. He accuses Sam of kidnapping him but after seeing the property and his wife’s grave, he later realizes that Sam’s his son. Sam narrates what happened, then asks John why he didn’t return. John explained that they didn’t have any fortune. Sam asked John if he had returned to sell the land since it had been the talk in the city. However, John reasoned that it was Sam and Rachel’s (Sam’s mother) property and couldn’t find the heart to sell it. Sam informs him that he has no intention of selling the land. He later asked John again about what he should be calling him. John told him that people call him “John Henry,” “J.H.,” and even “seldom sober.” In the end, Sam chose to call him “Pa.”
Sam takes John to the Ponderosa to introduce him to the Cartwrights and bathe and feed him.
Meanwhile, Colonel Tyson visits the Territorial Land Office to record and file his ownership of the land the Hills owned.
Later that evening, the Cartwrights and Hills share a conversation over various topics. At one point, Hoss asks about the candlenut tree, the tropical tree on the Hills’ land that thrives despite the cold Nevada winters. Colonel Tyson suddenly arrives at the Ponderosa to tell John about the property he deeded to him. John couldn’t remember selling the land. Devastated, Sam insists on knowing the truth. He understood that John couldn’t remember anything every time he drank, so he only begged to know why John returned. Sam leaves to protect his property, while the Cartwrights visit Virginia City to help Sam reclaim his land.
Once they arrive at the Territorial Land Office, they find John’s signature on the deed. John realizes his mistake and expresses his devastation, not wanting to see his son. Ben encourages John to face Sam while he and Hoss visit the sheriff to see what else they can do.
Colonel Tyson finds Sam on his land. He orders his private army to get Sam off his property, but the latter can defeat Tyson’s men instantly. The earth suddenly shakes. Sam announces that as a mystical force that keeps the tropical tree alive all year round, keeps the snow off his mother’s grave, and will stop Tyson from taking over the place. A geyser erupts behind Sam and all over the place, causing Tyson’s horse to panic and throw him over. Sam approaches Tyson, asking him what he meant when he said, I didn’t want to kill her.” Tyson tells him that he never intended to kill anyone, thinking that having the house gone would force Sam’s mother to come to him. Sam believes her mother wouldn’t do that. However, Tyson tells him Sam’s mother will do it for Sam’s sake. Tyson pleads to Sam not to kill him since it was an accident. Sam lets go of Tyson, and the surrounding geysers start to calm down. The Cartwrights arrive in time, finally understanding that the steam must have kept the property warm even during the coldest winter in Nevada. Ben assures Sam that John didn’t know what he’d done, which Sam acknowledges.
Sam bids farewell to the Cartwrights, allowing his father to tag along. A man named Billy Joe, who has been following John since he was young, arrives, and Sam lets him join them too.
Full Script and Dialogue of Sam Hill
[Music] i think it is [Music] it's him it's him how can you be sure with all this thunder and lightning spring isn't it he always comes home in the spring [Music] listen [Music] i don't know i think it's still just a storm no no it's him joe i know it's him i'll prove it to you listen [Music] hey hey you're right get back [Music] that's it now go go [Music] there ain't no man in the world that can slang a sledge as hard and fast as sam hill storm's passing always does paul whenever sam hill comes home not a sound hey pop you think all those stories we hear about sam are true well never heard for sure they weren't well they ain't somebody's got an awful lot of explaining to do to me for example that a tree up there and uh what do you call it a cantaloupe tree yeah yeah how does that cantaloupe tree grow up there all by itself when the only other place in the whole world it grows is in the tropics now how come well sam says there's a lot of warmth in that ground [Music] [Applause] [Music] hey [Music] [Applause] [Music] back a little early this year aren't you sam sergeant hathaway says he heard you coming what are you doing here tyson colonel tyson sir if you please what do you want don't suppose you've changed your mind about selling me this land that's pretty good supposing just as stubborn as she was but not near as polite now you ride off this land and you take your private army with you you're a fool sam you only visit this place once a year to waste a good pasture land pasture is that all it means to you rachel's dead i want this land only the land my mother wouldn't have you when she was alive you're not gonna get her now perhaps the real owner of this land will have something to say about that you're talking to the real owner i'm talking to his son my father's dead not so dead that he can't write letters john henry hill isn't that his name that was his name well john henry hill's arriving in virginia city tomorrow like lazarus rising from the grave you're going to have the courage to meet him [Music] hmm well my mother told me he died when i was 12 years old she got a letter from a ship mate over here said he'd been washed overboard in a storm in the south seas some place in the mcaster straits yeah look i i didn't say it wasn't i don't know what we got come on all right hey sam tell a little joe about the time y'all pulling that 20 mule team going up geiger pass tell me and what about it sam is that the truth or not well joe it wasn't really a 20 mule team there wasn't more than half a dozen and those news weren't really pulling yeah see what did i tell you you talking to sam hill oh sam sam don't do that now we got a bed waiting for you inside well thanks ben it's going on 18 years since i slept under a roof besides i i want to finish this up so i can go to virginia city tomorrow well i'm for bed you coming boys no we'll hang around here for a while yeah we want to draw with sam for a little bit good night good night paul hey sam i guess you're pretty happy about seeing your pie after all these years yeah sure i am okay ross come on out here [Music] hey sam how'd you make him do that well i asked him to he knows what i want [Music] oh sure he remembers me from last year we got to be real good friends sam i raised that horse from just a cold you don't remember nothing from day to day except where the oatman's at [Music] that seems to me like he's a real smart animal awesome will you hand me that hammer [Music] thank you nice sam can i boy we'll see you tomorrow sam nice so joe what you doing up same thing you are he's been at it all night yeah he's set up in about an hour he hasn't stopped once joe maybe he ain't got to sleep one time high up in the mountains i heard some trappers talking about a man who never had to sleep you right they could have been talking about sam hill [Music] foreign paul you up too well i'm sure not sleepwalking well he loves horses wants to be near him work around him i guess every man has his own way of dealing with worry maybe sam just to work his way worry paul what tarnation could sam hill have to worry about i think he's afraid to meet his father now why would a man be afraid to meet his own father huh i think i do feel if uh if someone you hadn't seen since you were a baby someone you'd given up for dead suddenly i wouldn't walk in one day and announced you that he was your father [Music] well i can tell you one thing if he wasn't you he'd get the dang just throw it out here we go oh come on boys i i don't know about sam hill but we've got to get some sleep or we won't get any work done tomorrow joel i don't bet you that story i heard up the mountain from them trappers was true [Music] so hey sam say hey ain't you even a little bit sleepy there are ways to rest in the brain without closing the eyes little joe yeah but what about the body the brain takes care of the body huh since you learned that yet yeah well we'll we'll see you over the silver dollar sam innervate [Music] hey sam sam you you want us to go in with you or anything no thanks it's something i got to do alone but that burn joe sometimes that man does confound me now just then he acted like just a plain ordinary flesh and blood human being yeah sometimes he don't room 22 the bridal suite the what mr hill insisted on the best right up the stairs thank you [Music] mr hill [Music] mr hill [Music] um [Music] hmm [Music] first give us a couple down there [Applause] [Music] also little i really like you and that's the truth i declare that ain't just about the sweetest thing i've ever had said to me you don't hardly hear that kind of talk no more well honey i'm just getting tuned up will i get the whole band plan uh but let's don't let ourselves get too serious right off you know you know what i mean well no honey i don't know what you mean well i am a year two older than you are oh honey what's that got to do with it to do with what i couldn't do with what we were talking about and what was that little joe honey sir hmm well you know that just heard a school bell sonny you want to be late do you excuse me man did you bear a striking resemblance to a woman i met on my travels through the orient the balinese princess she was are you sure you don't have royal blood in your veins well i don't hardly think so i'm from texas i look mister i don't like sunny would you get us another glass we oh yes sir yesterday the similarity is remarkable however this lady was somewhat smaller than you as a matter of fact she only stood about three feet tall you wouldn't think a little woman like that could make a man happy this little girl would fool you you know there's a few things i'd like to say you're getting to be an awful pass now run along do what i tell you run along you know old man i'm losing my patience defend yourself what what up your dukes fight rince you got any sand left in your crawl come on old man i can't fight you i'd advise against it but you started this now what are you going to do you nut let's see where was i the boy distracted me oh yeah yeah yeah yes i just walked into africa and it came out with a diamond bigger the camel's eye hey give me a beer we have percy looks like he's going to beat your time little brother how'd you get a load of that old goat say anyone to fight me anymore once i'd break him into another bottle of champagne innkeeper hey sonny you wouldn't have an extra five dollars you want would you i wouldn't have an extra what i find myself temporarily short of fun i'd like to buy the young lady another dream hmm and you'd like me to pay for it huh i've just come to town you're the only friend i got wait a minute old-timer who's gonna pay for this one uh i'll pay for it first thing in the morning put it on my bill oh no you're not a very good judge of character my man i'm coming into a sum of money give me back that bottle oh it's not like finishing all right old timer hey [Laughter] [Applause] [Music] pouring bubbles out of your neck [Applause] [Applause] oh [Applause] [Applause] [Laughter] [Applause] [Music] uh sam do you find you fall sleep in the deep dream sinning ways in other days i think i just did [Applause] mr hill come on mr hill we're going home [Music] hey you stop that pounding you can't get any rest right here hey you stop that pounding what are you trying to do split my skull every time feller ain't feeling good always somebody making noise hey where am i what are you done with me kidnapping huh shanghaied again if you think i'm serving in this prairie schooner you got another thing coming i'll star first let me tell you this you'll never get away with it mister there's a law against sneaking up on a man when he's had a few drinks and carting him off the middle of nowhere and i'll tell you [Music] wow [Music] you must be my son sam when she died 18 years ago hey long oh what happened i never did find out some folks say indians some say lightning nobody knows for sure i seen the smoke from a ways off but by the time i got here everything was all over i buried it myself under the candlenut tree just you um the old way at the time i was 14. i said to that tree i know it's almost a joke never thought it'd grow here yeah well she had a way of making things grow if you're any samples you sure did why didn't you ever come back to it cause i'm no account against [Music] i ain't much of an excuse that's the only one i got [Music] i loved your mo sam a lot an awful lot when i got it into my head that there was a pot of gold waiting for me somewhere at the end of a rainbow i just keep looking hard enough for it still looking did you come back to see her to claim the land this place it's not mine it's yours now rachel's there was some talk around here that you come to sell it oh i did get a letter from some fella here abouts said he was interested in it i couldn't sell this place this is hallowed ground i'm glad you feel that way about it i mean about not selling the place not for all the money in the world that's good i should have known now there's just one thing that still uh kind of puzzles me what would that be sam well it's been a long time since we last seen each other and uh i don't know exactly what to call you yeah yeah that's right most people call me john henry or j.h i've even known something to call me seldom silver doesn't make any difference whichever one suits you yeah well i'd like to call your paw sam that'd be fine sure you want to i want to bob we should have a little time to spruce up for a minute but you could use a hot bath huh yeah sure could you know it's standing on the window side of it maybe some good solid food for change huh you're sounding good seeing well then come on i ain't dressed fitting to mean rubber folk no no don't you mind i got some friends nearby that they don't care how man dresses you sure they won't object a couple extra miles for dinner mine wait do we get to the ponderosa you're gonna see a feed like you ain't never seen in your life why don't you be too sure i remember once down the fiji island i was guest of honor at this wedding feast lasted for 40 days and 40 nights i ate so much roast pig and stuffed hummingbird tongues come on paw you can tell me on the way and wagon come on [Applause] [Music] hey got your backpack a virgin anymore i'll probably stomach what are you trying to do scrape my barnacles off sit up straight and stop asking so many questions well now that you're back mr hill what are you planning do you think you're going to stay oh i reckon that up to sam here i guess we can figure out something you ever shot a horse shut a has never even pointed a gun at one close that door where are you raised in a barn oh you missed cartwright who's this oh that's my youngest son joseph what do you do raising litters around here over to shake hands with yourself but i just gave you a fistful of this sheep dip uh it's all right i think we've met they're strange i don't recognize seeing your face before a silver dollar dealer the silver dollar that's a saloon in virginia city oh yeah in virginia city you know i don't remember everything that happened in virginia city did i say or do anything if i borrowed any money off of you you don't need to worry i'll pay it back you can forget it mr hill little joe wasn't about to loan you no money you there too hos beginning he ain't gotta drink it yesterday he should have been with me and said petersburg this russian cossack captain he bet me i couldn't drink a helmet full of vodka one of them big helmets with with a big spike on the top of it i thought that was the kind that was only worn by uh german officers why george you're right i don't think that this fellow did speak russian with a german accent must have been a spy well anyway shut your mouth you get it full of water [Music] well now that makes it official you are the legal owner of the property newly recorded and filed thank you mr willis you've been very helpful anytime colonel good day sir [Applause] [Applause] oh [Music] there ain't no reason in the world why you can't kill an elephant with a bow and arrow just a case of getting a big enough arrow so i said i listened sai heep like yes sir it's getting kind of late folks around here get used to getting up with the sun oh sam don't let that worry we can all afford to sleep in a little tomorrow no no sand right we better go you boys can hear me shoot off my mouth anytime mr hill there's one story you gotta tell now what story was that horse it's about that tree you gave sam's mall what was the name of it the uh the cantaloupe tree yeah the cantaloupe tree you'd be surprised how many folks come up here year after year from miles around just look at that tree sitting up there on the hill blooming the year around if you think that's something you should hear what happened to me in mozambique there was this coconut palm about 200 feet tall 200 feet well give or take an inch or two son mr hill i really don't think you understand about the cantaloupe tree you see with the kind of weather we have out here that tree should have died more times than we can count and what with the rain and frost sleet snow we get maybe 40 feet of snow up here in the sierra but up on that hill one night hill the grass is green the year round that candle on a tree just seems to get taller and prettier all the time seems like nothing in the world can stop it yeah yeah that's pretty wonderful let me finish telling you about these big coconut trees seems we have visitors mr tyson may i come in sir mr hill completed your part of the bargain i'm completing mine here's your money i don't know what you're talking about you know well enough tyson i don't know what you're up to but if this is another one of your tricks uh mr tyson i think it might be better if you were to leave now it must be some kind of mistake colonel you see my money i'll be happy to leave now that my business transaction is over and that money mr hill is full payment for the land you deeded over to me last night good evening sir you're lying he didn't sell you anything didn't he why don't you check the territorial land office you'll find there's a fully documented signed and witnessed deed and one more thing don't you ever set foot on that land again [Music] i didn't do it honest sam i didn't do it [Music] i just want the truth i'm telling the truth well i wouldn't do anything like that how can you be so sure you were so drunk you couldn't remember little joe you couldn't remember hoss what's the last thing you do remember [Music] i don't know i i couldn't do a thing like this [Music] oh man did you come back here after all these years just to sell my mother's grave now hold on sam all we've got to go on so far is tyson's word we'll ride into the land office and see for ourselves you can do that if you want to ben i'm going home nobody's taking that land away from me house joe we're going to virginia city adam you'll have to take care of that timber transaction with mr richards in the morning mr hill you'd better come along with us [Music] so ah come on willis it was filed today well that don't make it any easier to find there are certain ways to cross-file these transactions that's the way it's done no here it is now this document here i didn't sign it did it didn't mr cartwright that's my name all right i didn't sign it i couldn't yeah write your signature what what do you say i said write your signature oh sure sure mr curry [Music] i signed that paper i signed that paper mr cartwright i don't remember doing it i know i did how am i going to face my boy how i don't know well now that's settled can i go back nothing is settled horse go find the sheriff we'll ride out and make sure that tyson doesn't set foot on sam's man until we can prove that this paper isn't worth the paper it's written on you coming i don't guess i will better be moving on mr hill i can tell you what to do but i will tell you this if you don't face up to sam you'll be doing as much harm to him as to yourself i know what mr cartwright i know it man like you can do it sam can do it i just can't i don't know why i just can't you uh you're right on back to the ponderosa with joan house and i will go with the sheriff tell sam thank you all right [Music] [Applause] [Music] so sam sam hill [Music] i ordered you off this land are you going or do i have to throw you off all right sir you give me no choice throw him off my land [Music] well grab him do you hear that's an [Music] order you're just like she was stubborn independent refusing to bend to my will just like her tyson colonel do you hear you call me colonel tyson you know colonel you're a fake like that hired army of yours how could you expect my mother to even look at you you're not even a man hill you're just a shell filling an empty uniform i don't want to kill you i didn't want to kill her what's happening there this movie what's causing it that's what makes that tree grow where it shouldn't where everybody said it didn't have a chance that's what keeps the snow off my mother's grave even in the deep of weather and that tyson is what will keep you from ever taking this place [Music] not tell me what do you mean you killed her i didn't i didn't she wasn't supposed to be in the house i never wanted to kill anyone ever why why did you do it i did it for her i wanted her don't you see with the house gone she would have had to come to me not ever you know that oh yes she would have not for me perhaps but for you so you'd have a home it was always you she was thinking of i wanted her but it was an accident she was in the house it was an accident no please don't kill sam damn we heard you know what to say there's nothing to say ben paul it's hard to believe ball writes it that hot spring all washed away that hillside a long time ago yeah guess that spring just wanted to stay underground and keep that earth warm yeah all right so it'll take a heap of legal doing the straighten this mess out in the books but i'll guarantee you that nobody'll ever take this piece of property away from sam i guess when the story of what happened here tonight gets around nobody's ever gonna try come on tyson [Music] i don't suppose he'll ever be able to tell you himself but your father really didn't know what he'd done i know bran i know [Music] thank you ben bye sam see you next spring sam we'll be listening for you this time sam yeah this time we'll know what you come for so long boys well old man you're coming you mean a can you mean a can sam i got my choice you're my paw ain't you i'm stuck with you somebody's got to take care of it i take care of myself maybe you ain't heard about my travel no but i got a feeling i'm going to you know we got to stop that hotel here in virginia city a little matter of bill i got to pay and i i want to pick up my stuff too oh if you think i'm going to load down this wagon with all that junk yeah well i guess it don't amount to much one thing i want to get though i ain't never been without your mother's picture we'll get it pop hey i'm tired of honky tonk women i'm tired of traveling around i'm tired of susie and curly and kate i'm thinking of settling down give me a girl who'll be kind to my dog and teach my kids how to pray john henry come on jackie oh man who is this we don't rightly know call him billy joe john henry i must have walked a thousand miles following you how come you ran off and left me way back in carson city yeah i know there's something i forgot he's been tailing me ever since he was six or seven years old i reckon my mom told me never let you out of my sight but sure is a hard job keeping up with you yeah see exactly which one was your ma billy joe he doesn't amount to much can't seem to shake him he can play that guitar and he makes up the prettiest songs he ever heard all right get on boy we got a lot of iron to pound between now and spring cost will you try that thing on the end of the wagon yeah come on boy i'll tell you just what my son here doing you see there's this here enemy colonel he had an army of about seven thousand men they come with charging up this all he had was a hammer he started swinging that hammer and fellas started dropping like 10 pins well it sort of rambling over his castle like awkward out of a skillet hey cut off the racket sam hill's going on sam hill yeah yeah paul we're just telling him goodbye [Music] so [Music]
Behind the Scenes of Sam Hill
The Cartwrights join forces to assist the mighty blacksmith, Sam Hill, in reclaiming his land, which his drunkard father signed over to an old enemy. With the help of the Cartwrights, he uncovers the truth about his mother’s death. He also solves the mystery of why a tropical tree thrives despite cold Nevada winters.
This episode would be the last in which the Bonanza title card appeared. Starting with “The Smiler,” the producer-writer-director credits would be on display immediately after the card rather than at the end.
While checking a deed in the land office, Ben says, “We will prove this paper isn’t worth (pause) the paper it’s written on.” Lorne Greene appeared to realize the error, which explains the pause in his execution.
He most likely meant that the deed was not worth the paper it’s on.
Sam Hill was a series pilot that never got sold.
Claude Akins appeared in several other episodes, including “Bonanza,” “The Mill,” “The Deserter,” and “Desert Justice.”
While in the bath, Sam’s father tells Adam about what happened to him in St. Petersburg. At that instance, Adam corrects him about German officers wearing helmets with spikes. The stories for Bonanza’s early seasons existed around 1860, meaning there was no such country as Germany until 1871.
The horses of the Colonel’s army vanish after the Colonel draws his sword during the fight scene by the Candlewood tree. The army men disappear, and so do the turned-over coals.
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The famous Western series, Bonanza, is a fantastic show anyone will enjoy binge-watching alone or with their beloved ones. NBC network produced the hit series, broadcasting all 14 seasons from September 1959 to January 1973. Sam Hill is the 66th episode out of 430 and the thirty-forth or last for its second season.
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