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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:

Main Cast

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


i think it is


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




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


hey hey you're right get back


that's it now go go


there ain't no man in the world that can

slang a sledge as hard and fast as sam


storm's passing

always does paul whenever sam hill comes


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








back a little early this year aren't you


sergeant hathaway says he heard you


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


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




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



hey sam

how'd you make him do that well i asked

him to he knows what i want


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


that seems to me like he's a real smart

animal awesome will you hand me that



thank you nice sam

can i boy we'll see you tomorrow sam




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


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



paul you up too well i'm sure not


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


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


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



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



hey sam

sam you you want us to go in with you or


no thanks it's something i got to do


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


mr hill


mr hill






first give us a couple down there



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


well i don't hardly think so i'm from


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


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


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


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


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






pouring bubbles out of your neck










sam do you find you fall sleep in the


dream sinning ways in other days

i think i just did


mr hill

come on mr hill we're going home


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




you must be my son sam

when she died 18 years ago

hey long


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


just you um

the old way at the time i was 14.

i said to that tree i know it's almost a


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


i ain't much of an excuse that's the

only one i got


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


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 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


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




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


he ain't gotta drink it yesterday he

should have been with me and said


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


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


anytime colonel good day sir





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


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


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


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


signed and witnessed deed

and one more thing don't you

ever set foot on that land again


i didn't do it honest sam i didn't do it


i just want the truth i'm telling the


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


i don't know i i couldn't do a thing

like this


oh man did you come back here after all

these years just to sell my mother's


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



ah come on willis it was filed today

well that don't make it any easier to


there are certain ways to cross-file

these transactions that's the way it's


no here it is now this document here

i didn't sign it did it didn't mr


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


oh sure sure mr curry


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





sam sam hill


i ordered you off this land are you


or do i have to throw you off

all right sir you give me no choice

throw him off my land


well grab him do you hear that's an



you're just like she was stubborn


refusing to bend to my will just like

her tyson

colonel do you hear you call me colonel


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


and that tyson is what will keep you

from ever taking this place


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


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


yeah guess that spring just wanted to

stay underground and keep that earth


yeah all right so it'll take a heap of


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


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


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


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


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


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





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.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

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.

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

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