silent thunder
Bonanza Western TV
The Lone Writer  

Silent Thunder Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #13

Bonanza is an NBC network Western television show that portrays the life of the Cartwrights while addressing problems and social issues experienced by the family and their surrounding community. John Furia, Jr. wrote the forty-fifth episode, Silent Thunder, which premiered on December 10, 1960. It was only the first among the several episodes Robert Altman directed for the show.

Albert Salmi and Stella Stevens are the special guest stars for this episode. Stella portrayed Ann Croft, a sheltered deaf and mute girl. Joe Cartwright tries to teach Ann sign language, but the girl’s overprotective father prevents this from happening. As seen throughout the episode, Ann “falls in love” with Joe. Later, she also saves her father.

Apart from the special guest stars, actors like Kenneth McKenna, James Griffith, Sherwood Price, and Harry Swoger also appeared in the episode. 

Read the plotline of Silent Thunder, including some interesting trivia, or watch the full episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of Silent Thunder

Watch the Full Episode of Silent Thunder:

Main Cast

Silent Thunder, the thirteenth episode of Bonanza’s second season, featured one-time guest actors in addition to the lead and recurring cast. The actors that appeared in the episode are as follows:

  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright (credit only)
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright (credit only)
  • Albert Salmi as Albie
  • Stella Stevens as Ann ‘Annie’ Croft
  • Kenneth MacKenna as Sam Croft
  • James Griffith as Preacher
  • Sherwood Price as Eb
  • Harry Swoger as Tom
  • Michael Harris as Deputy Sheriff (uncredited)
  • Michael Jeffers as Townsman (uncredited)

Full Story Line for Silent Thunder

En route to Placerville, Little Joe finds Albie teasing a deaf and mute lady named Ann “Annie” Croft. He stops Albie, a simple-minded trapper obsessed with Annie, then accompanies her back to her home. Joe drops by to deliver the gun barrel to Annie’s father, Sam, along with a present she got for Annie. However, Sam thinks it’s no use bringing her a present since she can’t hear or talk. Joe gives the gift anyway, and Annie’s expression shows she loves the rag doll he gave.

Joe helps move the rest of Sam’s sheep before going to Placerville. He sits by Annie for a moment, where they watch their reflection by a small body of water. The two enjoy each other’s company, but Joe wishes for them to understand each other better.

Annie was looking for something to replace the missing eye of her rag doll after Albie got the button attached to it. However, Sam finds Annie holding his money pouch, thinking the present she received has corrupted Annie. She whips her palm twice, then prompts her never to do it again.

Joe returns to Annie to show the sign-language book he got from a doctor in Placerville. After mastering a few basics, Joe begins teaching Annie how to communicate through their hands. It was hard at first, but she quickly grasped what Joe meant after a while.

Annie and Joe go to Sam to show there’s still hope for Annie to communicate with people around her. However, Sam thinks it’s a foolish idea, thinking Annie’s just waving her hands around. Joe insists that Annie understands and that it’s best to consult the doctor to see what else they can do to help Annie. Although hesitant at first, Sam obliges.

The next day, Annie, Sam, and Joe visit Placerville to see the doctor. However, two men made fun of them, causing Sam to regret going to town and listening to Joe.

Sam returns to their house to see Albie harassing Annie. Albie argued that Sam never drove Joe off, to which Sam replied that Joe’s teaching Annie to talk. Before leaving, Albie states that Joe won’t marry anyone like Annie.

As the weeks go by, Annie quickly grasps the lessons that Joe teaches her. However, Joe finds difficulty in explaining the meaning of love. He attempts to use Ann’s love for her father and vice versa as an example. However, Ann misinterprets it, resulting in her revealing her feelings for Joe. She kisses Joe, but Joe gets enraged, insisting that they don’t love each other. Joe quickly apologizes, but Ann is already disturbed to see Joe’s reaction. She tears pages from the sign language book and runs off.

Joe goes to Sam to explain what happened. However, it only upset Sam. Joe argues that instead of being stubborn, Sam should have helped him teach Annie, especially since he’s her father. Joe leaves. Unbeknownst to them, Albie was listening from outside, delighted to see Joe depart. When Sam searches for Annie, Albie pushes him off to a ravine—a part of his plan to have Annie for himself.

Little Joe returns to the Ponderosa to tell Ben about his frustration and Sam’s stubbornness, seeking advice from his father. Ben advises that Joe go back to help Ann understand that what she felt was gratitude, not love.

Meanwhile, Annie discovers her injured father, who apologizes for keeping her from the town. Sam tells Annie that he loves her before going unconscious, and Annie signs that she loves him too.

Annie returns home to find Albie waiting on her. He rips Annie’s dress, corners her then tries to harass her, but she manages to escape.

Joe finds Annie at the mountain and asks what happened. Annie tells him through sign language that her father is hurt and needs help. However, Albie catches up, and the two fight off.

Joe and Ann run, with Albie still routing them, yet Albie catches up to them. Desperate to kill Joe, Albie gets his knife and runs toward him, but Joe manages to dodge him. Albie falls over the edge of the cliff, causing his death.

In the end, Ann finally realizes that her relationship with Joe is merely friendship. She understands that she loves her father and is willing to help and care for him.

Full Script and Dialogue of Silent Thunder







don't run away now alby isn't going to

hurt you

you're real pretty albie

wow hello there little joe

well leave her alone i'll be a scarer

now what are you doing up here on the


it's on my way to placerville come on

you're hurting her

oh i'm the only friend she's got up here

you know annie

at least why she don't give me no back

talk like the other women

she's not an animal in one of your traps

now let her go

i ain't hurting i just saying hello

oh you better not hurt her not over

you don't belong up here this ain't your


best you mind your own business

you bother annie i'll make it my



this is my country and i'm gonna see it

stays that way




all right stop working so hard sam you

got company huh

sorry little joe i got to touch a fever

i figured this might sweat it out of me

are you feeling any better

hey i brought you that gun barrel paw

said you need it and i got a little

present for annie

wasted time bringing her anything just

leave her be hey sam look

she's pretend she's a tree


foolishness can't hear

can't talk don't understand them more


them dumb bishops

no use bringing her presents little joe

ah come on sam

anybody understands getting a present

suit yourself

getting on towards dinner you're welcome

to share it such as it is

thank you


hello i brought you a little present

hey wait a second let me get it

i thought i thought i'd bring it as long

as i was coming it's not much

it's not gonna bite you oh come on take

it it's for you

yeah wait a second



it's not much just just a rag doll


don't worry i'm not gonna take it back



how you you go right ahead and enjoy it


so long


well i'll see

i saw




it's good talking to you little joe man

gets out of the habit with nobody around

to listen

why do you stay up here sam it's best

well maybe it's best for you but what

about annie

must be something terrible wrong with a


a father a child like her

killed her ma bringing her into the


i reckon it ain't too much punishment

for me to raise her it's just an

accident the way she was born it's not

your fault

no no i won't hear any more about her

not from you not nobody

okay sam help you move the rest of those

sheep before i start after plastic


all right i never knew a couple dozen

sheep could be so angry

almost as bad as people you that's funny

you know i've been talking to you all

day and i know you can't hear a word i'm


hey what are you looking at now

hey that's what i call a right pretty


hey look over here that fella right

there that's that handsome joe


this guy's always watching me when i'm

shaving i just can't seem to get rid of



all right what are you trying to fool me

without get behind your back


it's real beautiful

that sure is pretty

i guess you don't need to know how to

talk to say everything


i i wish i could make you understand


look i'm trying to tell you i like it

thank you


oh howdy preacher well then hey it's

good to see you again

thank been walking in the way of the


well i've i've been doing a lot of


since you were up here near spring the

last time you came by here

no i guess it was you dropping in on sam


well you don't think i'd be swapping

tails and telling news about annie

she's a child of god son for all the way


that's a fact preacher about you about

time you married and

raised a family isn't it plenty of

unmarried girls in town

town girl once said i had the smell of a

trapper on me

it's like meat that's not cured right

you'll find the right girl soon enough

come on now

the word of the love will come your mind

and your soul

for thou rightest bitter things against

me and will consume me

for the sins of my youth amen

i'm paying for my sins preacher hey

you sam that why you always getting them

children fever

every man is tempted by the devil aldi








no albie hearing the word of god is


only salvation true preacher true

if i could only read the lord's word

i could bear up under his suffering yeah

even if and you could read sam who would

you read it to

getting cramp sitting all this time

i think i'll go out for a while

man born of woman living a short life is

filled with many miseries

who will make him clean that is

conceived of unclean sea





come on let me see if i ain't gonna take


oh it's a button huh i guess you ain't

got much that's better have you


no matter what you are you show up ready

look you must get lonesome too look i'm

trying just trying to be nice to you


all come on come on

i've been trapping for over a week man

likes a woman i'll be waiting when he

gets back

come on

i want to hear some sort of stick of

water something come on

you came here you can't talk haven't you

got any feelings

yeah that's not so bad now is it huh

ellie where are you

you're in there in that shed come on

preacher i'm not finished with you yet

i'll be back

what are you doing in that [ __ ] albeit

well i'd just help him sam catch up with

his chores preacher

oh that's good with you abby sam's got a

lot of fever a good idea if you stop

around whenever you can

don't worry preacher i'm gonna be around

a lot more

now good











so what you doing here girl

you should be out with a sheep

what are you hiding up with it girl

i want you never touch me money pouch

corrupted by a present you've done an


thing you must be punished


at least if you can't hear i know you

can feel

i take no joy in hurting you i'm your


it's my duty to teach you right and

wrong as best i can

thou shalt not steal


thou shalt not steal



don't look at me with them sad eyes

i can't stand to see suffering written

on your face

and not a word coming from your tongue

not even sobbing

put it back so you'll remember

never do it again



hey sam sam croft

hey where do you see what i brought you

from placerville

come on all right it's really for you


what do you see what it is see i got to

talk to this doctor in placerville

and i told him all about you and he gave

me this

here here take it hey sam

sam it's a

it's a book of sign language and you can

learn to talk once you once you

understand these signs

it's not hard either because i learned a

whole bunch of them on the way out here

i assure you you don't even know what

i'm talking about come on

come on

now listen you

can learn to talk and to hear

just like other people only with these

with your hands

let me see how i'm going to do this

first page now look

a flower see the picture

a flower just like the picture

a flower you see

flower this is the sign flower

now you do it

all right watch me once more flower

just like you're smelling a real nice


what's the matter

there's nothing in my hand i'm not

trying to fool you hey

forget that we gotta go to another

girl you

girl girl cuz your cheeks real real nice

and soft

give me your hand just like that



boy boy

just just like tipping my hat my boy i

could tip tip my head

you don't understand are you

it's gonna be a lot tougher than i


please i can't make it any plainer i

don't know why you can't understand it

that's it that's it what's this for

oh annie look this isn't some kind of a


i'm doing my best to teach you this sign


look i want you to be able to talk and

to understand people when they talk to

you can't you see that

well i guess you never will

you couldn't hear that

of course of course you feel it

here here you feel that

that's what talking is feel it

here feel it feel the ground

look you can talk like that


see that i'm talking to you with my


that's it that's it you understand

you do understand this girl

boy boy tipping your head

a beautiful flower

there isn't a person who can talk or

hear they can ever understand the way

you feel


i'm so happy

great rain

just just like the drops going down

you want to learn it all all right you


it'll take time and it'll take work

but you will

you trying to tell me that there's any


when i've lived my whole life with a

weight of a pressing on me heart like a


oh you watch sam you see for yourself

now you are going to talk

to your father

you understand





that ain't talking that's just like

indian sign

that's right that's right only better

you're a fool little joe

she's just waving her arms around how do

you know she understands what she's


see for yourself she understands all


you know what them signs mean do you

you girl he boy

what am i what am i

what am i

why can't i i'm scaring her sam i tell

you she does understand no

no no she's not an animal sam help her

bring her to town if you don't believe

me let the doctor see her no

doctor can give that poor girl what she

was robbed of at birth

she'll never change she can learn to

understand but not if you don't help her

not if you don't give her a chance


look at her she's talking to you with

her hands

she's telling you she went out into the

rain and got the book

now do you believe me

she's not one of your sheep sam she's

your daughter



oh you wait here i'll save the docs in







your near got killed

ain't that the old coot who lives up in

the mountains yeah sam croft

he only comes down about twice a year

you know i thought he lived by himself

he's been holding out on us yeah

well sam crawford now where'd you get a

pretty little thing right

there huh you've been holding out on us

sam uh what do you want tom

well you went out and got yourself a

little company huh

she's she's my daughter who you trying

to fool

leave us alone so sam been treating you


hmm well what do you say i'm talking to


she she don't talk much to strangers

well now how come

is she too good for fellas like us yeah

let me get a good look at her

no i don't give me that you wanted sam

well you got to come and take it uh uh

please leave us alone we ain't doing you

no harm

i'm saying if the girl wants upon it let

her ask for it real pretty like huh

now i bet i can make you talk to us

now leave her alone leave her alone

leave alone



it's only that old mountain goat sam


get out of here

come on papi he ain't worth shooting

oh we're just having a little fun

you both all right well we ain't hurt

good come on send the doctor's in oh we

ain't going to know doctor

we shouldn't have come here in the first

place shouldn't have listened to you

what's the matter what are you talking

about we belong in the mountains me and

the girl both

we ain't fit for no town and the town

ain't fit for us

sam for once think of what's right for

anne that's who i'm thinking of now get

out of my way


how's it coming along son you know

you've been spending

much more time up at the crafts these

past few months than here

fire just wouldn't believe it my ann's

learned so much already we can carry on

a regular conversation

ah how's sam croft still as stubborn

about it as ever

that man's impossible told me he'd never

let us see the doctor not ever i sure

hope i can get him to change his mind


you don't think you're uh

over your head uh what do you mean

well sometimes it's best not to you know

push people too hard and

leave well enough alone oh why should i

leave him alone he's not going to help

her somebody has to

no no sometimes helping

looks like meddling don't worry if i

know the difference

joe take care of yourself up there sure

i will paw


sam you in there



oh there you are i was awful lonely out

in the traps

what's that new kind of game huh you

want me to play a little game with you

huh i got you all alby's missed you a

lot but he's gonna make it all up to

oh now sammy no need to bring a gun up

on me

get away from her

and keep away i don't see you running

joe cartwright off a hill maybe you

think he's a better man and i

joe cartwright's teaching her to talk

i'll bet you he's teaching her to talk

move or i'll blow your head off

all right all right sam

just remember with all that money and

all them girls in town joe cartwright

ain't interested in marrying anyone like




all right last one for today

it's gonna be a tough one


love love

your father helps you

your father gives you food

you live

in your father's house

you love your father

your father loves you

you're saying i could say you love

flowers and you'd know that

it was good i teach you to talk yeah


no no no

that's wrong you

don't love me


now that is wrong you

don't love me


now look you don't love me you don't

love me and i don't love you


i i didn't want to hurt you

annie please look at








all of a sudden for no reason she should

try to kiss me she tried to kiss you

she did kiss me as a matter of fact

i guess she got upset she ran away

i should have been watching you all


you should have been watching me

you should have been watching me you

should have been helping me

instead of being so stubborn teaching

our what

kissing all kinds of sin

you keep away from her

all right sam all right i'll keep away

from her

you're a father you tried teaching her

for a change



goodbye little joe cartwright




hello sam i'm looking for ann

i told you i didn't like a gun thrown on

me how's it feel

where's anne have you gotta no i ain't


but i will have after you meet with an


you see sam i'm gonna be a hero i'm

gonna take care of annie after you die

in an accident

so you just walked out well what was i

supposed to do

she completely misunderstood oh and then

her father

i go in and i try to explain it to him

and he starts like so it's accusing me

of all kinds of things

that's really funny he doesn't try to

help her himself if you insisted on

starting this you can't walk up before

you finish it

i understand that i'm not a little kid

aren't you

if you understand it and still walk out

then you're just a little kid now wait a


don't you raise your voice to me boy and

don't you call me a little kid

joe you

opened a door to the world for this girl

you let her look out for the first time

uh gratitude for you must be

overwhelming to say the least

all right fine fine all i was trying to

do was help her

you can't shove someone into the water

and then not wait around to see if they

can swim

she has a father no you started it you

were the one who tampered with those two

lives and you can't abandon them now

what do you want me to do mario

help me i don't know what to do

go back no i can't

i can't go back there and hurt her

anymore you must make her understand


what she feels for you is gratitude

not love oh she'll be hurt

a little bit but you'll get over it if

you don't go back

she'll remain hurt forever

i think i'll go for a ride

i can't hardly feel


what's to become of you and

i've kept you up here hidden

ashamed me owned flesh and blood

forgive me daughter if you can

i love you anne i always did


well i knew you'd be back sooner or


you're still playing games with me

i'm gonna teach you more than joe caught

right ever did

you're worried about your paw your paw

ain't coming back you're gonna stay with


all right now look now just take it easy

you be nice to alby and alfie is going

to be nice to you

i'll even buy you a new dress










come back ain't no place to go

look at me look at me what happened

your father hurt needs help

where he fell

stay out of this card right

you do this to her alby

what she trying to tell you what

happened to sam

what are you talking about and he says

sam's been hurt

now don't fool with me you know she

can't talk

catchy alby







what would the doctor say they said he'd

be all right

but he'll need a lot of care

did you uh have you spoken to her yet


yeah good you better tell her her father

would be all right

your father

be all right

doctor says your father

will be all right

what what'd she say

she said she'd help you take care of you

she says she loves you very much


joe yeah what's

the sign for daughter


it's easy






Behind the Scenes of Silent Thunder

The episode title in German is “Zeichen in der Stille,” which translates as “A Sign In The Silence.”

Albert Salmi (Albie) makes his first four appearances in the series.

This episode marks Stella Stevens’ (Ann ‘Annie’ Croft) only appearance in the series.

Albert Salmi (who played Albie), and his wife, Roberta, were found dead on April 22, 1990, in a murder-suicide, according to police. The police believe Albert shot his estranged wife before turning the gun on himself.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza, the Western television program that depicts the adventures of the fictional Cartwright family, is a terrific show to watch alone or with your beloved ones. NBC network televised all 14 seasons on their channel from September 1959 to January 1973. Silent Thunder is the 45th episode out of 430 and the thirteenth for the program’s second season.

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

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