the dark gate
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The Dark Gate Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #24

Bonanza drew viewers in with its compelling storyline, which changes weekly and includes themes and social issues other programs shy away from during its time. Ward Hawkins wrote its fifty-sixth episode, The Dark Gate, which aired on March 4, 1961.

Ross Marquette’s friendship with Adam Cartwright abruptly turns sour upon accusing Adam of flirting with his wife (CeCe Whitney). As the days go by, Marquette’s previously easygoing behavior becomes increasingly erratic, leading to an unexpected turn of events. 

James Coburn, Harry Dean Stanton, and Med Florey appear in the episode as Ross Marquette (Adam Cartwright’s old friend), Billy Todd, and Monk Harley, respectively. 

Read The Dark Gate‘s plot and behind-the-scenes trivia, or watch the episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of The Dark Gate

Watch the Full Episode of The Dark Gate:

Main Cast

The cast members for The Dark Gate, the second season’s twenty-fourth episode, are as follows:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • James Coburn as Ross Marquette
  • Cece Whitney as Delphine Marquette (as Ce Ce Whitney)
  • Harry Dean Stanton as Billy (as Dean Stanton)
  • John Mitchum as Jake
  • Roy Engel as Dr. Paul Martin
  • Med Flory as Monk Hartley (as Ned Florey)
  • Ray Teal as Sheriff Roy Coffee
  • James Anderson as Sam
  • Joe Di Reda as Joe – Minister (as Joe di Reda)
  • Donald Foster as Mr. Begley
  • Rush Williams as Matthew
  • Bill Clark as Payroll Guard (uncredited)
  • Bob Miles as Stagecoach Driver #1 (uncredited)
  • Clint Sharp as Stagecoach Driver #2 (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Dark Gate

Ross Marquette, Adam Cartwright’s best friend, beats his wife, Delphine, forcing her to admit a false accusation—having an affair with Adam.

Meanwhile, Ben asks Adam to speak with Ross regarding the branding of his herd. However, when Adam visits Marquette’s place, Ross welcomes him with his gun. Adam, who thinks Ross is fooling around, reveals that he arrived to tell him about a few of his cattle in the Ponderosa herd. Ross refuses to believe Adam, accusing him of having an affair with Delphine. He fires his gun, scratching Adam on the arm. Delphine rushes inside upon hearing the gunshot, but Ross shoves her off. Adam notices the bruises on Delphine’s face, which Ross confirms were from him. Adam reminds him about their friendship, including Ross’ unwavering love for Delphine. However, Ross insists that Delphine admitted it was true. Delphine reasons that it is the only way to stop Ross from hitting her repeatedly. Adam attacks Ross, strong enough to make him unconscious. He ties Ross, then tells Delphine to gather a few clothes for her to use as she stays at the Ponderosa in the meantime.

Adam couldn’t believe that a level-headed man like Ross suddenly began acting erratically. He prepares a horse to bring Delphine to the Ponderosa, assuring her safety while he handles Ross.

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Once Delphine’s on her way, Adam returns to the house and talks to Ross, who has finally calmed down. Like Adam, he doesn’t understand his behavior change. Ross agrees to let Delphine stay at the Ponderosa for a while, thinking it’s the best for now. Adam unties him, then returns Ross’ gun upon his request.

Later, a criminal named Monk Hartley arrives at Silver Dollar, Ross’ ranch. Ross offers his ranch as a hideout in exchange for a part in Monk’s gang of robbers. Monk accepts his deal, then fires three shots to alert his crew of their new home in the meantime.

Adam visits Virginia City to investigate what has caused Ross to change sourly. He starts with the bank to check if Ross has faced financial troubles. Mr. Begley reveals that even if the blackleg affected most of his young stock, he still managed to maintain a nice balance at the bank after changing his brand. Adam asks Joe, the minister next, who discloses how Ross stopped attending religious services in late fall. Joe also revealed that when he visited Ross out of concern, he threw him out of the house bodily, seemingly enjoying the desecration. Moreover, Dr. Paul Martin believes there’s no cure for Ross’s insanity as he’s gone too far through a dark gate.

Meanwhile, Ross and Monk are eyeing gold bullion that Monk believes is too secure to rob. Ross thinks it’ll be easy for Monk to kill the guards, but Monk refuses to do so, suggesting they cover their faces as they proceed with the robbery. Monk tells Ross to stay in his position while he and his crew approach the stagecoach. Monk asks the stagecoach driver to throw the box to the ground as it is all they need. However, Ross fires from afar, hitting the driver. One of the guards shoots in retaliation, but later, Ross shoots Monk, making it seem like an accident. Ross volunteers to take Monk to the forks while the rest of the crew unpack the bullion.

Unbeknownst to Monk’s crew, Ross has a different plan. He gets rid of Monk to have the gang for himself.

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Meanwhile, Delphine busies herself by getting some stuff done at the Ponderosa. She asks Adam about Ross, considering it’s been a week since she last saw him. Adam assures Delphine there’s nothing to worry about since he’s most likely branding his young livestock with his new crew. To ease her worry, Adam offers to take Delphine outside for a ride to get a breath of fresh air.

Later, the Cartwrights, including their ranch hands and Sheriff Roy, gather to deliver terrible news about their cattle. The Silver Dollar brand had easily overwritten the Ponderosa brand using its new design. Ross made it seem like he bought a new herd when he only stole it from the Ponderosa. Adam refuses to believe his friend would do such a thing. Roy adds that Ross and his crew most likely were behind the murder and robbery involving the gold bullion shipment. He invites Ben to join him on a visit to the Silver Dollar ranch to verify their suspicions. Adam could only ask Ben to give Ross a chance to talk.

When Adam returns to their house, he finds a severely injured Delphine lying near the fireplace. Delphine reveals that Ross broke in, then died in Adam’s arms a bit after. Although feeling terrible, Adam takes a rifle and prepares to face Ross.

Monk’s crew worries that Ross, who appears to like killing people, will turn on them as quickly as he did on Monk. They find the Cartwrights and the sheriff arriving, causing Billy to shoot out of panic. Both parties exchange gunshots, leading to Sam’s death. On the other hand, Billy surrenders, then reveals that Ross went to the Ponderosa to get Delphine.

Adam follows Ross’ trail to the mountains. At one point, Ross got Adam cornered, forcing him to drop his gun. In Adam’s viewpoint, the Ross he sees now is no longer the Ross he knew. Despite wanting to help his friend, Ross fires at Adam, who retaliates after reaching his gun.

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Ross doesn’t know what happened and why he’s in pain, lying on the ground. Ross asks Adam to get Adam back to his ranch to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. However, Adam tells him that the anniversary was ten months ago. At that moment, his best friend finally returned but died slowly in his arms.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Dark Gate

please no please i don't

because i can't stand anymore


i'll stop please why are you doing this

why no no please stop

i'll stop when you admit this thing

without there's nothing between adam and


ross adam cartwright's your best friend

there's nothing between us

almost please stop please

please russ you don't know what you're


oh i would admit it admit it

all right it's true

it's true it's true put it in words

adam cartwright and i have been seeing

each other

adam cartwright and i have been seeing

each other

yes yes yes yes yes











is that all the critters you got out of

that draw that's all

you go clean back the butte i would

clear to the rim rock

i looked on every gully big enough to

hide a coyote and beat every bush big

enough to hide a jackrabbit

dog garnet i know paul's figuring on

getting at least 50 or 60 head out of

that piece of range well i know they

were supposed to be there but it just


be tall adam this is the skimpiest

spring roundup i ever remember we're

gonna be dang lucky if we come up with

two thousand head

yeah it's a mean winner yeah i reckon we

lost more to the

black leg we figured on too well i'll

take this bunch only on line i'll

see you back to crawl about something

brother all right take good care of him

i work hard for that beef




got another one yet


all right here we go

that makes my tally 58. what's matthew

didn't you ever learn how to count

well some big numbers that throw me

anytime i get over 10 i got to take my

shoes off

you know i uh i knew a lad once every

time he tally he'd be short 10 and every


i'd be regulars clockwork i couldn't

talk him out of it

you ever cure him of the habit yeah

finally did

took a while though it wasn't easy

had to shoot a finger off his left hand

well how'd that help

well like jake here you know he counted

on his fingers figuring ten forever each

time around

trouble was he had six fingers in his

left hand


hey let's make it go i only found about

ten head

ten they should have been close to fifty

head up there

i know bob and that's all i wear and i

went clean to the rim rock

jake take my horse will you let me out


well did you see any bones uh to speak

of like uh like you were packed up in a

storm or

died off with a black quarter one

carcass that's all

some coffee

that's warm enough one carcass was all


well i i expect that they came down to

the forks and crossed over

we'll likely find them when we drive the

north side and when we do we're going to

need a lot more help

i imagine we will uh horse said you want

to see me about something

that's what it was about i want to go in

and see if you can talk russ marquette

into coming over and checking out his

own brand uh tell him um

tell him um we've already got about uh

50 head of his stock in our herd

well he's probably busy with his own

branding well we'll help him when we're

done here

you shouldn't have too much trouble

talking him into it see how close you

two are

all i can do is try

we don't have 50 head of his cattle up


well adam we've got two or three head


uh who's to say we won't run into a

whole herd of his before he ever gets


anyway we need help

you're a conniving old pirate





hey ross where are you skinny

scared the daylights out of me

all right you look as tough as a year in

jail and the bore on that gun looks as

big as a rain barrel

now what gonna start out by uh robbing

all the men kissing all the ladies

well you got a reason for pointing that

gun at me

speak up and put it down you're not

being very funny why'd you come here


i come looking for you your big skin

flint pop said you come up and help us

we'd help you signs we've got a few head

of your cattle and i heard now what's

wrong with that because it's alliance

what's wrong with it

you didn't come here to see me you came

here to see delphine you figured i'd be

out in the rain someplace

what are you talking about about you and

my wife

ross will you make sense you've been

meeting her here

i know all about it you're not serious

now what are you trying to say

that you're in love with her you're

trying to take her away from me


boy now you put down that gun or i'm

gonna take it away from you and bend the

barrel over your thick skull


i'm not fooling at him

no ross no

what the devil's wrong with you there

ain't nothing wrong with me i just

caught up with you two that's all

my best friend my wife

now that's that's something to think

about now isn't it tell what's wrong

with your face

nothing adam go away i'm all right

did you do this you bet i did

ross we've been friends for 15 years

i handed you your ring at your wedding

this girl is your wife you've told me

thousands of times how much you love her

she admitted it was true

dell adam it's a lie

it's a lie i told him it was a lie i

told him over and over again

he wouldn't believe me because he kept

hitting me hitting me i couldn't stand

it so i

i told him it was the truth i'm sorry


i'm so sorry


quick get me some of the time with dell

i'm sorry was the only way

adam what can we do oh we can get you

out of here until i can put some sense

into his head get a few clothes together

i'll saddle up a horse for you you're

going to the ponderosa

well what about ross don't worry about

him i'll take care of him i do what i

told you get moving

how long it been going on dale



why didn't you tell us about it well it

hasn't been bad until just recently

i i kept thinking you'd get over it

well he just keeps getting worse


i'm frightened adam

i know ross like i know the inside of my


i just can't believe you'd act like this

neither can i well

sometimes he he seems almost mad

well there's something wrong that's for


try not to worry about it too much i'll

i'll take care of him

adam i wouldn't blame you if you didn't

want to

after what he said i regardless of what

he said he's my friend

and you don't drop a friend that he's

come on





all right on your feet what are you

doing to me

untie me i'll untie you and i just want

to see if you're thinking straight first


oh i'm thinking straight

all right and you'll understand why

dale's gonna stay at the ponderosa with

us for a few days

she stopped by to tell me goodbye

what got into you ross i mean how could

you do a thing

like that i don't know

maybe you're right adam maybe it's a

good idea that she gets away for a while

i'm sure it'll be for the best i'll drop

by in a couple of days and talk

oh adam you've got my gun that's right i


well i'd like it back








you want to see monk hartley why

i'll tell monk hartley you watch me

right up here you know me

and don't read wanted posters doesn't

know who you are

they want it for robbery murder

rewards five thousand dollars now ain't


would you like to try and collect that 5


i want to deal with you

i'm listening

get a lot of law looking for you and

your crew got no place to hide

i got a place to hide no crew where's

this place to hide right here on this


see i fired all my hands and he do hands

to do the work

i'm a respected man no one would ever

believe that i was

hiring wanted men or keeping a killer

keep talking gold and silver bullion

move on a stage road less than a

day's ride from here i can name six

banks within three days right

you ain't told me nothing new yet

can you shortcut across the ponderosa in

broad daylight to get to that stage road

it sure save a lot of time but uh i

don't know anybody can get away with it

i can't that's something new for you now

ain't it

sure is


i don't know band cart rides no


all right boys you can relax now looks

like we found us at home

you mean this place here i mean this

place here

now stable all the horses we're going to

be here a while





adam i've known ross don't have known


done a lot of business with him like him

fine you couldn't find a better man till


three months ago then he just went

sour well mr baby i thought maybe if he

were having money troubles again

i could help him late last fall there

was reason to worry

that ranch of his nearly went under i

know lost most of his young stock to the

black leg

you remember that yeah ponderosa lost

its share too

try to help him then but well you know

ross how proud he is

we didn't need help apparently after he

changed his brand to the silver dollar

his luck changed bought up new stock

with money he said he got from the east

came on fine he's solving now

got a nice balance here at the bank well

that makes it tough

if it were money problems again it'd be

easy to cure

ross was never what i would call a a

religious man

but when he stopped attending services i

was concerned

how long ago was this joe late fall

i went to the silver dollar ranch to

talk to him about it

he didn't welcome me i don't understand

he he always liked you he didn't that


adam i hate to say this but

i was thrown out of the house bodily

what well he seemed to enjoy the offense

against the church

the uh desecration if we can call it


i don't know what to say ross isn't like

that he's

joe do you have any idea what might be

wrong i mean

is there anything that we could do adam

i think of the force we call a devil as

as a sickness that comes to the human

soul i think of evil as a

as a symptom of that sickness like

fever or pain and i think of hell

as the death that results from that kind

of sickness

a sort of spiritual oblivion

you think he's sick i believe the

sickness has come to the soul of ross


and i believe his soul is sickened

almost to the death with it

prayer may alleviate suffering and god

in his infinite mercy may speed the end

but adam i don't think there's

any other cure for a soul as sick as his

he talks the same as you and me he looks

the same

do you think he's insane from what i've

told you

when a man behaves the way ross is


you can certainly say he's unbalanced to

some degree but to what degree

it's as if he's gone through a dark gate

and as yet we have no key to that gate

all we know is that if he goes too far

there's no return

paul it seems to me the time to help him

is before he goes too far

isn't this something a doctor can do no

but doctors are beginning to ask

themselves that question more and more

a lot of us believe that insanity is a

mental illness

can be cured with the proper treatment

some day someone will find the cause and

the key to that dark gate

but the day is not yet now all we can do

for an insane person is to take his

clothes away from him

lock him behind barred windows let him

stare or rave his life away

i'll wait until he kills somebody and

send him to the gallows


cut him down with gunfire

here she comes monk thirty thousand

dollars in gold bullion

yeah that bullion's well guarded for

many too many for you to kill

one man's too many to kill you killed

more than that

never wanting to there's the difference

and maybe that is a difference monk you

think i'll be satisfied with 30

000 in gold bullion what will you be

satisfied with

for a starter a ponderosa

pretty big ambition that still don't

mean we gotta kill those men

and if we don't they'll recognize us

that means we'll hang sooner or later

i'm not in the habit of taking chances

we cover our faces

i've already bought my ticket to the

gallows you stay here

out of sight


okay we go






the bullion's all we want you men keep

your hands in the air and you'll live to

tell about it

you throw that box down on the ground




you hurt bad monk yeah i'm hurt i don't

know how you got hit that way why you

wouldn't even turn it down

it takes enough ain't no time to be

standing around talking

now you and billy unpack that bullion

and take the sandy creek trail to the


and come into my place after dark from

the east

i'll take monkey in the shortest way

what about it man

come on help me give me an easy win come




as far as you go monk i ain't finished


you may not know it but you're finished

you're the one that shot me i shot the

driver to start the hurrah

then i shot you i don't need you anymore


all i need's a crew you wouldn't write

off and leave me would you

might take me a couple days to die


give me a show

sure monk i'll give you a show

hi dale adam i thought you were still on

the round-up no we needed more supplies

so i elected myself to come and get him

well i see you've been keeping busy

since you got here hmm it's better that


gives me less time to think it's almost

finished what you've been doing working

day and night well

almost i think you'll find the house a

lot cleaner too

well that wasn't dirty maybe it wasn't

dirty to a bunch of big hawks like you


adam i have to know have you heard

anything about ross

no not a word

well it's it's it's been a week i'm


i want to stop adele you've been

worrying and fussing about him since the

first night you met him

i wonder what he's doing yeah he's

probably branding calves

i rode by on my way here

was there anybody there no but all that

gear in the bunk house says he's got men

working for him again

i expect they're out on the range anyway

they should be there's a lot of work to

be done

adam don't you think i should go back

there isn't that my place really

i think you ought to wait a couple of

days he's working again that's a good


he hasn't come here looking for trouble

that's a good sign

now things are getting along fine i i

don't think we ought to hurry it

you'd think he'd at least send some word

i expect he's feeling just a little bit

of shame just now

ah tell it stuff this stewing you know

what you need is a breath of fresh air

now why don't you get in some riding

clothes and i'll settle up a horse

i ride up to the button back i'll make a

new woman out of you adam you don't know

how i'd love to get out of the house for

a little while

all right then you're gonna do exactly

that come on now get going







didn't think that old plug of yours

would ever get here

this old plug got a rock in his foot

you are a big liar you wanted me to come

up here alone

uh what's wrong with that view like this

should be looked at the first time alone

one thing sure anybody down at the mouth

should see it

could stay down at the mouth long it's

very beautiful adam

yep see halfway to boston on a clear day

i believe you could do just that

let's get pretty near sundown i think if

you've had enough of this we better be

getting along

you suppose you could keep up with me on

the way back

well now why don't you just take a nice

long lead and i'll show you


that rangy bull almost cost us a saddle


it shouldn't be too hard to fix up i

better get sam to

make up three or four new ones anyhow

yeah let's put your phone apart now

oh did you find any more of those chains

don't worry brand

that's right so son about half a dozen

chef i'll be along pretty soon yeah i

saw some trail dust back over the west i

think that's probably him and joe now

yeah i expect so mike says he so adam

coming up coyote canyon he ought to be

along pretty soon too

yeah you you want to tell adam about the


i don't know how i can keep it from him

yeah just soon hit him in the face with

a gun but

what kind of a roundup is this more

people than cars well you're not too far

wrong son

roy adam dooley what are you doing here

got some bad news for you we come out of

this round up about 500 heads short of

what we should have had

we finally figured out where they went

us and we are brand

that's a ponderosa brand us

the silver dollar brand i'll show you

where our cattle went

when russ marquette said he bought a new

herd with eastern money

when he lost his young stock to the

black leg

uh he didn't buy a new herd he just

changed his brand to the silver dollar

and stole a herd from the ponderosa

i don't believe it i can't believe it

adam i'm going to add to your troubles

fact i'm just about going to kill you

now i've been riding from sun up to

sundown for days now

trying to cut the trail of the men who

killed the guards and the driver

and took that ship into bullion i have

been able to find the track

narrow one but now i believe i know why

i didn't check out the silver dollar

ranch ross isn't the killer you know

better than that

wife beater cattle thief that murder be

far from those

i'm not accusing ross you understand i

just want a long talk with him

and a close look at that rancher heads

go with me ben

you know i will mike you and forbes

finish up here

leave the riding stuck we'll come back

after them and take the truck wagon in

joe house you're right with me right huh

adam you go back to the ranch we're not


you give him a chance to talk every


you know that son if it was me

i believe i'd be worried about

marquette's wife you know man helped

kill four men

he'll able to do almost anything



lp defeat



and um


it was ross

he broke in


he he did this to me

where is he where'd he go


i don't know


why did he do this he was

trying to kill


you're going to be all right dell i know








can't take much more that man

he likes killing all too much for me i

never seen a beat of it

and don't you think he wouldn't turn on

you and me just as quick as he did monk


you ain't seen me turn my back on him

have you no

you're too smart for that hey let's be

him now

him and he's woman maybe

maybe not we might as well go up the

house and get him now

i want to make sure first


that's a posse that's a law don't look

like there's anybody around

that might be inside they're coming

after us saying they're gonna hang us

they're gonna hang us shut up let me


well we gotta kill them we gotta kill

them first don't you see they're gonna

hang us

as sure anything they got the strongest



now you floated


duty all right


dirt kids

it's that part

take care now

you got them all to take care of i was

going to tell her


you're the bunkhouse this is the law you

come out with your hands in the air


i hope he didn't have no more you in


now there's no way of getting loose you

best come out while you're able

no suit i'm cut out

don't shoot now come on and throw that

gun out first

anybody else in there no no no i'm by

myself i'm the last one i swear

yo be careful

i didn't want to kill him he made me do

it i didn't want to kill him i swear

i didn't want to kill him what are you

going to do

he wasn't lying paw he's the last one in


well there must be a safer way to find


come on on your feet come on

now where's ross i don't know

where is he he's around here somewhere

somewhere he's closed i don't know just


where'd he go he wasn't the ponderosa to

get his woman that's all i know

delphine she's there alone paul














turn around slow

i've been looking for you ross who are


it's me ross adam one of them has been

chasing me

everybody's chasing me of course

nobody's chasing don't you move

one more move and i'll kill you

i don't want nobody pushing me around

ross i just saw delphine they're gonna

stop me

nobody's gonna stop me plus i wanna help



adam oh my glad to see you


i don't know what happened i'm hurt

easy boy

something happened to me

it's your hurt

you gotta get get me back to the ranch

my fifth wedding anniversary coming up

definitely have my scalp if i'm not


your anniversary was ten months ago


uh you're joshing me it's not for two




oh i sure heard it

what happened to me

why am i here

you went away for a while

you just got back

oh i'm sliding away adam

i'm cold

hang on to my

where am i going


to delphi


she's waiting for you

i got your handbook








adam you you had to do it

it just wasn't no other way

those last few minutes

it was just like we always knew him

well he was a friend then whitney he

didn't die a stranger





Behind the Scenes of The Dark Gate

After Ben branded a calf, a ranch hand approaches it, wiping his hand over the branding. This step prevents the calf from running into a bush while carrying fresh fire on its back, which may start a bushfire. It’s possible to ignite a bushfire considering a calf’s long hair could burn from 30 to 60 seconds. Since the calves have cowhides that are hard enough to protect them from burns, they may unknowingly spread fire after the branding.

Early in the episode, Ben requests Adam to talk to his best friend and have him come to the Ponderosa. During the close-up scene, it’s evident that Ben’s dialogue has been overdubbed and performed by a different actor entirely.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Now’s the right time to watch Bonanza alone or with the people you love! The 14-season Western television series ran under NBC’s production from September 1959 to January 1973. The Dark Gate is the 56th episode out of 430 and the twenty-fourth for its second season.

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

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