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.
Table of Contents
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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.
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.
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.
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 [Applause] 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 me 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 doing 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 [Applause] [Music] yes [Music] [Applause] so [Music] [Applause] [Music] ah 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 weren't 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 [Music] [Applause] [Music] got another one yet [Music] 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 100. 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 [Music] 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 [Applause] 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 huh 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 here well adam we've got two or three head and uh who's to say we won't run into a whole herd of his before he ever gets here anyway we need help you're a conniving old pirate [Music] ross ross well 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 adam 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 [Music] boy now you put down that gun or i'm gonna take it away from you and bend the barrel over your thick skull [Music] 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 adam i'm so sorry [Music] 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 [Music] months 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 [Music] i'm frightened adam i know ross like i know the inside of my head 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 sure 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 [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] 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 enough 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 have well i'd like it back [Music] sure [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] 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 it would you like to try and collect that 5 000 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 ranch 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 [Music] i don't know band cart rides no [Music] 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 [Applause] [Music] so [Music] adam i've known ross don't have known you done a lot of business with him like him fine you couldn't find a better man till two 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 time 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 that 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 marquette 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 behaving 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 [Music] 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 [Music] okay we go [Music] cows [Music] [Applause] [Music] 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 [Applause] oh [Music] 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 forks 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 on [Applause] [Music] as far as you go monk i ain't finished yet 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 monk all i need's a crew you wouldn't write off and leave me would you might take me a couple days to die [Music] 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 way 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 cartwrights 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 worried 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 sign 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 [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] 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 [Music] that rangy bull almost cost us a saddle to 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 brands 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 without you give him a chance to talk every chance 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 [Music] now lp defeat [Music] hey and um [Music] it was ross he broke in [Music] he he did this to me where is he where'd he go [Music] i don't know [Music] why did he do this he was trying to kill [Music] you're going to be all right dell i know [Music] so [Music] so [Music] foreign [Music] 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 too 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 [Music] 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 think 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 stuff [Music] now you floated [Music] duty all right [Music] dirt kids it's that part take care now you got them all to take care of i was going to tell her [Music] you're the bunkhouse this is the law you come out with your hands in the air [Music] i hope he didn't have no more you in there 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 there well there must be a safer way to find out 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 where'd he go he wasn't the ponderosa to get his woman that's all i know delphine she's there alone paul [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] my [Music] turn around slow i've been looking for you ross who are you 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 [Music] [Applause] adam oh my glad to see you [Music] 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 there your anniversary was ten months ago [Music] uh you're joshing me it's not for two weeks yet [Music] 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 [Music] to delphi [Music] she's waiting for you i got your handbook so so so [Music] [Applause] [Music] so 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 [Music] so [Music] you
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.
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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.
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