The Fear Merchants Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #01, Episode #20
Bonanza kept its viewers hooked to the show through the diverse topics and social issues it covered for 14 seasons. For example, its first season’s twentieth episode, written by Fred Unger and Thomas Thompson, covered the negative results of bigotry.
Gene Evans acts as Andrew Fulmer, who runs for mayor of Virginia City. Fulmer campaigns on a “hate all outsiders” platform, believing Virginia City belongs to its locals. Backed up by thugs, Fulmer targets the town’s Chinese population for his most heinous persecution. The hostility reaches its peak when protecting Sally Ridley (Pat Michon) from the two of Fulmer’s men (Ray Stricklyn, Christopher Dark) leads to accusing Jimmy Chong (Guy Lee) of murder and assault.
The episode, The Fear Merchants, first aired on January 30, 1960, with Helen Westcott playing Amanda Ridley.
Read its plot and some trivia, or view the complete episode below.
Watch the full episode of The Fear Merchants
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Here are the cast members of The Fear Merchants, the twentieth episode of season one. The list includes regular cast members, recurring characters, and special guest stars.
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Gene Evans as Andy Fulmer
- Helen Westcott as Amanda Ridley
- Frank Ferguson as J.R. Ridley
- Christopher Dark as Jesse Tibbs
- Guy Lee as Jimmy Chang
- Ray Stricklyn as Billy Wheeler
- Philip Ahn as Mr. Lee Chang
- Victor Sen Yung as Hop Sing
- Patricia Michon as Sally Ridley (as Pat Michon)
- Arthur Space as Cyrus Hammond
- Gregg Barton as Sheriff Halstead
- Alexander Campbell as Judge
- Peter Chong as Chinese Elder
- Forest Burns as Townsman (uncredited)
- Spencer Chan as Chinese Elder (uncredited)
- Noble ‘Kid’ Chissell as Townsman (uncredited)
- Bill Clark as Townsman (uncredited)
- Frank Cordell as Townsman (uncredited)
- Walt Davis as Townsman (uncredited)
- Rudy Doucette as Townsman (uncredited)
- Al Haskell as Townsman (uncredited)
- Dick Johnstone as Townsman (uncredited)
- Paul King as Townsman (uncredited)
- Bob Miles as Townsman (uncredited)
- Ron Nyman as Townsman (uncredited)
- Joe Phillips as Townsman (uncredited)
- Bob Terhune as Townsman (uncredited)
- Jack Tornek as Townsman (uncredited)
- Red West as Townsman (uncredited)
- Chalky Williams as Townsman (uncredited)
Full Story Line for The Fear Merchants
After a couple of men assault Hop Sing in Virginia City, the Cartwrights realize the spread of prejudice against the Chinese population.
The Cartwrights arrive at Virginia City not to exact revenge for Hop Sing. They fear that any action they make will stir up more trouble and may even endanger the lives of the local Chinese.
Meanwhile, Ben and Adam encounter Lee Chang as he leaves Hammond’s shop. He desires to celebrate Jimmy Chang’s birthday the American way, so he seeks to buy 18 small American flags. Adam tells him to give him a cake with candles. Lee says he didn’t know it must be candles and not flags. Ben realizes Hammond denied his requested goods inside the shop. However, Lee doesn’t want to initiate any conflict, so he keeps moving.
Ben and Adam enter the shop to request American flags. Hammond says he does not have any little flags, despite Ben’s not specifying the flag’s size. Another customer, a sleazy man named Jesse Tibbs, asks if Ben meant the little ones. Adam does not like Jesse, so he firmly tells him to stay out of their business. On the other hand, Hammond pretends he located the little flags and sells them to Ben.
The two leave the shop, and Ben tells Adam not to let Jesse bother him. Outside, they discover a marketing sign for Andy Fulmer, who’s running for Virginia City mayor. Ben concludes: Jesse Tibbs works for Fulmer, who is a bigot.
Ben visits Fulmer and asks for Fulmer’s platform as a mayor aspirant. Fulmer states he desires to return Virginia City to the people who made it what it is, making it “Virginia City for Virginia City.” Fulmer believes that foreigners are taking all the jobs in town. Ben asks if Fulmer meant the Irish, Welsh, or Chinese. Fulmer responds by saying he’s fighting for the rights of the Irish and Welsh. Fulmer refuses to hear more of Ben’s speeches on prejudice, saying Ben can’t even vote since Ben lives outside the city, so it’s not his fight. Ben ends their conversation by threatening to drag Fulmer up and down Main Street if he finds out about Fulmer’s involvement in his cook’s beating.
Hoss and Joe run into Jimmy Chang as they get his surprise birthday present. He anticipates their appearance at his party. Hoss looks forward to it but is more concerned about the bird’s nest soup they’ll be eating. Jimmy chuckles at his remark.
Sally Ridley dismounts in front of her dad’s livery, approached by Billy Wheeler, who greets her inappropriately. She rebukes his remark before taking her horse into the stable and handing it off to Jimmy. Billy continues to urge Sally to tell him who was with her last night. He then tries to force Sally to kiss him, knocking Jimmy to the ground when he tries to stop him. Billy warns Jimmy about the regrettable mistake he made and then left. Sally kneels beside Jimmy to tend to his wounds. Sally’s father, J.R. Ridley, suddenly arrives and discovers the two. Unaware of what happened, he believed Sally disgraced herself with a heathen, then pulled a gun to threaten Jimmy. When it goes off, Sally falls to the ground, dead in her attempt to take the gun from him. Jimmy goes to her. Shocked, Ridley drops the gun near Jimmy. Sally’s older sister, Amanda, walks into the scene, followed by Billy, who alerts Jimmy about his mistake.
Jimmy’s absence caused worry for everyone at his birthday party celebration. He rushes in, beaten. He tells Hoss, Joe, and Lee Chang about the accident, stating people chase him because they believe he killed Sally. Jesse Tibbs calls from outside, asking for them to send out Jimmy. He also said they would take the boy to jail or hang him. Hoss and Little Joe take Jimmy themselves, and Jimmy agrees, believing that a man is innocent until proven guilty in America.
The Cartwrights and sheriff Halstead believe Jimmy. However, for fairness, there will be an inquest. The sheriff warns them that Fulmer has been waiting for this kind of thing to happen since he declared his candidacy for the mayor position. Ben assures Jimmy that staying in jail doesn’t mean he’s guilty and that it would be for the best, especially with their situation.
Meanwhile, Andy Fulmer summons Ridley to his office. Fulmer talks to the shocked Fulmer about how the town and his friends sympathize with him during this tragedy. Ridley confesses it wasn’t Jimmy who accidentally killed his daughter, but him. However, Fulmer continues to convince him that the accident wouldn’t have happened if she was with an American boy. He also tells him that grief and tragedy may have affected his mind, causing him to forget or imagine things that never occurred in the first place. Fulmer’s words work in his favor as Ridley believes Jimmy is to blame for Sally’s death.
Billy lies at the inquest, stating he discovered Jimmy and Sally carrying on with Sally Ridley, so he informed her father, Mr. Ridley, about it. Amanda claims that Jimmy Chang killed her sister Sally. The judge replies by saying everyone wants to hear facts. Amanda responds, stating that everyone knows what kind of girl her sister was, carrying on around boys. The judge asked her again to tell them what she saw. Amanda says she heard a shot, so she ran to the stable where she discovered Jimmy next to her sister with a gun at his side. Ben stands up to raise an argument, asking how they confirmed it was Jimmy Chang’s gun. However, the judge tells him he wouldn’t put up with his outbursts anymore.
Ridley finally takes the stand but only states that Jimmy caused his daughter’s death. The inquest ended, and Billy is happy, confident they’ll hang Jimmy. Fulmer says it’s tough to tell with a jury trial. Jesse implies it’s better if there’s no trial, and Fulmer likes his thinking.
Fulmer persists in spreading out the poison. At a meeting in Hammond’s shop, he states that letting a “Chinaman” get away with murder is equivalent to saying they don’t care about what happens to their wives and daughters. He believes they need to do something to stop it from happening again.
The Cartwrights remained in the jail, worried about a lynch mob fueled by Fulmer’s words. The sheriff assigns them as deputies, and the Cartwrights agree. Adam thinks he should talk with Amanda about her statement at the inquest. He leaves, and the crowd outside lets him go.
Amanda allows Adam into the house, where he talks about the gatherings they hosted before. She says they haven’t entertained people since their mother’s death, saying she needed to take over and keep the household together. Adam sympathizes with her situation, but she complains that Sally is making things complicated and has no respect for anything. Adam responds by telling life hasn’t passed her by and to stop feeling sorry for herself. Amanda tells him to mind his own business, but Adam argues, saying it’s everybody’s business now that a boy’s life is at stake. She wonders if she should go to Jimmy Chang and say it was all a mistake. Adam approves, only if it was a mistake. He also appreciated her courage to stand up for what was right. She sobs and falls into his arms, asking Adam what she should do. He replies, saying she should tell the truth.
Ridley walks in and tells Adam to leave them alone. Adam firmly insists that Jimmy deserves a fair trial, which will only happen if Ridley talks to Fulmer. He accuses Ridley of hesitating to face Fulmer, but Ridley says he’s not afraid of anyone. Amanda states she’ll accompany him to Fulmer.
Adam, Ridley, and Amanda visit Fulmer at his office, but Adam has to wait outside as the three talk privately. Ridley expresses his desire to speak the truth, only for Fulmer to brainwash him again.
Amanda and his father leave the office, and Adam asks them about what happened. Amanda says she’ll make his father understand the right thing to do, and Adam reminds him of how important it’ll be for Jimmy.
Adam returns to jail and informs everyone of how things went with Amanda. If Amanda fails to convince her father, they’ll need to deal with the lynch mob alone.
Meanwhile, Amanda continues to convince her father to tell the truth. Ridley states her sister died and that she disgraced their family. His remarks helped Amanda realize that Ridley isn’t trying to punish Jimmy Change; he did this because Sally brought disgrace to their name. She asked if this was all an accident or if his father pulled the trigger on purpose. Ridley swears it was an accident. She advises him to tell the truth. Otherwise, they’ll be guilty if Jimmy Chang dies.
Fulmer has the mob prepared for lynching. The Cartwrights shoot over their heads, spreading them as they approach the jail.
Ridley rushes to Fulmer, telling him he will let the sheriff know the truth. Fulmer calls Jesse to get Ridley as he walks turns towards the jail. Jesse shoots Fulmer in the back, and Fulmer suddenly accuses Jesse of murdering his best friend. The baffled Jesse has the lynch mob turned on him as Adam orders him to drop his gun. Jesse turns and fires at Adam, who shoots back, killing Jesse on the spot. Amanda rushes to his father and informs the sheriff that they lied on the witness stand and that Jimmy didn’t kill Sally.
Ben asks Fulmer if the death of the three individuals satisfied him. Fulmer refuses to take responsibility for the killings. The crowd, nevertheless, turns its back on Fulmer, removing his campaign signs on the street. He chases them frantically, trying to recover their votes.
Meanwhile, Hoss and Joe freed Jimmy Chang from jail.
Full Script and Dialogue of The Fear Merchants
Not many men are so privileged as we are to see a new civilization born before our own eyes. There are times, in the streets of Virginia City, when I question the use of the word "civilization." It is always that way with the new, Hop Sing. A diamond, before it is polished, seems no more than a clod of dirt. Is this the American way to toast an American occasion? To your son on his 18th birthday. To my son Jimmy's American birthday. To the joining of the past and the present to create a finer future. You have honored my house. And now there is much to do. You are fortunate to know the Cartwright family so well, Hop Sing. It pleases me to know that here in America, the affection and respect of the sons for the father is as strong as it is in the land of our ancestors. The Cartwrights have great respect for you, my uncle, and admiration for your son. I am happy the younger sons will honor us with their presence at the birthday party. And do not worry, Hop Sing. Your friend Hoss will be fed as well as if you yourself did the cooking. Hey, you! You speak to me? Yeah. You and me work good together, Billy boy. We're gonna have to clean a lot more of this dirt out of here before Virginia City is a fit place to live. Little Joe? Hmm? Is it sure enough true we're gonna have bird's nests for dinner at Jimmy Chang's birthday party? That's what Adam told us. I ain't for sure I'm gonna like that. Oh, well, it's something to eat. You'll like it all right. Hop Sing. Pa! Adam! Come out here, quick! Hop Sing. What happened to you, boy? What happened to you, boy? Can you talk, Hop Sing? Looks like he's been in a pretty bad fight. Yeah. Pa. Pa, let me help him in the house. You forget about it. Hop Sing all right. This Chinese business only. What did he mean by that, Pa? You don't think he was tangled up in one of them tong things we heard about, do you? No, I don't, son. The tong is a protective organization composed of civilized people. I wonder how much more of this has been going on? A lot of it, particularly in the California gold mines. I didn't think any of it had spread over the mountains. Well, why would anybody want to do a thing like this? Because Hop Sing is Chinese. That's the craziest thing I ever heard of, Pa. I feel like going in there and tearing that town apart board by board. No, you won't, son. You'll go to Jimmy Chang's birthday party tomorrow, just as you planned. I suppose we just forget about the fact that somebody beat up on Hop Sing? We're not going to forget about it, but we're not going to stir up more trouble for the Chinese than they already have. Hoss, you sure you got enough money? Oh, yes, sir, Pa. We done paid for Jimmy Chang's present. We're just gonna go pick it up. All right. We'll see you later. Come on. What was it you wanted, Lee Chang? Oh, today is birthday of my son. Oh, ain't that nice? I would like to buy 18 small American flags. All right. Why, um, you're plumb out of them flags, ain't you, Hammond? Hmm? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's right. I-I forgot. I don't have any American flags, Chang. I'm sorry. What are you sorry for? I don't have any. You'll have to go some other place. Uh, thank you. I will try Campbell's on C Street. He don't have none, either. And neither does anybody else in town. Lee Chang, my friend! Ah, Mr. Ben. Mr. Adam. It would seem my unworthy nephew feeds you the food to bring good health. It would seem Hop Sing feeds my brother Hoss a few extra servings, too. It is a big day in your life, Chang. You can be mighty proud of that boy of yours. Mr. Cartwright, could I ask you a question, please? Well, of course. Anything you want. You know that. There are customs of your people I do not understand. I had wished for my son an American birthday party. I wouldn't worry about it. Just give him a cake with candles. Oh, yes. It must be candles and not flags. Well, what do you mean, Chang? I had thought to put American flags on the cake, but I understand it is not permitted. Who says so? Oh, it's no matter. Chang, did Hammond refuse to sell you American flags to put on Jimmy's cake? I did not understand. I do not wish trouble. Adam. Ben. It's good to see you. And what can I do for my favorite customers? We'd like to buy some American flags. I don't have any of them little ones, Ben. And how did you know we wanted some of those little ones? Yeah. Maybe we wanted a great big one. Well, do ya? You running the store now, Jesse? No. No. I just take care of my own affairs, that's all. Well, then, stay out of ours. You pack a grudge a long time, Adam. Well, how about it, Hammond? I'm just sure we don't have none. Now, why don't you take a nice, hard look? They were right here. Well, here's some of 'em. I didn't know I had any left. See, that's three, four, five, six, seven... How many of 'em did you need? Eighteen. They're to be put on a birthday cake. Oh. There's a few extra. That'll be a dollar. Thank you. Adam. You shouldn't let Jesse Tibbs get under your skin that way. I can't help it. He's nothing but a cattle thief and a hired gun, and yet he walks around loose. He'll trap himself in time. Andy Fulmer? Well, this town's getting pretty hard up for somebody to run for mayor, isn't it? Adam, is Jesse Tibbs still foreman of that ranch that Andy Fulmer bought out south of Carson? As far as I know. Mm. Hop Sing, the business with the flags with Lee Chang... Yeah, that sounds just about like the kind of tactics that Fulmer would use. First the Irish and now the Chinese. "America for the Americans." It's a pretty tired platform. Adam, do me a favor, will you? Take these flags over to Lee Chang. Tell him that Hammond just misunderstood him. What are you up to? Somebody I want to talk to. Come in. Ah. Ben Cartwright. I'm rightly honored. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit, Mr. Cartwright? You don't have to go through any of the formalities, Mr. Fulmer. We've known each other for some time. Well. What school did you get that from? School of hard knocks. Same one you went to, Ben. Only I don't call myself a lawyer. Folks get in trouble, they come to me for advice. Ain't nothin' in the law says I can't charge a fee for helpin' 'em. Now, just what did you have on your mind, Ben? Andy... I understand you're fixing to run for mayor. That's right. Andy, what's your platform? Virginia City for Virginia City. Short, sweet and to the point. You like that? Well, that depends on what it means. It means Virginia City belongs to the folks that made it what it is. It means we don't want outsiders. Well, now, what's your definition of an outsider, Andy? Well, now, Ben, you live outside the city. You can't vote for me anyhow, even if you would, but I'll be glad to spell it out for you, anyway. It means our town's being overrun by foreigners who are willing to work for nothing, and they're takin' the bread and butter out of the mouths of folks like us who built this country. Now, by foreigners, Andy, who do you mean? The, um, the Irish? Or the Welsh? Or the Chinese? Now, before you start givin' me any high-flown talk about prejudice, you just stop and remember this camp's full of those same Irishmen and Welshmen and Cornishmen, and those are the very people I mean to protect. I wasn't going to give you any high-flown talk about prejudice, Andy. I just wanted to know where you stood. Yeah... Does that mean you're against me, Ben? Well, Andy, it means that... if I find out that you or any of your boys had anything to do with beating up my cook, I'll tie a rope around you and I'll drag you up and down Main Street. Now, Ben, like I said before, you don't live in this city, and you can't vote for me nohow. So why don't you just stay out of this campaign. I guess you just invited me in, Andy. Hoss. Little Joe. Doggone that Jimmy Chang. Just when I got his surprise birthday present right out in the open, we would have to run into him. I didn't expect to see you till tonight. You are coming to the party, aren't you? Sure we're coming, Jimmy. What's the matter, Hoss? Uh... we really gonna eat bird's nest? My father said he felt the same way about the first piece of apple pie he ever saw. See you later. I got to get to the stable and get to work. Take it easy, Jimmy. He's a good kid. Yeah. Made up his mind to go to college, and he'll do it, too. You reckon he knew this was his birthday present? If he couldn't figure that out, he sure has no sense going to college. Hey, good looking. You know better than to say a thing like that in public. You didn't seem to mind it so much last night. Why, Billy Wheeler, I wasn't even with you last night. Then who were you with, Sally? Tommy Gaines or Ned Wilkins or-or the Pierce kid? Or maybe him? What if I was? If I didn't know you was making fun, I'd slap your mouth. Let go of me. Suppose I tell your daddy what you just said. What do you think old J.R. would do to you, huh? Now you just be nice and I won't tell. Let go of her. Let go of her! Why don't you try and make me. Boy, you just made the biggest mistake of your life. Biggest mistake you'll ever make. Oh, Jimmy. Oh, let me look at that cut. That's all right, Miss Sally. Leave me alone. All I did was bathe your face. A girl would do that for anyone. Yes, anyone. I didn't mean it the way it sounded. That's all right, I'm used to it. Here, I'll put some more water on it. Sally. Father. Get into the house. But, Father... Did you hear me? Why, what have I done? You've disgraced my name, flouting yourself in front of this heathen. I was just helping Jimmy. Billy Wheeler hit him. And I thank Billy Wheeler for that. Father, how can you say that? Jimmy didn't do anything. You get into the house before I thrash you. I'm not afraid of you, Father. I haven't done anything wrong. Every time I look at a boy, you see evil. Shame! Sally! You keep away from her. You shouldn't have done that, Mr. Ridley. Why, you... Oh, Father, no! No, Father! No! You've killed her. No. No. No. I told you it was the biggest mistake you ever made. Boy, I sure told you. I wouldn't be too worried if I was you, Lee Chang, about Jimmy. He'll be around in a minute. Old man Ridley probably gave him a few extra chores to do. You know Mr. Ridley, he's tougher than nails. Oh, Jimmy not mind. He work hard. He do what Mr. Ridley tell him. What do you think, Hoss? I don't know. That boy's so dang anxious to make his college money, he done forgot his own birthday party. He's almost an hour late. Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy, what happened to you? Hop Sing, get some water and some towels, quick. What is it, my son? They were chasing me. Who was? I had to fight 'em off, Hoss! They wanted to kill me! Why? What did you do? Little Joe, I didn't do anything. Well, something must have happened. Sally Ridley is dead. Her father shot her. It was an accident. They think I killed her. Now look, Jimmy, I want you to tell me the whole story right from the very beginning. It was an accident, Joe. I liked Sally. I wouldn't ever hurt her. We know he's in there. Send him out. Send him out or we're coming in to get him. Somebody will get hurt. Just keep calm. Ain't nobody gonna hurt that boy. We'll handle this thing proper. Little Joe, you come cover me. First man that tries to come in this house is going to have to climb over me. We're not looking for any fight. We want the boy is all. Well, you ain't getting him. He killed somebody. And he's gonna get what's coming to him. Now that's a bit hasty, Billy. Suppose we give him a choice. Either we take the boy in jail or we get a rope. What about it? You wait here. Will they take my son? No, Lee Chang, if anybody does any taking around here, it's gonna be Little Joe and me. But you believe Jimmy? Look, don't worry, Lee Chang. Sheriff Halstead's a fair and honest man. He'll know the truth when he hears it. Father, in America, a man is innocent until proven guilty. Isn't that right, Hoss? That's right, Jimmy. Go on. Let's go, Hoss. Hop Sing, Adam's gonna stop by for us. Tell him we're down at the jail. Why did you let them have him? We could have strung him up. Billy, Billy, Billy. Don't you remember what Fulmer said? What we do is let it boil. We just let it boil. Now you've told me the whole truth? You sure you've left nothing out, son? I've told you just the way it happened. Well, I'm inclined to believe him. How many other folks will, is the question. Well, I believe him. I've known Jimmy and his family a long time. They're good people. Sure they're good people, but that doesn't tip the scales. Not with some who have political ambitions. You mean Andy Fulmer. Yeah. He's been waiting for this kind of thing to happen ever since he declared for mayor. Come on, boy. Jimmy, everything's gonna be all right. This is for your own protection, Jimmy. You'll be better off here than you will at home. I understand, Sheriff. See, Jimmy, this doesn't mean that you're guilty. Even an innocent man, if he's suspected of murder, can't be allowed to roam the streets. I know. You'll be all right here. All right, Billy, send him in. How are you, Mr. Ridley? Andy. Won't you sit down. All of our sympathies are with you, Mr. Ridley. We all want you to know how deeply we feel for you in this hour of your great loss. Thank you, Andy. It's a tragedy, Mr. Ridley. It's a real tragedy. And if we hadn't let the bars down in the first place, a thing like this couldn't ever have happened. Now you know me, Mr. Ridley. I speak my mind plain. Your daughter went out with lots of American boys, didn't she? Sure she did. Pretty little thing like her. And did any of those American boys ever act any way other than decent with her? Of course not. Would an American boy have shot her down in cold blood? There's something I think you should know. That boy didn't kill my daughter. It was an accident. I had the gun. The gun went off. The boy didn't kill my daughter, Andy. I did. Now you just sit there, Mr. Ridley. You had a very trying day. Jesse, haven't you got some work to do? Sure. Sure, Andy. You know, sometimes when a man suffers a great tragedy it can affect his mind. You understand that, don't you, Mr. Ridley? Yes, yes, I understand that. And in his grief, he-he might forget things or even imagine things that never really happened. Yes, yes, that's true. I'm sorry to say this, old friend, but I see signs of that in you. In your eagerness to do what's right, you're willing to shoulder all the blame for Sally's death. Well, shouldn't I, Andy? Now, now let's face the truth. Didn't that boy, that James Chang, didn't he provoke whatever caused Sally's death? As the Lord is my judge, that boy caused Sally to die. Yes, and our city's overrun with these undesirables. And that breeds the sort of thing that happened to you. And every decent citizen in this town wants to see that that don't never happen again. Now ain't that right, Mr. Ridley? Yes, yes, Andy. All right then. Now let's you and me sit down and examine what's really right for Virginia City. You ask me to order members of our tong to fight if need be, to protect your son. My son has not killed anyone. He has committed but one crime... He is Chinese. Is James Chang Chinese? Has he not given up the ways of his ancestors? Has he not taken the dress and the custom of another people? He is ambitious. He desires to educate himself in this new land. He knows that one day the Chinese will their place alongside other people who have come from many other places to make this great country. Young eyes can see great distances, and risk is the privilege of youth. Your son has accepted the new ways and with this, he has accepted the risk. He is my son. And they talk in the streets of killing him. It is written, it is better to sacrifice one lamb than to cause the slaughter of the entire flock. Some men will fight even to save a lamb. Order. Order, please. Now I don't want to have to remind you folks this is an official inquest and I expect order. Continue, Mr. Wheeler. I said I seen this Chinese boy carryin' on with Sally Ridley, so, naturally, I went and told her father. You know the rest. Now, Your Honor, aren't we taking an awful lot for granted here? Now surely, Your Honor, Ben Cartwright's been around long enough to know the facts when he hears them. But this is not a trial, Andy. It's an inquest. Is that all, boy? Well, ain't that enough, Your Honor? Don't get smart with me, son. Now you just get down, and let's have the next witness. Miss Amanda Ridley. Now, Amanda, just tell us in your own words what happened last night. Jimmy Chang killed my sister. Order. Order in the court, please. Order. Order, please. Amanda, we're not passing judgment here. We're just trying to get the facts. Well, what did you expect? Everybody in town knows what kind of a girl my sister was. Always flaunting herself, fluffing her hair, and mincing around boys. What's the matter with her? She's jealous of her own sister. Um, please, Amanda. I know how hard this must be for you. But all we want to hear is what you saw. Well, I heard a shot. I ran to the stable. There was Jimmy Chang, bending over my sister. There was a gun next to him. My poor father was standing there, just staring. And the gun was by Jimmy Chang? It was right by him. Right where he dropped it. Now, Your Honor, how do we know that was Jimmy Chang's gun? Who saw him drop it there? Now, Ben... Now, Ben, you're not trying to tell us that gun just fell out of the sky, are you? Ben Cartwright, I'm not going to put up with any more of your outbursts. All right, Amanda. That's all. Mr. Ridley, will you take the stand? Mr. Ridley, do you feel the testimony you've heard here is substantial to the way it happened? As the Lord is my witness, that boy caused the death of my daughter. Thank you, Mr. Ridley. You may step down. Jimmy Chang, stand up. It is the finding of this inquiry that you, Jimmy Chang, stand trial for the murder of Sally Ridley. Inquest adjourned. I sure don't want to miss that trial. They'll hang him for sure, won't they, Mr. Fulmer? Ah, that's hard to tell. Jury trial? Sometimes you just can't depend on a jury. It's like I told you boys before, when I take over this town, I want it clean. Maybe... Maybe we ought to see to it there ain't no trial, boss. Jesse, I sure like the way you think. We owe an obligation to this town, boys. Andy's right. We're all merchants. We all earn our living here. If we let the Chinese take over, our property would be worthless. You never spoke truer words, Cyrus. That's my way of thinking exactly. And if it wasn't my way of thinking, I wouldn't be running for mayor. One thing, Andy. I ain't a man to jump into things, you know. Well, you ain't a man to stand by and watch your own house burn down without tossin' on a pail of water, either, are you, Cyrus? No. If we let that Chinaman get away with killin' that white girl, it's just the same as sayin' we don't even care what happens to our own wives and daughters. Well, what do you think we ought to do, Andy? I think we ought to put a stop to it right now. Looks like you're a little off your game today, Little Joe. Mmm. Sheriff? They're holding a meeting over at Hammond's store. I don't like the looks of it. Andy Fulmer in the height of his glory. A so-called cause and a hotheaded audience to listen to his ranting. What do you think it will come to, Pa? I don't know. But if Fulmer can fire up that crowd enough, they'll sure enough try to break Jimmy out of jail. Oh. Don't you think we can hold 'em off, Pa? No. I got no right to ask you Cartwrights to get mixed up in this thing. You got no help, either, have you? Oh, you want to get rid of me, Sheriff, you're going to have to throw me out. Jimmy Chang's a friend of mine. Well, Sheriff? Well, I won't lie and say that I'm not pleased, but... Well, to make this thing legal-like, I'd better swear you all in as deputies. That's good. Always did want to wear one of them deputy badges, anyhow. Ben? Looks like you were right. I don't think there's any more doubt about it, Sheriff. There's only one way to avoid trouble and that's by getting that boy out of town fast. But I can't rightly do that, Ben. Well, you can't rightly let them come in and lynch him, either, can you? Ben, Jimmy Chang has been indicted for murder. It's my sworn duty to uphold the law. And it's also the sworn duty of you and your sons now. What are we supposed to do, sit here and wait? That's the way it is. Look, Pa, even if we get Jimmy out, we got to get him past those men. Yeah. I suppose nothing would make Fulmer happier than to kill Jimmy Chang while attempting to break jail. Now, look, Ray, there's no law that says a deputy can't walk out of here, is there? No, there isn't. If you boys want to change your mind, I can release you from any obligations. No, that's not what I meant. I just don't like the idea of sitting around here while Andy Fulmer calls every turn. What's on your mind, son? Well, Pa, I can't help thinking about Amanda and the way she behaved on the witness stand. Now, I've known her a long time. I just don't believe she's turned that bitter. You think you might want to talk to her? I'd like to try. Oh. It's worth a chance. Maybe through her, you could break down Ridley's story. I don't like the idea of you going out there, though. Hoss and I can cover him, Pa. No, that would be playing right into Fulmer's hands. Then there'd be three less guns in here for him to worry about. I'll get through all right, Pa. I wasn't thinking of you getting through, Adam. I was thinking of you getting back in. You know, don't sell Fulmer short. He's got Ridley on his side and he's going to do everything in his power to keep him there. Well, I'm gonna risk it. Mm-hmm. All right, Adam. Good luck, Adam. What's the matter, Cartwright? The stink of that woman killer get too thick for you in there? You get out of my way. You sure are proddy, Adam. Ain't no law says we can't stand out here in the street. Yeah. Why are you Cartwrights so nervous? We ain't doin' nothing. Well, just keep on doing it. May I come in? I suppose it would be all right. My father isn't home. Well, it's really you I wanted to talk to, Amanda. Would you like to sit down? Thank you. Well, all of us used to have some mighty good times in this house. We haven't entertained since mother died. Seven years? It must get kind of lonely for you sometimes. I had obligations and I assumed those obligations. Have to be at such a high price? Do you think it's been easy, keeping the household together with mother gone? No, I don't. I... I watched my own father do it for years. Yes, but Sally did everything she could to make things difficult. Yeah. Pa had his moments with all of us, too. She had no respect for anything. Not for me or for my father. Look, Amanda, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Life hasn't passed you by. Why can't you Cartwrights mind your own business and let us mind ours? Because it happens to be everybody's business when a boy's life is at stake. You can stand there and say that to me when my sister's been murdered? What do you expect me to do? Go over there to Jimmy Chang and tell him it was all a big mistake? If that's what it was, yes. Jimmy Chang said he didn't have a gun. He said it was an accident. Now, look, Amanda, I've always admired you because you had the courage to stand up for what you thought was right. Sally was just exactly the way you used to be. No more and no less. You don't need to pretend with me, Amanda. Oh. Adam, I... I've been so alone. What should I do? Tell the truth. What are you doing in my house, Cartwright? Is no woman safe in this town? How dare you persecute my daughter. It's not your daughter that's being persecuted. There's a young boy over in that jail who's just about to face a lynch mob. That boy is a murderer and a heathen! He has been indicted for his crime! Indicted but not convicted. Or don't you think Jimmy Chang deserves a fair trial? James Chang will have a fair trial. Not unless you tell Andy Fulmer that's what you want him to have. Well, Mr. Fulmer is an honorable man. He doesn't need me to tell him what to do. What's the matter, Mr. Ridley? You afraid to face up to Andy Fulmer and the principles you value so highly? I fear no man. Well, then, talk to him! I'll go with you, Father. What right's he got to stand trial, anyway? He ain't even no citizen! We gonna let those Cartwrights tell us how to run our town? They don't live in Virginia City. And this town is for us that lives here, for us Americans. There are only three Cartwrights in there. Adam left. And we'll see to it he don't get back in again. I say rush the jail! Sheriff Halstead will be on our side when he sees we mean business. What are you up to, Cartwright? Just out for a walk with some friends of mine. What's the matter, Jesse? You seem nervous. Mr. Ridley, is-is Adam trying to force you to do something against your will? No man forces me against my will. I want to talk with Mr. Fulmer. You wanted to talk to me, J.R.? I've got to talk to you about everything. About those people out there. Why, certainly, J.R., not a man in this town can't speak to me whenever he wants to. You come right on in. Miss Amanda? Let's, uh, step into my private office. We can talk freely there. I'll wait out here. Won't you sit down, Amanda? Thank you. J.R.? Now, then... what was it you wanted to say to me, J.R.? I want those people out there to know the truth. I want to tell them what I told you this morning. Mm-hmm. And what did you tell me this morning, J.R.? Why, that Jimmy Chang is innocent. That my daughter's death was an accident. And what did I say then, Mr. Ridley? I just don't remember. Didn't I say that I wanted to help you? Didn't I say that the people of Virginia City were behind you 100%? Did you see all those people out there in that street? Why do you think they're there? They're there because they're your friends, J.R., just as I'm your friend. Because we both believe in the same principles. We believe in honesty and decency... and the American way. Now, ain't that right, Mr. Ridley? Yes. I suppose so. Father... Now, you don't suppose; you know. Those people are out there because they're your friends. They're out there to honor you. They're there to honor a man who stood up in his hour of great tragedy, not for his own sake, but for the sake of an entire city. Now, are you gonna let them down, J.R.? Are you gonna let your daughter die in vain? They're waiting for you out there, J.R. Well, Mr. Ridley? I have no right to stand in the way of my friends, the people here in Virginia City. Like I say, J.R., I like your ideas fine... You talk to me anytime. The door's always open. What happened in there? Adam, it was horrible. It's as if my father has no mind of his own. Well, I'll change his mind. No, Adam. Let me do it. I can make him understand that he's got to tell the truth. All right, if you think you can. Remember, Amanda, Jimmy Chang's life depends on your father telling the truth. I realize that now, Adam. Come along, Amanda. Just where do you think you're going, Cartwright? Now, why don't you leave those folks alone? Boys, boys, what's going on here? Cartwright here seemed to be in a hurry. We figured he was planning to pester the Ridleys some more. Now, you boys put those guns away. Jesse, you know we're not men of violence. You go right ahead, Mr. Cartwright. Just do whatever you like. I'll do just exactly that, Mr. Fulmer. You sure you don't want me to stop him, boss? Now, why should you do that, Jesse? Just when we got things right where we want them. Little Joe, did you ever taste anything like these jailhouse beans? Yeah. Yeah, but I'm trying not to remember it. What you mean to say is, you... you don't ever remember tasting anything as good, don't you? Yeah, that's what I mean. It's almost worth breaking a law to get this kind of chow. Jimmy, you ain't eat a bite of yours. Why don't you try to get some of that down. Thanks, Hoss, but I'm not hungry. Hungry? What's that got to do with it? You think the only time a man can eat is when he's hungry? Yeah, you haven't got any kind of fool idea like that, do you, Jimmy? I didn't kill Sally. You believe me, don't you, Hoss? Jimmy, you ought... you ought to have more sense that to even ask such a question. But there are some people in this town who think I did. How can they, Hoss? Jimmy, don't you worry none. You got lots of friends in this town. Friends that aren't gonna let you down. Here he comes. Let him in. I really thought they'd try to stop you from getting back in. Well, Fulmer's so sure of himself, he figured he didn't have to. Well, what about Amanda? Did you find out anything from her? Oh, I sure did. Anyway, I've convinced her she should tell the truth. I thought we had Ridley convinced, and then we got over to Fulmer's, and... I don't know, Fulmer's got some strange kind of hold on the man. He's... he's like so much clay in his hands. Anyway, Amanda's still working on him. Well, do you think she'll get anywhere with him? Well, if she doesn't, we've got a lynch mob on our hands. Oh, Father, how can I make you understand what I'm saying to you? I'm on the side of right. Right! You're just doing what Andy Fulmer wants you to do. That boy's gonna die! Your sister died, too, didn't she? Yes, she did. Until now, I... I don't believe I really cared. But now I know you don't care. How dare you speak like that to me! I dare speak like that because it's the truth. Your sister brought disgrace on us. Then it isn't really Jimmy Chang you're trying to punish, is it? You're trying to punish Sally. Father... was her death really an accident, or did you pull that trigger on purpose? Is that why you're afraid to talk? Amanda, as God is my witness, it was an accident. Then go out there and tell them. Oh, Father, we've both lied to ourselves. We never really believed the things we said about Sally. And if we let Jimmy Chang die, we'll really be condemning Sally. You and I, Father, we're the guilty ones. Now, boys, you all know where I stand. I'm just interested in doing what's right for our city! Are we gonna let those Cartwrights stand between us and what we know is right? I say let's rush 'em and get 'em out of that jail! Come on! Pa? Here they come. Let's put a few shots over their heads. That should scatter them. Here, stop that! Stop it, everybody! Stop! Ridley. Yeah, it looks like she convinced him. Stop! Stop! Stop it, everybody! Stop! Get in here, J.R. Those Cartwrights'll kill you. It isn't the Cartwrights this town needs to fear, Fulmer. Aw, J.R., we understand each other... That won't work again, Andy. I'm gonna tell Sheriff Halstead the truth. Now, we've been through this before. I'm going to tell him the truth. Get him. You fool. Why did you kill him? Wha... What are you saying? You-you told me to kill him. Murderer. You filthy murderer! Get him! He just killed my best friend! Jesse, drop the gun. Father! Father! My father wanted to tell you something. I know what it was, because I was part of it. We lied on the witness stand this morning. My sister's death was an accident. Jimmy Chang didn't have any gun. My father killed Sally. That's what he wanted to tell you. Well, Fulmer... three dead. You satisfied? You trying to make a murderer out of me, Ben? You tried to murder this town. You still want this man for your mayor? No! No! Hold on, wait a minute, folks. Hold it, hold it. Now, this is a... this is a terrible thing that's happened here today, and we sure don't want anything like that to happen here again. Folks! Folks! Listen, you know how I stand, what I believe in. I just want to do what's right for Virginia City! I'm afraid you're at liberty, Mr. Chang. Come on, Jimmy, didn't you hear him? Or, don't tell me you done got to where you like it in here? But-but what... But what? I thought you were the one who had the fine ideas about going to college. Yes, I do, but... Well, if you're gonna go to college, Jimmy, you got to bust out of this jail before you can start. It's all right, Jimmy. Come on. You can go home. It's all over now. Go on!
Behind the Scenes of The Fear Merchants
The story happens on Jimmy Chang’s eighteenth birthday. However, Jimmy Chang’s actor, Guy Lee, was 32 years old during the filming period, making him older than Michael Landon and Dan Blocker, who were 23 and 28 years old at the time.
One of the corpses on the street reacts when an actor unintentionally steps on his hand after the showdown.
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Enjoy the Western television series Bonanza, by yourself or with family. NBC produced the program, airing it on their network for 14 seasons, from September 1959 to January 1973. The Fear Merchants is the 20 episode out of 430.
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