the first born
Bonanza Western TV
The Lone Writer  

The First Born Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #04, Episode #01

The fourth season of Bonanza premiered on September 23, 1962, featuring an episode intended to be a significant milestone. In The First Born, Barry Coe portrays Clay Stafford, a fresh addition to the Ponderosa ranch crew. After an incident leading to a death in self-defense, Clay is compelled to depart Virginia City. However, he shocks everyone by disclosing a remarkable revelation: he is the biological son of Ben Cartwright’s third wife, Marie, making him Joe’s older brother. While Ben and Joe accept Clay’s claim, Hoss and Adam remain skeptical and resolve to delve into the truth behind his enigmatic background.

Initially penned by Judith and George W. George, “The First Born” was envisioned to introduce Barry Coe as a new integral member of the Bonanza cast. Yet, Coe’s inclusion reportedly stirred discord among the established mainstays of the series, leading the abandoning of the concept of a “fifth Cartwright.”

To explore the intricacies of the plot, along with some intriguing trivia, you can either delve into the detailed synopsis or view the complete episode provided below.

Watch the Full Episode of The First Born

Watch the Full Episode of The First Born:

Main Cast

In addition to the principal cast, “The First Born,” the inaugural episode of Season 4 in Bonanza showcases a range of recurring and guest-supporting actors. The following individuals are prominently featured in the episode:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Barry Coe as Clay Stafford
  • Eddy Waller as Harry
  • Ray Teal as Sheriff Roy Coffee
  • Robert Karnes as Miner
  • Mike Ragan as Miner
  • Don Beddoe as Stan Perkins
  • Ben Erway as Banker
  • Sam Bagley as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Chet Brandenburg as Miner (uncredited)
  • John Breen as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bill Clark as Miner (uncredited)
  • Betty Endicott as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • Mickey Golden as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Michael Jeffers as Miner (uncredited)
  • Eddie Juaregui as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Bob LaWandt as Miner (uncredited)
  • Martha Manor as Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • William Meader as Saloon Dealer (uncredited)
  • Bob Miles as Miner (uncredited)
  • Hans Moebus as Saloon Dealer (uncredited)
  • Ernesto Molinari as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Rex Moore as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Sol Murgi as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Spec O’Donnell as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Charles Perry as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Cosmo Sardo as Bartender (uncredited)
  • Ray Spiker as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Jack Tornek as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Max Wagner as Miner (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The First Born

Clay Stafford arrives in Virginia City and joins the Ponderosa as a ranch hand. Shortly after that, he becomes involved in a deadly altercation, asserting it was in self-defense. The miners, expressing their disapproval, angrily attack Joe and instruct Clay to depart the town.

However, the most startling revelation comes from Clay: he declares himself to be Little Joe’s older half-brother, asserting that Marie was also his mother. While Ben and Joe accept this revelation at face value, the other two brothers are skeptical and determined to delve into Clay’s peculiar claim.

Full Script and Dialogue of The First Born

Yes, sir, mister...

you can always
tell a first-rate town

by the way the
people treat a stranger.

Now you know we're
first-class around here

because this is genuine bay
rum I'm throwing in absolutely free.

I appreciate that
word "free," sir,

'cause I'm down
to my last dollar.

Well, you got a nice
way about you, mister,

but if you want to make
money around this town,


your strong back will help you
more than your good manners.


The mines, they're running
full blast around here,

paying top dollar, too.

The cattlemen, on the
other hand, are suffering.

What's good for one
is bad for the other.

Why, Ben Cartwright's been
coming to town the past two days

trying to get men
for the roundup.

But they're all taking
jobs in the mines.

Guess you can't blame a man

when you stack up
the difference in wages.

Ben sure is persistent, though.

Which one is Little Joe?

The one on the pinto.


Hey, how come you knew his name?

I thought you said you
was a stranger around here.

Oh, everybody's heard
about the Ponderosa,

the Cartwrights.

You heading for the mines?

I always go where
the real money is.

Harry, you sure
you wanna sign on?

Well, I'll tell you
how it is, Mr. Ben.

If I go to the mines, they're
gonna pay me too much money.

Too much money?

Well, what can a
man do with money

but spend it on Saturday
nights with whiskey and women?

Now at my age,

too much of both
ain't good for me.

Now with what you pay
me I can stay healthy.

You got yourself a job, Harry.

An explanation like that
deserves beer, Harry.


- Come on, Harry.
- Oh, oh, oh.

I hear you need hands.

That's right.

Well, I'm looking for a job.

Uh, we're looking for cowhands.

Yeah, I know.

If you don't mind me asking,

have you ever
pushed cattle before?

Yeah, I've done it before.

And, and like I say,
I'm, I need a job.

Well, if it's money
you're needing,

why haven't you tried the mines?

You see, a man should
only go below ground once...

when they plant him
there in a pine box.

Me, I, I like fresh air.

Well, that sounds
fair enough, Pa.

Uh, where have you
worked before, Mr...?

Stafford. Clay Stafford.

Uh, have you worked
any ranches before?

Well, the Circle J and the
Lazy Bar up in Oregon Territory.

Lazy Bar's one of the
biggest ranches up there.

Ever worked around here?

Oh, no. No local references,

if that's what you mean.

He's healthy and
he needs a job, Pa.

What more do you want?

Wages are eight dollars a week,

pay day every Friday, and
a bonus at the end of the job.

Sounds fair.

All right.

- Clay Stafford.
- Right.

Very good. We'll be
leaving in about an hour.

Doesn't look like anybody
else is in the line up here.

- I'll get some supplies.
- Right.

Hey thanks for putting in a
good word with your father.

Didn't make any difference.

You would've gotten the
job anyway. We need hands.

Where you from, Stafford?

Call me Clay. I'm
from a lot of places.

Well, a man only
gets born in one.

Well, that'd be New Orleans.

No kidding, New Orleans?
My mother was born there.

That's a coincidence.

Yeah, that, that sure is.

Yeah, I'll tell ya
one thing, Clay.

You got to work for a living,

you might as well put in
your time for the Cartwrights.

Well, this is
downright luxury here.

Solid floor in the bunkhouse,
springs in the beds,

not even any busted
window panes.

You ain't been doing
much riding lately, huh?

How do you mean?

Well, hardly any
calluses on your hand.

Wear gloves.

Well, they'll be work-a-plenty
starting tomorrow.

Think I'll go in and try
out them springs right now.


That's a pretty fancy
holster you got there.

Yeah, it's a McKendrick Special.


It's like they left
the front end of it off.

Well, see, you don't
draw. The gun slips out.

Oh, yeah.

Reckon you'd be ready
to fire that in a wink,

wouldn't ya?

Yeah, it's, it's fast.

You won't be needing
anything that fast around here.

- Hyah!
- Ha!

Harry, I'm almost
too tired to eat.

Yeah, but this is good, Mr. Ben.

Yeah, smells good.

Well, I'll tell ya,
that's a days work

that'll last a week.

Ain't been so saddle
sore since I was youngin'.

Well, I'm ready, Mr. Cartwright.

- All right.
- See you.


Where's he going?

Back to the ranch.

Gonna help Little Joe
bring out the supplies.

How'd you talk him into that...

after the day's work he put in?

I didn't. He volunteered.

Beaver for work, ain't he?

We could use a
couple more like him.

Hey, Clay, what are
you doing back here?

Thought I'd give you
a hand with supplies.

Hey, thanks, I could use a hand

as soon as I finish the coffee.

Some place you got here.

Yeah, sure is.

My pa built this place
with his bare hands.

I was born in that
little room upstairs.

Thought you said you
were from New Orleans?

No, no, that's where my
pa married my mother.

They were married there,
and they came back here

to settle down.

You, uh, remember your mother?

No, not too much.

Just what my pa
told me about her.

He always said she was like,

like having spring in the
house the year 'round.

Always laughing.

Full of fun and warmth.

Guess she must have
looked pretty nice, huh?

Hmm? Yeah.

Yeah, I guess she was
about the prettiest woman

in New Orleans...
Hey, I've got a,

I've got a picture
of her right here.

I always carry it with me.

What do you think?

Like having spring in
the house all year 'round.

Prettiest picture
I've ever seen.

Sure wish this was mine.


Oh, nothing. It was a
silly thing for me to say.

I, I was just thinking how I,
how I never knew my mother.

Kind of wish she
looked like this.

Hey, we better head
out if we're gonna

get back to camp
before sundown, no?

I guess we better.
Those supplies

won't take care of themselves.

Thanks, Little Joe.

Mr. Ben, would
you be good enough

to see your way
clear to give me, uh,

a $2 advance on
my next week's pay?

Well, Harry, it's, uh,

it's barely 11:00.
Have you run through

$8 already?

Well, it's this way, Mr. Ben.

Now, these, these,
these miners around here,

they're drinking more whiskey,

and giving more to the girls.

So I got to raise my sights
to meet the competition.

Well, Harry, what about, uh,

what about your health
that you're so worried about?

It's Saturday night.

I'll worry about my
health Sunday morning.

Thank you, sir.

Your lucky night, huh?

Yeah, it sure is.

You just come into town?

Yeah, the first of the week.

Where you been keeping yourself?

Herding cattle.

You're a cowpoke, huh?

Yeah, that's right.

All right, deal.

Hey, now, we're
wasting a lot of time

with this little glass, Peachy.

Can you give me
something a little bigger?


Full house.

Four treys.

You say you're a cowhand?

Yeah, that's right.

Been working the Ponderosa.

I say you're a cheat.

We work in the mines
hard for our money,

but being under the ground
don't hurt my eyes none.

Looks to me like you low-carded.

I say it's my lucky day.

And I say we want
our money back.

Every man to his own opinion.

Time you get miners
and cattlemen together,

they're just itching for
something to happen,

and this thing was just about
what they were waiting for.

Joseph, the sheriff's right.

It's best the boy leave town.

Pa, it is not right
and it's not fair.

Now, we all know he
shot in self-defense!

Maybe so, but do you know
whether or not he low-carded?

Roy, a man is innocent
until proven guilty.

A stranger, fast
gun, and a cardsharp

all wrapped up into one package?

Now, that's something
Virginia City don't need.

Oh, wait a minute,
Roy, wait a minute.

What do you mean, a stranger?

Everybody's a stranger
until they settle someplace.

And as for being a fast
gun, if he wasn't he'd be dead

instead of the miner,
so don't use that.

All right, I'll grant you that.

But you ain't answering
the main point.

Was he cheating or wasn't he?

But the point is, there is no
proof the man was cheating!

That is not the point.

Little Joe, when I
first took this job...

And that was a few years ago...

I made an arrangement
with myself.

I said, Roy, the best
way to handle trouble

is to avoid it.

And it's worked out pretty well.

Now, if this fella Stafford
stays around town,

I'm just laying myself
wide open to more killings,

can't you see that? Now,
that's why he's got to go!

No, I can't see it.
It's not right, Roy,

and it's not fair.

Come on, Joseph.

The sheriff knows
best; it's his job.

I'll take care of it, Roy.

The young man will
leave in the morning.

Thanks, Ben.

So long, Little Joe.

Pa, right is right,
and this isn't.

Now, Joseph, you're doing a
lot of talking about right is right,

and proof and facts... But
what facts do you have?

What do you know about him?

You worked a couple of
ranches up in Oregon territory.

What else?

That isn't the main point.

If he stays in Virginia
City he may be killed.

Now, Roy's right.

He knows best. Come on.

Oh, you heading out?

Yeah, I figured I'd have
to move on sooner or later.

But not quite this soon.

I'm sorry to see you go.

I put my time in here; your
father got his money's worth.

- I know that.
- Besides that, your father

and the sheriff
made it pretty clear

that my welcome had run out.

Yeah, I know. I still think

they're wrong about that...
I told him so last night.

You mean you stuck up for
me, argued against your father?

Why not? What's right is right.

Is that all?

Nah, it's not all. I...

I don't know, we got
along pretty good.

I kind of thought
we could be friends.

You remember that picture of
your mother you showed me?

Hm? Yeah.

Can I see it again?

What for?

Just let me see it.

See, this isn't just a
picture of a beautiful woman.

She's my mother, too.

There's something I don't
like about closed doors.

A man's got a right
to talk in private.

Yeah, but...

when it's family, I don't
like to be left outside.

How do you know
it's about family?

When a brother shows up
from nowhere it ain't family?


Pa wants to talk to Clay alone.

Of course...

she told me she'd
been married before.

She also told me...
she'd had a child.

But she said the baby had died.

They lied... they lied to
her, and they lied to me.

They lied?


My grandparents...
My-my father's folks.

They were against the
marriage from the very beginning.

They hated my mother.

Didn't think she was
good enough for their son.

Well, when we
all got the fever...

when my father died...

they told my mother
that I had died also.

See, when I was old
enough to ask questions,

they told me that she was dead.

And after all this time...

how did you find us?

Well, last year I shook the
wander dust off my heels

and went back to New Orleans.

Guess I got sentimental,
wanted to put a flower or two

on mother's grave.

Of course, that's
when I found out

there wasn't any grave.

After that, I checked
with the hall of records

and around, and that's
when I found out about...

about you being
married to my mother...

and about the Ponderosa.


why didn't you... tell us all
this when you first got here?

Well, I didn't want to
push myself into a family.

I don't know why I came here.

I guess because I...

wanted to see my brother.

Oh, and find out if
I... if I liked you or not.

I know none of this
changes the fact

that I'd better be moving on.

Those-those miners are
pretty hot under the collar.

Well, you'll be all right
here on the Ponderosa.

Are you sure, sir?

Of course. They
won't come out here.

No, sir, that's not what I mean.

What do you mean?

I mean, do you believe me?

Of course I do.

Of course I believe you.

The news is... rather startling.

I'll have to admit that.

Out of the blue, so to speak.

Takes a little getting used to.

Look, we, uh, we have
plenty of room in here.

Why don't you, uh, why don't
you move in from the bunkhouse?

Thank you, sir.



Hoss and Little Joe asleep?

Yeah, it's, uh, kind of late.

I guess I should have asked...

Hoss and Little Joe
and Clay asleep.

I suppose I'll be
asking that from now on.

Yeah, I guess you will.

Boy, he sure came
out of the blue.


Well, he did kind of
come out of nowhere.

What are you driving at?

Well... and I hope
you don't mind, but, uh,

Hoss and I were
kind of talking it over,

and we, uh...

well, don't you think you
ought to check his story out?

You and Hoss think that...

he might have made
up the whole thing?

Well, we think it's
important enough to...

know for sure.

I mean, it, uh,
wouldn't do any harm

to send a telegram
to Judge Wharton

down in New Orleans.

Would it?


What are you doing in town?

Just rode in all the
way from the ranch

- to ask you the same question.
- Pa said that

there were some supplies
that needed picking up.

He knew you were the one
that was gonna pick 'em up?

What difference does it
make? They needed picking up.

Look, Pa told you you were safe

on the ranch, but
not here in town.

It's working hours; the
miners are underground.

Just half of them;
they work on shifts.

Now, let's get this wagon
loaded and get out of here.

Brother Joe, you worry too much.

What you need is a
beer to help you relax.

Since we're in town, why
don't we take care of that?

Wait a minute and use your
head. Now, the town is hot.

The saloon's once place
you're gonna run into trouble.

Maybe we won't
have to look that far.

Seems to be here right now.


Mighty hot day.

Maybe a couple of
beers'd cool us all off.

Since Saturday,
we're kind of particular

about the company we keep.

Take a horse thief, you
can see the horse he steals,

a fella robs a bank,
well, there's the money,

but a card cheat...
well, if he's good at it,

it's over and done with before
you know what's happened.

If Sam hadn't been drinking
nothing would've happened.

There was no reason for it.

Well, Sam ain't here to
argue the point, but we are.

And we aim to do
more than just argue.

You figure on using that gun?

I never draw first.

I just like to keep
the street clean.

You think one gun's enough?

Two guns, gentlemen.

Now, why don't
you all just forget it?

We don't want
anybody to get hurt.

Why don't you keep your
nose out of this, Cartwright?

Friend or no friend,
he's gonna get his.

He's not just a friend,
he's my brother.

All right.

There'll be another day.

I can use that beer now.

Well, couldn't we just load
the wagon and leave town?

Maybe you're right, brother.

While the beans are on
the fire, we'll have a drink.

We'd better take it easy.

We got to be back
to camp before light.

Here's just the thing
that'll help us take it easy.

Here, drink up.

You sure you got enough?

Hey, this is whiskey?

Well, not exactly.

Well, what is it, then?


Pulque... what's that?

Well, it's a drink they
have down in Mexico.

They make it out of cactus.

When you were
loading up the wagon,

I got it from Manuel
back at the livery stable.

Come on, drink up.

It's hot but it's good.

Yeah, just like riding
a nice, easy bronc,

but when he discovers that
burr under his saddle, watch out.

Eh, don't worry
about me; I can take it.

You know, this is
better than a saloon.

Yeah, you're right, and
the company's better, too.

Hey, how'd you happen
to learn about this, uh...?

- Pulque?
- Pulque, yeah.

Oh, when I was down in Mexico,

that's the only kind of
liquor they have down there,

so you have to learn to like it.

Yeah, what you doing down there?

Ah, fighting with Juárez.

Fighting with Juárez...
What, in his army?

Yeah, I was down there
for two years... a lieutenant.

How'd you happen to get
mixed up in a thing like that?

Well, the pay was good

and, and I happened to believe
in what he was fighting for.

Yeah, he, he was fighting that,

that emperor
Maximilian, wasn't he?

Yeah, that's right.

Yeah, I read a little bit
about that somewhere.

You know, Juárez was a, was
a real Mexican, not a Spaniard.

He was just like one of the
thousands of peasants he led.

A great man.


Hey, you know, it's kind
of, kind of sad, he had to fail.

Oh, he'll come back,

and when he does, maybe,
maybe I'll go back, too.


Hey, you know, we're
getting much too serious.

Come on, drink up, will you?

- All right.
- Hey, look, I'll tell you

about the girls who
used to follow the army.

Now, look, there was this one
gal... her name was Conchita.

Oh, Conchita.

So, you see, when we ran out,

Conchita went right
through the enemy lines

and brought back
a couple of jugs.

Brought back a couple of jugs.

Hey, look, now, that's...
That is the kind of girl...

That Conchita...

That's the kind of girl
that I would like to have.

Hey, you know, Conchita...
She had a sister Rosita.


Hey, listen, now, in
all s... In all serious,

we ought to get down there

and get that Conchita
and that Rosita.

I'll drink to that.

- Viva Juárez.
- Viva!

Viva... Viva la revolución.

Viva, viva, viva... Viva...

- Viva pulque!
- Pulque!

- Ah.
- There's a lot of pulque in there.

Oh, yeah, Conchita and Bonita.

Ah, viva your Rosita.

Viva my Rosita and
Bonitas and Conchi...

Viva my brother!

Hey, viva my brother!


Viva, brother.

We have got to get down there
and viva that Conchita Bonita.

- Ah...
- Viva...


- Good morning, Joe.
- Morning.

Good morning.

After a night of
chewing the fat,

nothing like a big breakfast
to get you back in action.

Hey, yeah, that's right.

Speaking of fat, I'm gonna have
me some more of that fatback.

There really ain't
nothing quite like

some good old salt sow
belly for breakfast, right, Joe?


Oh, sorry, fella,
something wrong?

No, I'm just... I'm
raring to go this morning.

It's too bad we
drank all that pulque.

You'd like it.

No, now, me, I personally
prefer a great, big glass

of hot whiskey, about 100 proof.

Oh, yeah.

Oh, I guess we're
just unlucky, huh?

Hello, morning, boys.

Time to get to work.

Well, morning, Joseph.

Say, I have never
seen you look better.

Oh, I'm... feeling
real good, too.

Oh, well, that's real fine

because we sure got a
lot of work to do today.

You, uh, boys had
quite a chat last night.

Yeah, I guess we overdid it.

Well, I think he'll live.

Boys, I got to ride
back to the ranch.

Keep things moving, huh?

Right, Pa.

That Clay sure is a
likable fella, isn't he?

Yeah, sure is.

You know, if me or you...
Either one... brought Joe home

in the condition
he was in last night,

we wouldn't have
heard the last of it till yet.

Oh, that's for sure.

What do you mean
the condition I'm in?

I'm not in any
kind of condition.

You heard what Pa said.

Let's get started.

Gee, I'm, I'm sorry, fella.

What's the matter? We
heard you wanted to see us.

Yeah, I got the telegraph
back from New Orleans.

Mm-hmm, what'd it say?

Story checks out.

What's the matter, then?

Alvin Warden is a
very good lawyer.

When he investigates,
he gets all the facts.

Marie was his mother, he
was born in New Orleans,

raised by his
grandparents... It's all true.

What's the trouble, Pa?

Something that Alvin found
out that happened two years ago.

Two years ago?

Yeah, a little town in
Texas... Chico Wells.

Seems there was a card game.

Clay was winning a lot of money.

Man accused him of
cheating, reached for his gun.

Clay killed him.


That's sort of stretching
the long arm of coincidence,

ain't it?

I'm afraid that's how a lot
of people would look at it.

How do you look at it?

What are you
gonna tell Little Joe?

Well, he's going to
have to face the fact

that there can be
weaknesses in people,

even those you care about.

You gonna let Clay stay around?

Well... guess we'll have
to give him the benefit

of whatever doubts
we have about him.

I don't understand,
what is he guilty of?

Joseph, I'm not
accusing him of anything,

but we both know how he's lived.

All right, he's
led a different life.

He's been alone, but it
doesn't change the fact

that he's my brother and
he's still part of this family.

Well, of course he is;
I'm not disputing that,

but he must realize... And
you must help him realize...

That, well, things
are different here.

Tragedies like, like the
other night with the miner...

You keep saying that.

Now, it was not his fault,
and the only reason you'd have

for saying that is because
you think he was cheating.

The only person who can
answer that is Clay himself.

All right, I'll talk to him.

I think it might be
better if I talked with him.

No, please let
me talk to him, Pa.

Please let me be the one.

All right.


Hey, Clay, you know,
I've been thinking.

Now, the roundup's going
to be over in a couple of days,

and I thought you and I
could take a trip somewhere.


Well, you know, viva Juárez.

Kind of like to go
down to Mexico,

see how the revolution
is coming along.

Well, it's not all just
fun down there, Joe.

As I told you the other night,

a revolution's a
pretty serious thing.

I remember.

I remember most of it.

Look, if it's not Mexico,
it'll be some other place.

I don't care, I just want to
take a trip and have some fun.

We're brothers, aren't we?

Now, the roundup's over,
we'll collect our pay and take off.

Okay, when the roundup's over,
we'll figure out where we'll go.

Good enough.


Well, we'll have the
last of these strays

rounded up by tomorrow.

Been so busy, I haven't
had much chance to talk.

Uh, yes, sir?

I mean, uh, since
Joe talked to you.

Oh, you mean about
going to Mexico?

What's this about Mexico?

Well, the other night we talked

about the two years I
spent with Juárez in Mexico.

He thought, now,
after the roundup

it might be fun
to go down there.

I see.

That's all he
talked to you about?

Yes, sir.

Well, what was he
supposed to talk about, sir?

Clay, we, we understand

what a rough time you've had

these past ten or 12 years

making your way alone...

and, uh, understand that...

your way of life is different
from ours as a result.

It's... your values
are different.

But the past is past.

You're part of the family now,

and we'd like you to
stay part of the family.

Hope that our way of life,

our values will be
yours from now on.

Well, sir, I-I don't know.

You don't know what?

I mean, I appreciate
what you've said

and you're very generous,

but I've got to be
honest with you.

I'm not sure that
this is my kind of life.

Well, are you sure it
isn't your kind of life?

No, sir.

Would you try it?

Yes, sir.


Let's forget these romantic
notions about Mexico.

Well, that was Joe's idea.

Well, he was influenced by you.

Try to use your
influence the right way.

Yes, sir, I'll try.


See you at the house.

Well, thanks again, Mr. Walsh.

Healthy bonus for
all hands this year.

It sure is... this
is one roundup

that ended up
better than it started.

Be careful of that money, Joe.

I will, sir. Thank you.

Hold it, Cartwright.

Go in the alley.

Come on, move!

All right.

Where is he?

Where's who?

That new brother of yours.

We been waiting for him.

What's the matter, is he
scared to come to town?

Nobody's scared.

Look, we just don't want
any trouble, that's all.

Well, it ain't always
easy to avoid trouble.

Guess we'll have to give
you a message for that brother.

Go on, take him, boys.



Let's get him into the house.

Easy, easy.

How is he, sir?

He's pretty badly beaten
up, but... he'll be all right.

Well, did he tell you
how it happened?


Apparently, the miners
meant it as a... message to you.

I figured that's what it was.

I'm sorry, sir.

I should have
taken off before now.

I'll-I'll pack my
things tonight.

No, Clay, that's no answer.

As I told you,
you're family now.

We'll handle it together.

No, sir, that's not what I mean.

You see, trouble's been
following me all my life...

no matter what I do,
no matter where I go,

and now it's... it's
followed me here.

Well, running is not
going to solve that problem.

We'll... we'll
handle it, somehow.

I'll get some broth that
I've been heating up.


Now, you drink that.

Where is everybody?

Oh, Hoss and Adam
are paying off the men,

and they'll be back soon.

Clay's downstairs.

Does he know about the miners?

Yeah, he knows.

I sure hope he
doesn't blame himself.

Now, you stop worrying about
what other people are thinking.

You drink that broth.

Tell Clay I want to see him.

Best thing for you to do
right now, young man, is rest.

I'll rest as soon as I see Clay.

You drink up that broth...

- and I'll get him.
- Thanks.




Where's Clay?

Clay's left.

I checked his room.

His things are gone.

He's gone?

Tell me what you
said to him, Pa.

I didn't say
anything to him, Joe.

I didn't even see him.

I'd already asked him to stay,

be part of the family.


he's old enough to
make his own decisions.

The important thing for
you right now is to rest,

take care of yourself.

Good night, son.

Good night, Pa.



Hey, why'd you leave without me?

You better get off that
horse before you fall off.

Come on over here and sit down.

Uh, no, thanks, I'd
just as soon stand up.

I think I'll feel better.

Sorry I don't have
any pulque, but...


Viva coffee.

Well, the last thing I need's
any more of that pulque.


Why'd you leave without me?

Just like I told your pa.

Trouble's been
following me all my life.

I mean, look what happened
to you just on account of me.

That's no reason... I
been in fights before.

Yeah, but this time you
were lucky... it was their fists.

Next time it could
be their guns.

Look, Clay, we're brothers;
your fight is my fight.

This thing with the miners
we can settle together.

Look, you have
family now; don't leave.

It won't work, Joe.

Clay, we're brothers;
we can make it work.

Look, let me explain
something to you.

Just because we're brothers
doesn't mean we have

to think alike,
be alike, do alike.

Yes, it happens
with some brothers,

like you and Adam and Hoss...

Why can't it work
with you and me?

Because it just won't!

Look, you lived all your life on
the Ponderosa, and you like it,

but, you see, I couldn't.

It would be like
being in a cage.

All right, then I won't ask you
to stay at the Ponderosa now.

We'll travel around together
till you feel you're ready

- to settle down.
- You could no more live my life

- than I could live yours.
- Well, how do you know?

- I've never tried it!
- Look, you saw what happened

to that miner... it's happened
before, and it can happen again.

Maybe things like that won't
happen, Clay, if we're together.

No, it couldn't. Look, look,
you'd just get in my way!

Clay, you don't mean
that, and you know it.

Look, will you get it
through your head that...

I don't want you along!

I don't need your family,
and I don't need you!

Now, will you go home,
Joe, where you belong?



You bring it back someday.

Are you all right, son?


Behind the Scenes of The First Born

There seems to be a plot inconsistency regarding Clay’s journey, which commenced with his quest to locate his mother’s grave in New Orleans. Since it was previously established that she was buried on the Ponderosa, it would have been poignant if Joe had accompanied Clay to visit her resting place. However, this crucial detail is overlooked, with no mention of it.

In Season 4, Episode 1 (“The First Born”), Little Joe proudly displays a picture of his mother, Marie, who passed away shortly after giving birth. Yet, in the same season, Episode 20 (“Marie, my Love”), Ben and Marie become acquainted, leading to the conception of Little Joe. However, there’s a noticeable discrepancy in the portrayal of Joe’s mother, Marie, between these two episodes of the same season.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is a beautiful, family-friendly television series suitable for solo viewing or enjoying with loved ones. The First Born marks the 101st episode out of 430 episodes produced. Originally aired on NBC, Bonanza graced the network’s screens from September 1959 to January 1973, spanning an impressive 14-season run.

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