the gift
Bonanza Western TV
The Lone Writer  

The Gift Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #27

Bonanza, a Western series that initially aired back in the late 1950s, tells the story of the fictional Cartwright family and their connection with the surrounding community. The fifty-ninth episode, The Gift, written by Denne Petitclerc and Thomas Thompson, aired for the first time on April 1, 1961. However, its first appearance was supposedly on March 18, 1961.

Joe Cartwright travels to Yuma, Arizona, determined to capture a white Arabian stallion for his father’s birthday. Unbeknownst to the young Cartwright, it will be a dangerous trip for him. En route, renegade Indians attacked Joe, which led his life to the hands of Emeliano (Martin Landau), the mercurial Mexican who raised the horse he’s going after.

Jim Davis plays Sam Wolfe, Jack Hogan plays Cash, and Joe Yrigoyen plays Cayetano.

Read The Gift‘s plotline, including behind-the-scenes information, or view the episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of The Gift

Watch the Full Episode of The Gift:

Main Cast

The Gift, the twenty-seventh episode of Bonanza’s second season, featured the following actors:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Martin Landau as Emeliano
  • Jim Davis as Sam Wolfe
  • Jack Hogan as Cash Wolfe
  • Robert Christopher as Lieutenant
  • Joe Yrigoyen as Cayetano
  • Felipe Turich as Jail Guard
  • Bob Miles as Chet, Wounded Soldier
  • Eumenio Blanco as Comanchero (uncredited)
  • Bill Clark as Comanchero (uncredited)
  • Jaye Durkus as Comanchero (uncredited)
  • Kay Koury as Townswoman (uncredited)
  • Daniel Nunez as Townsman (uncredited)
  • John Quijada as Comanchero (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Gift

Hoss and Adam wake up in a hotel room, discussing the surprise birthday gift, a white stallion, that Joe has to get from Yuma, Arizona. Ben is outside when a rider arrives at Fort Tyson with an arrow in his back. The citizens gather to hear the man as he reports about the renegade Indians assaulting and killing all whites they find at the fort and Yuma.

The news worries the Cartwrights, especially Ben. He prepares his things, planning on going with the army to look for Little Joe. Adam and Hoss try to calm him down, but Ben can only rant about his sons being stubborn, putting themselves in danger. Adam and Hoss reveal that Joe went to Yuma to get him the birthday present they’ve planned since the year before. It’s their way of saying they loved their father since they couldn’t find themselves saying the words directly. Ben says, “Old fools make poor dads,” overwhelmed with emotions, then leaves with his jam-packed saddlebags.

Meanwhile, Joe and Emeliano, the Mexican care owner of the stallion ( which he calls The Big White One), try to evade the renegade Indians as they travel in the desert. They eventually run out of water, so Emeliano suggests they go to Sam Wolfe and his group of ruthless Comancheros. Emeliano reveals that he used to ride with the group until Colonel Greene gave him a job. Although they both know it’ll be dangerous, Joe agrees to give it a shot.

Meanwhile, the Lieutenant in Fort Tyson couldn’t organize a search for Little Joe as he needed his troops to guard the fort. Ben has no choice but to find Joe himself. Adam and Hoss couldn’t let their father search for their youngest alone, so they joined him despite his initial hesitance.

Once they’ve reached the camp of the Comancheros, Emeliano asks for water, which Sam immediately grants to his old friend. As for Joe, he’ll need to give all his money and the stallion to get water. Joe refuses, then punches Sam, but the gang members knock down him and Emeliano. They have the two locked in a shack while Sam and his younger brother Cash enjoy the beauty of the white stallion.

Sam offers Emeliano a chance to rejoin his gang. Meanwhile, he plans to use Joe as the turkey in a turkey shoot. Emeliano asks about the white horse, to which Sam replies as his property. Emeliano tells him that the horse means a lot to him, so Sam gives him time to consider his offer.

When Sam leaves, Joe suggests Emeliano take Sam’s offer to keep himself alive. However, Emeliano believes he’d rather die than surrender the horse to a beast like Wolfe. Emeliano also thinks that Joe giving the white horse to his father moved his heart, considering Emeliano has always wanted a son too. He then lures a guard over the shack. Although the guard recognized his escape attempt, Emeliano managed to stab him in the back, allowing them to escape.

Joe and Emeliano head to the corral to get their horses. Joe finds Cash whipping the white stallion tied to a post. The two engage in a fight. When Joe gains the upper hand, he hits Cash towards the stallion, who stomped him multiple times. Only Emeliano was capable of calming the horse down. Before the other bandits chase them, Joe and Emiliano ride away with their horses. Sam heads out of his shack after hearing the commotion. Seeing his young brother’s dead body made him furious. With all his Comancheros, Sam heads off after Joe and Emeliano, determined to avenge his brother’s death.

Joe and Emiliano head for the rocky part of the canyon to get away from the Comancheros. Emeliano makes Joe take the stallion, as it’s fast enough, and believes they’re worthy of having the horse rather than Sam. Joe refuses to leave him, so Emeliano forces him at gunpoint. With no choice, Joe leaves, assuring Emeliano that they’d take care of his white stallion.

After Joe leaves, the other half of Sam Wolfe’s men arrive, shooting Emeliano. They see Joe running through the desert, so Sam orders his men with the fastest horses to give them his horses as he chases after Joe.

Meanwhile, Ben, Hoss, and Adam find Emeliano lying face down on the ground. With his remaining strength, Emeliano tells them about a boy on a white horse. Ben tells him that it is his son, allowing Emeliano to understand that they are his family. He had no chance because his horse was tired, so he let Joe ride the faster white stallion, believing the horse would be happy at the Ponderosa. Tearful, Emeliano eventually falls to his death.

Sam’s other Comancheros reach the Cartwrights, pinning the Cartwrights to a gunfight. Ben runs off alone to follow Joe, leaving Adam and Hoss to finish with Sam’s bandits.

Seeing the white stallion moving farther, Sam had no choice but to shoot the horse down. The horse isn’t dead but is slowly dying. Joe uses his last bullet to put the great horse out of his suffering. Little Joe starts running while Sam watches him with a fresh horse from afar.

The heat of the desert sun and lack of water caused Joe to stumble, falling to the ground. He falls on the dry brown grass, discovering a nearby stream that has allowed the crops to grow. Joe rushes towards the water with excitement, but Sam gets him with a lasso, tying his limbs so he wouldn’t get to the water.

Sam heads for the stream to fill his container of water. Shadow tips over him, not knowing it is Ben Cartwright, the father of the man he just tied. Upon seeing Ben’s cold demeanor, Sam claims Joe is a horse thief. However, Ben declares Joe is his son. Sam immediately draws his gun, but not fast enough to shoot Ben, who shot him dead. Ben rushes to untie Joe and helps him drink water. Joe tells Ben about the horse and Emeliano, and Ben informs him he knows everything. Ben also sadly declares Emeliano’s death. Joe lets Ben know that the horse was supposedly his present, but seeing his youngest alive is enough gift for Ben.

Adam and Hoss arrive shortly after and help Joe to the horse. Ben kneels near the stream to fill his canteen, stares at the heaven above, and says, “Thanks.”

Full Script and Dialogue of The Gift





throw me that towel

where's papa you're there who are they

like did you hear him

i think he's still frightened about

little joe yeah i know he uh

he was asking we were driving the horses

in yesterday why joe went to yuma

you didn't tell him did you no sense of

spilling the beans at this point

yeah even so i showed her heat to see

paul's worried

you know you know what anything could

have happened little joe do you know he

can take care of himself don't worry

just think i was going to be when he

rides in the town and passes what he's

brought in

yeah i ain't talking much else all week



check where did it happen it's two days

south of here sir

cochise has got the whole apache nation

stirred up burned our wagons


a patcher between here and humor

right he knows anything about little joe

i don't know what i'm

gonna ask hey you're two men get under

the company doc

be careful lieutenant

i'd like to ask the scott my youngest

son is in human he's two days overdue

getting back

they just told me there isn't a white

man between here and humor that's left

alive now







you're planning on going with them yes i

am planning on going with them

in that case are we you two will stay

right here and keep an eye on those

horses we bought

it's quite enough that one of my sons

wouldn't do as he was told paul

adams and me been throwing it over and

we think there's something i never

raised a pack of

stubborn mule headed stump brain ah i

told him once i told him ten times wait

here at tyson wells i said wait here i


oh no he's gotta run off somewhere can't

stay put does my words mean anything

around here anymore what

paul me and adam want to tell you

something if you're calm down i am calm

you're shouting i'm not shouting

what is that you want to tell me we want

to tell you why joe went to yuma

well it's about time somebody started

telling me something around here

poi was a kind of a secret between adam

and me and

joe and now will you two make sense

we're we're trying to paul you

joe went to human to buy a horse a horse

jumping jerose of it

haven't we bought enough arizona horses

in the last week to keep the ponderosa

overrun with horses for the next 10


paul this wasn't just any horse

it was a it was a gift for you

a gift for your birthday we uh

we've been planning it since last year

we even wrote ever every horse breeder

from here to kentucky yeah you see we

wanted it to be the greatest horse we

could find

we wanted him to want him to say

something that

we just couldn't say what was it you

couldn't say

paul we i reckon we

we just didn't know how to say we loved


fools make poor fathers





they destroy everything always

did you know these people see

a good man

his wife

two little girls


they had a good place here

we gotta find some water ow

the apache between us and fortnite

the horses are so thirsty and


my young friend is thirsty too here have

a drink a big drink

now look i had my share i'll go ahead

we'll split it you first

thanks i felt like i drowned on all this


um maybe we can ride around the apache

there's no writing around him

cochise and his men are everywhere they

will not stop

until the army stops them

probably get pretty thirsty waiting for


getting thirsty if we try to go back


you're pretty sorry i left colonel green

uh no

wherever the big white one is

that's where i belong

that's all the water you got oh that's

all right

i had my share it's better for him than


you really think a lot of that horse

don't you he is my life amigo

we understand each other this horse and


better to have a horse like this than to

be born rich

well rich or poor only last another day

in the sun

see but the horse is sworn

amigo i know where there's some water

how far is it right in here very


perhaps too dangerous the apaches huh no

voice comancheros bandits

these men do not fear your apache

they're great with them

they have a camp in those mountains over

there they sound like real nice


how do you have to know where the camp

is because i was once one of them

you were a comanchero some call it that

some say i was a bandito but whatever

you call it

whenever they catch one they put a rope

around his neck see

i was caught it was conor green who

caught me down

give me a job i have not

been back to that camp in the hills


oh what chance do you think we have with

him does the kangaroo mouse have a

chance with a rattlesnake

well perhaps a little one

um our rattlesnake is a man called


you know that name sure i've heard the

name samwolf but

i thought it was a legend not a real man

he is a king here

cruel cunning delhi is a desert

even cochise fears him i wish there was

some other way

well there's one other way

what one is an amigo can i ask the

apache for some water


well we go this way to see the bandidos


the indians are still raiding some

isolated ranches and settlements if they

decide to raid tyson wells

i'll need every soldier i have here i'm

sorry but my hands are tied

i appreciate your position lieutenant

good luck and as soon as i can i'll put

my troops at your disposal

thank you lieutenant


you weren't figuring on leaving without

us were you


i thought i told you two to stay with

the horses you hear him tell us that

i don't recall hearing nothing like that

looks like you're gonna have some

company whether you want it or not if

all three of us right out of here today

it's likely that none of us will ever

get back our place is with you no matter

what happens

paul you you can't ride out here without

us don't you understand what i'm trying

to tell you

yes sir we understand but we also

understand that little joe's in trouble

he might even be dead i i don't know but

i do know one thing

whatever has happened to little joe's

happened to all of us and we're still a


yeah yeah we're still a family

let's go

no no don't like surprised they've been

watching us for half an hour pretend

we're expected

that's a little tough to do when

somebody's shooting at you we're safe

for a while they will not harm us at

least not until they take what they can

get from us

who have your rifles




look at that white horse sam yeah that's


sam i gotta have that horse prettiest

animal ever saw him my whole life

i've seen it before it's colonel green's



and if i'm not mistaken that's emiliano

there with it

milano put that thing away boy

milano was a good man

might be again with a little persuading


well if it ain't my old friend emiliano

como stanley go

this is my friend senor joe carter

of nevada i'm sam wolf

this is my camp here not much of a camp


it's all we got actually all we wanted

was some water for ourselves and our


what makes you think you're going to get

any you stay out of this

so you want water huh that's right

well i got water oh it's kind of hard to

come by in this country you know

we've got money we're willing to pay for

it what do we want with your stinking

money could kill you and take it

just that simple remind this cop to whom

he speaks amigo

i never like him

he's off and you take it easy

you know what i'd do to anybody who ever

touched my little brother if you want

him to stay on touch tell him to keep

his mouth shut

well you sure ain't changed now and have


i thought colonel green would have

beaten the backbone right out of you by


takes a great deal to change your mind


i am thirsty my horses are thirsty

my friend is thirsty

bring me some water you ain't gonna do

just as i tell you

sam wolf never let a friend of his go

thirsty in the desert

only they're just one thing mr


this year camp gun out of the way you


might expensive bringing in supplies

business ain't been too good lately yeah

how much you want all you got


well now this is mighty nice must be

several hundred dollars in here

only ain't enough well that's all we've


not all friend you got something there

that's better than money

i'll take that there white horse and you

can have all the water you can drink

nobody touches that horse

i'm sorry you ain't got no choice

i got him sam i got here good night matt

harsh kid

now i seen him first i said get away

he's my horse and don't you forget it





another one across the street but he's

asleep i have observed him

how tough it'd be to get the one outside

the door well it would be difficult

but our friends were very careless

and i'm kind of glad you're on my side

emiliano no it is are you unfortunate

someone comes get back to me

well there's a wolf fear the rabbit soul

emiliano you're the only rabbit that i

ever saw that could bite

i accept a compliment amigo

i met it as one how's your friend

will leave not for long

tomorrow we'll have a turkey shoot and

he'll be our turkey

we will make excellent targets amigo i

didn't mean you emiliano

i'm giving you a chance to live you're a

good man i always liked you

i want you to come back and join up with

us emiliano

i'll split with you sam before

what if this one

i'll give you the first shot if you're a

friend of his

be over with quick and the white horse

uh-uh that one's mine

this horse means much to me amigo

watches your life


i'll give you until noon to take it over



there's a nice fella turkey shooter

this is his favorite sport they let a

turkey run across the desert and

shoot at them with rifles how does the

turkey ever get away

it has never been known to happen amigo

i'll give you a run for your money me


you got the first shot

i did not say i would take it look he

offered you your life

what is that life without honor

you know my father used to read me a

passage from the bible

when something like it's better to be a

living dog than a dead lion

you got to think about it

look at me amigo look at me

outside in the quran is a great horse

tell me have you ever seen such a horse

no i haven't but and this horse

this speaks to me sings to me

you understand yeah i understand

now do you do you think i will let a

a pig like this a beast like this wolf

have this horse

no i would rather die first

look at me amigo i have always wanted a

sun my

own all my life i am too ugly to

even have a wife

to think my voice will be a gift from a

boy to his father

this moves me amigo fear nothing amigo

i feel for you like i'm with my own son

let's see if i get out of here then

what do you want little toads some of

that was your drink for a favor

ugly one who are you to ask a favor of


uh i have money here on my hand let me

see your money

your first bottle come on give me the


no i know i know

all brother of toads you want to escape

you want to go ahead try it

i'll kill you


get him out of sight right

any trouble no difficulty your former

owner will not be needing this

you know where the horses this way



you got pretty good senior yeah well i

went from an expert

i'm gonna find that horse i'm not gonna

leave here without him i'm glad that you

say that

neither am i like we'll split up and

meet back here later

all right


come on




chill out here




hold on

oh hold on oh

we got plenty trouble now amigo


you take the big one

stop firing right arrows




no no


get my horse cayetano see heffy

take him in the house

every man rides


how many count this

and this yeah i got the same

the horses are tired i think we should

fire some shots have them scatter

then we ride on right


what do you make of that ah it's an old


they have split up there's a way around

this mesa if four of them ride fast they

can be waiting for us when we come out

of the canyon

we just can't sit here and wait for will

from the others to catch up to us you

got a plan

suppose we ride down through the canyon

go as fast as we can to the other end

and wait for them

the big white one you can make it that

fast my horse too slow too tired

all right you follow me get there as

quick as you can what are the others

behind you

i guess he'll be long

that's what i like about you amigo you

do not worry about tomorrow until

tomorrow gets here

let's just hope it gets here


hold on back with a couple of shots









you're a good general amigo they come to

surprise you and you surprise him huh

yeah still three of them

thanks name was rafael i

always plan to kill him someday anyway

well that leaves one more

must be cayetano he was always a good

friend to me

i will hate to have to kill him

sometimes i just can't figure you out of


why i'm a simple man i have my loves my

ace mostly i look out for my own hide

they will be coming from our back soon

yoni we're not going to be here let's go

no show

that cayetano is the best shot of them


easy easy rest amigo rest

we'll be riding out soon


hey you know when we get back home

first coal from that big white one's

gonna be yours oh no i'm eager

that is too much no insist

you cannot do that this horse belongs to

your father when i like it no he's not

gonna mind

that's a promise you're gonna get the

first cold

your father must be a very rare man


yeah i think so i think you'll think so



when one is young there is always hope


when one gets older and tired he does

what he must do

well let's get here i'm sorry

you're a good man amigo i wish things

could have been different

what's this all about

get on the big white one amigo and right

there's a chance

i'd rather let you have them give them

to some wolf what's the matter with you

you think i'd ride off and leave you

you have no choice someone could not

offer you a job

a job we killed his brother you know i

haven't got a chance back yes i do

i will become a bandito again it is a

good life amigo

you take care of this horse amigo or i

will come for you myself

the ponderosa is not that far away

or i'll kill you now it'll make me stand

big in the eyes of some wolf

you take your choice amigo



don't worry i'll take care of him



adios white what




that's the most powerful horse i ever


take at least three horses to run him


you two got the fastest horses get off

and give me the reins

leave the canteens on

might take me two or three days to run

him down


the brother i should have known

you are a close family you saw my son

see stay here he ride to the desert

they chase him if you hurry

what are you trying to say

there was no other way my horse

was tired but alone

and the big white one there was a chance

you did this reload joe

see see i'm the big white one

he is a fine horse amigo

your son he tell me of the pandora's

the big horse he will be happy there


yeah i'll tell them


stay there adam

i gotta get a little joe paul you'll

never make it i gotta spin down tight

about half tired of this yeah it's not

getting us any closer little joe either

yeah listen adam

why don't you cover me and i'll try

you're too big a target





there's one left he's over there behind

that rock

all right i drive him out and you nail

it okay wait wait wait












i'm sorry



















well howdy friend

i uh i just finished me off a horse safe

caught him stealing my horses last night

you're a liar

now lucky friend that kind of talk's

gonna get you into a lot of trouble

like i said he's a heart safe

he's my son

that's enough for now

but i tried to get through never mind

that nelson

i had to talk it was a vaquero with me

emiliano i know i i talked with him but

he's alive that

no i he wanted you on the horse to get



he was a good friend

like he really loved that horse

he was such a beautiful horsepower

read his heart out for me i know son

already we wanted to get me that horse


i tried not to lose it

what would i give them to you as a gift

i have my gift son

joe he's all right boys let's get him









Behind the Scenes of The Gift

Seeing the horse dying in agony, Little Joe uses his “last bullet” to kill the white stallion to end its pain. He shoots the horse and throws his pistol, which he renders useless now. However, the audience can see the back of his gunbelt full of bullets as he walks toward the horse. (Joe doesn’t have any ammunition on his gun belt; those were only evenly-spaced rivets.)

When Little Joe and his friend, Emeliano, escape from the shack, Joe drags the right-handed Commanchero inside, then emerges with a left-handed pistol belt.

The top of the background set piece is visible when Sam Wolfe tries to take the white stallion, causing the horse to rear up in aggression.

The Bible verse Little Joe claims his father, Ben, taught him comes from the second half of Ecclesiastes 9:4.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza, the iconic Western television program, is an excellent series to binge-watch alone or with the people you love. NBC was behind the production of this show, televising all 14 seasons on their network from September 1959 to January 1973. The Gift is the 59th of 430 episodes and the twenty-seventh for its second season.

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

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