The Gunmen Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #01, Episode #19
Among NBC’s longest-running Western television series was Bonanza, which aired for 14 seasons. The nineteenth episode of Bonanza’s first season, The Gunmen, features a star-studded supporting cast that includes Ellen Corby as Lorna Doone, Henry Hull as B. Bannerman Brown, and George Mitchell as Jubal. Written by W. Carey Wilbur, The Gunmen first aired on January 23, 1960.
At the height of the bloody feud between the McFaddens and the Hadfields, Alonzo McFadden (Douglas Spencer) hires the notorious Slade brothers to murder Anse Hadfield (Jonathan Gilmore). As it happens, the Slades bear a striking resemblance to Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright.
Read its plot, including some behind-the-scenes trivia, or view the full episode below.
Table of Contents
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The Gunmen, Bonanza’s nineteenth episode, features well-known actors consisting of recurring and guest stars in addition to the main cast.
The episode features the following personalities:
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright / Big Jack Slade
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright / Little Jim Slade
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Henry Hull as Sheriff B. Banneman Brown
- George Mitchell as Jubal Hadfield
- Douglas Spencer as Alonzo McFadden
- King Donovan as Twirly Boggs
- Dennis Holmes as ‘Black’ Alonzo McFadden
- Ellen Corby as Lorna Doone Mayberry
- Ann Graves as Amanda McFadden
- Jenny Maxwell as Clara Lou Kinsey
- Bill McLean as Bartender in Kiowa Flats
- Jonathan Gilmore as Anse Hadfield
- Jody Fair as Lisabelle Jones
- Dorothy Neumann as Ouisey McFadden
- Dorothy Crehan as Susan Hadfield
- Bill Clark as Bartender (uncredited)
- Jaye Durkus as Townsman (uncredited)
- Bob Miles as Man in Saloon (uncredited)
- Jack Perry as Townsman (uncredited)
- Carl Sklover as Townsman (uncredited)
- Cap Somers as Townsman (uncredited)
- Sid Troy as Barfly (uncredited)
- Chalky Williams as Townsman (uncredited)
- Ken Williams as Townsman (uncredited)
- Sally Yarnell as Townswoman (uncredited)
Full Story Line for The Gunmen
In this episode, Hoss and Joe are mistaken for the two outlaws called Slade boys. In reality, the McFaddens hired the Slade boys in their bloody feud against the Hatfields in the small Texas town of Kiowa Flats.
The episode starts with the Slade bros drinking and frightening the locals in a Texan town bar. Big Jack Slade shoots someone who ran into him on accident. On the other hand, Little Jim shoots someone in the back who attempts to climb up the stairs. The Slades use the winnings from the card game to cover their bar tab. After the scene they caused in the bar, they leave to head to Kiowa Flats to perform their task.
The actions of the townspeople confuse Hoss and Joe as they ride into the Kiowa Flats. Unbeknownst to them, the locals received a warning that the Slade boys were on their way. Once inside the saloon, Hoss asks Joe if there’s something wrong with him or if he smells something. Joe replies, stating he smells about the same. Hoss then asks the bartender, Sully, if there’s anything wrong with them. Sully nervously responds, “No, sir!” When Hoss remarks on a nice day, Sully is almost in tears as he nervously agrees. Hoss and Joe cross paths with the sheriff as they leave the bar and head to the hotel. The brothers are unaware of the townspeople following and watching their movements. Meanwhile, Hoss’ look at Sully still makes him chill with fear.
When Hoss and Little Joe return downstairs, a group of young, attractive women stops them. The group includes an older and wiser woman, the leader named Lorna Doone Mayberry, who begs them to refrain from killing their men as there aren’t enough of them in the town. The brothers continue to find the townspeople’s behavior strange but make a promise not to kill anyone unless necessary.
As the boys step outside, gunfire starts to blow in their direction. They seek safety in the town bar. Believing the shooters mixed them with somebody else, the brothers complied with the orders and threw their weapons outside.
The Hatfields take Hoss and Joe captive, hitting them until they admit they’re the Slade boys. Despite their statements, Jubal Hadfield believed they lied about coming from Nevada and traveling to Texas to purchase cattle. Fortunately, Sheriff Brown arrives and advises them to wait for Twirly Boggs to confirm the identity of the Slades. For their safety, the sheriff takes Hoss and Joe to jail.
While in jail, Hoss thinks the town is “being tetched” from eating the weed they call “loco weed.” Suddenly, a rock with a note falls from the window. The message came from Black Alonzo, the Red Handed Avenger, who states that rescue is at hand. Hoss checks the window to see a little kid fleeing.
The women of Kiowa Flats march into the jail, where Lorna recites her poem to Hoss and Little Joe. As Lorna continues, Joe states that their situation is worse than hanging, while Hoss is almost in tears.
When the poem is over, the girls complain about the lack of men in their town, only to lose more by hanging Hoss and Joe. As the young women argue over who is holding on Joe’s hand, the cell’s back wall collapses. Alonzo McFadden came to bust them out of prison, and Hoss and Joe eagerly accepted the opportunity to escape without hesitation.
The McFaddens took the two brothers back to their home. They believed Joe and Hoss were the Slade boys they hired, even when the two insisted they weren’t the Slades. Alonzo McFadden, the father, locks them in a room for the night.
As the two discuss their situation, a young boy named Alonzo climbs up through the window. Hoss recognizes him as Black Alonzo, the Red-Handed Avenger. He explains how his father hired them to kill Anse Hatfield before they kill the rest of the Hadfields, stating it’s a feud. Hoss and Joe refused to tolerate their actions. As Alonzo threatens to call for help, the boys tie him up before climbing out the window. Unfortunately, Hoss trips over a milk bucket as he goes down, the noise he made alerting the McFaddens to their escape. After the shooting, the McFaddens prepared to collect the bodies, only to discover Hoss and Joe on the ground.
By morning, Hoss and Joe refuse to take the guns and shoot the Hatfields. However, the boys quickly picked up the guns when Alonzo showed they’ll have to hang them. Tired of the people not believing them, Hoss eventually persuades Alonzo to ride into town and allow Twirly Boggs to tell them they’re not the Slade boys.
Twirly Boggs is the town drunk telling everybody about his school days with the Slade boys. Everyone rushes out when the sheriff announces the arrival of the Slades. Twirly then introduces them as the Slade boys. Twirly’s statement was enough for the McFaddens, who demand that Hoss and Joe fulfill their task.
Hoss and Joe ask the sheriff how the feud started. It appears that thirty years ago, the Hadfields’ hog turned up missing. Upon Hadfield’s search, the McFaddens, who didn’t own a hog, were roasting pork for supper. The sheriff tried to stop the feud several times, but nobody paid attention to him. The sheriff later confesses that he knows they’re not the Slade boys and returns their horses and guns.
As Hoss and Joe prepare to live, little Alonzo marches by with a rifle and reveals he will kill some Hadfields. Looking at each other, Hoss and Joe understand what they need to do. They return to the saloon to speak with the sheriff, who already has an idea in mind—one of which involves Lorna Doone Mayberry.
Hoss then approaches Lorna to speak with her. He starts by stating a bunch of killings are about to happen. Hoss believes it would be a shame to lose more men, considering how the town only has a few men. He claims that women have a way of convincing men to do what they want. After hearing his remark, Lorna believes Hoss isn’t as dumb as he appears.
Just as the fight in the street is about to commence, the girls march between the two sides. They refuse to move or perform wifely responsibilities until the menfolk call off their ridiculous feud.
Amanda McFadden, a lovely young lady, then speaks to Anse Hadfield, telling him not to come after her with a gun in his hand. Anse drops his weapon and approaches her, followed by everyone except Jubal and Alonzo. Hoss, Joe, and the sheriff shake hands, seeing the success of their plan. Meanwhile, Twirly Boggs approached Lorna to show his appreciation for what she did.
Left in the street, McFadden offers to buy Hadfield a drink, which he accepts. McFadden admits it was a mistake to hire the Slade boys to kill the Hadfields over the feud. They held the Slade boys responsible for stirring trouble in their town and the rivalry between their families.
Later, the women continue to admire and cling to Little Joe, showing their sadness to see him go. The sheriff returns Hoss and Joe’s hats and guns, encouraging them to get moving. As they travel along the trail, they bump into the Slade boys, who ask them where they can find the Kiowa Flats. Hoss tells them it’s only a couple of miles away. Minutes later, they hear gunfire and assume the locals of Kiowa Flats had opened fire on the Slade boys.
Full Script and Dialogue of The Gunmen
Hey, what's the matter with you...?! Hey, that's good shooting, Little Jim. As clean a back shot as I ever seen in my life. Calls for another one. What a shame. He had a full house. Well, you can't win 'em all. Drinks are on him. Them was the meanest, toughest killers I ever saw. Who are they? Why, them's the Slade boys. Didn't you know that? No. We're sure lucky they didn't plug us, too. The Slade boys. I'm sure glad they're riding on through. Do you know where they're heading? I heard 'em mention a place called Kiowa Flats. Slade boys. Kiowa Flats. Remind me to ride clear of that place, will you? Come on, give me a drink. Yeah. I'll have one with you. Hmm? Sheriff? Sheriff? What? What? What? What? What? What? What...? What? What?! They're coming. What? I seen 'em up by the Forks, Mr. Brown. Hold on. Hold on. One of 'em's about nine foot tall. Well, hold on. Who's coming?! Who...? Them! You say one of 'em's a great big, tall man? About nine foot tall and half as big around. And the other fella... he's a little bit of a fella? About half as big as his brother. And mean-lookin'? Meaner'n rattlesnakes. It's them, all right. It's them. Now, Sonny, you get in off the streets. Get in the house. You hear me? Keep off the streets! Now, go on, get! Ain't no sense looking for trouble. Durn thing never was no good no how. They're coming! They're coming! They're coming. They're coming, ladies. They're coming. Hey, Frank, oh! They're-They're coming. He's showing good sense. They're coming! They're coming. They've came. Now, don't nobody start nothing. Hey, Hoss? Yeah. Let's wash some of the trail dust out. That's a good idea, Little Joe. Howdy. Howdy. Howdy. Howdy. Twerly Boggs, get up, get up! Huh? Get up, Twerly! Uh, all right, all right, all right, all right, all right. Good morning, Sheriff. Morning. Morning. Well, don't mind if I do. Who's buyin'? You're always talking about how well you knew them Slade boys, huh? That's right. That's right. Well, just how... just how well do you know them? Sheriff, me and them Slade boys was practically weaned together. I am their bosom friend. Yeah. That's right. Well, your bosom friends just rode into town. Yeah. What...? Sheriff. Yeah, yeah, all right. You say that again? Your bosom friends just rode into town. Well, why would those two murderous villains want to come to a miserable hole like Kiowa Flats? Because Alonzo McFadden hired them to kill off all the Hadfield boys, that's why. Oh, that's right. Well, wh-where... wh-where... where are they now? In the bar. Oh, no! That-That... That's terrible. They'll... No, Sheriff. That's the only bar in town. They'll-They'll bust the place a... Never mind. Never mind. Never mind... What do you mean, never mind? You listen to me! They'll ruin... All right, all right. Go to the livery stable. Get a horse, hire it, charge it to me. Right. And ride out and tell old Jubal Hadfield not to come into town for quite a spell. Jubal Hadfield. Then when you come back, look me up, because I'll need you to identify them two fellas. All right, right. Well, I'll do it right a... Yeah. And look, look, look. Look after the bar, will you? Look after it. Yeah, I will. Hey, Little Joe, got something wrong with me? Do I smell or something? No, you smell about the same. How about me? About the same. Hmm. Say, mister. Yes, yes, sir? Is there something wrong with us or something? Oh, no, no, sir. No, sir. No, you're, you're just fine. Just fine. Bring us another beer. You want another beer? Yeah, this is fine here. Nice day, ain't it? Ain't good enough to drink, ain't good enough for sheep-dip. I say, it's a nice day, ain't it? Oh, yeah, yes. It's a fine day. Uh, I mean, it's a nice day. About, uh, about as nice a day as we ever had. I can't remember a nicer one. It was, well, maybe back in '47 or '48 We might've had some better. I-I don't remember Well, it's-it's kind of warm. Well, uh, it's not too warm. Maybe a little on the chilly side. Well, it all... Any kind of weather's all right with me. So long as it don't bother, bother you none. Oh, I guess it's a nice day. I don't know. I reckon they ain't used to strangers or something, Little Joe. Yeah, something. Let's get out of here. Howdy. Howdy. Howdy. Don't look like nobody's here. You know, I don't like this. Let's get out of here. Oh, no, Little Joe. I just don't like it. There's something funny about the people around here. Well, I'm too tired to argue about it. Just sign our name and get a room. How're we going to get a room? There's nobody here. Just sign our name and pick one. One with a lock. Hang the expense. Now, they're going upstairs. They're going to stay, all right. Oh, did you see the way they looked at me? Yeah. Oh, gentlemen, there was death in them eyes. Sudden death. Oh, I tell you, when they took that swallow of beer, and the big one made that face. Yeah. And he looked dissatisfied and uneasy-like. Oh, I tell you, I could hear them Pearly Gates a-jarrin' open. Uh, if you gentlemen will excuse me, I... I feel considerable shook. And I, uh... I'm a mite shook up myself. Uh, Miss Lorna Doone and ladies, if I was you, I'd get in off the street. It's apt to be a mite dangerous. B. Bannerman Brown... Well, there's some in this town have a sense of duty if others that ought to, ain't. Yes'm. Now, where are they? They're, uh, there. Stand aside, B. Bannerman Brown. I, I, I... Will you get out of the way?! Come, ladies. Great Jumpin' Jehoshaphat. Repent sinners! The day of retribution is at hand. Yes'm, I reckon it is. Us poor, frail, females have come to throw ourselves on your mercy. You come to do what, ma'am? We want you to spare us our men. Amen. Well, there ain't enough of them to go around as it is. Amen. Well, don't you worry none, ma'am. We, we'll spare your men if... if they're worth sparing. Hey. What do you reckon they meant by all that? Beats the heck out of me. Hey... Somebody's shooting at somebody. I think it's us. What the heck did we do? Dang if I know, but I'm gonna find out. Oh, Hoss, I paid two dollars for this. It sure ain't worth much now. Man, wasn't that good shooting? Look, next time, will you use your own neck cloth, please? I just hope there's gonna be a next time. Hey, you in there! Huh?! We know who you are and what you're here for. You can die now or later. If you want a chance to make your peace, throw out your guns! Hey. They got us mixed up with somebody else. I sure hope so. Well, why else would they be shooting at total, innocent strangers if they didn't have us mixed up with somebody? I don't know. This is Texas, though. Yeah. Reckon we better go ahead and do what he says. Throw our guns out, and then go out and see what it's all about. Come on. All right, let's try it again. What are your names? And what are you doing here? We done told you and told you that. Our names is Cartwright, and we're down here to... We're down here to buy cattle. Anse. Go on, boy. Ow! I told you not to lie to me! We ain't lying! 'Course you ain't. You just come down here to buy cows. Texas cows. Now, who in his right mind is going to believe anybody come down here to buy Texas longhorns, I ask you? I told you. We're going to take them back up to our ranch in Nevada, and cross them with our own herd so's we'll have a heartier breed. And you two are going to drive them cows clean across West Texas, right on up through a hunk of New Mexico, all the way to the Nevada Territory, just the two of you? Yeah, that's what we said. It's a fine lie, gents. A fine lie. It's the kind of noble, inspired lying that does credit to the folks that raised you. But it don't wash out here. Now, I'll tell you who you are. You're them two low-down, gun-slinging, murdering, hydrophobic skunks of Slade boys that was hired by Old Man McFadden to wipe out us Hadfields, because he couldn't do it himself! N-now, look, we never heard of the McFaddens. And we never heard of the Hadfields. And that's the truth. Ain't they the living wonders, though? Anse, take 'em out and do what has to be done. Come on. Come on! Hey! Hey! What in time is going on here anyway? What are you fixing to do to these fellas? Kill 'em. They're the Slade boys. You can't do that. You ain't sure they're the Slades. "Ain't sure"? "Ain't sure"? You see 'em, don't you? Sure, I see them. But I never see'd the Slades in my life. And neither did you. He's right there, Pa. Yeah. Twerly Boggs, he says he knows them. He says he's known them a long time back in Austin. Oh, Twerly? Yeah. Fine. Fetch him in here. Let him identify them and then we'll kill 'em if it'll make you any happier. Well, you see, Twerly ain't exactly around right at this moment. Oh... Anse, take them out. Come on. Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute! Won't do no harm to wait till morning, will it? Where are we gonna keep them until morning? Pa, why don't we just stick them in Brown's jail and let him take responsibility for them? You leave me and my jail out of this. Anse, take them out. Wait a minute! Wait a minute! All right! All right! Just get somebody to help you get them over to the jail, that's all. B. Bannerman Brown... On your way, on your way. You make sure they're there come morning. Or I might just take it into my head to vacate your office. I'm getting sick of you. Little Joe, I got a funny feeling the law in this town is sure easily influenced. Yeah, all you need is a Navy Colt. Oh, uh, you fellas comfortable and happy? I mean, uh, can I get you anything? A bottle of whiskey, a couple of steaks or something? When are you going to let us out of here? Well, tomorrow morning. One way or another. What do you mean "one way or another"? Well, if I can find Twerly Boggs and he says you ain't the Slade boys, I'll... I'll turn you loose. Yeah, but... what's going to happen if you can't find Twerly Boggs? You get hung. I just about got it figured out. Yeah? What? This whole dang town is tetched. Oh, come on. Who ever heard of a whole town being tetched? A fella told me one time they got a weed down here, and they call it "loco weed." When the horses and cows eat it, they get wilder than all get out. So? People don't eat weeds. Yeah, but they eat beef, don't they? One of them critters gets all filled up on that there loco weed, it'd kind of salt the meat down, wouldn't it? Yeah, that makes sense. Sure it does. Little Joe, you don't reckon they're really gonna hang us, do you? I don't know. If they're joking us, they're sure pushing it pretty far. "Hang on. Don't blob." Blab. Oh, "don't blab. "Rescue is at hand. Signed, Black Alonzo, the Red-handed Avenger." Little Joe, even the kids have been affected by that loco beef in this town. Sheriff Brown! Oh, good evening, Miss Lorna Doone. Evening, ladies. I have fetched my tribute. Yes'm, I... I guessed as much. Me and the ladies of the town have come to comfort them poor sinners in their final hours. Yeah. Well, the Good Book says we should forgive our enemies." We are told to bring solace to the afflicted, even though they are a couple of low-down, murdering skunks. Yes, well, here, uh... here's the keys. You go in and, uh, console them "low-down, murdering skunks." Them-them poor, lost sheep Me, I got work to do. Good night, ladies. "Oh, poor, doomed prisoners, "it ain't too late. "Down on your knees as you face your awful fate. "Repent your crimes "before that trap is sprung. And you, like a side of beef, are hung." Poor soul. If you come up close and scooch against the bars, you could kind of rest your poor head on my shoulder. It ain't fair, hanging men when there ain't enough to go around as it is. If'n you don't mind, I'd like to finish my little tribute whilst there's time. Ma'am? Did you have many more of those? No, just ten or 12 more verses. Well, I didn't have enough time to do a real good job on it. That's a shame. "Now your poke is spent and you can take my word. "We'll remember the gent that went riding herd. "A-fighting and shooting like desert rats "To come to their end in Kiowa Flats. Now, toll the bell, their souls are fled..." Is there going to be much more of this, Hoss? Shh. "Them two poor boys are hanging dead. Somewhere their kinfolk weep and pray." Oh, this is worse than hanging. "For them that got hoisted up today." Did you really like it? Ma'am, I thought it was prime, just prime. Well, it ain't often I get a chance to recite my tribute to the dear departed before they're departed. No, ma'am, I don't reckon you do. I suppose you'd like to have it buried with you. Most folks do. Oh, Clara Lou, stop that noise. I can't help it. There ain't enough men to go around, and here they go wasting two at the same time. Amen. It's a woman's place to endure, Clara Lou. Well, I don't mind enduring if I got a man to put up with. Speaking of which, Lizabel, I notice you been hanging on to a certain hand half the livelong night. Clara Lou Kinsey! Well, I can't help it. She's just a selfish thing, that's all she is. Well, I never! I guess a certain person can hold another person's hand if they choose. Well, a certain person didn't have to choose the way another certain person grabbed onto it. I wouldn't act like such a hussy if I was you, Clara Lou Kinsey. Well, at least I ain't a flibbertigibbet like some Lizabel Jones. Shake loose from them pesky females, boys, and get a move on. We're busting you out. Who are you? Alonzo McFadden, you dang fool, the one that hired you. Well, come on! Alonzo McFadden! Bring them back here! Come on, boys. Women... I want you to meet my friends. My good friends, Big Jack and Shorty Jim Slade. Boys, say howdy, my wife Ouisey and my daughter, Manda. Howdy, ma'am. Howdy. Mr. McFadden, you're making a terrible mistake. You see, we ain't really... Never mind that now. We'll talk in the morning. Yeah, but, look, Mr. McFadden, we're... Thunderation! How you boys go on and on! Dad-burn it, Mr. McFadden, we ain't the Slade boys. You ain't? No, we ain't. That's what we've been trying to tell you all the way in from town. We're the Cartwrights... What's the matter? You scared? No, we ain't scared, and we do appreciate you busting us out of that jail, Mr. McFadden. Dad-burn it, if it make you feel any better, I almost wish we was the Slade boys, but we just ain't. So if you don't mind, we'll just mosey on back. Bye, ma'am. In the house. First one side don't believe us, and then the other. Yeah. We got ourselves in the middle of something, and I don't like it. That's for sure. Oh, boy... What do you think we ought to do about it? Well, I'll tell you, Little Joe. I done been hauled up, hauled down, threatened with a hanging, and thrown in jail, and busted out of jail, and poetized at, and shot at... Rid halfway across the state of Texas in the dark. I'm gonna get some sleep. I don't know what you're going to do. Hey. Great day in the morning. Who are you? Turn him around, Little Joe. Yeah. I thought I recognized that patch. You wouldn't be Black Alonzo the Red-handed Avenger, would you? I was gonna bust you out. Only Pa and the boys got there first. Yeah, well, just how was you figuring on busting us out? Figured to dig a tunnel. That's a good way to bust out of dungeons. Hmm. Yeah, you, uh... You pretty well posted on things, ain't you, fella? You just bet I am. I'll bet you even know what we're doing here, don't you? Shucks, half the country knows Pa hired you to kill Anse Hadfield. Now, just why are we supposed to kill Anse Hadfield? He's the fastest gun around here, ain't he? None of us McFaddens can hold a candle to him. We got to get rid of him before we can kill the rest of the Hadfields. Well, how come you got to kill all them Hadfields? Don't you fellas know anything? It's a feud! He's kind of dumb, ain't he? Why, you little... You just touch me and I'll holler for...! Now, Black Alonzo, you tell your Pa that we hate to leave like this, but we just ain't the Slade brothers, you hear? You thank him for busting us out of jail, all right? Let's go. Who's there? Rush out, boys! The Hadfields is raiding again! What the heck are you doing? It's thirsty getting shot at. All right, hold your fire. They ain't shooting back. Come on. Let's go collect the bodies. Hey! Slade boys? On your feet! Look, we're not the... Never mind. I want you two to listen and listen good. I hired you to do a job for me and last night you tried to run out on your obligations. Now, Mr. McFadden... Shut up and listen! I'm giving you fellas a fair choice. Now, you can take them guns and do the job you're supposed to. You got another choice. Name your poison, boys. Dad-burn it, Mr. McFadden, don't you folks ever think of any other use for a rope around here? First the Hadfields wanta hang us for being the Slade brothers, now you want to do it 'cause we ain't. I'm getting awful tired of hearing that same old, tired lie. All right, boys, hoist them up. Now, hold on just a minute! Dad-burn it, Mr. McFadden, I'm getting sort of tired of being called a liar, too. We ain't the Slade boys. All you got to do is ride into town and look up a fella named Twerly Boggs. Sheriff Brown told us that he knew the Slade Boys, and he can tell you right quick we ain't them. That's right. All right, boys, if it'll make you feel better, I suppose, to do the work you was hired for, we'll all saddle up and ride into town. We'll look up Twerly Boggs. Take their guns, boys. Morning, horse. ♪ ♪ I know'd there wasn't a jail that could hold them Slades. See, I know them boys. I know them real good. I went to school with their Aunt Emmeline, see? I tell you, those boys would gouge your eyes out if they thought you looked at them in the wrong way. They would shoot you if they wanted a little target practice. Why, them boys... Who's buying, gents? Them boys, they had a man for breakfast every day of their life from the day that they put on long pants. Yes, sir. They had two on Sundays. Never touched me, though. No, sir. They liked me. You see, they liked me real good. But I, I-I... Aw, come on! Now, somebody stole my drink. Let's have a drink here. I tell you, them two Slade boys is two curly wolves. They're the big wind off in the prairie. They walk in blood. And where they breathe, they leave behind them ruin. Well, get ready for ruin right now, 'cause here they come. Oh, hallelujah! They look mad. I'm getting out of here. Now, wait a minute! Wait a minute, fellas, wait a minute! Wait a minute... Help me save the whiskey. Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You know... Howdy! Brown, where's Twerly Boggs? Come out of there, Boggs! Wait a minute. Now, wait, wait, wait... Wait a minute, now. Now, take it easy. Not go massacring Twerly Boggs now. I ain't never done no harm to nobody. Come here, Boggs. Yeah, I'm right here. I'm right here. Take a look at these two. Are they or ain't they the Slade boys? Well, uh... Are they or aren't they?! You just go right ahead and answer, Mr. Boggs. Tell him the truth. Ain't nobody gonna hurt you. Correct. Ain't nobody gonna hurt you. Uh... They're the Slade boys, all right. I seen a lot of them down in Austin. Hiya, boys. What's the matter, boys? Don't you know me? I'm Twerly Boggs. Remember? I-I used to go to school with your old Aunt Emmeline. That does it! Take these and do the job you're supposed to. Or you won't be around to taste air come tomorrow morning. Thanks a lot, Mr. Boggs. Howdy, boys. Howdy. Howdy, Mr. Brown. Anybody comes riding into this, they gonna get slaughtered. Yeah, they got guns planted in the windows, and up on the roof and whatnot. Yeah. Maybe the Hadfields won't ride into town after all. They'll ride in all right. They got the news. Seems a terrible shame, don't it? All these folks killing each other. How'd a feud like this ever get started, Sheriff? Over a hog. Over a hog? Yep, just a plain, common, ornery razorback hog. I'll tell you boys all about it. But first, I've got to, uh, get a little potation to loosen up the vocal chords. I'll tell you the whole, sad tale. Come on. Hi, Charlie. Thanks, son. You gentlemen care for some more sheep-dip? Uh, I mean, beer? Yeah, give us a couple of beers. Yeah, well, as I was about to tell you out there. These here Hadfields and McFaddens, they've been slaughtering one another, man and boy, for the last 30 years. Yeah, well, how did the hog get mixed up in it? Well, come on. Sit down, boys. I'll tell you all about it. See, Gramps Hadfield, he was fattening him a razorback shoat. You see, for his winter meat. Well, one morning that there shoat turned up missing. So, uh... So he, uh, got his gun and saddled up, and went out looking for her; couldn't find her. But as he was passing by the McFaddens' cabin, he, uh... pork roasting. So he went in and of course, naturally, they asked him to stay to supper. And low and behold, they brung in a great, big mess of fresh roast pork. He knowed the Hadfields didn't have no pig. So he accused them of stealing his. And then the shooting started, and it's been going on ever since for 30 years. All that killing over one dad-burned, old, fattening hog. Now, look here, Mr. Brown. You were sheriff then, how come you didn't stop it? Aw, shucks, I tried two or three times, but it didn't do no good. See, nobody, nobody pays much attention to me. They... I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm getting old. Or maybe just... Maybe it's because I'm getting a little cowardly. I don't know. You... you boys don't look so dern old. And you sure don't look like cowards. All right, well, Sheriff, you're not suggesting that we do something about the feud? I mean after all, we're supposed to be the Slade brothers. Shucks, I knowed you weren't gunmen the minute I laid eyes on you. I can tell a killer a mile off. Besides, that Twerly Boggs is the biggest liar in the whole great state of Texas. And that, sons, is just covering a heap of territory. Well, if you knew, why didn't you say something? First the McFaddens were gonna hang us, and the Hadfields are gonna shoot us. Well, I... I kind of thought maybe I was holding a hand I could draw to, but never mind. By the way, I snuck your horses out of the livery stable and tied 'em back in the alley and your guns are in my office. Sheriff, we sure do appreciate this. Come on, Little Joe, let's get out of here. Thanks. Thanks an awful lot, Sheriff. It's all right, boys. Hey, Button. Hey, Button, come here, boy. Where... where you going with that rifle? I'm gonna kill me some Hadfields. Yep, even the kids are thinking like that. Seems like a shame, doesn't it? Yeah. Well, let's go. Come on, who you joking? That's what I like about us as a family, Little Joe. Pa always taught us to never do nothing the others would be ashamed of. I'd like to keep it like that. I just wonder if there's anything we can do like B. Bannerman Brown said. Well, I don't know, but let's try. Come on. You boys changed your minds about going? Well, sir, you-you might say we had our mind changed for us. I don't know what we're gonna do, but whatever it is, I think we better get started. Hey, listen, you got any ideas, Sheriff? Yep, got one. Lorna Doone Mayberry. Lorna Doone Mayberry. See, my grandpappy always told me, he says, says he, "Son, you get the women on your side, and the battle's won." Excuse me, ma'am. Me and my little brother are in a peck of trouble, and well... Come on. Tell me what it's all about. Come on. First of all, ma'am, there's just about to be a bunch of killing out there in that street. There's always killing in that street. Well, yes, ma'am, and that, seems to me like it's a terrible waste. I mean, there not being enough men to go around for all you ladies like it is. There ain't a woman living can keep men from fighting. Ma'am, I beg to differ with you. You see, sometimes womenfolk can sort of get around menfolk in little ways, and I figured maybe if you ladies tried right hard, you might be able to get around these. You ain't as dumb as you look. What do you want me to do? Well, ma'am, here's our plan. We figured if... All right, hold your fire, men. Hold it. Get that wagon! Hold your fire. Hold it. Hold it... Lorna Doone Mayberry, dag nab it, you get them women off of this street! We're staying right here. Lorna Doone. Have you lost what few wits you ever had? I've got my wits, Jubal Hadfield, and that's more than you can say. Us women got a few things to tell you. And you can start your fighting after you hear us out. All right, ladies. Well, they got to listen to you. I got something to say. You all know me. I'm Ouisey McFadden. My man is Alonzo McFadden. He's over there behind them barrels and things with the rest of the McFaddens. Alonzo, I want you to listen to me. I can't have no more chillin'. But I ain't gonna cook for ya nor wash for ya nor do anything a wife's bound to do for her man till you put down that gun and come out of there! Alonzo, I mean it! I'm Susan Hadfield. I guess you all know who I'm talking to. What Ouisey says goes for me too, Jubal. I won't be the kind of wife I should till you stop this fightin'. I'm talking to you, Anse Hadfield. You heard your ma talk, and you heard my ma. You're on one side and I'm on the other. Here I am, Anse. But don't come after me with a gun in your hand. Boy, you get back here. You hear me?! You men want to hear some more? Just a dang minute. What in tarnation's going on here? Hey, confound it, get back here! This ain't no way to run a feud. And it was such a nice day for it, too. Hadfield, I'll buy a drink. A drink? All right, I'll accept your offer. And I'll buy another. Fair enough. Whiskey. Whiskey. Lorna, that was a mighty fine thing you just done. Uh, Lorna, 15 years ago you said to me that if I ever... if... Hey, hey, Little Joe. Little Joe, I think we done hung around here long enough. We better be just riding on and tending our business, and that's buying cattle. Oh, Hoss, take it easy. A guy has to have a little chance to relax. Boys, here's your hats and here's your own guns. Now take an old man's advice and get riding. There you are, sons. Well, Sheriff, we were just beginning to enjoy this town. Yeah, but don't forget there's still a heap of folks around here that still thinks you're the Slade boys. Now word to the wise. You've had plenty for today, Little Joe. Come on. Jubal Hadfield, you put 'er there. Alonzo McFadden, you're a good old sot. Thank you, Jubal. The best... except for one thing. What did I do wrong, Jubal? Bringing in them hired killers to settle a dispute between two Texas gentlemen. I'm ashamed of you. Jubal, I'm a dirty dog. Oh, now, don't take on. I'm a dirty dog. Jubal, this has got to be wiped out... in blood. All right. Whose blood? Whose do you suppose? Those two dirty, miserable killers that came along into our peaceful little community trying to stir up trouble between us two peace-loving families. That's what I like about you, Alonzo... You think the same as me. Let's go round up a couple of the boys... Just in case. Hey, how far is it to Kiowa Flats? Just a couple of miles back down the road. You don't suppose that...? I think so. Come on, let's get out of here. You don't reckon...? I think so.
Behind the Scenes of The Gunmen
The Hadfields and McFaddens subtly depict the infamous feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in 1863 and 1891 along West Virginia and Kentucky. Lysistrata, an Ancient Greek comedy play by Aristophanes, also influenced the lighthearted plotline of this episode.
This episode of Bonanza was one of the few where Little Joe (Michael Landon) and Hoss (Dan Blocker) played dual roles.
Dorothy Crehan appeared alongside Michael Landon in the 1957 film “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” Guy Williams, who also starred in the film, made five appearances in Bonanza (all in 1964).
Nobody from the Cartwright family has ever visited Texas before. Hence this marks the family’s first time in the mentioned place. In this episode, Hoss and Little Joe are in the “Lone Star State.”
Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?
If you’re running out of series to watch alone or with family, check out Bonanza! NBC produced the show, running it on their network for 14 seasons, from September 1959 to January 1973. The Gunmen is its 19th episode out of 430.
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