the hanging posse
Bonanza Western TV
The Lone Writer  

The Hanging Posse Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #01, Episode #12

Bonanza is the second longest-running Western in history, focusing on the daily adventures of the Cartwright family. It was among the most influential Western shows during its time and the first Western series in color.

Carey Wilbur wrote Bonanza’s twelfth episode, The Posse, which first appeared on November 28, 1959. The plot of this episode is an adaptation of the 1943 movie “The Ox-Bow Incident.” It also features actors Adam Williams and Arthur Hunnicutt, who played Blackie and Piute.

The story starts when Adam and Joe hesitantly join a mob of angry citizens who want to hang the three men responsible for killing Vannie Johnson. Paiute Scroggs and Flint Johnson, the dead lady’s husband, run the posse. After a fight, Adam and Joe split up and try to find the three men before the townspeople.

Read its plot, consisting of some great trivia, or enjoy the complete episode listed below.

Watch the full episode of The Hanging Posse

Watch the full episode of The Hanging Posse:

Main Cast

Apart from the main cast, The Hanging Posse, the twelfth episode of Bonanza’s first season, features the series’ recurring and guest supporting actors.

The actors in the episode are:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Arthur Hunnicutt as Paiute Scroggs
  • Adam Williams as Blackie Marx (as Andy Williams)
  • Onslow Stevens as Flint Johnson
  • Alan Reed Jr. as Charles ‘Blue’ Buford
  • Ron Hagerthy as Billy Johnson (as Ron Haggerty)
  • Robert Griffin as Deputy Jeb Clinton (as Robert E. Griffin)
  • John Harmon as Schuster
  • Ray Hemphill as Buck Timmons (as Roy Hemphill)
  • Bob Kline as Kirk (as Robert Kline)
  • Dick Rich as Shoehoffer
  • George Sawaya as Posse Member
  • Evelyn Scott as Vannie Johnson
  • Barbara Pepper as Lil McSween
  • John George as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Augie Gomez as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Chuck Hamilton as Townsman (uncredited)
  • George Sowards as Townsman (uncredited)

Full Story Line of The Hanging Posse

Blackie Marx, Kirk, and Sheister went to a cabin together. Blackie requests materials from a lady who, despite being hesitant, states she’ll get the supplies he needs. While Kirk and Schuster tend to the horses, Blackie breaks into the cabin to attack and kill the woman. Despite Schuster and Kirk’s noninvolvement in the situation, they fled from the place to avoid getting caught.

When Flint Johnson and his boy, Billy, bring Mrs. Johnson’s body to town, Flint states a prospector saw three men leaving the scene. Since the sheriff is absent, deputy Jeb Clanton asks Adam and Little Joe to join them on the posse instead. They hesitate, but Jeb begs, and Adam eventually complies. “Paiute” Scroggs will be their tracker. Adam isn’t sure about the three guys assumably killing Vannie but goes along to make sure Flint doesn’t do something wrong.

Books Worth Reading:

“Paiute” Scroggs follows the men and learns they’re traveling through a dry terrain. He wants to stop at McSween’s Tavern to get supplies before continuing his quest. Flint does not want to waste any time, but Scroggs guarantees him that the men will tire and the posse will catch them. Flint asks Adam for his stance. Adam claims the townspeople will still be challenging to manage even if they don’t get drunk at the pub. Hence, Flint decides to go to the tavern.

Most people enjoy themselves at McSween’s, but Billy dislikes it, and Adam and Joe do not even enter.

The next day, Adam insists Jeb control the posse instead of letting Scroggs and Flint take charge. Jeb isn’t sure, even saying Scroggs has great deals of experience handling a group of people. However, Adam states Scroggs has lots of experience hosting lynching parties. Jeb meekly shrugs. Joe states they are ensuring the posse remains legal. Scroggs threatens Adam, but he and Joe quickly draw their weapons, forcing Scroggs to pull back. Now, it’s evident that there are two opposing sides to this posse.

The three guys have reached the desert, but Kirk does not understand why he’s fleeing, as he didn’t do anything. Blackie and Schuster say the posse won’t wait long enough to hear his side of the story, but Kirk chooses to go back.

As the posse makes camp, Scroggs informs the men that the murderers may not get hanged even if they catch them that night. He’s seen it occur before and sends a thoughtful glance at Adam and Joe. He’s trying to work them up into a lynch mob. As everyone falls into a deep slumber, Joe asks Adam what they’ll do if the posse wants to hang the killers. If they have to, Adam states they’ll fight them. Joe dislikes the idea of friends fighting. Adam reminds him that they still aren’t entirely sure about the men’s involvement in Mrs. Johnson’s murder.

Books Worth Reading:

The next day, the posse lost the trail and decided to disperse. Flint and Billy see a man coming their way. It was Kirk, declaring that he was giving himself up. Billy orders him to drop his weapon. Flint shoots him dead as Kirk prepares to put his gun done. He then informs Billy that he will need Billy’s support in his claim of self-defense.

Flint wishes to keep going as Adam and Joe bury Kirk’s body. Adam blames him for killing Kirk deliberately. They decide to split off from the posse. As the people continue to track the remaining men, Adam asks Joe if there’s a shorter route to the next watering hole. Joe says it will be a rough ride but decides to take it anyway.

Blackie and Schuster come to the watering spot, but a shot rings out as they get close to the water. It appears that Adam and Joe arrived before them. Blackie and Schuster hide in a cabin, welcoming Adam and Joe with a brief gunfight. Blackie becomes injured. When Adam and Joe enter the place, Schuster declares he doesn’t want to shoot the woman and begs for permission to get a drink. Adam allows him to proceed but is dead as soon as he kneels at the water. It appears that the posse has gotten there, and Adam sees that it was Flint who shot Schuster.

Flint insists on seeing the third man, but Adam says he will ensure Blackie’s survival to get a fair trial. A few of the men leave, and the posse retreats. In the cabin, Blackie thinks it’s amusing that Kirk and Schuster are dead, yet they didn’t have anything to do with the killing. Regardless, Adam will secure Blackie’s survival despite being the killer. Since there were no witnesses, Blackie believes he won’t get hanged. Joe fears that Blackie’s statement might be correct and it’d be much better to let the posse have him, but Adam disagrees. Joe knows, but he does not need to like the idea.

Scroggs encourages the posse to overpower the Cartwrights and put Blackie to death by hanging him. Flint agrees and tells Adam, stating he’ll let Adam keep the detainee but wishes to shake on it. Scroggs knocks Adam out once Adam goes out to shake his hand. The posse rushes in and strikes Joe, dragging Blackie away to hang. Blackie makes a life-saving plea. Just as they will execute him, Joe fires a shot and warns them that he’ll kill the very first man to pull on the rope. He assists Adam up and takes Blackie back. Jeb, Scroggs, and many others who realized the execution would not proceed as planned eventually quit the posse. Billy departs despite his father’s pleas to execute Billy’s mother’s killer. Only two young men stayed with Flint.

Books Worth Reading:

Adam realizes it’s over once he sees everyone leave. He and Joe take Blackie out of the cabin. Flint requests for Blackie one more time. Joe and Adam remembered that Flint’s son left him, most likely growing sick of looking at a man who led a lynch mob. Flint finally gave up, and Adam and Joe returned with Blackie for a trial.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Hanging Posse

Morning, lady.

Uh, me and my friends,
we ran out of grub and water.

Wonder if we could
get a few supplies.

There's a town five miles
back the way you came.

Why didn't you stock up there?

We didn't go through town,
ma'am, we went around.

That's right...
we're on the run.

Oh, now don't scare
the lady, Marks.

It's like he says, ma'am,
only, uh, we ain't real bad.

It's just that town got
kind of sick of us, and, uh...

What do you want?


Some grub, water...

a couple of baits of
grain for the horses.

You'll find grain in the barn.

I'll fix some food for you.

No! Don't come in the house.

Fine-looking woman, Kirk.

Don't you pay no
mind to the woman.

Let's just load up...
Load up and git.

Why don't you and Kirk take

the horses down to
the lake... Water them.

I'll be right along.

Mind that you are.

Yes, sir... Real
fine-looking woman.

What happened? What'd you do?


What do you think
happened? She's dead.

If we get caught,
it means hanging.

I'm riding out and
you better come along.

Oh, wait a minute.
We didn't do anything.

No. No, we never done nothing.

And you tell them that when
they put a rope around your neck.

Hey, Adam, lend
me two bits, will you?

What for? Oh, to get me
some of that sweetening.

You don't want
any of that truck.

What's the matter
with that truck?

Hey, Pa.

Not now, Hoss.

But, Pa, I... Not now, Hoss.

Hey, Little Joe, I left all
my money in my other pants.

Let me have two bits, will you?

Hey, what for? I want to get
me some of that sweetening.


You're gonna get fat,
you start eating that stuff.

Oh, two bits worth of it
ain't gonna make me fat.

The heck it won't.
You'll founder your horse.

You'll break him
right down the middle,

you load up on
that kind of stuff.

I ain't gonna break
my horse down.

I ain't gonna founder no
horse. Give me two bits.

All right, but don't blame
me if you get in trouble.

Thanks so much.

Thank you, Jack. Hey, Jack?


Give me about a dime's
worth of them jelly beans.

All right.

Better give me about a
dime's worth of them red hots.

All in the same sack? Yeah,
just put it all in there together.

Better give me
about a nickel's worth

of them molasses over there.

Them molasses is
good for you as tonic.

You're going to need one.

Little Joe, you get yourself
a haircut while you're in town.

Oh, I just got one a
couple months ago, Pa.

More like three months ago.

Now, you just get your hair cut.

Here, partner.

Go ahead, take it.

What'd you do that for?

I don't want to
founder my horse.

Ain't you going with us?

No, he's staying in town
to get himself a haircut.

Now, Pa? Right now.

Don't want any son
of mine going around

looking like a cheap,
riverboat gambler.

Now, you get it cut
real short, do you hear?

- Adam, you see to it.
- Hyaw! Haw!

There ain't a proper
barber in this town.

They're all a bunch of Injuns.

Boy, they're going
to really scalp me.

So he scalps you.


Whoa, whoa.

What's the matter? My wife.


How'd it happen?

Three men did it.

A prospector down by
the creek saw them leave.

Joe, get the sheriff.


Boys inside are talking posse.

Johnson's gone to see
about burying his wife.

He sent his boy to
find Paiute Scroggs.

Guess Paiute's about the
best tracker we got around here.

Paiute Scroggs is a
gusty, old windbag.

Who's heading the posse?

Guess I am.

Don't want to, but
I'm not the sheriff.

The sheriff's out of town,
so I guess it's up to me.

Adam, why don't you and
your brother come along?

No, man-hunting's
not our kind of work.

I know that, but the
Cartwrights have always been

real friendly with the Johnsons.

Maybe you can talk
some sense into 'em.

You don't think if they
find them three fellas,

they're going to bring
them in alive, do you?

Well, now, it's your
job to see that they do.

Well, I can't... not alone.

Help me, will you?

All right, get the horses.

Then you're going?

Well, I hate to
see Flint Johnson

do something he'd
be sorry for later on.

Are you coming
with us, Adam? Yeah.


Well, Paiute thinks we
ought to pick up their tracks

down by the creek, where
the prospector saw them.

Flint, you sure these
the men you want?

What do you mean?

Well, I mean, just 'cause a
prospector saw them near your place

doesn't mean that they're
the men that killed Vanny.

They're the ones.

You about ready?

Soon as I wet my dry.

All right. We'll be
leaving right away.

♪ ♪

Say, what do you think'll happen

with them three fellas
when we catch up with 'em?

Sho' man, you mean you
don't know what'll happen?

Well, I'm asking, ain't I?

Well, I guess we'll kill 'em.


I ain't never killed
nobody before.

No, me, neither.

Well, I guess there
has to be a first time.

Yeah, I guess.

Say, uh, my name's Timmins.

Most folks call me Buck.

Charlie Buford, my
friends call me Blue.

Howdy, Blue. Howdy, Buck.

Looks like they're heading
for the ridge up yonder.

Well, let's get after them.

♪ ♪

They cut off here.

They heading for the drylands.

I got a shine to mosey on down

to McSween's roadhouse.

We can water and bait up there.

We're not going to waste
time in that hog ranch.

They're already six hours
ahead of us and riding hard.

Listen, Mr. Johnson.

I've led more posses
and hung more men

than you can count
on both hands.

Let me tell you
about them fellas.

They're running.

They know we're after 'em.

They're pushing hard.

They're wearing
their horses out.

They're wearing themselves out.

We'll just take it easy,

and we'll catch up with
them in plenty of time.

Adam, what do you think?

I don't like it.

The longer we keep
these men on the trail,

the harder it's going
to be to handle them

when we catch up
with what we're after.

They get whiskey at
McSween's, it's going to be worse.

Maybe Paiute's right.

I think we'll lay over a
little while at McSween's.

Seems like me and
you are thinking alike.

Um, it's going to be hard to
bring them men back alive.

All right. Lead out.

Hey, Lil! Got some
friends with me.

Why, Paiute, you old dog.

Come on in!

Looks like we got company.

Come on, Lil, give
us some whiskey.

Come on, girls.
Let's get going, huh?

Come on, let's go! Keep moving!

You're going to kill the horses if
you keep running them like this.

Look, I'd rather kill the
horses than me. Now, let's go!

Now, wait a minute,
Blackie, the kid's right.

We get set afoot this
part of the country,

we're all finished.

And besides, there ain't
nobody chasing us yet.

Don't fool yourself, Shuster.

They're behind us, all right.

I told you we should've
killed that prospector.

I'm sick of killing.

I'm getting pretty
sick of you, too.

I got a good notion to
turn around and go back.

All right, go back.
See what it gets you.

A rope around the
neck, that's what.

You think those fellas
are gonna take us back?


I've ridden on a few
posses in my time.

They get all liquored up.

And after awhile when they catch
up with whoever they're chasing,

they're snake-mean
and ready for hanging.

I know. I been there!

He's right, kid.

Come on, now. Let's go!

Come on.

Now, you take the
Palmer brothers.

They killed a storekeeper
out in the California diggings.

I led that posse just
like I'm leading this one.

Took us four days just
logging... jogging along

before we finally
caught up with them.

Time we did, everybody
was so hot and saddle-galled,

and sick and tired of
the whole business,

just hung them
right on the spot.

How does it feel to
hang a man, Paiute?

Oh, it feels prime.

You feel all dreened
out, good and lazy.

You'll find out.

When we catch them
three up ahead, huh, Paiute?

You tell 'em, young 'un.

Hanging's too good for 'em.

When I think of that
poor Mrs. Johnson...

Like I always say,

"Men ain't nothing
but dirty brutes."

Well, ain't they?

Yes, ma'am, I, I guess so.

You boys got mothers, ain't you?

Yes, ma'am.

Where would a man
be without his mother?

That's what I want to know.


I don't know, ma'am.

Mothers is the Lord's
sweetest gift on this Earth.

That's what.

And mothers is women, too.

Don't you forget it. No, ma'am.

You just remember that
the next time you go around

beating up on women.

Why, we ain't beat up
on no women yet, ma'am.

Leastwise, I ain't.

Well, me, neither.

Why, I wouldn't think
of doing such a thing.

Ah, now.

You are good boys, ain't ya?

I declare, I wouldn't mind
being your mom myself.

Yes, ma'am.

Come on, Lil, let's
have another drink.

Okay, hon.

I kind of wish I hadn't
come on this picnic.

Wonder if Paiute was right,

the way you feel
when you hang a man.

I guess we're going to find out.


Hey, Sheriff!

What's wrong?

Sheriff, let's get going!

I don't know.

What are we waiting for?!

I was just listening to
that lynch-talk in there.

I don't know what
makes men act like that.

Yeah, they can get mean
pretty quick sometimes.

The liquor they're
drinking doesn't help any.

Sometimes it's a pretty
sorry thing to be a man.

Where do you think we stand?

I don't know.

I think Flint's got a lot of
poison building up in him.

When we catch those three men,

it won't take much to turn
this into a lynching party.

That Paiute Scroggs is sure
working them up for a hanging.

Yeah, here's to you.

Hope I have another meeting.

I tell you, Pa, it ain't
right going on like this.

We got to stop it, Pa, and
get these men out of here.

We'll get 'em out.

When I think they're ready.

Ready for what, Pa?

Ready to take care
of your ma's murderers

the way they ought
to be taken care of.

Hey, Sheriff! Sheriff,
let's get going!


Yeah, Adam?

I think it's about time
we had an understanding.

You are in charge of this posse.

Why, sure I am.

You know that.

I don't know any such thing.

You've been hanging
back and letting

Paiute Scroggs and
Flint Johnson take over.

Paiute's had a lot of
experience in this kind of thing.

Paiute's had a lot of
experience leading lynch mobs.

Well, what do you want me to do?

I want you to take
charge of the posse.

You don't really think they're
going to let Jeb take over?

Oh, might as well let them know
where we stand before we go any farther.

Now, you Cartwrights don't
like the way things are being run

you can pack out.

We don't like the way
things are being run,

but we won't pack out.

This is a lawful posse.

Yeah, and we're going along
to make sure it stays that way.

You're trying to
pack a lot of weight.

We're used to
packing a lot of weight.

Yeah, well, you're
not the Lord Almighty.

Any man can go under.

Well, you put me under, Paiute.

Now, ease off, boys.

Adam, we've been
friends for a long time.

Don't spoil it.

Don't push me too hard.

I won't push you now
or any other time, Flint.

But I won't back off, either.

Now, Jeb, I want you to
take charge of the posse.

You want me to try him, Flint?

Yeah, you try it!

You've got a long life
of sin and wickedness

ahead of you, Paiute, if
you take care of yourself.

Right now, you're
being just plain foolish.

I won't fight both
of you... now.

All right, boys.

Have it your way.

Clanton, you take charge.

♪ ♪

It looks like we
shook them for a spell.

Won't be for long.

Probably got somebody
reading our sign right now.

Can I have a-a drink
of water, Blackie?

Get your dirty fingers
off that water bag.

I never seen a man go
through water like you.

First you drink yours, now
you're trying to drink mine.

Can't help it if I get
thirstier than most, Blackie.

It-it... it's a condition.

Doctor back in
Virginia City told me.

Said I got a real bad condition.

Well, you can wait for water
till we get to Pennell Springs.

Pennell Spr...

Blackie, tha...
that's ten mile away.

I-I can't... Then
suck on a pebble.

Think about water
till we get there.

What's the matter with you?

Where you going?

I just quit running, Blackie.

Are you out of your
mind or something?

I was, but I ain't anymore.

I must have been out of my mind

to start running from
something I didn't do.

What are you going to do,
just sit here and wait for them?


Maybe I'll ride back, meet 'em.

Maybe they'll listen
to me when I tell 'em

I had nothing to do
with killing that woman.

Maybe they'll hang you first.

Be ready to listen
when you're dead.

I'm tired of running.

Then you must
be tired of living.

I don't kill as easy as
that woman, Blackie.

You going with him
or you want to stay?

Blackie's right, I...

I don't aim to try my
luck with that posse.

Both of you, on your horses.

Ride out.

Good luck, kid.

I'm bushed.

I know how you
fellas are suffering.

I'm suffering along with you.

I'm just as tired and dirty

and saddle-galled
as the rest of you.

Smell just as bad and
maybe a little bit worse.

What makes me suffer more is

thinking that maybe
it's all for nothing.

Don't you think we're
going to catch 'em, Paiute?

Sure, we'll catch up with them.

It's what comes after that
makes you sick to your stomach.

What comes after, Paiute?

Ah, they'll turn them
over to the deputy

and take them ba-back
to Virginia City for a trial.

And you got to have
a judge for a trial.

Circuit judge won't be
around for four or five months.

Man, won't them fellas

have a time
waiting for that trial!

All them women

coming in there, bringing
them pie and cake,

white bread and all that stuff.

All you fellas don't
have but once a year,

and maybe that's at Christmas.

And them preachers...
Man, will they shine.

They'll be praying and
exhorting all over the place.

And them town women
will come down there,

and they'll be singing hymns,

telling them all about
their ma's and their sisters.

About two days before
the trial, they'll be converted.

I tell you.

It'll take more than a jury

to convict them
after a thing like that.

You mean they'll let them go?

Bless you, boy.

Them murdering devils
would've killed half the women

in the territory, and
scalped them to boot.

Nobody's said nothing
about it, 'cause people forget

to get mad enough
to hang people proper.

Of course, oh,

with Deputy Clanton
here, and, uh...

three or four others I
don't care to mention,

we can't... well, we're
just not allowed to do that.


Get out of here.

Are you crying for your ma?

Can't a man cry without
somebody poking at him all the time?

Sure he can.

It's just that sometimes
it helps to talk about it.

Well, I can't talk to you.

You and your brother
are against Pa and me.

No, we're not
against you, Billy.

We're just going along to make
sure everything is done right.

Well, you tell me,

is it right to let free the
men that killed my ma?

Look, nobody's going
to let those men go free.

Yeah, well, that ain't
what Paiute says.

Paiute's a liar.

Look, we're just going
along to make sure those men

are punished
according to the law.

Well, that ain't enough.

Look... look, it's
my ma that's dead.

And it's Pa and me,

the ones that's going
to fix them that killed her.

And you ain't going
to stop us, Little Joe.

'Cause if you do,
somebody's going to get killed.

Please, go away.

Will you? Go.

Adam. Easy.

What's wrong?

Nothing exactly, I just
wanted to talk to you.

Oh, man, I'm bone tired.

Let me sleep, will you?

Adam, this is important.

All right. What is it?

Where is all this
going to lead us?

What do you mean?

Suppose we catch
up with those men.

Suppose Flint Johnson wants
to hang them, then and there.

What do we do?


We fight against
Flint and his boy

that have been friends
and neighbors for years?

If necessary.

Yeah, well, I just don't
think it's necessary.

All right, I'm listening.

Vanny Johnson was a good woman.

The men that killed
her were rotten.

Now, I just can't see
going up in a gunfight

against friends to
save men like that.

How do you know the
three men we're chasing

are the ones that killed Vanny?

Everybody knows that.

Nobody knows anything.

Vanny Johnson was killed.

Three men were seen riding
away from the Johnson place.

Now, that doesn't prove they
were the ones that killed her.

Look, what if we
knew they were guilty?

Suppose we knew for sure
that they were the men that did it?

Nobody knows anything for sure.

Now, get some rest.

We got a hard day.

What's it look like, Paiute?

Well, it looks like
they're mixed in

with a bunch of wild mustangs.

I can't make out them tracks.

What do you figure
we ought to do now?

We ought to split up.

Some of them take the draws

and some of them, the ridges.

When you see the signs of
the tracks of a shod horse,

let out a whoop or shoot a gun.

Oh, that makes sense.

All right, you men, split
up and do like Paiute says.

You better come
along with me, Paiute.

I ain't such a good tracker.

Here, Pa. Here!

Here's where they turned off.

That's a shod horse
track if I ever saw one.

Wait. I was just going
to signal the others.

I don't know who you are,
but I'm giving myself up.

Now, just don't shoot.

All right, come on.

But drop your gun first.

Pa, he was giving up.

He was coming in to surrender.

He was going for his gun.

He's only a kid.

He ain't much older than me.

Yeah. He won't get any older.

We came up on him,
he went for his gun.

I had to kill him.

That's what I'm
going to tell them.

You're going to back me up.

He's one of the men
who killed your ma.

Like you say, Pa.

He went for his gun.

All right, that's enough.

You're wasting time.

The man deserves
a decent burial.

I said that's enough.

Why'd you kill the boy, Flint?

He started to
make a fight of it.

I think he was coming
in to give himself up.

I think you shot
him deliberately.

I still say you Cartwrights

don't swing much
weight around here.

All right, we're
leaving the posse.

But we won't be responsible
for anything you do.

Come on.

Let's mount up.

You and Hoss hunted
this country, didn't you?

Yeah, what about it?

Where's the nearest
water from here?

Where we watered last night.

No, I mean in the direction
those other two are heading.

I thought we were
going home. No, not yet.

I'm going to try to
reach those other men

before the posse gets to them.

Judging from this man's canteen,

they should be
pretty low on water.

Yeah, well, that'd be, uh...

That'd be Pennell Springs.

That's about 11,
12 miles from here.

Is there a shortcut?

Yeah, over the
ridges and through

some lava country; it's
pretty rough on the horses.

We'll give it a try.

We could rest up here awhile.

There you go.

That ain't the coldest
water I ever drank,

or the best tasting,
but it sure is wet.

Just... just a little, Blackie?

I always figured you were
a selfish old man, Shuster.

First, you drink your own water,

and now, you want
to drink all mine.

Just to... wet the lips.

Now, no, no. I told
you already. No.

Blackie, you...

You're the meanest
man I ever did know.

You're worse than
a hydrophobic skunk.

You ain't fit to live!

You getting any ideas, Shuster?

I never meant it that way.

Well, I think I
better take your gun.

No... Now, you ride on up ahead.

I can't.

I can't go on without no water.

My condition... You'll move on,

or your condition
is going to be dead.


What do you make of it?

Here is where they
spelled their horses.

Them tracks are pretty fresh.

They'll be needing water.

The nearest is Pennell Springs.

How far?

Oh, about ten miles the easy
way through the coulees and draws.

About half that distance
across the ridges.

That's too rough for a ride.

Uh, we'll take the short route.

Well, you're the boss.

Shuster, there's
your nice, cool water.

Look. Right there.

That one was over your head!

The next one's for you.
Now, drop your gun!

All right, come and
get me, if you can!

Hold it.

I got to have water.

You'll be dead
before you reach it.

Get in here.

Are you coming out, or do
we have to shoot you out?

What have I got to
lose staying here?

A few more months of living.

You come out now and
I promise you a fair trial.

That's big talk with a hanging
posse right behind you, mister.

Who are you?

I'm Adam Cartwright
and there's no posse.

Just me and my brother.

Do like he says, Blackie.

Listen, it'll be my neck that'll
go into that noose, not yours!

No deal, Cartwright!

Come and get me!

Get on down behind them rocks.

Cover you from there.

Don't, Blackie!
They'll get us both!

Move and I'll kill you.

See how bad he's hit.

You don't want me, mister.

I never killed that
woman... he did.

I... I got to have a...

I got to have a drink of water.

I got a condition,
a bad condition!

All right, get it!

That's far enough.

We want that third man.

You can't have him, Flint.

I don't believe
you'd fire on a friend

to protect a murderer...
I'm getting him.

You make one more move, and
I'll blow you right out of the saddle.

What are you trying to do?

This man's my prisoner...
I'm riding him into jail,

and I'll fight any man
who tries to stop me.

Jeb Clanton is
the authority here.

Jeb Clanton hasn't
got the courage

or the will to
protect this prisoner.

We'll be riding out at dusk.

You'll never make it.

Well, where do you stand, Jeb?

Well, I-I'm asking you

to turn over the
prisoner, like Flint said.


Well, I'm for law
and order, but...

I ain't taking up gunplay
against my friends and neighbors

just to protect that killer.

I'm quitting and riding out.

Good luck.

What's the matter with you?

I heard your speech.

Sounded real good.

You think you can
back your brag?

It was no brag.

Is it so funny?

I think it's funny.

Kid brother tells me

they killed the boy
back on the trail, right?


And Shuster, Shuster
got it right outside,

going after that water he
was always yammering about.

You know, I told him,

I told him that thirst
was gonna kill him,

and it surely did.

I'm waiting for the joke.

The joke?

Both of them dead
who didn't do nothing,

and me, I'm alive,
and I done the killing.

They wasn't even there.

Just me.

I'm alive.

And you... you're
gonna keep me this way!

I think that's funny.

Yeah, I'm gonna keep you alive,

so I can see you hang... legal!

Are we fixin' to sit
around here all day?

They said they were
taking off at dusk.

I say we go in and get 'em.

Them Cartwrights
won't dare open up on us.

You don't know much about
the Cartwrights, do you?

I ain't afraid of any
Cartwright that ever walked.

All right, Paiute...

you go on in, we'll follow.

Well, now, maybe we don't
see eye to eye about this.

Uh, I ain't bloodthirsty.

Um... I'd hate to see them
two misguided boys get hurt.

You're gonna watch me
hang, you Cartwrights, huh?

You ain't gonna watch
nobody hang, you hear?

Don't you think I got friends?

Oh, I got lots of friends.

I been in lots of
trouble before this.

I always get out of it.

You know why?

No witnesses, Cartwrights.

No witnesses.

They had to let me go.

I've had just about
enough out of you.

No, you ain't.

I got my rights, Cartwright.

I can talk.

I can talk as much as I want!

Is it true what he's saying
about maybe going free?

I don't know...
It's up to a jury.

If he's found guilty,
he'll hang, won't he?


And we know he's
guilty, don't we?

Just what are you
getting around to?

I was just thinking how
much easier it would be

if we just gave him to
those men out there.

But we can't do that.

Yeah, I know.

A man can wish, can't he?



What is it, Flint?

Let's call it off.

You can take the
prisoner into town.

We'll come along just
to see he doesn't escape.

How do I know you'll
stand by that agreement?

Well, I'll give you my
word and hand on it.

Jeb Clanton backs me up.

That's right, Adam.

Shake hands with Flint.

Save us all a lot of trouble.

Well, before I come
out and take your hand,

I think you ought to
know something, Flint.

The two men you
killed were innocent.

They had nothing to
do with killing your wife.

How do you know that?

The man in here's
the killer; he admits it.

The other two had nothing
to do with the murder.

Now, you'll have to face
a hearing on those killings.

I'll make sure of it when
we get back to town.

I'll stick to my word.

Look out! Look out!

Let me alone!

Take him over to that tree.

Hold him down!

I don't want to die...!

I don't want to die!



I don't want to die!


I don't want to die!

I don't want to die!




All right, put him up!

I'll kill the first man that
puts his weight on that rope.

All right, turn him loose.

Marks, get over here.

All right, get inside.

Now, like my brother said,

we're taking that
man back at dusk.

Don't try to stop us.

Should be anytime now.

Where do you think you're going?

I've had enough...
I'm pulling out.

Me, too.

They lost the edge, Flint.

You can't hold 'em.

I think I'll mosey along.

You, too?

Mr. Johnson, I'm an old man.

I wouldn't be no use
in a shooting match

with them crazy Cartwrights.

I'll see you around, maybe.

Get the horses...
I think it's all over.

Now, you're a
couple of good boys.

If you'd known my wife,

you'd know what kind
of a woman she was.

Well, you think
I'm right, don't you?

Well, I guess so, Mr. Johnson.

And you'll stick with me?

Yes, sir, I guess we
just about have to.

Don't we, Buck?

Yeah, I guess so.

There, you see, Billy?

We got a couple of friends.

We're gonna get the
man who killed your ma,

just like we planned to.

We're gonna get him,
and we're gonna kill him.

Son... wait.

I guess I've had
enough of killing, Pa.

I seen two innocent men killed.

That was enough for me.

All right, come on.

Wait a minute, now, they're
waiting out there for us.

Well, now, you should've known

sooner or later there'd
be a day like this.

Let's go.

All right, here he is, Flint...
Take a good look at him.

Where's your boy?

Never mind him.

I want that man.

You'll have to
kill us to get him.

There's been enough talk.

Get mounted.

Where's your son, Mr. Johnson?

I said leave Billy out of this.

Why'd he ride out on you, Flint?

Boy had any feeling for his pa,

he'd stand with him
at a time like this.

Why'd he leave you?

Maybe he got sick of looking
at a man that led a lynch mob,


All right, Cartwright...

this is the end of any
friendship between us.

Two men dead,

friendships broken, a
man parted from his son.

I hope you boys remember that.

Look, don't blame us, mister.

We just came
along to see the fun.

Well, you've seen it.

Behind the Scenes of The Hanging Posse

The Ponderosa home (inside and out) in this episode is “made-over” to become madame “Lil McSween’s” place. There was nothing else like it.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is an incredible Western television series you can watch alone or with your family. NBC produced the well-loved show, running its 14 seasons on their network from September 1959 to January 1973. The Hanging Posse is the 12th episode out of 430.

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

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