The Honor of Cochise Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #03, Episode #03
Jeff Morrow makes a guest appearance as the legendary Apache chief Cochise, who, despite his professed commitment to peace, seeks vengeance against Cavalry captain Moss Johnson (portrayed by DeForrest Kelley). Seeking refuge at the Ponderosa, Johnson finds himself pursued by a battalion of Cochise’s fiercest warriors, while Ben Cartwright is determined to uncover the truth behind the Apache leader’s vendetta. Amidst the escalating crisis, Adam suffers serious injuries, further fueling the tension, while Johnson’s hysteria reaches alarming levels. Written by Elliot Arnold, “The Honor of Cochise” premiered on October 8, 1961.
Explore the plot, along with intriguing trivia, or enjoy the entire episode by watching it below.
Table of Contents
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In addition to the main cast of Bonanza, the third episode of the third season, titled “The Honor of Cochise,” also showcased several recurring and supporting actors. The cast includes:
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Jeff Morrow as Cochise
- DeForest Kelley as Captain Moss Johnson
- Stacy Harris as Col. Clinton Wilcox
- Bing Russell as Major Reynolds
- Al Ruscio as Delgado
- Hal Jon Norman as Apache Warrior
- Robert Rothwell as Lieutenant Culver
- Raymond Mayo as Doctor
- Bill Clark as Sergeant (uncredited)
- Foster Hood as Indian (uncredited)
Full Story Line for The Honor of Cochise
As the Cartwrights set up camp for the night, they are startled by the sudden appearance of a Calvary captain fleeing from pursuing Indians. The captain seeks refuge in their camp, revealing that they are surrounded and without water. It becomes apparent that the Indian leader is Cochise.
In an attempt to retrieve water, Adam is injured, prompting Ben to realize that he must negotiate with Cochise to save his son’s life.
Full Script and Dialogue of The Honor of Cochise
Hmm. Something's missing. Pa, maybe you need is an outside opinion. Hop Sing said that if I put all those ingredients in that pot and heat it up and kept on stirring, it would taste just the way it does at home, but I don't know. Pa, maybe what you need is a... a fresh outlook, like... like a new taster. Pa, that's just plain, plumb, naturally delicious. You don't think it, uh... Don't you think another half hour of cooking would be, uh... Ah, get out of here, Pa. All right, son. You boys ready for chow? We've come a long way today. Yeah, you bet, Pa. I'm gonna fill these canteens first. - They're just about empty. - All right. Give me that plate, Pa. Horses. Hey. Hoss. Apaches. Huh, come on. Hyah, come on. Pa, did you see what I saw? They disappeared so quick I thought... thought I was seeing things. You weren't seeing things. Water. Joe. It's empty. Captain Johnson! This is Cochise! Cochise? Give yourself up before I destroy this camp and everyone in it! Water. Water, please. We got a little here. Yeah. Hey, you better easy with that. There's plenty more down at the water hole. Yeah, that water hole, you might say, is in enemy territory. Yeah. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... drink it all. Wasn't more than a swallow in there, nohow. Hey. That stew... It ain't water, but it's wet. Sort of spooky, ain't it? It would ease the situation... all around if I could just hand myself over to Cochise. Don't be silly. Don't even talk like that, Captain. Your fight is our fight. Yeah... he's right, Captain. I guess we're in this thing together now. Thank you. I'm Captain Moss Johnson. Eh, I'm Ben Cartwright. These are my three boys, Adam and Hoss and Little Joe back there. What happened between you and Cochise? He's kind of a long way from home, isn't he? - Yeah. - A long way. So am I. I'm stationed at Fort Buchanan. Well, that's... that's on the border of Arizona. What happened? Routine patrol... jumped by Cochise. And he stayed right on our necks, and he just picked us off, one after another. I'm the only one left. A whole company of decent, brave men, and he killed them all. Take it easy, Captain. They... they chased you a long way, even for Apaches. You don't know what it's like in Arizona now, Mr. Cartwright. Cochise has sworn to destroy every white man in the territory. Well, why did he chase you all-all this way? The same reason he chases every man in a uniform. I hunt down Apaches. Cochise! Speak! I listen! Cochise, we cannot deliver Captain Johnson to you! There are five of us here! We are well-armed! Go back to your home, Cochise! There's been killing enough! Adam! Stay here, stay here. You two stay here. They may try something from this end. Are you finished with your thinking, Cochise? I have finished. We attack. No. What order then, Cochise? That we go and leave Johnson with his friends? We parley first. Parley? Hmph! Talk. More talk. The people of the camp have the right to know the truth about the man they defend. This is Cochise! I wish to speak to the one who is the chief of the camp! Of course, he does. He knows he's wounded one of us, now he's trying for you. It's a means of getting you out there to kill you. He's probably right, Pa. I've been fighting Cochise for years. I know him. Now believe me when I tell you that man is first cousin to the Devil. To save the life of my son... I'd talk to the Devil himself. Cochise will never show. Looks like he showed, Captain Johnson. You are chief of the camp? Yes. I come to get the white nantan Johnson. Cochise... I will not leave without him. But first I will tell you why I want him. After that, if you choose to die you will know what kind of man you are dying for. Captain Johnson is a soldier of your country. Not many days ago he called upon people of my tribe and told them he wanted to make peace. In a place called Wolf Creek, he gathered together Apaches to the number of... more than three times this. Apache men, Apache women, Apache children. He and his soldiers declared peace... and celebrated with a great feast of pinole. The pinole was poisoned. He's lying, ain't he, Captain? Terrible story, Cochise. Captain Johnson told us another story. I do not lie. It was the white man's poison that makes the dead smile. They all die, men, women, children... they all die with laughter on their faces. My warriors surround your camp. Each one of them lost someone in the Pinole Treaty. A brother, a son, a mother or father. That is why we will not leave without Captain Johnson... or Captain Johnson's body. We will see whether Captain Johnson... laughs when he dies. They're gone. What does a white flag mean to an Apache? Mean?! I'll tell you what it means, it means none of them took a shot, that's what it means! Leave him alone! I ought to kill you myself. What Cochise was saying out there, was that the truth? Certainly. You poisoned them? I don't formulate the policy, Mr. Cartwright, that comes down from Washington. I just obey the orders. And your orders were to poison women and children? The orders, the orders were to kill Apaches. The orders did not specify sex, age, or method. Now, death is death, gentlemen. What difference does it make how it's accomplished? I have had to fight Indians, Captain, we all have out here, but women and children? Apache women breed more Apaches, Mr. Cartwright. And Apache children grow up to be Apache killers! Now, destroying them is destroying the trouble at its source! You've seen too much death, Captain. Cartwright, your opinion... your opinion doesn't interest me in the slightest. Doesn't it? My son was shot trying to get a drink of water to you. Do you, you want the rest of us to fight for you?! I'm not asking for your charity. The military orders to the department of Arizona are, "Route out and capture the Apache by every means. Hunt him down as you would a wild animal." Now, I'm a military officer performing my assigned duties. It is your duty to assist me in any way that you might find possible. Unless of course... you've decided to turn renegade and hand me over to Cochise. Hand him over, Pa. I'll deliver him myself. Hoss is right, Pa. Adam's gonna die if we don't get him some help real fast. Now why should Adam or any of us die just to save that man's skin? That's right. Cochise, he almost succeeded. He almost succeeded in killing the chief of the Chiricahua Apaches. Now, to his other crimes, you can add this: firing at a man standing underneath a white flag. What do you now, Cochise, eh? Do you think more, Cochise? Do you talk more? When the night runs from the sun, we attack. If we don't get some water pretty soon... Pa, I can make it to that water hole. Do you want to get shot, too? Look, it's the dark now... They've got eyes like cats, they can hear a leaf falling half a mile away. Right, then what are we gonna do? Adam needs water. There's one thing we could do. The only thing that would accomplish would be to leave you with one less gun. There's the beginning. I never heard Indians make noises like that before. Sound like they're praying or something, don't it? Yeah. They are. They're praying to their god... and to the warriors who died before them. You appear to know a great deal about the Apaches, Mr. Cartwright. But I seem to know less and less about the so-called white man, Captain Johnson. Captain... I want to ask you something. You say you was just following orders in all this, right? Certainly. I'm a soldier. Mm-hmm. I want to ask you this: would you kill white women and children if you was ordered to, Captain? That's ridiculous. No, it ain't ridiculous. Supposing your commanding officer gave you a direct order to kill 'em. Would you do it? Of course not. Why not? It wouldn't be right. Oh. Then it's more than just orders, ain't it, Captain? There is a right and a wrong. I don't know what you're trying to trap me into. All I know is killing Apaches is right. Right before the eyes of man and right before the eyes of God. Oh, that's good thinking, Captain. All this world needs is more thinkers like you. He's getting worse. Pa, you sure you don't want to make a try for the bullet? I told you it's too deep. If you don't try for the bullet, he's gonna die anyway. All right, what are you doing? Well, I figure while they're concentrating on their praying, I'll try to get through to Fort Barry. Pa, we ain't gonna let you try to get through them Apaches. Look, I've got to get to Fort Barry to get a doctor for Adam and a superior officer to arrest Johnson. You got everything figured pretty good, ain't ya, Pa? But you figured one thing wrong: you going. That's right. I'm going. No, you ain't. I thought of it first. Now stop your arguing, both of you. I'm going, and there's no more argument about it. I fought Indians long before you were born. I know this area much better than you do. Pa, how you gonna get through without a horse? The nearest remuda's in Dark Canyon. It's only couple of miles away. I can get there on foot and find me a horse. Please, let me go. You're not leaving here. We need every gun we have. Let go of my arm, Johnson. You just want to go out there and talk about me when I can't defend myself. Well, I won't let you. I'll yell out to Cochise! No matter what he says or what he does, you gotta defend him, because you'll never have another night's sleep if you turn him over to the Apaches. They seem to know a lot of prayers. You might say one for your brother. He was on way to get help. We caught him! Why did you not kill him? All at once? No. There are many hours left in this night. He can die a little during each one of them. Is there reason why I should not kill you? No. You do not plead for your life? He will, Cochise, before we are through. Where were you going? To Fort Barry. As I have said... To bring back many soldiers! No, not many soldiers. Just two. A superior officer to arrest Johnson, and a doctor to save the life of my son. Arrest Johnson? So that he might be punished by a military tribunal. He lies! You are not the only one who does not lie, Cochise. You think I would give Johnson up? I listened to you. I thought you might listen to me. There is time enough to kill you. I will listen to you now. No! We listen no more. I capture this man. He mine to kill. That is my right! I am your chief! If you want another, name him! That also is your right! Come. Your son is wounded? He was hurt trying to get water. Give me Johnson. Then take your son to a doctor. I cannot do that. Do you not believe I will let you go free? I believe you, Cochise. And you must believe that I despise Johnson. And yet you, you and the others would die for him? The others are my sons. We do what we must do. The army would not punish Johnson. They would praise him for killing Apaches. Any good white man... In uniform or out... Would condemn Johnson for what he's done. But if you kill him, you make a hero of him. And the army will slaughter many Indians to avenge him. Is that what you want, to make a martyr of Captain Johnson? Can you promise he will be punished? No... I believe he will be. No! That is not enough. My men are hot with hatred, and with cause! Too long has their enemy been held from them! Cochise, it is less than five hours ride from here to the fort... The same back... Ten hours in all. I ask you for those ten hours. Hmph. The fort would send soldiers to destroy us all. If an officer does not come back with me alone, I will return and deliver myself back into your hands again. With my sons dead, I have no reason for living. I have ordered the attack for the moment of the rising sun. Return with your officer by then, or the attack will take place. Cochise... one more thing. What is that? They are without water. My son suffers very much. Then Johnson will drink, too. One canteen. No more. Return the white man to me. He will continue on his journey. No, he belongs to me! I have given my word! You have no right! I am the chief. I decide what is to be done. Call out to your son. Then go. Call your son. Joe! Joseph! It's Pa. Apaches must have him. Joseph! Yeah, Pa?! Cochise has given permission for you to get some water! One canteen! It's a trick. They got your father out there. It's a trick to get another of you. You can't trust Cochise. I can trust my Pa. Bring him a horse. Hand him his weapons. Go. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ The white man has the water. Bury him. Surely, Mr. Cartwright, you can't be serious. I have one son with a bullet in his gut. My two other sons are sitting under the guns of the Apaches. How much more serious could I be? I sympathize with the extremity of your position, Mr. Cartwright. Believe me, I do. But did you really expect to ride in here and persuade me to go back there with you, alone, and at this late hour? The hour was not of my choosing. I apologize. I understand all that, Mr. Cartwright. It's just that the, well, the whole thing is preposterous. I admit that what Captain Johnson did was reprehensible. Worse, in fact. It was stupid. It's going to make it that much harder to deal with the Indians. But to just hand myself over to Cochise? He had his hands on me and let me go. And you honestly believe that Indian is sitting out there waiting for you to come back? That's exactly what I believe! Now, Mr. Cartwright, my experience with Indians would lead me to believe that the zealous Captain Johnson... and your sons are probably dead right now. We'll never find out by just sitting here, will we, Colonel? Unfortunately, that's something I don't think I will ever find out. At least not firsthand, Mr. Cartwright. I'm sorry, sir, but, regrettably, I must refuse your request. You're making a mistake, Colonel. Oh? And what do you recommend I do, Major, ride back with Mr. Cartwright? I'll go back with him. And as he requests... alone? No, with a company of soldiers. I'll surround those Indians and jump them before they can fire a shot. Think what it'll mean to get Cochise. Oh, I, I know what it would mean to you, Major. Well, Mr. Cartwright, what do you think of the major's plan? I promised Cochise that I'd come back with an officer to arrest Johnson and a doctor for my son. Nobody else. A promise to an Indian? I gave him my word. Which, it seems, is more important than the lives of your sons. Hmm? One fact remains, gentlemen. I am the only one who knows where Cochise is. And I'm not about to lead any troops there. What are you going to do, Mr. Cartwright? That's another promise I made Cochise. I'm going back. To die for a man you despise? Wouldn't it be simpler to just hand over Captain Johnson to the Indian? If I'd wanted to hand Captain Johnson over to Cochise, I wouldn't be here now wondering whether my oldest son were alive or dead. Hold on, Mr. Cartwright. - Major Reynolds. - Yes, sir. You will be in charge of the fort while I'm gone. Sir? Oh, you will enjoy that, won't you? Unfortunately, whether I return or not, the position will only be a temporary one. Now, Mr. Cartwright, we'll go wake the doctor and get us a soldier to guard Captain Johnson, if he's still alive. I never thought I'd be risking my life to see if an Indian can keep his word. Mr. Cartwright. ♪♪ It is the time. We will wait. They have said what they have to say to those who listen. Now it is the time. We will wait! You dishonor the dead. We're late, Cochise. My sons? No gun has been fired since you left. This man is the doctor. Send him to your camp. Beyond the rocks. I brought back one man more than I said I would, Cochise. The sergeant. If you give up Johnson, he will guard him back to the fort. Who is he? Colonel Clinton Wilcox, commanding officer, Fort Barry. You never heard of me, Cochise, but I've heard a great deal about you. I understand you keep life from getting dull in Arizona. Well, to the business at hand. I've come to arrest Captain Johnson. What will you do to him? The Army has no pride in Captain Johnson, nor do we condone his actions, Cochise. He will be punished, and severely. I give you my word of honor on this. Does that satisfy you? Yes. I shall be quite honest with you, Cochise. I never expected to find any of those men out there alive. As a matter of fact, I rather thought I might end up that way myself. I have learned something today. Now, with your permission, I shall order Captain Johnson to surrender. Soldiers. Many soldiers. You spoke of honor, Colonel. Seize them! Those men are here against my orders! They are here! Enough soldiers so all of us may die. But you will die first. And after you, your sons. This I promise. Cochise, the colonel is telling the truth. He ordered them not to follow. Then he is bad officer. His men betray him. Kill them. Cochise! You were betrayed by a trusted lieutenant! Your own gun killed him! Your own gun, Cochise! Give him permission, the colonel will go out and order them to go back. Or go out and take command of them. I will not, Cochise. I will order them back. Do you believe him? Yes. Draw arms! Get back in the saddle, Major. You're not staying. Now, my instructions to you were for you to remain at Fort Barry. Sir, in my opinion, if we... You have no opinion, Major. You had an order. Lieutenant Culver. Colonel Wilcox, this is Cochise. The Indian war in Arizona stamped out in one move. Major Reynolds, you are hereby relieved of your command. Lieutenant Culver, you will assume command of the troops. Yes, sir. Major Reynolds, when you get back to Fort Barry, you will consider yourself under close arrest. The charge: disobedience of a direct order. And, Mr. Culver, if, for any reason, I do not return, you will prefer that charge under my name. Yes, sir. Now, you men, bear witness to that charge. All right, Mr. Culver. Take your prisoner and the troops back to the fort. Forward! Colonel, sounded like you enjoyed that. And I did, Mr. Cartwright. And I did. And now, sir, again, with your permission... Colonel Wilcox. I, too, have learned something today. Captain Johnson! Colonel Clinton Wilcox, commanding officer, Fort Barry. You will surrender yourself to me. No! Captain, I am giving you a direct order. No! You're acting under duress, Colonel. I'm not required to obey your order. I am not acting under any duress, Captain. I am giving you this order of my own free will. Now, come out at once. Cochise has probably got a gun on you. He'll never let me out of his hands. He'll kill me. He'll kill us all! I give you my word of honor as an officer, Captain, that you will be tried fairly. Now, surrender yourself at once. Don't compound the charge against you. I'll die, but I'll die like a soldier... Like other soldiers... But I won't surrender to Cochise! I won't surrender! No, don't. I'll kill you. Not one step further. Don't make me kill you. No. No. No! No! No! I... was just obeying orders, Colonel. You understand that, don't you? I was... was just obeying orders. Well, you can't punish a man for obeying orders. Sergeant. This man is your prisoner. Take him in charge. I was just obeying orders. Colonel, I was just obeying orders. He is not typical, Cochise. Well, Doctor, how is he? I can pull him through, sir. Good. You will stay with him as long as is necessary. Thank you, Colonel. For everything. Mr. Cartwright, it is I who am indebted to you. Cochise... it's reassuring to know that one need never be too old to learn. We all learn. When we learn enough, maybe we no longer have to kill. We leave now for our own country. Cochise, over those hills is my land. You are always welcome on it. If there were more men like Cochise and less men like Johnson, maybe there wouldn't even be an Indian problem. Yep. Pretty good sort of feller, wasn't he, Pa? Yeah. Most men are, given half a chance.
Behind the Scenes of The Honor of Cochise
Captain Moss Johnson’s vigorous defense of his brutal actions against the Apache nation draws parallels to the military strategies of General William Tecumseh Sherman, incorporating quotes from the latter regarding his policies towards Native American tribes of the plains.
The Colonel’s rank insignia on his right shoulder is incorrectly positioned, with the eagle’s head facing away from the wearer’s head, contrary to military protocol. However, the insignia on his left shoulder is correctly displayed.
Despite being smaller and less physically strong than his older brother Adam, Little Joe manages to rescue Adam, who is gravely wounded and unconscious. However, how he lifts and cradles Adam suggests that his physical strength may not realistically support such an action.
During a scene where Ben Cartwright is under fire and seeks cover behind a rock, there is an audible “cut,” which suggests a break in filming.
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Bonanza offers wholesome entertainment suitable for solo viewing or family gatherings. “The Honor of Cochise” marks the 69th episode out of 430 in the series. Produced by NBC, Bonanza aired on their network from September 1959 to January 1973, spanning 14 seasons.
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