the honor of cochise
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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.

Watch the Full Episode of The Honor of Cochise

Watch the Full Episode of The Honor of Cochise:

Main Cast

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


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.


Hey. Hoss.



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.



It's empty.

Captain Johnson!

This is Cochise!


Give yourself up

before I destroy this
camp and everyone in it!


Water, please.

We got a little here.


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.


I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...

drink it all.

Wasn't more than a
swallow in there, nohow.


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.



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!


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.


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?


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?


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?


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.


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.


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?


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!


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.


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.



It's Pa.

Apaches must have him.


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.





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.


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.


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.


Oh, you will enjoy
that, won't you?

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?


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.


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?


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.


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.


Captain, I am giving
you a direct order.


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.






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.


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.


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.


Pretty good sort of
feller, wasn't he, Pa?


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.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

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.

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

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