The Horse Breaker Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #03, Episode #10
While laboring at the Ponderosa, wrangler Johnny Lightly (played by Ben Cooper) endures a tragic accident that leaves him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite Dr. Kay’s (portrayed by Addison Richards) hopeful prognosis that Johnny’s injuries may be temporary, Johnny loses his will to live. The key to his recovery lies in his budding affection for Dr. Kay’s assistant, Ann Davis (portrayed by Sue Randall), known for her role as Miss Landers on Leave It to Beaver. R.G. Armstrong co-stars as Nathan Clay in this episode titled The Horse Breaker, which first aired on November 26, 1961. Frank Chase penned the script.
Delve into the gripping plot and discover intriguing trivia, or watch the complete episode below.
Table of Contents
Watch the Full Episode of The Horse Breaker
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In the tenth episode of Bonanza, titled “The Horse Breaker,” viewers will find the main cast and several recurring members of the series.
- Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
- Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
- Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
- Ben Cooper as Johnny Lightly
- Sue Randall as Ann Davis
- R.G. Armstrong as Nathan Clay
- Don Burnett as Gordie Clay
- Addison Richards as Dr. Paul Kay
- John Cole as Gunnar Clay
Full Story Line for The Horse Breaker
Johnny Lightly endures a severe injury while attempting to break a horse at the Ponderosa, resulting in the loss of his ability to walk. Although Dr. Kay believes the paralysis may be temporary, Johnny becomes despondent, losing his zest for life despite the doctor’s optimistic outlook. Ann, the doctor’s assistant with whom Johnny has developed a strong bond, holds the key to his recovery.
Full Script and Dialogue of The Horse Breaker
Hyah! Hyah! Come on! Stay with him, Johnny! Hyah! He sits that horse like he was born there. Maybe so, but I got four bits says he don't ride him to a standstill. All right, you're on! Hyah! Hyah! Come on, John! Come on! Hyah! I gotta say, brother, it's always a pleasure to take your money. It's worth it for a ride like that. He'll make a good working horse, Mr. Cartwright. That ride just cost me four bits, Johnny. Well, we're gonna need a lot more like him before this drive. Well, how soon do you figure on moving your beef? In about a week. Oh, well, that's plenty of time. You'll have enough mounts by then. Good. How long you been at this game? What, breaking horses? Since I was 14. That's ten, 11 years by now. And a broken bone for every year, I bet, huh? Yeah, just about. But the pay's good. I get more in one day than most wranglers do in a month. Yeah, you do. Still, it's a hard way to make a living. - Well, I'd... - Yah! I'd better start earning it, right now. Uh, Johnny, you've had a hard day. Why don't you pack it in? Start with them tomorrow. Well, the fellas got him all set. I'll just... I'll let him be the last one. Well, he's big and he's mean. Johnny, if he... if he's tough to handle, you, uh, leave him the best way you know how. Now, Mr. Cartwright, there's two things I can handle: horses and women... in that order, of course. Let him go! Hyah! Hyah! Come on, Johnny. Come on. Gee, that's a big ol'... horse. Stick with him, Johnny! Hyah! - Stick with him, boy! - Hey! Hyah! Hey! Hyah! Stick with him, Johnny! Oh... John, what's wrong? Oh... my legs... My legs, Mr. Cartwright... I can't move them. I can't even feel them. Well, you just take it easy, Johnny. You'll be all right. Uh... Adam, Joe, hitch up the wagon. All right. Hoss... can you lift him up? Here, Pa. Easy. Well, Paul? I've known people with an injury of this type to be up and about in a week's time. Others took months. Still others... never walked again. Well, how long do you think it will be before Johnny'll walk? Sometimes it's a matter of attitude... of the mind. Only time will tell, Ben, time and exercise. Exercise? Just what'd you have in mind, Doc? We'll try several things. We'll begin with leg massage. When I was studying in Europe a few years ago, they were having considerable success with a hot water treatment. Oh, well, when can all this be started? - The sooner the better. - But where will he go? He has no folks. He told me that himself. That's right. He ain't got no kinfolk he can depend on. Johnny was working for us when... when he got hurt. I guess he's our responsibility. When can we take him home with us? As soon as we get his things together. Ann, would you come in, please? Ann, this is Ben Cartwright and his sons. This is Hoss, Adam and Little Joe. Gentlemen, this is Ann Davis, my most capable assistant. - How do you do, Miss Davis? - Miss Davis. Well, how's our patient, Ann? As well as could be expected. Good. Will you get him ready to leave? The Cartwrights are taking him back to the ranch with them. Would you mind going to the Cartwrights' occasionally, just to get him started? I'll stop by twice a week. Well, Miss Davis... Uh... you know, it's... well, it's quite some distance to the Ponderosa. If I may make the suggestion, stay with us, as our guest. My sons and I will work along with you, and that way we'll learn the exercises that John needs, and we'll be able to take over for you if... if necessary. That's an excellent idea, Ben. Is that all right with you, Ann? Whatever you think best, Dr. Kay. I'll get the patient ready. I have a few things to attend to, Mr. Cartwright. I'll be out at your place in the morning. Thank you. How are you, Mr. Cartwright? Fit and able, I trust? Why, I'm just fine, Nathan. Yourself? My name is Clay. Only my friends and my kin call me by my first name. Well, Clay, we were friends at one time. That was before you killed my son. That's not true and you know it. Easy, son. You took my land. The government took your land. Gave it to you and took it back again, because you let it go to waste. You didn't improve on it. That's a lie. It was put up for public auction, and you bought it to raise Ponderosa cattle. Clay, if I hadn't bought that land, someone else would have. I told you before, and I'll say it again: pay me what I paid for the land, and I'll be glad to sell it to you. That's decent of you, Mr. Cartwright. Selling me back something that was mine. But tell me... how will I get back my son? My Pa had nothing to do with that. Jody got himself killed. He was trying to get money so we could get our land back. You don't do it by trying to rob a bank with a shotgun. Was that your son that tried to rob the bank in Placerville? That was him. He was just a boy like you. Well, I was there when it happened. The sheriff caught him. Told him to drop the shotgun. He tried to fight it out. It was a stupid thing to do. He didn't have to die. Why don't you boys just step back? Gunnar... Gordie... Jody died because he wouldn't give up. Us Clays never give up. You think hard on that, Mr. Cartwright. Hoss. Whoa! How'd you make it, Johnny? Fine. Oh, he'll make out fine. - Good. - Ah, he was good. - Easy with the chair. - Yes, sir. We'd be in a heck of a shape if you had to pack me around like this, wouldn't we? I'd never make it. Set him down easy. There. Well, let's roll. There we are. Well, this is your new home, Johnny. How do you think you'll like it? Well, first home I've had since I was 14. I like it fine. We're gonna have to find a place for you to bunk in. Well, he can bunk in with me, and I can move in with Hoss. That is, if he promises to sleep with his head under the pillow, so I don't have to hear that snoring. Sounds like a herd of cattle stampeding through the room. That's funny... It never seemed to bother me. Your, uh... your bedrooms are upstairs. Um... Johnny... can you read and write? Do you know your numbers? Sure. My Ma saw to that. Good. You know, it takes a lot of paperwork to get a cattle drive on the trail. I usually wind up doing most of the work myself. I could certainly use some help, though. Now, uh... suppose you were to bunk down here? That way you could be close by me, and work with me and, uh, even take over when I have to be away. He's right, John. Any time he has to add up two columns of figures, you can hear him bellowing all over the ranch. - You'd be doing us a service. - That's for dang sure. Yeah, and look. Look, you could put your bunk here, put your dresser over here. Make it real easy for you to move around. Well? What do you say? Well, if you're sure it wouldn't make for trouble... No trouble at all. No. As a matter of fact, there's a... there's an extra bed and dresser out there in the bunkhouse. Come on, Adam, help me bring them in. - Good. - I'll get you some clean linen. We'll have you set up in no time. And when Miss Davis gets here, we'll start on those exercises. Well... I guess that's all settled then, huh? Thank you, Mr. Cartwright... for everything. Well, that's the last of the lot. What do you think of them? You got some prime stock. I sure wish I was going with you. Don't worry. You'll go with us next time. You better believe it. I do believe it. Hey. We got some company. Yeah, female company at that. Howdy, Miss Davis. Welcome to the Ponderosa, ma'am. We're mighty happy to have you come live with us a spell. I didn't come here to live, Mr. Cartwright. I came here to work. Yes, ma'am. Whatever you say, ma'am. If you'd be kind enough to point out the way to my quarters. Well, that's, that's the main house over there, ma'am. Pa's been expecting you. Thank you. Oh. It'll take me about half hour to get settled. Be ready to start your exercises then. Yes, ma'am. She's not getting any friendlier, is she? Well, just wait'll she gets to know me. - Try it. - Try it? Sure. I hope this doesn't hurt too much. Wish I could feel it. That's right. How's that, buddy, hmm? - Don't go too far. - Hmm? - Okay. - That's right. - Very slowly. - There we go. - And let him back slowly. - Slowly. - All the way down. - Take it easy, Johnny. - There we are. - That's right. - Let's try it once more. - Okay. Yeah, you're doing real good, Johnny. - The water's hot. - Yeah. There. Feels good. Yeah. Now, now try to move one of your legs like Miss Davis wants you to. Hey... hey, that's great. I think I saw one of 'em move. Try it again. You mean, you think you think you saw one of 'em move. Huh? Hey, Hoss... watch, watch the left leg. I'm gonna try it now. Watch the shin right there. - See it? - Yeah. Johnny, you...! Hoss! Aw, come on, Hoss. Is this part of the exercise? I'm sorry, teacher. I was a bad boy. I'll stay after school. You may think this is all a big joke, Mr. Lightly, but I can assure you it's a very serious matter. No one's more aware of that than myself, Miss Davis. I just don't know what I'd be doing. Oh, I think you'd get along fine. Oh, listen, son, there's something I want to show you. Now, in this, in this little... Ah, here they are. Would you mind, would you mind adding this thing up? Because, you know, I'm, I'm really just no good at figures. Thank you. Thank you. If we're gonna get any results at all, Mr. Lightly, you'll have to listen carefully to what I tell you. Yes, ma'am. What I'm trying to do now is restore the circulation in your legs. Yes, I know what you're trying to do. Do you have any feeling yet? No, just as if they belong to somebody else. Do you have any feeling, Miss Davis? Now, why do you dislike me? I don't dislike you. Well, I'd say you're making a pretty good attempt at it. Maybe you, uh, maybe you just don't like men, huh? Not men, Mr. Lightly. Your kind of men. My kind? What do you mean? Do you know what you represent to me? A shiftless no-good. Everything I've seen and heard about you bears it out. You like to break your women the way you break horses. But this time you were broken, and I can't find it within myself to feel sorry for you! Was that the way he was? What? The fellow who broke you... and ran off, left you... Was that the way he was? I don't know what you mean. What's the matter? The memories bother you? Leave me alone. Is that what you really want? You really want to be left alone? Why do you pull away? You're attracted to my kind. And besides, Miss Davis... I can't run off and leave you! Sorry I busted in at the wrong time. Mr. Cartwright and his boys are up on North Platte. I know that. That's why I'm here now. What do you want? How are you, Ann? Do you really care how I am? Anything that belonged to my son... well, I got a strong feeling for. I never belonged to Jody. You was his girl. His girl, not his wife. He said he wasn't ready to take on a wife. Well, he would have been... in time. If the Cartwrights hadn't-a killed him. Did the Cartwrights kill him or did he kill himself? Or did you kill him?! Don't you talk to me like that. Yes, yes, I'll talk to you like that because you can't hurt me! No man can ever hurt me again. That's what your son did for me. I didn't come here to listen to you. I come to tell you... don't work here. That goes for the both of you. I'm warning you. Get out today. You tell your sons what to do, Mr. Clay, just as you have all their lives, but I owe you nothing. I'll do as I please. And it pleases me to stay here. All right, I'm telling you this. There's gonna be trouble here soon. Now I've spoke my piece. The rest is up to you. So, it was his son? It was his son. I don't think he's a good rule to judge all men by. I'm sorry, but he's the only rule I have to go by. Well, that about winds it up. Yeah. We still have the supplies to pick up in town. Oh, yeah. Well, I'll get Hoss to pick them up this afternoon. What about Nathan Clay? You didn't forget about him coming out here, did you? No. I've known Nathan for some time. He, uh, he likes to talk big. Mm. That, uh, that gun you keep in the desk... is it loaded? Always. But I don't think that's the way to handle Nathan Clay. Pa, that list of buyers we're supposed to see when we get to Grant City, you got it ready? I knew there was something I'd forgotten. Wait a minute, Adam, here it is. I made it out yesterday. You got the names there and the allotment of beef each one gets. Thanks, Johnny. I'll have the men start the tally count. We'll see you at supper. Well, you certainly saved me a big day's work. Johnny, you've been a big help to us. What do you think you and the boys have been to me? If it hadn't been for all of you, I'd have packed it in long ago. Ah... you're not that kind. You're a fighter. Yeah. How long do I have to fight? Give yourself time, son. Time. You can't fight time, Mr. Cartwright. You just have to live with it. Yeah. Oh, say, I forgot to tell you. Dr. Kay's coming over for supper tonight. He'll probably, you know, look you over. He may have some good news for you. I hope so. Johnny, you've been working pretty hard lately. I think you need a breather. Why don't you ride into town with Hoss this afternoon? Change of scenery will do you good. Well, yeah, it might help. Soon as I finish up here, I'll get ready. Johnny, you comfortable? You sure you ain't getting tired? No, I'm fine, Hoss. Yeah. Let me go in pay old man Fuller, and we'll be on our way. Maybe I can talk you into a long, tall, cool drink, huh? Okay, you talked me into it. Dad-burn beats me, that persuasive power I got. Except when it comes to talking Pa out of chores. Well, look who's here. If it ain't the little man who enjoyed seeing Jody die. I only said he didn't have to die. He brought it on himself. We don't see it that way. Well, you can see it any way you like. I don't want any trouble from you. Want it or not, boy, you bought it when you lied about Jody. You want him? Yeah, he's mine. Get down off that wagon, boy. Looks like he talks big and acts small, don't it? Maybe this will change his mind. Hold it! You boys can't make it. Why don't you move on? Cantankerous pair. Thanks for getting them off my back, Hoss. I enjoyed it. First time it ever happened to me. What's that? Somebody had to fight my battle. I guess from now on somebody will always have to fight my battle. Listen, Johnny, I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't stopped them two. That gate swings both ways, you remember that. Come on. Let's go get that cold drink. Okay. Thank you. I drink to my host for setting the best table in this part of the country. That dinner was excellent, Ben. Always a pleasure to have you in our home, Paul. Mmm. Well, tomorrow's the big day. I suppose you're eager to get started. Well, I'll tell you, Doctor, I've sort of lost my eagerness for cattle drives. I'm gonna let the boys handle this one. Pa, it'll be the first one you missed. You sure you don't want to go? No, my bones are kind of weary. Besides, Johnny and I have a lot of things to attend to, don't we? Yes, to get back to my number one patient. Ann, are you sure that he's been doing his exercises regularly every day? Yes, he's been very good about them, Dr. Kay. And as I said before, I think there is a slight muscle reaction in his legs. Good, good. That's fine. Let's have another look, shall we? Fine. You feel that? A little. It's like it was far away. That's good, that's good. Those muscles are beginning to come back. Now, let's see if you can move them. I-I just can't do it. Doctor... tell me straight, no nonsense... will I ever walk again? Well, I can't say. But I do know that you've made progress. I think, in time... Time! It's so easy to talk about time when I have to live every day of it right here in this chair. Now, why don't we stop kidding ourselves? I'm never gonna walk again. I didn't say that. I won't say it. You keep on with your exercises and keep busy, and I'll stop by again in a couple of weeks. ♪♪ M-Move. Move! No! I'll do this by myself, or I won't do it at all. Now, don't be foolish, Johnny. No point in torturing yourself. Stop! I've got to know. One way or the other, I've got to know now. No! Let me help you back into bed. You shouldn't feel disappointed, Johnny. You tried too soon. Ann said... "slight muscle reaction." How many weeks before I can even move them? How many months or years before I can even walk? I don't think anybody knows. But however long it takes, that's what we'll work for. I-I can't cut it, Mr. Cartwright. I wasn't made to live this way. In the time you've been here... we've come to know each other pretty well. Isn't that right? Yes, sir. In that time, you've come to mean... more than just someone we want to take care of. You've become... like a son. I know that, sir. You've been more a father to me than any of my kin. Then you'll believe that what I'm about to say, I'd say to Hoss or Adam or Little Joe, hmm? Yes, sir. I've seen you thrown off a bucking horse a good many times. And each time, you'd climb up and try again. And you'd keep on climbing up until you'd won. And now you've been thrown again, the hardest ever. Now, you're gonna have to decide whether you climb up and try again or stay down and give up. No one can make that decision for you. I want you to know that, no matter what happens, you'll always have a home with us. Oh, not because we feel sorry for you, but because you've become a part of us. Good night, John. Good night, sir. ♪♪ So you've decided to take the easy way out and leave them to pick up the pieces. You get out of here. Leave me alone. I have no intention of trying to stop you or calling for help. Then what do you want? It's so easy, isn't it? Just pull that trigger, and all your troubles are over. Well, so are theirs. Who, the Cartwrights? Yes. I do this, and I'm not a burden to them anymore. I can't ask them to take care of me forever. And that solves your problem? Doesn't it? Well, it gets rid of you, all right. But it also tells them that they failed. You kill yourself, and they know that nothing they did was enough. That's not true. How do you convince them? Oh, go ahead. Go ahead and take your life. But you and I will always know that you were the one who quit. Good night, Ann. See you in the morning. They'll be moving the herd right soon now, Pa. I got eyes, boy; I can see. You sure Ben Cartwright's not making this drive? I got ears, too. I heard talk of it in town. He's staying. They'll need all their men to move this much beef. He should be alone. That's what your Pa's been counting on. That's what he's been waiting for. You got everything? Yeah, Pa, right here. Good. When they move them cows out, we move in. Pa, do we have to do this? Uh, isn't there some other way? Boy, I don't want you doubting me. Now you do like I say, and let me decide which way we go. All right, boys, let's go with the procedure once more. Dad-burn, Pa, you done told us six times. You might have to tell Adam or Little Joe again, but you don't need to tell me; I know what to do. Oh, that's right; just make sure you don't get lost on the trail this time. After we make delivery, we bank money and order the list of supplies. - Right. - Now you got the list? - Yeah, right here. - Good. You'd think we've never been out alone, wouldn't you? Now never you mind. Just make sure you don't move that herd too fast. Every pound you take off them means that much less we make at market. Hey, what about Hoss? I figure we could run about a hundred pounds off of him and still make a profit. Tell you what I'm gonna do to you, little brother. I'm gonna burn about eight pounds on you. So long, Pa. So long, Pa. Have a good ride. Adam, take good care of them. Oh, I will. Any luck, we ought to be back in two or three weeks. Good-bye, Johnny. Miss Davis, see you soon. Good-bye, Adam. Bye. Well, that's done. Now, suppose we go in, grab a bite to eat, and I'll give you a chance to win back some of that money I won from you at cribbage. All right, you're on. Good. 30 for one. Your count. All right, one for last card, and I've got 15 two, 15 four, 15 six, and a pair is eight. And that puts me out. Hey, that's three in a row. Get down; we got to move quick. What about one more, double or nothing? Oh-ho, no, young man. You're too hot for me tonight. I'm gonna wait till you cool down. Would you like to take him on, Ann? No, thanks. Well, put that down now. - Mr. Cartwright? - Hmm? Um, I'll be leaving in the morning. Oh. My work's done here, and John knows what he has to do. I'm sure Dr. Kay needs my assistance in town. Well, of course, whatever you-you think you should do. I want you to know what a pleasure it's been to have you here at our home. Well, I want to thank you for making my stay such a pleasant one. Well, I hope you come and visit us often. Thank you, sir, I will. I think I'll take a turn around the place before I call it a night. I'll see you people at breakfast. Good night, sir. - Good night. - Good night. Well, I, uh... I guess I'll say good night. Ann. Please don't leave. Not like this. I think we've said all there is to say. Except for one thing. I'm sorry. I had no right to say the things I did, do the things I did. I... I guess we were both wrong. We tried to hurt each other through self-pity, and in the end all we did was hurt ourselves. When I'm able to take care of myself, I'm coming to see you. No. No, i-it won't be any use. Ann, come here. No. No, please don't. Now kneel down. Right here beside me. I've been hurt enough, Johnny. Please, don't you hurt me. I promise you that no one or nothing will ever hurt you again. Ever. Don't let me have to use this. He was real obliging. Let me slip up behind him. All right, you two, get over next to him. He can't get up. Can't or won't? I told you. Get over there. You feeling better, Mr. Cartwright? I want you to feel real comfortable, so you can see what's gonna happen. What do you hope to gain by this? Peace of mind, Mr. Cartwright. What you've done to me and mine has choked me up. I'm full up. You know what this is? Coal oil. You know what I'm gonna do with it? I'm gonna burn your place to the ground. I'm gonna take this place from you, just like you took mine. So, you just stand there and watch what I do. I'm gonna light up the whole sky. You can see it for miles around. Clay, if you destroy what it cost me my blood to build, I'll kill you. No matter where you try to hide, I'll find you and I'll kill you. You know, I believe you. I never got to fight for my land, but I'm gonna let you try. No, don't. Oh, he'll try. Mr. Cartwright would die fighting for this place. That's just what he's gonna do. Suppose you kill me, Clay. I am gonna kill you. Don't forget about my sons. Don't you think they'll know who did this? They'll track you down no matter where you try to hide, and they'll find you. If and when that happens, I'll know how to handle them. Enough of this talking. I'll give you to three. Then I'm gonna shoot no matter what. One, two... Johnny! Johnny! Pa, are you all right? Ann, get over here quick. They'll be breaking in. Pa, answer me! Hold it, boys. Clay, it's up to you. They'll break that door down if you tell them to. I know they will. Go ahead. Let's have some more killing. You're a fool, Nathan. You don't hate me for buying that land. You hate yourself. You hate that stubborn, wasteful failure that you are. The failure that cost you Jody's life, and that's the truth, isn't it? No. Yeah. It's that guilt of yours that's been choking you to death. No. That's what's been eating away at you all this time. Shut up. Prove me wrong. Go on, tell them to break that door down. Let's have one more dead son. Put up your guns, boys. It's over. I mean it. What happened here is best forgotten. I was gonna kill you. There's been enough killing. I'd like for it to be ended now. It will. It's finished. Boys, take care of your father. Get him over to a doctor. Watch his arm. Ben, sometime... could we talk to you about that piece of land you own? Yeah, Nathan. Johnny. You walked, Johnny. You walked. Home again, home again, jiggety-jaw. - Well, the lost are found. - How you doing, Pa. Hey, what happened to your arm? Oh, nothing. I'll tell you about it later. Well, how-how did things go? Well, almost as good as if you'd been with us. Sold every head of beef. Made five dollars per head. Hey, that's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. How's Johnny? Yeah, is he still taking his exercises? Well, why don't you ask him? They wanted to, uh, they wanted to stay here until you boys got home; they want to say good-bye. They're, uh, getting married. Getting married? You're kidding. It looks like that cure took both ways, huh? Why, the son of a gun; you got to hand it to him. He took the frost off that little gal. Yeah, they bought the Jackson place. - They're gonna be neighbors. - Yeah? They'll make good neighbors.
Behind the Scenes of The Horse Breaker
In the scene where ‘Ann Davis encounters her patient for the first time, she discreetly glances toward the camera before exiting.
Later, when Hoss emerges from the store and subdues two men, there’s a continuity error. The man in the vest, who landed on top of the man in the brown shirt, quickly rose to his feet and headed back towards the altercation ahead of the other man, who was still getting up. However, in a subsequent shot from a different distance, the man in the vest is still seated on the ground while the other man is already standing upright.
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Bonanza provides delightful and family-friendly entertainment for individuals to view or share with loved ones. The Horse Breaker is the 76th episode among a total of 430. Produced by NBC, Bonanza aired on their network from September 1959 to January 1973, encompassing a span of 14 seasons.
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