the hostage
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The Hostage Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #06, Episode #02

In The Hostage, a quartet of criminals consisting of three men and one woman kidnaps Ben and demands a hefty ransom of $100,000. Ben, trapped in their clutches, strategizes an escape by sowing discord among the captors. As tension escalates, he maneuvers to turn the crooks against each other. The episode boasts a guest cast featuring Harold J. Stone as Chad, Jacqueline Scott as Willa, and Conlan Carter as Tip. Penned by Donn Mullally, this gripping tale originally aired on September 27, 1964, with the unique distinction of being broadcast without commercial interruption. This arrangement was part of a deal struck between the producers of Bonanza and their steadfast sponsor, Chevrolet, allowing one episode per season to air devoid of internal advertisements.
Explore the intricate plot and intriguing trivia by delving into the full episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of The Hostage

Watch the Full Episode of The Hostage:

Main Cast

The second episode of Bonanza’s sixth season, “The Hostage,” showcases several familiar faces from the show’s recurring and supporting cast. Here’s the full lineup of actors in this episode:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Harold J. Stone as Chad Cord
  • Jacqueline Scott as Willa Cord
  • Conlan Carter as Tip
  • Buck Taylor as Billy
  • Cal Bartlett as Len
  • Bill Clark as Deputy Sheriff Jim
  • Bob Miles as Posseman (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Hostage

A gang of four outlaws seizes Ben as their hostage, aiming to secure a $100,000 ransom from the Cartwrights for his release.

While his sons strategize to rescue him, Ben discerns discord among his captors and devises his escape plan.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Hostage

Something wrong, gentlemen?

CHAD: Mr. Cartwright?
- Yes.


What's going on here?

Do as we tell you and
there won't be any trouble.

Len, get his gun.

The belt too.

Let's get moving.

All right, Mr. Cartwright,
you can dismount now.

Mr. Cartwright.

- You don't mind if I tie your hands?
- I do mind, if it makes any difference.

It does make a difference, if you
make the mistake of fighting me over it.

I won't fight you.

Haven't seen any of you
around here before, have I?

No, not likely.

- Someone hire you to do this?
- No, we're working for ourselves.

We plan to hold you until your
family pays us to let you go.


You must be drunk, or
out of your mind, or both.

I'd hate to kill a
good man like you.

Tip, take
Mr. Cartwright's horse.

TIP: Come on.

Come on.

CHAD: Mr. Cartwright.


Everything went off all right?

- Does anything look wrong?
- Where's Tip? I don't see him.

I sent him back with Cartwright's
horse to make sure it got home.

Well, do we stand here
all afternoon talking?

Careful, Mr. Cartwright, we
don't want you to break your leg.

Oh, Len, climb up on the
rocks and keep a sharp lookout.

I don't want any surprise
company dropping in.

Sit down, Mr. Cartwright.

Sit down over there.


We'll get you organized.

Make yourself comfortable.

My wife will be down
with some food shortly.


Tip, you made good time.

Yeah, I didn't want anybody setting
up worrying about where I might be.

You left the horse?

Heh, tied him to
Cartwright's front door.

Never mind the jokes.

All I wanna know is you're
sure they'll find the horse.

Yeah, I'm sure.
Besides that, I'm hungry.

See what I can do for you.

You heard him.

Your boys will find your horse
with a message tied to him.

You won't be needing that.

Take good care of him.



Howdy, fellas.
How'd everything go?

Fine, except for one
paper Pa forgot to sign.

It wasn't important.
I'll run it in tomorrow.

How'd you let him
forget? You was with him.

Well, he came on ahead. Said
he had some desk work to do.

You just come out of the
house, you must have seen him.

Been in there reading
for an hour, he ain't here.

Well, his horse is here.

Whew. That animal's
been running, running hard.

JOE: Pa wouldn't leave
him lathered up like that.

What's that?

It says, "Come to Eagle Notch
by 12 noon for further orders.

Do not go to the sheriff
or your father will be killed.

Come unarmed."


Which one of us is
going to Eagle Notch?

"We want $100,000
for your father.

Get it together and wait for the next
edition of the Territorial Enterprise

for further orders."



- Well, how'd it go?
- No problems.

- Where's the boss?
- He's getting some sleep. Why?

Cartwrights left a note.
Chad will wanna see it.

Wait a minute. Let me have it.

I'll handle this.

Don't you think we ought to
check it out with the boss first?

- Len?
- Yeah, Chad.

- Anything happen?
- Yeah, Cartwrights left a note.

Well, what are you
waiting for? Let's have it.

I gave it to Tip. He
said he'd handle it.

I guess he figured
you needed your rest.

- Where is he?
- Down in the mine.

Must be taking it
up with Cartwright.

You have about one second
to change your mind, mister.

Now, I say, you're gonna
write what I tell you...

- What...? What are you...?
- Cartwright had it coming, Chad.

- He did? Who decided that?
- Tip, and I don't blame him.

- This note...
- Let me have it, Willa.

Would've helped a lot if you
would've killed him, now wouldn't it?

I only asked him to
write a note to his sons

so they'd have
proof he's still alive.

He was just trying to scare him.

Why didn't you wake me
up when Len came back?

I'm still running this outfit.

Any of you forget it, like Tip
just did, and I'll start proving it.

Willa, I'll talk to
you about this later.

What's, uh...?

What's going on
between her and Chad?

Chad's slowed
down a little bit lately.

He used to be different, I hear.

Shot and killed himself four
men before he was my age.

How many men you killed, Billy?

Only two.

Maybe you'll try to work that
ringbolt loose from the timber.

Take your chances on running.

That'd liven up things around
here, and I'd have me three men.

Well, sure sorry to
disappoint you, Billy.

Number three's bound to come
along. Ain't you, be somebody else.

Maybe even Chad.

That'd be a dagged
number three, wouldn't it?


- Willa, come out
here. WILLA: I'm busy.

I said come out here.

- I'm cleaning up the supper mess.
- That'll keep.

Want to have that talk
I've been promising you.

- Where you sending Tip?
- Just as far as I can trust him.

- Is that what you wanna talk about?
- Don't you think it's about time?

Do you think I'm blind, Willa?

You side with him against me just
once more like you did this afternoon,

and I'll get rid of
the whole gang.

What would you do without them?

They're young, they're fast
with a gun, they're not afraid.

They're not afraid because
they're stupid and we've been lucky.

I always worked alone
before and I can do it again.


Yeah, and we'd starve,

like we did the year before
we joined up with them.

There are other
guns besides theirs.

It's my brains that
make this outfit work.

They get out of line, they go
back to rolling drunks for a living.

You get out of line, you can go
back to the saloon where I found you.

- What got into Willa?
- Married life.

If it needs a longer explanation,
you'd never understand.

Len, go on and have your supper.

I want you to ride into
Virginia City tonight

with something I want you
to place in the newspaper.

It's on page three. Sounds
like a religious message.

"Remember that even the mightiest
ponderosa can be struck down

by a bolt of his lightning and can
be reduced to ashes and hellfire.

Ye who would be saved
present thyself at the bridge

to eternal life before
the sun sets again.

There ye shall
see the true father.

Remember our commandments."

- Ponderosa, that's the key word.
- Yeah, you're right.

"The mightiest ponderosa
can be struck down

by a bolt of his lightning and can
be reduced to ashes and hellfire."

Hey, Hellfire's that old
abandoned mining shaft.

There is a bridge there, with that
old dry creek bed. I've been there.

"Ye who would be saved
present thyself at the bridge

to eternal life before
the sun sets again.

There ye shall
see the true father."

Yeah, our pa's gonna be
at that bridge at sundown.

Yeah. Remember
what the first note said,

you have to be
alone and unarmed.

I think I ought to be
the one to go this time.

You're the youngest. They might
let their guard down more with you.

Careful. If I leave now I can
be to that bridge by sundown.

Come on. Come on.

Little Joe.

Don't come any closer, son.

They got men all around
covering you with rifles.

- You all right, Pa?
- I'm fine, just fine.

About the money, Joe...

Their note said
they wanted 100,000.

Have it here by tomorrow noon.

Hide it under the
north end of the bridge.

That's all I can say to
you, son. Goodbye now.

Hold it. You can dismount now.

I knew I was right about you.

Another man would have done
something foolish back there.

Oh, Chad, you figure you're
gonna be right all the way, don't you?

Why not?


Well, I have a lot of respect
for your intelligence, Chad.

Thank you.

But you're gonna have to be
the luckiest man in the world

once you get that money.

Because if you aren't,
you're gonna be dead.

What makes you think so?

Been, uh,

watching your boys.

You know, it seems to me that they
think you've lost your touch, gone soft.

- You heard the boys talk against me.
- No, I didn't.

Sometimes the way a man looks
talks a heap louder than words.

You're not telling me anything
I don't know, Mr. Cartwright.

- I'm not very worried about it.
- Good, glad you're not.

You know how boys are.
You've got some of your own.

They get big ideas, and you gotta
knock them back into line, right?

There's a big difference
between your boys and my boys.

See, I never have to worry

if one of my boys is
gonna shoot me in the back.


Young Cartwright's on
his way back to town.

Tomorrow he makes us rich.


You think that money's
gonna make you rich? Heh.

With five of you clawing at
it and fighting over it? Heh.

As a matter of fact, we
don't need you anymore.

Put that away!

Never throw away your bait until
you got your hands on the game.

Go on back to camp.


Hey, Willa. Come here a minute.

Come here.

What do you want?

What you got in the pot?

Cartwright's dinner.

TIP: Let me see it.

- That's good enough for him.
- Come on, let me see it.


It's better if I take
this than Cartwright.

Besides, I like you
better without a gun.

Go ahead, give him his dinner.

Stew again?


You know, I'm gonna
miss your cooking.

Give me my gun.

You're not sore at me now for
taking your gun, are you, Willa?

- Don't get smart with me, Tip.
- Well, that was smart back there.

I'm getting kind of tired of men
pointing out how smart they are.

Oh, really now?


Oh, you're crazy.

Chad sees us, he'd kill you.


I doubt that.

Chad's getting slow and old.

Now, you remember that
the next time you look at that...

That has-been husband of yours.

That Mrs. Cord, she, uh...

She's really the one
person that listens to you.

Yeah, well, I know
how to handle women.

What about them men?

What's that mean?

I think maybe...

Maybe you're
downgrading Chad too fast.

I mean, he isn't blind.

Can't help but see that his wife

is sort of treating you
like something special.


Well, that's his problem.

If you're right about Chad,

if he has slowed down,
then he realizes it himself.

If he's worried about you,

you look out for a
bullet in your back, son.

You know who should be
sweating, Mr. Cartwright?


I haven't stopped sweating.

Yeah, well, for a man
who's about to die,

you sure don't seem to
be too worried about it.

Well, maybe that's because

no man ever really believes

that another man would
deliberately kill him.

Like I said,

keeping you alive any longer
is a waste of everybody's time.


CHAD: Tip?

Don't worry.

Your friend here has
every hair in place.

CHAD: Good. I'll relieve
you while you get some sleep.

I want you to ride into
Virginia City tomorrow early,

keep an eye on the Cartwright
boys, see if they get the money.


- Thanks.
- For what?

My life.

Might be that your thanks
are a little premature.

This stew tastes better
every time you warm it up.

Go ahead, complain
about my cooking.

Mrs. Cord.

I guess your share of the
$100,000 is gonna make

quite a change
in your life, isn't it?

I mean, you're gonna
be able to live like a lady.

Heh. Might even be able
to hire yourself a cook.

I love to cook, Mr. Cartwright.

I'm not complaining
about the way I live.

Oh, but you would change
things if you could, wouldn't you?

No, I'm not sure I would.

Well, change is a
fact of life, Mrs. Cord.

I don't think you'd
expect Chad to run around

like a gun-happy kid
right through middle age.

Seems to me he's about
ready to settle down.

Well, if he is,
he'll let me know.




What about you, Len?

What are you gonna do with
your share of the ransom money?

I don't know.

I reckon I'll have
myself a time.

Wine, women and song, huh?

- Can't knock it.
- No, can't knock it.

Just as you're getting used to
being a free and easy spender,

you'll wake up in
some sheriff's jail

and he'll be asking you all
kinds of questions like, uh,

"Where'd you get all the money?"

Hope you got some good answers.

Or are you gonna spill
everything you know?

I know enough to
keep my mouth shut.

Does Chad know that?

You know how Chad worries.

We're ready to go.


We're gonna have a long wait,

so you better make yourself
comfortable over there.

Go on into Virginia City.

No matter what the
Cartwright boys are doing,

if you see anything shaping up
like a posse, I want you out here fast.


ADAM: Well, Jim, what
are you boys doing out here?

Sheriff sent us.

I thought we had an understanding
with Sheriff Coffee last night.

All I know, Adam,
is the sheriff's word.

He's afraid you boys are taking
on too much by going it alone.

You tell Roy it's our pa's life.

My orders are to give you
boys one hour, then follow you in.

All right. But do
us this favor, Jim.

Stay out of sight for
that hour, will you?

All right.

- One hour. That ain't much time.
- That's all we've got. Let's go.

We got the money.

Now take Cartwright's
horse and get moving.

What about him? You
want me to take care of him?

I'll handle it, I told you
three times. Now get moving.


They expect me to kill you.
You know that, don't you?

Yeah. Yeah, Tip
made that pretty clear.

I don't think you will, Chad.

Now, don't follow us.

Next time I might
prove you wrong.




It was right here. The
pouches, they're gone.

Hey, Pa!

- Hey, Pa! JOE: Pa!

BEN: By golly.

- Hey, you all right? BEN: Yeah.

JOE: Hey, Pa.

I'm fine.

- They didn't hurt you none?
- No, no, I'm fine.

But we better get up to those fellows
or we won't get our $100,000 back.

Well, how many
of them were there?


Four men and a woman.

I figure they went back
to the abandoned mine

where they were holding
me. We're short a mount.

You take mine. I'll wait here
for the deputy and his men.

BEN: All right.
- Gonna need a gun too, Pa.

Watch yourself.

- We got it, $100,000.
WILLA: Heh-heh.

Did you kill Cartwright?

You heard the shot, didn't you?

Yeah, I heard it. That
don't prove anything.

Tip, you and I have had it.

When we divide the money, you
and your friends here are on your own.

"When we divide the money"?

What's that supposed to mean?

What I'm saying is that we
hide the money and bury it.

Six months from now
we meet here and divide it.

Any one of us can be
stopped on our way out of here.

Last thing we want in our possession
if that happens is a lot of money.

You make any deals you
want to with the rest of them.

I'm not leaving here without
my share of that money.

I feel the same way.

Chad, we're wasting time.

We ought to be in there
counting that money.

If any of them are stopped,
how do they explain $20,000?

- How do we explain ours?
- We don't.

We bury it at the first
good place we can find.

- Come on.
- Chad, um...

I knew you'd pull this
thing off all right, but, uh,

even if you hadn't, um,

I want you to know I'm sorry for
some of the things that happened.

And I, uh...

You're still the only
man I ever cared for.


I'm glad you finally
made up your mind.


We got lots of time left, honey.

Don't worry.



Chad, how bad is it?

Honey, I'm glad we talked
things over before this happened.

Make them think they killed me.



Tip, you finally did it.

You shot him in the back!

Well, Chad always
said, "Don't take chances.

Just take what you want."

You're not taking me.


Why not?

Old soft and slow is dead.


I had nothing to do with
shooting you. It was Tip's idea.


Somebody's coming,
at least three of them.

- What happened?
- Never mind that.

WILLA: Chad.


You and the boys ride out.

Now go on. Go on
and take the money.

Just leave me a rifle and
I'll buy you all the time I can.

No, Chad, I can't. I'm
gonna stay here with you.

Willa, you heard me.

If you have to, throw
her on that horse.





Stay put.

Don't fire.


I warned... I warned
you not to follow.

You knew I would, Chad.

Throw out your gun.


Willa and the boys need time.

There's possemen all around.

Would you rather have
Willa alive or dead?


Mr. Cartwright...

tell Willa...

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry it couldn't
have been different.





- Hold your fire.
- Hey, hold it.

They're wounded, both of them.

Move out.

It's all right, Jim.
Little Joe, we got them.


I'm sorry.

He asked me to tell you that
he loved you till the very end.

I'm not worth it.


He thought you were.

Behind the Scenes of The Hostage

This episode aired without any commercial breaks to accommodate a special five-and-a-half-minute preview showcasing Chevrolet’s new line of cars for 1965. Dubbed “Chevrolet’s Bewitching Bonanza,” this extended commercial featured casts from two Chevrolet-sponsored shows: ABC’s “Bewitched” (including Elizabeth Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead, and Dick York) and NBC’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (featuring Robert Vaughn). They joined Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts, and Michael Landon on the set of “Bonanza” in Virginia City. Notably, this was a rare instance of the “Bewitched” cast appearing in color, as they were filming their first season episodes in black and white.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is a delightful and wholesome series, perfect for individual enjoyment or family gatherings. “The Hostage” is the 170th episode among a total of 430. Produced under NBC’s banner, Bonanza graced the network’s airwaves from September 1959 until January 1973, boasting an impressive 14-season run.

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

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