the lawmaker
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The Lawmaker Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #03, Episode #25

While having lunch with Adam and Joe Cartwright, Sheriff Coffee witnesses a robbery at the Virginia City Express office. In his attempt to apprehend the gang, Coffee is injured in a horse stampede caused by the outlaws. Asa Moran (played by Arthur Franz) is appointed acting sheriff during his recovery. However, Moran’s power quickly corrupts him, and he secretly collaborates with the criminals. He becomes a target when Adam Cartwright threatens to expose Moran’s corruption. Les Tremayne, a seasoned radio personality, portrays Judge Jackson, while John Mitchum, brother of Robert Mitchum, takes on the role of Lou Palmer. Co-written by John A. Johns and Dick Nelson, The Lawmaker aired on March 11, 1962.

Explore the episode’s storyline and mesmerizing trivia, or enjoy the episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of The Lawmaker

Watch the Full Episode of The Lawmaker:

Main Cast

Apart from the main cast, “The Lawmaker,” the twenty-fifth episode of Bonanza Season 3 presents a diverse array of recurring and guest-supporting actors. The following individuals play prominent roles in the episode:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Arthur Franz as Asa Moran
  • Charlie Briggs as Charlie Fitch (as Charles Briggs)
  • Les Tremayne as Judge George Jackson
  • Ray Teal as Sheriff Roy Coffee
  • Rosalind Roberts as Vicki
  • Roy Engel as Doctor Paul Martin
  • John Mitchum as Lou Palmer
  • Bob Miles as Robber During 2nd Robbery
  • Bill Catching as Robber During 1st Robbery (as J.P. Catching)
  • Sam Bagley as Merchant (uncredited)
  • John Bose as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Rudy Bowman as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Betty Endicott as Brunette Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • Herman Hack as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Michael Jeffers as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Martha Manor as Blonde Saloon Girl (uncredited)
  • William H. O’Brien as Barfly (uncredited)
  • ‘Snub’ Pollard as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Cosmo Sardo as Bartender (uncredited)
  • George Tracy as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Sailor Vincent as Lem – Shopkeeper (uncredited)
  • Chalky Williams as Townsman (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Lawmaker

As Sheriff Coffee attempts to apprehend the gang robbing the Virginia City Express office, he’s injured in a horse stampede caused by the criminals.

During his recovery, the corrupt Asa Moran, who conspires with the outlaws, is appointed the acting sheriff. Adam’s efforts to expose Moran’s wrongdoing make him a target on the sheriff’s hit list.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Lawmaker

(fanfare plays)

Come on.

ADAM: Eh, seems
like there's no end to it.

BEN (sighs): Let's
take a bit of a break.

LITTLE JOE: Good idea. I'm
about half played out myself.

- Oh, good evening, Sheriff.
- Adam, how are you?

- Hi, Roy. -Ah, Roy.
- Hi, Roy.

Ain't there enough daylight
for you Cartwrights anymore?

Huh? Oh. (laughs)


Oh, well, we ran into a rock
slide on the way into town.

It took about four
hours to clear the road.

Lem here was good enough to stay
open so we could load the wagon.

I didn't figure you was
robbin' ol' Lem here.


Seems like a quiet
enough night, Roy.

You headin' home?

Well, not yet a while.

There's still a few dark
corners that I gotta poke into.

- Well, good night, boys.
- Good night.

Hope you don't run into
any more rock slides.

- (Ben chuckles) -Good night, Roy.
- Take it easy, Sheriff.

Come on, let's get to
work and finish up, huh?

- Right.
- Come on, let's do it a little faster now.


(dog barking in distance)

(horse neighing)

You're covered, mister.

Hold it right there.

Now, step down off that
horse, slow and easy.

Come on.

(horse whinnying)

Willie, come on!

Let's get out of here!

The whole town will be here.


Oh, my leg.

They was tryin' to
rob the Express office.

One of 'em rode his
horse right over me.

- Get the doctor. Hurry.
- Right.

(theme song playing)

That's a really good
job of plastering.

Missed my calling.

(Ben and Sheriff laughing)

Well, that ought to hold you
until you get to San Francisco.

Doc, I don't much like
ramblin' all over the countryside

with this thing on my leg.

You done a pretty
good job of fixing me up.

Now look, Roy,
you heard the doc.

The condition your leg's
in, there's only one man

this side of St. Louis
can put it right again,

and he's in San Francisco.

Now, you either make
that trip, or you could spend

- the rest of your life on a crutch.
- Yeah.

Well, you put it that way,

and I guess it ain't such
a hard choice to make.

I'm going out and
get a little breakfast.

Can I bring you something?

Doc, I got a lot
of things to do.

How long do I have to stay here?

Until that cast
sets good and hard.

I'll bring you a plate of
ham and eggs, all right?

All right. Thanks.

(mumbles): Ham and eggs.

- (door opens, closes)
- It looks pretty good.

Oh, come on, now, Roy.

You'll be back in no time.

Ben, would you do
something for me?

Well, sure, name it.

Put that badge
on till I get back.


Now, Roy, you-you're
not being serious.

I was never more
serious in my life.

Oh, well, I...

I couldn't... I
couldn't do that.

Well, the people of
Virginia City would be saying

the Ponderosa's coming
into town and taking over.

People would say
no such of a thing.

Oh, yes, they would.
Yes, they would.

Well, what the would say is

that I picked the
best man for the job.

Well, I do thank you
for that, Roy, but, uh,

I don't believe it would be
the right thing for me to do.

- You don't think so, huh?
- No.

Well, one of your boys then.
Any one of 'em could handle it.

Oh, that would be the
same thing, don't you see?

But somebody's got to
take over while I'm gone.

This town needs the law.

No. There must be plenty
of other men could do the job.

For instance?

Well... Ed Prentiss.

He's away on a cattle drive.

(quietly): Oh, yeah.

Phil Cassidy.

They put him on as a
foreman at the mine last week,

and I'm sure he
wouldn't want to trade

them big wages
for a sheriff's pay.


How about that young fellow

with that little starvation
spread out by you?

What's his name again?

Oh, uh, you mean,
uh... um... Asa Moran.


Yeah. Well, he's a...

Yeah. Now, so long
as it's out your way,

would you mind talking to him

and making sure
he'd take the job?

Well, Roy...

we haven't been exactly
the best of neighbors of late.

Ever since he had
that run-in with Adam.

What run-in?

I guess it started
a few years back,

when they were both showing
bulls down at the stock show,

I guess Moran
didn't take too well to

Adam running off with
the... with the blue ribbon.

- Then of course there was...
- Ben, what would that have

to do with whether or not
he makes a good sheriff?


Nothing. Nothing at all.

(Ben chuckles)

All right, I'll talk to him.

Now, will you just rest easy.

going to be all right.

I will now.

Dr-Drink of water?


(knocking on door)

Oh. Morning, Asa.

Hi, Hoss.

One of your riders stopped by

and said your pa
wanted to see me.

Come on in.

Thank you.

I'll go get Pa.

You want a sandwich?

Oh, no, thanks.

Say, Hoss...

do you know why your
pa wants to see me?

No, I ain't got no notion.

Well, I... (clicks tongue)

Last week, six or
eight head of my stock

got into your pastureland.

I was wondering if your pa
was sore at my scrub stuff

mixing in with his
fancy, purebred cattle.

Aw, Asa, you know
better than that.

Pa ain't the kind of
feller to jumble a man

about something that
couldn't be helped.

- (footsteps approaching)
- BEN: Asa.

Glad you could ride over.


How are you feeling?

- Fine, fine. Just fine, thank you.
- Good, good.

Oh, uh, son, uh, would
you mind letting Asa and me

have a little private

- Sure, Pa. See you, Asa.
- Hoss.

Um... come on, sit down.

Thank you.

Well, how are things going?

Oh, well, you know
how it is, Mr. Cartwright.

It's a struggle.

Always seem to be coming
up a day late and a dollar short.

(Ben chuckles)

But I'm not complaining.

No, no. No, I... I know that.


how would you like to
take on a temporary job?

Make yourself a
little extra cash?

Well, I don't know at all.

What sort of a job?

Well, uh...

you heard what
happened to Roy Coffee?

Oh, yeah.

Well, Roy and I
were talking about, uh,

you know, somebody to
fill in while he's getting well,

and... well, how would
you like to take it on?

What do you mean?

You mean me... me being sheriff?

Yeah. Well, just until Roy
gets-gets better, you know.


Well, I-I don't know.

It's kind of sudden.

I mean, why me?

I never wore no badge before.

No, but...

well, you're a
steady young fella,

and you're able and,

well, Roy thought you
could do a good job of it.

- And so do I.
- What about the people in town?

Th-they don't hardly know me.

What would they think?

Well, I... I guess
that sort of depends

on what kind of job you do.

Well, yeah, yeah,
I guess that's right.

I swear to uphold and
enforce the laws of Virginia City,

to the best of my
conscience and my ability.

So help me God.

Congratulation, Asa.

Thank you. Thank you, Sheriff.

You bet. Now, here's your...

- Here. Here's your badge.
- Thank you.

- Here are the keys to jail.
- Thanks.

And there's the
keys to the office.

Thank you very much.

Congratulations, Sheriff Moran.

Thank you, Judge.

- Mr. Cartwright.
- Congratulations.

I, uh, I don't know very
much about this sort of thing,

but I'll sure try to do
as good a job as I can.

We know you will, Asa.

Oh, there's one more thing.

You're entitled to a
deputy, if you want one.

It might be a good idea.


Well, I wouldn't rightly
know just who to pick.

Say, how about Charlie
Fitch, my hired man?

Do you think he'd do?

That's your choice to make, Asa.

Oh, I know he's not very bright,

but he's big and strong,

and he'll do anything
I tell him to do.

Do I bring him here to
have you deputize him, or...?

I'm leaving for San Francisco
in just about two minutes,

but I'm sure Judge Jackson
there will do it for you.

Or if you prefer it that way,

you're empowered, by your office

to do your own deputizing.

Well... (laughs softly)

Well, I'll just
look him up then.

I, uh...

certainly appreciate your
show of confidence in me.

- Thank you.
- Good luck.

Hope you have an
easy trip, Sheriff Coffee.

Thank you, Asa,
and good luck to you.

Thank you.

- BEN: You take it easy now.
- SHERIFF: A little.

BEN: Watch those steps.

- WOMAN: Bye, Sheriff.
- Bye.

Good luck.

Oh, I'll have a good time there.

(Ben chuckles)

Yeah, they'll fix
him up real good.

Now, easy getting in there.

Yeah, who we got for a driver?

Ol' Jake here. The best.

He'll do 'er.

Up you go.

- (Sheriff grunting)
- There we are.

(Sheriff chuckling)

Now, Roy, you'll write to us,

let us know if you
need anything.

I'll do that.

And don't worry about Asa.

He's going to be all right.

Ben, you've been just
wonderful about this whole thing.

- And you, too, Adam. Good-bye.
- All right.

Good-bye, folks. -Bye, Sheriff.

You take it easy with him now.

- Don't shake him up too much.
- I'll do that.

- (Ben chuckles)
- Hyah!

- SHERIFF: Let her go.
- Hyah! -There you go.


Take a real man
to fill his boots.

More of a man than
the one we have?

I didn't say that.

Well, this is Asa's first chance

to show what kind
of a man he really is.

Let's see if we can
give him a fair shake.


(distant dog barking)

CHARLIE: Asa? Asa?!

Charlie, what's the
matter with you?

I was just down by
the Express office.

There's two horses in the alley.

I think someone's in there.

Charlie, uh, are you sure?

Yeah, don't you
think we better check?


Yeah, I guess so.


There are the horses, Asa.


Somebody in there, all right.

I can just make out a light
coming through the door.

What are we gonna do, Asa?

Well, uh,

you get by the front door
in case they go out that way.

And when you're all set,

I'll give a yell for
'em to come out.

Whichever way they
go, we'll get them.

All right.

Oh, now, wait a minute.

Better let me have the big one.

You men in the Express
office... you come out of there,

'cause we got the
place surrounded.

Now, no tricks.

You throw your guns out and
come out through that door.

That's good.

Now you come right out
where we can see you.

We're coming out. Don't shoot.


What did you do that for?

He wasn't gonna do nothing.

Stay where you are.

We threw our guns
out, just like you asked.

Don't move!

You didn't even
give him a chance.


My gosh, Asa.

I... I killed 'em, Charlie.

Sure did.

You sure killed 'em, Asa.

I had to, Charlie.

You know that, don't you?

I had to do that!

You know it!

Sure you did, Asa.

You're the Sheriff.

It's about time you got back.

What took you so long?

I've been doing what
you asked me to do,

down at the Express
office, listening.

Judge Jackson and the man
that ran the place were there,

and they were sure interested

in everything that
went on last night.

They were asking
a lot of questions.

You tell 'em what I said,

about those two hold-up
men trying to jump us?

That's why I had to kill 'em?

I told 'em something like that.

Something like that?

Now you tell me, what
did you say exactly?

I told 'em that it looked like
those men were trying to fight.

At a time like that, a man
ain't got time to stop and think.

Did folks believe it, the
way you told about it?

Did they believe it?!

I don't know!

Judge Jackson's got a
way of looking at a man

that sends a chill
clear through you.

That's why I left when I did.

Asa... do you think
they're gonna believe us?

They'd better believe it,

and you'd better remember.

When you're asked, those
two men tried to jump us.

And we stick to it!

(door opening)

Uh, Judge Jackson.

Anything wrong?

Sheriff, the Express agent
just got a telegraph message

from the head
office of the company

about what happened last night.

Oh, yes, about those,
uh, two men, I, uh...

That's right, Sheriff.

They offer hearty

for a job well done,

and authorize
payment of this reward.

A... reward?

JACKSON: 200 dollars gold.

Congratulations, Sheriff.

Roy Coffee knew
what he was doing

when he picked you for this job.

MAN: Good work, good work.

He sure did.

Lou, might as well take the
horses over to the wagon shop.

All right, Mr. Cartwright.

If they're gonna pull that new
wagon back to the Ponderosa,

they might as
well get used to it.

- Yeah.
- Well, we'll be in the saloon.

When you get through, come
back, and I'll buy you a drink.

- Yeah.
- By golly, Adam, I'll take you up on that.


(rhythmic metallic hammering)

ASA: Drink it up, boys.
Drink up the red eye.

- Hooray for summer doings, huh?
- WOMAN: Yay!

Oh! (Asa makes kissing sound)

(woman giggles)

Well, now, well, lookee here.

Here's the man that
talked me into the job.

Come on, Ben, Adam,
I'll buy you a drink.

What is this, Asa,
some kind of celebration?

- Well...
- You haven't heard yet?

Asa's just about the
biggest man in town.

Oh, now, Vicki...
Well, it's true.

Asa shot it out last night

with two men who were
robbing the Express office,

and he killed 'em both.

ASA: Well, I don't take
no pleasure in killing folks,

but then they shouldn't
ought to make no fight of it.

See, I was all for
taking 'em alive,

but when this one
come at me with his gun,

and the other tried to draw
down on me from behind,

well, there was
nothing I could do.

Isn't that right, Ben?

Oh, sure, Asa.

Sheriff has a right
to defend himself.

You don't think I did
anything wrong, do you?

No, Asa, I don't think
you did anything wrong.

Adam, what do you think?

There was nothing
else you could do.

Well, I'm glad to
hear you say that.

Well, come on now, sit
down, I'll buy you a drink.

Hey, bartender,
bring some drinks here

for my friends, the Cartwrights.

(lively piano music playing)

Mighty nice of you, Asa.

There we are.

Oh, your money's no
good here today, Asa.

- What?
- This one's on the house.

(laughter and chatter)

Toast. To the new
sheriff, Asa Moran!

(cheering, overlapping chatter)

Thank you.

Well, I got to get going.

I got me some shopping to do.

- Oh, Asa?
- Huh?

Don't you spend all that
reward money in one place now.

Oh, no, ma'am,

but I am going to buy me
some store-bought clothes.

These old rags of mine
just about wore out.


He's really
enjoying it, isn't he?


He's got a right
to, it seems like.

You believe it happened
the way he said?

Big blazing gun battle?

Well, I... I don't know.

I wasn't there.

And neither were you, Adam.

(laughter and crowd chatter)

- Oh, hi, Lou.
- Hi, Vicki.

Oh, everything ready, Lou?

Ready? The thing
ain't even finished yet.

They say now they won't be
able to get to it till the morning.

Oh. Oh, sit down, Lou.

I guess, uh, you better
stay in town overnight,

bring the wagon
out in the morning.

No use you making two trips.

That's fine by
me, Mr. Cartwright.

Say, I saw Asa Moran
as I came over here.

That badge makes his
chest stick out a mile.

Ah, it's not just
the badge, Lou.

He's a hero. Didn't you hear?

No. Is that right?



It's fine.

LOU: Hey, Asa!

Look at them new duds.

Asa, sure looks like

you got yourself a ride
on the glory road today.

Anything wrong
with these clothes?

Well, uh...

Asa's a new sheriff, and
he's got to dress the part, Lou.


What's so funny then?

Nothing. I was just thinking

what an awful big letdown
it's gonna be for you

when you have to
come on down to earth

and be plain old
Asa Moran again.

Lou, you may have
just made yourself

one real, first-class enemy.

Oh, Asa, you sure scared me.

Well, ain't you the dude!

See you got a set of
new store-bought clothes.

You got something to say
about the way they look, too?

Well, gosh, no, Asa.

I-I think they look fine.

Well, then, you just better
start calling me Mr. Moran.


Why, Asa... I said, Mr. Moran!

That Lou Palmer.

Working for the Cartwrights
has made him as uppity as them.

You ain't had no trouble with
the Cartwrights, have you?

Not yet, Charlie.

Not yet.

I wouldn't go hunting no
trouble with a Cartwright.

They're a pretty close family.

You take on one of 'em,
you got to take on 'em all.

I'm not scared of no Cartwright.

One or all of 'em.

You better remember
one thing, Charlie.

I'm sheriff of this town,

and there's many a
thing a sheriff can do.

What do you mean?

I swore an oath on a bible
to uphold the law in this town.

That means going up against
anybody who tries to break it,

whether his name is
Cartwright or anything else.

You ain't expecting
no Cartwright

to go breaking the law, are you?

They're law-abiding people.

They better be, Charlie.

They sure better be.

(piano playing,
lively conversations)

Well, I'm sure glad
that wagon wasn't ready.

Otherwise, I wouldn't be
sitting here this evening

drinking beer
with a pretty girl.

Oh, thank you, Lou.

I didn't know you
thought I was pretty.

Well, sure.

Ain't I never told you that?

Well, even if I never did,

a girl sure ought to
know when she's pretty.

I mean, when she's real
pretty, the way you are.


Lou, you're nice.

(giggles) Asa,

we were just sitting
here, having a beer.


I was hoping you'd be alone.

Well, Asa, it was
very nice of Lou

to invite me to have
a beer with him.

Wouldn't you like to sit
down and have a beer, too?

Lou wouldn't mind.

Sure, Asa, sit down.

No hard feelings.

Let me buy you a beer.

If you can't tell
him, Vicki, I can.

Go home to the Cartwrights, Lou.


Asa, I think you're the
one that ought to go home.

I'll be here tomorrow.

Tomorrow ain't good enough.

Now, if you want to be my girl,

like you was acting
this afternoon,

I don't want you associating
with the likes of him.

Well, where did you get the
idea I want to be your girl?

What's wrong with me, anyhow?

Are you threatening me?

Why, you yellow-livered swamper.

You forget you ain't got the
Cartwrights to back you up.

I don't need the Cartwrights
to take care of you.


You're under arrest

for striking an
officer of the law.

(horses approaching)

Somebody's coming.

Kind of early for
visitors, isn't it?

Whoever it is, reckon
why he don't knock.

Well, it'd be a good idea
if somebody went to see.


(door opening)

Pa, it's Lou!



Get some... get some brandy.

Put him down on the couch.

Here you go, Pa.

I'll get some bandages.

Get some hot water, too.

Lou can hold his own
in a fight with anybody.

He's been pistol-whipped.

Who'd have done this to Lou?

Who did this to you now?

Now, you didn't get hurt
like this in a plain, old fight.


Who did it?


Asa Moran.

Pa, what are gonna do about it?

Well, first we'll
take care of Lou.

Then we'll ride into town and
see the new sheriff of ours.

Hurry up with that water.

Look, I'll go in
and talk to Asa.

You boys take
care of the horses.

We'll be here for some time.

I'd like to talk to Asa, too.

Not till you simmer down.

Take the horses over
to the livery stable.

- Asa.
- Hello, Ben.

What happened, Asa?

Why did you do
that to Lou Palmer?

Do what?

Beat him near to death.

What do you mean,
"beat him near to death"?

He was resisting arrest,
and I had to take him in.

What did he do that
was against the law?

He tried to kill me.

I guess that's against
the law, ain't it?

That isn't the way Lou said it.

I don't care what he said.

He's a friend of yours.

Now you,

you told me that a lawman's
got the right to defend himself,

and that's exactly
what I was doing.

Now are you gonna
tell me I ain't got the right

to defend myself
against friends of yours?

I'm telling you that
you don't have the right

to use that badge as an
excuse to pistol-whip a man.

Now you listen
to me, Cartwright,

this badge gives me the
right to do anything I want.

Within the law.

That's right.

Judge, you didn't
see him; I did!

And I'm gonna
tell you something.

There's absolutely
no excuse in the world

for this sort of thing.

Ben, Sheriff Moran has already
told me about that incident.

I'll bet he has.

He told me that this Lou Palmer

was annoying one of
the girls in the saloon.

And that when the
sheriff told him to go home,

he started a fight.


Judge, don't you understand

he was pistol-whipped
within an inch of his life?

Are you saying that the sheriff
is lying about what happened?

Now, George, Lou
came into my house.

I saw his face; it
was half bashed in.

Now, he told me
exactly what happened,

and I believe him.


I've got Sheriff Moran's
official report right here

about what went on.

Your man was wild and
disorderly in the saloon.

He actively resisted arrest.

It was necessary for
the sheriff to subdue him.

But, out of
deference to the fact

that he works for you,

he released him, sent him
home instead of locking him up.

Oh, yes, he sent
him home, all right.

Sent him home half-dead.

Now look, George, I'm gonna
tell you exactly what I think.

Moran has to be relieved of duty

till there can be a
complete hearing on this.


I'm-I'm afraid that would
be a very serious mistake.

- Why?
- It would appear to be

an official criticism
of Moran's actions.

Yes, exactly.

Yes, but we have
absolutely no evidence

to merit such criticism.

I'm sorry your
man was hurt, Ben.

But I have absolutely
no reason to believe

that Moran's action was
anything more than a legal

and justified act on the
part of a qualified law officer.

I keep telling you I was
nowhere near this place last night,

so how could I know
what happened?

Well, Asa didn't tell
you about it, huh?

He don't tell me
everything he does.

Mr. Moran's pretty busy.

He's got a lot on
his mind these days.

Yeah, I bet he has.

Those two dead men.

You, uh, you were there
when they were killed,

weren't you, Charlie?

Sure I was.

Right in the middle
of all that shooting.

Well, I wasn't right
in the middle of it.

I was off a ways, but I
could see it all good enough.

Oh, you could see it, but
you let Asa do all the shooting.

Why didn't you help him out?

Isn't that what a deputy's for?

I didn't expect
to do no shooting.

It happened pretty fast.

You went to stop two men who
were robbing the Express office,

and you didn't think
you'd have to shoot?

Sure I did.

But Mr. Moran, he yelled in

and told them to throw
their guns outside.

And they did that,
and they come out.

He told them what?

Mr. Moran yelled and told
them to throw their guns out.

And to come out.

Come out with their hands up?

They was trying to fight us.

That's how come he shot them.

Wow, without their guns.

Well, when the first
one come out, he tripped.

And it looked like he was
going after that gun right enough.

And it all happened pretty fast.

Oh, you got me so mixed up.

Now, what are you
mixed up about, Charlie?

About the two men
at the Express office.

About how you shot it out
with two men who had no guns.

Now, that sounds
a little different

from the way you told it.

I told you, Adam, that
weren't the way it was.

Well, I bet Judge Jackson
would like to hear from you two

how it really was.

I bet he'd like to hear
about Lou Palmer, too.

Yeah, I'm sure he'd like to
hear how it really was with Lou.

Now wait a minute,
you're not gonna go talk.

You hit him pretty
hard, Mr. Moran.

He asked for it.

Now let's cart his carcass
over to the jailhouse.

These poor Cartwrights
can't hold their liquor.



He's gonna be madder than
a hornet when he comes to.

I better get the key
and lock him up.

No, Charlie.

We're gonna leave this unlocked.

But he'll get out, Mr. Moran.

That's right.

He'll get out.

And when he does,
he's gonna get killed

trying to escape.

See, we-we-we got to
keep him quiet now, Charlie.

And we're gonna keep
him quiet for good and all.


BEN: Hey, Joe, Hoss!

Where you off to in such a rush?

Going to the jail to get Adam.

- What?
- Yeah, Asa's got him behind bars

in there.

Asa hit him over
the head with a gun.

- What?!
- What are we doing,

standing her gabbing,
let's go get Adam.

Wait a minute, wait a
minute, wait a minute.

Look, I'll, uh, I'll
go in there myself.

Pa, you against both of them?

I'm not gonna be
against anybody.

Now, we're gonna stick
to the law in this, all of us.

You two wait out here.

- Pa, I think we ought to go...
- I said wait out here.

I'm just as mad about
this thing as you are,

but you're too dad-blamed
hot-tempered, both of you.

Here, now wait outside.

I want to go in there.

Can't let you do that, Ben.

I want to see Adam.

Not in my jail.

Look, I'm his father, I
have a right to see him.

Ben, you'd better
get out of here

before you get into trouble.

All right, I'll
post bail for him.

No, sir, he's a
hostile prisoner.

Ain't nobody bailing out a
hostile prisoner out of my jail.

Look, Asa, I'm told you hit
him over the head with a gun.

I'm told he's hurt.

No, no, he's all
right, he's fine.

- He's fine?
- Yeah.

Good, then you won't
mind if a doctor sees him.

I'll go get Doc Martin.


You ain't seeing him,
no doctor's seeing him.

Nobody's seeing him
until I say so, and that's...

(Ben yells)

Charlie, you're a witness!

He's attacking an officer.

Why are you doing this, Asa?

I'm just trying to keep the
law like I was hired to do.

Folks go breaking the law,

I got to deal with
them the way I see fit.

You know my son's no lawbreaker.

He was obstructing an officer.

Obstructing an officer
and disturbing the peace.

You learn the words fast, Asa.

Too bad you don't learn
what goes with them.

Well... all right.


FITCH: Don't kill him, Asa!


pull that trigger
and I'll kill you.

All right, throw the gun
over there on the floor.

I'll just go in to make
sure Adam's all right.

Fitch, get the key
and open the door.


Pa, you all right?

Pa, you all right?

Yeah, I'm all right. You
go, go look after Adam.

- Hey, Joe!
- Yeah?

Bring me a key to this door.

It's unlocked!


(Adam groans, coughs)

You all right, Adam?

ADAM (groaning): Oh, yeah...


We better get him
to the doc quick, Joe.

LITTLE JOE: He's got a
good crack on the head.

Adam... Adam, you all right?

You takin' him outta here?

Taking him to the doctor.

You take that prisoner out of
here, I'm gonna be after you.

I'm gonna be after you with
everybody in town behind me.

You come ahead, Asa.

We'll be at Doc Martin's
house, at the edge of town.

You'll find us there.

I told you we ought to
let them Cartwrights be.

Hoss liked to kill me.

Will you stop yammering?
I can hardly think.

Now we'll never get
shut of those Cartwrights.

When I'm through, they'll
wish they was shut of me.

Now will you get out
of here, so I can think?

I'm goin' down to the barbershop

and have 'em put
a leech on this eye.

FITCH: Judge Jackson.

What's happened here, Sheriff?

It's all over town that you
arrested Adam Cartwright.

I did.

For obstructing an officer
and disturbing the peace.

Then Ben Cartwright came
in here with his two boys

jumped Charlie and me, and
broke their brother out of jail.

Well, that certainly doesn't
sound like the Cartwrights.

Well, that's the
way it happened.

I want a warrant
for their arrest.

Oh... I don't know.

This whole thing between
you and the Cartwrights

has gotten out of hand.

That's right. And the only way

to set it straight
is to jail 'em.

Well, I think we ought
to let the whole thing

cool down for a little while.

Besides, Asa, I understand

that you roughed
Adam up pretty bad.

Oh, no.

No, I was just performing
my duty as a law officer.

Well, yes, yes,
I'm certain of that.

But did it ever occur to you
that his father and his brothers

might be worried about him?

That ain't no excuse,
and you know it ain't.

Not for what they done.


No, you're right. It isn't.

Folks breaking the law have
got to be brought to account.

Now, Judge, I
didn't ask for this job,

but now that I got it,
I gotta do as I see fit.

That means goin' up against
anyone who breaks the law,

includin' the Cartwrights.

All right, Sheriff.

But when you go after
them, I go with you...

to avoid any more violence.

We've had too
much of that already.

That's right.

Now... let's make
out those warrants.

Well, I should've stayed
put, like you told me.

But I had a feeling
Asa didn't have to kill

those two men at
the Express office.

Oh, Adam, I've
been a blame fool.

Just couldn't see Moran
for what he really is.

Some men, you
just can't trust 'em

with authority of any kind.

That was our mistake,
picking that kind of man.

Well, it's almost
worth the headache

to hear you admit that
you're wrong for once.

What do you think?

He's gonna be all right.

But only because he inherited
that thick Cartwright skull.

You know, he come
mighty close to being killed.

Hope we didn't hurt him none,
bringing him in from the jail.

Oh, no, no. You did right.

Probably saved his life,

judging from the treatment
the prisoners get in that jail.

(townsfolk murmuring)

Pa, here comes Asa.

He said he'd have the
whole town with him.

He's got a good
part of it right now.

Ben, you know there
can't be a ruckus in here.

There isn't gonna be any ruckus.

Not in here.

Now, I'm going out there.

You two stay here.

If they get past me, stop 'em.

(crickets chirping)

I got warrants for your
arrest, Ben, you and your boys.

They inside?

Judge, did you
issue those warrants?


Yes, I did, Ben.

You know, you were
wrong in doing what you did,

especially the jailbreak.

Yeah, I guess that was wrong.

There, you see?

He admits it hisself.

(townsfolk murmuring)

Even you can't go against
the law, Ben Cartwright.

Even you ain't that big.

Well, come on, come on.

What're we waiting for?

BEN: Hold on there!


you say I was wrong in
taking my boy out of jail.

Well, maybe that was a
mistake, according to law.

But what about that other
mistake... the big one?

The one that led up
to all the wrong things

that have happened in the
town the last couple of days?

What mistake was that, Ben?

The mistake we all made

when we pinned a badge
on a man too weak to wear it.

Now, is that the real cause

for everything
that's happened here

since Sheriff Coffee left town?

(townsfolk murmuring)

Come on, we're wasting
time listening to all this gab!

Let's take him!

You two... Hoss, Joe...

You raise your hands;
you're under arrest.


Charlie, didn't you take an oath

to uphold and enforce
the laws of Virginia City

according to your ability
and your conscience?

Didn't you, Charlie?
Isn't that right?

That's right, Mr. Cartwright.

Well, why don't you tell
us what you told Adam

about those two men at the
Express office the other night.

Quiet, Charlie.

Well, what's the matter, Asa?

I think we should all hear
what Charlie has to say.

You afraid to let him tell us?

I don't have to stand for this.

I'm not on trial here.

I'm a law officer.

I came here to
arrest jailbreakers.

Then why did you arrest Adam?

Because he was
talking to your deputy?

Or because he found out that
you killed two unarmed men?

- ASA: That's a lie!
- BEN: Is it?

You see what he's
trying to do, don't you?

He's twisting everything around

so I'm in the wrong
and he's in the right.

- Judge, you give me those warrants...
- No!

They've gotta go to
jail and you know it!

Now, wait a minute...
Is that the truth?

Were those two men unarmed
when Moran killed them?

That ain't the way it was.

You tell 'em, Mr. Moran.

Don't get riled, Charlie.

I told everybody just like
you told me to tell everybody.

- Shut up!
- FITCH: I told everybody

how it looked like
they were gonna fire...

Shut up!

What are you afraid of, Asa?

You afraid for people to
know that you shot down

two men in cold blood, after
they'd thrown their guns down?

You afraid for people to know

that you pistol-whipped
Lou Palmer?

Never shot at one
of these before.

You didn't shoot
at the badge, Ben.

You shot at the man.


Behind the Scenes of The Lawmaker

Before the 1985 US Supreme Court decision in Tennessee vs. Garner, law enforcement could employ lethal force to apprehend a fleeing suspect without necessarily securing the scene. The ruling established that officers cannot use deadly force to prevent escape unless they have probable cause to believe the suspect presents a substantial risk of death or serious physical harm to themselves or others.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza offers excellent, family-friendly entertainment for solo viewing or enjoying with loved ones. The Lawmaker marks the series’ ninety-first episode out of 430. 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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