the long night
Bonanza Western TV
The Lone Writer  

The Long Night Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #03, Episode #32

Adam Cartwright hurriedly travels to Bowline with a bank draft in a race against time to finalize a crucial business deal. However, his journey takes a dangerous turn when he is ambushed by an escaped convict named Poindexter (played by Bing Russell). Forced to swap clothes with Poindexter, Adam soon finds himself mistaken for the criminal by a posse led by Mr. Trace (portrayed by James Coburn). Despite knowing Adam’s innocence, Trace is determined to see him punished. Co-written by George Stackalee and E.M. Parsons, The Long Night originally aired on May 6, 1962.

Discover more about the plot and intriguing trivia, or enjoy the full episode below.

Table of Contents

Watch the Full Episode of The Long Night

Watch the Full Episode of The Long Night:

Main Cast

The following actors appeared in The Long Night, the third season’s thirty-second episode:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright (credit only)
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • James Coburn as Elmer Trace
  • Jack Chaplain as Billy McCord
  • Frank Ferguson as Sheriff Hill
  • William Bramley as Townsend
  • Whit Bissell as Henry Neighbors
  • Paul Dubov as Skidmore
  • Bing Russell as Poindexter
  • Dorothy Adams as Martha Neighbors
  • E.J. André as Prospector (as E.J. Andre)
  • Al Avalon as Johnny
  • Eric Barnes as Brubaker

Full Story Line for The Long Night

Adam hastily journeys to Bowline for a critical business deal, only to be unexpectedly accosted by an escaped convict named Poindexter, who coerces him into swapping attire.
Subsequently, a posse searching for Poindexter apprehends Adam. Despite leader Trace’s awareness of Adam’s innocence, he remains indifferent to the prospect of Adam being wrongfully punished.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Long Night

(fanfare plays)

(whistling, yelling)


That Hoss doesn't know how
lucky he was when he won that toss

and didn't have to
go on a cattle drive.

I don't care if I never
drive cattle again.


Yeah, sure dusty.

Dusty? I got enough dirt in
my mouth to plant corn in.


Well, wash it out with this.


I'll wash it out with
something better than water.

Wonder what's keeping Pa.

It's a lot of money.

Yeah, and all for taxes.

Yep, death and taxes.

Stop complaining.

(sigh) I'm just complaining
about the dirt in my mouth.

Well, here it is.

$10,000 drawn on
Wells Fargo Company,

and, uh, I've
already endorsed it.

Isn't that kind of dangerous?

I mean, anybody
could cash it now.


Well, maybe it is, but
we've got to get this money

to the territorial tax office
before noon on Saturday,

and we've also got to
get to the Double C Ranch

before they sell off
all that good stock.

All right, who makes
the trip to Genoa?

Well, Adam, uh, you know
all about our tax setup.

I accept.

I'd much rather ride to Genoa

than drive that breeding stock
up through those mountains.

Yeah, well, who wouldn't?

I think we ought
to toss on it, Pa.

No, it's all settled.

Adam, I guess you
better get started

right away.

Yep, ought to be safe in there.

Now remember, you've got
till the day after tomorrow.

No longer.

I'll see you in about four days.


Johnny, quick.

You sound like it was
something important, Jeb.

It is, another prison break.

How many this time?

Two got away early this morning.

Now we want you to wire
all town marshals and sheriffs

in 100 mile area.

Ask them to organize posses.

All right, Jeb.

I hope you catch them.

Always do.

But these two are tough hombres.

They're holdup men
and they're killers

(theme song playing)



It's hopeless.

You're not gonna break it.


This better be the place.

I can't drag that
chain another foot.

Yeah, this is it, all right.

(sighs) As soon as Brubaker
gets here with those horses,

- we'll be all the way free.
- Better not forget the chisel

- to break these blasted chains.
- Oh, no, he won't, he won't.

He won't, huh? Well,
you're betting a lot on him.

Lousy prison guard.

Well, he may be a
lousy prison guard,

but he helped us escape.

He, uh, sent that chase
going in the wrong direction.

Oh, he'll be here all right.

(sighs) Maybe.

(chuckles) Drooling
for that money?

(horse approaching, whistling)


Well, I see you
boys made it all right.

Yeah, we made it;
where's the horses?

Where's the chisel
to break these chains?

I risked enough
letting you escape

and setting a false trail.

Any more than that,
make the odds to high.

Too high for who, Brubaker?

For me.

Come on, Trace.

Where's the money?

So, all you care
about's the money?

That $5,000 you got buried.

Now, where is it?

Well, all right then,

guess there ain't nothing we
can do about it, huh, Poindexter?


You want it or not?

Well, where is it?

Right here, Brubaker.

You stupid prison guard.

He fell for it, Trace.

You wouldn't kill me,
would you, Trace?

Get out of those clothes quick.

Helped you escape,
Trace, didn't I?

Well, didn't I?


I'm gonna give you
a chance to go back

and tell that warden
just how you did it.

And get out of those
clothes quick or I'll kill you.

There's only clothes
enough for you, Trace.

How about me?

Well, there's a little
town named Bowlegs

a few miles from here.

We'll get you fixed
up there, huh?


Oh, come on, Sheriff, come on.

What's the holdup anyway?

Let's get this whole
thing over with.

We're waiting for
Henry Neighbors.

And Billy McCoy.

If I didn't let that boy
come along, he'd quit.

But I sure hate leaving
my stables untended.

Look, Townsend, you don't
have to go if you don't want to.

We're shorthanded, what
with the roundup and all.

Oh, I'll go.

But I'm sure getting tired
of these blind chases.

- The whole town is.
- Oh, quit complaining.

Think of the
business I'm losing,

having to close down my
gambling tables and all,

and five will get you 50

we come back with
nothing but saddle sores.

I'm only doing what
the territorial governor

expects us to do.

Hyah! Hyah!

Let's go get them, Sheriff.

Sure would like to have me
a couple of convict scalps.


Put that thing away before
I take it away from you.

Dang kids.

Settle down, now.

We're waiting for
Henry Neighbors.

Did you finish cleaning out

all them stalls?


You throw hay in them?

Yes, I threw hay in them.

Hey, Sheriff, ain't I
gonna get me a badge?

Yeah, you'll get a badge

against my better judgment.

Hey, here comes old Turkey Neck.

Henry? Henry?

Have you got your slicker?

It might rain.

Remember, you caught a bad cold

last time you went
out with the boys.

- I have it, Martha.
- Your handkerchief?

Yes, Martha.

Sheriff, you think she's
going along with us?


I won't, Martha.

Hey, come on, old man.

Them convicts ain't
gonna wait for us.

I'm sorry I had to call
on you again, Henry.

- All right.
- Here, let me take that.

You'll stick yourself and
bleed all over your clean shirt.

Thank you, Martha.

I'll be with you in
just a minute, Sheriff.

Well, if we're going,
let's get moving.

Well, there's gloves in
the saddle roll, Henry.

All right, good-bye, Martha.

Good-bye, Henry, and Henry,

I ain't worried about you
running into them criminals,

but don't fall off the horse.

I won't, Martha.


Good-bye, Henry.

Here, I'll hold and you get on.

All right, thank you.


Thank you, Martha.

Come on, boy, come on.

Bye, Henry.


Come on.

Let's, uh, get off.

Let's give the horse
time to rest a little bit.

Listen, Trace.

With these chains, we got
to be smart and keep moving.

Posses will be combing
the whole territory for us.

For us?

Well, yeah...

Oh, you wouldn't, Trace...

I mean, after us busting
out together and every...

Here's where we part company.

You'd slow me down.

Horse can't make
any time riding double.

Oh, you-you can't...

Move off over
there about 20 feet.


Far enough.

Now here, I'm gonna
leave you this rifle.

Now, if you get in any
real trouble, now you use it.

Good luck, Poindexter.




Hold it, mister.

Now, get down off that horse.

You heard me.

Get down.

Just unbuckle that gun belt.

Throw it all out
in front of you.

Now, get to shucking
them clothes.

You heard me.

(horse neighs)


Whoa! Whoa!





Better save some of that.

You sound just like your wife.

Well, we got no chance finding
anybody in all this country.

Criminals don't come
this way anyhow.

Maybe not, but we got to try.

He could come this way.

Put that thing away!

You know something, Sheriff?

I got a feeling.

I got a feeling I'm
gonna get my first notch.

Put it away!

Yes, sirree.

How you doing, Henry?

You feel you can
make a few more miles?

Yeah, sure, don't
worry about me.

Well, come on, then.


(man groaning)

(groaning continues)

You all right?

Don't-don't hit me no more.

Please, don't hit me no more.

No, no, please,
don't hit me no more.

Please. Please. Please.

Just take it easy, old-timer.

I'm not gonna hit you.

Here, let's have a look at that.

- Come on, come on.
- No, no, pl-please, plea...


That doesn't seem
to be too serious.

Let's see if we can get
you over there on that cot.

- Get on your feet?
- No, please.

Y-You ain't gonna
hit me, are you?

- No.
- Please, please.

Come on, now. You're
gonna be all right.

You just sit right down
there a minute, huh?

Here you go.

See if that doesn't make
it feel a little better, huh?

How many of you
broke out of prison?

Oh, you mean the
clothes. They're not mine.

If you come here looking for
your friend, he's been and gone.

Right there's his leg irons,
if you don't believe me.

How long has he been gone?

Well, I told
you... he just left.

Listen, uh, my
name is Cartwright.

Adam Cartwright.

See, this fella
drew down on me...

From up Ponderosa way.

Why, sure, I know your pa well.

But what you doing
in them there duds?

Well, like I was saying,
this fella that hit you

drew down on me and he
took my horse and my clothes,

and, well, I want to
catch him, but quick.

Now, I could use one of your
horses and maybe some clothes

and a gun, if you got one.

How come you want to go after
a dangerous hombre like that?

Well, just so happened
that there was a bank draft

in my saddle pocket...
About $10,000 worth...

And I mean to get it back.

Well, I'm-I'm sorry, I-I
ain't got no clothes for you.

But the horse and
gun you can have.

That is, if that other
fella didn't take it.

No, no, no, here it is.

He didn't find it.
It's here all right.

There you are.

Listen, do you, uh, think
maybe you could get

to the nearest town and
maybe alert the sheriff there?

That would be Bowlegs.

And don't you worry
none; I can make it.

A crack on the head don't
hurt an old desert rat like me.

- Good.
- Come on, now.

We'd better saddle you
up a horse and quick, huh?



Aye, you sure give
me a start there.

Why, why, you're one of
them guards from the prison.

The convict got away on
one of your horses, huh?

Well, don't worry, old
man, I'll get it back for you.

That weren't the
way it was at all.

I give it to him.

You give him your horse?

Yeah, because a convict
made him change clothes

and stole his horse.

And that real
convict, he came here

and made me take off his chains

and he, and he hit me
on the head, right here.

Oh, who's this other fella?

Adam Cartwright.

I know his whole family.

And-and Adam... he
went after that there convict

to get his horse
and saddle back.

Well, he's just gotta.

He's gotta, huh? Why?

Because there's a bank draft
in that there saddle pocket...

And a big one.

A bank draft, huh?

That's the same
as money, ain't it?

You know how much?

$10,000, he said.

And-and I'm riding to the
town for help right now.


(cocks gun)

You get in the house, old man.

Come on.

Please, don't.
Please... (gunshot)

Another two hours and
we'll fry in our own grease.


You slob!

What's the matter with you?

Yeah, it'll be hot all right.

That's why the convicts
would never come this way.

Mm. Ooh.

What's the matter?
You don't like my coffee?

Well, you know, maybe
we should've brought along

old Martha to do it for you.

She, um, she button
your shoes, don't she?

If this is the best
you could do,

maybe we should
have brought her.

Well, she'd be safe enough.

We're always getting up posses,
but we don't never catch nobody.

Well, I got me a
feeling this time.

You got a feeling?

Well, I got a feeling.

We don't get nothing
for catching them,

and it's 20 to one
another-another posse's

already caught them
down by the border.

- We got to look.
- Why?

Every day I'm away from
my business it costs me.


You call that tinhorn
gambling joint a business?

Now, you shut up, stable boy.

Get back to your shovel.

I'll kill you.

You ever say that
again, I'll kill you.

McCord, put that gun down.

I said, put it down!

You saw that,
Sheriff. You saw that.

Don't ever ask me to go
riding posse with you again!

Oh, shut up,
shut up, all of you!

Stop all this jaw-wagging.

We got enough to do without
quarreling amongst ourselves.

And you, McCord...

You pull that gun
again without reason

and I'll take it away from you.

Somebody put out that fire.

Let's get back in the saddle.


(wind whistling)


- Whoa, whoa.
- (gunfire)

Well, looks like I'm
gonna get my first notch.

- You shut up and keep still.
- (gunshots)

Come from over there.

Got time for a drink
of water, Sheriff?

My mouth's kind of dry.


So is mine. Come on.

Come on, boy. Let's go.


Come on.

(wind whistling)

Come on. Poke
your head up again.

I'll knock it off.

All right, drop it!


(crow cawing)


(crow cawing)

ADAM: Glad to see you.

Well, there's your prisoner.

He, uh, waylaid me
back down the road there

and made me change
clothes with him.

Take off your gun belt.

You don't understand.

Man escaped from your prison,
and he stopped me back there.

TRACE: Take off your
gun belt. Turn around.

(wind whistling)

You're making a mistake, Mister.

My name's Cartwright.

What's all this about?

Get over by that tree.

(crow cawing)

(hoofbeats approaching)

Listen, McCord, you stay put.

- Howdy.
- Howdy.

Where you from, Sheriff?

I'm Hill from Bowlegs,
looking for convicts.

- I guess we got one.
- TRACE: We got two.

I'm Brubaker,
Territorial Prison.

Which one is he?

He's Elmer Trace.

Sheriff, that is not right.

- My name is Adam Cartwright.
- TRACE: Shut up!

I'll keep him shut.

Now, you listen to me, Sheriff.

- I am no convict.
- Shut your mouth.

ADAM: I want to get this
thing straightened out. I am not

- Elmer Trace.
- I said, shut up!

Go ahead. Go ahead, hit me.

I sure would like to kill you.

McCord, take it easy.

Why? He's a lousy convict.

He just killed a man
a few minutes ago.

What do you expect
me to do, hold his hand?

Take it easy, I said.

We'll hear your
story a little later.

I hear this Elmer Trace
is a real hard character.

Oh. Who do you think that
dead man is over there?

Don't know.

It's his partner.

HILL: You mean
he killed his partner?

TRACE: Well, they probably

waylaid some
poor devil and then,

got into a quarrel about
who's gonna wear his clothes,

and ride his horse.

Well, Sheriff, shouldn't we, uh,

search the prisoner,
or-or something?

Yeah, I was gonna do that.

- Take those, will you?
- Yeah.

It's terrible, terrible.

Killing and robbing.

You like lawing?

Do I like what?

Being a lawman.
Going on posses and all.

Boy, I sure would.

Yeah, I like it.

Yeah, I just love it.

Running after some
gun-happy convict

with maggots where
his brains ought to be,

waiting for him
to bushwhack you.

Yeah, I like it all right.

Yeah, well, don't worry.
He's gonna get his.

They're gonna hang him.

Will they?

Judges and jury,
and all that, huh?

Search him good, Sheriff.

I know these prisoners.

They got knives and all
kinds of things hidden on 'em.

Well, there ain't
nothing on this one.

I want to ask you
some questions.

We already know all the answers.

Where'd you get that gun?

From an old prospector
little ways back.

What was his name?

I don't know.

You borrow a gun from a
man, you don't know his name?

Well, I'd have to tell
you the whole story,

or you won't believe any of it.

We ain't going to
believe none of it anyhow.

I'm still waiting to hear
where you got that gun.



Bet there ain't nobody
around here faster than that.

(laughing): Yeah.

Yeah, you're pretty
fast with that thing, kid.

Well, I practice all the time.

What do you do when
you're not practicing?

I work for Mr. Townsend
in his livery stable.

Oh. What a shame.

A man of your ability.

What I really want
to be is a-a deputy,

a full-time deputy.



Are you through with him?

- Search him?
- Yeah, nothing on him.


Hill said to tie him
across a saddle.

Where'd he get
them good clothes?

Well, he obviously
killed somebody for 'em.

You rotten murderers.

What do you suppose
he'll do with him?

Oh, he'll get five
years, maybe less.

Five years, maybe
less for murder?

All he needs is a good lawyer.

There ought to be
something we can do about it.

Maybe there is.

We'll be right with you.


I tell you, Sheriff,
I'm not a convict.

SKIDMORE: Shut up, cowboy.

We've heard enough out of you.

Ten'll get you 40,
you've done this before.

Let's get this over with.

Oh, no, McCord, you
ain't gonna do that.

Ain't asking, Sheriff.

I said, we're gonna hang him.

I don't want another
chirp out of you, boy!

They never take 'em in alive.

You know how they take 'em in?

Tied across a saddle.

That's right.

Let's go.


Hold it!

I'll kill the first man
that puts a rope on him.

This man here ain't
worth taking in alive.

What kind of a law
officer are you, anyway?

He's a law man enough to know

that-that no jury's
gonna hang him.

They're gonna turn him loose.

That's for a jury
to decide, not us.

A man has a right to
prove his innocence.

Now, if you take
me back to Genoa,

you'll find that people
back there know me.

I say we string him up!

I've had enough
out of you. Shut up!

Give me that rope, kid.

I'll tell you what this
man is doing here.

He's stalling for time.

It's a long way to Genoa.

Lot can happen
between here and there.

He's right. Why don't
you listen to him?

All right, Sheriff,
the prospector,

the man that gave me the gun...

Now he lives only a half
a dozen miles from here.

Take me back there. He knows me.

It's all I ask is a chance.

You men want him
on your conscience?

Well, I don't.

All right, Mister, that's
what you get... a chance.

Get him on the
horse, and let's go.

(horse sputters)

(horse sputters)


You serious about
wanting to take a job lawing?

Sure I am.

I want that badge.
That'll stop 'em.

Stop who?

Everybody's laughing
at me behind my back.

I know they do it.

That's why I'm gonna get 'em.

Easy, easy.

You know, I don't want
that killer taken back alive.

You help me, I help you.

Hey, inside, come on out!

This is Sheriff
Hill from Bowlegs!

I want to talk to you!

Keep an eye on him.

Hey! Open up!

The old fella's dead.

I can't believe it.

Go have a look.

Not you.


You're Trace, aren't you?


You know what I want.

(laughs quietly) They
won't believe you.

They want to hang you.

Oh, the sheriff ain't
gonna be able to stop 'em.

But you hand me that
little bank draft, I'll stop 'em.

Now, I got nothing to lose.

good enough for me.

I say we hang him right now.

That's what I been
telling you all along.

Guess we should've
listened to the kid.

It's still not too late.

You still holding out?

I'm against it.

I'm against it, and so is Hill.

Hill, come on out here!

You try to stop us, I'll
see you lose your job.

Don't you threaten me, Townsend.

I ain't taking
that kind of talk.

Well, now, if you
don't want in on it,

take a little
walk till it's over.

Unbuckle that
gun belt and drop it.


He was asking for it.

Now there ain't
nothin' stopping us.

It's your last chance. Huh?

You change your mind,
you just let me know, huh?

Stop! Stop or I'll shoot!

Ain't gonna be no
hanging; it ain't right.

No, you take your
hands away from that gun.

Doesn't mean I
won't shoot you, too.

Don't know how to handle this,

but the sheriff'll know
when he comes to. Now, you,

you go on and get back to
the shack and take him inside.

Go on, hurry.

Go on, hurry.

I swear, you come any closer

and I'll shoot.

Easy. Easy.

Watch his eyes.

You stay where you
are, do you hear?

I'm not fooling.

You stay there, or I'll shoot.

Relax, now.

Go on, hurry.



See if you can help him.

(Neighbors coughing)

I want to thank you for
what you done, Neighbors.

You sure surprised me.

Just keep that handkerchief
pressed against the wound

- and the bleeding will stop.
- Right.

I'll get you to a doctor soon
as we get out of this mess.

(Neighbors coughs)

Why didn't you show
me this bank draft before?

Well, I suspected
the guard was Trace.

If I'd given you the draft
then, he'd have killed you for it.

How did Trace
know that you had it?

Well, I guess the prospector
told him before he killed him.

How you doing, Mr. Neighbors?


Well, you lost a lot of blood.

It's beginning to hurt, too.

Think you're strong enough
to guard that window?

I think so.

Think you and me
can hold this door?



That back window! Go.


Somebody's trying to
sneak around the back.

Neighbors is watching
that back window.


Now, as long as they think that
back window's being watched,

they're not gonna try to leave.

We'll use that wagon over there.

- The wagon?
- As a ram.

We'll ram that
door, huh? Come on.

HILL: Hey, McCord!

Come here, I want to talk!

Go ahead, talk to him, kid.

And make sure he
doesn't open that door.

(whispers): Come on.

What do you want, Hill?

You're making a mistake, McCord!

I know what I'm doing!

HILL: This fella here
is Adam Cartwright!

It's not gonna work.

I can prove it!

Lift up the tongue.

That fella you think's a
prison guard is Elmer Trace!

I think you're lying!

I think you got a gun pointed
at that stupid sheriff of ours!

That's right, kid,
keep talking to him.

Hey, Hill?

Hey, Hill, you tell Neighbors,

you tell him I could've shot him

between the eyes
if I'd have wanted!

TRACE (whispers): Okay.

Kid, come here.

(singsongy): Oh, Hill...

we're coming in after him!

Okay, we'll push it from back.

(horse neighs)


- All right, keep at it!
- Go! (grunting)

Knocking that door down ain't
a-gonna do you no good, McCord.

I'll shoot the first man
that comes through.

(gunshots continue)




Bring it back again!

Drop the guns.

All right, McCord,
come on in here!


Thought you was gonna
get off easy, didn't you?

I'll get the rope.

You, too, Sheriff.

(pants, groans quietly)

All right, kid, back
over here, huh?

Townsend, Skidmore...
drop your guns.

Come on!

(low grunting)

I'm about to get
me $10,000, kid.

Cartwright's got a bank
draft that's worth that much.

Now, you in with me, huh? 50-50?


It's that or you're dead.

You lied to me.

- (grunts) Stupid!
- (yells)

Come on, get
over there, Sheriff.

All right, Cartwright...

I know you don't care
much for junior here,

but if you don't come
up with that bank draft,

this future lawman is dead.

Let the boy go, Trace.

I'll give you the draft.

I thought he was a lawman.

I made a big mistake.

Well, you didn't
make the mistake

you nearly could've
made, all of you.

And you fellas
don't have to worry

about being called
for posse duty again.

You'd better find a way
to thank Henry Neighbors.

Now, put him on a horse
and get him to a doctor.

- Let me get him...
- (grunting)

There, Mr. Neighbors.

Take this one with you.

I've known these men for years.

Strange which one turned
out to be the real man.


I hope I see you again.

Been a pleasure, Sheriff.


Behind the Scenes of The Long Night

Poindexter’s lifeless body seems to be encased in a plastic sheet as it is placed over the horse.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza offers exceptional, family-friendly entertainment for solo viewing or sharing with loved ones. The Long Night is the 98th episode out of 430 in the series. NBC produced Bonanza, which aired on the network from September 1959 to January 1973, encompassing 14 seasons.

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

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