the phillip diedesheimer story
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The Phillip Diedesheimer Story Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #01, Episode #08

Bonanza is NBC’s longest-running American Western television series, lasting 14 seasons. The hour-long adventures of Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), the triple-widowed owner of the fictional Ponderosa ranch, and his three adult sons, Adam (Pernell Roberts), Hoss (Dan Blocker), and Little Joe, drew a sizable and devoted audience during its heyday.

The Phillip Diedesheimer Story, written by Thomas Thompson, was first aired on October 31, 1959.

Engineer Phillip Diedesheimer (John Beal) arrives in Virginia City and develops a “square set” timbering system in collaboration with Adam Cartwright to keep the Deep Silver Mines safe from cave-ins. When the mine owners refuse to pay Diedesheimer for his efforts, trouble ensues.

Upon Adam’s friend’s death in a mine collapse, the Cartwright brothers set out to give Deidesheimer a chance he deserves.

Mala Powers plays Helene, R.G. Armstrong as Andrew Holloway, and Charles Cooper plays Gil Fenton. Moreover, Paul Birch acts as Tregallis, Robert Osterloh plays Casey, Howard Negley as Dr. Wesley, and silent-film veteran Mae Marsh plays a townswoman.

Read its plot, including some astounding trivia, or enjoy the entire episode listed below.

Watch the full episode of The Phillip Diedesheimer Story

Watch the full episode of The Phillip Diedesheimer Story:

Main Cast

The Phillip Diedesheimer Story, Bonanza’s eighth episode, stars a few of the show’s recurring and one-time supporting cast members in addition to the main cast.

The episode features the following characters:

Books Worth Reading:
  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright (credit only)
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright (credit only)
  • John Beal as Phillip Diedesheimer
  • Mala Powers as Helene Holloway
  • R.G. Armstrong as Andrew Holloway
  • Charles Cooper as Gil Fenton
  • Paul Birch as Tregallis
  • Robert Osterloh as Casey
  • William Forrest as Mine Owner
  • Alan Reynolds as Mine Owner
  • Howard Negley as Doctor
  • Mae Marsh as Mary
  • Willie Bloom as Miner (uncredited)
  • Blondie Bronzell as Miner (uncredited)
  • Forest Burns as Miner (uncredited)
  • Bill Clark as Miner (uncredited)
  • Jimmy Dime as Miner (uncredited)
  • John George as Miner (uncredited)
  • Chuck Hamilton as Miner (uncredited)
  • Ethan Laidlaw as Miner (uncredited)
  • William Meader as Mining Clerk (uncredited)
  • Bob Miles as Waiter (uncredited)
  • Jack Perkins as Brawler (uncredited)
  • Jack Perry as Miner (uncredited)
  • Victor Romito as Mine Owner (uncredited)
  • Cosmo Sardo as Mine Owner (uncredited)
  • Carl Saxe as Brawler (uncredited)
  • Jack Tornek as Miner (uncredited)
  • Chalky Williams as Miner (uncredited)

Full Story Line of The Phillip Diedesheimer Story

Virginia City’s mines are dangerous. The current timbering method cannot support the depth and width of the silver veins. Many mines have previously collapsed, ultimately leading to the death of many miners.

When a mine collapse occurs in the Ophir Mine, Adam investigates the situation with his good friend and mine foreman, Gil Fenton. Andrew Holloway, the Ophir owner, also hired Engineer Phillip Diedesheimer to look further into the case. However, another collapse occurs during their investigation, trapping Adam and Diedesheimer and killing Gil. The situation only fueled the two survivors’ determination to solve the problem.

Diedesheimer devises a square set: the more secure mine support. It requires a lot of wood, but the benefits and guaranteed safety make up for this cost. However, the additional lumber needed drives the interest of the mine owners away. Moreover, they even accuse Adam of attempting to make more money by selling Ponderosa timber.

Not one to accept defeat, Adam, Hoss, and Diedesheimer proceed to install the new square set in the Ophir. They put the system to the test by detonating a dynamite bomb nearby. The new mine system caught the attention of the mine owners, so they took the chance to inspect it. The new timbering method saved their lives, eventually leading to their agreement to invest in the new system.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Phillip Diedesheimer Story

♪ ♪

Mmm. What's this for?

Because I love you.

And because this is
my engagement party.

Now, remember, you promised...

No talking about
mine business tonight.


I promise.

Well, here he is.

How did you ever pry him away?

It wasn't too hard to do.


Well, I told him if he
didn't come to this party,

I'd refuse to be best man
and marry you myself.

I didn't want to
take that chance.

Forget about being

for one night, Gil.

The mine will run
all right without you.

I sent the night shift back
to work on the third level.

You what?

I told you we couldn't
work the third level

without new timbering.

Dad, you promised no mine talk.

Gil, cave in, third level.
The whole shift is trapped.

All right, everybody,
stand back!

Give us room!


My boy. Where's my boy?

It's all right, Mary.

I'll find him.

Mr. Holloway, you promised
us new safety timbering.

I'm doing all I can.
Come on, dear.

You ought to go home.

It's all right. He'll
be all right. I know it.

You said that third
level wasn't safe,

but you sent the
shift in anyway.

You said yourself
it wasn't safe!

Get out of the way, Tregallis.

You used to be one of us.

Now you're marrying
Holloway's daughter.

Gil's doing everything
he can, Tregallis.

When? Like always?

When it's too late? My
kid brother's down there.

Now, you get out of
my way, Cartwright.

All right, stand back.

It's coming up
now. Give us room.

There's two of
them. Move on back.

It's Pat! Pat!

All right, bring him on out.

Pat, oh, thank God you're here.

East slope. Third level.

Every timber seemed
to buckle at once

as they set off
a blast above us.

Same as last week. Every
time it's the same thing.

Move out of the way.

Gil, you're not going
down there, are you?

If I'd stayed down
there where I belong,

this might not have happened.

Don't let what Tregallis
said get under your hide.

If my kid brother was
trapped down there,

I'd think of something worse
to say than Tregallis said.

Adam, you don't have
to come down with me.

It's my timber
you're using, isn't it?

All right, Bud, let her go.

How do they stand
it time after time?

It's like living on
top of a powder keg,

waiting for that
disaster whistle to blow.

That's part of mining, Helene.

Enter it on the report.

Make sure each of the widows
gets the usual box of groceries.

Yes, sir.

A box of groceries in
exchange for a dead husband.

That's company policy.

It's a terrible thing.

I'm sorry this had
to happen tonight

and spoil your party, Helene.

Helene, this is ridiculous.

It's 2:00 o'clock
in the morning.

Let's go home and
get some sleep.

Daddy, those women
won't sleep tonight.

They each have a man
down there, and so do I.



Oh, Girl, are you all right?

I'm all right.

Do you want to tell them?

Tell them what?

That there's nobody else
coming up out of there.

Not tonight.

Not ever.

How soon can you
give me a report?

It will be on your desk.

Cold black figures against
a white piece of paper.

Five dead, two dying,

five missing, 14 injured.

But no slow-up in
production, Mr. Holloway.

Does that make you happy?

Stop it, Gil.

I'm sick of it!

Gil, you shouldn't
have gone down there.

No, that's right.

I should have
stayed at the party.

I'm a superintendent now,

and the men I used to work with
aren't human beings anymore.

Aren't you being a
little melodramatic?

Am I?

You... You should have
been down there with us.

That was melodramatic, too.

I've had my share
of mine disasters.

But you don't have to
face those men every day,

or those women. I do.

It's not my job to
manage the men.

Not your job?

Or haven't you got the guts

to stand up to them and
order them into a mine

that isn't safe
enough for a rat?

The Ophir is as safe as
any mine on the Comstock.

That's saying a lot, isn't it?!

Gil, please.

What were you doing down there?

I was checking the timbering.

I've got a man hired to do that.

I know. Phillip Diedesheimer.

I was hoping to talk with him.

I run the Ophir mine, Adam.

You sell me
timber for that mine.

It's worked out very
well for both of us.

Suppose we keep it that way?

Would you like a brandy?

You must be tired, Helene.

Come over here.

Sit down.

Close to me a minute.

I want to talk to you about Gil.

Now, I'm as fond
of Gil as you are.

If I didn't think he'd make
you a good husband,

I'd have fired him
instead of promoting him.

Gil's a superintendent now.

He doesn't have to go
underground anymore.

Daddy... those
men are his friends.

You-You can't expect
him to forget that.

I had to forget it.

It's a lesson I had to learn.

Stay on your own level.

That's my job,
and I have to do it.

Don't you think I have bosses?

My bosses have no faces.

No hearts, no souls.

But they've got
a stock certificate,

and if I get soft
or sentimental,

they use it as a club
to beat my brains out.

I fought a long time
to get what I've got.

And I'll fight to keep it.

I believe Gil was thinking about
preventing another accident,

not about your stockholders.

Honey, believe me,

it gets pretty lonely
up here on this level.

The higher a man stands,
the farther he can see.

I have to do what I think's
best for the most people.

Try to understand that.

I am trying to
understand it, Dad.

Well, good morning.

How'd you get
into town so early?

I yanked him out
of bed, that's why.


No, thanks.

Gil, you still think
it'd be worthwhile

for me to talk to Diedesheimer?

My future father-in-law
doesn't seem to think so,

but I still do.

That's why Holloway likes you.

You stand up to him.

Hey, who's gonna pay for this?

I don't know...

and I'm too sleepy
to try and figure it out.

I can't figure out
who's going to pay for it

on an empty stomach.

Better bring me another steak.

Mr. Fenton, Mr. Fenton.

Look, I, uh, want
to talk to you.

What is it, Tregallis?

Well, last night

my kid brother was
down in the mine.

I should have known
he'd be all right.

Well, I said things
I shouldn't have.

It's all right, Tregallis,
I understand.

Well, I-I wouldn't
want to lose my job

or anything like that, you know?

You won't, not over this.



Same old Gil.

You ain't changed.

A-A-And listen, all this talk
about shutting down the mine

for safety tests and all
that... don't you do it, Gil.

Long as there's a
hole in the ground,

me and the boys
will go down into it.

We don't want to lose no day's
pay 'cause somebody's afraid

of getting a rock
on top of the head.

And Mr. Cartwright,
I don't blame you

for poking me in the whiskers,

but next time,
don't do it so hard.

Have you seen
Phillip Diedesheimer?

The Dutchman?

I don't understand that one.

He's the only man I
ever knew who could look

a hole straight through
you without even seeing you.

Well, has he been around?

He's been down in that hole

since ten minutes
after you left last night.

Either he comes
up for air pretty soon

or he's gonna find nobody
here to work this hoist

when he rings that bell.

Will you stay around
for a little while?

Take care of this for
me, will you, Casey?


Oh, Gil, I've been
looking all over for you.

Not now, dear. Adam and
I want to go down below

and look around for a minute.

If it were another
woman I could face it,

but to have a silver
mine for a romantic rival...

Hey-hey... Oh, Gil,
please be careful.

If anything happened to you...

Off you go.

All right, let 'er go!

Good, sound timbering, Gil.

But it just isn't holding.

Phillip! Phillip Diedesheimer!

It is not usually so,

but here in these
mines there's such

great variance of temperatures.

There's a constant shrinking

and expanding
of the earth itself.

When I took my pick and loosened

this hanging wall
behind the uprights, so...

You caved this in deliberately?

You might have been killed, man.


The important thing is five
men were killed last night.

You see, Gil, there's an unusual

side pressure
against these uprights.

And without tower braces
to prevent side motion...

Phillip, this is Adam Cartwright.

Adam, Phillip Diedesheimer.

Mr. Cartwright.

Hadn't you better
take some time off?

Get some rest. Have
something to eat.

Oh, the widows of those men,

they have no appetite
this morning, Gil.

Neither have I.

You mention tower
bracing, Mr. Cartwright.

You, perhaps, worked
in construction, no?

Well, I supply the
timber for the mine.

My father and I and my
brothers, we have a ranch.

And what a ranch, Phillip.

The Ponderosa, a
thousand square miles of it.

And wait till you see the house.

Adam designed and built
it to last a hundred years.

Oh? You must see it.

Yeah, yeah.

There are so many things in your

beautiful country
that I must see.

But how can I look at beauty

when men are dying?

Given time as
one of the factors,

there is no problem
in engineering

that cannot be solved.

Mr. Diedesheimer, Gil's told
me a great deal about you, and...

Well, I don't mean
to be presumptuous,

but if you'd care
to have me go over

your stress
calculations with you...

What I mean, is that,
uh, if you'd like to use me

as a sounding board, I've
kept up with my mathematics.

It would mean a great deal to
me to have someone to talk with.

Someone who understood
the engineering problem.

Well, I'd be honored,
Mr. Diedesheimer.

Well, then you call
me "Phillip," huh?

So we do not waste time.

Come in here with
your picks, boys.

Are you all right?

Yeah. Where's Gil?

He was right behind us.

Can you see him? No.


Gil, can you hear me?!

Well, what do we do now?

We wait.

Just as thousands
before us have waited.

And we think of many things.

That is the final
refuge of a man,

when he's... completely alone.

He can think.

Get out of the way!
Get out of the way!

My brother's down there!


I just heard about
it, Miss Helene.

Don't worry none.

Gil's going to be
all right, ma'am.

Please don't do that, ma'am.

going to be all right.

Sorry, Mr. Cartwright.

I have orders to let
no outsiders go down.

Well, your orders just changed.

Let 'er go, Bo!

Wait a minute, boys.

Wait a minute.

Adam, huh.

Answer them.

Get in there, boys,
with your shovels.

Get the loose stuff out.

What are you thinking about now?

I was thinking that
perhaps after today...

we will not let a mine
fall on our heads again.

I hope not.

Well, there is a simple way.

All we have to do is...

never again go into a mine.

So many people make
that decision in life.

So very many...

No use, boys.
May as well give up.

They don't answer
the signal no more.

They're back of that wall
of rock, but we're too late.

They don't answer anymore.

Give me that shovel.

Okay, bud, okay.

That's good.

Give me some light.

Hi, Adam.

It's about time you got here.

Gil's back there somewhere.


There ain't nothing back
there but 500 ton of rock.

All right, let 'er down.

How are you, Mr. Diedesheimer?

All right, Phil, see
if you can make it.

Got him, Hoss?

Yeah, I got him.

Easy, easy.

You might have a broken bone.

There's one of 'em, boys.

Let's get him.

Take him out, boys.

Here we are.

You all right? Yeah, come on.

Here they come.

Gil! Where's Gil?

Miss Helene, I... I
want to talk to you.

Oh, that Gil.

He's always the first one
down and the last one up.

I suppose he's still down
there looking around.

That's what it
is, Hoss, isn't it?

Ma'am, let me take you home.

Oh, no. No, I've, I've
got to wait here for Gil.

He promised me nothing
would happen to him.

He promised me!

Oh, Hoss, oh, Hoss, tell
me nothing's happened.

Ma'am, I... I can't lie to you.

I, I can't make it
no easier on you.

Then I've got to go down.

I've got to see him.

Don't you understand?
I've got to see him!

I've got to see him!

Oh, Gil...

Oh... Gil...

Where's Gil?

He's still down there.

Well, go get him, Adam.
I want to talk to him.

What I'm trying
to tell you is...

What he means is...
Gil is dead, Daddy.


That's the word he
was looking for, "dead."

But it's a dirty word and
no one wants to say it.

Not here in this house.

Not on this level.

The stockholders might hear.

Dead is a word for, for men
who work down in the ground,

not for people like us.

We, we can't talk about
a man who's buried

under 50 tons of rock, but
he's dead just the same!

Oh, Daddy! Helene.

I'll give her a sedative.

You come along. You, too.

Gil, dead?

Well, I'll have to hire
a new superintendent.

Mr. Holloway...

if that's the first thing
you thought about,

I feel real sorry for you.

Well, I guess that
should about do it.

Thanks, doc.

Mr. Diedesheimer?

I told you to get some rest.

Now, you're pushing
yourself much too far.

Would you rest, doctor, if
there were a plague afoot

and somewhere in that
little black bag of yours,

there was a pill you
knew could cure it?

Would you rest until
you had found that pill?

Well, my head is like
your little black bag.

Somewhere inside it,
is a pill of information,

long forgotten...

A solution to these
mine disasters.

I have to find
that pill, doctor!

Well, you better slow down
or I won't be responsible.

Every man is responsible
to himself, doctor.

Does your head feel
good enough to use?

Let's get to work.


Mr. Diedesheimer,
I've been thinking...

Are you an engineer?

Well, no, but...

Then I'm not in
the least interested

in what you've been thinking.

Please go.

Now, wait a minute!

This is my home!

At the moment, it is my office,

and I want no
interruptions. Please.

Now... So we have...

Why ain't you at work?

Mr. Holloway, I refuse to
send those men back down.

You "refuse"?

I believe the same as Gil.

Close down a few days.

Get a chance to make some
proper tests and experiments.

Casey, you're fired.


I said, "You're fired."


Can you handle Casey's job?

Mr. Holloway...

I never did want to
see you shut down.

Like I said to Gil last
time I talked to him,

"I can get that
shift back to work."

See that you do.

Another thing I'd
do, Mr. Holloway.

I'd order that Dutchman
to stay away from the men.

He wastes an awful lot of time.

I'd tell him to take
care of his own work.

Leave our boys alone.

You're in charge. Go tell him.

He's right upstairs.

That's the problem, Adam,
and it is increasing every day.

The veins of silver grow
wider the deeper they go.

I know and the U-bracing
that we use in a narrow stope

becomes worthless in
a 65-foot wide gallery.

And it is not only the
overhead pressure, Adam.

There's a constant
side pressure as well.

I want to talk to you, Dutchman.

Vertical bracing and
cap pieces certainly,

but it would be
standing so thick

a man couldn't get through.

I'm in charge now.

We are very busy. And even

the tower bracing
you suggested...

Listen to me when
I'm talking to you!

You're going to take orders,
just like the rest of the men!

But how are you going
to get 65-foot timbers

down a mine shaft?

And I want you to stay
away from the men, hear me?

They're down there to work,

not to visit with you.

And there's another
thing, Dutchman...

I believe in a little formality.

Now, where were we?

Oh, yeah...

Miss Helene?

Miss Helene...

I know you're sorry.

That's not exactly what I
was going to say, ma'am.

Folks mean well when
they say that they're sorry.

It's like when my
mama was still alive.

I remember I used
to mash my finger

and she'd kiss it and tell
me the pain was all gone.

It wasn't really.

It's just that

now when I try to
remember the pain,

all I can remember is
my mama kissing it away.

So I smile bravely
and lift my head...

and there never was
a Gil Fenton in my life.


No, you...

You can sometimes
forget the pain,

but... you can't
ever forget the love.


There's gonna always be

a Gil Fenton in your life.

I remember I was in
love once with a girl.

As much in love as a
man can be, I reckon.

I guess that sounds a little
funny coming from me, don't it?

Oh, no, it doesn't, Hoss.

She died.

I know that my pa and
Adam and Little Joe

were sorry.

But that just wasn't enough.

Not right then, it wasn't.

What did you do?

I talked to God.

He told me I was just going
to have to keep on living.

May I have permission

to enter your
mine, Mr. Tregallis?

All right. Go ahead.


Adam told me to find
you and tell you that,

that number six had shifted.

And that the tower braces
were ten degrees out of plumb,

whatever that means.

It means, Hoss, that we now know

one more thing
that will not work.

It means, also, that
we must still find

the one thing that will work.

Oh, he told me I ought to talk
you into getting some rest, too.

Well, he may have said it,

but he didn't mean
for me to do it.

But it would be good.

So good.

Stretch out for a while...

Close my eyes against the sun

and feel the life of
the earth beneath me.

But I would feel
only the death, Hoss.

Only the death.

You feel all right,
Mr. Diedesheimer?

"All right"? I don't know.

That is a relative question, no?

I know only that my head
is so full of vertical braces

and cross braces and cap pieces

and stulls and
timbers, that my brain

is like a bee swarm
of unrelated facts,

buzzing and churning,
and working within a hive.

A honeycomb... A honeycomb! Sir?

I have it, Hoss! I have it!

You got what?

Go get me some one-inch boards,

soft pine that I can
cut with a jackknife.

Go bring them to my room.

I go get Adam.

Why did I not see this, Adam?

Each surface
bearing on the other.

The ratio of strength of
each side of a honeycomb

to the combined
weight of the honey.

Gently now. Gently.


Thank you, Hoss.

Now what in the blazes?

The solution, Mr. Holloway.

The solution to every cave-in

and slippage problem
in the Comstock mines.

Hoss, please.

Clean place on the table.

Thank you.

Miss Helene, look here what
Mr. Diedesheimer and Adam built.

Show 'em how it works,
Mr. Diedesheimer.

You mean that's a
system of mine bracing?

It's the most perfect system
I've ever seen in my whole life.

Are you such an expert?

No, but Mr. Diedesheimer is.

Phillip, why don't you
explain the principle?

You see, Mr. Holloway...
I can see the principle.

A square, open-sided,
tower-bracing box,

bearing equal
pressure from all angles.

Mm-hmm, and I suppose
as the stope is dug wider,

you propose to add another box.

You can add them above, too.

You can even
build a floor in it.

Very interesting, gentlemen.

And very expensive.

We can't use it.

Dad... aren't you even
going to consider it?

But look at it, honey.

It's a child's toy,

a plaything of an
impractical dreamer.

You didn't even
give them a chance.

A chance to what?

Play with toys while
I've got a mine to run?

You think I'm going
to rip out the timbering

I've got in that mine to
try some crazy, new idea?

But the timbering system
you have is no good.

We've been operating successfully
with it for a long time now.

Can't you understand I've
got stockholders to think about?

Oh, yes, I understand.

You and your
faceless stockholders.

Well, I have somebody
to think about, too.

Only he had a face and a
body and arms to hold me with.

And he's buried under 50 tons
of rock, and you put him there!

Helene! Wait a minute.

Where are you going?

Where do the rest of
the mine widows go?

If you'd only listen to me.

I'm through listening
to you, Father.

And don't forget to send
me my box of groceries.


We've been looking for you.

Oh, I've been looking
for myself, Adam.

Yeah, this new model's
coming along great.

Well, I have
created a good thing.

But that is all it is...

A thing, a handful of smoke.

What good is it to write a
book, if nobody reads it?

Or to compose a song,
if nobody ever sings it?

Or to invent a new
way of timbering a mine,

if it is not used?

Don't you worry.

It'll be used, all right.

When? When?!

When another hundred
men have died needlessly?

It's such a radical departure
from anything we've done before.

Just take time to
sell it to anyone.

Only the dead have
time to wait, Adam.

And we are concerned
with the living.

Well, the Ophir isn't the
only mine on the Comstock.

There's the, uh, Yellow Jacket,

Gould and Curry,
and the Mexican.

We know the owners.

We've sold timber
to all of them.

All we have to do is
sell one of them the idea.

Look, I am not a
fishmonger, Adam,

hawking a product
on the streets.

Well, then you let me
worry about that end of it.

You just finish this new model.

Looks pretty elaborate.

Oh, it's quite simple, really.

A series of cribs, each
surface bearing on the other.

Now, that takes care
of your side motion,

which has been one
of your big problems.

Now, also, you see,
with the wide veins

that you're starting
to hit, you can timber

as you stope in merely
by adding another crib.

Now, the same holds

true with working up
above or down below,

which is an impossibility
with your present timbering.

Now, here, you could
have an ore shoot

running diagonally right
up here through the sets.

Any idea of the cost?

Well, really
hadn't gone into it.

I think Mr. Diedesheimer
was more concerned

with safety rather than cost.

Yeah, I'd heard that he was
pretty much of a dreamer.

Well, thanks for
showing it to us, Adam.


Ain't you even going to let
him finish telling you about it?

Oh, I've seen enough
to recognize the fact

that the cost would
be prohibitive.

I'm afraid you'll
have to figure out

some other way of
selling timber, Adam.

You mean to tell me
you think that's all Adam

and Mr. Diedesheimer have
been doing day and night,

is figuring out another
way to sell timber?

Oh, stay out of it, Hoss.

I won't stay out of it.

I don't like what this
woodpecker's saying to you.

Oh, really, now.

We don't have to
pretend with each other.

We're in the mining
business to make money

and you should be
able to understand that.

No Cartwright ever made a move

unless there was a dollar
in it for him someplace.

Mister, you're the biggest

flannel-mouth liar
on the Comstock.

Do you know who I am?

I sure do. And you do, too,

'cause I just got
through telling you.

My brother isn't the
world's finest diplomat,

but he's managed to express
my own feelings pretty accurately.

Well... It might work.

Sure, but the system
we're using now

can be put in for
one tenth the cost.

Why did Holloway ever hire
that Dutchman in the first place?

Oh, now, don't
sell Holloway short.

He hires this safety engineer

and the crusaders
leave him alone.

I know, but now he's come
up with this fantastic idea...

You don't find Holloway
using it, do you?

Well, is there anybody
else we can talk to, Adam?

No, that's about all of them.

Besides I'm tired of talking.

You ain't gonna
give up, are you?

No, I said, "I'm
tired of talking."

Well, what are we going to do?

Well, what do the
Cartwrights always do

when it comes right down to it?

We'll do it ourselves.

You mean we're going to
make a big one of these things

and stick it down in old Holloway's
mine without even telling him about it?

Why tell him? He'll know it's
there when he sees it tomorrow.

"Tomorrow"? I said "tomorrow."

Adam, I heard you and
Mr. Diedesheimer talking

and them timbers are big;
they got to be milled and cut.

How you gonna do
all that by tomorrow?

Well, now, we own
a sawmill, don't we?

Now, we'll just give this
job to our younger brother

and tell him it's
impossible to do.

Yeah, that ought to do it.

"We'll get started first thing in the
morning," that's what old Adam said.

And we will, too.
You wait and see.

When my pa and Adam and
my younger brother, Little Joe,

put their head to
something, it gets done.

You're very proud of your
family, aren't you, Hoss?

Yes, sir, I sure am.

Oh, it's a fine thing to
have a strong family.

Yes, sir.

Pa's always kept us
mighty close together.

You see, we're
just half brothers.


Yes, sir.

My pa has had a terrible
lot of tragedy in his life.

"Tragedy." Yeah.

But this has made
of him a finer man.

And it's helped draw
you all closer together

as a family, no?

Yes, sir.

I reckon it has.

The girl, Helene...

You must try to
make her see this.

Hoss, right now,

she sees only her own loss.

But nothing is lost, ever.

And nothing is ever destroyed.

The miners who were killed

because of improper
timbering in these mines,

they have found a new
method of timbering, Hoss.

I did not do it, they did.

I am only

the instrument that
carried out the plan,

no more than that.

Mr. Diedesheimer

folks are going to remember
you for an awful long time.

Miss Helene.

Sit down, Miss Holloway.


What's the matter?


I've been walking around,
looking into the faces of women

who have lost their
husbands in the mines.

I've been searching
their eyes, wondering

if they know my
father is a murderer.

Ma'am, you shouldn't
ought to talk like that.

Not about your own pa. No.

Maybe he ain't
done all he could do,

but at least he's tried.

He hired Mr. Diedesheimer.

But he hasn't let
him do anything.

And he won't.

Well, it don't really make
no difference if he don't.

'Cause we're gonna do it anyhow.

What do you mean?

Pa and Adam and Little Joe
are up there in the hills right now

at the sawmill
milling the timber

we're going to put
down that mine,

so Mr. Diedesheimer here can
make the test he wants to make.

Does my father know about this?

Well, I... I reckon Adam
sort of forgot to tell him.

Do you really
think that my father

and the other mine owners
would let you do this?

Oh, ma'am, we ain't
gonna charge him for it.

Besides, how they gonna stop us?

Stop you?

Hoss, don't you understand?

They can hire 50 men with clubs

to stop you if they want to.

What'd they want to
do a thing like that for?

I'm afraid this does go
much further than, uh,

a test installation, Hoss.

Once it's in there,
and the men see it,

they won't be satisfied with
any other system of timbering.

Mr. Diedesheimer,

do you want that timber
down there in that mine?

Yeah, very much, Hoss.

Well, we're gonna put
it down there for you.

And if any of them
fellas try to stop us,

well, I... I reckon
that'll be my business.

I didn't really
think they'd do it.

I reckon you must
know 'em better than I do.

I don't see my father with them.

There's a rumor around
that you plan to do

some special timbering
in Mr. Holloway's mine.

Well, this is one time
that a rumor's correct.

You Cartwrights
don't own this mine.

You've got no business here.

Now, you don't own
this mine, either, mister.

Why don't you let
Mr. Holloway tell me?

We haven't been able
to find Mr. Holloway,

but his interests are ours,

and we're here to see
that they're protected.

Take him off there.

All right, break this up!

I'm still in charge here!

Andrew! We couldn't find you.

We came here to
protect your interests.

I can take care
of my own interest.

And that's just
what I've been doing.

But they were planning
to build some of those

monkey cages down in your mine.

I'm aware of what they
were planning to do.

I'm helping them to do it.

Why, Andrew, have
you lost your senses?

No, I haven't lost my senses.

I've just found them.

How long since any of you

have been down in
one of your mines?

Well, maybe you
should, gentlemen.

I just did and I
don't like what I saw.

I don't know if
Mr. Diedesheimer's

system of timbering
will work or not,

but he's going to
get a chance to try it.

Adam and the other boys
will unload that lumber

right where you want it.

If you need me,
well, just holler.

Fine. Exactly.

This is fine.

You go now, huh?

Thank you.

Are you satisfied, Phillip?

It is still an impractical
man's dream, Adam.

An invention is never
completed until it is

put to the test of
serving the purpose

for which it was designed.

Well, you wait for me up above.

Huh? I would like to stay
here and look at this for awhile.

Oh, no, you don't.

What's the matter?

I found your bag...

with the powder; you didn't
do a good job of hiding it.

It's too dangerous, Adam.

I'm game if you are.

I don't want any
more men killed.

Neither do I.

But I would like to be with you.

Sort of a promise I made to Gil.

All right.

We'll see this thing
through together.

This is good.

Now, for the final test.

Why, you're wasting
our time, Holloway.

You better take a good look at
it, because you're going to see

a lot of this kind of
timbering from now on.

Not in my mine, you won't.

Well... this is it.

Good luck, Phillip.


Mr. Holloway, you
should not be here.

It's still my mine,
and these gentlemen

are a little hard to convince.

You don't understand.
We're making a test.

Don't test it too hard

or your monkey cage
will fall down on your head.

I hope not, gentlemen.
I believe not.

But we will soon know.

We've set a blast to test it.

I can imagine your
being down here

with a blast about to go off.

Your workmen do it every day,
don't they? Oh, yes, but with...

With your present
system of timbering.

Well, you're standing
under some of it now.

You may stay here
if you feel safer.

I prefer to stay
over here. So do I.

Why, you fool,
we'll all be killed!

Boys, the old timbering
is right behind you.

Go ahead and stay under it.

You'd better hurry.

Well, I think this
held up rather well,

don't you, gentlemen?

Very impressive.

But I still won't
hold still for it.

And why not?

Isn't it pretty obvious?

This man undoubtedly has a
patent on his timbering system,

and plans to rob us
blind collecting royalties.

I am afraid I'm
not so wise as you.

I do not know the dollar and
cent worth of a human life.

I only know it is very dear.

I have no patent, no
desire to charge royalty.

If my invention
saves human lives,

surely that is payment
enough for any man.

Wait a moment, Phillip.

Ladies and gentlemen,

we have just made
a practical test

of the new Diedesheimer
system of timbering.

Any of these gentlemen
here can attest to the fact

that it was a complete success.

I'm closing the Ophir till
it's completely re-timbered

with the Diedesheimer
square sets.

Every man will be
paid his regular wages

while the work goes on.

Ladies and gentlemen.

Here's the man who's put an end

to all the mine cave-ins
on the Comstock,

Mr. Phillip Diedesheimer.

Every mine owner will have to
put in square sets now, you watch.

This whole town will be
sitting on one, big honeycomb.

It's a great thing
you've done, Phillip.

We did it together.

Listen, I'm hungry.

Ain't you starved?

On the contrary, Hoss.

Right now, I feel...
I feel very full.

Mr. Diedesheimer,
I told you once that

folks was gonna remember
you for a awful long time.

And they would, too, if they
could remember your name,

but it's so dang-blasted
hard to pronounce.

Well, don't worry
about that, Hoss.

Names are never very important.

Anyway, it's easier to
pronounce "The Dutchman."

Come on, let's get
some supper, huh?

Behind the Scenes of The Phillip Diedesheimer Story

This story’s events drew inspiration from the true story of German-born American immigrant engineer Philip Deidesheimer (1832-1916). In 1860, Diedesheimer invented the square set timbering system for the Comstock Lode’s Ophir Mine in Virginia City, Nevada. As depicted in the story, Diedesheimer chose not to patent his revolutionary and life-saving mining innovation.

Books Worth Reading:

This episode contains several “firsts” for the series. For example, it has multiple guest star appearances (here, there are two). The “Top-4” (lead) actors have a new intro (scenery, etc.). There are also “credits only” options for actors (here, Lorne Greene and Michael Landon are both “credit only”). Furthermore, the Closing Credits are not “scrolling.”

Hoss mentions his love interest from The Newcomers, Emily Pennington.

This episode was the first for Bonanza not to feature every Cartwright member.

The boom mic’s shadow was visible at the end of the episode.

Hoss recalls his mother playing with him and telling him stories in this episode. His mother’s passing is depicted in the season 5 episode “Journey Remembered” just a few days after his birth.

Books Worth Reading:

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is a fantastic clean show to watch by yourself or with family. The Phillip Diedesheimer Story is the 08 episode out of 430. Bonanza was produced by NBC and ran on their network from September of 1959 to January of 1973. The whole series lasted 14 seasons.

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

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