the ponderosa birdman
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The Ponderosa Birdman Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #06, Episode #20

In this captivating episode of Bonanza Ponderosa Birdman, the renowned actor Ed Wynn takes on the role of Phineas T. Klump, a delightful yet determined eccentric with an extraordinary ambition: to be the first human to achieve flight. With bulky artificial feathered wings, Klump leans on the unwavering support of his loyal friend, Hoss Cartwright, who acts as his trusted ground crew. However, Klump’s dream is jeopardized when he suffers an injury from a fall.

In a surprising turn of events, Hoss bravely steps up, donning Klump’s wings for an experimental flight from a towering cliff. Amidst the exhilarating aerial adventure, Marlyn Mason shines in her portrayal of Klump’s granddaughter, Amanda. Crafted by the talented duo of Blair Robertson and Hazel Swanson,this episode debuted on February 7, 1965.

Dive into the enthralling plot and discover fascinating trivia, or immerse yourself in the whole episode provided below.

Table of Contents

Watch the Full Episode of The Ponderosa Birdman

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Main Cast

“The Ponderosa Birdman,” the twentieth episode of Bonanza Season 6, presents a diverse array of recurring and guest-supporting actors. The cast includes:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Ed Wynn as Professor Phineas T. Klump
  • Marlyn Mason as Amanda

Full Story Line for The Ponderosa Birdman

Assisted by his granddaughter Amanda, the kind-hearted inventor Professor Phineas T. Klump is determined to become the inaugural human to soar through the skies.
Despite his apprehensions, Hoss is convinced to don a pair of gigantic wings adorned with feathers and leap off a cliff.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Ponderosa Birdman


Yes, sir, Joe, you sure
would've been proud of me.

Doggone it, there I was standing
up there in front of all them folks.

They were just
clapping and cheering.

JOE: Ha, ha.
- And I was standing up there bowing.

And the more they'd clap and
cheer and stomp, the more I'd bow.

With that hat on?

Oh, certainly not. Took
the hat off, bowed like this:

Bravo, bravo, bravo.

HOSS: Hey, Adam. Come on in
and hear about my dream last night.

JOE: Yeah, he was
elected governor.

HOSS: Sure was.
For the whole state.

Well, congratulations for bringing
the territory up to statehood.

Right, it ain't a state yet.
Don't make no difference.

Just a dream anyhow.
But it sure was a real one.

I'd clap for you if you'd
stop bowing long enough

to help me finish
cleaning out these stalls.

Well, now, Joe, you should know
better than josh around with the governor.

Why, he would never stoop
so low to mess around in hay.

HOSS: Well, now, Adam,
that's where you're wrong.

See, I told these folks I
was a man of the people.

I said, "Why, from humble
beginnings, I rose to great heights."

ADAM: And you know
something, brother?

You are absolutely right.

HOSS: Aah! JOE: Got him!


His Honor, the eminent
governor, Hoss Cartwright!

JOE: Ha, ha, ha. BEN: All
right, what's going on now?

HOSS: Nothing, dad-burn it, Pa.

Dadgum it, they just won't
take nothing serious, that's all.

These boys ribbing you again?

Oh, Pa, come on, he
dreamt he was the governor.

Now, that's the biggest whopper
of a dream I ever heard in my life.

What's the matter
with that dream?

Hoss, I'd like you to
do something for me.

What's that, Pa?

I want you to go by
Jake Towne's cabin.

Has he moved back up
there on Devil Wind Hill?

No, no, no, I got a
letter from him, though.

His uncle is staying at
the cabin for a little while,

and he'd like
one of us to go by,

- see if they've got everything they need.
- They?

Yeah, Uncle Phineas is
there with his granddaughter.

A young lady by the
name of Amanda, I believe.

Well, wouldn't it be more
neighborly if we all went by?

Yeah, I think Adam's right, Pa.

It gets pretty dangerous
up there on Devil Wind Hill.

That wind blowing,
one person alone...

Joseph, Joseph, you
don't really believe that

that wind could blow your
brother Hoss away, do you?

- Ha, ha, ha. JOE: Hm.

Oh, you gotta have a little
more faith in your brother, Joseph.

Just as I have faith in you.

In me?

I have so much faith in you

that I know deep down

that you are gonna stay here

and clean up all these stalls.


And I know that you're gonna have
the south fence fixed before sundown.


You see, Joseph, that
is what is known as faith.

HOSS: That's right, Pa.

Man's got enough of it, well,
he can move mountains with it.

Hey, Amanda, where the deuce
did we put that tea? Where...?

Oh, you unpacked last night,
Grandpa, don't you remember?

Here it is.

I unpacked? Well, what
do you know? Heh, heh.

My goodness.

Amanda, how about making
us a cup of good Boston tea?


Amanda, why aren't you wearing
one of your dresses, darling?

We are here for science,
Professor Klump, not society.


Why don't you go
back to Boston, darling?

Grandpa, I do not
want to talk about it.

That pack of
laughing hyenas. Ugh.

Well, I'm an inventor.

You... Well, you just have
to expect that, that's all.

Yeah, expect people
to call you a crackpot?

And your own assistant
to laugh in your face

when one of your
inventions blows up? Ha!

And him marrying
another girl and...

Oh, Amanda, how's
the tea coming?

Fine, Grandpa, just fine.

I think I'll do a little bird-watching
while you're brewing. Heh, heh.

Oh, the tea. I mean, while
you're brewing the tea.

That's what I...

AMANDA: What are you
nosing around here for?

Ma'am, my name
is Cartwright. I...

- I'm from the Ponderosa.
- The Ponderosa?

Yeah, my Pa sent me
out here to welcome you.

- We don't want no welcome.
- But, ma'am...

Now go on, just get
out of here! Go on!

Yessum. You got a powerful
good argument there, ma'am.


Go on. Just keep right on going.


PHINEAS: Amanda, stop it!

Stop it. You'll kill me, Amanda!

Grandpa, just drop
down. I'll catch you.

Ma'am, if you'll just be
quiet and calm, I'll help you.

Sir, just roll right on
off, and I'll grab you.

No, you have to
speak up with Grandpa.


Sir, if you'll just roll
right on off, I'll grab you!

Well, you don't have to
shout. I'm not hard of hearing.

My goodness.

Don't you think
I'm too big a bird?

Shucks, no. Just roll right
on off. Come on. That's it.


- Thank you.
- Yeah.

It's most opportune
you being here, mister...?

Cartwright. Hoss.
Just call me Hoss.

Oh, I'm Professor
Phineas T. Klump.

- Well, I'm happy to meet you, sir.
- Well, thank you. Thank you.

I can see you've already met my
charming granddaughter, Amanda.

Yes, sir. Charming.

Come on, Grandpa, let me
take you back to the cabin.

You might have hurt yourself.

She's always clucking over
me like a mother hen, you know.

What about that tea
you were brewing?

Perhaps our friend here
would care for some of it.

Grandpa, remember what...?

PHINEAS: Listen, we are
really indebted to Mr. Cartwright.

Now let's show him some of
that warm hospitality of the east.

That would be nice.

Well, that's mighty nice
of you, professor, but...

Well, I don't want to
cause you any trouble.

Well, it's no trouble,
my goodness.

It's good to be
talking to a man again.

- Men. Ugh!
- Yes.

Now I suppose she'll
be worrying about me

climbing that tree for my
bird-watching. Heh, heh, heh.


Why don't we move
that ladder over?

- Say, that's a sensational idea.
- Yeah.

Why didn't I think
of that myself?

Oh, that'll be great.

You have a very
interesting name, Hoss.

Yeah. Most people think it's
Horse, but it ain't, it's just plain Hoss.

- Oh, no, not that one. Cartwright.
- Oh.

Are you by any chance
related to Edmund Cartwright?

Well, not that I know of.
Is he a friend of yours?

A friend? No.

Oh, that I just could've
touched the hand of this genius.

Or shared in the secrets of
his brilliant mind, you know.

- The man had a brilliant mind.
- This Ed Cartwright?

Yes. Oh, there are men who walk
among us like giants, Hoss. Giants.

Why, he gave priceless
gifts to the world, you know.

You take the loom, for instance.

Who else would've thought of
using machines for spinning cotton?

- This Ed Cartwright?
- Yes, yes.

And what about his
alcohol-fueled engine?

There's no telling where
that one will end, you know.

- You don't say.
- Oh, brilliant man.

PHINEAS: I hope to use the Cartwright
engine on one of my inventions.

You're an inventor
too, professor?

Oh, inventing is
my whole life, Hoss.

Why, it's the only doorway
left open for opportunity.

Opportunity, huh?

Hey, maybe we ought to shut the
door so we could hear it knocking.


Let's see if the tea is ready.

Follow me. Hoss.

My Klumpmobile, you know.

There I was, lined up between
two horse-drawn carriages.

How they laughed
at me. Heh, heh, heh.

Well, professor,
this Klumpmobile,

it didn't have no horse at all?

No, it was a completely
horseless carriage.

Yeah, well, how
did it do in the race?

It blew up. Right
in their faces.

Boy, nearly scared
the pants off th...

Pardon me, Grandpa.

Well, it did just about that.

Anyway, we came out here to
be away from people, you see.

Yeah. Yeah.

Look, professor,
you ain't gonna try

to get that Klumpmobile
started again, are you?

Oh, for heaven sakes, no.
That's a thing of the past. Heh, heh.


I'm going into space now.

Grandfather, you promised.



Thank you, ma'am.

Why, that's the
longest Devil Wind yet.

This is the season, you know.

The wind only comes
up the hill twice a day.

Yeah, well...

Well, thank you a whole
lot, professor, for the tea.

I reckon I'd better be
heading on out. I'll...

Oh, no, no, no, don't leave.

Why, you haven't
seen my invention.

- But, professor, I think I better be...
- No, listen.

You are gonna be one
of the first to lay your eyes

on the greatest gift
known to mankind.

This is the most important
invention since the wheel.

- Important?
- The most important.

I'm a modest man,
Hoss, but I tell you

that the future of the world
is out there in that shed.

And this is your
opportunity to see it.

You know, I can almost
hear it knocking right now.

Let's go, professor.

Hoss, you prepare
yourself for the greatest sight

- since the days of Leonardo da Vinci.
- Who?

Leonardo da Vinci, the
great painter of the Mona Lisa.

Oh, yeah.

- He was also a marvelous inventor.
- Yeah.

Oh, he was centuries
ahead of his time.

Now, you just get
ready. Are you ready?



What is that contraption?

Well, I haven't named it yet.

But soon they'll take me soaring
over mountains and valleys...

You mean those are...?

Those are your flying machine?

Well, they will be as
soon as I can come up

with some means of
strapping them on, yes.

Are you sure it'll work?

Well, I'm as sure
as da Vinci was.

Hoss, look here.

See that?

Man has known for hundreds
of years that he could fly.

All that's been needed is just
one courageous soul to prove it.


You mean to tell me, this
has been going on all this time

and I didn't even
know nothing about it?

Well, it's a very
simple principle.

It's like flying a kite.

You see, the wind
strikes an obstacle

and it splits, and it
flies over and under it.

And behind the object,
well, the air pressure lessens.

Besides that, nature
hates a vacuum.

So it rushes in to replace it.

And the back end of the kite
goes up, or in this case, the man.

Yeah, I never
thought about it. Ha.

And all you need
is a harness, huh?

Well, or something to fasten
them together and on me, yes.

Professor, I got an idea.

There's gonna be another Cartwright
getting into this invention business.

If it's good enough
for Ed Cartwright,

it's good enough for
Hoss Cartwright. Come on.

PHINEAS: Oh, that's
wonderful. That's wonderful.

Well, what are you two doing?

Hoss... Hoss is inventing a harness,
dear, for the wings, you know.

Oh, Grandpa, you look so silly.

Well, I feel silly.


I feel so...

Come on, Hoss.


It'll never work. We
can all three get in that

- with room left over.
- Yeah.

Ma'am, we don't need all of
this. See, I'll take some of that off.

When I get back to Ponderosa,
I'm gonna make a lariat.

And I can cinch it up tight, and
it'll fit him as tight as it did the horse.


You know, it's a new
Cartwright invention.

- The Hoss Cartwright Harness.
- Ha, ha. Yeah.


Well, I'm gonna go on back to
Ponderosa and get that lariat made.

Well, thank you,
Hoss Cartwright.

I guess maybe I should apologize
for the way I welcomed you.

I mean, since you didn't turn out
to be one of those laughing hyenas.

Yeah. What?

Well, you know, like in Boston.

Oh, yeah. Well,
I'll see you, ma'am.

- Amanda? Amanda.
- Here. Here, Grandpa, I'll help you.

- Come on.
- Oh, thank you.


Oh, dog. How come you're
always half a jump ahead of me?

Because I'm half again
as smart as you are.

Hoss, how about a
game of checkers?

No, thank you, Joe. I got a
bunch of work here I gotta do.

All right, come on,
let's have one more.

All right, one more
try and that's it.

What are those folks
like up on Devil Wind Hill?

Just ordinary folks, I reckon.

What's the daughter like?

Oh, she's about yay
high and yay wide.

- So is the corral gate.
- Yeah, what's she look like?

Well, she's got brown hair.

Shimmering around her
shoulders, soft and sweet.

No, sort of like a schoolmarm
does it. That's what it's like, yeah.

- A topknot?
- A schoolmarm?

Well, I reckon the specs maybe

reminds me of a
schoolmarm a little bit too.

She's awful smart. Awful smart.

That does it. Your move.

Sounds like a real beauty.

Adam, next time you're in town,
pick up the bills at the general store.



A lariat?

Yeah, sort of.

BEN: What for?
- A harness.

Pretty thin, isn't it?

Well, he's got a pretty
thin horse. Ha-ha-ha.

Yeah. Heh, heh. Yeah.

Hey, Pa, we got any
kinfolk in England?

Well, might have.

Name Cartwright
goes way back. Why?

HOSS: Just wondering if we're
any kin to that Edmund Cartwright.

You mean the man
who invented the loom?

- Yeah, that's who.
- No.

He also invented an engine
that uses alcohol for fuel.

Ain't no telling where
that's gonna end.

What kind of fuel have
you been using lately?



Can I help you, ma'am?

AMANDA: Thank you. I'm
looking for Mr. Hoss Cartwright.

- Miss Amanda, what's the matter?
- It's Grandpa. He's stuck.

- Stuck?
- In the tree. He tried without the lariat.

You mean he tried to...?

And I can't get him down.

Is there something we can do?

No, no, Pa, I'll take care of
it. Come on, Miss Amanda.

Giddyap! Giddyap there! Ha!


Well, imagine trying to
climb a tree without a lariat.

Imagine thinking she
looks like a schoolmarm.

Giddyap, giddyap.


Oh, good evening, Hoss.

It seems we're always meeting
at opposite ends of a tree.

Well, yeah, it
sure does at that.

I thought you were
gonna wait for the lariat.

What's that?

I say, I thought you were
gonna wait for the lariat!

Oh, I just wanted
to make a small flight

from the lower
branches of the tree.

Look, professor, can you get
your arms out of them wings?

No, I'm afraid not.

See, I strained
my latissimus dorsi.

You what?

My latissimus
dorsi, I strained it!

Maybe I ought to
go get a doctor, huh?

Oh, no, that won't be
necessary, Hoss, no.

You see, it's just
that I can't lift that arm,

but it'll be all
right, it'll heal.

I wrenched a muscle, you see.

Yeah, well, we'll have
to do it another way.

AMANDA: Be careful with him, Hoss.
- Yessum.

I'll get it, I'll get it.

Oh, by the way, Hoss, you
know, your idea for the harness,

smashing success.

- Yeah, it looks a little smashed.
- Oh.

What about the wings?

Oh, there's just a few
feathers missing, that's all.

You see, it's my own
wing that I'm worried about.

This one here, you see.

HOSS: Lift that other arm, professor.
- Oh, I can't.

AMANDA: Oh, Grandpa!
- No, I can't. It...

How long does it take
that latimus or thing

or whatever you call it,
how long does it take to heal?

Oh, about a month, maybe more.

I'll miss that Devil
Wind for sure, you know.

It only lasts another week.

You mean we can't do it?

Well, I can't. I can't.

You know, Hoss,
I was just thinking.

You're not gonna see man
in flight after all. Heh, heh.

Too bad. Of course, unless
someone else decides

to do the honors, you know.

Yeah, dab-burn it,
that's too bad, professor.

Well, I'll do it, Grandpa.

Miss Amanda, you're a girl.

Well, what's that
got to do with it?

Professor, will you tell
her that this is man's job?

All right, what man will do it?



Hey, Hoss?


Adam, you seen Hoss?

Oh, you mean our brother? The
one that wants to be taken seriously?

Well, who else do I mean?

He's out there.

- What's he doing?
- He's flying a kite.

Hold this for me, will you?

- What is it?
- It's a book Hoss was reading.

"Birds of the Western World."

- Hey, what's happening, Hoss?
- Oh, nothing, dab-burn it.

Joe, you know anything
about these things?

I've been running 40
miles with this this morning,

- ain't got it over knee-high.
- Hmm.

Oh, that's a real nice one.

Yeah, that's a nice
one. It's a well-made one.

- Great day for flying.
- Yeah.


- Joe, if I was to tell
you something, - Hmm?

A big secret,

would you promise
not to laugh at me?

Hoss, have I ever?

You know I won't
laugh. What is it?

Well, you know that Professor
Klump up on Devil Wind Hill?

Well, he's got
this invention, see,

that's gonna change the world,
Joe. The whole dang world.

And I'm gonna fly it.

Fly it?

Yeah, that's what I'm
doing out here with this kite.

I'm trying to feel out
the wind a little bit.

I'm gonna fly, Joe, like a bird.

And then I'm gonna be one of
them... One of them giants among men.



What's so dab-burned funny?

My brother the bird.


- Now, Joe, stop it!
- I'm gonna fly to my nest.

Dang it, Joe!


HOSS: You better stop
it now, I'm telling you!

It's a great day to fly.

- I said, stop it and I mean it! Stop it!
- Gonna put salt on my tail?

- Joe, I mean it! Dab-burn it, stop it!
- All right. I'm just joshing.

- I'm joshing.
- All right, I ain't. Now, you say it.

You say, "Hoss is gonna be a
giant among men." Now say it.

Hoss is gonna be a giant bird.

- A giant among men. Now say it.
- You 300-pound robin.

- All right, come on.
- No! Hey, no! No!

HOSS: Into the water
trough. JOE: Not the...

HOSS: You're gonna say it.
- Oh, come on. Oh, come on.

One last time. You gonna say it?

Say, "Hoss is gonna be a
giant among men." Now say it.

- Polly want a cracker? Ha-ha-ha.
- Okay, Joe, that did it.

Now, are you gonna say it?


You gonna say it?


BEN: Well...

HOSS: Oh, hi, Pa.

May I be so bold as to
ask what this is all about?

Well, dab-burn it, Pa,
I'm just trying to teach him

to take me a little
more seriously, that's all.

Oh, I see.

And at the risk of sounding
perhaps a little foolish,

does this belong to you?

Well, perhaps, just perhaps,

if you were to act a
little more seriously,

maybe people would take
you a little more seriously.

Buck, come on.


JOE: Ah! Forget it.

Dab-burn it, I'll teach
you. I'll teach you.


Any sign of him yet, Grandpa?

I can't understand it.

He knows we're testing today.

Oh, Grandpa, you don't
suppose he's like the others?

- I mean, only humoring us?
- Oh. Heh, heh, heh.

Oh, don't worry.
He'll be here, darling.

He promised, didn't he?

- Oh, do I look all right?
- Oh, you look just...

Why, Amanda, darling, what
have you done to yourself?

Well, I've gone and
decided to look like a girl.

- Oh.
- I mean, pretty. Is it all right?

All right? My goodness me.

All right? Ho-ho-ho.

Why, it's just
wonderful. It's wonderful.

Oh, Grandpa.

Oh, my goodness.

You look just like your
mother used to, you know?


Is it Hoss?

Oh, he's so big and brave.

- Grandpa, he's just wonderful.
- Oh, yes, yes.

The world is full of wonderful
men if you'll just look around.

Big, brave, wonderful men.

But I guess you've met
enough of the other kind, huh?


But that's all over now, is it?

No more suspicion?

No more distrust?

And no more going after
strangers with a gun, either.


HOSS: Whoa.

- Howdy, professor.
PHINEAS: Hello, Hoss.

Miss Amanda, howdy.

This here is my
little brother, Joe.

He's a Cartwright too.

Ain't you, Joe?

Yeah, that's what
my daddy calls me.

AMANDA: This was
supposed to be a secret.

Amanda, aren't you gonna
say hello to the new guest?

AMANDA: Oh, um...

How do you do, Little Joe? I
don't believe we ever met formally.

No, ma'am, I don't
believe we have...

AMANDA: Okay. Ooh!


Hoss, you haven't told
Little Joe about, you know...?

Flying? Oh, yeah, sure
I told him, professor.

You did, eh? And didn't he...?

Laugh? No, not Little Joe.

He ain't got a laughing
bone in his body.

Ain't that right,
little brother?

Oh, yeah, that's right.
They call me Old Sobersides.

What do you think of your
big, brave brother flying?

Well, ma'am, there's
nothing I'd rather see

than my big brother
taking a flying leap.

Oh, well, that's wonderful.
That's marvelous. Come on.

Come on, Amanda, let's
get to the test. Come on.

Oh, no. No, you don't. Come
on, put that horse right over there.

You ain't getting out of my sight
until after I make that test flight.

You'd go back and tell Pa and Adam
and everybody. Now put that horse up.

There. Ain't that a grand sight?

- Yeah, what is it?
- It's my wing, of course.

- Exciting, isn't it?
- Yeah, sure is.

I'm just making a
few improvements.

Oh, incidentally, Hoss,
I hope you don't mind,

but I ran short of cash
down at the general store,

and I charged all our
supplies to your account.

I wouldn't have done it,

except that the things we
needed were really urgent.

Well, it's all right, professor.

Amanda, will you
run in and get $17

and 40 cents for Hoss?

Oh, sure, Grandpa.

Your brother is gonna be a
very important man in these parts.

Oh, there won't be a person around
who hasn't heard of Hoss Cartwright

when we get finished.

I imagine you're right. There's
not too many folks in these parts

who fall out of trees
all over the place.

Not fall out, little
brother. Fly out. F-L-Y, fly.

Fly. Fly. I'm sorry,
that's what I meant. Fly.

Yes, fly. That's what he
said and that's what it is.

Oh, the vistas that Hoss will
open up for the whole world.

Think of it, Little Joe.

Men spanning mountains and
rivers and whole territories in one day.

Why, flight will open up the
locked doors to weary travelers,

and industry and commerce. Oh.

- Industry and commerce?
PHINEAS: Of course.

No more mule trains carrying
supplies over rocky terrains.

No more weary buckboard
rides into the nearest town.

Oh, my goodness.

When this flight is over,
man will be as free as a bird.

- Oh, nothing's free, professor.
- Huh?

I said, nothing
is free, professor.

What are you
gonna call this thing?

Well, I hadn't
mentioned it, yet, but...

- Here, Grandpa.
- Oh, thank you. There you are, Hoss.

I have an idea, though. Ha, ha.

I shall call it the Hossmobile.

- The Hossmobile?
- Mm-hm.

Yes, the "mobile" for movability

and the "Hoss" for the man who's
making the whole thing possible.

The Hossmobile.

That's a wonderful
name, Grandpa.

Yeah, it's the kind of
name nobody could forget.

Well, we'll need something to
transport the wings, you know.

Oh, would you bring
that ladder, Little Joe?

- Oh, sure thing.
- Professor?

How are we gonna get
the wings up in that tree?

Tree? Wha...? The tree?

Yeah, well, the one
where you jumped.

Oh, Grandpa was just
testing the harness in the tree.

The flight is going to
be from Devil Wind Cliff.

- Oh. PHINEAS: Yeah.

JOE: Watch out for
these sticks, Hoss.

Hey, how heavy is
this sack, professor?

Oh, about the same weight as
Hoss. I picked it very carefully.

Our tests have to be
extremely scientific, you know.

JOE: Yeah, why do we have
to have a test for anyway?

You don't think I'd let the
boy go off without one, do you?

JOE: Why not?

My goodness. You see, science...
Science is based on experiment.

See, foolproof tests before
we allow humans to participate.

It's a sort of trial and error.

Well, let's hope Hoss' flight is a
trial and not an error. Ha, ha, ha.

Now, look, Hoss,
you just keep here,

the wings, you take
them right to the edge

and you wait for the
Devil Wind to start, okay?

- Can you handle it?
- Yeah. Oh, yeah.

JOE: Well, it's a big
bird. PHINEAS: Yeah.


Grandpa, I can hear
the Devil Wind now.

Here it comes.

PHINEAS: Here it comes, Hoss.

Push the wings over.

JOE: Give it a shove.

Yeah, let her go.


We did it, Hoss! We did it!

Tomorrow, my boy, you will
be the sack of grain. Ha, ha, ha.


Where did you learn
to sew so fast, anyhow?

Necessity, brother, necessity.

How am I gonna
get you off that cliff

if I don't get these wings
patched up from the test?

Yeah, the test.


Little Joe, maybe there's
something you ought to know.

You know that book I've
been studying, that bird book?

JOE: Mm-hm.

Well, it's up in the
hayloft back at the house,

and folded inside the pages

are my last will and testimony.

Just in case
something goes wrong.

Goes wrong?

What do you mean, goes
wrong? I got a lot of plans made.

- Plans?
- Yeah, plans.

Hoss, that professor makes a lot
of sense if you'd just listen to him.

- I did. I did.
- Well, then you must realize

there's a tremendous future in
this flying business. Tremendous.

We'll make a fortune.

- Flying?
- Sure, flying.

Look, after you make this first flight,
Hoss, we make our own wings then.

- For what?
- For you.

Hoss, I can rent you
out all over this territory.

I can rent you out for errands,

- I can rent you out for circuses.
- You dirty, rotten, scheming little...

You think I'd go through this
again, risk my neck for money?

Well, why not? You're
doing it today for nothing!

Oh, I see you've finished there.

Well, I'm just about
finished, professor.

But Hoss seems to
be all thumbs today.

Oh, well, I'd be myself,
son, if I were about to fly.

Say, Little Joe, will you...?

- Will you finish that other one there?
- Sure.

Thanks a lot, because Hoss
has to get his final instructions.

Gee, how I envy
you. Heh, heh, heh.

I wish I were the
one going into space.

Yeah, so do I.


I just said, I love to fly.

PHINEAS: Oh, well,
that's wonderful. Come on.

I'll take you over there.

You see, when you
get up on top of the hill,

now this Devil Wind... Are
you listening to me, Hoss? Hoss.

You see, the Devil Wind comes...

ADAM: Hey, Hoss!




Hey, Pa wants you.


Oh, not that again.

"Last will and testimony
of Hoss Cartwright."

Now, look, Hoss, if
you land on the slope,

you know, keep flapping,
don't let the wings drag you.

You control them.

You see, a bird in landing,
well, he uses his feet.

He lands on his feet.
You do the same.

You land on your heels and that
will keep you from falling on your face.

Now, I'll tell you what. I'll go
and see if the wings are ready.

You know, I think
you might practice.

It won't hurt anyhow.

Hey, Pa.

- Did you find Hoss?
- No, but...

He'd better have a
pretty good explanation

for buying these little
things from the general store.

Just read that.

"Three dozen
ladies' corset stays,

two egret-plumed hats,

one dozen
goose-feathered pillows,

and a 250-pound sack of grain."

Has he gone right
out of his mind?

Oh, yes, his mind. Look at that.

"Last will and testimo..."

"I, Hoss Cartwright of
Virginia City Territory, Nevada,

declare this to be my
last will and testimony."

Now, what's all this about?

Ladies' corsets, pillows,

- a whole trousseau, and then the will.
- Well?

Haven't you ever heard
of a shotgun wedding?

Hoss? Heh.

Ah. You either get married
or get shot, so the will.

Oh, no, no, no.

You got any better ideas?


But we can sure find out.

Joe, I just can't do it.

What do you mean, you
can't do it? There's nothing to it.

If it's so easy, then how about
you taking my place, huh?

No, no. Don't you get the point?

Someday maybe we'll
want to carry passengers.

You're the only bird
big enough to do it.

AMANDA: Oh, golly,
Hoss, you look wonderful.

Hey, that's almost
worth flying for.

But the rewards will be much
greater than a mere kiss. Oh.

Oh, gee, Hoss, that was fun.

Oh, but we've got more important
things to do. Come on. Come on.


PHINEAS: To the runway there.

JOE: What do you mean
by the runway, professor?

Oh, the path I cleared there.

See, now Hoss will run
right down to the edge,

and then take off.
That's it. Heh, heh, heh.

JOE: Hoss.

Hoss, I want you
to give it all you got.

Really go, Hoss.

Now remember, Hoss,
it's like diving into the water.

That's all it is.

But, professor, I
can't even swim.

Oh, don't worry
about swim, Hoss?

Just flap, brother. Just flap.

AMANDA: Listen.


Oh, that's the Devil
Wind starting up now.

Hot diggity.

Grandpa, it's
gonna be a big one!

PHINEAS: Now, get on your mark.

All right, Hoss, wings up.

All right, let's go now.

Come on, on your mark. Get set.

JOE: Give it all you got, Hoss!

PHINEAS: Go ahead, Hoss.

Hey, look.

That's the biggest
bird I ever saw.

That's no bird.

That's your brother! Come on!



Hey, what's the matter with
you? Come on, fly, will you?

I got a rock in my boot,
Joe. That's it. Yeah.

Oh, giant among men.
He's got a ro... Which boot?

PHINEAS: Hurry up,
we'll lose the wind!


What have you got
these boots on with?

HOSS: Rock. Rock. Unh!

- There ain't no rock in that boot.
AMANDA: Hurry, it's coming back!

Come on, brother, wing it!


Come on! That's
it, wing it! Wing it!

What a big bird!



The wind is blowing him!

- Sideways!
- Yes!

Hey, Hoss, get off of
there! Just fly, will you?

I can't, Joe!

I got my woolly
sock caught on a nail!

Ugh! All right,
I'll get you off!

BEN: Hoss, don't do it!


Aah! Whoo-hoo!

Aah! Whoo-hoo-hoo!




- Hoss! HOSS: Down here!

Adam, get a rope.

I see you're playing
this game too, Joseph.

Me? No, not exactly, Pa. It
was Professor Klump's invention.

I think I'll go help Adam.

Professor, Klump.

Yes? Oh, Mr. Cartwright.

How do you do?
I'm Professor Klump.

Yes. Your son just took a plunge
toward immortality. Heh, heh.

Yeah, well, it looks
like he almost made it.

What's been going on up here?

Why, didn't you know?

This was Hoss' big opportunity
to prove that man can fly.

Man can fly?

Yeah, but unfortunately the...

HOSS: Hey, professor.

Professor, we did it. We did it.

- We did? HOSS: Yeah.

Didn't you see? Oh, hi, Pa.

- You all right,
son? HOSS: Yeah.

See what, Hoss?

Professor, I'd have flown
all the way to Virginia City,

if that wind hadn't
pushed me down.

- What?
- Yeah.

Yeah. Didn't anybody see it?

Dab-burn it, I took off
like I shot out of a cannon.

And the wind stopped the flight?

Sure did. Professor, that wind
ain't no good whatsoever for flying.

No, sir. What a man needs is a feller
to fall on a ladder like Little Joe did.

That's what's gonna
make a man fly.

Oh, a fulcrum.

Well, bless my soul, I never...

A fulcrum, of all things.

Sure. Yeah.

What's a fulcrum?

A lever, you know,
the catapult principle.

Oh, I see that you have a
scientific mind too, Mr. Cartwright.

Say, Amanda, we're
going to Washington.

We'll get this thing patented.

And maybe we can get
some financial interest.

- Yeah, why not?

They may call me a crackpot,
but I don't care, let them.

I've seen it done.

Now go ahead, dear,
and pack. Go on.

I'll write to you, I promise.

Hoss, the world owes
you a debt. A big debt.

You know, we... Where's Ben?

You know, we should've
gone further than da Vinci.

We should've gone all the
way back to Archimedes.

You mean, "Give me a fulcrum
and I can move the world."

Yeah, that's exactly what
he said, Mr. Cartwright.

And that's just what
Hoss has proven.

Good boy, Hoss. Ha, ha.

Pa, you ain't mad, are you?

Well, how can I be mad at a man
who has so much faith in science,

and so much faith in my son?

Oh, shucks, Pa. He didn't know
how scared I was, until I landed.

Hey, there's just one
thing I wanna know.

Now, were you just humoring
that old man or did you really fly?

Little brother, like I always
told you, you gotta have faith.

Why, with faith, you
can move a mountain.

Up you go.

Don't fly away again.

What do you think?

Well, I'll go along with
faith moving mountains,

but flying over them?

I don't know, Adam.

I just don't know.

Behind the Scenes of The Ponderosa Birdman

In this particular episode, Hoss reveals his inability to swim. This detail tragically becomes significant later in the series when he loses his life while attempting to rescue a girl. This event is cited as the reason for Dan Blocker’s departure from the series following his real-life passing.

In a notable parallel, the 1970 episode “Dream of Falcons” from the series Lancer presents a similar storyline. Here, Chad Lancer, played by John Beck, endeavors to aid an eccentric inventor in constructing a flying machine on Lancer land.

Additionally, Hoss fondly introduces Joe as “my little brother, Joe,” while Amanda and her father promptly refer to him as “Little Joe.”

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza provides wholesome entertainment that is perfect for solo enjoyment and shared moments with loved ones. The Ponderosa Birdman is the 188th episode out of 430 in the series. Produced by NBC, Bonanza graced their network from September 1959 to January 1973, enjoying an impressive run spanning 14 seasons.

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

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