the savage
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The Savage Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #12

Bonanza was one of the longest-running Western television programs that millions of people loved watching during its prime. Due to its popularity, the mighty adventures of the fictional Cartwright family continue for 14 seasons. Cowritten by Joe Stone and Paul King, The Savage, the second season’s twelfth episode, initially aired on December 3, 1960.

Adam Cartwright sees the dead bodies of two white trappers who dared to endeavor a Shoshone burial ground. Despite the apparent violation made by the trappers, Chief Chato (Hal Jon Norman) refused to scalp the dead bodies, as their priority was to find the “White Buffalo Lady.”

Later, Adam rescues a white Shoshone captive long thought to be a “spirit” woman because of her capability to heal the ill.

Read The Savage‘s plotline, including some interesting trivia, or see the full episode below.

Watch the Full Episode of The Savage

Watch the Full Episode of The Savage:

Main Cast

Aside from Bonanza’s main cast, the second season’s twelfth episode, The Savage, also featured some of the series’ recurring and one-time guest members. The cast includes the following:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Anna-Lisa as White Buffalo Woman / Ruth Halversen
  • Hal Jon Norman as Chief Chato
  • Victor Millan as Dako
  • Bob Wiensko as Kaska
  • Frank Sentry as Iowa
  • Maurice Jara as Tolka
  • Henry Wills as McGregor
  • Larry Chance as Haddon (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Savage

Despite seeing the lances set by the Indians as a warning, two white trappers continued venturing into a sacred burial ground. Arrows fly to each trapper as they cross the place, instantly killing them. Chief Chato refused to scalp the trappers, reminding his sons that they arrived not to take scalps but to find the spirit of the so-called “White Buffalo Woman.” He orders one of his sons, Dako, to go beyond the Forbidden Stone, and Tolka volunteers to join his brother.

At the Ponderosa, Ben and Adam argue about Adam wanting to see Ira Fairbanks’ windmills, hoping to develop the same framework to get the water up on the north section of the ranch. Ben believes there’s no need to do so, as they know nothing about Ira Fairbanks, and Adam going for a short trip to Nevada City will leave them short-handed. However, after seeing Adam’s frustration, Ben allows Adam to go as soon as he returns as soon as he can.

En route to Nevada City, Adam reaches the area where the Indians set the lances and finds the dead bodies of the trappers. He suddenly heard a voice from a distance, then followed to see the alleged “spirit woman.” Dako asks her for medicine, stating that people in their village are dying in their lodges. However, the woman declared that she could not do anything for them. Dako insists she helps them, then grabs her arm to stop her from leaving. By then, Dako realized she was not a spirit as they thought, but a white squaw whose presence at the burial ground brings shame and desecration. Dako is about to kill her when Adam interferes, but Tolka shoots him with an arrow, and Adam falls from the mountain. The woman approaches the injured Adam and introduces herself as the White Buffalo Woman. She tends to his wounds and removes the arrow stuck on his leg.

Books Worth Reading:

Adam wakes up at the White Buffalo Woman’s camp. There Adam finds a book that reveals the lady’s name as Ruth Halversen. Ruth stops him from reading further, reminding Adam that he’s there because he helped her. Adam can stay until he feels better, but Ruth warns him to keep away from her.

Although displeased, Ruth starts to answer Adam’s questions about her. She revealed that his father never returned after leaving the wagon. A Bannock hunting party found her by springtime and took her to their village. However, white hunters attacked them, killing those that refused to oblige. Ruth fled to the Mountain of the Dead (the sacred burial ground). That’s where a Shoshone found her, believing she was the White Buffalo Woman, a great spirit woman raised from the grave.

Chief Chato’s sons, Dako and Tolka, haven’t returned, so he believed they failed to fulfill their task. He goes to the Mountain of the Dead with a couple of men.

Meanwhile, Adam’s horse returned to the Ponderosa. Joe finds no marks on the horse, and Hoss believes no one has ridden it for a while. Ben tried to shrug it off, assuming the horse went down for water. However, after a moment, they set out to search for Adam.

Chief Chato orders Tiowa and Kaska to find the White Buffalo Woman’s camp. Adam encourages Ruth to return with him to where she belongs, telling her that the mountain will never be her home since she’s living there alone. However, Ruth continues to refuse. Ruth reveals that when two men caught and tried to hurt her, she got her hand on a knife and wounded the man’s face, so she ran to hide. Adam reassures her that she can forget about it, and the two share a kiss. Chief Chato suddenly arrives with his men, offering a tribute to the Great White Buffalo Woman. He requests for her to join them back to their village to cure the sickness of his people, but Ruth refuses, stating she must remain at the mountain with the ashes of the past. Chief Chato and his men leave with a plan in mind.

Books Worth Reading:

Meanwhile, Ben, Hoss, and Little Joe arrive at the mountain, where they find the bodies of the trappers. They believe Adam did not die but have no choice other than to go further.

Adam gives Ruth a ring, proposing to her. Ruth accepts to be her wife, then excuses herself for a moment to get something. However, once Adam was alone, two Shoshones arrived, forcing him to join them back to Chief Chato. Adam tried to fight his way out, killing one of them in a fight, but eventually had no choice but to join the other. Ruth returns and finds the Shoshone’s body, worried about Adam.

Chief Chato held Adam hostage—a part of his plan to force the White Buffalo Woman to come to their village willingly. Adam argues that they took the wrong bait. However, Ruth arrives, ordering Chief Chato to release Adam, or they will die. Chief Chato insists they return with her. Ruth offers a deal: they spare Adam’s life, and she’ll heal their people. Chief Chato accepts her offer, but Adam opposes, causing the Shoshone men to strike him. Seeing she has no choice, Ruth tells Chief Chato that she’s ready to join them. Chief Chato orders his men to take Adam to Ruth’s camp, where he’ll find his way back.

The Cartwrights find Adam at the camp, severely injured. Adam wakes and tells them that the Shoshone took the woman who saved his life. Joe gets the Bible, and they find the ring Adam gave her. Adam realized that Ruth willingly joined the Shoshone to save his life. This realization further fueled Adam’s determination to go after her. However, Ben thinks it’s time for him to let her go, assuring Adam that they’ll meet again someday.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Savage


those pig stickers mean what i think

they mean

yeah indian for barbed wire why

oh graves indians here bob believe their

ancestors are buried yonder they call it

the mountain of the dead

sort of a sacred burial ground yeah i

guess you might say that even the

indians won't go much past here

hey wait a minute we're not going in

there are we of course we're going in


burial ground or no burial ground that's

the best fur trap in country west of the










no the white trappers past the lances

they set foot on the mountain they were


we are not here to take scalps

but to find the spirit of white buffalo



darko you are my son

but i ask that you go beyond the place

of the forbidden stone

to seek the spirit


if my brother is to go beyond the

forbidden stone

i will go with him my father you know

that you go to your death

we know father



tulka by these tokens of my medicine

the spirit woman will know you my sons

you must not fail our lives are pledged



let the lances remain as a warning to






i wouldn't because we've got cattle to

move that's why

we've got fences to build timber to cut

what do you mean right now this is

yorktown bunker hill and valley forge

all rolled into one

i'll say this just once more this is no

time for a trip to nevada city

paul's winning the only time if i miss

ira fairbanks this trip who knows when

i'll get another chance to see his


listen anytime adam's talking like that

he's winning

now you know as well as i that we have

roundup facing us next week and you talk

to me about windmills yes windmills

and you know as well as i that it'll

take a miracle to get the water up on

that north section

and fairbanks windmill might be it

fairbanks windmill

all this man has is a theory we know

nothing about him or his reputation

now you can't leave a shorthanded just

to go to talk to man it's probably a

crackpot crackpot

crackpot a long time ago a man fooled

around with a thing he called a cotton

gin his name was switney and they called

him a crackpot too and they said the

same thing about a man called what

until his steam engine made history and

before that there was a man who thought

the world was round

you missed one who in between those last

two gentlemen you mentioned there was

another man who rode around looking for

windmills and his name was don quixote

and he was a crackpot

you and your education education is

progress now what have you got against


i don't have anything against education

as long as it doesn't interfere with

your thinking

all right let's get back as soon as you


thanks bob


hey adam what

nice day for a ride


hey poor i'd bet you to won that



guess the mind just has to do something

about them





listen to me you must hear my word

come down

spirit woman

i carry the medicine of the shoshone

and the power of our shaman my father


our people die in their lodges

we have need of your medicine i'm sorry

that your people are sick

but there is nothing i can do for them i

have already watched my life

my people wait i'm sorry i promise to

bring you back

you are flesh you

you are as i as other people

even as a young squavar tribe please you

must not do that

you must not touch me


i touch you and i live

my father would not believe that i don't

care about you father

let me be i will take you to my father

he must see that you are nothing but a

white [ __ ]

that you cannot help the shoshone that

your very presence here on this

mountain of our dead is a shame and a

desecration get away from me

i don't care about you superstition

stand up for me i know what would happen

in your village

you would kill me [ __ ]

i would kill you here and now

put it down

i said put it down



who are you

help me

come back







who are you

i couldn't hurt you if i wanted to

if i wanted your life i would not have



will you tell me who you are i'm called

white buffalo woman

white buffalo woman

spirit woman of the legends of the

plains indians

i hope you know what you're doing

don't move


the great white warrior












hello anyone here





ola halverson born

1810 bergen norway

married elizabeth carr bridgeport



daughter ruth born august 3rd 1840

wife died 1846.

july 14th we left saint joe this morning

soldiers said it was too late in the

season to start but daddy laughed at


he is not afraid for at home in norway

he was

used to hard winters and heavy snow in

the mountains

october 8th our axle is broken and daddy

left yesterday in the morning and hasn't

come back yet

it is cold and we can hear the howling

of the wall

that blade would not have missed in the

launch of a bannock

and in the home of

ruth halverson you heard my name

a white buffalo woman is a myth

but ruth halverson is or was real


remember this you are here because you

helped me

stay until you can travel but keep away

from me or

i'll forget i owe you anything

in other words welcome

aside from your many other

accomplishments i see you also run a

trap line

i trade the pelts for supplies

well now i'm a fair hand with hides um

could i help

until i can travel you're gonna have to

put up with me

now there's no reason why we can't try

to understand each other

how we could start with ruth alverson

ruth halverson was a child what happened

after your father left the wagon

i never saw him again in the spring a

bannock hunting party found me

they took me to their village i stayed

there as one of them

until the hunters came

white hunters they wanted our furs

and when we refused they attacked us

all the braves the women

the children they killed


i i found my way here

to the mountain of the dead

so shawnee saw me told his people he had


white buffalo woman raced from the grave

to them i'm a great spirit woman


until today they've left me in peace

here in my own world

to live my own life ruth the only real

life for you

is with your own people since the

bannocks died

i have no people



where are my sons we waited at the place

of the forbidden stone

there is no sign of daco

or tulka

they would have returned by now if they


my sons have failed

but perhaps where a son fails a father

can succeed

i will go to the mountain of the dead

we shall go with you shaman




they call this the mountain of the dead


what do you want uh

uh nothing uh it doesn't matter


is something wrong with you

no there's uh nothing wrong with me

that's just it

then what is it you want well i uh

oh there was a razor with your bible i


well i can wait why do you want a razor

well for shaving shaving

uh well you can't remember it it's uh

it's a little difficult to describe you


most men that i know i remember watching

my father

i'll get it for you no no no no no wait

there is something the matter what is it


um my education uh

just interfered with my thinking for a

minute um but it's all right


oh hmm paul adam's horse just came in

adam's horse yes sir he still got the


there's no marks on me puff no nothing

oh it seems to be all right yeah

nobody's ridden him for a while either


full boy probably got down for water

come on pie you know better than that

well i think we'll go after

joey get some food ready all right

us settle up the horses better bring a




my father had a big strap to make his

razor sharp

does it hurt a little

has to be done though otherwise a beard

be down here

some men let the beards grow but uh

others share them all



i think you would be better off would

you bear down to here

you know i think maybe you're right

very nice when you smile

you've done enough i can finish

it looks much better naturally it takes

a real engineer

anytime sit down

building a roof with one leg man has

turned his keep

not with a wound like this do you know

what your name means

my name ruth

means compassion


until now i never believed it

you will be able to leave very soon

why are you afraid of me i fear no man


you forgot this



no kaska no

do you two wish to be struck down by the

medicine of the white buffalo woman

as my son was

her powers are greater than all the

medicine and the

that is why she must go back with us

only she can save our people from the

great sickness

find her camp then return to me

and a certain man of bethlehem judah

went to sojourn in the country of moab


and his wife and his two sons you read

very well

the old testament book of ruth like you

she uh she'd gone into a strange land

and the name of the man was elie miller

and the name of his wife naomi

and treat me not to leave thee or to


from following after thee

a long time ago my father used to read

it to me

that part of my life died with him


finish the quotation for be the thou


i will go and wear thou lot just i will


and thy people shall be my people

and thy god my god


come back with me bye

where where you belong leave white

buffalo woman where she belongs with the

graves of the past


i found peace here the people who are

buried here have found peace what you

found is a hiding place

what can your world offer me that i

don't have right here

people of your own kind i know nothing


evil of my father's people look ruth

you say this is your home where you

belong it can't be

why can't it be because you're alone

i have a stubborn father and two

hard-headed brothers

to me they're home no matter where they


well i i have no one

on this mountain you're a legend and a

legend leads a lonely life

in the world out there you wouldn't be


music books sound of laughter

all you have to do is is come back

and let me do the rest

ruth come back with me no no let me be


can't keep on running whatever you're

hiding from must be faced and now

it can't please let me go tell me ruth

tell me now what really happened

two of those men caught me

i fell and they were they were there

laughing they grabbed me and

one of them one of them hit me

i got my hand on a knife his face he


and i broke away and ran

and ran

and now you can forget it





brings you tribute

i accept your tribute shadow but not

your presence here

with your warriors only the spirit

of the great white buffalo woman can

conquer the sickness that has come to

our lodges

my heart cries for you people but a

white buffalo woman must stay here

with the ashes of the past the ashes of

the past

are the lies of a white man

to the spirit woman chateau all men are


it is for me to judge who is welcome on

the mountain of the dead

you have my answer take your warriors


you must go

not without you but adam don't you

understand they'll kill you

i won't go without you

then we'll find a way pastor shoshone


wait here and watch when the white man

is alone

take him alive she will hear my words

or watch him die


dear lord accept these souls into heaven

may they rest in peace forever and ever



from the signs adam got this far

but it didn't meet the same fate these

two trappers did yeah where do you think

he'd go from here

must have gone into the mountain adam

know better than that

and maybe he had no choice well

we're not gonna find him standing around


here hmm

you weren't asleep at all didn't you

ever hear of the spider in the fly


now i know why they gave me my name

my folks must have known that i belonged

in the garden of eden

i wonder if they knew about me


and they shall a shoshone ruth

we'll leave tonight


i want you to have something


when a man is betrothed to a woman


he gives her a ring

and as long as she wears that ring


they belong to each other

adam i will be your wife i love you very



honor and obey

i kind of like that last word that last

word mr cartwright

we'll talk about when i get back



it's a beautiful ring






















i must have missed something

there's only one thing to do we'll go

back to

where we buried those trappers and start

all over again

turn over every rock if we have to


shall i bring the spirit woman now no


the spirit woman must come to us


she won't come here she will for you

it won't work you get the wrong bait


she is here


ruth get out of here



you dare violate the sacred lodge a

white buffalo woman

you would not hear my words and this one

did the shoshone make war with the


my people must have the medicine of the

spirit woman

or they will die and a white man

he will die unless you go with us

release him or you will die now by the

hannah white buffalo woman

then destroy us now we will not go

without you

my people need you ruth don't



spare his life and you shall have the


a white buffalo woman

cut him loose


run go for with the thou ghost

i will go


i'm ready shaman when we are beyond the

mountain of the dead

take him to the camp of the spirit woman

he will find his way back to his people

i'm ready shaman we must hurry spirit


already too many of our people lie dead

even your sons even my sons

we will do all we can for the shoshone

who still live



that going adam looks like you tingling

with a grizzly

and got beat shoshone took ruth

who girl that saved my life

she lives here yeah

fever she's not imaginary she's real

name's ruth halverson there's a bible in

the hut

how come the shoshone he took her adam

i thought she was a spirit

reincarnation of one of their gods

i'm going after it i gotta find her you

try to stop me i'll walk all over you

both of you

huh found the bible

some writing in the front the olef


daughter ruth born 1840.

there's something inside marking the


i gave her this ring


i wanted to marry her if she left

this ring behind

then she must have gone of her own free

will she did it to save my life that's

why i've got to go after her

if you do that you sign her deathborn

for sure

oh she she's a girl she's not a spirit


that's true the shoshone belief she is

if you destroy that belief in her you

destroy her

you destroy them too that's right adam

if they believe in her that strongly

then maybe she'll be able to give some

help to him

you gotta let her go for nothing

maybe someday

come on let's get some food





Behind the Scenes of The Savage

The episode’s title in German is “Die Frau des weißen Büffels,” which means “The White Buffalo’s Wife.”

Books Worth Reading:

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is an American Western television program worth watching alone or with family. Due to its popularity, the show lasted 14 seasons, with the NBC network airing it from September 1959 to January 1973. The Savage is the 44th episode out of 430 and the twelfth for the second season.

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

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