the search
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The Lone Writer  

The Search Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #06, Episode #21

Pernell Roberts takes on a dual role in the February 14, 1965 episode of Bonanza. Adam Cartwright uncovers that his identical doppelgänger, Tom Burns, impersonates him to deceive others and solicit money under pretenses. He is joined by a saloon girl named Ann (portrayed by Lola Albright). Adam endeavors to locate his counterpart but only encounters threats from Tom’s alleged killer. This gripping episode titled The Search was penned by series regular Frank Cleaver.

You can explore the entire episode by watching it below to understand the plot and uncover fascinating trivia comprehensively.

Watch the Full Episode of The Search

Watch the Full Episode of The Search:

Main Cast

Besides the main cast, “The Search,” the twenty-first episode of Bonanza Season 6 highlights various recurring and guest-supporting actors. The following are featured in the episode:

  • 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
  • Lola Albright as Ann
  • Kelly Thordsen as Sheriff Conners
  • Elaine Devry as Valerie
  • John Harding as Jason
  • Howard Wright as Abe Jenkins
  • C. Lindsay Workman as Weems (as Lindsay Workman)
  • Phil Chambers as Store Owner
  • Victor Adamson as Townsman (uncredited)
  • John Bose as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bill Clark as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Chester Hayes as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Bill Hickman as Big Cowboy (uncredited)
  • Bob Hoy as Little Cowboy (uncredited)
  • Michael Jeffers as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Richard LaMarr as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Ernesto Molinari as Barfly (uncredited)
  • Murray Pollack as Bartender (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Search

A doppelgänger of Adam Cartwright uses his likeness to swindle money for personal gain. Seeking justice, Adam enlists the help of saloon girl Ann to hunt down the imposter, Tom Burns. However, their pursuit takes an unexpected turn when they encounter the individual believed to have murdered Tom.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Search

Would you mind giving me a hand?


- Thank you.
- Not at all, little brother, not at all.

Saw away.

Oh, I thought I said "a hand."


You know, Joe,

If you'd put a little
hog lard on that blade,

it'd sure make things easier.

Really? Remind me to
render you down sometime.


You know, sure enough, Joe,

if you put a little more
offset on that blade,

it would make things
easier, sure enough.

Would you cut that out!

ABE: Hey!

You almost hit me.

JOE: Hey, I'm
sorry, Mr. Jenkins.

HOSS: Howdy there, Abe.
- Howdy, Hoss. Joe.

Your brother, Adam, around?

He's in the house,
be out in a minute.

What brings you all
the way out here, Abe?

This is a far piece from home.

I know it, but I got some
business with your brother.

Oh, yeah? What kind?

Now, look here, sonny, my
business is with your brother.

Would you just go
fetch him, please?

Yes, sir.

How's Adam feeling, Hoss?

- Why, fine, I reckon, Abe. You?
- Oh, all right.

Adam wasn't feeling so
good last time I seen him.

When was that?

Not more than a week
ago, up to my place.

Oh, Abe. I think
you're mistaken, Abe.

I'm not.

Well, Abe. What are you
doing in this neck of the woods?

- I heard you wanted to talk to me.
- Yeah.

Abe says last time he saw you,
you was in pretty bad shape, Adam.


Oh, is this some attempt
at a feeble little joke?

You in on this, Abe?

I don't know what
you're talking about.

But I'm right glad to see
you looking all right again.

How'd you like that
horse I give you?


Yeah, the best one I
had. Valuable animal.

Now, I ain't trying to
heckle you none, Adam.

I had to come to Virginia City
anyhow and I thought I'd drop by.

Not that I don't trust you'll be
getting around to pay me but...

Abe, what are you talking about?

Well, the horse I give you

when you come to me
all beat up and broke.

Beat up and broke?

Yeah. I gave you the
horse, don't you remember?

On the promise you'd give me
$50 when you got back home?

I haven't left this ranch
for the last ten days.

Ask Hoss. Right?

That's right, Abe.

Why, I don't understand.

It had to be you or some
fellow that looked just like you.

That's right. It was a
fellow that looked like me.

When I called him Adam,

he answered back just
as nice as you please.

Well, why not? If he
were beat up and broke

and you were offering a
horse to a fellow named Adam.

But I give him the horse
because I thought it was you.

Oh, it ain't fair.

Adam, Abe's right. Dab-burnit,
if he gave a horse to a jasper

that looks like you, it ain't his fault.
He was just trying to you a favor.

- If...
- Will you shut up?

Which way did this fellow
head when he left your place?

Well, he took the
road to Virginia City.

All right. I'll go into town, see
if I can trace this fellow down.

You'll get your money
one way or the other.


Hey, Adam, why don't
you leave this jasper be.

He's liable to marry
you a wife or something.



Hey, Abe, how
about a cup of coffee?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

MAN: Well, thanks a
lot. Say hello to the family.

Oh, hi, Adam.

What are you doing back so soon?

What do you mean "so soon"?

Well, from them supplies and
clothes you picked up the other day,

I figured you'd be
away a couple of weeks.

You don't say so?

- What did the bill come to?
- Oh, uh...

A couple of hundred, as I
recall. Oh, do you want your mail?

I think I saw something
in your box this morning.

No, a little later. I have
to go over to the bank.

- Morning, Mr. Weems.
- Hmm?

Oh, good morning, Adam.
How was Placerville?

- Placerville?
- Yes.

The place where
you cashed that draft.

Oh. How much was that?

Five hundred dollars. Heh.

You should know
that, you drew it.

No, I didn't.

But I'm glad my friend who
did was so conservative.

I don't understand, Adam.

Someday I'll explain, Mr. Weems.

Oh, by the way, don't
accept any more drafts

without two
Cartwright signatures.

Just as you say, Adam.

Oh, I got that mail for you.

What's the matter? Bad news?

ADAM: Uh... I don't know.

Look, do me a favor.

If anybody comes in
from the Ponderosa

to pick up the mail,

tell them I've gone to
Placerville to seek my image.

MAN: Your what?

ADAM: Never mind.
They'll know what I mean.


He's not so tough.

- No chance.
- Throw him out.

enough. That's enough.

What are you doing
back here, Cartwright?

I told you to get
out and stay out.

I come in here minding
my own business,

these creeps jumped me.

You arrest them,
I'll proffer charges.

I'll make an arrest, all right.

- You.
- Now, just a minute.

Come on, let's go.

ANN: Sheriff? Sheriff.

You were real
lucky last time, Ann.

Now, don't push me.

Let's go.

You just wire Sheriff
Coffee in Virginia City,

he'll prove that I'm
Adam Cartwright.

I already know you're
Adam Cartwright.

The other fellow just looks
like me and he uses my name.

Yeah, I know, let's go.


Boy, I'll tell you one thing.

You or this other fellow,
you sure spin some tall tales.

Last time you were
behind these bars,

you or that twin of yours
tried to justify killing a man.

Killing a man?

In the same bar
you were fighting in.

As a matter of fact, the two
men you were fighting with

is a friend of the
man you killed.

As if you didn't know that.

Well, why didn't you
keep my friend in jail

or hang him if he killed a man?

If you wanna play a game,
I can't see any harm in it.

I released you because
Ann, the barmaid,

said it was in self-defense.

That the other man
attacked you first,

and she was backed
up by the bartender.

All right, then supposing
I were this man...

Which I am not.

Why arrest me again?

For your own
protection, that's why.

Those two men would
have killed you. Heh.

They might even yet.

I wouldn't want that
to happen in my town.

You know, the man you killed
was a no-good gunslinger.

But no stranger like you comes
into my town and takes a man's life,

no-good gunslinger or not.

I told you that before,

and I told you never
to come back here.

Look, why don't you just...

send a wire to Sheriff
Coffee in Virginia City.

Maybe there's a reward
for this Adam Cartwright.

Or maybe it'll prove that
you got the wrong man.

Why not.

You know, either a very
clever man or a very stupid man

would try to get away
with something like this.

Or a very honest man.

What happened? Why
did you come back?

I'm sorry, you, uh...

You've got me confused
with somebody else.

Don't play games with me.

The sheriff will be
back any minute, Tom.


I thought we were friends.

But if you don't need
me anymore, well...

No, wait.

I'm not playing games with you.

My name is Cartwright.
Adam Cartwright.

I know.

And Tom Burns.

Whoever Tom Burns is...

he's just a man
who looks like me.

Apparently enough
so to be my twin.

Come over here.


Now, look at me.

Really look at me.

You look...

you look different.

Tell that to the
sheriff, will you? Hm?

Are you after him too?


Tom Burns.

Well, if he's the man
who's been using my name

and my bank account, yeah.

Go ahead, tell him.

Tell me what?


Did you send the
wire to Virginia City?

SHERIFF: I sent the wire.

Sheriff, you ever hear of
a man named Tom Burns?

Tom Burns?

That's right.

I think he may be the one
that's been using my name.

Is that a fact now?

No, but it's a possibility.
Do you know him?

Well, let's just
say I know of him.

Same as I know of a man
calls himself Cartwright.

Tell me something, Cartwright.

If you had a choice,
which would you rather be?

Tom Burns or Adam Cartwright?

I've told you...

I know what you told me.

But let's look at
it from my angle.

This Cartwright, to me, is a
man that's killed another man.

In addition to this, and
according to yourself,

he's also a horse rustler, a thief,
in a sense, he's a bank robber.

Pretty unsavory
character, wouldn't you say?

Put that way, yeah.

It's the only way I can put it

because that's all I know
about any Cartwright.

You take this Tom Burns here,

he's got more angles any
Cartwright ever dreamed of.

According to this this
report, he's a convict.

An ex-convict, that is.

He was sent to prison for
embezzling from his own bank.

And two days before his release,
he up and kills his cellmate.

He really murdered him.

Because there wasn't anybody
around like Ann to justify it for him.

How do you like that background?

Pretty unsavory.

I guess I better wire the prison just
in case I got Tom Burns right here.

You make up your
mind who you wanna be?

I guess I'll stick to
being Adam Cartwright.

I don't blame you. I would too.

Seems to be the
less of the two evils.

But either way, you're in
a lot of trouble, Cartwright.



SHERIFF: Yes, sir,
you two really look alike.

Well, I'm grateful that
you were fair enough

to wire Sheriff Coffee.

Getting kind of late, I
think I'll put up at the hotel

and get an early
start in the morning.

Oh, Cartwright.

When you get back to Virginia City,
will you give my regards to that sheriff?

Smart of him to get me to ask you
where your Chinese cook was born.

To prove that you're
the real Adam Cartwright.

Well, I'll give your
regards to Roy.

You still going after
that Burns fellow?

You know, he's pretty dangerous.

He's already killed
two men in two weeks.

He's probably still
using my name too.

Well, thanks again, sheriff.

Good luck.




Come in.

May I talk to you?

Yeah. Sit down.

Excuse me.

Thank you.

The sheriff came by the saloon

and he tells me that you
really are Adam Cartwright.

You knew that.

Not really.

Well, you know it now.

How long you known
this Tom Burns?

Since the other night
when he rode into town.

That was just a few days ago.

You can't possibly get to know a
man that well in such a short time.

Oh, yes, you can.

When he talks to you
constantly for two days,

you can get to
know him real well.

I don't know why he
told me so many things.

Unless it was because
he'd just gotten out of prison

and I was willing to listen.

I don't know, but he talked...

and I believed him.


He was innocent
in the first place

and should never have
gone to prison, right?

The sheriff says you're still
going to look for Tom. Why?

Well, because he stole in my
name, he killed in my name and...

who knows what else.

But he meant no harm.

He had to do those things.

People who hated him
forced him to do those things.

He's a good man.


A good man.

A convict, a thief, a killer.

He's not. He's not!


His partner framed him.

He even paid his
cellmate to kill him

when he was going
to get out of prison.


You don't believe me.

Well, I believe
that you believe it.

But no, I don't.

So you're going to
persecute him too,

just like all the others.

Well, I'm gonna try to stop
him from using my name, yeah.

I could tell you
where to find him.

Will you?

He's going to meet his
wife at a certain place.

- Oh, he's married?
- Mm-hm.

You married?


If I tell you, will
you help him?

Well, if I find him, it
won't be to help him.

You're so much like Tom, I
thought perhaps you'd understand.

Remember, I only look like him.

Good night.

Good night.


I hope you're a good
cook, I'm hungry.

You're also very foolish.

Dangerous country for a
girl to go riding around alone.

Well, I'm not alone now.

What do you want this time?

I've decided to tell you
where you can find Tom Burns.

On one condition.

I told you I couldn't help him.

Oh, it isn't that condition.

It's just that I wanna
come with you,

and you said yourself this
is very dangerous country

for a woman alone.

What are running around
after him for? Why help him?

You know he's married
to another woman.

I know, it's silly, I guess,
especially for somebody

that's been around
as long as I have, but...

I don't know how to explain it.

Well, nobody has talked to
me that way for a long time,

and I haven't been able to talk
to a man that way for a long time.

Not since I was
very, very young.

And I don't care that he's married
and that nothing can happen for us.

But I still believe in him
and I wanna help him.

And I want to find out if
his wife believed in him

and if she helped him.

Well, we'll talk
about it while we eat.

Grab yourself a
plate over there.

And he said that his
partner, this Jason Everts,

kept in touch with him, the
same way his wife did, by letter.

All during the five
years he was in prison.

And then two days
before he was to get out,

another prisoner
tried to kill him.

But Burns killed
him instead, huh?

Yes, but in self-defense.

And the man confessed
just before he died

that he had been hired to do it.

Confessed to whom?

Well, to Tom, of course.
He was the only one there.

And then Tom escaped right after
that because, well, he had no proof

that the other man
had attacked him first.

He knew he'd
never get out of jail.

And so Tom jumped to the conclusion
that his partner, Jason Everts,

had hired this man
to kill him, huh?

He didn't jump to
anything. He had proof.

What proof?

Well, when he got a
horse and new clothes,

using your name,

he went to Placerville and
he wired his partner for help.

The help came in the form of
the hired gunman at the saloon.

And Tom killed him.

In self-defense.

Excuse me, I
don't me to be rude,

but, you know, you sure
have a way of jumping...

Coming to a lot of conclusions
with very little evidence.

Well, by now, Tom
may have the final proof.

Or as you call it
the final conclusion.

That's why I wanna go along
with you because I wanna find out.

Well, where is he?

Well, when the sheriff let
him out of jail at Placerville,

he hid from the friends
of the dead gunman

in my room.

He had me send a
wire to his wife, Valerie,

asking her to meet him

at an old house
outside of his hometown,

a place called Lubock.

Well, what was he planning?

He just hoped that
with his wife's help,

he could prove that Jason
Everts had framed him

and was trying to kill him.


This Burns fellow sure depends
a lot on help from women.

Well, is anything
wrong with that?


Tell you what, though, I'll sleep
on what you've told me and...

I'll make up my
mind in the morning.

It may not be very
comfortable, but you'll be warm.

Thank you.

Good night.

Good night.

Ah. I thought the smell
of coffee would get you up.

If it didn't, I was
counting on the bacon.

Hope you like your bacon crisp.

Lady, I love my bacon crisp.


ANN: Oh.

Very good.

Here's some coffee.

Tell me, you doing all this cooking
to prove that you're a better cook

or are you trying to influence my
decision about taking you with me?

Neither. I know
I'm a better cook.

I also know that you're a
man who cannot be bribed.

Even by good food.

I cooked breakfast merely
because I was awake first

and because I'm a woman.

Yes, that you are.

And that's why I've
decided to take you with me.

Because I'm a good cook
or because I'm a woman?

No, because I think
you're an honest woman

and I'm beginning to believe
in your concern for Tom Burns,

even though I
don't believe in him.

Thank you.

Is this it?

I guess so.

It's the only one we've come
across in this area, so it must be.

It doesn't look exactly the
way he described it, but...

Well, what he remembered
was five years ago.

Well, let's see if there's
any signs he was here.

It's a cinch nobody's
been here for a while.

Oh, yes, there has.

What do you mean?

Smell the air.


Smells just stale to me.

Another woman's been
here. I can smell her perfume.

How can you tell? I can't
tell if you're wearing perfume.

That's because I'm not.

But she was. Tom's
wife, she's been here.

Well, she's not here
now. Neither she nor Tom.

But she was here,

and I have a feeling
something's wrong.

Like the feeling about
Tom being innocent?

- Yes, I...
- Look, please, not again.

We haven't eaten since this
morning, so you fix up something to eat

and I'll look outside for signs, see
if anybody's been coming or going.

Well, all right, but I just
know something's wrong.

It's getting burnt. Where...?

Where have you been?

The food is overdone.
It's practically burnt up.

I'm sorry.

No, I'm sorry.

I shouldn't have
yelled at you like that.

I guess I'm just
overtired and nervous.

Did you find anything?

Yeah, you were right.

There were two people here.

Only one went away.


You know, this Tom Burns,
the fellow who looks like me,

last time you saw him, was
he wearing a light tan jacket?

- Yes. You found him?
- Yeah.

I found him, he's dead.

I found him in a grave
up there in a cave.

- No.
- With a nice fresh bullet hole

in the back of his new jacket.

No, no, no, it
can't be. It can't be.

I'm afraid there's
very little doubt.

Then she killed him.

His wife, she murdered him!

Well, now that's a
pretty strong statement

based on the smelling
of some perfume.

It's not just that. Don't
you see? It had to be her.

I sent her that wire myself.

All the time he thought it was
his partner who was betraying him.

It was his wife.

He walked into this trap
like an innocent lamb

and she shot him because
the other two tries failed.

Don't you see?

Well, that's a pretty theory
and it's probably right.

But the whole thing
is over and done.

What do you mean?

Tom Burns is dead.

The search is over, at
least my part of it anyway.

Just like that.

Why not?

Sure, why not? The
imposter is dead.

The man who used the
name of Adam Cartwright

to buy a few extra
days of life is dead.

The search is ended

and so now Adam
Cartwright can go back

to his own untroubled,
unruffled, unbetrayed life.

Oh, come on now, Ann.

All I'm trying to say is that you became
emotionally involved with this man,

and you thought you
were in love with him

even when you found out he
was married to somebody else.

And to me, he's just a
man who stole my name

and now he's dead.

Murdered, you mean.


Look, Adam, you didn't
have to become involved.

Not really, you know.

You could have sent wires
and left it to the law officers.

I could have shrugged
him off too, but we didn't.

And now it's become a
kind of a responsibility.


You know, for a woman,
you sure do talk a lot.

Oh, Tom.


I'm sorry.

I used his name,
I don't know why.

Well, it's because,
despite all the philosophy,

you're still in love with him
and that's what's driving you.

I'm sorry.

Drop the gun belt.

Excuse me, Ann.

You know, Cartwright, this is
gonna be a double pleasure.

First, we get the
payoff that Mike missed,

then we pay you
off for killing him.

Stop yapping and
get it over with.

He's only good to us dead.

What's the hurry?

Ah! Unh!

All right, get out, both of you.

Come on.

Thanks. That's about
the closest I've ever been.

You needed help.

Like Tom needed help.

I'll just get some food.

I can't have guys like that
jumping out of the woodwork at me

thinking I'm Tom Burns.

I'm gonna have to settle it.

You're right.

A man deserves a
conclusion to his life.

If he can't do it and
another man can, then...

it's like you said, it's a
kind of a responsibility.

Thank you, Adam.



ANN: Hello.

What do you think of it?


My new dress, silly.

It was a wonderful bargain.

Very pretty.

What about this Everts fellow?

Oh, he's at the bank,
all right. I saw him.

I got your clothes.

You sure this is like the
one Burns was wearing?

It's as close as I could get.

Okay, I'll see you at
the bank in ten minutes.

ANN: You, uh...

You don't really like
my dress, do you?

I said it was very pretty.

You know, you're the only man I
have ever allowed to buy me a dress.

Well, you didn't have
very much choice, did you?

JASON: And bring me the O'Brien file.
- Yes, Mr. Jason.

Mr. Jason, I'll need
your signature on these.

Mr. Jason?



- What are you doing here?
- I've got to see you, Valerie.

It's of the utmost importance.

You fool.

After all our talk and you come
here in the middle of the day...

- Something upsetting just happen...
- Upsetting.

Lately, every little thing makes
you hysterical, like a woman.

Tom Burns is still alive.

That's ridiculous. Really,
Jason, you're going to pieces.

- Now, will you get out of here...?
- He's alive I tell you, and in town.

I saw him.

- That's impossible.
- No.

He came to the bank
to look at me. I saw him.

And you spoke with him?

- No. He disappeared before I...
- Of course, because he wasn't there.

He's dead, Jason.

- Dead.
- Yeah.

The way he was supposed
to be dead at that prison.

The way he was
dead at Placerville.

Those were blunders, mistakes.

But this time it's true.

I'm positive, Jason. I
told you what happened.

Nevertheless, I saw him.

We're going out to that shack and I'm
gonna prove to you once and for all...

- No. No, no, I... Valerie, I...
- Shut up and listen to me.

We're going out there tonight.
I'll pick you up just after dark.

We'll have to take a chance
that nobody will see us together.

If only we'd gone away
when we had the chance.

Oh, Jason, don't
bring up ancient history.

It's been over
between us for years.

- Only with you.
- Nevertheless, it's over.

It's become a
partnership, Jason.

Just a financial partnership.

JASON: But now
we can get married.

VALERIE: Really?

When you say you've just
seen Tom with your own eyes?

You see? That
proves it, I was right.

It proves nothing.

It was just a conversation
they can deny.

Well, obviously they
were in this thing together.

Look, whatever emotional involvement
they might have had together is over.

And there's nothing we can
do to prove that it ever existed,

and Valerie's gonna
keep it that way.

What about the money?

Well, as Tom's wife or widow,
she has a perfectly legal right

to share in any of
the bank's profits.

Well, so you go out and get the
sheriff and you show him the grave

and you prove that
Tom was murdered.

And that's all you'll
prove, not who did it.

What's the matter with you?
You sound like you're on their side.

I am just trying to point out the fact
that we don't have a leg to stand on

when it comes
to actually proving

whether or not they're
guilty of anything.

When I believed in Tom's innocence
I didn't have anything to go on either.

Faith does not always
move mountains.

Adam, I think that...

I think if you believe
something hard enough,

you can help make it come true.

And I think that if you believe
something hard enough,

you can make it come untrue.

What do you mean?

I'll have to show you.

All right, let's go.

ADAM: Now, we'll
have to wait till after dark.

It won't be dark
for two hours yet.

Well, we'll just have to wait.

Come on.

Now we'll settle this for good.

This isn't really
necessary, Valerie.

Oh, yes, it is.

We're gonna lay this ghost
of your imagination right here,

before you repeat your
hysterical story to someone else.

Now dig.

Please, Valerie.

I said dig.


It's Tom.

I knew it.

I knew he wasn't dead.

Shut up, you fool.

I told you he was still alive.

It was all her idea, Tom.

The money from the bank,
bribing your cellmate, everything.

Stop talking.

It's a trick, Jason.

I'm sorry, Tom.

It was Valerie who shot you.

Her, not me. It was
always... [GUNSHOT]


Don't do it.

We heard everything,
and we saw it.

Poor Tom.

All these years...
believing in you.

You still here?

I thought when you left my
office, you'd be on your way home.

Yeah, well, I planned to,

but I wanted to have a
farewell drink with a certain lady.

And it looks to me
like she's exercising

that feminine prerogative
of being late, very late.

Looks like it's
worth it, though.

Bartender, the
lady needs a drink.

Well, new dresses don't seem
able to influence you at all.

It's very pretty.

If I recall, that's the same
thing you said last time.

Tom would have...

- To Tom.
- To Tom.

And to you.

I'm sorry Tom couldn't
know what you did for him.

I just believed
in him, that's all.

Someday you'll find
another man to believe in.


Goodbye, Ann.

Bye, Adam. Thanks.



I'll never forget you.

Either of you.

Thank you.


Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is a beautiful, family-friendly show for solo viewing or enjoying with loved ones. The Search marks the 189th episode out of 430 in the series. Produced by NBC, Bonanza aired on their network from September 1959 to January 1973, spanning 14 seasons.

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

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