twilight town
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Twilight Town Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #05, Episode #4

On his way to a surprise party at the Ponderosa, Little Joe Cartwright finds himself stranded in the desert when his horse is stolen. Overwhelmed by the heat, he collapses and later wakes up in the peculiar town of Martinville. This town is adorned with bizarre imagery and inhabited by strange individuals. When faced with danger from a menacing gunman named Felix Matthews, Joe is coerced into aiding the ghostly townsfolk. Along the journey, he develops feelings for the mysterious Louise Corman. Twilight Town, penned by Cy Chermak, diverges from the typical Bonanza storyline, bearing a closer resemblance to an episode of the Twilight Zone. Originally airing on October 13, 1963, this episode offers a unique and captivating narrative.

You can delve into its plot, discover intriguing trivia, or watch the full episode below.

Table of Contents

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Main Cast

In the fifth season of Bonanza, the fourth episode titled “Twilight Town” showcased a mix of recurring and supporting cast members. Among those featured in the episode were:

  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Davey Davison as Louise Corman
  • Doris Dowling as Katie O’Brien
  • Stacy Harris as Mr. Corman
  • Walter Coy as Masterson
  • Michael T. Mikler as Felix Matthews / Bushwhacker (as Michael Mickler)
  • Andy Albin as Stationmaster
  • Don Dillaway as Clem
  • Joseph Breen as Townsman
  • John Bose as Townsman (uncredited)
  • John Breen as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Robert Christopher as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bill Clark as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Betty Endicott as Brunette Store Clerk (uncredited)
  • Herman Hack as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bob LaWandt as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Martha Manor as Blonde Store Clerk (uncredited)
  • Bob Miles as Thug (uncredited)
  • Hans Moebus as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bob Whitney as Townsman (uncredited)

Full Story Line for Twilight Town

Little Joe finds himself knocked unconscious by an outlaw who steals his horse, leaving him wandering through the desert until he stumbles upon a ghost town. Collapsing in the deserted streets, he eventually regains consciousness to find himself under the care of a lovely young woman in Martinville, a tranquil yet enigmatic town inhabited by friendly but mysterious locals.

Upon recovering, Joe is taken aback when offered the role of sheriff by the town’s leaders, who reveal their desperate need for his help against a band of marauding outlaws. Despite warnings from a woman cloaked in black about the town’s past betrayal of her husband, the previous sheriff, Joe, resolves to organize resistance against the outlaws.

Joe confronts the outlaws alone as the townsfolk grow increasingly hesitant, ultimately uncovering Martinville’s final dark secret.

Full Script and Dialogue of Twilight Town

It'll be a hot one
today, Cootch.

Look, I'm just trying
to help you, mister.

You've helped.

Now, just take it easy, friend.

I lost my horse, and now
I'm buying your horse.

- He's not for sale, mister.
- Well, you'd better change your mind.

I'm paying you a
good price for it.

Your life.

That looks about
right, doesn't it?

It looks fine to me, Pa. I
wonder if Little Joe's gonna like it.

Well, why shouldn't he?

Well, he probably figures
he's getting a little bit too old

for surprise birthday parties.

Oh, come on, now.

A man's never too old to have friends
over to help him celebrate an occasion.

Well, the beef's all dressed
and ready for the spit.

The musicians will be
here before sundown.

Good. Yeah, I think
he'll be pleased.


Hey, hey, hey!






Thank you for coming.

Ah, Ben, it was a great party.
You know, I haven't had so much fun

since old Judge Potter
married for the fourth time.

- It was nice having you, Clem.
- Good night, Ben.

And you stop worrying, Ben.

Worrying? About
what? I'm not worried.

Ben, I've known
you for a long time.

Little Joe, he'll
make it home fine.

- And that was a real fine party.
- Thank you.

- Let's go.
- Thank you for coming.

- You going somewhere?
- Ain't we all?

- I'm going to bed.
- Pa.

I'm going to bed, and I
suggest you do the same.

Pa, he's in trouble.

Now, isn't that a
fool thing to say?

His horse could
have thrown a shoe.

- Anything could have made him late.
- Sure.

Could have stopped off
in a saloon to have a drink.

Not tonight. Not with
$2,000 in his saddlebags.

Now, Joseph is old enough
to take care of himself.

I'm not gonna go
out searching for him

just because he's a
couple of hours late.

He's not a child.

Besides, what if he was tired

and decided to just bed
down for the night in a hotel?

We'd look foolish going out
looking for him, wouldn't we?


We'd all feel a lot better,
though, wouldn't we?

I am not worried.

I'll get changed.


This town is deserted.

There was nothing.

You rest for a while.

I don't understand.
There was nothing.

There was nothing
when I came here.

Please, Mr. Cartwright.

You know me?

You had some
papers in your pocket.

Not very ladylike, I'm
afraid, but we were curious.

Yeah, but there was...

There was nothing here. I came
into this town and there was nothing.


You... You rest
now, Mr. Cartwright.

Rest, please.

He will live.

- What did you find out about him?
- Only his name.

He's young and he's strong.

But he carries a gun.

A lot of men carry guns.

- They're not all willing to use them.
- I think this boy will.

And if he won't?

We've got to try. We've
waited so long for someone.

"Received from Little
Joe Cartwright." Little Joe?

Yeah, I know what you mean.

That's what I get for being the
youngest member of the family.

Two hundred head of
cattle, $10 a head, $2,000.

That's a lot of money.

It was a lot of money.

I don't have it anymore,
but I'll get it back.

I'm, uh...

I'm sorry. I'm sorry,
I didn't mean that.

I just had to know.

Know what?

About you.

- That man that just left the room.
- That's my father.


About this whole town.



Yesterday it wasn't
Martinville. Yesterday it...

You had a head wound.

And you'd been in the sun
a long time without water.

The sun does funny
things to a man.

It does strange things, but yesterday
this town was nothing, a ghost town.

- You rest now.
- It was deserted.

- We'll talk again later.
- I don't wanna rest now, Miss...?

Corman, Louise
Corman. And you will rest.

Doctor's orders.

Well, I don't take
orders from the doctor.

However, if his nurse
would ask me very nicely...

She already has.

And she's very strict.

She's also very pretty.

All right, I'll rest.

I'll rest.

How is he?

- Curious, asking questions.
- And you told him...?

Exactly what you wanted
me to tell him, nothing.

I was just getting ready
to close, Mrs. O'Brien.

It's not important.
I can come back.

Not bad.

It would make a lovely
dress, don't you think?

But not for mourning, of
course, not for a widow.

But for a fiesta, yes.

You are planning a
fiesta, a celebration,

now that your
savior has arrived?

Your messiah.

Or is he your fatted calf?

Well, I'm gonna
take another chance.

- Raise you 10,000.
- I'll just call you.

High stakes today.

It would be if
toothpicks were money.

It's more fun this way. It
makes us all feel important.

Well, now, feel important
somewhere else. It's lunchtime.

Oh, come on, Louise. Really,
I can't eat anymore today.

Now, if the good women of
Martinville can take the time to cook...

Yeah, I know, Louise, I know,
then I can take the time to eat it.

Are you folks always
this way to strangers?

Well, whenever we
can help someone.

I know, but
everybody in this town,

stopping by to say
hello, bringing me gifts.

Anything wrong with that?

No, there's nothing
wrong. It just means

you've got a real swell town here.
You ought to be very proud of it.

Hey, wait a minute,
where are you going?

You fellas left me
$20,000 in the hole.

Well, here, this makes
us all about even.

- We'll start again after lunch.
- Okay, you got a deal.

I think the patient can sit
up for a little while longer.

All right, chicken soup, Mrs.
Allison. Potato soup, Mrs. O'Leary.

Beef broth, Mrs. Turner.
Irish stew and beef stew.

- Where do you wanna start?
- That's a good question.

Hey, Louise, who's that?

We were talking
about chicken soup.

What's going on
here in Martinville?

A minute ago you thought it was
the most wonderful town in the world.

That's not the point.

- The day I came here...
- You were ill. We've gone all over that.

Yeah, we haven't come
up with any answers.

You, your father, the
people of this town.

- Where was everyone that day?
- We were at a funeral.

We were burying our sheriff.

- Your boy, not 25 years old.
- We need him, Mrs. O'Brien.

You should know better than
anybody else how much we need him.

You expect me to cry for you?

No, we...

We expect you not to
get in the way, all of us.

We may not get another chance.

But you had a chance once.

What did you do with it?


Well, this time it
may be different.

We hope you
won't get in the way.

Nobody's seen him.

He certainly would
have stopped here.

He always did when
he came this way.

What do we do now?

Backtrack some more and
keep backtracking till we find him.


- Hi. How are you?
- All right?

- Yeah, stop worrying. I feel fine.
- Ha, ha.

Mr. Cartwright.

Uh, Mr. Cartwright, Miss
O'Brien, our late sheriff's wife.

Very pleased to meet
you, Mrs. O'Brien.

Don't be pleased to meet me.

Don't be pleased at anything
that happens in this place.

Mr. Cartwright, leave this
town while you still can.

Tell him, Miss Corman.

Or don't you know what
these people are planning?

They're going to kill you just as
surely as they killed my husband.

You leave him alone.

Stop saying such
ridiculous things.

Wait a minute, Louise.
What's she talking about?

It's nothing. Ever
since her husband died,

she's been imagining
all sorts of things.

You poor fool.

You poor, misguided fool.

- A black and white pinto, huh?
- That's right.

He was here, just
like you described.


He rode out of here
yesterday morning.

He said he was headed for
the cantina up by Dry Bluffs.

- Yeah, well, he never got there.
- Well, it's not my fault.

Somewhere between
here and Dry Bluffs.

All healed?

I'll be fine, thanks to you.

I guess I better be going.

Why so soon?

Something I have to do.

Find that money you lost?

It was trusted to me,
and I let it be taken away.

I've gotta try to find him.

I don't know how, but
I'm gonna have to try.


Please don't leave
me, Little Joe.

Please don't leave me.


I'll be back.

Mr. Corman, Mr. Masterson,
I'm leaving now.

I just wish there was some way I could
repay you for all you've done for me.

There is.

Put that on.

You're not serious.

Well, we're convinced that
you could handle the job.

- Well, that's very flattering but...
- And we're convinced that you will.

Well, I'm not a... I'm not
a lawman, Mr. Corman.

No, but you're a
man, aren't you?

Well, a man pays back his debts.

- Now, wait a minute.
- Now, you said you owe us something.

All right, we're telling you
how you can pay us back.

You're telling me
or you're asking me?

Whichever way you prefer.

We're offering you a
job. It's as simple as that.

Is it? Is it that simple?

Then why don't you start by telling
me what happened to your last sheriff?

And why have I been
warned to get out of this town?

We thought you liked
the people of Martinville.

We thought you
might want to help us.

Help with what?

Now, why doesn't somebody tell
me what's going on in this town?

All right, I'll tell y...

Then I'm sorry.

Will you lend me a horse?

Mr. Masterson?

Will you sell me a horse?


I need a horse.

Anybody here got a
horse they wanna sell?

You'll get no horse from
anyone in this town, Cartwright.

- Stop him, Louise.
- I've tried to, Papa.

- Well, then try again.
- How?

Well, you're a
woman. He likes you.

- But he's also a human being.
- One human being.

One soul. And we're 260.
Now, which is more important?

Little Joe? Little Joe, wait.

Little Joe.

Oh, I got a lot of
friends out there.

What'd they do?
Hide all the livestock?

All right. I walked into this town. I
was in a lot worse shape. I can walk out.

We're all prisoners in this town,
Little Joe, can't you see that?

What do you mean?

Whose prisoners?

His name is Felix Matthews.

He drove off our livestock
and he killed our sheriff.

He's the leader of a band of
outlaws who operate out of this town.

They disappear
for weeks at a time,

but they always come back, and
then the terror begins all over again.

- But why don't they stop them?
- We can't stop them.

Once we might have,
but it was profitable not to.

They spent money here
and they let us alone.

But then, slowly, they
became stronger and stronger

and we became weaker.

And suddenly,
Martinville was their town.

Why didn't you tell
me all this before?

I know I should have.

But I wasn't sure I wanted you
to get involved in our problems.

What changed your mind?

They're coming back tonight.

They'll have their pockets full of money
and the smell of blood in their nostrils.

And do you think whiskey
and food is all they want?

Felix Matthews likes me.

I've managed to keep him away
so far, but a girl gets tired, Little Joe.

It's a long, losing battle.

You mean that your father

and the rest of this town is gonna
let something like that happen?

They wanna stop them,
Little Joe, but they're afraid.

They need help.

And you're the only
one who can help them.

What should we do, Little Joe?

Fight them! Has it ever
occurred to you to fight them?

- It occurred to us.
- We're just not fighters!

Most men aren't
until they have to be.

Till their families are
threatened, their countries.


All we did was
ask you to help us.

You didn't ask
me to do anything.

You tried to trick me into taking
a job I didn't know anything about.

We're asking you now,
honestly and openly.

Look, no one man
can do this for you.

It takes the whole town,
every single one of you.

We have the manpower
and we have the guns.

What we need is a leader.

Someone who's willing
to risk his life for us.

Let's go outside.
We've got work to do.

Get it up in there real close.

That's not going to be nearly
high enough, Cartwright.

A good horse could
easily jump that.

That's the idea, we
want them to jump it.

Once they're on the inside, we
fire up that coal oil, they'll be trapped.

Hey, Pete, Gene, get that coal oil
and start soaking this barricade good.

You got the rifles for the roofs
and the shotguns for the barricade?

I'll have them.

I'll go check the
other barricade.

All right.

What did you tell him?
How poor you all are?

How unfortunate?

Or how helpless?

Do you think he would
have believed the truth?


Thank you for that, anyway.

Then you promised him
something? What, Miss Corman?

Sweet nights and soft guitars
for the rest of his short life?

Long nights under the moonlight?

The sweet smell of sage?

Or was it something
more down to earth?

Something else
that he won't receive?

Get out of here.

I thought so.

You got him to
fall in love with you.

That's it, isn't it?

- Please leave, Katie.
- Why?

So you can throw
that boy's life away?

What he doesn't
know won't hurt him?

- He doesn't have to die.
- Doesn't he?

One man against all of them.

Please, Katie. Don't you
see? He's all we have.

He's our only chance
to get out of this town,

to get off these streets
after so many years.

And for that, he
dies? Yes, he dies.

Oh, sure, they're building
barricades, acting like brave men now.

But you know when
the showdown comes,

that boy will have no more
help than my husband had

when he thought
he could fight back.

Because even if the
help were theirs to give,

the people of this town
just don't have it in them.

They never did.

They're getting exactly
what they deserve.

All we can do now is wait.

- Want some hot?
- No, thank you.

Are you sorry?

- Sorry about what?
- We got you involved in all this?

I'd be a lot worse off if I
hadn't wandered into Martinville.

Be lying out in the
desert somewhere, dead.

Are you doing this for me?

I'm doing it. That's
all that's important.

No, it isn't.

You have to be doing it for
the whole town, all of them.

- Okay, if that's the way you want it.
- No, it has to be that way.

If not, it's all a waste.

They're coming. We
can hear their horses.

All right, that's far
enough, Matthews.

Well, well, well.
What have we here?

You know what it is and
you know what it's for.

Masterson, Corman, get
up there where I can see you.

Get up here.

Are you playing games again?

- Well, you see, Mr. Matthews...
- Don't "mister" him, Corman.

This isn't a game, Matthews.

You're through in this
town, get that straight now.

All right, Masterson,

get this pile of junk out of the
middle of the street right now.

- We're coming through.
- This pile of junk stays.

You're gonna let this boy dig his
own grave, Masterson, with his mouth.

It's my grave, maybe.

There's no maybe about it.

Now, I'll tell you
what I'm going to do.

Me and the boys are
gonna rest up for a spell,

and then we'll come down.

Maybe it will be in an hour,
maybe we'll wait till sunup.

Maybe. Maybe not even then.

Just maybe.

Oh, but we'll be back.

And if this barricade is
still up when we get here,

do you know what
we're gonna do then?

Well, let me tell
you, gentlemen.

Have you ever seen
a town wiped out?

Taken apart piece by piece?

Well, you've got an experience
in store for you, gentlemen.

Think about that.

Oh, and, uh, Masterson,
if you make us fight,

don't waste all your
ammunition on me and the boys.

Save some for the
womenfolk and the kids.

I tried to warn you.

It'll work out fine.

If you leave now, while
you have the chance.

You sound like you're trying
to protect Felix Matthews.

I thought you said he was the
man that shot your husband.

He pointed the gun, he pulled
the trigger, yes, but that's all.

You wanna know what
killed my husband?


It was the cowardice
of a whole town.

"Fight them," my husband
said. And they were all for it.

"Build a barricade," he said.

And they ran out into the street
with their chairs and their mattresses.

Or did you think this idea of
yours was 100 percent original?

- This time it'll work.
- Will it?

It's been tried
before, my friend.

And do you know what happened?

They've learned their lesson, Little
Joe. They'll know better this time.

Have they? Look at them. They're
beginning to fall apart already.

And in a few hours, the
barricades will come down again.

And when that happens, Felix
Matthews will ride in after you.

And not one man in this
town will lift a finger to stop him.

It's his.

Looks like one man on
horseback and one on foot.

Yeah, going right
out in the desert.

Let's ride.

Easy, honey, easy.

Easy, honey.

Easy, mister, easy.
Now, take it easy.

Come to your senses!
Can't you see it won't work?

Go on, take him inside.

He's right.

It's no use. We can't win.

What do you mean he's right?
You're winning. Can't you see that?

You called his bluff. Matthews
can't fight his way into this town.

Not now, he can't.

But in a few days, a few weeks.

How long can we
go on living like this?

In other words, you wanna quit.

No, it's not a question of quitting.
It's a question of common sense.

We gambled and we lost.

And you're always gonna lose,
Masterson. You and men like you.

Because you're willing to trade your
basic rights for a few stinking pennies.

Then when you find
out you made a bad deal,

you scream you're
being victimized.

- Don't judge us, boy. JOE:
Why shouldn't I judge you?


Because you don't know us.

Oh, we thought we
could be strong but...

No, no, Corman, you thought
I could be strong for you.

Well, I can't, not by myself.

So we lose. Again, we lose.

And you're gonna
take it just like that.

I tried to warn you,
but you wouldn't listen.

I tried to tell you what
kind of men they are.

It's no good.

It just didn't work out.

I'm sorry, Little Joe.

No, I lost them.

Last night, they were so ready
to fight, and now I lost them.


I told you to wait. If you want
this barricade down, all right.

I helped build it, I'll show
you how to tear it down.

The first thing that
goes is your courage.

That just gets in the way.

The next thing to go is your
manhood. Another thing you don't need.

Concern for the safety of
your women and children.

It's too late for that now.

All right, and
here's the last thing.

This is the last thing, but that's
gotta go too, doesn't it, gentlemen?

This is your self-respect.

All right, there it is.

There's what's left of you.


Now Matthews can
ride into this town

just like he was going
to a Sunday meeting.

But a breach goes
both ways, gentlemen.

If a man can ride into it,
another one can walk out,

and that's just
what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna take this gun and I'm
gonna walk through that barricade

and I'm gonna walk down
that street up to that mesa

and I'm gonna kill as
many of Matthews' men

as I can before they kill me.

Now, is there anybody in this
town man enough to join me?

- Well, that's just plain suicide.
- Maybe not.

It's an old cavalry
trick, Masterson.

When everything
seems hopeless, charge.

Look, we can do it if
you'll just get behind me.

Well, they'll put all of us down
before we get halfway up that hill.

Oh, no, they won't, because it's
the last thing they'll expect from you.

Look, we can do it.

- Now, who's with me?
- I'm with you.

I'll go with you
if you'll lead us.

You know I'll lead you.

Can't you see he's right?

Can't you see we've got
to do it? We must do it.

- Are you willing to go?
- Yes.

How about the rest
of you? Who'll go?

I'll go talk to the rest of the
men at the other barricade.

Oh, Little Joe,
please be careful.

I don't want you to worry.
Nothing's gonna happen.

I got too much going for me.

Little Joe, there's something
you don't know about us.

Cartwright, we're ready.

When I come back, I wanna
see you standing right here.

Right here.

All right.

All right. Let's get to those rocks
as quick as we can and spread out.

Let's go.

All right, let's go!

Well, the money's all
there. It's in the saddlebag.

Thanks, Pa.

Hey, Pa, that's not Matthews.

- That's the man that stole my horse.
- Hmm.

It took a lot of doing, son, tracking
him down by yourself on foot.

Yeah, but, Pa, it
wasn't by myself. I had...

I had the whole town behind me.

What town?

Where is everybody?

Little Joe, there's no
one here except us.

But I had the whole town
behind me, Pa, really behind me.

The whole town of Martinville.

Little Joe, son, I don't know
what you're trying to say or why,

but Martinville has been a ghost
town for a good number of years.

A ghost town? BEN: Yeah.


I don't understand. I know
there were people in this town.

I talked to them. I
worked with them.

Joseph, there was also a
hot sun and a head wound.

The sun does funny
things to a person.

- That's what she said to me.
- Who?

A girl I met here. Louise.

Son, Martinville has been a dead
town for such a long time there's even...

There's even a legend
connected with it.

Something about a
sheriff or something.


Well, I don't know what his
name was, but the story goes that

Martinville turned its back
on him and let him get killed.

The sheriff's wife, well, she just
put a curse on the whole town.

Doomed all the people of
Martinville to walk the streets

of the town for all eternity

until some fella came along
who was foolish enough,

or maybe brave enough,
to risk his life for them.

Sounds sort of weird.

Yeah, well, all legends
sound weird or a little funny,

depending on how
you look at them.

I know there were
people in this town, Pa.

Joe, let's get on
home. We'll talk about it.

Pa, wait a minute.

That wagon. It wasn't here
when I first came into town.

It must have been.

It wasn't, Pa. It was
part of a barricade.

I know. I built it. I turned
that wagon over myself.

Joe, come on home.
There's nothing here.

Son, when a man knows
something deep down in his heart,

when he really knows, he
doesn't have to argue about it,

he doesn't have to prove it.

Just knowing, that's enough.

Behind the Scenes of Twilight Town

This episode pays homage to “The Twilight Zone” in various ways. Towards the end, Little Joe echoes the famous line from the first episode of “The Twilight Zone,” asking, “Where is everybody?”

This nod to the iconic series is evident throughout the episode, capturing its supernatural essence and eerie atmosphere. The title “Twilight Town” directly references “The Twilight Zone,” mirroring its style and thematic elements.

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Additionally, the title directly alludes to the anthology series Rod Serling narrates, further emphasizing the connection to the timeless classic.

Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is a delightful, family-oriented program perfect for solitary enjoyment and sharing with loved ones. Twilight Town marks the 138th episode out of 430 in the series. Produced by NBC, Bonanza aired on the 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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