Bonanza Western TV
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Vengeance Full Episode – Bonanza, Season #02, Episode #21

The weekly nontraditional Western television series, Bonanza, centered around the Cartwright family, led by the patriarch Ben Cartwright. The show’s fifty-third episode, Vengeance, was written by Marion Parsonnet and first telecasted on February 11, 1961.

Hoss Cartwright accidentally killed neighboring farmer Willie Twilight (Keith Richards) out of self-defense. The situation prompts Willie’s brother, Red (Adam Williams), to seek vengeance. However, the problem gets worse after Little Joe swears revenge on Red after Hoss gets severely injured because of a gunshot.

Beverly Tyler joins the cast as a guest, acting as Mary, who finds herself caught in the middle of the dispute.

See Vengeance‘s plot, behind-the-scenes information, and full episode, which are all available below.

Watch the Full Episode of Vengeance

Watch the Full Episode of Vengeance:

Main Cast

Apart from the main cast, episode 53, Vengeance, also features recurring and guest cast members. The actors that appeared are as follows:

  • Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
  • Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
  • Adam Williams as Red Twilight
  • Beverly Tyler as Mary
  • Keith Richards as Willie Twilight
  • Robert Griffin as Deputy Sheriff McNeill (as Robert E. Griffin)
  • Olan Soule as Hotel Clerk
  • Roy Engel as Doc Tolliver
  • Sam Bagley as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Tom Kennedy as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Billy McCoy as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Bob Miles as Ponderosa Ranch Hand (uncredited)

Full Story Line for Vengeance

Hoss visits Virginia City to buy supplies when several gunshots ring from the saloon. As he goes over to investigate, he finds a drunk Willie Twilight firing his gun in all directions. The saloon girl, Mary, tries to stop him, but Willie shoves her aside. Hoss calmly approaches Willie, taking one of the guns he’s holding. However, Hoss finds difficulty in getting the other. Hoss pushes Willie in an attempt to grab the other gun, causing him to fall back and hit a support column hard enough to result in his death. This event shocked everyone, including Mary and Hoss, who couldn’t believe what had happened.

Mary was visiting Willie’s grave when a man approached her, asking about her plans regarding Willie’s death. She argues that Willie was drunk, but the man thinks it’s still improper for him to get killed. The man introduces himself as Willie’s brother, Red Twilight. Hearing how kind and gentle Willie was with Mary gave Red more reason to believe his brother didn’t deserve his death. Red subtly implies vengeance against Hoss Cartwright. Mary tries to stop him by saying the Cartwrights were Willie’s friend, but Red doesn’t care.

Back at the Ponderosa, Hoss fixes a wagon wheel with a brooding expression. Little Joe assures him that it was just an accident, while Adam tells him he understands what he feels. However, Hoss walks away, telling his brothers he’ll mend some fences down to the low country alone.

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Hoss rides into the areas, searching for fences he can mend. Unbeknownst to him, Red watches him over some high ground, ready to shoot him at any second. Red continues to fail in his plan. Eventually, sunset came, forcing Red to abort due to light loss.

Little Joe tried to slip out of the Ponderosa, worried about Hoss as he hadn’t returned yet. Adam finds him at the barn, so Joe informs him he will try to find Hoss. Joe prefers not to inform Ben about his plan and asks Adam not to tell him. Adam joins Joe in his search for their brother.

Hoss rests for a moment to drink and freshen up. Red positions himself on higher ground, ready to shoot him.

Meanwhile, Adam and Little Joe were riding to find Hoss when they heard a gunshot nearby. They find Hoss lying face down near Mud Creek. Little Joe insists on going after the gunman, thinking he couldn’t have gotten far yet. However, Adam stops him since Hoss’ life is at stake, and it’s best to return to the Ponderosa to tend to his wound.

Back at the Ponderosa, Ben anxiously waits outside Hoss’ room. The doctor informs him of how severe Hoss’ condition is, considering he has lost a lot of blood. In the meantime, he advises they wait and pray for Hoss’ health. Ben hopes what happened isn’t connected to Willie Twilight. While Little Joe chooses to sit outside Hoss’ room, Ben orders Adam to visit the sheriff and ask if Willie has any friends.

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Later that day, deputy sheriff McNeil arrives at the Ponderosa to tell the Cartwrights that Willie has a relative who appeared in town three days after the accident. He visited Willie’s grave, talked to Mary, and booked a hotel room under his name, Red Twilight. Little Joe believes Red shot Hoss, but the sheriff needs more proof to solidify his claim. Upon seeing Joe’s outburst, McNeil informs Ben that it’s only fitting to deliver this information personally to stop them from shooting someone in town who might be innocent.

Ben returns to Virginia City with McNeil to talk to Red Twilight. He tells Red that Willie’s death was an accident, then apologizes. Ben also asks what Red does for a living, to which Red answers, scouting for the army, fighting Indians, and hunting. He asks if Red owns a buffalo gun since it is the weapon used to shoot Hoss. Red refuses to answer directly, believing Ben’s accusing him of murder. Ben replies by saying it’s up to the law to make such an assumption.

Red stops by Mary’s place as she prepares to visit Willie’s grave. Red tells her he’s leaving town, asking Mary to come with him since Willie’s dead and she got nobody else. However, Mary refuses, saying she’d be happy to stay in town with her memories of Willie. Mary also insists it was an accident and that it wasn’t Hoss’ fault that Willie died. Still, Red insists on seeing Hoss die. Mary realizes that it was Red who shot Hoss, then orders him to leave town immediately. She thinks shooting him, almost leading to his death, should be enough. However, Red insists on killing him as revenge for Willie.

Joe admonished his father for doing nothing, even after talking to the man who shot Hoss. Ben argues that there wasn’t enough proof to prove their claim, insisting they leave the law to do the work. That evening, Joe visits Hoss in his room, promising vengeance against the person who shot him.

Before leaving, Red leaves his complete forwarding address to the hotel manager.

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Meanwhile, Ben and Adam realize that Joe left early to look for Willie’s brother. Ben orders Adam to look for Joe before something happens to him. Mary visits the Ponderosa to tell him she had nothing against the Cartwrights regarding Willie’s death. She reveals that sometime before, they met a doctor in Placerville who said Willie’s heart had a bad condition that could lead to his death if he wasn’t careful. However, Willie started to change, becoming a man who wanted to die. Mary further narrates how Willie started drinking and fist-fighting, saying he was tired of waiting for his death to come. She tried to stop him, but he only expressed his willingness to die. Hoss suddenly talked, asking what Mary said. Mary assures Hoss that Willie liked the Cartwrights and that it wasn’t his fault. However, they still have to handle Red, who swore to kill Hoss. Ben asks Mary to stay with Hoss while he gets deputy sheriff McNeil so she can tell him the information she shared with them.

Little Joe arrives at the hotel, asking for Red. The hotel manager gives him Red’s forwarding address. Adam joins him, declaring they’ll bring Red alive to Virginia City with his confession.

After following his trail, they figured Red tricked them as he headed back to the Ponderosa. Once he arrives at the ranch, he shoots one of the Ponderosa ranch hands. Hoss asks Mary to get the gun from Ben’s desk. Red finds Mary holding the weapon, confident she wouldn’t shoot Willie’s brother. Red takes the gun from her hand and slaps her to the ground. Adam and Joe arrive shortly after, sneakily entering the house. Red shoots Adam and Joe punch him from behind. They continue fist-fighting outside until Joe gains the upper hand. He angrily aims his gun at Red’s head. Adam stops him, stating he’s no different from Red if he shoots him dead. Joe returns to his senses and agrees to take Red back to the sheriff. Ben arrives with McNeil, who takes Red.

Ben and Hoss are glad Joe didn’t kill Red, and they all return to their house.

Full Script and Dialogue of Vengeance










you're going to hurt somebody with it

raw here here

drop withdrawal willie you don't want to

shoot me

oh yes i do give me the gun willie

give me the one willie willie give me

the gun


you killed him you killed my willy














were you a friend to willie yes

willie and i were friends well what do

you mean to do about it

do about it about willie

he was killed wasn't he yes yes he was

killed but

not the way you're thinking you say he'd

been drinking no i don't want to see

i don't have to whatever willie did he

didn't deserve to be killed

i know i'm his brother

you're red his brother red

he told you about me then oh yes he

talked of you often

i should have been here

just what were you to him

he was kind and gentle to me i loved him

kind and gentle and he ended up like


he talked about you many times what do

you say

oh he said that you stopped for the army

and hot buffalo

and he must have told you that i take

care of my own willy was my brother

i've been asking around i know the name

of the man who killed him

hoss cartwright do you know him

everybody around here knows the

cartwrights i don't

but i will soon please that

the cartwrights were friends to willie

willie was my brother

a man killed him that man's gonna pay



as soon as we get this finished i guess

we gotta get out and help the other boys

on the roundup

because you're gonna have to stop

brooding it was just an accident

look i know how you feel um i mean

anybody would


where are you going i'm going to take a

ride down the low country

there's some fences down there need to

be mended

uh i think you better go along with him

joe you'll get the job done much faster

it's a one-man job

they just stopped feeling guilty

i don't think he should be alone yeah

maybe it's best you know the way he is

where's house going said he was going

down to the lower section do some fence


do you think i ought to keep an eye on


i don't think so best way for hoss to

work things out is for us to leave him




let's go boy



go away







don't you know better than a sneaker

when a man like that i ask you a


all right i'm worried about horse it's

not liking to stay out all night it's

almost daybreak

and what are you gonna do about it i'm

gonna ride out and find him i don't want

him to be alone

did you tell paul this no i didn't

i just assumed you wouldn't tell him

either adam i'll think about it

where do you think you're going well

he's my brother too

what are we waiting for come on










don't look like huss did much fence

mandan i doubt he intended to

probably came from mud creek


whoever did this couldn't have gotten

far i don't wait what do you mean wait i

can get him

if you want to save your brother's life

you'll get pawn a doctor if we don't

lose any time maybe we can keep him


i'll stay here with him now get going


you'll sleep for a while now i gave him

a sedative might just as well leave him


tell me the truth how is he

well i'll be honest with you ben it's a

bad wound he's lost a lot of blood

i tried to encourage him to tell him

he'd be all right but it's as if

he didn't want to listen i know

i know it's been that way but ever since

willie twilight's dead

oh i know you know everybody knows

except us

he feels guilty if there was only some

way we could make him understand that it

wasn't then

you're not gonna make him understand

anything for a while that bullet wound

alone had been enough for most men

it might be enough for him ben

what can we do wait

just wait


i'll be back as soon as i can in the


just pray and hope we'll all do that



thank you doctor


there isn't much the doctor could tell


i'm just standing around waiting want to

go up and see him no

doctor gave him a set of death horses to

sleep so should be alone for a while

wasn't there anything we can do we did

what we could

thank god you two boys disobeyed me went

after him

what the doc said in it did he get

anything out of him

i talked to him

that's what all

gotta find out who did this to haas

we'll let the sheriff find out

we think it could have been an accident

a deer hunter maybe with a buffalo gun

not likely well who could it be that

horse never had an enemy in his life

i just hope this had nothing to do with

that wooly twilight accident okay

i think i'd like to go up and sit

outside his door just just in case he

wakes up

be very quiet

adam send one of the boys into the

sheriff's office and have them find out

if wooly twilight had any

special friends

well how is he and he's still sleeping


hey that might be the sheriff i hope so

maybe we can find something else

hello mr mcphail hi everyone i'm sorry

to be late but

sheriff's over in carson city i got tied


well as well as can be expected you know

the boys

mr mcmahon hello oh yeah joe

did you find out anything well as a

matter of fact i did yeah

uh that fresh coffee sure let me for you

just black please

there you go thank you

what'd you find out well we were wrong

about willie twilight

he does have a relative

well who is he is he around here if he

is i want to see him

well you just sit down and take it easy

but we all sit down and

let's hear what mr mcneil has to tell us


then i came out here to tell you this

because i

well because i didn't want your boys to

find it out someplace else and go off

half cocked

thank you mike three days after willie

twilight was killed

a man appeared in town first he went out

to visit willie's grave

and he talked to willie's girl mary and

he went to the hotel and registered

under the name of

red twilight well his brother

right that's the man that shot horse how

do you know that

right you said he's willie's brother he

said he came into town three days after

the accident

my brother was backshot on the fourth

day now what more do you want positive

proof that's the more than i need

oh you want positive proof you go around

scratching for the so-called proof while

this man rides halfway to california oh

please please just quiet down

all right all right i'll quiet down but

you just give me one good reason why

this red twilight should be arrested and


i'll give you two good reasons joe first

place your brother isn't dead

second place i can't arrest anybody for

anything unless somebody comes up to me

and says

i saw him do it or until i find a piece


material evidence that will convince a

judge oh come on forget the judge you

know he did it and we know he did it

you see ben that's why i came to the

ponderosa in the minute i found out

i don't want your two boys coming into

virginia city

and shooting up a man who may turn out

to be innocent now mack

i don't recall anyone saying that's what

we're planning to do

but this red twilight is guilty all


but i'm warning you too stay out of my

town until i get me some facts

mr mcnail my sons won't do anything


thank you ben but i'm riding into

virginia city with you

i want to see this red twilight

i'd like to talk to him

are you two boys are to stay here

and this time you're not to disobey me

please do as i ask



you're uh willie twilight's brother

red twilight then right yeah that's


that's my name my name is ben cartwright

nice sound that was shot have you heard

yeah i heard about it

i wish i could say i was sorry mr conrad

but i didn't even know your son

what can i do for you i just wanted to

say that uh

your brother's death was uh accidental

i'm sorry it happened it makes two of us

i'm sorry it happened too i haven't seen

you around here before

because i haven't been here before my

sons and i we uh

we run a ranch just west of here


what do you do am i am i asking well i

don't mind

i scout for the army fight indians

hunt do you uh ever hunt buffalo

mr kyrie i've hunted just about


do you own a buffalo gun

i think uh that's my business isn't it

whether i do a knot

man who shot my son was using a buffalo


mr cartwright are you accusing me of


no it's up to the law to make that kind

of accusation what if my son dies

and he isn't dead no he isn't dead

well that makes you lucky don't it

cause my brother is





going out to the grave yes i am

listen what are you gonna do with

yourself from here on

i hadn't thought of it come on inside

let's talk about it

you see i'll believe in town in a day or

so i thought you could come with me

please you don't owe me anything

i'll just stay here why willie's gone

well you got nobody else i know but

willie and me we were happy here this is

the only town i know

i think he'd want me to stay

for whatever they're worth i i've got


like what like him lying dead up on the


you don't have to remind me it appears

to me i do

look i've been thinking about it since

getting over the bitterness it wasn't

hoss cartwright's fault

willie is dead he stuck his guns right

into horse's chest when haas didn't even

have a gun in his hand

but well he's dead i'm trying to tell

you it was

an accident my brother was making harm

to nobody

and they killed him i won't be satisfied

until haas cartwright dies

and it was you yeah

i'm a good shot i just didn't aim high


that's why you've been waiting in

virginia city to make sure

he'll die before i leave one way or the

other for certain sure

i think that you should go away now not

until he's dead

i i can see you shooting hoss in the

back for revenge but

now it's done the thought of him lying

in bed maybe

tying and you're still saying that you

want it kill him

yeah i'm gonna make it up to willie

i wasn't here when he needed me but i'm

gonna make it up to him now

oh no you're not doing this for willie

he wouldn't want any part of this

you're doing it for yourself because

you're something sick

something dirty because you like to kill

don't you

you enjoy it


take your hand away from me




joe oh

joe what do you want uh would you check

these figures over for me i uh

i get kind of groggy

you sat right next to him let's try this

out right next to him

sat right next to the man who shot my

brother and you did nothing

that's right too because there was no

proof he did it

yeah just like the sheriff you take it

nice and slow and easy with my brother

dying upstairs

if there's any proof he shot a horse the

sheriff will find it

if the sheriff finds the proof the

courts will handle it of course come on

will you pah

i'll look

you're not the only one around here

who's worried we're all of us worried

but there's a right way and a wrong way

to everything even to worrying

look why don't uh why don't we all go to

bed we can finish this in the morning

what about huh

it's really got to

you simmer down




i'm gonna find the man that did this to


and when i find him i'm gonna kill him

before i kill him i'm gonna make him

know why

i'm sure i'm gonna make him know why



i wonder if you could tell me something

what what's to the west of virginia city

well i calculate if you went far enough

and long enough

you'd hit the pacific ocean no no i mean

around here

uh any place a person could ride on

quick notice except the ponderosa

no no i'd think not uh except if he was

to drop into lake tahoe

but then of course the east side of

that's just about all ponderosa likewise

yeah yeah well i'll be pulling stakes

you get my bill ready and

i'll leave in about an hour fine and

danny mr twilight

don't you want any forwarding address

forward an address

most transients don't leave them well

then here's one who does

i'm going to california that's kind of a

big state ain't it

all right uh make it sacramento

i'm going by way of the geiger grade

matter of fact i'm going to camp at sofa


well now do you want all that put on

your forward and address

i'm just telling you where i'm going

that's all oh sure sure

no offense no offense


ah morning pawn i looked on the horse

earlier i think he looks better don't


yeah he's uh seems to be breathing more

evenly now

yeah i thought so too

think the doc would come out again today

well he

said he would

me the bread please


little joe up in i haven't seen him yet

probably sleep any better than we did

what worries me

oh that's only natural from the feel of

what he did last night

you know him he'll get over it

go up and ask me to come down i'd like

to talk to him

so wow

must have gotten up early i'll take a

look outside



he's not out there his horse is gone

maybe we're not looking for stock oh

adam there's no need for us to fool each


he went out looking for willie

twilight's brother

well what do you think

one boy in trouble is enough find him

bring him back here before he does

something he'll regret for the rest of

his life







horse can you hear me son


hey listen to me i know how you feel

i know what conscience can do to a man

like you


mr cartwright

mr cartwright

sorry i don't i know you

i'm mary i i was willie's girl

oh yes i remember uh

please there wasn't anyone around so i

just came in i

i didn't mean any wrong of course not uh

we we're were mighty sorry about

but willie all of us

i know that that's what i came to tell


i hold no blame against you we're all of

us grateful

mr cartwright would you listen to me

yes sir

what is it you wanted to tell me mary i

don't even have the words to think it

out but

willie and me we loved each other mr


we we were to be married we would have

been too if willie hadn't gotten sick

oh what i didn't know while he was sick

it's just that he didn't want anyone to


he went to placerville i went with him

he talked to a doctor there

yes the doctor said that willie's heart

was so bad that he could die any day if

he didn't take care of himself

he just wouldn't do it i don't know why

mr cartwright but all of a sudden it was

as if

willy wanted to die you wanted to die

oh it changed completely started

drinking and

fist fighting with everyone he shouldn't

have done that mr cartwright not with

his heart the way it was

he said he was he said he was tired of

waiting he said that

he was gonna die anyway he wanted to get

it over with quick

and he went out with those guns i tried

to stop him

i knew he was going out there to get

himself killed

are you sure of this how could you

possibly be sure

he told me just before he went out on

that street he said he'd never see me



oh oh what she said

boss i said you're here did you hear

what she said

you didn't kill willy he wanted to die

you didn't kill him

willie liked you hoss he wouldn't want

any harm to come to the cartwrights

he wouldn't want you to blame yourself

for this did you hear that

i shoved and bought i

killed him no no that's what mary drove

all the way out here to tell you can't

you understand that

i understand some of it

but fathers there's something else that

worries me

last night something i

i can't remember us don't worry about

anything else

mary does anyone else know about this

i tried to tell his brother but he

wouldn't listen

he's not like willie was at all he's a


when he found out that hoss was still

alive he said he had to go back and kill


and it was willie's brother who shot us


i must tell the sheriff about this mary

would you repeat to the sheriff exactly

what you told me

i'll tell him i know that's what willie

would want me to do

thank you mary uh deputy's over the

templeton place

uh uh if you'll stay here with horse uh

he's close by

i can go get him i'll send one of the

ranch hands in to stay in the house with


i'll stay with him i'll take care of him

i'll be back very soon

pod don't let little joe horse

don't worry yourself none you just rest

thank you for coming out thank you for


i'll be back very soon


william who's a good little fella

i'm sorry i'm

glad that you heard what i said about

willie haas

he would have wanted me to tell you


i'm looking for a man named red twilight

oh he pulled up stakes not more than a

half hour since

he's gone um could be that uh deputy

kept a glassy eye on him

he looked in once or twice no you don't

know where he went of course i do

yeah he left a forwarding address a

phony address yeah

sacramento by where the geiger road he

even said how he's going to camp out at

sulphur springs

oh thanks thanks a lot

i'm going with it i feel like on one


what condition when we find them i'll go

as far as beating a confession out of

them if necessary

but that's all understand

you never heard me say any different did

you we bring him and the confession

back to virginia city alive

now i mean it joe i know how you feel

i know what you'd like to do but it's


you want to stand here talking all day

and all that business about the

forwarding address

well just for our benefit you know that

yeah i could see through that

but if he wants to see me we're even

because i want to see him but that

doesn't change the condition

confession and then we let the sheriff

take over

what i said i heard you tonight






and not a sign of him could have gotten

this far ahead of us

and he must have cut off on us we'll

have to backtrack

take a look at this yeah that must be

where he cut off

hey that'll take him back to the

ponderosa right was an army scout for


just double back on us and we cut them

off the mill road





can i help you you want the card rights

no i'm just one of the hands

mr cartwright sent me back to look after

haas he's upstairs the rest of the crew

is still at the roundup

it's willie's brother red he's coming

toward the house

what shall i do in the big room

downstairs paul's desk there's a gun get

it tell me quick


you wouldn't shoot willy's brother now

would you

just go away red please just go away


far enough friend maybe i didn't do 100

job on your brother the first time

but i guess it's better this way two for


first i get you and then i finish him

now drop that gun



you stay here

right now back shooter right now i'm

gonna kill you

no please no no no no i made a promise

back shooter

but i want you to taste it first i want

you to feel it before i blow your brains


joe don't you stay out of this adam


all this time you intended to kill him i

mean i promised a horse and i'm gonna

keep it

he got his confession that's all the

evidence the sheriff needs that's all

the evidence that i need

all right if you gotta do it go ahead

blow his brains out it'll only bring you

down to the same level of the man you're

gonna kill i hope you enjoy it

all right all right we'll take him back

to the chef

hello joey you all right

how are you feeling are you trying to

kill yourself i'm fine

i'm going to be all right now joe fuss

it's all right pie got down under his

own power

he didn't i was worried about something

else too

uh come on paw don't tell me that's all

the confidence you have in your own son

well let's get this look back to bed hey


john i'm i'm glad you didn't kill him

i don't even kill him i think i'd

kill a man just cause i took a shot at a

big axe like you





Behind the Scenes of Vengeance

The episode shows Hoss, who had just gotten out of bed a few minutes before, walking back to the house in Ponderosa wearing his nightgown and boots.

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Looking for More Bonanza Episodes?

Bonanza is an excellent Western television program to watch alone or with family and friends. NBC produced the program from September 1959 to January 1973, having all 14 seasons aired on their network. Vengeance is the fifty-third episode out of 430 and the twenty-first for its second season.

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

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