Bonanza: Season 4, Episode 5

The Deserter (21 Oct. 1962)

TV Episode  -   -  Western
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An Army Colonel comes to the Ponderosa looking for a man who was under his command, who deserted whom he believes lives in the vicinity of the Ponderosa. He wants to bring him to Washington... See full summary »



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Title: The Deserter (21 Oct 1962)

The Deserter (21 Oct 1962) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Episode credited cast:
Robert Sampson ...
Bill Winters
Gale Garnett ...
Maria Winters
Chief Keokuk
Robert Carricart ...
George Keymas ...
Running Wolf
Hal John Norman ...
Medicine Man (as Hal Jon Norman)
Andrea Darvi ...
Little Maria Winters
Ricky Branson ...
Little Edward Winters
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Col. Edward J. Dunwoody


An Army Colonel comes to the Ponderosa looking for a man who was under his command, who deserted whom he believes lives in the vicinity of the Ponderosa. He wants to bring him to Washington for court martial. He shows them a picture and they claim not to know him but it's their neighbor, Bill Winters. Just as the Colonel was leaving he is shot by an arrow. While the Colonel rests, Ben goes to Bill who admits it's true. Ten years ago, the Colonel was tasked with keeping the Indians in line and he decided to do that by raiding them. Bill chose not to follow him and aided some of them to escape but he still raided the Indians and many were killed. He learns that there'll be another attempt on the Colonel so he goes to the Ponderosa and kills the Indian who was sent to kill him. When the Colonel sees Bill, he pulls his gun on him but Ben tells him that he saved his life. He then reveals that Bill is his son. When the Indians learn of Bill's connection to the Colonel, they take him for ... Written by

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Release Date:

21 October 1962 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Ben Cartwright, the voice of sweet reason
20 February 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Claude Akins with gray hair and a mustache plays an iron colonel who is looking for an army deserter from a battle he was in command of against the Shoshone Indians over a decade ago. It was no battle really, Akins led a raid against a village where Shoshone women and children were massacred. And as it turns out the deserter is a neighbor of the Cartwrights and his own son.

The only thing that made sense about this episode was the determination of the Shoshone to see him die slow. Everything else about this Bonanza episode was totally preposterous. Akins finds his son who has married a Shoshone woman and he now has grandchildren.

Lorne Greene gets Shoshone chief Anthony Caruso to reason together with Akins. It all works out, everyone does the noble and right thing.

I think there's no way that Akins would have left the territory alive. But you'll have to see for yourself if you care.

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