At the bedside of a seriously ill Adam, Ben thinks back to his days as a first mate on a sailing ship and his marriage to Adam's mother, Elizabeth Stoddard.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine Brooks ...
Elizabeth Stoddard Cartwright
Capt. Abel Morgan Stoddard
Berry Kroeger ...
Richard Collier ...
Bob Hopkins ...
Adam's Doctor
Molly Roden ...
Mrs. Callahan
Alex Sharp ...
John Close ...
Elizabeth's Doctor


At the bedside of a seriously ill Adam, Ben thinks back to his days as a first mate on a sailing ship and his marriage to Adam's mother, Elizabeth Stoddard.

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Release Date:

27 May 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The episode utilized the "New England Street" at Paramount Studios for the exterior street scenes. Rear-projected footage of the sea is used behind the clipper ship mock-up on Stage 17, when Ben and Captain Stoddard are first seen in the story. Later, when Ben and Elizabeth are conversing on Stage 16, the New England sea is matted in behind them and optically printed with the Stage 16 cuts for the final cut, using matte photography. This episode also makes use of backdrops of the New England waterfront, seen in various scenes in the story. Also, various stock clips of the clipper ship are edited in the final cut from Paramount's film library. See more »


Ben Cartwright: Now you listen to me and you listen hard. I don't want your command. I never wanted it. But maybe you should be retired. Maybe you haven't the guts for sailing anymore. I thought you could walk proud, no matter what the storm, but look at you! Now you get up on your feet, Captain, and you walk out of here like a sailing master, or I'll knock you down again.
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User Reviews

The First Love
10 December 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In this episode of Bonanza we learn something of Ben Cartwright's background when while Pernell Roberts is seriously ill, Lorne Greene while at his bedside flashes back to the courtship of his mother.

This earliest viewing of Benjamin Cartwright has him as a sailor out of New England going into partnership with a beached sea captain played by Torin Thatcher. Lorne Greene is also paying court to his daughter Elizabeth and woos and wins her.

Thatcher is a restless soul on dry land, not happy with the ship's chandler store that he's partners with young Ben Cartwright in. He's drinking too heavily and is sorely tempted by Berry Kroeger to sail a schooner for him.

I can't think of a TV show or movie where Berry Kroeger wasn't the slimiest of villains. No exception here, Kroeger's interest is in the outlawed slave trade. Kroeger's working on Thatcher hard, he might forget how distasteful the slave trade is just to feel a deck under his feet with the roll of the sea.

At the same time Thatcher's daughter Geraldine Brooks is now Greene's first wife and pregnant with young Adam. Greene has the concerns of a young businessman and father to be at the same time.

Elizabeth, My Love is a nice look at the Cartwright background way before there was a Ponderosa.

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