Bonanza: Season 1, Episode 25

Escape to Ponderosa (5 Mar. 1960)

TV Episode  -   -  Western
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 56 users  
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Three deserters escaped from an Army stockade to the Ponderosa. When a Captain comes looking for them, Ben realizes what they've had to deal with and promises to let his good friend in charge of that fort know the real truth.

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Title: Escape to Ponderosa (05 Mar 1960)

Escape to Ponderosa (05 Mar 1960) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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...
...
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Joe Maross ...
Jimmy Sutton
Gloria Talbott ...
Nedda
...
Lt. Paul Tyler
Chris Alcaide ...
Capt. James Bolton
Dayton Lummis ...
Col. Metcalfe
James Parnell ...
Pvt. Harry Mertz
Sherwood Price ...
Corporal
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Storyline

Three deserters escaped from an Army stockade to the Ponderosa. When a Captain comes looking for them, Ben realizes what they've had to deal with and promises to let his good friend in charge of that fort know the real truth.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Western

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Release Date:

5 March 1960 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Copyright has expired and is now in the public domain. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Adam Cartwright: You take this bunch on in. I'll look over that hill over there to see if I can find anymore.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: You'll be along after that?
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User Reviews

Interesting Anti-Establishment Story
3 June 2007 | by (Valencia, Spain) – See all my reviews

This is a very interesting episode which featured a lot of Ben Cartwright dealing with an abusive Army officer. In the mid to late 1960s, there were many TV shows that had episodes dealing with bad police officers, corruption, or similar themes. Presumably this was due to the 1960s counter-culture movement. However, Bonanza hit these seems very often, and many years before it became popular.

Back in 1960, when this episode aired, seeing the U.S. Army being depicted as an abusive organization seems a bit daring. Perhaps more interesting is the concept that Ben Cartwright could tell the Army to get off his land, and to aid escaped prisoners and otherwise engage in activities that were against the law. In the modern age we live in, the F.B.I. would have shot the Cartwrights down and burned down their ranch. At a minimum, Ben would be spending time in Guantanamo Base without a trial and wondering if his kids had been killed.

Anyhow, back in the 1800s, Ben gets away with giving a U.S. Army Captain a lot of backtalk. Ben also engages in some subversive activities which was surprising. The three prisoners happen to be victims of torture (Guantanamo Base?) and were being targeted for death by the sadistic Captain. I wonder what inspired this story? Was there some incident in the news back in 1959-1960 that made this story topical? Besides the Army issues, the story throws in some unrequited love, jealousy, and the old plot device of the escaped convicts turning against each other. While there is not much gun-play in this episode, there is a lot of drama and tension. It is a pretty good story.


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