What is the value of winning any contest if you go too far?
This was a nice episode of BONANZA which was a balance between comedy and serious ethical problems.
A bunch of Virginia City businessmen (led by Edward Andrews) decide to hold a contest for the most beautiful baby in town. Naturally every mother with a baby enters the contest. The judges include Hoss (Dan Blocker) and soon he and the others find a second contest going on, as the women try to use any trick or advantage they have with the judges to win for their baby. Hoss is trying to keep an open mind on the contestants (and try to help keep his fellow judges in line) when he zeros in on the one woman in the group that has little to use as a key to winning the contest except for the beautiful baby she has. Unfortunately there is also a well-to-do woman who is pulling out all stops: not only bribes mind you, but economic threats to the judges and the group who set up the contest.
SPOILER COMING UP: Hoss sees he cannot fight the actions of this wealthy from allowing her to buy the prize. But at the conclusion of the episode the woman discovers three points that Hoss mentions to her. First all the other mothers know she bought the prize (or extorted it) as do the businessmen, the judges, and the townspeople. Second after getting the ribbon for the prize, she goes to show it to the others, and everyone is concentrating on their own babies, and if not they are shunning her because they don't like her. Finally, Hoss points out that her baby is going to grow up having it thrown in his face that his mother did not think the baby could win on his own beauty but had to have her buy the vote for him. The baby won't forgive her either.
It was a rather nice example of how this series sometimes took the wispiest of material and made a good episode out of it.
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