Don Jose Ortega claims to have a brass box full of Spanish land grants, giving him ownership over most of the area around Virginia City, including the Ponderosa. Although Jose is reluctant ... See full summary »

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Miguel Ortega
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Jose Ortega
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Sydney Smith ...
Ira Minton
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Harry
Bill Clark ...
Jim
Grandon Rhodes ...
Bruno VeSota ...
Bartender
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Storyline

Don Jose Ortega claims to have a brass box full of Spanish land grants, giving him ownership over most of the area around Virginia City, including the Ponderosa. Although Jose is reluctant to pursue his claim, his nephew, bitter over the loss of land in the Mexican War, would like to claim it back. Making things worse, many others living in the area are determined not to lose their land and will resort to any means to stop the Ortegas' claim. Written by rbecker28

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Western

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26 September 1965 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Ramon Novarro makes this episode a must-see.
20 December 2009 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

Ever wanted to hear Pavarotti sing "Baby One More Time", or see Gordon Ramsay make a hamburger, well that's what it's like watching the great silent film star Ramon Novarro act his heart out in this episode of "Bonanza". It is extraordinary to see him playing his scenes with such an intensity of emotion that you could swear his dialogue was written by Shakespeare. More than anything his performance reveals what a wasted talent he was in Hollywood. It is sadly ironic too that his character is physically tortured in one scene, given the terrible nature of his murder just three years later.

To give the episode its due, it is actually pretty good. The story of an elderly Spanish man who claims his family legally own the Ponderosa, and a large part of the land around it, has resonance with the the land rights claims of indigenous people all over the world today, and Novarro manages to capture the dignified humiliation of a once great family reduced to being an object of ridicule living on the fringes of society. Perhaps he was drawing on his own fall from being a major Hollywood star. In any case he gives his scenes a greater depth than they perhaps deserve, and makes this episode unforgettable. Lorne Greene especially seems to pick up on this and matches him well in their scenes together.

This episode is a must-see for all actors.


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