Bonanza: Season 1, Episode 20

The Fear Merchants (30 Jan. 1960)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 76 users  
Reviews: 3 user

The Cartwrights come to the aid of a Chinese-American stable hand accused of murder. Opposing them is a manipulative mayoral candidate who wants all "foreigners" to leave Virginia City.



(story), (teleplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Fear Merchants (30 Jan 1960)

The Fear Merchants (30 Jan 1960) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Evans ...
Andy Fulmer
Helen Westcott ...
Amanda Ridley
Frank Ferguson ...
J.R. Ridley
Christopher Dark ...
Jesse Tibbs
Guy Lee ...
Jimmy Chang
Ray Stricklyn ...
Billy Wheeler
Philip Ahn ...
Mr. Lee Chang
Victor Sen Yung ...
Patricia Michon ...
Sally Ridley (as Pat Michon)
Arthur Space ...
Cyrus Hammond
Gregg Barton ...
Sheriff Halstead


An unscrupulous prosecuting attorney hopes to become Virginia City's mayor on a nativist platform. His first step is to run all Chinese immigrants out of town and he falsely accuses a young Chinese man of murdering a girl who died after being accidentally shot by her father. Written by David Bassler

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

30 January 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


After a final showdown, with bodies lying in the street, one of the corpses reacts when an actor accidentally steps on his hand. See more »


Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Little Joe?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Hmm?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Is it sure enough true that we're goin' to have birds' nests for dinner at Jimmy Chang's birthday party?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: That's what Adam told us.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: I ain't so sure I'm goin' to like that.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Well, if it's something to eat, you'll like it all right.
See more »

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User Reviews

Fitting Show for Today
20 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Today it MLK Day, and what a fitting show to review! The Fear Merchants focuses on racial prejudice, but not prejudice against blacks like today's holiday; but prejudice against Chinese. When the Cartwright's cook is beaten, they have blood in their eyes, but they know that nothing can really be done unless they can catch the men red-handed.

It's also Jimmy Chang's eighteenth birthday. The store owner is scared of the hard cowboy that doesn't want Jimmy to have a happy birthday. Ben comes in and forces the store merchant to sell him the items requested. But I'm afraid a happy birthday just isn't going to happen for Jimmy this year. Tragedy happens inside a barn to a father and his two daughters. The father is scared of the truth, so tells everybody (except his shady lawyer who's running for mayor) that Jimmy is guilty of the crime.

The episode does a good job at showing racial tension and how those who fear the "stronger" men will give in even though they know it's not right. Hatred for "non-Americans" ran high in Virginia City. There didn't seem to be too many people who liked or even tolerated the Chinese, except for the Cartwrights, who of course put everything to right!

3 dead.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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