Bonanza (1959–1973)
7.6/10
32
1 user 1 critic

The Quality of Mercy 

Little Joe struggles with his conscience, trying to believe that his friend, Seth Pruitt, did the right thing after Seth admits to the mercy-killing of his fiancée's father when the man was... See full summary »

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Cast

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Richard Rust ...
Seth Pruitt
Nancy Rennick ...
Sara
Kitty Kelly ...
Mrs. Gibbons
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Minister
Bob Miles ...
Card Player
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John Dagliesh / Sara's Father
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Storyline

Little Joe struggles with his conscience, trying to believe that his friend, Seth Pruitt, did the right thing after Seth admits to the mercy-killing of his fiancée's father when the man was in agony from a broken back and begging for death. Written by shepherd1138

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Western

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17 November 1963 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The title alludes to a quote from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Act IV: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes." See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Betsy From Pike
Folk Song
(portion included in score)
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User Reviews

 
Little Joe's Crisis Of Conscience
10 August 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Michael Landon as Little Joe takes center stage in this Bonanza episode which involves a daring topic for its time, mercy killing.

It's not any Dr. Kevorkian doing in terminally people, but Richard Rust who during a mine cave-in kills his future father-in-law. Little Joe who heard the shot was the only witness. Rust tells him that he did it because the man's back was broken in the disaster and that he was in agony. He did it like anyone would do for a suffering animal.

This was certainly an unusual topic for a western, but Landon goes to Lorne Greene for some sage advice and if there's one thing Ben Cartwright was always handy with was sage advice. He talks quite seriously about the difference between people and animals and the force of nature in a struggle to survive.

It might have been a better episode if the plot hadn't been tilted towards the fact that the killing was not as it appeared to be. More I won't say, still this is an interesting and thought provoking Bonanza episode.


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