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"Bonanza" The Toy Soldier (1963)

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Painting for food

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
10 May 2017

Pernell Roberts is sent on a mission to retrieve some strayed cattle and goes to the small town of Sheephead where the local town boss keeps everyone under his thumb including a small tribe of Piute Indians. Morgan Woodward is said boss and he's a real piece of work, a real Snidely Whiplash type of racist when it comes to the Piutes.

The Piutes have one friend among the whites Philip Abbott who is a talented but dissolute painter in the Fredric Remington tradition. He trades his paintings for just enough food to keep the tribe from starving. But Woodward's got lascivious eyes for Donna Martell, the Piute girl that Abbott married.

The offer Adam Cartwright brings is half the cattle if the Piutes will drive the rest back to the Ponderosa. But that's going to interfere in Woodward's nefarious schemes.

Abbott plays a fine part as a talented artist dissipated by drink as if that's not familiar in literature and in real life. Woodward is a most hateful villain in this fine Bonanza story.

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