Bonanza (1959–1973)
3 user

The Fear Merchants 

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.


Lewis Allen


Frank Unger (story), Frank Unger (teleplay) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Landon ... Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright
Lorne Greene ... Ben Cartwright
Pernell Roberts ... Adam Cartwright
Dan Blocker ... Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright
Gene Evans ... Andy Fulmer
Helen Westcott ... Amanda Ridley
Frank Ferguson ... J.R. Ridley
Christopher Dark Christopher Dark ... Jesse Tibbs
Guy Lee Guy Lee ... Jimmy Chang
Ray Stricklyn ... Billy Wheeler
Philip Ahn ... Mr. Lee Chang
Victor Sen Yung ... Hop Sing
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) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The story opens on the eighteenth birthday of Jimmy Chang. But Guy Lee who played Jimmy Chang was actually 32 years old at the time of filming, older than 23-year-old Michael Landon and 28-year-old Dan Blocker. 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 »


[first lines]
Mr. Lee Chang: Not many men are so privileged as we are to see a new civilization born before our own eyes.
Hop Sing: There are times in the streets of Virginia City that I question the use of the word "civilization."
Mr. Lee Chang: It is always that way with the new, Hop Sing. A diamond before it is polished seems no more than a clod of dirt.
See more »

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User Reviews

The Yellow Peril In Virginia City
2 November 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Occasionally Bonanza took on some serious subjects and you can't get more serious than racial prejudice. This episode, The Fear Merchants deals with an unscrupulous politician stirring up hatred against the Chinese which include Victor Sen Yung as Hop Sing, the Cartwright cook.

On an errand in town Hop Sing is beaten up by some toughs that include Ray Stricklyn and Christopher Dark and these two are in the employ of Gene Evans, a lawyer who's running for mayor on a Nativist platform. It's mentioned that earlier Evans had previously sought office running against the influx of Irish immigrants, a Know Nothing platform in keeping with the times.

Anyway when young Patricia Michon is accidentally killed in front of young Guy Lee, Evans seeks to whip up a lynch mob and turn the mob into voters for him. The episode really belongs to Evans, he's an incredibly evil man.

The Fear Merchants is one of Bonanza's best early episodes, a lesson about scapegoating whole groups of people that sadly we don't learn no matter how many examples are put in front of us.

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