Bonanza (1959–1973)
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The Gunmen 

Hoss and Little Joe are mistaken for bloodthirsty hired killers in a small Texas town dominated by two feuding families.


Christian Nyby


Carey Wilber

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Blocker ... Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright / Big Jack Slade
Michael Landon ... Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright / Little Jim Slade
Lorne Greene ... Ben Cartwright (credit only)
Pernell Roberts ... Adam Cartwright (credit only)
Henry Hull ... Sheriff B. Banneman Brown
George Mitchell ... Jubal Hadfield
Douglas Spencer ... Alonzo McFadden
King Donovan ... Twirly Boggs
Dennis Holmes ... 'Black' Alonzo McFadden
Ellen Corby ... Lorna Doone Mayberry
Ann Graves Ann Graves ... Amanda McFadden
Jenny Maxwell ... Clara Lou Kinsey
Bill McLean ... Bartender in Kiowa Flats (as Billy McLean)
Jonathan Gilmore Jonathan Gilmore ... Anse Hadfield
Jody Fair Jody Fair ... Lisabelle Jones


On a cattle buying trip to Texas, Hoss and Little Joe are mistaken for a pair of hired killers recruited by a feuding family in their bid to wipe out a rival clan. Their efforts to convince the town otherwise are hindered by the fact that the Cartwrights are dead ringer for the gunfighters in question - Big Jack and Shorty Jim Slade. Written by David Bassler

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis










Release Date:

23 January 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gunmen 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 Hadfields and McFaddens are thinly disguised Hatfields and McCoys, whose infamous feud raged from 1863 to 1891 along the West Virginia and Kentucky border. This episode's lighthearted story also draws inspiration from the Ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes and first staged in 411 B.C. See more »


[first lines]
[a cowhand accidentally bumps into Big Jack]
Big Jack Slade: Hey, what's the matter with you?
[a gunfight erupts and the Slades kill all the cowhands in the bar, with Shorty Jim shooting the last one as he attempts to flee]
Big Jack Slade: Hey, that's good shootin' Little Jim - as clean a backshot as I've ever seen in my life! That calls for another one.
[Shorty Jim picks up the poker hand of the man he just shot in the back]
Shorty Jim Slade: What a shame - he had a full house. Well, you can't win 'em all.
See more »

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User Reviews

The Notorious Slade Brothers
5 November 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Although when you see a dirty and disheveled Dan Blocker and Michael Landon massacre an entire saloon full of drinkers you might be shocked and with a title like The Gunmen for an episode, you are actually seeing one of the few episodes that every season on Bonanza were reserved for comedy.

That was merely an introduction to tell you the kind of people that Hoss and Little Joe are mistaken for when they ride into a Texas town on their way back to Nevada and the Ponderosa. Folks think they're the notorious Slade Brothers and it turns out that even after sheriff Henry Hull arrests, someone who sent for the Slade Brothers on the Q.T. breaks them out of jail.

But are Hoss and Little Joe out of harm's way? Not hardly because Douglas Spencer the head of one of two feuding clans has hired these guys because they're professional killers and can take out all the men on the opposite side with dispatch. So Blocker and Landon still end up trying to convince people they're not the notorious Slade Brothers.

Funniest scene in the film is with King Donovan who knew the brothers way back when they only had one or two notches on their guns is brought in to identify them. Hoss and Little Joe think this might be their salvation, but he's blasted out of mind and seeing Donovan trying to identify them in his alcoholic stupor was pretty funny.

Ellen Corby is in the episode as well as head of the women in the town who are the ones who finally take matters in their own hands. As you can see this episode has one fine cast of some of the best players around. A really good episode on the comic side.

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