Bonanza (1959–1973)
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The Paiute War 

In order to escape punishment for mistreating two Paiute women, a trader blames it on Adam Cartwright. The Paiutes seize Adam and make him a hostage as war erupts between the tribe and a local militia.


Paul Landres


Gene L. Coon

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Episode cast overview:
Lorne Greene ... Ben Cartwright
Pernell Roberts ... Adam Cartwright
Dan Blocker ... Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright
Michael Landon ... Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright
Jack Warden ... Mike Wilson
Anthony Caruso ... Chief Winnemucca
Michael Forest ... Young Wolf
Walter Coy ... Captain Kelley
Douglas Kennedy ... Bill Stewart
Howard Petrie ... Major Ormsby
Peter Coe ... Major Hungerford
George Keymas ... Ring Nose
Mike Ragan ... Vern Wilson (as Michael Ragan)
I. Stanford Jolley ... Turner
Gregg Martell Gregg Martell ... Bruno


A trader and his two brothers beat up two American Indians and take their wives. When the Indian men ask the Shoshone leader to rescue their wives from the traders, Adam intervenes to prevent a war against the Indians. Adam rescues the assaulted women, but the Shoshone still go on a killing rampage, leaving the trader for dead. The guilty trader decides to incite the people of Virgina City into believing it is the peaceful Paiute Indians who instigated the killings, gathering a mob to confront the Paiutes. An attempt for Adam Cartwright to parley with the Paiute chief turns sour when the trader disobeys orders and fires the first shot. Adam is captured by the Paiutes. Ben must race against time to find the Shoshone leader before the Calvary reach the Paiutes - and the Paiutes kill Adam. Written by The Chief Geek

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis










Release Date:

3 October 1959 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$139,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode cost $139,000 to make and featured more than 100 actors and extras portraying Indians and calvary members. See more »


Major Ormsby: Treacherous devils.
Adam Cartwright: Well, what did you expect? A welcome mat?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are scrolled over the Ponderosa map with a different instrumental version of the "Bonanza" theme. See more »

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User Reviews

A Big Mess
28 December 2013 | by mitchrmpSee all my reviews

The thing about Adult Westerns is that things didn't always turn out the way we hoped, and this is one of those episodes. What started out as three bad men at a trading post being mean to a couple Indians turned out to be a huge, blow out between a different Indian group and the citizens of Virginia City.

It's unfortunate how far things went. The one man who started the whole thing really caused a lot of damage. After hurting an Indian and taking the Indian's wife and another wife, Adam rode to the rescue to rescue them. He left the men there, but Wilson rode off. When the Indian Tribe showed up, they murdered the other two men then caused some more damage. The wrong tribe was blamed, thanks to Wilson who was trying to keep himself out of trouble. But he only caused a great big mess!

When the Paiutes met with Ben and a Major from the army, one of the men got anxious and killed an Indian. Many died that day and Adam was kidnapped. The Chief said Adam would die if the army fought against them. Ben rides off to prove that Adam and the Paiutes are innocent of the crime, but will he get there in time to save the Paiutes from being massacred?

Like I said, what I was expecting to happen and what happened was a sad thing - but more realistic.

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