"Bonanza" Death on Sun Mountain (TV Episode 1959) Poster

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It's a Bonanza!
paulw-1818 July 2006
I think it's in this episode (it's in one of the early episodes but not the pilot), but count how many times someone mentions the Comstock Lode silver strike and the reply is always, "It's not just a silver strike, it's a BONANZA." Apparently, this was an attempt to explain the series title to the audience but it was done a couple times too many within a single hour. Just one of the many things we all love about the series. Also, as in most early first season episodes, notice the adversarial relationship between the Cartwrights and the townfolk. This would, of course, change in later episodes. Basically, the town is against them and their values early on but the Cartwrights later become Virginia City's leading citizens. It's only the jealous criminals who are against them in subsequent seasons.

Overall, a good episode and worth watching for the early series and character development.
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Cowboys and Indians
mitchrmp25 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Somebody has been taking Cartwright cattle, and we all know that the Cartwrights don't like that at all! But this time it's a little different. A tribe of Paiute Indians are taking them because they are starving. Interestingly, they are too proud to ask for help but not too proud to steal. But the story doesn't stop there. The men of Virginia City are killing the antelope so the Paiute don't have any to kill. The Paiutes are threatening war against the people. The Cartwrights must stop it!

When they go to the mines, they learn the miners aren't having much success and they are buying an antelope for $10 a pound. The Cartwright's offer their cattle for $20 a head to help feed the miner families.

The Cartwrights meet a man named Mark Burdette who is taking advantage of a recent silver rush in the Virginia City mines. The men are starving, and he sees a way to get rich by killing antelope and selling their meat for $10 a pound. They warn Mark that if they don't stop killing the antelope, they will be at war with the Paiutes. Little Joe opens his mouth about their prime beef and that they could sell them at a good price. This opens a can of worms! Now Mark wants their prime beef. Ben is angry at the way they are selling meat for an unfair profit and refuses to do business with them. But Mark Burdette always gets what he wants!

Burdette has Thorne, his right-hand-man, to stop the miners from taking the cattle. But he goes way past what Burdette orders and kills the miners, dressed up like Indians. When Burdette gets onto him, he and his men go to kill Indians to put the Cartwright family right in the middle. They have to find out who caused the killing before a war breaks out. So Little Joe goes in for some answers.

I'm surprised that Ben let's Little Joe walk in. He's the hot-headed, immature kid who got them in this trouble in the first place…but perhaps that's why he thinks it's his fight…

An unlikely person gets mixed up in all this. Glory, a saloon girl becomes Burdette's girl, but she doesn't believe his story about who killed the miners. Thankfully, one of the miners survived and was able to tell her the truth. But out of desperation, Burdette and Thorne abduct her and take off, trying to save the necks. The Cartwirghts must find the girl and the two men before it's too late!

This is yet another classic Bonanza story that's filled with adventure each moment of the way. It's classic in showing us the characteristics of the Ponderosa dwellers and their love for mankind.

Results: 6 dead, 1 wounded
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Exploiters of all kinds
bkoganbing8 December 2018
Any kind of a mining boom will always bring out those like Barry Sullivan and Leo Gordon who will find a way to exploit the situation. In Sullivan's case it's food and he has Gordon and a crew of hunters killing off the wild antelope on which the Paiute Indians subsist.

Which brings Ben Cartwright into the situation. Lorne Greene on behalf of the Paiute chief Winnemucca confronts Sullivan and says he'll undercut Sullivan by selling beef cattle to the miners at reasonable prices. Something goes against the Cartwright grain concerning exploiting starvation for indecent profit.

Sullivan in the end has something of a conscience, Leo Gordon does not and that sets up the final confrontation between miners, exploiters, Cartwrights and Paiutes.

Also note a good performance from Jeanne Bates as an understanding saloon girl.

Good second episode of the series.
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