Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“A House Divided”
Season 1, Episode 18
#18 in Series
Air date January 16, 1960
Production code
Guest starring: Barry Cahill
Cameron Mitchell
Dan Riss
Howard Wendell
J. Stafford Repp
John Anderson
John Locks
Kenneth MacDonald
Marianne Stewart
Mickey Simpson:
Stacy Harris
Written by Al C. Ward
Directed by Lewis Allen
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
"The Outcast"
Next Episode:
"The Gunmen"
External links
A House Divided on IMDb


Ben tries to uncover the reason gold and silver exporter, Frederick Kyle, has befriended Little Joe before the shadowy businessman's hidden Civil War agenda tears Virginia City, and the Cartwright family, apart.


Frederick Kyle, a distinguished gentleman with only one arm, arrives in Virginia City. Checking into the hotel, he asks the clerk if he knows the Cartwrights. Tom says everyone on the Washoe knows the Cartwrights and indicates that Adam and Little Joe are in town.

Joe is in the adjoining saloon playing poker when Kyle comes in and watches. Joe doesn't know but the man he's playing against, Gorman, is cheating. Kyle intervenes and stops Joe from fighting the two. Kyle fights Gorman and despite his lack of one arm, Kyle fights a good fight and wins. Joe, meanwhile, has taken care of Regis. Joe asks Kyle to dinner.

After Joe leaves with Kyle, Gorman wants to follow, but Regis says he remembers Kyle from Kansas. He tells his partner that Kyle will be their "money tree."

At dinner on the Ponderosa, Kyle says he's come to the area looking for silver suppliers for his backers in the East. Joe volunteers to introduce him to the silver mine owners. After some discussion about the north and south, Kyle says that ideologies go deeper than where a person lives. He then changes the subject by accepting Joe's offer to meet the silver owners.

The next day in the saloon, Hoss and Ben walk into an argument about north and south. Again, Ben tries to calm things down. Returning to his hotel room, Kyle is stopped by Regis and Gorman. They've been checking and know he's there to acquire silver ore. They figure it's for "The Cause." Regis says there are some owners who might not want to go along but for $5,000 he and Gorman can be Kyle's own little army. Kyle doesn’t particularly like them, but agrees to that.

Adam goes to the hotel looking for Joe. Tom, the clerk, tells him that Joe had been introducing Kyle around, but now Kyle's upstairs alone. Just then, Regis and Gorman come down talking about the temper of the one armed man. Adam wonders who they are. Tom says the two just got out of prison, but doesn't know anything about Kyle. Joe would know about Kyle since they've spent time together lately. In fact, Tom mentions, Kyle asked about Joe as soon as he got into town.

Adam goes home and informs Ben about Kyle's interest in Joe. Ben's concerned and goes into town himself.

Kyle and Joe are meeting with mine owner, Hennessy in the saloon. Hennessy is not interested in selling his ore to Kyle. He has buyers in San Francisco, but he wouldn't sell to Kyle anyway because of Kyle’s southern sympathies. Joe doesn't understand why Hennessy would bring politics into a business deal, especially since Kyle offered more for the ore. Kyle says it helps to have a Cartwright on his side. Kyle also tells Joe he knew Joe's mother, Marie, in New Orleans. He gives Joe a pocket portrait of Marie that he's had for years. Joe is very moved with the gift. To cover his emotions, he offers to take Kyle to meet the last few mine owners in the morning and leaves.

Ben enters the hotel and asks Tom about Kyle. A woman overhears and says Kyle's not in his room. She introduces herself as Lily Van Cleet, on her way to California. She learns that Ben has a ranch and three sons. She says she had a son named Joseph, too, but he died a year ago in a street fight. "What's happening in Virginia City happened in the East over a year ago." She says she lost her son and her husband the same night.

Kyle walks up and is surprised to see Lily. Before he can walk her away, Ben asks to speak to him privately. Ben wants to know why Kyle sought Joe out. Kyle admits that he knew Marie and gave Joe a picture of her. Ben warns Kyle to leave Joe alone.

The next morning, Lily is in Kyle's room. They're married, but she's the daughter of a northern senator and doesn't believe in her husband's cause. But she does still love him. She laments this cause has taken their son, his arm, and their marriage. Kyle’s still angry that northern hypocrites took their son, but promises to return to her when all this is over.

Later, Hennessy sees Kyle in the saloon and tells Kyle that he's going to Washington DC to tell people what Kyle is up to. Kyle threatens him not to try it. When Hennessy leaves, Kyle calls Regis over. Kyle, Regis, and Gorman all have a drink together, discussing the situation.

The next morning, Regis and Gorman watch two stage passengers leave the lobby. Hennessy and Lily both climb aboard the stage. As it moves through a mountain turn, it suddenly falls over a cliff, falling into pieces.

The bodies from the stagecoach were found by the Cartwright's foreman and have been brought to the Ponderosa. Upon seeing who the victims were, Ben has contacted Kyle. Kyle looks under the blanket and cringes, asking how it happened. A boulder was in the middle of the road and the driver didn't have a chance. Based on foot prints, two men were involved. Ben asks who the woman was to Kyle. Kyle says she was someone he once knew.

Kyle returns to the saloon and finds Gorman and Regis. At gunpoint, he takes them into a small supply room at the back. He tosses the gun aside and proceeds to beat both of them savagely.

The next day at the crash site, Kyle finds Lily's cape and caresses it. The sheriff agrees it was murder, but wants to know why Kyle thought Regis and Gorman were involved. Hoss and Joe come down from the road with tools they found and one has Gorman's initials on it. That may prove it was Regis and Gorman, but Adam too wants to know how Kyle knew it was them. Joe and Adam argue, but Ben stops them.

That evening, Ben has dozed off when Hoss and Adam wake him to say that Joe came home, but packed a bag and left. Ben wants to know why Adam didn't stop him. Feeling guilty, Adam says he intends to and walks out. Hoss tells Ben that Adam plans to leave too. Ben hurries after him.

Ben tries to stop Adam, who's gathering his things. Adam says he's going to New England, but wants Joe to know that suddenly he found himself saying things he didn't mean. Ben pleads with Adam to stay. Adam tells him the damage has already been done. Adam doesn't want to leave, but says they can't have two different views in the same house. Adam also tells Ben that Joe needs him more than Adam. Then he rides off.

Kyle and Joe are meeting with mine owners when Ben barges in and asks all to leave except Kyle. Ben tells Joe to stay and hear what he has to say and then Joe can decide for himself. Ben accuses Kyle of acquiring silver to back the Confederacy. He accuses Kyle of giving everything for his beliefs and Kyle doesn't see anything wrong with that, asking what Ben believes. “I believe in my sons," Ben says firmly. And he lost two of them today. Joe feels ashamed about that.

Ben again asks about Lily. Kyle refuses to talk about her, though he's clearly bothered by Ben's talk. This pushes Kyle over the edge and he starts to attack Ben, but he can't carry through. He complains that Ben promised not to get involved, that it wasn't his fight. Ben says Kyle made it his fight. He reminds Kyle that he's lost a son and now a wife. Kyle says nothing will stand in his way and this won't be the end. There will be brother against brother and father against son. Ben tells him that in the end it will all have been a useless waste.

When Kyle leaves, Joe realizes what he's about to lose and apologizes to Ben. Joe rides in search of Adam, only to find him staring out over the lake. Joe tells Adam how he feels. Adam doesn't look at him, but continues to look at the lake, saying "That lake sure gets under your skin. Let's go home." They then ride home together. When they arrive back at the Ponderosa, Ben is relieved to see his family back together again.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights


  • Barry Cahill: Luke
  • Cameron Mitchell: Frederick Kyle
  • Dan Riss: Tom Madigan
  • Howard Wendell: Hennessy
  • J. Stafford Repp: Mine owner
  • John Anderson: Gorman
  • John Locks: Southern Miner
  • Kenneth MacDonald: Sheriff
  • Marianne Stewart: Lily Van Cleet Kyle
  • Mickey Simpson: Northern Miner
  • Stacy Harris: Regis



Did You Know?[]

  • The title comes from the gospel of Mark and was used by Abraham Lincoln describing a country that is half free and half slave. "A house divided against itself cannot stand."


  • Frederick Kyle has one arm. In a fight sequence, and later when Kyle throws a hat, the actor's other arm can be seen hidden under his coat.


"You just can't have two points of view in the same house, Pa. It just won't work and that's all there is to it."
Adam to Ben[src]



See A House Divided/videos

See also[]