Bonanza episode
“Blood on the Land”
Season 1, Episode 22
#22 in Series
Air date February 13, 1960
Guest starring:
Written by Robert E. Thompson
Directed by Felix Feist
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Spanish Grant
Next Episode:
Desert Justice
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Summary[edit | edit source]

Jeb Drummond is a murderous sheep herder that has Adam taken hostage to try and force Ben to sign over a large section of Ponderosa land to him.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Jeb Drummond is driving his herd of sheep across the Ponderosa when the Cartwrights ride up. Ben politely tells him to leave. Jeb asks for permission, he's willing to pay. Ben doesn't want the money, he wants Jeb and his sheep to go. Jeb starts to get a little angry and puts his hand on his rifle. Adam, Hoss, and Joe all pull their guns. Jeb backs down and asks if he can camp out for the night. Ben sighs, but agrees.

The next morning, Jeb has decided he's not leaving. He tells his young herdsman, Billy that they're going to take the land. He wants Billy to take two men and watch for the Cartwrights. They're to kill the first man they see. Billy can't believe Jeb would kill a man for no reason. Jeb explains that they have to take what they want and the Cartwrights would kill them if given the chance. He also claims the Cartwrights are no different from the men that tried to hang Billy when Jeb first found him. Jeb saved Billy's life when he would've been wrongly hanged for a horse thief. Billy (at least til now) has been grateful to Jeb and has always respected him, so he does as he's told.

Billy, Collier, and Wheeler take up a position. Wheeler would rather just scare the Cartwrights. Collier knows the Cartwrights aren't the kind that scare. Billy doesn't want to face Jeb's wrath and tells them to shoot to kill because that's what Jeb said to do.

Adam comes up on Wheeler and Collier just as the two have decided to quit Jeb. Adam, gun drawn, orders them to drop their guns. Wheeler spins with rifle in hand. Adam shoots him. Collier rides away. Adam checks on Wheeler and just sighs that it came to this.

Collier returns to Jeb and tells him that Wheeler is dead. Jeb is angry that Collier didn't kill Adam, but he has a plan. He just needs to get the herd into a draw.

Ben is furous that Jeb didn't leave. Adam thinks they should get the sheriff and let the law handle it. Ben says that by the time the courts settled it, the sheep would have torn up the north pasture. It's his land that he cleared and planted and he'll protect it from people like Drummond. He tells the boys to get their guns. Adam reluctantly joins them.

Jeb has the herd in the draw. Billy's confused because they'll be the ones trapped in the draw, not the Cartwrights. Jeb sends Collier and some other men to watch from a ledge. He tells Billy to go hide near the entrance to the draw. Collier's worried the Cartwrights will shoot them all down in the draw, but Jeb knows Ben's not the type to shoot unless shot at. All he wants to do is capture a Cartwright alive and that'll be Billy's job. Billy doesn't like the idea, but Jeb again reminds him of how he saved Billy from hanging and that the Cartwrights would shoot them if given a chance.

The Cartwrights arrive at the draw and are suspicious. Adam says they could just hold their ground and starve Jeb out. Joe would rather ride in and get it over with. Ben doesn't want all four riding straight in as easy targets. He sends Hoss and Joe one way while he and Adam will approach from the front. Adam tries one last time and says they can hold Jeb off while he goes back for the sheriff. Ben again refuses. If they can't fight for their land, they might as well hand it over to the first settler that comes along.

Ben and Adam approach. Ben calls to Jeb and tells him to leave or Ben will starve them out. Jeb acts apologetic and asks to stay the night again. Ben refuses. Jeb tells his men to start moving the herd. Ben tells Adam to help them and Adam moves forward. As soon as he's clear, Billy jumps him and everyone else starts shooting.

Ben takes cover behind a rock with Hoss, but is determined to get to Adam. Hoss worries that Ben won't make it, but Ben says, "Adam's in there. I'll make it." Meanwhile, Billy and Adam are fighting. Adam makes a break (with Ben's urging) but he runs out of room. Billy's right behind him, but his gun is jammed. Now Adam has the upper hand. But rather than shoot Billy, Adam tells him to get out of the way. Billy's surprised and asks if Adam isn't going to shoot him. Adam just tells him to move. Billy can't move, Jeb told him to capture Adam, so the two just shove each other. Then Jeb comes up with his gun and holds it on Adam. He tells Ben to stop shooting or he'll kill Adam. Billy is stunned, but remains silent. Ben asks what Jeb wants. Jeb cackles in his victory. He's going to cross the Ponderosa with his flock and if Ben tries to stop him it'll cost Adam's life. Ben hasn't got a choice, but threatens, "If you harm him. I'll find you and I'll kill you if I have to follow you clear to Hell."

Back at the house, Ben is blaming himself for Adam's predicament. Hoss and Joe assure him that they would've done the same things Ben did, but now they know better. Ben admits Adam was right, but when Hoss suggests that next time they'll let the law handle things, Ben is upset. He doesn't want to go begging for help. Hoss says it isn't begging, it's asking for help from someone who's job it is to protect them. Joe agrees that normally he'd rather fight their own battles, but this time they have Adam. Ben tells Joe to get the sheriff.

At the camp, Jeb's decided he doesn't want to just cross the Ponderosa, he wants the land for himself. Billy asks how he's going to do that. Jeb gestures to Adam who's bound. He says that if you get a man in his soft spot, you can squeeze anything out of him.

Billy takes Adam some food. He asks why Adam didn't shoot him when he had the chance. Adam just says he couldn't. Adam asks how Billy came to be with Jeb. Billy explains that he's been on his own for a while and foolishly bought a horse from a man without getting a bill of sale. The real owner accused him of stealing it and was going to hang him when Jeb arrived and drove off the men. He owes Jeb. Adam says that doesn't mean he has to be like Jeb. Besides, doesn't Billy realize Jeb only does things that benefit him. He wasn't saving Billy to save him, but for his own purposes. Billy slaps Adam. He figures Adam can't understand because the Cartwrights have so much, but all Billy has is Jeb.

The next day, Ben and Hoss ride out to meet Jeb as he's driving his herd. Adam is tied up in the back of a wagon. Ben isn't carrying a gun and Billy takes Hoss'. Ben offers himself in Adam's place. Jeb doesn't care, what he wants is the Ponderosa. He tells Ben to sign over 50,000 acres or he'll kill Adam. Adam tells Ben not to do it, "It isn't worth it." Ben answers, "Isn't it?" and signs the paper. Billy is stunned. Jeb is jubilant. Adam leaps off the wagon and tackles Jeb, but his hands are tied and Ben and Hoss don't have guns, so the rebellion is short-lived. Billy holds a gun on Adam and Jeb is mad. He wants the gun so he can shoot them all. Billy refuses. The Cartwrights haven't done anything to be killed for. Jeb angrily tells him that you have to take what you want. Still Billy keeps the gun. Jeb complains that he should've let the men hang Billy for taking the three horses. Billy never told Jeb that the men were looking for three horses and now realizes it was Jeb that originally stole them. He didn't kill the men to save Billy, he killed them so they wouldn't catch Jeb. He doesn't owe Jeb anything. So as Jeb moves forward, Billy pulls the trigger.

As Billy is leaving the Ponderosa, Ben offers him some land to homestead.

Cast[edit | edit source]

The Cartwrights

Other[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

Did You Know?[edit | edit source]

  • This episode mentions that the Ponderosa consists of 55,000 acres.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"Well Pa, the way I look at it, if a man expects to get ahead in this world, he's got to use his brains instead of his back."
Adam Cartwright[src]

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Videos[edit | edit source]


See also[edit | edit source]

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