Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Day of the Dragon”
Season 3, Episode 11
#77 in Series
Air date December 3, 1961
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by John T. Dugan
Directed by Don McDougall
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Horse Breaker
Next Episode:
The Frenchman
External links
Day of the Dragon on IMDb


Chinese warlord, General Tsung, arrives at the Ponderosa, looking for his bride to be, Su Ling, where Little Joe has been challenged to explain how he won the girl in a poker game.



Joe is playing poker with Gordon and Barrett, when Gordon has run out of money and offers Joe something outside, double or nothing. Joe asks what it is and wants to have a look.  Outside Gordon points and Joe sees a horse. Back inside the saloon Joe shows his hand, picks up his winnings, and walks out to pick up his horse.  

Gordon tells Joe he's got it wrong, it's not the horse he won, but Su Ling, the Chinese girl standing next to the horse. He tells Joe she's all his and gives him a bill of sale to make it legal. Joe wants to know what he means by legal, so Gordon tells him there's a powerful Chinese warlord in San Francisco, General Mu Tsung and he bought her off him.  Gordon and Barrett leave for St Louis.


Joe asks her if she can speak English and she tells him she learned English from a missionary in China. Joe tells her she is free but she doesn't want to be free. Joe tells her he'll take her home and maybe his Pa will know what to do. Joe is not looking forward to telling his pa.

Ben returns home with Adam and Hoss and is surprised to see Su Ling in the front room.  She bows and calls them all honourable masters. Ben asks who she is while Joe listens from the top of the stairs.


 Su Ling introduces herself and then calls herself their new slave. Ben and Hoss look at each other and Joe screws his face up and hides. Adam immediately shouts for Joe and then Ben shouts "Joseph" twice. Joe comes down the stairs with an innocent smile.

Ben asks Joe about the girl and Joe tells his Pa he won her in a poker game because he thought Gordon was betting his horse but instead it was Su Ling. Ben tells him he can't keep her which Joe knew, but thought he'd bring her home because Pa will know what to do. Ben urges Joe to give her back. Joe can't because Gordon is halfway to St Louis by now. 

Ben wants to hear the whole story from the beginning. Joe tells about her life and how she came to America. Ben asks Joe to call Su Ling and Ben tells her she's free, she can do what she wants. Su Ling says because she free she wants to stay at the Ponderosa as the Cartwrights' slave girl. Joe tells his Pa she doesn't want to be free and Ben finds it ridiculous. 


Su Ling begs Ben to stay so Ben relents and tells her she can stay until they can sort something out that's more permanent. Ben explicitly tells her she's still free and she tells him she's free to stay. 


Gordon and Barrett are camping for the night, discussing Su Ling. It turns out they kidnapped her from General Mu Tsung. Barrett gets attacked from behind and a group of Chinese men surround Gordon. General Mu Tsung walks out and asks about Su Ling. Gordon tells him a fella called Cartwright forced him into giving Su Ling to him. Gordon says Cartwright has a big ranch near Virginia City called the Ponderosa. The General tells him men to free Gordon of his life's pain.

Since Ben and Joe have been having trouble trying to explain the ways of the West they decide to take Su Ling into town so she can talk to their Chinese friends. Joe volunteers to take her in the morning.


In Virginia City Joe has been showing Su Ling around and finally takes her to Dr Kam Lee.  Joe wants Dr Lee to tell Su Ling about what he does but Dr Lee is too busy. However, if they don't mind coming along to see his patients, he will listen. Su Ling offers to help since she worked in the Mission hospital in China. Dr Lee accepts her offer.

Su Ling has been very helpful with the patients. Dr Lee offers her work should she need it, but she turns him down telling him she has work with the Cartwrights. Joe tells Su Ling they have to get back to the Ponderosa.

Ben is at the Ponderosa, about to smoke a pipe when Hop Sing bursts in and tells Ben the Chinese Army is coming.  Ben is confused, so Hop Sign tells his boss to look for himself and then hides in the kitchen.


Adam, Hoss, and Joe are outside and Ben joins them as the General rides in with his men.  Ben asks what he wants and he tells him he has something that belongs to him, namely Su Ling. Joe asks by what right and the General tells him the prior right of possession.  Ben tells him that's not a right and asks if he would come into the house to talk. The General agrees by telling Ben a prudent man talks before he acts.


General Tsung wants to pay Ben back any expenses he incurred when looking after Su Ling.  Joe tells him she's not for sale and Ben tells the General that what they mean is she's not for sale because she's free now and it's up to her to decide if she wants to go with him.  Ben summons Su Ling to the front room and she is surprised to see the General. He tells her that he wants her to be one of his wives. 

She doesn't answer him immediately and tells him she needs to think about it and will give him an answer tomorrow morning. The General agrees but tells her he would have liked an answer now and tells her that he'll be patient and when she does answer tomorrow that her response should be affirmative. 

After the General leaves Ben tells Su Ling that he wants her to stay at the Ponderosa permanently and they'll respect her decision what ever she decides.  Joe tells Su Ling that he can't believe she would even consider marrying a man like the General.  

Joe is pacing outside the Ponderosa when he hears screaming from Su Ling's room. He runs in to find two men grappling with Su Ling. A fight ensues and during the fight Su Ling is hurt when a knife hits her arm. Joe ends up on the bed and his assailant runs out the door quickly. The man Joe knocked to the floor is about to shoot Joe when Ben enters the room and shoots him dead.  Ben instructs Hoss to take the knife to the Sheriff and bring back the Doctor.

At General Tsung's camp, the man who got away from the Cartwrights is before the General, who isn't happy.  He tells his men they'll wait until the morning, then they'll get Su Ling and repay the Cartwright's for their meddling. The General looks at one of his men and gives him a silent nod. A shot is fired as the General looks down at the man who bumbled his plans.

Dr Kam Lee is at the Ponderosa tending to Su Ling's arm, he asks her if she's considered what he said.  Su Ling tells him it's better if she leaves the Ponderosa before the General returns since she's worried about the danger she's brought to her benefactors. She agrees to work for Dr Lee. Joe enters the room and brings her out to the others.

Ben asks Su Ling if she's better. Hoss reassures her not to worry about the General, if he tries anything again they'll be ready for him. She tells them that's not what worries her, so Adam asks her what is worrying her. She answers that Dr Lee needs her help. Ben asks her if she wants to work with Dr Lee and she confirms she does if her Masters agree to release her. Joe tells her he won't let her go if her intentions are purely to protect them. Su Ling says she's been content at the Ponderosa, but she will stay if they want a servant girl. Joe tells her she should do what's best for herself. Su Ling decides to go back with Dr Lee and Joe will accompany them.



On the trail to Virginia City the General's men attack Joe, Su Ling, and Dr Lee, attempting to stop the travelers and take Su Ling. Joe tries to outrun them. After a long hard ride, they find an outcropping of rocks and hide behind them.  


The General appears with a white flag and wants to parlay with Little Joe. He tells Joe he did not shoot because he doesn't want to harm Joe, he wants Su Ling and will leave Joe alone. Joe's answer is no and tells the General if he wants her he'll have to fight for her. The General swiftly lowers his flag as if to signal his men. 

Joe is still standing looking out at Gen Tsung when one of the his men appears at the top of the rocks and fires at Joe. Joe spins from the impact and fires back at the man, killing him. Joe sinks down as Su Ling and Dr Lee rush to assist him. Joe waves them off as they have no time to lose. The General plans to outflank them while his men distract them.

Joe fires back at them but runs out of bullets. The General creeps up behind them and points his gun, intending to kill Joe. Instead of shooting him the General decides to kill him with his knife. A fight ensues, Joe manages to avoid the General's attacks, gets the knife and kills Gen Tsung.

Ben, Hoss, and Adam ride in and deal with the stray men. Joe holds his shoulder as Dr Lee and Su Ling have a look. Ben runs over to check on Joe. Joe asks what they are doing here and Ben tells him he was following him from afar. Ben tells him he didn't want his #3 son to encounter the General and his army alone. Little Joe thanks his Pa.

Adam and Hoss round up the remaining General's men. Adam asks Joe if he's alright to which Joe answers he'll need a lot of Su Ling's care though. Dr Lee tells Joe there will be no charge for their services. Ben tells him you can't beat that, Adam says it was almost worth getting wounded for, and Hoss tells Joe he's lucky, he's got a good doctor and a good nurse all for free. Su Ling contemplates the word free and tells them it's most beautiful and smiles.


The Cartwrights



  • Benson Fong:
  • Bill Clark: Gang Member
  • Bob Miles: Gang Member
  • Cosmo Sardo: Bartender
  • Harry Lauter: Barrett
  • Henry Wills: Gang Member
  • Lisa Lu: Su Ling
  • Mort Mills: Gordon
  • Philip Ahn: Dr. Kam Lee
  • Richard Loo: General Mu Tsung


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Die erlauchten Herren Cartwright", meaning "The Illustrious Gentlemen Cartwright".
  • The majority of Chinese people in Virginia City speak Cantonese including Hop Sing. Su Ling speaks Mandarin.


"I hate to see the look on Pa's face when he hears about this."
"The loud voiced child has rightly been called a hammer without a head."
Mu Tsung
"A prudent man talks, before he acts."
Mu Tsung
"Perhaps not Mr Cartwright but it is carved in jade that death is a land without geography."
Mu Tsung




See also[]