Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Enter Thomas Bowers”
Season 5, Episode 30
#164 in Series
Air date April 26, 1964
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Murray Golden

Leon Benson
Jessica Benson

Directed by Murray Golden
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Companeros
Next Episode:
The Dark Past
External links
Enter Thomas Bowers on IMDb


A famous and successful opera singer is invited to sing at the local Virginia City opera house. However, when he steps off the stagecoach, the Virginia City Ladies Cultural Society is dismayed to see that they have employed a Black man to sing opera at their concert.


Fresh from a triumphant tour in Italy, famous Black opera singer Thomas Bowers comes to Virginia City for a concert. He encounters extreme bigotry and prejudice when he is refused lodging at the hotel and refused food at a local restaurant by Sam, the owner. While eating his meal, Hoss steps in to help Bowers when bullies harass him in the restaurant. Bowers is invited by a local Black man, Jed, to eat a meal at his home since Sam refuses to serve him.

Hoss is still in the restaurant when a messenger brings a telegram, looking to deliver it to the sheriff. The telegram advises to be on the lookout for a runaway slave, who killed an overseer and happens to fit Bowers' description. Hoss heads over to Jed's home to alert Bowers before the bullies from the restaurant find him. He takes Bowers out to the Ponderosa.

Sam and the bullies find out from the hotel clerk that Bowers went to Jed's house. Sam beats up Jed to get the information they want, namely that Hoss took Bowers to his home. Jed is convinced by his daughter to tell the sheriff what the bullies plan to do, go after Bowers. Sheriff Coffee thanks Jed and rides out to the Ponderosa himself. He gets there in time to see the four Cartwrights stand up and defend Bowers against Sam and his cronies, planning to keep him safe at their ranch.

Sheriff Coffee has seen the telegram and although he doesn't want to take Bowers into custody, decides that the law requires him to do so until Bowers' identity can be proven. Hoss goes to jail with Bowers to keep him company for the few days it takes to verify Bowers actual identity. Finally, the sheriff receives a telegram that exonerates Bowers, stating the runaway slave is headed to Canada.

Ben is overjoyed to hear this and tells Bowers he is free to sing. But Bowers no longer wants to sing for people who have treated him so badly. Hoss tells Bowers that many people haven't made up their minds and this is Bowers' chance to make a difference. Thinking Bowers will not sing, Ben and Hoss are surprised when Bowers walks into the hall when the singer on stage is struggling with her voice. Bowers takes over singing and thrills the audience with his singing.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights



  • Al Haskell: Show Spectator
  • Alice Frost: Mrs. Sarah Gable
  • Betty Endicott: Woman Stage Passenger
  • Bill Clark: Henchman in Red Shirt
  • Bob Miles: Henchman in Blue Shirt
  • Don Washbrook: Donnie the Telegrapher
  • Dorothy Neumann: Older Townswoman
  • Ena Hartman: Caroline
  • George Petrie: Hotel Clerk
  • Jack Tornek: Show Spectator
  • Jason Wingreen: Luke
  • Jeanne Determann: Minnie Watkins
  • J. Edward McKinley: Charlie Simpson
  • Kelly Thordsen: Sam Kiley
  • Ken Renard: Jed
  • Robert Adler: Stage Driver
  • Robert P. Lieb: Mr. Walker
  • Russ Bender: Station Master
  • Sailor Vincent: Show Spectator
  • William Marshall: Thomas Bowers


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Die Thomas Bowers Story", meaning "The Thomas Bowers Story".
  • Producer David Dortort met with some resistance from sponsor General Motors over the production of this episode which aired during the unsettled days of the civil right movement. During the summer reruns, Dortort made sure this episode re-aired, though two stations in the South refused and preempted it.




See also[]