Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Inger, My Love”
Season 3, Episode 29
#95 in Series
Air date April 15, 1962
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by David Dortort

Frank Cleaver

Directed by Lewis Allen
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Crucible
Next Episode:
Blessed Are They
External links
Inger, My Love on IMDb


The back story behind Ben's three wives is up to Inger, Ben's second wife (and mother of Hoss). The story relates the first meeting between Ben and Inger, as Ben and a young Adam were traveling west.


It’s past 9 o’clock and Adam and Hoss haven’t returned home yet, there’s a cake on the table and it’s Hoss’ birthday, Joe tells Ben he couldn’t imagine Hoss as a baby and Ben tells him he was a fine strapping boy, Joe offers to look for them but Ben tells him to go upstairs and rest, Joe tells him he’ll be in his room reading. Ben thinks back to when he met her. 

In Illinois, Gunnar Borgstrom is singing in the tavern and afterwards he’s called Hoss by one of the locals at first he thinks he’s being insulted and called a horse however he’s told it’s local speak for calling someone a big man with a pleasant way.  Ben arrives at the tavern dirty and sweaty, he asks the bartender where he can find work because his son, Adam is sick.  As Ben leaves, Gunnar throws coins at Ben telling him he’ll throw more if it makes him move faster, Gunnar’s friend tells him he’s being too extravagant with his money and tells him Ben is only worth a nickel, Gunnar tells Ben he’s feeling generous and offers him a dime.


Ben walks over to Gunnar and throws him out of his chair a fight ensues with the rest of the locals however the owner, Mr McWhorter tells everyone to quieten down or he’ll throw them out himself, he then beckons Ben over and tells him he handled himself pretty well and that he could use a man like him to clean up and take care of the more troublesome locals he sometimes gets, he offers Ben $1 a day.  The man offers to give Ben some money upfront but Ben doesn’t take it and tells him he’ll be back.

Outside Adam is wrapped in a blanket in a wagon and Ben asks how he is, he tells him his head is still sore but he’s feeling hungry now, Ben sees this as a sign he’s getting better and heads to the General Store to get some food for Adam.


Inside Ben asks for some milk and bread and Inger asks him if he brought something to put the milk in, seeing that he doesn’t she loans him one and tells him she’s not seen him before.  Ben asks her if she knows a cheap place to stay that would accept children, Inger becomes curious about him and Ben tells her that it’s only him and his 5 year old son.  Inger recommends Mrs Millers place across the street while wrapping the bread and tells Ben his items are 10 cents, Ben rifles through his pockets and pulls out a couple of coins and gives her the money, he asks her if she has anything for a fever and she asks if he’s not feeling well.  Adam enters the store asking for his Pa and tells him he’s not feeling well, this prompts Inger to run over to him and check him over, she’s surprised at how warm he is but he doesn’t have a sore throat which is a good sign.  She runs over to a shelf and returns with a jar which has salt pork and onions in it, which is an old Swedish remedy.  Ben asks her how much it will cost him, and she tells him it’s nothing and for the boy.  Ben tells her he doesn’t want charity and she tells him it’s not charity since it’s medicine for his boy and she likes children, Ben leaves with Adam, he’s about to say something to Inger but doesn’t and walks out.


Inger watches Ben and Adam walk away and the McWhorter pays Inger a visit asking her about how well the store is doing, her full attention is on watching Ben and Adam, McWhorter notices and tells her he’s hired him to clean out his stable.  Mr McWhorter asks Inger how long she’s going to keep him waiting, she tells him she’s already told him she’s not ready to get married yet, Mr McWhorter tells Inger he doesn’t mind waiting for something he wants.

Adam is in bed at Mrs Millers place, he’s finishing off his bread and milk, Ben asks her if she could heat up the food in the jar that Inger gave to him.  Ben is surprised that Adam’s eaten all his food and Adam comments that it could have done with some jam, but Ben is happy that Adam is full and tells him that they will have real food tomorrow.  Ben is about to leave the room when Adam asks if he’s had anything to eat, Ben tells him he’ll eat later and needs to check on the medicine.  Adam tells him he doesn’t like the medicine much but he did like the lady who gave it to them and comments on how nice she was, Ben agrees.


Gunnar is at the General Store helping himself to the money box, Inger walks in on him and tells him he should be helping to fill it not emptying it.  Gunnar tells Inger he has every right to it since their father left the store to them both, and Inger tells him that their father expected both of them to run it not waste the money at McWhorter’s.   Gunnar tells her he’s not cut out to be a storekeeper and Inger asks him what he made for, she tells him they could make a success of the store if he’d only work with her, Gunnar refuses to work there and tells her he is cut out for other things.  Inger seems disappointed and Gunner tells her she should marry Mr McWhorter and then he can sell the store, he leaves.


Gunnar’s drinking buddy is talking about gold mines in Canada and Gunner tells him that he needs money for gear and grub.  His friend tells him that he sold everything he had to McWhorter and now he has all the money he needs, Gunnar tells him he doesn’t have any so his friend tells him to sell the store.  Gunner tells him it’s up to his sister and his friend tells him the store belongs to him though.  Gunner’s friend tells McWhorter that they’ll soon be on their way, McWhorter tells Gunner he’d be left behind and that his offer still stands to buy the store.  Ben walks in with a basket of tankards to stack on the shelf and walks into the conversation Gunner is having.  Gunner’s friend teases him telling him that he should be man enough to handle his sister, Gunner shouts at his friend and then composes himself.  He tells his friend that Inger is stubborn like their father, McWhorter comments that she needs a husband, Gunnar’s friend comments that McWhorter would like to tame her, Ben glares at McWhorter.

Ben returns to Mrs Miller and in the corridor he can hear a music box coming from inside his room.  Inside Inger is with Adam, he’s has a music box open whilst in bed.  Outside Ben seems upset by the music and composes himself when he enters the room, he snatches the music box from Adam and Inger tells him that he wanted to listen to it.  Ben asks why she’s there and she tells him that she knew he was busy and Adam needed his medicine.  Ben tells her he can take of Adam and that he can take care of his own affairs.  Inger asks why Ben is so against any help, Ben turns to Adam and tells him never to play the music box again.  Inger tells Ben that Adam is better now, but should continue with the medicine, Ben tells Inger that he was going to come to the store when he cleaned himself up and doesn’t mean to be ungrateful but is interrupted by Inger who tells Ben that without his dirty beard his face looks quite nice, and if he wore a smile on it sometimes then it could be an attractive face.  Before she leaves she tells Ben that he could do with a good meal himself and tells him when Adam is asleep he should come over to her place for some dinner.   Ben is speechless and stands there agog until Adam chimes up that Inger is a really nice lady, but Ben stops him mid sentence and finishes it for him.

Inger apologises to Ben that the food wasn’t much but Ben tells her it was very good, she serves up some

apple pie for dessert.  Inger asks Ben if he’s been on the road for very long, Ben tells her he has although he’s not really travelled very far in the time it’s taken him to get from New England to Illinois, four years.  Inger is surprised it’s taken him so long and Ben tells her that when he needed money he’d stop off somewhere.  Inger asks what he did in New England and Ben tells her he used to be a seaman and when he got married he set up a ships chandler’s shop and when his wife died he decided to start a new life with his son, Gunnar asks why he didn’t go back to the sea.   Ben tells him it’s hard to raise a boy when you’re at sea most of the time and he’d always dreamed about the West, and wants to be part of it, to build and grow things, Inger smiles at his dream.  Gunnar tells Ben he sounds like their father, he too had a dream but ended up on a Prairie crossroad with a store.  Inger tells Gunnar that he never gave up on his dream for new land, Gunnar tells her he doesn’t care about his father’s dream and Inger tells him it’s a sin to think like that, Gunnar doesn’t like the way Inger preaches to him and he leaves.  Inger is upset and apologises to Ben telling him it was no way to treat a guest, however Ben tells her he had a wonderful evening and hasn’t enjoyed one in such a long time he then tells her he has to go because he left Adam in the care of Mrs Miller.  Inger hopes that they can be friends, Ben thanks her and they shake hands.


Ben and Inger are having a picnic and Inger comments on how sweet the grapes are, Ben tells her everything is sweet including the air the water and his company and smiles at her.  Inger tells Ben he’s got grape juice on his chin prompting him to brush it off and stare at her, she gets all coy and asks what he’s looking at.  Ben tells her there are so many places he could have passed West that he could have missed her, she tells him that she’s a large peasant woman whom he can’t miss, Ben tells her she’s a very beautiful peasant woman.  She tells Ben her nose is too long and her hands are too rough, Ben tells her she’s fishing for compliments and they laugh.  Ben tells her it was nice of her to invite them on a picnic, she tells him it’s a Sunday and he needed a rest from all that hard work.  Inger reminisces about Sweden and time when she was picking strawberries with Gunnar, Ben tells her she has head is full of happy memories.  Inger asks if he has any and he replies that he has some good and some bad, she asks about his wife and he tells her he loved her very much.  Gunnar is heard shouting for his sister, he finally finds them and orders her to go back to town, she tells him it’s Sunday and the store is closed.   McWhorter has bought a new carriage and came looking for her, she tells Gunnar that she never told him that she would go riding with him, Gunnar tells her she’d rather go on a picnic with a penniless drifter.  Ben tries to tell Gunnar there’s nothing to be angry about, but Gunnar tells Ben to stay away from his sister, Inger tells Gunnar that he is her brother not her father.  He tells her he does what’s best for her and she responds by telling him he doesn’t run her life, Gunnar again orders her back to town and leaves.  Inger apologises to Ben for Gunnar’s behaviour, Ben tells her he’s very angry, at him.


Back at the tavern, McWhorter asks Gunnar if he told his sister he was looking for her, he tells him he did but she’s too stubborn.  Gunnar asks him what would happen if he sold him the store and Inger still doesn’t want to marry him.  McWhorter full of confidence tells him why she wouldn’t want to marry the richest man in the county.  He also tells Gunnar he would help him as well since he would be his brother in law and he’d help him get to the gold fields in Canada.  Ben walks in with a basket of tankards to stack on the shelf, Gunnar whispers to McWhorter that he’d be better off without that stranger motioning his head towards Ben.  He tells McWhorter that Ben went on a picnic with her and he thinks she likes him.   McWhorter goes over to Ben and tells her he’s going to marry Inger Borgstrom, Ben is surprised and tells him she never said anything to him about it, McWhorter tells him he doesn’t want him hanging around her anymore and to stay away from her and that he has no place in the town.  Ben asks if he’s fired, and he’s told it’s exactly what it means.  Gunnar gets up from his seat and walks over to Ben, he reaches into his pocket and throws a coin at Ben, laughs and then leaves.  

Ben is packing their belongings in the wagon when Inger comes running over to him wanting to talk to him, Ben not to happy asks if she’s going to tell him about marrying McWhorter and walks off.  Inger chases after him and asks who told him that ridiculous story, Ben tells him McWhorter did just before he fired him, he walks away again back to his room.  Inger asks if this is the reason he’s moving again, Ben tells her that he has no future in the town.   Inger asks Ben how long he can keep drifting, running away from the memory of his dead wife, Ben tells her she’s got nothing to do with it.  Inger tells him that it she dwells over his head like a cloud, and that she’s in his voice and in his heart and she’s dead and he can’t carry her for the rest of his life, Ben tells her it’s his life and his business.  She starts to snivel and she tells Ben she has a better answer and asks him to work for her if his stubborn pride will let him, Ben glares at her and tells her he doesn’t need her help and he’s man enough to stand on his own two feet.  Inger bawls at Ben and tells him she thinks he left his manhood with his dead wife, and she runs out sobbing.  Adam comes in asking why Inger ran away, and Ben tells him he doesn’t know, pondering the situation for a moment and then turns to Adam telling him he does know and walks out.


Inger leaves the boarding house wiping tears from her face, Ben appears at the doorway and shouts towards her to wait.  Ben tells her he will work at the store with her and she begins to smile, he goes on to tell her that he’s not rich and he has a young son but he does have a big dream and he wants to ask her to share it with him.  Inger excited asks Ben to ask her, Ben stumbles over his words and can only utter one word before Inger interrupts him and tells him she will marry him, they kiss.   Inger breaks off the kiss wondering what people will say, and Ben tells her that Miss Inger Borgstrom is going to be marrying Benjamin Cartwright and they kiss again.  Mr McWhorter walks out of his tavern and sees them kissing and hugging.

At the General Store Inger leaves early to make supper for Ben and Adam, she asks Ben to find Gunnar since he’s not eaten with her for a few days.  Ben asks her if Gunnar resents him and Adam being with her all the time and he thinks he resents him working at the store and he definitely knows he resents him seeing her.  She tells him not to blame him since he is her brother and she loves him, Ben tells her he’ll try and bring him along, she tells him not to argue with him if he decides not to come.

At the tavern Gunnar is signing a document and hands it to McWhorter who tells him he won’t regret it.  Ben walks in with an upbeat refrain and asks Gunnar to come back home for a meal.  Gunnar declines and tells Ben to stay away from him, Ben tells him Inger is worried about him and she’d like him to come home.  Gunnar again tells him he’s not going home, because he’s going to the gold fields.  Gunnar  tells Ben he sold the store to McWhorter, Ben’s face turns to anger and he tells Gunnar he had no right and he can’t believe he would do that to his sister, Gunnar tells him she’ll get half, Ben demands that he give the money back and get the deed back.  McWhorter tells Gunnar that now she doesn’t have the store Ben won’t be so anxious to marry her, Gunnar agrees and accuses Ben of wanting the store for himself.  They fight, Ben punches Gunnar and he falls down.  Ben tells McWhorter he’ll take him home, but McWhorter tells Ben not to due to his condition, Ben agrees and leaves the tavern.


Inger is laughing, Ben tells her again that Gunnar sold the store and asks her why she’s finding it so funny.  Inger tells him that ever since they decided to get married she was trying to pluck up the courage to ask Gunnar to sell the store, she tells Ben that they can go West to find his dream and build what he always wanted.  Ben doesn’t want her to do it for him and believes she’s sacrificing everything to do it.  She tells him it’s a sacrifice to have found a purpose and have a place in life with him, Ben worries about Gunnar and Inger tells him that he’s her life now and time for Gunnar to make his own way.  They are about to kiss but are interrupted by a knock at the door, it’s the doctor who tells her that Gunnar has been badly hurt, Ben has a vacant look as he thinks back to when he hit him.


After the doctor leaves Inger is upset with Ben and blames him for Gunnar’s condition, Ben tells her he didn’t hit him that hard and something’s not right, she doesn’t listen and goes to be with Gunnar,  Ben leaves to find out what happened.  A constable visits Inger and asks her about pressing charges and arresting Ben, Inger glances back at Adam who’s lying on the settee and tells the constable there will be no charges.  The constable is surprised and tells her if her brother dies then it makes him a murderer,  Adam is getting visibly worried.  Inger confirms there will be no charges, The constable believes she’s making a mistake and that Ben is a dangerous man.  After he leaves Adam asks Inger if his Pa is bad, she reassures Adam that he’s not bad.

Ben confronts McWhorter about Gunnar.  McWhorter tells him if he has any sense he should leave town, Ben refuses to until he finds out the truth, he wants McWhorter to tell Inger the truth and grabs his arm.  McWhorter punches Ben and he falls against the counter, he tells him he only wants the truth and wants him to tell him, McWhorter punches him again and this time Ben fights back.

Back at Inger’s Adam asks her if his Pa is coming back and she tells him he is, he then asks her if she loves him and she tells him she does and then he asks why she sent him away, Inger tells him she can’t explain and tells him to go to sleep.

Ben is unable to get the truth out of McWhorter and returns to Inger’s looking worse for wear, he goes to see Gunnar to see if he can get the truth from him but Gunnar is unresponsive.   Inger tells him he should know, Ben tells her he did hit him but how can she believe that he would do that to Gunnar, she tells him she doesn’t know what to believe.  Ben tells her he thought once that she could believe in him, he hits a man and that love is lost and nothing can be done.  Inger tells him she wants to believe him and asks him for help, but with doubts in her mind about him he can’t.  Inger doesn’t know what to do as Ben begins to leave Gunnar calls out to Ben.  Gunnar tells Inger that Ben didn’t do it, and that he remembers Ben leaving when he fell to the floor but when he was getting up something hit him on the head.  They both surmise that McWhorter did it and Ben knows he won’t admit to it, Inger wonders why he has to.  Ben tells her if he doesn’t then she’ll never find out the truth, Inger tells him what he told her, “if one loves, one must love with all ones heart.”  She tells him she does love him with all her heart, she asks Gunnar for his blessing for them to be married, Gunnar tells her if he can give the bride away. 

Ben has packed the wagon and is saying his goodbyes, he tells Gunnar he hopes he finds what he’s looking for, Gunnar tells him he may or may not find it but at least he will have tried.  Inger says her goodbyes to her brother and he hopes Ben finds the land he’s looking for and raises fine boys.  He tells them that his friends called him Hoss which means a good man with a friendly face and tells Ben that he’s that man.  He asks that should they have a son he hopes they call him Hoss as well he then says his goodbyes to Adam and then they leave together.

Back at the Ponderosa, Ben has nodded off in the armchair, Hoss returns home and Ben is startled awake.  Ben lights the candles on the cake and Adam comes in followed by Joe from upstairs.  Hoss makes a wish and blows out the candles.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights[]



  • Charles E. Fredericks: Bartender
  • Harlan Warde: Constable
  • Helen Brown: Mrs. Miller
  • James Philbrook: McWhorter
  • Nolan Leary: Doctor
  • Taggart Casey: Gunner's Friend
  • Troy Melton: Man in Cafe


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Bens große Liebe", meaning "Ben's Big Love".
  • Ben is wearing Hoss' colours.


  • When Inger passes Ben a slice of pie he hands it over to Gunnar, then suddenly he's forking into a pie in front of him in the next shot.





See also[]