Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Mr. Henry Comstock”
Season 1, Episode 9
#9 in Series
Air date November 7, 1959
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by David Dortort
Directed by John Brahm
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Philip Deidesheimer Story
Next Episode:
The Magnificent Adah
External links
Mr. Henry Comstock on IMDb


The Cartwrights are met by an old man with a gun who claims they're on his land; he even has a deed signed by Henry Comstock to prove it. The episode flashes back to how Comstock, a con man, accidentally found a huge silver deposit while trying to pull a swindle, and how Virginia City got its name.


As the Cartwrights return from moving their herd, they stop to cool off by the lake when suddenly a shot rings out. An old prospector accuses the Cartwrights of being on his land, showing them the deed. As Ben tries to explain the land is part of the Ponderosa, he laughs when he reads the deed, showing it to his sons. The land was sold to the prospector by Henry T.P. Comstock. The prospector doesn't understand so the Cartwrights tell him the story of when they first met Henry Comstock, a con man.

Henry Comstock sits atop his mule about to be hanged by four men, accused of claim jumping. Henry begs a moment to pray and asks God why these men haven't heard the news. The leader, Heck, wants to know what Henry's talking about and Henry explains that Hang Town changed its name to Placerville and outlawed hangings in the city limits. He also claims the city limits go clear to the top of the Sierras. The men decide they'll make the long trip and escort Henry out of town and hang him on the other side of the Sierras.

The Cartwrights, returning from cutting and planting Ponderosa pines, see a man on a mule being chased by four men on horseback. They don't like the odds so decide to help the lone man out. The Cartwrights take cover lower on the mountain and using Hoss' buffalo rifle take turns shooting at the four men. Each of the Cartwrights hit their mark (a canteen, hat, rifle and an arm.) The four men can't see who's shooting at them and take off. Henry doesn't know where the help is coming from, but he's happy to have it.

The Cartwrights meet up with Henry and they ask why he was run out of California. Henry denies that he, Henry T.P. Comstock, was ever claim jumping, may God strike him dead if he did. Joe has his rifle casually resting on his shoulder and pulls the trigger for an explosive boom. Henry tells God he didn't mean right now. The Cartwrights all laugh and invite Henry back to the Ponderosa for dinner. At dinner, Henry tells some wild stories.

The boys have plans for the evening. Adam's going to the saw mill, offers Henry a job. Ben wants to make sure Henry won't be panning for gold, not on his Ponderosa. Henry's intrigued to hear that they've found gold at the Washoe Diggings and thinks he might go down there. Hoss will tag along to make sure Henry doesn't get into any trouble. Joe wants to go to Dutchman Pete's for the weekly dance, wishing he could find a pretty woman to take along. Suddenly he has an idea and he and Hoss leave. Hoss to follow Henry, Joe to find a pretty woman. Adam heads off to work.

Joe's idea of a pretty woman is Chief Winnemucca's young daughter, Saratuchi. He's brought some pretty turquoise material and, after talking with the chief, offers it to Saratuchi and asks her to the dance. "But don't tell Chiefy," says Joe with a smile.

Hoss follows Henry to the miners. The miners find bits of gold, but mostly the equipment just gets mucked up with "this darn blue stuff!" Seeing an opportunity Henry asks two miners if they've filed a claim, because otherwise they're trespassing on his land. Despite Hoss' whispering that Henry can't do that, Henry proceeds and a fight breaks out. Hoss gets pulled into it and Henry just saunters away to find another miner. He offers the man $17 for half his claim. The man, Pike jumps at the chance because all he's finding is blue stuff. Now that they're partners, Henry whispers his plans into Pike's ear.

At the dance, Hoss is having a good time when Joe arrives with Saratuchi in her new turquoise dress. However, one man, 'Ol Virginny thinks it was unwise to take Saratuchi from her father and the Paiutes. Hoss agrees, but Joe doesn't care and escorts Saratuchi out to dance. Joe eventually leads her to a corner and proceeds to kiss her. That's when Winnemucca and his braves arrive.

Joe tries to talk himself out of a bad situation, facing an Indian chief and father's wrath, as well as an angry fiance. A scuffle breaks out when Ben and Adam arrive. Adam shoots the knife out of a Paiute's hand. Ben assures Winnemucca that his son is young and foolish and he will be punished, but by him, not the Paiutes. The Indians leave and everyone returns to dancing.

Suddenly, Pike runs in yelling he struck gold. Everyone's excited, Henry looks smug, and the Cartwrights have retreated to a corner looking worried. Pike's going to show everyone where he found gold, but Henry reminds him that it was on his claim. However, Henry's willing to sell shares for $100, cash on the barrel head, for part of the Comstock Lode. Everyone starts throwing money at him and when Henry realizes he's practically giving away a real gold strike, he tries to give the money back. But everyone would rather keep their share and they all push out of Dutchman Pete's simultaneously. In the crush, 'Ol Virginny falls and breaks his whiskey bottle. He decides to use it as a christening and dubs the place Virginia. Henry says that's not right, it needs to be called Virginia City. The crowd cheers and head off for the diggings. The Cartwrights remain behind shaking their heads.

The Cartwrights conclude their story to the old prospector by telling him that Henry sold his claim for $11,000. He didn't know all that "blue stuff" was silver and since then millions of dollars of silver was pulled from the Comstock Lode. The prospector says he doesn't feel so stupid then for buying the worthless deed. Ben thinks that the deed would be a nice memento of their old friend Henry Comstock and offers to buy it from the prospector for the $25 he paid for the land.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights



  • Abel Fernandez: Lean Knife
  • Al Haskell: Innkeeper
  • Bill Clark: Cowboy in Saloon
  • Bruce Gordon: Chief Winnemucca
  • Cap Somers: Barfly Who Gets Drink Stolen
  • Charles Wagenheim: Pike
  • Glen Walters: Dancer
  • Jack Carson: Henry Comstock
  • Jack Mather: Heck Turner
  • Joanne Sages: Sarah Winnemucca
  • John Dierkes: Pat McLaughlin
  • Peggy Rea: Lady Drinking Whiskey
  • Richard H. Cutting: Ol' Virginny
  • Terence de Marney: Pat O'Riley


Wikipedia has an article related to: Chief Winnemucca.

Wikipedia has an article related to: Sarah Winnemucca.

Did You Know?[]

  • This episode is also known as "The Henry Comstock Story".



See Mr. Henry Comstock/videos

See also[]