Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“My Son, My Son”
Season 5, Episode 16
#150 in Series
Air date January 19, 1964
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Denne Bart Petitclerc
Directed by William F. Claxton
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
Ponderosa Matador
Next Episode:
Alias Joe Cartwright
External links
My Son, My Son on IMDb


Ben's plans to wed widow Katherine Saunders are jeopardized after her son is accused of murder.


Long-time widower Ben Cartwright has decided to make Katherine Saunders his wife. The wedding plans are put on hold when Katherine's son Eden is charged with murder. Ben defends the young man out of loyalty to his future bride, but soon begins to second-guess having made that decision.

Ben and an old friend, Katherine Saunders, are out for a ride while Hoss and Little Joe are working on the ranch. Hoss teases Ben about letting Katherine win at a horse race, and Ben invites Katherine to dinner. As they ride away, Little Joe remarks that Hoss should take out his blue suit, to which Hoss replies that he only uses that suit for funerals and weddings. A cocky wink from Joe coincides with Hoss's realization of his father's feelings, and the brothers to state that they are very happy for him.

Meanwhile, Ben and Katherine discuss how happy they are to be in each other's company, and how much of a help the Cartwrights have been to Katherine since her return to her ranch. However, Katherine's happiness has been marred by the continued absence of her son, Eden, who was acquitted of murder by court ruling several years ago, but is still widely considered to be guilty by the citizens of Virginia City. Katherine feels that the local prejudice has alienated her son, causing him to stay away from the ranch, but hoped that her return would cause him to come home. Ben commiserates with her, albeit with some apparent reservations about her wholehearted acceptance of her son's innocence. 

The two return to the ranch in time for Ben to instruct Hop Sing to make a feast for his special guest. Hop Sing is delighted to see "Missy Katherine", and opines (somewhat unctiously) that the house has been devoid of life without her presence. He guarantees a grand spread, and the three return to the house. Ben and Katherine clearly communicate their amorous intents toward each other. However, Katherine's mind is taken up by injustice against her son. Ben lays her mind at rest with a few comfirting words, and entreats her to make him a happy man so that they will not be alone when their sons eventually leave to pursue their futures. 

Later at dinner, Hop Sing delivers an eye-catching flambè pudding (to Hoss's especial interest). Adam returns from town hurriedly, late for dinner and not having realized that they had a guest. Although something is clearly on his mind, he joins the party for a post-meal libation. After a few moments of fond reminescing, Ben works up the courage to tell the boys about his and Katherine's nuptial persuations. He is humourously cut off by Hoss and Joe, who briefly argue over who predicted the wedding first and then immediately proceed to congratulate the two. By contrast, Adam's concern heightens at the news, and after pleasantly congratulating the two, he somewhat abruplty requests a private conversation with Ben. He tells Ben that Eden Saunders has returned and is suspected of killing a woman named Linda who used to be his girlfriend but married one Frank Miller in his absence. Frank has been in San Francisco, but his brother Carl has galvanized an angry posse into finding Eden in the absence of Sheriff Coffee. 

Shaken at the news, Ben agrees with Adam that the Cartwrights should join the posse to ensure Eden's safety until trial. Adam and Joe leave immediately to join the posse while Ben and Hoss stay behind to tell Katherine the news and catch up with the group later. 

Meanwhile, Eden has been closely trailed by the posse, barely escaping capture by hiding in a stream. However, Joe, Adam, and the posse find his six shooter in the stream bed and realize he is close by. When Adam rebuffs Carl Miller's intentions of killing Eden capture, Carl bitterly complains about their bias due to Ben's relationship with Katherine and Eden's close relationship with the Cartwright family as a young boy. Having been joined by Ben and Hoss in time to hear Carl's bloodthirsty intentions, Ben reaffirms that Eden will be taken in to trial for a judge to determine his guilt and sentence. Carl's implications about Katherine and Ben drive Ben to soundly whip him in a fight while the boys and posse look on. Justice having been tenuously re-established to the posse, Ben then leaves to return to the house and cool off, while the boys and the posse move on. Hiding underwater in the stream, Eden has heard the entire exchange. 

Back at the house, Katherine's fears push her to take a horse out to search for her son. A few moments later, Ben enters the barn, Colt at the ready to find Katherine being held by Eden with a hand over her mouth to muffle her cry of surprise. Clearly undecided about Eden's innocence and intentions, Ben allows himself to be entreated by Katherine into helping Eden recover and escape the angry posse's version of justice. Over dinner, Eden shares some tales of his time abroad and the three decide to hide Ben and Eden at a nearby lake until Katherine can bring them horses. Their plans are expedited by the return of the posse to the Ponderosa for fresh horses. Adam maintains a tenuous hold on leadership of the posse in spite of Carl Miller's challenges. Returning to the house, Adam notices an empty gunbelt on the floor and realizes that Carl has been here recently. He learns of Ben and Carl's location from Katherine, who entreats him to help her son escape by leading the posse away from her son. 

Returning to the posse, Adam tries unsuccessfully to manouver the group back to the river. The timely appearance of Sheriff Coffee and a stern rebuff about taking the law into their own hands results in the Sheriff's appointment as rightful leader of the posse and his agreement with Adam to re-visit the river area.

At the lake, Eden grows increasingly unruly as he speculates that his mother is not coming with the horses, perhaps having been intercepted and made to reveal their location. After being calmed by Ben, Eden shares that his childhood times at the lake with Joe and Ben were the most accepting familial moments of his life, and he angrily wonders why his own father never accepted him. He resents that, while his father taught him to use a gun for self defense, no one believe he has killed for anything other than murder. He tries to convince Ben that he couldn't have killed Linda because he loved her. At that moment, his mother arrives with the horses. Ben is able to convince Katherine that Eden must stand trial, and although Eden disagrees, the three leave together to escape the posse. 

The next day, suspecting that Adam was trying to lead them away from his father, Carl Miller lies in wait for Ben and Eden on the path to the next town. He fires at the trio as they round a corner, and motions for Eden to move away from his mother so he can shoot him. At the last minute, Ben dives for Carl and grapples with him, and Eden grabs a gun and shoots Carl. Ben sits up to thank Eden, however, Eden shoots him as well. Shocked, Katherine realizes that Eden really is a killer and that he loves no one but himself. She holds a gun to him, trying to get him to return for a trial, but he cajoles and overpowers her. Ben regains consciousness long enough to see Eden slap Katherine. He then shoots Eden as he attempts to escape. Eden falls from his horse and dies, leaving his mother agonizing over his death. 

Later, Hoss arrives at the Ponderosa with the buckboard. Dressed in black mourning garb, Katherine makes a sad farewell to Ben, who is equally sad to see her go. However, with Eden's death between them, Katherine needs time away from Ben and Virginia City to settle down. A regretful Ben watches them drive away.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights



  • Bill Clark: Posse Member in Plaid Shirt
  • Dee Pollock: Eden Saunders
  • Sherwood Price: Carl Miller
  • Teresa Wright: Katherine Saunders
  • Zon Murray: Posse Member in White Shirt


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Mein Sohn ist kein Mörder", meaning "My Son is not a Murderer".


Hoss Cartwright: Pa, everyone in the county besides my mule and a fencepost knew you and Katherine was gonna get married, and I’m gonna be the first one to kiss the bride. 




See also[]