Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Ride the Wind, Part 1”
Season 7, Episode 17
#219 in Series
Air date January 16, 1966
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Paul Schneider
Directed by William Witney
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
To Kill a Buffalo
Next Episode:
Ride the Wind, Part 2
External links
Ride the Wind, Part 1 on IMDb



The Pony Express opens up an office in Virginia City.

Despite being an investor, Ben objects to Joe signing up as a rider.

Adding to his concerns, the Paiute Indians don't want the Pony Express riding across their land, and the manager's assistant, Curtis Wade, is itching to make a name for himself as an Indian fighter.

While rounding up horses, Joe, Ben and Hoss watch an


express pony rider riding his horse hard seeing the thrill of the ride Joe head out to chase and race the express rider for a short time and then waves him off.

Charles Ludlow wants to create a pony express in Virginia City but needs money to start the business off. Once Ben pledges $6,000 other pledges start coming in. Ludlow’s son Jebez recognises Joe as the one who raced him just outside of town and tells Joe he should join the pony express and Joe tells him he’s thinking about it. Ben tells Jebez that there’s plenty of work at the Ponderosa, Hoss questions Joe’s intentions as he’s putting his life on the line and Joe tells him it’s his life. Ludlow needs Ben on the board of directors since he has knowledge of the West and would be invaluable to the service, Ben agrees.

Joe watches the express riders ride in and sees that the Pony Express Co is looking for riders, he sees Jebez inside and tells him that he’s going to join and gets in line for the job. Ludlow’s partner Wade tells the riders the rules of the express and Joe meets Emmett; whose father is a friend of Ben’s, and has told his dad


that he’s got a ‘safe’ job.

Jebez tells Joe, Wade isn’t that bad and he used to be an Indian fighter way out west. Ludlow thinks he’s the man to make the pony express work and Jebez agrees. Hoss finds Joe outside the express office and tells him there’s cattle to be moved but Joe tells Hoss he won’t be able to help him. Hoss asks him if he joined and Joe confirms. Hoss tells Joe Ben won’t like it, and he doesn’t. He argues with Joe that he needs Joe at the ranch, Joe counters that he’s put money into the express and that


he’s on the board of directors so it’s only natural for him to ride. It’s important and the biggest thing in the West and Joe wants to be a part of it, even if it is for a little while. He sulks by the fire which Ben notices and Ben tells Joe to get ready if he’s going to report to the pony express in the morning, excited he sprints to bed. Hoss worried speaks to Pa about the territory the express would go through and Ben tells Hoss if he was 25 years younger.

A horse arrives in town without the rider, it’s Emmett’s horse and there’s


an arrow attached to the saddle with a scalp attached, Joe is also out on a run too. Indians spot Joe and start chasing him, Joe sounds his bugle to announce his approach to the Indian Wells Way Station they return the call, he changes his horse at the way station and rather than stay there where it’s safe he rides on. The Indians he met earlier attempt to stop him again but he manages to dodge them and ride onwards to town. Joe arrives at the express office and asks where Emmett is as his bedroll has been packed and is told he is dead and everyone else thought Joe was also gone. Joe tells them he must have had a faster horse. Wade


comes in and tells them that the job was never meant to be easy and if they can’t cut it to call it quits.

Tully arrives in town he’s from the press in Washington, he wants to do a story on Ludlow and his pony riders, he meets Wade in the office. Tully doesn’t want to speak to Wade since no one knows who he is but they do know who Ludlow is. When Tully meets Ludlow he garnishes him with praise for his efforts much to the chagrined Wade. Joe laments Emmett’s passing with Pa and Hoss and reminds him he has to ride in the morning and has to get some sleep. Hoss asks his Pa to have a word with Chief Winnamacca since they know each other, but with tensions rising Winnamacca isn’t in a peaceful mood. When Ben arrives at the meeting spot, Winnamacca says one word, “Tobacco!” Ben obliges and hands over a pouch to him and they sit down. The Chief asks why he’s here and Ben says here’s here for peace and asks why he’s attacking the pony riders as they do no harm. Winnamacca tells Ben it starts with one pony then a wagon then many white men and many guns and his lands become his lands. Ben disagrees and tells him with a treaty he can solve it, but the Chief tells him they can be broken. He tells Winnamacca that he has sons and does he want them to die before their time, and that his son is one of the pony riders. Winnamacca tells Ben that being a father is hard to carry but he’s also a leader and his people must survive and he tells Ben if any of those riders come on his land he will kill them. Joe is in town waiting for his turn on the run when Ben and Hoss arrive to tell him the results of the meeting, he tells Joe not to ride but Joe tells them that if he doesn’t go then someone else will and he won’t do that. Hoss tells Joe to wait as long as he can as they’re going to speak to Ludlow to try and sort something out. However Wade tells them they can’t since the relay stations take time to relocate and build. Ben tells Wade that no business is worth the loss of a single life. Wade tells Ben that no Indian will dictate terms to him, Ludlow agrees with Ben, Wade leaves.

Wade spots Joe standing around and shouts at him for not keeping to the schedule and tells another rider to do Joe’s job for him, Joe tells Wade he does his own riding and rides off.

Tully is waiting in the express office and Wade bumps into him, he notices Tully’s resentment towards Ludlow and baits Wade into thinking if Tully can make a name for himself he can take over Ludlow’s glory. Wade gives Tully some papers which seems to surprise him as he looks through them. Ludlow tells everyone at the board of directors that they need a peace treaty with the Indians and has drawn up the paperwork which gives the Indians payment every time one of the horses pass through their land.

Wade tells Ludlow that they rely on the Government subsidies to keep afloat, Ludlow agrees but still needs a treaty with the Indians for the service to be a complete success. Wade hands out papers from Ludlow’s previous enterprises which all failed, Jebez tells Wade that this is all in the past. The board of directors begin shouting at Ludlow having lost faith in him now they know about his financial background. Wade tells everyone that he’s going to beat Winnamacca in order to make the express a success and that they’ll run the Indians off. Ben asks how many pony riders need to die in the process and Wade tells him if they don’t like it they can get out. The board asks for a vote and they agree with Wade, when asked about opposition Ben is the only one to speak up. Ludlow is no longer in control his company. Jebez asks his father if he’s going to do anything and he tells him there’s nothing he can do. Jebez questions what it was all for and just once his father would finish something and see it through but all he saw was a man who crumbled and collapse without a struggle. He berates his father and Ludlow tells him he wanted him to be proud of him but Jebez asks him of what as he’s failed at everything. Jebez tells him he let himself down and hesitantly walks out. Ludlow picks up the treaty he drew up and stares at it.

In the morning Ludlow rides off to meet Winnemacca and waves the treaty at him, he’s unarmed and the Indians surround him.

A rider returns from a run and his horse gives out just as he reaches into town, his horse ran 30 miles without stopping due to Indians surrounding Indian Wells Way Station. He believes that Joe is stuck at the way station because he was meant to pass him on the way but never did. He heard shots and the Indians circling the way station. Ben runs to his horse along with Hoss. Joe is at the way station shooting at the Indians circling him. He’s running out of bullets, Ben arrives with help and sound the bugle, Joe returns the call and they dispatch the Indians. Joe is glad to see his Pa but Jebez has been struck with an arrow in his leg, they remove it but then Jebez looks up to sees his father on a horse with arrows in him and his blood stained treaty pinned to his horse. Jebez tells his father he’s proud of him. Joe tells everyone that he died for the express and they should keep it going, Wade asks Joe if he’s going to continue his ride. Joe tells him he is and rides out.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights[]



  • Ben Wright: Spiers
  • Bill Clark: Wilson
  • Bill Edwards: Hoffman
  • Bob LaWandt: Jones
  • Clay Tanner: Herb
  • David Pritchard: Pat
  • DeForest Kelley: Tully/Reporter
  • Gilbert Green: Jenson
  • Jack Big Head: Bear Dance
  • Jack Tornek: Townsman
  • James Noah: Sykes
  • Peter Ritter: Hank
  • Raymond Guth: Homer
  • Robert Brubaker: DeVere
  • Rod Cameron: Curtis Wade
  • Roger Etienne: Fontaine/Newspaper Illustrator
  • Sailor Vincent: Townsman
  • S. Newton Anderson: Gus
  • Stewart Moss: Aaron Bornstein
  • Tom Lowell: Jabez Ludlow
  • Tom Lutz: Emmett
  • Victor Jory: Charles Ludlow
  • Warren Vanders: Hoke
  • Whitey Hughes: Pony Express Rider
  • Wolfe Barzell: Samuel Bornstein



  • German episode title: "Pony-Express - Teil 1", meaning "Pony Express - Part 1".
  • This episode and Ride the Wind Part 2 were put together and released as a feature film in Europe and Australia.
  • This is the second time Ben slaps Joe's rear.


  • At this point in the series, it was 1866 ... five years after the Pony Express was disbanded.
  • Joe would not have been hired as a rider since he was approaching his mid-20s (Pony Express riders were between 18-23 years old).




See also[]