Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Silent Thunder”
Season 2, Episode 13
#45 in Series
028 - Silent Thunder
Air date December 10, 1960
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by John Furia
Directed by Robert Altman
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Savage
Next Episode:
The Ape
External links
Silent Thunder on IMDb


Angry with the way a simple deaf girl is treated by her father, a sheepherder living in a remote mountain cabin, Little Joe takes it upon himself to teach her sign language. His plan backfires when she falls in love with him and the girl's brutish neighbor resents her attention to Joe.


Joe becomes friends with a child-like deaf-mute girl named Ann Croft. The friendship begins when Joe, on his way to Placerville, tries to educate Ann's father, Sam, about his deaf-mute daughter. Her father believes her condition is a curse from God and has no intention of helping her or gaining any understanding about it. He reveals that he wants to protect her by sheltering her at home.

Joe buys a book on sign-language and after mastering some of the basics begins to teach Ann how to communicate. The weeks pass and Joe keeps teaching Ann, who quickly picks up on the lessons.

Sam tells Ann, "That's nice what you're learning, waving your arms around and all that." But the first real roadblock comes when Joe tries to teach Ann the sign for love. He tries to use Ann's love for her father, and vice versa as the example, but Ann misunderstands and reveals her love for Joe. She tries to kiss Joe, at which time Joe gets angry and tells Ann in sign language that she does not love him. Ann, upset that Joe is angry with her, tears pages out of the sign language book and runs off.

Joe goes to Ann's father to explain what happened. He then goes back to the Ponderosa. Joe wants to find a way out of the mess and goes to his Pa for advice. Ben reminds Joe that he needs to help Ann understand her true feelings, which do not include love, as between a husband and wife, but gratitude.

In the meantime, Joe has to deal with Albie, a simple-minded trapper who has been obsessed with Ann, harassing and stalking her. Wanting Ann all to himself, the oafish Albie keeps folllowing her. Already, Joe has fought off Albie and ordered him to leave Ann alone. But Albie keeps tracking Ann, and eventually forms a plan to kill both Sam and Joe so he can have Ann to himself.

Albie nearly makes good on his goal. Sam worries about his daughter and goes looking for her. However, he runs into Albie, who beats up Sam and throws him in a ravine. Ann finds her injured father and runs home, only to find Albie waiting for her. He corners Ann and tries to attack her, but she gets away. Albie nearly catches her, but Joe arrives in the nick of time and fights him off.

Joe and Ann run, with Albie still trailing them, yet Albie catches up to them. In a last-ditch effort to gain an edge, Albie grabs his knife and runs toward Joe, but the youngest Cartwright manages to dodge him at the edge of a cliff. Albie tumbles over the edge and is fatally injured.

In the end, Ann finally understands that her relationship with Joe is "just friends," and Sam is grateful to Joe for helping both of them. Ben also commends Joe for how he handled everything.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights


  • Albert Salmi: Albie
  • Harry Swoger: Tom
  • James Griffith: Preacher
  • Kenneth MacKenna: Sam Croft
  • Michael Harris: Deputy Sheriff
  • Sherwood Price: Eb
  • Stella Stevens: Ann Croft


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Zeichen in der Stille", meaning "A Sign In The Silence".


"Don't you raise your voice to me, boy!"
"Then don't you call me a little kid
Ben Cartwright to Little Joe[src]



See also[]