Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“Tax Collector”
Season 2, Episode 22
#54 in Series
Air date February 18, 1961
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Arnold Belgard
Directed by William Witney
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
Next Episode:
The Rescue
External links
Tax Collector on IMDb


Jock Henry is a very likeable fellow. When he's given the job of collecting taxes, his peculiar methods figuring out what people owe causes everyone to reconsider. When Jock experiences a number of personal problems, no one is willing to help him--except Hoss


Hoss passes Jock Henry’s place and hears a commotion inside the barn. Baxter, a ranch hand, tells Hoss that Jock has been stealing Ponderosa lumber. Hoss takes pity on Jock and tells Baxter keep it under his hat. Hoss helps Jock by digging a post hole for a corral for him and asking for paint to cover up the posts in case Ben recognizes his wood.

As Hoss helps Jock, he finds Jock bet his cattle on Joe’s horse and now can’t pay his tax bill. Hoss tells Jock he has to get a job but Jock is doubtful. Hoss tells him he’ll go to Virginia City with him to help him get a job. Hoss grabs Jock and tells him to put on his best outfit and they’re going to town. 

In Virginia City Jock and Hoss are tossed out of every shop seeking a job for Jock. Dave Hart shouts to Jock who is scared because Dave’s the tax collector. Dave tells him he’s there to offer him a job. Hoss volunteers him immediately but Jock isn’t so sure. Jock agrees as he can’t seem to get a job anywhere else.

Back at the Ponderosa all are eating at the table when Hoss tells everyone he was job hunting for Jock. Hop Sing tells Hoss that Jock is outside right now. Hoss is puzzled as to why he’s there and Ben invites him in for something to eat. Ben asks about Jock’s new job and Hoss tells him he found him a really good one.   


Ben quizzes Hoss on where Jock is working and Hoss finally confesses that he’s Dave Hart’s assistant.  Jock tells Ben he owes $1647.95 in taxes.  Ben is incensed.  He questions Jock on his tax assessing since he only paid $375 last year. Jock tells Ben that he gets 2% of whatever he collects so he’s not going to overlook anything thanks to Hoss. 

The townsfolk are none too happy about the new tax collector so they go to Dave Hart. Dave’s backing Jock all the way so the townsfolk decide to take it up with Jock personally. As Jock runs through the town hotly pursued by an angry Mrs. Hart, a group of women come the other way looking for Jock. By now he's being chased by everyone in town and ends up running back home.  


Later that day all the Cartwrights as well as Hop Sing are counting chickens and livestock at the Ponderosa. Ben believes Jock charged them double. Ben dubs Jock 'sorry people,' saying sorry people are shiftless and love the life of idleness. Women like Ellen, Jock’s wife, feel sorry for them, want to help them, fall in love, marry them, taking on all their burdens. When prosperity comes their way they become obnoxious. Ben tells Hoss that you have to out wit them.   

Ellen doesn't like what's happening to Jock and confides with Sally, their mare, that she has to do something about it. Ellen goes to the Ponderosa and tells Ben she doesn't like what Jock’s become and Ben agrees. Sally asks Ben if he could speak to Jock into giving up his new job. Ben acts surprised and invites her into the house so they can talk some more.


Later Ben is sitting in the dark, he calls out to Joe for a private conversation he doesn't want Hoss to hear. He tells Joe that Hoss needs to learn a lesson as well as Jock because he let his heart rule his head. Joe asks his Pa about his plan. Ben wants Joe to buy a sorry filly over in Carson City. Joe remembers the horse, small and skinny, but fast as lightning and Ben knows Jock loves to bet on horses. Joe agrees that the filly would overtake Gatling in a race.


Ellen arrives at the Ponderosa as Ben has been watching out the window of his office. In a terrible stage voice he booms out loud that he wonders who is here. He tells Hoss it's Mrs. Henry and he should see what she wants. As soon as Hoss leaves the house Ben beckons everyone to the window to hear Ellen and Hoss.

Ellen asks Hoss to help with Sally, who is having terrible pains. Hoss is puzzled but gets in her buggy and drives her back home. Inside the Ponderosa Ben happy slaps Joe and Joe comments his Pa is conniving. Ben tells him they have to get to town since everyone is waiting. Joe goes to get the sorry filly from the barn. 

In town everyone has gathered for the match race. In front of Jock, Ben offers a $1,000 bet to Ellery, Gatling’s owner, they shake on it, Ben tells Joe they should talk strategy.  Jock walks over to check on both horses as Ben and Joe slyly watch him.  Jock finally tells Ben that he sure has a sorry filly. Ben tells Jock he paid $500 for it and intends to pay taxes on the full amount. Jock more or less offers $50 but Ben tells him it's not much compared to the $1,000 he's betting.


Jock doesn’t want Ben making a fool of himself and tells Ben his horse isn't worth its weight in hay. Ben doesn't believe he's an assessor and Jock bets that he is, too. Ben tells him he calls that a bet but Jock doesn't want to take Ben's money since he's got a losing horse. Jock agrees to the bet anyway.

In the meantime, Hoss checks on Sally and tells Ellen she's not going to have her colt today. Hoss doesn't want anything to happen since Jock isn't there and volunteers to get him from town. Ellen tries to stop Hoss but Sally makes a noise from the barn. When Hoss runs in Sally is on the ground. Hoss instructs Ellen to get some water but as she reaches the front door she has labor pains, too.

In town Ben tells Joe he better win, and Joe tells him he'll let Gatling lead for the first two laps and overtake on the third. He tells Ben if he loses then he'll be out of pocket for $1,500. Ben corrects him by saying 'we're' and tells Joe he has half the bet. Joe is lost for words.  

Hoss covers Sally with a blanket and wonders where Ellen is with the water. Hoss finds Ellen on the floor and as Hoss picks her up to her bed, she tells him that she'll need the water too. Hoss tells her he’ll get the doctor but Ellen says there’s no time. Hoss hears Sally and runs back to the barn.

The race starts, and the bets start flowing. Hop Sing has a book and tells his Chinese friends he's 'keeping it in the family' and confirm they're all betting against Gatling. Gatling leads the race and the betting heats up, Jock runs to Ben and offers more of his pay to bet, Ben tells him he'll up the bet to a full two years salary and they shake on it.  

Joe finally over takes Gatling and wins the race. Ben asks Ellery for his $1,000 and is estactic to win against his friend. Joe snatches the $1,000 from his Pa's hand and Joe reminds him about half of the bet. Jock looks sullen. Ben hands Joe an extra bill and goes to find Jock.  

Hoss has to spend his time between running Sally and Ellen. When Ben, Joe, Hop Sing and Jock return Hoss tells Jock he birthed his twins and Jock can't believe he's a father. Jock comes out of the house saying there's only one baby and wants to know where the other one is. Hoss tells him it's in the barn and Jock is upset at that. Ben heads to the barn with everyone else and sees Jock with Sally and her colt. 

Jock tells Sally that he's going to call the baby Hoss Cartwright Henry. Jock tells Ben he has a problem since he owes Ben a years salary, Ben corrects him by telling him it's two years. Hoss is shocked. Joe confirms Jock lost it on a bet. Ben tells Hoss that since he's working he has to pay the bet but if he can't work he can't pay the bet. Jock is convinced to give up the tax collector job because Ellen and Sally need him at home.

Ben asks Joe to remove his hat and places his winnings inside telling Joe it's for the baby; Joe takes out his winnings and tells him it's for Ellen; Hop Sing takes out his winnings and tells them it's for the colt. Hop Sing asks Hoss if he's going to contribute to the hat and Hoss tells him he's contributed enough. Hop Sing takes the proceeds to Ellen and tells Ben he's going to clean the house and cook some stew. Everyone lends a hand by painting the barn.    


The Cartwrights[]



  • Betty Endicott: Brunette Girl
  • Bob Miles: Cheering Cowboy
  • Charles Watts: Ellery
  • Eddie Firestone: Jock Henry
  • Florence MacMichael: Nancy Hart
  • Henry Corden: Baxter
  • Jack Tornek: Townsman
  • Kathie Browne: Ellen Henry
  • Martha Manor: Blonde Girl
  • Maudie Prickett: Mrs. Ellery
  • Russ Conway: Dave Hart


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Der übereifrige Steuereintreiber", meaning "The Fussy Tax Collector".




See also[]