"Bonanza" episode
Season 2, Episode 22
# in Series
Air date February 18, 1961
Guest starring:
Written by Arnold Belgard
Directed by William Witney
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External links
Tax Collector on IMDb
Tax Collector on


Jock Henry is a very likeable fellow. Ask anyone. When he's given the job of collecting taxes, his peculiar methods of figuring out what people owe causes everyone to reconsider.

Useless Jock Henry is appointed Virginia City's tax collector and the power goes straight to his head. He had become the town's most hated man when he starts levying unfair assessments against the locals.

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 some commotion inside the stables, he goes there and punches someone who falls out.  Hoss goes to turn him over so he can hit him again but the man seems to know Hoss and begs him not to, it’s Baxter, one of their ranch hands.  Baxter tells Hoss that Jock has been stealing Ponderosa lumber and Jock attempts to sneak away but Baxter sees him and grabs him.  Jock tells Hoss he only took enough lumber to build himself a little corral, Hoss takes pity on Jock and tells Baxter he’ll takes full responsibility for it and for him to keep it under his hat.  Jock thanks Hoss and asks him how deep a post hole should be, Hoss helps him out by digging for him.

Jock tells Hoss that he’s doing it all for Sally, Hoss asks how Sally is and he tell him that she’s bothered by the heat.  Hoss asks when her time is and he tells him around about three weeks.  Sally is actually a horse that arrives with a bonnet on and Jock greets her, he can’t wait for her colt to be born.  Hoss asks if he has any paint to cover up the posts in case Ben recognises his wood.

Ben, Little Joe and Hop Sing pass by Jock's place and notice Hoss' hat hanging from the fence at Jock’s, Hoss exits the stable with two posts, sees everyone then walks back inside real quick.  Ben shouts for Hoss who comes out empty handed.  Hop Sing isn’t happy since he prepared a good dinner and he was nowhere to be found, Hoss tells them he was helping Jock out.  Little Joe asks Hoss if he’s forgotten about his race in town today and Hoss tells him he hasn’t and he was just being neighbourly and tells them he might show up if he can and hurries them off.  Hoss makes sure the coast is clear and Jock passes him two posts.

Jock’s pregnant wife calls out to him and Hoss complements her, she tells him that Jock’s having bets that she’ll give birth before Sally, Hoss queries the bet and Jock tells him he was only joking.  He’s forgotten to take some cattle into town and pay some taxes, Hoss tells him he better sort that out.  Ellen asks Jock if he gets a good price for the cattle to buy her something nice.


Little Joe doesn’t win the race and Ben hands over his bet to Ellery.  Jock has bet his cattle on Joe and asks for $2 from the man he lost the cattle to, he buys his wife a bonnet with it.

Hoss is whitewashing the corral but it looks like he got most of it on himself rather than the fence.  He finds out that Jock bet the cattle on Joe’s horse and now he can’t pay his tax bill.  Hoss tells Jock he’s going to have to get a job but he doesn’t believe anyone would hire him and asks him if Ben would take him in.  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. 

Jock is thrown out of the saloon, Hoss is broom beaten out of the mercantile.  At the barbers Hoss is getting a shave from Jock, he’s got foam all over his face, Jock accidentally cuts the strop that keeps the razor sharp.  He begins to shave Hoss but cuts his cheek instead.  Dave Hart shouts over to Jock and Jock is scared because he’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, Hoss gives him the eye and Jock agrees.

Back at the Ponderosa all but Adam are eating at the table, Joe is quizzing Hoss on his injuries.  He asks him who cut his lip and Hoss tells him he ran into a broom, and Joe wants to know who threw it, he slyly looks at his Pa and then asks about the scratch on his cheek and Hoss tells him he cut himself shaving.  He tells everyone he was job hunting for Jock, and Hop Sing comes in with more food and tells Hoss that Jock is outside.  Hoss is puzzled as to why he’s there and Ben tells him to invite him in for something to eat.  Ben asks if he found a job for Jock and Hoss tells him he found him a really good one.  Hop Sing lets Jock in and offers to make him breakfast.  He tells Hoss he’s been up at the crack of dawn and Hoss asks him what with but Jock tells him to be quiet since he’s adding.  Joe wonders what he’s adding up and Hoss skirts the issue.  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.  Ben is incensed.  He questions Jock on his tax assessing since he only paid $375 last year, he tells Ben, Dave must have overlooked some things and since he gets 2% of whatever he collects he’s not going to overlook anything thanks to Hoss.  Jock gives Ben a receipt and Ben scrunches it away from him and grabs his collar to throw him out but Hoss intervenes.  Hop Sing comes out with food for Jock and he sits down to eat, Ben tells Hoss he wants a word with him and takes him into the spare room.  

The townsfolk are none to happy about the new tax collector so they go to see Dave Hart.  Dave tells he's backing Jock all the way so the townsfolk decide to take it up with him personally.    

At Mrs Hart's place he asks her how many eggs she has and he taxes her on her chicks.  She tells him they're still eggs but he tells her they're living animals and tells him that her husband ignores them.   Jock covers his ears because he doesn't want to believe that his boss is evading paying tax so Mrs Hart runs him off her property.  

As Jock runs through the town hotly persuade by Mrs Hart a group of other women come the other way looking for Jock, by now he's being chased by everyone in town and ends up running back home.  


Ellen comes out of the house and Jock uses her as a shield, she asks what's going on.  They blame Jock for all their problems but Ellen defends her husband.  The Cartwrights happen to be passing by and Jock shouts for Hoss, Ben asks what's going on.  Ellen tells them that her husband is new at his job and is about to apologise for him he steps up and tells them that he knows what he's doing.  One of the women accuses Jock of using his wife as a shield, again Ellen defends him.  Another woman doesn't understand what she sees in Jock and comments on her dowdy clothes.  The women want to do Ellen a favour and decide to lynch him but Ellen won't have it but falls to the ground in discomfort, due to her condition they decide to leave.  Mrs Hart tells Ellen that she'll pay his egg tax and the Cartwright's leave as well.  

Later that day all the Cartwrights as well as Hop Sing are each out counting chickens and livestock, back at the Ponderosa Ben has calculated how much their stock is worth and is surprised he's richer than he thought.  Ben believes that Jock has charged them double in taxes, for unborn calves, and unborn chickens.  Hoss believes it's his fault and he'll fix it but Ben says they're in it together.  Ben dubs Jock a 'sorry people,'  Hoss wonders what he means.   Ben says he's shiftless and loves the life of idleness and women like Ellen feel sorry for them want to help them and fall in love with them and then they marry them and then take on all their burdens and that the main problem with sorry people is that when prosperity comes their way they become obnoxious.  Hoss asks what they should do, and Ben tells Hoss that you can't take them head on and you have to out wit them, and Ben believes this is the course of action they take he tells everyone he needs time to think and dismisses everyone.  

Jock leaves and Ellen follows after him telling him he's forgotten his lunch, Jock is incensed he has to eat out of a paperbag and then looks at the house and tells her they'll move into a fancy boarding house in town.  Ellen doesn't fancy the idea of having her child playing in the street and then asks about Sally and her baby.  Jock tells her she'll live in the livery stable but Ellen doesn't like the idea of her baby in a stall, Jock tells her he'll buy her an exercise ball but Ellen tells him the cost involved.  Jock tells her money is no object now he's a full time tax collector and then prepares to leave.  Ellen tells Jock she needs the buggy for today and he'll have to walk, he obliges and tells her soon they'll have two buggies.  

Ellen doesn't like what's happening to Jock and confides with Sally that she has to do something about it.  Ellen goes to the Ponderosa and Ben greets her when she arrives.  She tells Ben she doesn't like what he's become and Ben agrees, she tells him he's never there anymore and no one likes him anymore.  Ben asks her if she'd be happy if he didn't have his current job and Sally asks Ben if there is anyway he could speak to Jock into giving it up.  Ben acts surprised and invites her into the house so they can talk some more but due to her condition she doesn't want to move around too much, Ben tells her he'll get Hop Sing to bring it out to her and happily walks into the house.  


Ben is sitting in the dark and turns the lamp on, he hears someone come into the house and calls out to Joe and asks him where Hoss is.  Joe tells him he's outside and he'll get him but Ben doesn't want him to hear what he has to say because he may not like it.  He tells Joe that Hoss needs to learn a lesson as well because he let his heart run away with his head.  Joe asks his Pa what the plan is.  Ben talks about a sorry filly over in Carson City and Joe remembers, the horse was small and skinny but was fast as lightning and Ben knows Jock loves to bet on horses.  Joe agrees that the filly would overtake Gattling in a race, Ben commends Joe on his conniving and wants Joe to buy the filly but Joe tells him the price his owners after is quite big but Ben doesn't see the difference since most of it would get taxed anyway, he tells Joe to go and buy it.  

The next morning Hoss is commenting on Ben's conniving and he's never known his Pa to take this long in conniving anything.  Ben feels insulted that Hoss has called him a conniver and Joe keeps his head down.  Hoss queries Joe on his whereabouts the night before and Joe doesn't know what he's talking about, Hoss believes something fishy is going on but doesn't know what.  


Ellen arrives at the Ponderosa and Ben has been peering out the window in his office, in a terrible pantomine voice he booms out loud that he wonders who that is and then tells Hoss it's Mrs Henry and he should see what she wants.  Hoss wants to know why he should go out and Ben tells him that he's her friend and Joe makes an excuse that he still hasn't finished breakfast.  As soon as Hoss leaves the house Ben beckons over everyone to the window in his office.  Joe comments on his Pa's performance as being too anxious.  

Ellen tells Hoss that Sally is having terrible pains and since Jock's out collecting tax she's on her own and pleads Hoss for help.  Hoss a little puzzled by everything gets in her buggy and takes her back home.  Inside the Ponderosa Ben happy slaps Joe and Joe commends his Pa over his conniving, Ben tells him they have to get to town since everyone is waiting, Joe goes to get the filly from the barn.  Hop Sing tells Joe to keep it warm since they have a lot of money riding on this horse.  

In town everyone has gathered for the match race.  Ellery is wondering why Ben has been standing around for 15 minutes. Ben is looking around for someone but can't see them yet. Jock is there skulking in the back and makes his way to the crowd, Joe spots him and elbows his Pa.  Ben now ready 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 their horse and then the other horse, Ben and Joe slyly watch him.  Jock finally tells Ben that he sure has a sorry filly, it's too small and not fast enough for a days work and not strong enough to pull with the team.  Ben tells Jock he paid a lot of money for it and bought it specifically to race against Gatling.  Jock tells Ben that's the problem with 'sorry filly's' and more or less repeats what Ben said about sorry people.  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 on Gatling.  Ben now calls it a grudge race.  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, as soon as Ben hears that word he asks Jock to bet with what, Jock tells him he has a good salary but Ben balks at the amount he's paid and calls it mere chicken feed.  Jock tells Ben 12 months pay is $720 and that's not what he calls chicken feed,  Ben tells him he calls it a bet but Jock doesn't want to take Ben's money since he's got a losing horse.  Jock tells Ben a man that gets upperty needs taking down a peg or two, and Ben returns the sentiment.  Jock agrees to the bet.  

Hoss is checking up on Sally and tells Ellen she's not going to have her colt today, Ellen isn't sure.  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 then Sally makes a noise from the barn.  When Hoss runs in Sally is on the ground, he tells Ellen to run to the house to get some water but as she reaches the front door she spasms.  

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 $1720, 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, he slowly creeps out of the barn and then runs into the house.  Ellen is on the floor and Hoss picks her up to her bed, she tells Hoss that she'll need the water too.  Hoss tells her he'll ride into town to get the Doctor but Ellen tells Hoss there's no time.  Hoss hears Sally calling and tells Ellen to stay right where she is and complains that the storks are ganging up on him.  Hoss runs to the barn and then tip toes in the rest of the way all calm.  

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.  

Hoss has to spend his time between Sally and Ellen, they both shout for Hoss and he can't decide who to go to but eventually chooses Ellen.  Hoss tells Ellen that Sally needs him and goes back to the barn.  

Joe finally over takes Gatling and wins the race.  Ben asks Ellery for his $1,000 and is estactic to win against his friend but he's not laughing and leaves.  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 is tending to Sally when Ellen again shouts for Hoss, Hoss leaves the barn and goes to Ellen.  It's getting dark and the cry of a baby is heard.  Hoss runs out to the barn and helps Sally birth her Colt.  By this time Hoss is tired.    

Ben, Joe, Hop Sing and Jock return.  Hoss tells Jock he birthed his twins and Jock can't believe he's a father.  He runs into the house but Hoss tells him they might be asleep.  Jock runs out and tells Hoss 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 Hoss put the other baby in the barn.  

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 asks Ben if he's asking him to give up his job.  Ben tells him the bet was for two years salary and if he's not working he won't have two years salary.  Jock tells Ben that Dave Hart needs him and Hoss agrees.  Ben quickly scoops Jock in his embrace and tells Jock that Dave might need him but Ellen needs him much more and tells him how unhappy Ellen is because he's not around all the time and now with Sally and the colt Ellen needs him more than ever.  Jock agrees with Ben and tells Ben that when he took up the job Dave told him it would only be temporary.  Joe can't believe all the conniving and his job was only temporary.  Ben tells Joe to remove his hat and places the winnings inside it 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 CartwrightsEdit




Did you know?Edit

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




See alsoEdit