Bonanza episode
“The Ape”
Season 2, Episode 14
#46 in Series
Air date December 17, 1960
Guest starring:
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by James P. Yarbrough
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
Silent Thunder
Next Episode:
The Blood Line
External links
The Ape on IMDb
The Ape on


Hoss mentors a lonely, mentally challenged man who, with superhuman size and strength, becomes extremely dangerous when angered. These efforts are undermined by a saloon girl who only wants this giant man-child to manipulate him.


In one of the local bars in Virginia City, one of the bar girls tells what looks to be her beau that she is homesick. He gets annoyed and tells her to stop crying and that Memphis, Tennessee is a very long walk home. Joe and Adam come into the bar and one of the bar's workers tells Sherry, the barmaid to go and look after the Cartwrights. Sherry comes over to the Cartwrights and Joe promptly asks if she would like to have a drink with them. She says she would like to and Joe gives her a dollar for the beers. She says she wants to play blackjack so they can have some champagne, but Joe just wants his dollar back so Sherry and Joe play a game of chase. And she accidentally falls and is caught by a large man that won't unhand her. She finally escapes, and tells him he is the ugliest man she's ever seen.

The man walks up to Joe and asks him if he has anything to say to him. Joe says he doesn't and sits down. Sherry decides to see if the large man will buy her a drink, but he does not seem to care for her attention. She calls him stupid, and she leaves. Joe apologizes for Sherry, but the large man gets angry and hits Joe. A fight starts and when Hoss gets to the bar it seems he is the only one who can fight the large man. The fight goes on for an hour and fifteen minutes and the two decide that to stop fighting because they don't know why they were fighting in the first place. Sherry helps the man, named Arnie, get cleaned up and Sherry continues to flirt with Arnie. Adam and Joe decide to leave since they have already wasted enough time.

Arnie shows Hoss where he lives and tells Hoss how he wants to see Sherry again even though Hoss warns against it. Arnie is glad that Hoss is his friend and says how people take one look at him and won't give him the time of day. Arnie tells Hoss how he is unhappy because people are so mean to him. When Arnie talks about how he wishes he could have a farm, Hoss asks Arnie if he wants to work at the Ponderosa and Arnie becomes excited. Arnie asks Hoss if Sherry will like him if he is making money, but Hoss says not to count on it.

The rest of the Cartwrights are worried about letting Arnie work for them. Adam feels that Arnie is extremely dangerous and that he could have killed somebody in the bar fight. Joe agrees with Adam. They leave and Ben and Hoss continue to talk about it. Hoss feels that Arnie needs a friend to help him learn what he had already learnt. Ben feels it would be better if Arnie learned those same lessons alone like Hoss did, but Hoss says that he didn't learn them alone because he had a family to help him. He also adds that Arnie has no one. Ben asks Hoss to help Arnie control his temper and Hoss says that he will take responsibility for him. Ben says it's alright for Arnie to work at the Ponderosa and Hoss later that day comes to Virginia City to pick up Arnie. Arnie is in the saloon again with Sherry and she is flirting with him again. Arnie asks Hoss to sit down and he does, but he doesn't seem happy because he knows that Sherry and her beau are just playing around with him. Hoss tells Arnie he has a job waiting for him at the Ponderosa and Arnie is happy and turns to Sherry who seems just as happy. Sherry wants presents and is happy because Arnie will be able to buy them for her. Hoss reminds him about the farm he's going to be saving up for and tells Sherry that he wants to raise pigs. Sherry and her beau begin to make fun of that fact and Hoss tells them to stop. Then Sherry tells Hoss he is a grouch and she says Arnie should have what he wants. Hoss tells Arnie they are going and Arnie says he will bring her something pretty next time. She says maybe a "moo cow" would be great and everyone at the saloon starts laughing at Arnie. Hoss shows Arnie his new pony and Arnie is extremely excited about it.

Arnie is eating and one of the other ranch hands laughs that Arnie is the biggest meat-eater in the country and Arnie gets angry. He jumps the man and Hoss breaks up the fight and tells him not to get angry. Joe rides up and tells Hoss that the squatter that was kicked off the Ponderosa a while back was now dead because someone snapped his neck.

Sherry comes down the steps at the saloon and asks Hoss where Arnie is. Hoss tells her that he is out spending his weeks wages on her. She says that all Arnie is, is a paying customer and a big joke. Sherry Belle shows also her disgust towards Hoss for befriending the giant man. Later, Hoss finds Arnie and shows him the present he has picked out for Sherry. Hoss says that Sherry isn't in at the moment and wants Arnie to go to the Tahoe rim with him.

They finally get there and Arnie finds it beautiful. Hoss shows Arnie a farm on the other side and says that it would be a great farm for Arnie. Arnie says it would be great and that roses would be a great flower there because Sherry likes roses. Hoss starts talking about how at the Tahoe Rim, it's grizzly country and they hunt alone. A little lower down the mountains there is wolf country and they travel in packs. Hoss says that Arnie and himself are grizzlies and the people of Virginia City are wolves. Arnie doesn't understand and wants Sherry. Hoss says that he doesn't want Arnie to go back into Virginia City and doesn't want him to see Sherry again. Arnie gets angry and wants to go see Sherry again and accuses Hoss of wanting Sherry all for himself and punches Hoss out. Hoss hits his head on a rock and falls unconscious.

Hoss wakes up and Arnie is gone. Arnie has gone back to Virginia City and finds Sherry. He comes in to Sherry's room and says he is sorry he is late. She tells him to get out and he says he brought her a gift. She takes the gift and breaks it and the beads fall all over the floor. She says she doesn't want to see Arnie again and that he is just good for laughs. Arnie gets angry starts to strangle her. Sherry's beau walks in to find that Arnie has killed her. Arnie storms out of the room as Sherry's beau starts yelling for help.

The next day there is a posse forming and people are extremely angry. Hoss rides into town and tells Ben he has an idea where Arnie is but wants a head start on the posse. Sheriff Coffee asks Ben where Hoss had gone and Ben tells him Hoss is trying to get to Arnie first so no one is hurt. Hoss finds Arnie. Arnie tells Hoss was right about Sherry and he finally admits to killing the squatter and stole his money. Arnie also says he knew that he had probably killed Sherry, but he didn't know for sure. Arnie says how he came close to the farm he had always wanted. With much regret, Hoss pulls his gun on Arnie and says that they are going back to Virginia City so Arnie can face justice. Hoss puts the gun up and turns around to go back to town and Arnie hits him and runs away.

The posse finally finds Arnie and he hides behind a rock and picks up a large log and is about to throw it at them when a cascade of bullets hit him and he falls to the ground. Hoss and Ben are talking and Hoss tells him that Arnie never truly wanted to hurt anything and goes to take Arnie to the farm he had always wanted.


The Cartwrights




Did you know?Edit

  • German episode title: "Der Riesenaffe", meaning "The Giant Ape".




See alsoEdit

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