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Bonanza episode
“The Conquistadors”
Season 9, Episode 3
#3 in Series
Air date 1 October 1967
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Walter Black
Directed by Leon Benson
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
Sense of Duty
Next Episode:
Judgment at Olympus
External links
The Conquistadors


Some Mexican's need money and decide the quickest way to get it is to persuade a rich man to share it.  They kidnap Little Joe and demand 100,000 in gold from Ben.


Some Mexican’s are panning for gold but are having no luck, some men arrive and ransack their camp and then leave.  Because they are having no luck the Mexicans decide to ‘persuade’ a nice rich man to ‘share’ his money.  Even more unlucky, Joe happens to be riding through their area and he’s lassoed off Cochise for his troubles.  They point guns at him and Joe tells them he’s only got $20 and a gun. But Blas notices Joe has a fine horse and saddle and comments to his compadres how wealthy the wealthy look even in work clothes, they tell him to remove his gun belt with his right hand.

Hoss is wondering where Little Joe is since he was meant to be back from Carson City. Ben tells him not to worry since Joe has a habit of finding something  or someone attractive there and tells Hoss to go to the corral. Hoss gets his things and leaves but is stopped by Blas sitting on his horse outside. 

Hoss shouts for Ben. He comes out of the house. Blas dismounts and apologises to Ben for not introducing himself. He says it's sufficient that he’s a Mexican far from home.  Ben finds him humorous and invites him into the Ponderosa.  Blas declines telling Ben he will not soil his floor with his filthy Mexican boots.  Ben becomes slightly puzzled so Blas asks Ben whom he loves most in the whole world and Ben wonders what kind of question that is.  Blas asks Ben to answer his questions so Ben tells him he loves his sons most in the world and asks why and what does he want.  He tells Ben he wants 100,000 in gold and tells Ben as he now suspects he has his son for ransom.  Ben tells him he’s in Carson City with friends, but Blas  tells Ben he should know better and tells him that Joe has a small scar on his thumb and presents him with his left thumb all wrapped up

Ben snatches the package and unwraps it, it’s just a rabbits foot.  Blas asks if they were scared enough and tells them he has his son.  Ben wants to know the terms and Blas repeats he wants 100,000 in gold.  Ben tells him it would weigh at least 400lbs and would take a couple of days to round up that much gold.  The Mexican hasn’t realised the weight issue and rethinks his proposal and tells Ben he wants 25,000 instead by the next day and then leaves.

At the bank in Virginia City the bank manager Fred is berating one of his workers, Perkins over an $80 discrepancy.  Perkins tells Fred that he had medical expenses to pay but Fred knows he’s been gambling.  Ben arrives with Hoss and Sheriff Coffee and he tells the manager he needs $25,000 in gold not silver or paper and he needs it now.   Fred dismisses Perkins from the room.

It’s dark now and the Mexican’s are eating, Joe is being guarded by another Mexican.  Blas asks if Joe is ready to eat now but he won’t eat unless he can feed himself, he tells him Emiliano will feed him.  When he bends down Joe hits him in the face and makes a dash for it.  Blas keeps talking whilst 2 of his men go to outflank Joe and another stays with the horses.  Blas tells Joe that their land is full of lime which makes it impossible for anything to grow on their land and when they pack the lime in bags and carry it long distances the lime burns the skin and causes problems if breathed in.   Joe manages to surprise one of the men after him but Chuy shows up and fires his gun upwards to warn Joe.  They bring him back to camp and Blas finishes his story he was telling Joe when he ran.  He came to America to look for gold and even if they don’t find anything, at least it was a chance.  His village are pinning hopes he will find some and return home since they have nothing back there and tells Joe he’s not going to disappoint them.  Joe tells him to make sure he tells his people where he got the gold from.  He tells Joe to let him worry about it and asks again if he wants to eat, Joe lifts his bound hands again.  He laughs and tells his men it’s the true pride of a rich man’s son and tells him he’s going to starve which might actually be good for his soul.  Joe tells him to worry about his own soul.

At the saloon Perkins is talking to the bar keep, Bill Anderson, about the gold, Anderson tells him not to assume something has happened to Little Joe just because he’s not there.  He tells him that’s not the point, what is the point is that there’s $25,000 in gold outside the bank, not inside it.  He tells Perkins at first light they will investigate the situation and they toast.

Ben and Hoss have delivered the gold to Blas.  Ben goes over the plan, Blas will get to the border then release Joe.  He tells Blas if he keeps his end of the bargain he’ll forget the whole thing however if he harms Joe in any way he’ll hunt him down in Mexico and kill him with his bare hands.

Perkins and Anderson are watching the situation from afar Anderson tells Perkins due to the weight of the gold they still have time to go back to Virginia City and get some friends together and ‘rescue Joe’.

Back at the saloon Anderson is spinning a yarn to his friend about the Sheriff not lifting a finger to retrieve Joe, and one of the men say Ben isn’t the type of guy to just let this happen.  Anderson tells him that Little Joe is being dragged to the border by them and they’re doing this for him.  He tells them that Ben will be so grateful he’ll pay them for their trouble, then Boke tells Anderson that the gold might pay for itself.  They leave to rescue Joe.

Joe is being escorted by the other Mexicans, it’s hot and they stop for water.  Joe asks if he can take his jacket off since it’s a hot day, but they learnt from the last time and won’t let him.  Joe tells him he’ll die of heatstroke if he doesn’t, but Chuy doubts it.  Joe tells him that if they don’t deliver him alive and well then his father will bring out a posse as big as an army for them, that and the fact he’s got his gun.  The Mexican relents and unties Joe’s hands, Joe is about to remove his jacket but then grabs Chuy and they both fall from his horse.  Upon getting up Chuy points Joe’s gun at him and pleads with him, Joe backs away from him but doesn’t realise he’s on a ledge and slips down it and falls on another ledge below.  However he’s not alone and he’s disturbed a rattlesnake and can’t move, Chuy doesn’t know what to do.  Joe asks for his gun but Chuy doesn’t want to, Joe tells him to kill him then because he doesn’t want to die from a bite from a snake.  The Mexican relents and passes the gun to Joe but reaching down to him, Joe shoots the snake and then passes the gun back to him and thanks him. 

Anderson and Perkins are following Blas, Perkins wants to know when they’ll make a move and Bill tells him they’ll need to pick the right spot since they don’t want to share the gold.

Back at the ponderosa Ben and Hoss are preparing to ride out, he wants to keep his distance from Blas but at the same time he wants to meet Little Joe when he comes across the border and if he doesn’t then he’d be close.  Sheriff Coffee rides in and tells Ben that Bill and Wallace left town at dawn.  Hoss wonders why it’s got anything to do with them.  Coffee reminds Ben about Perkins at the bank and that he left with them and he’s put two and two together and believes that they’re after the gold.  Coffee has sent his deputy ahead to track them and they’ll meet him out there.

Hoss finds Blas’s trail and another set of tracks that Hoss believes is Anderson’s pack.  Worried about the light Ben urges them to ride on.

It’s night now and the Mexican’s have camped down, this time Joe is eating with his hands free from bonds, they worry that something has gone wrong since Blas should have been there by now.  The Mexican trusts Joe since he gave back his gun but one isn’t sure, another invites Joe to their village once his gold has made it prosperous and beautiful.

Blas returns not happy that there isn’t a guard watching the area, the men pause for a moment but then cheer the fact that he’s returned.  Blas goes to check on Joe and notices his hands aren’t tied, he confirms to everyone he has the gold.  His friends want to see it but he tells them he had to hide it because he was followed all day.  Getting scared the Mexican’s want to ride out as soon as possible under the cover of darkness, Blas isn’t sure who is following him but he looks at Joe and tells everyone perhaps it’s an anxious father with his son keep his distance until they reach the border.  Again the idea of riding now is put forwards but Blas tells them the animals need rest before crossing the desert and so does he and then he will get the gold in the morning and then they can all see it.  Blas tells everyone he’ll post a watch but as he finishes a gunshot is heard and Joe quickly stands up.  Anderson shouts into camp telling them they’re surrounded, Joe takes his gun back from Chuy and tells everyone they don’t need their guns.  Anderson doesn’t trust them and dips some rope in a bucket of water, he tells them that rawhide shrinks when it dries and stretches the neck, Joe tells Anderson he’s not going to torture anyone.  Anderson doesn’t like Joe attitude towards him since he came out all this way to rescue him, Joe tells him he’s rescued now and they should take the men back to Virginia City to stand trial.  Anderson wants the gold first and accuses Joe of being in with them and he’s robbing his own father.  Joe raises his gun at Anderson and tells him he wants the gold but not for his father and then tells them they’re going in for a trial.  At that point he’s hit over the head by Boke and falls down, Blas attempts to get Joe’s gun but is restrained.

Blas has his hands and feet tied and his neck is straining from the noose around his neck, Anderson paces in front of him teasing him with a canteen of water.  He asks Blas where he hid the gold and Joe tells him tell them as it’s not worth it, Blas manages to croak out that to his village it is.  Joe tells him they won’t see it anyway if he dies, he tells Blas they only want the gold, Blas finally tells them he’ll take them to it.  Anderson and Perkins follow Blas while everyone else stays behind, Anderson’s friends guard the other Mexican’s and Joe.

Blas brings them to the spot where he hid the gold, Anderson can’t wait to get his hand on it, Blas sneaks off while they are distracted and is fired upon.  Anderson tells Perkins to go after him but he tells Anderson they have the gold now and they don’t need the Mexican anymore, Anderson tells him he’s right and then tells him he doesn’t need Perkins either and shots him twice.

Everyone back where Joe is are spooked that so many shots were fired, Boke tells them that Blas didn’t have a gun and maybe he tried to run.  Joe tells them that maybe someone tried to run and wouldn’t be surprised if they were all running away with the gold.  Boke turns to give Charlie some orders and Joe uses this opportunity to get one over on Boke, he punches him and then grabs his gun and kills one of Anderson’s friends and then dives behind some rocks.

Boke gets up and hides behind rocks with his friend and watches, as he watches a gun appears from his side and it’s pointed at his face, it’s Hoss.  Hoss taps his friend on the shoulder who looks around to see Boke and then Hoss and then hands his gun over.  Ben stops another man and Sheriff Coffee announces his presence to everyone to come out, he declares everyone lawbreakers and they’re all under arrest.  Hoss has retrieved Little Joe and Ben is happy to see his boy.  Joe tells him Anderson and Perkins took another Mexican and they heard some shots, they run after Joe and eventually find Blas kneeling over Perkins.  He tells Ben he was trying to help Perkins but it’s too late to save him, Perkins blurts out that it wasn’t Blas but Anderson who shot him who wanted all the gold for himself, he dies before he can say anything else.  Joe asks his Pa if the Mexican told him why he needed the gold, Ben asks him if it matters and Joe tells him it does and proceeds to tell Ben on the way back.

Sheriff Coffee begins hand cuffing everyone and Boke doesn’t like being treated like a common thief since they were only trying to stop the kidnappers from getting away, Coffee unbelieving tells them that’s the reason they were shooting at Little Joe as well.  He knows they were after the gold and he’s got proof and they’ll all stand trial for robbing and attempted murder.  Ben tells Coffee that with the heat and weight of the gold he won’t get far.

The sun shines bright, the mule carrying the gold has succumbed to the heat and is lying on the ground.  Anderson has found a watering hole but it’s dry, the mud is moist but not enough for water, his canteen is empty.  He takes a bar of gold out of his saddle bag and semi buries it near the watering hole.

Joe is tracking Anderson, they eventually find the mule, it’s still alive and they’ll pick him up on the way back.  Ben believes that Anderson is now carrying all the gold and in this heat he’s not going to get very far.

They arrive at the watering hole and Joe tells them if there is water it’s 50 feet down, Blas is looking around and spots the gold bar poking out of the dirt.  He takes his hat off and drops it on top of the bar.

Anderson is struggling, he’s now on foot and wandering alone in the desert thirsty for some water.

Along the way Ben finds a stirrup and believes that Anderson has now lost his horse, he then notices a cairn and pulls from it a bar of gold.

Anderson suffering from the heat collapses, he strokes a  bar of gold and babbles to himself.  He moves on leaving his saddle bag.

The posse pass by Anderson’s hat and continue the search for Anderson without stopping.

Anderson is now dying of thirst and is still babbling to himself, he picks up a handful of dirt hallucinating it’s a drink pours it in his mouth.  He reaches out for another glass but collapses instead. 

Hoss pours water over Anderson’s face and lifts him up to let him drink from the canteen.  Joe appears with the saddlebag and tells Ben there’s one still missing and if they spread out they might find it.  Ben is reluctant since the desert is vast and they’d need an army to look for it, Ben slyly looks at Blas and asks him for his opinion.  Blas agrees with Ben that the desert is a big place and then asks Ben what will happen to him and his friends.   Ben asks Coffee and he tells Ben that kidnapping is a serious offence and they would be sent to prison for a long time depending on the Judge.  Ben then asks Joe and Joe wonders why everyone is talking about kidnapping and who was kidnapped.  Sheriff Coffee can’t believe his ears and talks to Joe about his kidnapping and then realises what’s happening and then shuts up, and looks at Ben.  Coffee then recounts the situation that Joe was just showing some Mexican friends their beautiful countryside and since there’s no law in sightseeing he can’t arrest them.  Ben tells Blas and his friends they can go back to Mexico, they thank everyone and leave.   They pick up Anderson who can just about ride a horse now and Ben takes the rest of the gold over to his horse and notices that the Mexican’s stop and Blas comes back to them.  He shows Ben the last gold bar he took back at the watering hole and tells Ben it belongs to him.  Ben was hoping he’d bring it back and Blas is surprised Ben knew he had it all this time.  Ben tells him he saw him pick it up and wants him to keep it so he can use the money to make his land fertile and build a well.  Blas doesn’t want his charity but Ben tells him excepting charity is a lot less criminal than kidnapping and it’s still a couple of values that he still has to learn about.  He tells Blas not to consider the gold as charity but as an investment and tells him that one day he’ll ride to his town and look for fields of good corn and a town at large he’ll know his money has been well invested.


The Cartwrights[]



  • John Saxon: Blas
  • John Kellogg: Bill Anderson
  • Mike de Anda: Quail
  • Carlos Rivas: Miguel
  • Rodolfo Hoyos: Emiliiano
  • Eddie Ryder: Perkins
  • King Moody: Charlie
  • Clyde Howdy: Boke
  • Jim Boles: Aldrich


  • When they find Anderson the boom can been seen at the top before quickly disappearing.