Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“The Night Virginia City Died”
Season 12, Episode 1
#362 in Series
Air date September 13, 1970
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by John Hawkins
Directed by William Wars
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
A Matter of Circumstance
Next Episode:
A Matter of Faith
External links
The Night Virginia City Died on IMDB


A series of destructive fires has Virginia City residents on edge and anxious to catch the arsonist. But Deputy Clem's new love interest seems to know a lot more about the fires than what she's letting on.


As Season 12 opens, a series of deadly fires, all set at night, are destroying Virginia City. Sheriff Coffee and Deputy Clem face an angry public that demands they capture the arsonist immediately. On the side, Clem has begun a romance with new town resident Janie.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights[]




  • Recurring cast members Ray Teal and Bing Russell are listed this week in the opening credits as "Special Guest Stars."
  • German episode title: "Brandstiftung", meaning "Arson".
  • Starting with this, the 12th season premiere, the series sports a new opening theme titled "The Big Bonanza." Instead of the Cartwrights riding in on their horses as viewers had become accustomed to, action shots featuring Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon and (starting with the next episode, A Matter of Faith) Mitch Vogel. Each shot would temporarily freeze and be tinted in aqua while the individual actor's name was displayed. This opening credits format would be used for both the 12th and 13th seasons.
  • This episode was developed in order to disguise the move from the Paramount Studios set to the Warner Brothers set. Virginia City had to be "destroyed" in order to explain the new buildings and town set-up.
  • After the 10 year lease in Paramount expired, they refused to sell the sets of Virginia City to Warners, as a result the production team found out MGM were selling sets of a similar sort and purchased them at a cost.
  • Featured Cartwrights: Ben and Joe.
  • One of the few episodes to have both Sheriff Coffee and Deputy Clem together

See Also[]