Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“The Paiute War”
Season 1, Episode 4
#4 in Series
Air date October 3, 1959
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by Paul Landres
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Newcomers
Next Episode:
Enter Mark Twain
External links
The Paiute War on IMDb


In order to escape punishment for mistreating two Paiute women, a trader blames it on Adam Cartwright. The Paiutes seize Adam and take him hostage as war erupts between the tribe and a local militia.


Mike Wilson and his brother Vern take two Bannock women captive. One of the women's husbands, Numta, finds Adam and tells him what happened. He and Adam are able to free the women and take them back to the Ponderosa.

However, the other Bannock husband has gone to the tribe to enlist their help. In retaliation, the Bannock kill Vern and several unrelated settlers along the way.

Mike escapes and hurries to Virginia City. He embellishes the story, blames the Paiute, but leaves out his involvement in the kidnapping. Virginia City residents are ready to fight back. Ben, having heard all this, can't believe it and tries to get a town leader, Bill Stewart, to talk sense into these men. Bill is less concerned, but agrees to talk to the men in the morning. Ben returns home to learn the true story from Adam.

The next day, former Army Major Hornsby has rallied his "troops". Significantly fewer residents are willing to fight in the light of day and sober. Bill and Ben convince them to parley with Paiutes. The Paiutes know they're coming and Chief Winnemucca's son, Young Wolf, wants to fight. But Winnemucca knows that if Ben is there it is to talk.

When they meet up, Mike wants to fight and he shoots at the Paiutes. In the scuffle, Adam is captured and Ben knocked out. Only a handful of men return to Virginia City and Ben believes Adam is dead.

Back in the Paiute camp, Young Wolf would like to kill his old friend, Adam, but Winnemucca prevents it.

In Virginia City, Ben is relieved to learn that Adam is still alive, but Mike claims Adam went willingly with the Paiutes. Winnemucca meets with Ben and tells him that if the white man returns with the Army, then many, including Adam, will die. Adam, who's present, tells Ben to ride to the Bannock and convince Ring Nose to tell the truth.

Ben and Joe ride hard, but Virginia City has already sent Mike to request assistance from the army, who's marching toward the Paiutes. Ben and Joe reach Ring Nose, an honorable man. He knows he may die for killing the whites, but he can't allow the Paiutes to suffer for his actions. They ride hard to reach the marching army before the army reaches the Paiutes.

Unfortunately, they don't get there in time. Young Wolf has Adam tied up behind the rocks with orders to kill him first. But Adam has freed his tied hands and escapes. Young Wolf is right behind him when Mike shoots Young Wolf. The battle begins. Adam takes Young Wolf's knife and turns to find Mike taking aim on him. He throws the knife and kills Mike. Ben and Joe arrive and after checking on Adam ride on to stop the army.

But the battle is already over. Men on both sides lie dead. The truth comes out and they all know the loss was all for nothing. Winnemucca sits mourning his son and all his Paiute sons. The army marches silently past, dipping their flag in respect.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights


  • Anthony Caruso: Chief Winnemucca
  • Douglas Kennedy: Bill Stuart
  • George Keymas: Ring Nose
  • Gregg Martell: Bruno Nuntah
  • Holly Bane: Vern Wilson
  • Howard Petrie: Major Ormsby
  • I. Stanford Jolley: Turner
  • Jack Warden: Mike Wilson
  • Michael Forest: Young Wolf
  • Peter Coe: Major Hungerford
  • Walter Coy: Captain Kelley


Wikipedia has an article related to: Paiute War.

Wikipedia has an article related to: Chief Winnemucca.

Did You Know?[]

  • This episode cost $139,000 to make and featured more than 100 actors and extras portraying Indians and cavalry members.


"You got yourself into some real trouble this time, big brother."
"Yeah. This time it's me and not you.
Little Joe Cartwright and Adam Cartwright[src]

"Treacherous devils."
"Well, what did you expect? A welcome mat?
Major Hornsby and Adam Cartwright[src]



See The Paiute War/videos

See also[]