Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“The Quality of Mercy”
Season 5, Episode 9
#143 in Series
Air date November 17, 1963
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Peter Packer
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
Journey Remembered
Next Episode:
The Waiting Game
External links
The Quality of Mercy on IMDb


Little Joe struggles with his conscience, trying to believe that his friend, Seth Pruitt, did the right thing after Seth admits to the mercy-killing of his fiancée's father when the man was in agony from a broken back and begging for death.


At a mine cave-in, Joe's friend Seth Pruitt stands over the body of his future father-in-law, a man he admits to having killed. Seth tells Joe that the older man man was in severe agony and begging to be put out of his misery. Seth swears Joe to secrecy, leaving Joe to struggle with determining if it was morally right to kill the man, and if it's right to keep the secret.

When Joe becomes suspicious and confronts Seth about the killing, Joe discovers Seth killed his future father-in-law on purpose. Seth had the mine assayed and found a large vein of silver. Seth also admitted his future father-in-law didn't approve of him. Joe and Seth fight it out at the mine with Joe getting the best of Seth. Seth is then arrested for murder and put on trial. It is a bittersweet victory for Joe as his friend, Sara, has lost both her father and her fiance.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights


  • Bill Clark: John Dagliesh
  • Bob Miles: Card Player
  • Ed Prentiss: Minister
  • Kitty Kelly: Mrs. Gibbons
  • Sara Clark: Nancy Remmick
  • Seth Pruitt: Richard Rust


Did you know?[]

  • German episode title: "Die Erlösung", meaning "The Salvation".
  • This was one of Michael Landon's favourite episodes.


Adam: "Joe, it's never too late for the truth."

Adam (to Joe): ". . . I think you're trying to convince yourself that two wrongs make a right, and they don't."




See also[]