"Bonanza" episode
Season 2, Episode 55
# in Series
Air date February 25, 1961
Guest starring:
Written by Steve McNeil
Directed by William Dario Faralla
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
Tax Collector
Next Episode:
The Dark Gate
External links
The Rescue on IMDb
The Rescue on



The boys decided that Ben is getting too old to do hard physical labor and advise him to take it easy while they go on search for cattle rustlers. Ben reluctantly agrees, but when his sons fail to return, he goes after them, unaware that they've been ambushed by cattle rustlers.

Ben visit’s Josh Tatum’s place and finds his son has a cow hide with the Ponderosa brand on it and tells Josh that he didn’t have to bury the hide if he needed beef. Ben tells him if he needed beef he should have asked for it instead of stealing it. Josh doesn’t like being accused of being a thief. Ben tells him he’s already stolen land from him since he’s living on Ponderosa land, Josh doesn’t like the idea of being thrown out and gets his son to point a rifle at Ben. Ben is stripped of his gun and horse and Josh starts a fight with Ben, after a long tussle (and a little help from his sons, Jack and Gus) Ben loses. They give him back his things and Ben returns home.


The boys are eating and wondering where their Pa is and are worried because he’s not getting any younger. Ben arrives home and tidies himself up before seeing his boys. The boys look at each other, Adam asks if his horse threw him and Ben says no. Hoss asks him if he bumped into a limb, again Ben says no. Finally Joe asks his Pa if he forgot to duck, Ben sheepishly looks at Joe and nods. Adam asks him what happened, but all Ben will tell them is that he got into a scuffle and doesn’t want to tell them the details else they’ll all want to go out looking for trouble and someone ends up getting hurt. Ben goes to change. While he’s gone the boys talk about their Pa, and how he should be taking it easy, Joe isn’t fond of the idea of telling their Pa to settle down in an easy chair, a pipe, and a pair of slippers. Adam believes Ben should downplay his role at the Ponderosa and become a supervisor since other ranches have them.

The boys want their Pa to avoid any further scraps so Ben agrees, he tells his boys that they’ve lost 200 head of cattle and wants to flip a coin to see which two will go with him to look for the rustlers. Joe tells him that they should all go, but Ben tells them one should stay to look after the ranch, Adam tells Ben he should stay but he says he’s never done that and suggest he supervise. Ben believes the boys think he’s too old for it and they get tongue tied when they try and explain. Ben agrees to stay at the ranch while the boys look for the rustlers he tells them he’s okay with it but in reality he’s not, the boys tell him they’ll be back before supper.

The boys have followed some tracks to a box canyon, they dismount since they don’t want to be sitting targets. The rustlers fire upon the boys and the horses get spooked and run off. Hoss has been shot in the leg but luckily the bullet went clean through, Adam tears his shirt and wraps it around Hoss’s leg to stop the bleeding. With no food, water or fire they’re going to have a rough night, Joe tells them at least they found the rustlers.

Ben is pacing at the dining table and staring out the window, Hop Sing tells Ben that once Hoss can smell his cooking he’ll be home.

Hoss swears he can smell Hop Sing’s cooking, Adam is doubtful. Hoss believes he can smell roast pork and sweet potatoes.

Hop Sing serves dinner, roast pork and sweet potatoes. He demands that Ben eats, but Ben is too worried to eat. Hop Sing tells him how he can help if he doesn’t eat, Ben settles down. He tells Hop Sing to put the rest back in the oven, Hop Sing isn’t happy that he’ll have to tend the stove all night, Ben tells him he doesn’t have to. Hop Sing leaves moaning in Chinese.

The rustlers fire pot shots at the boys just to let them know they’re still there, they plan to get rid of the boys by morning. Jake Tatum is worried that Ben will come to save his boys, but Johnny tells him not to worry about one old man. Jake tells him one more man can make all the difference.

Adam hits Curly,one of the rustlers based on billiard physics.


Ben is about to set off, Hop Sing comes with 2 packages; one small one big, they’re sandwiches for the boys. The small one is for Adam and Joe and the larger one is for Hoss, Ben tells him it’s about right. Hop Sing tells Ben to tell Hoss that he’s cooking turkey and Ben says that’s all well and good but what will the rest of them eat. This puts Hop Sing in a sour mood since he now has to kill another turkey.

Ben bumps into Josh on the way when he’s looking for his boys, Ben doesn’t trust him since he stole his beef and is squatting on his land. Ben’s not happy that his heads are going missing; Josh tells him that he doesn’t care. Ben still believes that Josh has something to do with the missing cattle. Ben tells him that he’s off to find his son’s since they went looking for the rustlers and never came back. Josh is shocked that he’s not got a posse and he’s here all on his own. Ben tells him that they’re his sons and what would he do if it was his that were lost.


While tracking Ben hears some shots, he dismounts and Johnny spots him. He fires at Ben and he falls down, he pokes Ben with his rifle and he doesn’t move he sees Ben’s rifle and goes to pick it up. Ben gets up and shouts at Johnny, he raises his rifle and Ben kills him.

Josh Tatum arrives in the Jake Tatum’s camp with his two sons. Jake wonders why he’s not dead since he ran into Ben on the way up, Josh tells him he talked him out of it. Gus comes back to report that Johnny isn’t where he’s supposed to be and is missing.

Adam and Joe tease Hoss since he’s hungry, they tell him because he’s wounded he’s not allowed to eat or drink. Hoss tells them he was shot in the leg not the belly. Hoss notices that every time he fires off a shot it’s countered and gives Adam an example. Adam takes his as an opportunity to get another rustler when Hoss fires a shot. But Ben creeps up on Jack and shoots him in the shoulder before he can return the fire. The boys figure that Ben is out there and Joe is ecstatic. Jack gets up and goes back to camp.

Ben spots his boys and is happy they’re all okay. Ben signals his boys by firing three shots from his gun and Joe returns the signal, they cover Ben while he makes his way into them. Hoss asks if he bought any food with him and Ben tells him he got bushwhacked and lost it, he tells Hoss he bought turkey sandwiches and roast beef. Hoss moans that he should have bought cheese since he hates cheese.

Josh tends to Jack who’s lying in camp, he tells his Pa that someone else hit him and Josh tells him it must have been Ben. Josh realises that his son could have been killed and it puts a whole new perspective on the situation, Curly tells Josh he was hit too but he tells him it’s not the same. Jake tells Josh that he’s seen Ben go to his boys with fresh rifles and extra ammo. Josh tells Jake to go to Silver City to take care of Curly’s wound, Jake asks about the herd and Josh doesn’t care about the herd anymore. Jake has second thoughts about Josh, and Josh doesn’t want his boys killed. Josh ties his handkerchief to a stick, Jack wonders what he’s doing and he tells him it’s to prevent himself from getting shot when he speaks to Ben; he doesn’t want Gus to get hurt.

Josh waves his flag at Ben and tells his boys to stand down; they aim their rifles none the less. Josh admits to rustling his stock and that Ben wouldn’t miss a few heads, Ben tells him about his sons being ambushed, but Josh tells him he was nowhere near when Hoss got shot. Ben sarcastically shouts at him telling him if he was here he would have put at stop to it. Josh tells Ben he’s done a lot of things he’s not proud of and that he nearly lost his sons and that Ben nearly lost one of his. Ben tells him he’s still alive because he didn’t kill his sons. Josh tells Ben he’s sorry for what he’s done and tells him he’s not rich like Ben but he loves his sons just as much as Ben loves his.

After much shouting Ben wants to fight a re-match, but Josh tells Ben that there’s not enough cattle to replace one of their boys and that’s what he was trying to tell Ben. Ben agrees and Josh compares themselves to she-bears with a litter of cubs. Josh tells Ben they can build a litter and take Hoss back to the Ponderosa and round up the cattle and then take him and his boys to the Sheriff. Josh bemoans the fact that Hoss was shot and preferred it if Joe was the one that was hit instead because he’s the smallest.


They carry Hoss back to the Ponderosa. Hop Sing runs out and asks what the matter is with him and Hoss tells him he’s dying of starvation. Ben tells Hop Sing to cook some steaks for the Tatum’s who are staying for dinner.

Josh tells Ben he’s going to turn him and his boys over to the Sheriff and hopes that when it’s over things can be different between them and then shouts at his boys to get moving. Josh tells Ben it’s not easy raising kids. Ben agrees and tells him one benefit is that when the boys are big enough they can take care of things and he can take it easy. Adam and Joe look sheepish, Ben laughs and goes back in the house.


The Cartwrights




Did you know?Edit

  • German episode title: "Böse Nachbarn", meaning "Bad Neighbors".


"That's the big trouble with Pa. He still thinks he's 21 years old. He ought to start taking it a might easier."



See alsoEdit