Bonanza Wiki
Bonanza episode
“The Sun Mountain Herd”
Season 1, Episode 2
#2 in Series
Air date September 19, 1959
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by Gene L. Coon

David Dortort

Directed by Paul Landres
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
A Rose for Lotta
Next Episode:
The Newcomers
External links
The Sun Mountain Herd on IMDb

The Sun Mountain Herd, also known as Death on Sun Mountain, is the second episode of season 1 of the Bonanza TV series.


The Cartwrights go up against two San Francisco men who plan to get rich by killing off antelope, which the Paiutes rely on for food, and selling the meat to Virginia City's swarms of gold miners.


Mark Burdette and Early Thorne are selling native antelope meat to the "diggers of Sun Mountain", the miners, at outrageous prices. The lack of food causes the Paiutes to steal Ponderosa beef. The Cartwrights decide to sell their beef directly to the miners, hoping to ease the tensions with the Paiutes and keep their herd from being rustled. This interferes with Burdette's business plan and he tells Thorne to stop the beef from arriving in Virginia City. Thorne and his men accomplish this by disguising themselves as Piautes and killing all but one miner, Carl Harris. Harris is left alive to tell everyone it was the Paiutes that ambushed them. Thorne then dresses as a miner and kills Tukwa, one of the Cartwright ranch hands.

An Indian war is imminent unless the Cartwrights can get to the bottom of this. They go to speak to Harris only to discover that he is too dazed to identify anyone. The only other person who knows Burdette is guilty, a saloon girl named Glory Delacie, has been kidnapped. They track Burdette and Thorne and their captive to the desert where a gunfight breaks out. Burdette, who never approved of the killing, refuses to return fire.

As he and Glory try to escape from Thorne, Thorne shoots him in the back. Then Thorne uses Glory as a shield. Hoss tackles Thorne and fights him. Burdette, who isn't dead, gets an opportunity to shoot Thorne, killing him. Burdette then dies in Glory's arms. Adam laments that Burdette came looking for a bonanza and now he's dead. Glory says Burdette found it right before he died and that's better than not finding it at all.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights



Wikipedia has an article related to: Chief Winnemucca.

Did you know?[]

  • The word "Bonanza" is mentioned five times during this episode.
  • Lorne Greene does his first voice-over of the series during this episode.
  • This episode is also known as "Death on Sun Mountain".


"Mr. Burdette, we have our own way of doing business on the Ponderosa. We pay a honest day's wages for a honest day's work and we expect the same in return. Nothing more, nothing less. "
Ben Cartwright[src]



See The Sun Mountain Herd/videos

See also[]