Bonanza – The Deserter | Episode 105 | CULT WESTERN | Wild West | Cowboy | English

Free Western Series: Bonanza – Episode 105 – The Deserter – An Army Colonel comes to the Ponderosa looking for a man who was under his command, who deserted whom he believes lives in the vicinity of the Ponderosa.

The Deserter
Director: William Witney
Writer: Norman Lessing
Stars: Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker
Genre: Western
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 21 October 1962 USA
Filming Locations: Stage 17, Paramount Studios – 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

“An Army Colonel comes to the Ponderosa looking for a man who was under his command, who deserted whom he believes lives in the vicinity of the Ponderosa. He wants to bring him to Washington for court martial. He shows them a picture and they claim not to know him but it’s their neighbor, Bill Winters. Just as the Colonel was leaving he is shot by an arrow. While the Colonel rests, Ben goes to Bill who admits it’s true. Ten years ago, the Colonel was tasked with keeping the Indians in line and he decided to do that by raiding them. Bill chose not to follow him and aided some of them to escape but he still raided the Indians and many were killed. He learns that there’ll be another attempt on the Colonel so he goes to the Ponderosa and kills the Indian who was sent to kill him. When the Colonel sees Bill, he pulls his gun on him but Ben tells him that he saved his life. He then reveals that Bill is his son. When the Indians learn of Bill’s connection to the Colonel, they take him for …”
Written by on

“I just couldn’t resist.

The fundamental problem with TV stories about American/aboriginal relationships is that they fail to address the fact the American government waged a war of genocide. And regardless of good will (on either side), there was a fundamental economic conflict that ultimately doomed the aboriginals to defeat.

“The Deserter” is only slightly better than average. The chief eventually recognizes that killing the officer who murdered the women and children of his tribe can only bring more tsuris. But the profound distrust and “acidity” of feeling that should remain after his acquiescence is not present. Ultimately, this is yet another “White viewer, you needn’t feel too guilty” stories.

Claude Akins gives a pretty good performance. He has scenes were he has to show some subtlety of emotion — which he was rarely called on to deliver — and is creditable.” Written by grizzledgeezer on

“Claude Akins with gray hair and a mustache plays an iron colonel who is looking for an army deserter from a battle he was in command of against the Shoshone Indians over a decade ago. It was no battle really, Akins led a raid against a village where Shoshone women and children were massacred. And as it turns out the deserter is a neighbor of the Cartwrights and his own son.

The only thing that made sense about this episode was the determination of the Shoshone to see him die slow. Everything else about this Bonanza episode was totally preposterous. Akins finds his son who has married a Shoshone woman and he now has grandchildren.

Lorne Greene gets Shoshone chief Anthony Caruso to reason together with Akins. It all works out, everyone does the noble and right thing.

I think there’s no way that Akins would have left the territory alive. But you’ll have to see for yourself if you care.” Written by bkoganbing on


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47 Replies to “Bonanza – The Deserter | Episode 105 | CULT WESTERN | Wild West | Cowboy | English”

  1. Here, the White Man reminds me of European Israel state expansion 1948 and Indians as the Palestinian resistance fighters

  2. That actor Atkins, sure had different roles in Bonanza. One in The Windmill and another in the Sam Hill episode. Bonanza sure likes to recast several actors to play different roles huh?

  3. 13:40 I just don't understand how the Indians suddenly learned that learn that the colonel was his father? Seems to me that the writers or editors messed that up. We don't see any Indians at the Ponderosa to overhear the conversation. If they were there, how to explain not killing him outside? There was another chance, he 14:40 the son says "there's something that I haven't told you yet" which sounds like he is going to tell her that the colonel is his father. The brave outside could overhear that and then tell the chief. 14:43 it makes no sense that the child would be scared of a member of her tribe at the window. Could make sense if he was in war paint but he's not.

    It was an excellent story but perhaps got chopped up in the rush to get it filmed. Like at the end he thanks Ben's sons for helping him see the light but I don't recall them playing any significant role or having any poignant conversation with the colonel. So, did a scene get cut? They say a little at 25:00 but, to my view, nothing significant. Maybe if Hoss had stood up and says that he doesn't blame all Indians for that, instead of looking uncharacteristically sheepish.

  4. Just like Jesus died in all our place to make peace with our maker Almighty GOD. We fall short of God and did so much wrongs compared to Holy Jesus

  5. Haha, I like the cross-cultural insertion by GrizzledGeezer above: "…killing the officer who murdered the women and children of his tribe can only bring more tsuris." Oy! You're tellin' me! … Add to that, none of the Indian characters were Indian actors. But good stories, all preaching tolerance and open-mindedness that are still 100% relevant 60 years later, no thanks to the know-nothing, white supremacist, neo-fascist MAGA Party.

  6. I hope children today are still taught how to play "Cowboys and Indians" as they run around. Either through small toys or with costumes, it was always such innocent fun.

  7. Ben Cartwright's logic and strength for his country and values can be seen today in President Donald Trump. ????????????….PATRIOT……FAMILY VALUES????????

  8. I loved it when she threw her stubborn backwards ignorant father OUT of her home and life. Nobody has time for that old man's stupidity. Those ways are what helped us conquer all their peoples.????????????

  9. HIS speech sounds like Crazy Joe Biden…..HUNTER BIDEN can do NO WRONG and whole nations will suffer at the hands of JOE if any investigations or inquiries abour HUNTER are made.????

  10. I think it's foolish for any soldier like him to threaten a civilian for breaking a federal law. The civilians can make the federal employee disappear and never be found again…….this would never occur today…….the military knows the public WON'T tolerate this behavior from them.

  11. I really admired the times when this was made. People of multi nationalities strived to learn english to live here and break away from heavy heavy accents that muddled their communucation.

  12. They sure seem to like the name Marie on this show it seems like whenever they have a forging girl like a Mexican girl an Indian girl the name is always Marie even Joe's mom was name Marie I know I am spelling the name wrong

  13. In a way when the guys told Hoss about the Indians that killed his mother in other word saying Hoss should hate Indians cause they killed his mom. Well Hoss should have said yes 1 Indian killed her but there are some good one just like white men so if one white man had killed my mother does that mean I have to hate every white man

  14. حلقة مميزة الجيش الامريكي قتل كثير ابرياء من الهنود الحمر وهم أهل الارض ؟؟؟

  15. Good episode. The other issues in this episode are covered by the comments here. I do need to add, there were quite a few actors of color when the show was produced. The problem was that the agents, producers and directors did not see these talents as good enough; that they were not assets to a show. There were a few genius exceptions–and even they had problems. I mean, Los Angeles, you know, color… Anyway…

  16. reminds me of a Croatian general and film director, who refused to admit he could prevent war crimes in Bosnia, and poisoned himself to death in courtroom while the judge was reading the sentence.

  17. The only issue with this episode is the reasoning. The Indians knew about potential reprisals, their motive was justice. Then Bill justifies what his father did saying this is how the conflict ended. The same man who helped them contradicts himself.

  18. Another truly outstanding episode, with Ben's brilliant assistance, and a (virtually unrecognizable Claude Aikins) coming to grips with pride and prejudice. A wonderful role played by a great acting and great looking Robert Sampson. Wonderful Grjngo — you're the best! One of the major's faults in reasoning was the comparison of Abraham being WILLING to kill Isaac — but God stopped him from doing that, because his mere obedience was enough to prove his faith.

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