Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bonanza Part 4 - The Paiute War

1.04 - The Paiute War

Guest Stars

Jack Warden - Mike Wilson

Anthony Caruso - Chief Winnemucca

Michael Forest - Young Wolf

Howard Petrie - Major Ormsby

Douglas Kennedy - Bill Stewart

Holly Bane - Vern Wilson

Gregg Marell - Bruno Nuntah

  • We open on some men abusing Native Americans in a store. The natives are trying to trade pelts for fabric, a reasonable exchange. Mike and Vern Wilson don't think so. Mike is clearly marked as the trouble maker when he admits he's brought booze with him. He's the one that says the natives can't leave. He's the one who says they're going to keep the native's wives until they bring in some good skins. Mike, Vern and some other random guy then proceed to beat up the native men and kick them out, keeping their wives. What. a. dick.

  • We then cut to Joe and Hoss heading to San Fransciso. Because, you know, we're not going to need them for this episode. Budgets and all that. It's not like miner and native relations are going to break down or anything. It's not like some small incident is going to ruin things for everyone. It's not like the word "WAR" is in the title of this episode. Oh wait. But our brave Cartwright clan pushes on. Ben warns Joe and Hoss of the Barbary Coast; he doesn’t want them to get shanghaied. And what the heck is "shanghaied"? After much extensive research (Wikipedia) I have discovered that it refers to the 'practice of conscripting men as sailors by coercive techniques such as trickery, intimidation or violence'. Considering the hot-headedness of the Cartwrights, I think Ben is right to warn them. But you never know, it might be interesting. The whole family could get kidnapped and get taken to China and instead of raising cattle they can plant rice and look after herds of pandas! I think we've got a winner here.

  • After this little exchange, Adam rides down to bottom camp to check on the new steers. I've always been very impressed with how Adam rides horse. Just like Gary Cooper, he’s practically glued to the saddle.

  • Conveniently, Ben has business in Virginia City. Well if everyone's leaving, who's going to guard the ranch? Hop Sing? Playing Devil's Advocate, this would probably be the perfect time to try and take over the ranch or steal cattle or set the Cartwright ranch house on fire or generally do whatever you want to the property.

  • While Adam's riding to the bottom camp, he finds Bruno, beaten up and rolling around on the ground. Bruno tells him the Wilsons at Wilson’s Station took his and Numpta’s wife. He says the Wilson's were drunk and had guns. Those bozos won't know what hit them. Don't they know Adam's 4-1 fight record?

  • We then learn that Numpta took matters into his own hands and rode off to talk to Ringnose. Gee, do you think he has a ring in his nose? It's turns out Ringnose is from the Bannoc tribe. Adam asks why Numpta didn’t go to Winnemucca as the area of Wilson's Station is traditional Paiute territory. Apparently Numpta said the Shoshone people aren’t cowards like the Paiute. He said the Bannoc’s would ride and kill the Wilson men. So this can only get worse right? There's no outcome where has tea and works out their differences over buttered scones?

  • Things are about to get worse than physical abuse and beat downs because Adam knows that if Ringnose and his men attack and kill the men at Wilson’s Station that there will be a war. You know, like in the title of the episode? They need to get to Wilson’s Station first. Unfortunately Bruno spots smoke signals that say Ringnose is calling up his warriors. Adam and Bruno ride off. I'd like to take this time to point out that Adam’s wearing eyeliner hehe.

  • Back at Wilson's Station, the three drunk idiots are getting drunker. Is that possible? They also happen to be very bad at playing drunk. They pull the women out of a side room and try to get them drunk. The problem is we don't know how much time has passed. The men say they tried to be friendly but now they’re going to teach the women some manners. Ugh! Are we going to stray into bad touch territory?

  • Just as things start to take on a 14A rating, Adam bursts in, gun drawn and demands the women be let go. Mike knows who Adam is but that's not surprising. The Cartwrights have one of the biggest ranches in the area and they're always sticking their noses in everyone's business. Adam gets Mike and Vern to kick over their guns. Mike makes a move and Adam decks him. Awesome!

  • Adam vs drunk idiot Vern Wilson: Adam bashes a chair over head. Very reminiscent of the bar fight scene between Marlene Dietrich and Jimmy Stewart in "Destry Rides Again"

  • Adam vs Mike Wilson: Adam KO’s Mike.

  • Phil, the other random guy involved in this kerfuffle is now dead drunk asleep so we don't get to see Adam fight him as well. Darn it!

  • Adam leaves and assumes the issue is settled. Oh it’s not settled Adam. Mike is drunk and a dumbass. What do you think is going to happen? He says Cartwright stole their women and that they should go after them.

  • Mike calls Adam a “dirty squaw stealer” and walks out to go after Adam. He gets on his horse, only to be confronted by natives on horses shooting off guns. I can only assume he was terrified because he rides away, leaving his brother and Phil in the Station. Numpta's braves pull Vern and Phil outside and shoots them. Now we don't actually see them getting shot but this is still pretty ballsy of "Bonanza" and shows how short life could be way back in cowboy times. Numpta's men head for Sun Canyon. Isn’t it strange how Mike, wanting revenge, wanting to commit acts of violence while cursing racist slang at Adam, gets away and is saved? Yeah, I thought that was pretty stupid too.

  • What we see next is a gruesome montage of homes set on fire and dead pioneers. Yurgh!

  • Next we switch to a group of men arguing in the saloon in Virginia City. They question Mike Wilson about what he saw. Take a shot of your favourite beverage every time Mike lies here. He says the natives were naked and painted up (false). He says it was Winnemucca’s men (false). He says there were hundreds of them (false). He says he saw them break into Wilson’s Station and drag out Vern and Phil and shoot them, partner and brother (kind of false because they didn't break in and Vern and Phil didn't put up much of a fight because they were drunk). Why does no one question this man’s honor about doing nothing and running away instead of putting up a fight? Didn't people take cowardice really seriously back then? I mean, in "Back to the Future III" Marty gets called a chicken and he loses it. Anyway, Ben comes in at the end of the rant and hears something about Winnie.

  • Then things get worse because some grizzled man runs into the saloon to say the Paiutes have killed 7-8 men in Sun Canyon. He says they butchered Jo and Ellie Lawrence right outside of their cabin. I'm assuming that couple was included in that death montage. Gross! Also, why does this guy assume it’s the Paiutes? Virginia City men seem unable to distinguish between native tribes which smacks of ignorance and racism. Everyone is a jerk except Ben because he's one of our protagonists. Can you imagine if Bonanza started off with a group of ranchers completely opposed to natives in the beginning and then after learning about their people and culture, come to accept them as neighbours instead of us seeing Ben as the only understanding white guy in the entire Nevada Territory? Yeah right! I always cringe about what historical inaccuracies are playing out on screen. I do like how the show follows actual events though. There was an actual Paiute War that you can check out on Wikipedia here. Please note that I make no claims about the accuracy of the site.

  • But back to the saloon. In hindsight, a place that serves booze, is probably the wrong place to let a bunch of white guys know that some natives are killing off settlers. Mostly because alcohol tends to lead to bad decisions. Case in point, this news stirs the men into a frenzy to go and get the Paiutes. This posse is a great example of why mobs are bad. They don’t use their brains. Does this group have any real evidence of what’s going on? No, they’ve heard it second hand from two men and assume there is only one side to the story.

  • Ben, being one of the only sober people in the joint has a bad look on his face. Do you think he's a teetotaler? I don't think I've ever seen him partake in a boozy beverage so it's a possibility. In any case, Ben looks like he wants to leave and find Winnie to see what the heck is really going on.

  • A man named Major Ormsby pipes up and says they've got to get organized. They can't just run after the natives. Someone elects him as the mob leader and he agrees, saying they’ll 'do it the army way'. Great, a drunk man with leadership experience, just what we need. Some knucklehead says they should be able to get close to 100 men and then the Major pipes up that they won't need nearly that many to take care of a "mess of mangy Paiutes". That makes Ben mad and something you learn about watching this show is that you don't make Papa Ben mad. Remember back in episode one when he almost threatened to cut out some guy's tongue and gave his cook orders to kill a guy in cold blood? Yeah, that's why you don't piss Papa Ben off. He's like a mother grizzly. Kind of.

  • It's announced that the posse will march at daybreak. Ben leaves and everyone else continues drinking. Soon they'll be riding horses and waving guns around, while drunk. What a bunch of maroons. Perhaps they’ll all forget about this Paiute business after getting dead drunk and blacking out. That would be the best outcome but it's not going to happen is it?

  • Ben decides to be proactive because he can't stop all those crazy guys by himself. He goes to see William Stewart, Attorney at Law. Ben says Stewart carries a lot of weight. (Was that a fat joke?) People say Stewart's the first citizen of Virginia City and Ben knows that they haven’t always seen eye to eye but they both know an Indian war would be disastrous. Stewart isn't taking this seriously but Ben says Major Ormsby’s raising an army. Stewart finally perks up and says Ormsby’s no drunken fool, that he’s a good soldier. Uh oh. Ben says the posse will only listen to someone they know. Stewart doesn’t think there will be much of an army after they’ve sobered up though. Don’t count on it Stewie; the episode title says there's going to be a war and I don't think your brain farts are going to keep that from happening. Even Ben backs me up on this. He says it doesn’t take much of an army to start an Indian war.

  • Back at the Ponderosa, Adam consoles Bruno and says the wives are in good hands, that Bruno should stay for the night. Ben rides up in a hurry and says everyone’s gone mad, that they’re fools, that the Paiutes ran wild. Wait. What? Ben, why do you think it was the Paiutes? You heard the story in the saloon and you believed it? You supposedly know Winnie better than any other white guy so what gives? I thought Winnie was your friend? You know he’s not a warmongerer so what the heck is going on?

  • Fortunately Adam straightens things out. It was the Bannoc’s of the Shoshone, Ringnose’s people. Adam said Wilson and his drunken brother held Numpta and Bruno’s wives captive and mistreated them. Ben wants to know what Mike was doing accusing the Paiutes. I want to know why Ben wasn't asking these questions in the saloon. Adam says Mike wanted to shift the blame and to protect his own skin. Geez Ben, slow on the uptake much? Adam says they’ve got to stop the saloon posse tonight but Ben says there’s no way anyone’s talking to them. They’re drinking and there are dozens of them.

  • Adam asks about Bill Stewart, they listen to him. Great minds, I guess? Ben says he’s talking to Bill who will apparently reason with the group in the morning but he and Adam will go along because nobody will believe it wasn’t the Paiutes. Adam questions why Ringnose killed anybody on his way back to the mountains and just listen to what Ben says in response: “They’re a primitive people son, primitive and proud, once they’ve tasted blood.” Two episodes ago you showed this great understanding when the Paiutes were taking cattle from you. It was established that you and Winnie had been friends for a long time and it seemed as if you respected him and Native Americans in general but here you call them ‘primitive’. If this is what you really think then you're worse than all the other racists in town because you pretend to be a friend to the natives. JerkBen from episode one is back.

  • The next day, the Major has stuffed himself into his Union uniform. The rowdy group of men are carousing and the Major asks where the big group of men are. Most have sobered up and gone home. Guess who’s left to form the posse? All the idiots who are still drunk, including Mike Wilson! Mike says they’ve got enough people. He just wants to get out there and shoot a few Indians. ARGH!

  • Bill Stewart jumps up and starts talking with Ben and Adam by his side. Stewart says Ben knows Indians better than any man in Nevada. (And did you know he's also a secret racist? Yeah, I bet people didn't know that either). Do people assume he knows natives better than anyone just because he’s good friends with Winnie? Surely Ben can’t be the default can he? Stewart says it wasn’t the Paiutes who attacked Wilson’s Station but the Bannocs.

  • And here is where Mike doubles down. He says that information is a lie and he knows because he was there. Adam challenges him and says maybe they should know what he was doing there. Mike snaps at him and says it wouldn’t have happened if Adam hadn’t been there. He says Adam came in just before it happened with one of his native friends and that he wanted Wilson to sell his native friends some booze. When Wilson refused, Adam said he’d set the whole Paiute tribe down on Wilson. And what do the drunks do? They believe Mike and rally around him. Maybe they’re perpetually stupid but in any case, they're much dumber to agree with Mike.

  • A Wild Posse appears.
    Ben uses logic on Wild Posse.
    It fails.

  • Ben says if they go out drunk and disorganized against the Paiutes that they’ll be destroyed. Adam shouts that the Paiutes are innocent but Major Ormsby brings up a good point by saying that the massacre at the station took place before noon and that within an hour there wasn’t a Paiute in town but Wilson didn’t get back to town till late afternoon. Adam says the natives have 'ways'. What kind of ambiguous crap is that? Ormsby says murder has been done by Indians and that he aims to punish them. Hold on, you're a major, not a judge.

  • Stewart pipes up and says they should seek a parley when they go talk to Winnie instead of riding as a war party. Ormsby asks if Stewart’s coming along. Stewart says that he’ll 'serve them better by staying in town and communicating with the authorities in Washington'. If ever there was a bs excuse masquerading as help, this is it. What exactly are you going to do, tell Washington about how a group of stupid drunks are going to murder some natives? What is Washington going to do about that? It would take months for any help from to arrive even if they did send help.

  • Ben says he and Adam will go along, presumably to try and keep the group from doing anything too stupid. Soon enough a rowdy group of men waving guns around departs town. They spot signal fires and Ben remarks that the Paiutes have heard them coming for miles. No one seems really phased by this but technically they're riding into Paiute land and they're drunk. It's like walking blindfolded on the Savannah, with a pride of lions watching you stumble around.

  • Winnie looks like he’s holding a war party. He’s says he doesn’t know the purpose of the men or their numbers but the diggers of Sun Mountain are coming with 30 men, including Ben Cartwright and his son Adam. Winnie and his son Young Wolf argue. Why doesn't Winnie have a cool name like that? Anyway, Winnie says what happened was a mistake but Young Wolf points out that even Ben Cartwright rides with 'the diggers'. Winnie says Ben rides to talk and his son counters, saying Ben has a rifle in his hand, that the white men come towards the Paiutes and not towards the Bannocs. Winnie says they will go to war as it is foolish to think it would not come to that but that they will speak for peace with the white men, that no Paiute is to fire upon a white man. I don't see this ending well. But let's wait and see.

  • The two sides of this mishmash of a conflict finally meet. All of the Paiutes are stationed behind rocks and Ormsby calls them “treacherous devils”. Adam bites back with “what did you expect a welcome mat?” It's moments like these that make me glad Adam's around. Biting remarks are my thing but this show can wear a person out.

  • Ben says they’ll parlay. I bet Mike’s not too happy about that. Ben does a stupid fake “how” hand signal that people seem to have picked up from Disney’s “Peter Pan”. Oiy. Did any native tribes actually use this? I have doubts.

  • Winnie says it’s an evil thing to see Ben Cartwright ride to war. I agree but Ben says he rides for peace but Winnie says he sees men ready for battle.

  • Meanwhile Mike's causing problems with the rabble and calls the natives "murdering devils" and then decides to shoot one of the natives, causing all sorts of mayhem. Ben and Winnie yell and tell them to stop firing. While this is going on, Adam gets hit on the head and a Paiute tries to kill him. Ben shoots the Paiute. Ormsby is attacked, Ben is hit, chaos reigns supreme! The natives take Adam and drag him away. The natives retreat and Ben is dragged back from the front. What a total mess.

  • Ben starts freaking out about Adam which is a normal reaction when you're in a gunfight and can't find your child in the aftermath. This whole thing was a bloodbath and it's all Mike's fault. He then decides that maybe he made a mistake and decides to run. With the drunks turning tail, the Paiutes decide it's a perfect time to attack.

  • In the aftermath of their retreat, the men are being patched up at the saloon. Is this seriously the only building in town that can accommodate this large a group? What about the theatre from episode one? That would fit a ton of people. Anyway, Ben is catatonic, mumbling that his son is dead. Mike opens his big fat trap and says Ben led them into a trap and that Stewart should lynch him for causing all this trouble. Sometimes people just don't know when to shut up. Mike then goes on to say that Adam isn’t dead, that he saw Adam 'run off' with the Indians. This perks Ben up a bit who goes back to the Ponderosa, hopefully to formulate a plan about getting Adam back.

  • Stewart says they need help with this problem, such as Charlie Hungerford commands a battalion on other side of sierra at Placerville. I have no idea how far away that is but at least Stewart's improving. At least it's not Washington! Mike volunteers to go but Stewart puts him off. Why? Mike says he knows what to tell them. Stewart says he’d rather put it in writing. If you don't trust Mike to tell them the truth about what happened, why are you allowing him to go at all? He could mess with your note. He could write another note. He could pretend he wasn't given a note and just blab his version of events. Geez Stewart, use your brain!

  • We see that Adam’s alive. Yay! Winnie’s son Young Wolf is mad and asks why his enemy lives. They have beaten the enemy and Virginia City could be ashes by morning. Fortunately cooler heads have prevailed. Winnie has spared Adam’s life and asks what the miner’s will do now. Adam says the militia will come with 100 10s (1000?) Young Wolf thinks these numbers are lies and calls his dad a woman. Whoa whoa whoa! None of that disrespecting your elders stuff.

  • Adam says Winnie should speak to Ben, there can still be peace. Young Wolf says the whites can’t fight, that they were destroyed in that battle. Adam argues that they fought half drunken miners out on a picnic, a lark. You know, I never thought I would hear the word "lark" on Bonanza. Adam says the next time the Paiutes will fight soldiers, two to one. Winnie has confidence that Ben will stop the army but Adam rightly corrects him saying only Winnie can stop this. Winnie promises to meet with Ben to discuss everything but promises that if the army moves on the Paiutes, Adam will die. Uh oh. I don't like where this is going.

  • Ben is at the Ponderosa with a gun. Uh, should I be worried at this point. The last time we saw he looked ready to snap and murder someone. Little Joe returns. He and Hoss apparently heard about everything in Sacramento. What? How does news travel that fast? Pony Express? Paiute Post? Hoss goes up to San Francisco, for what reason I can’t fathom. Probably the budget. Joe came back to help but didn’t know Adam was a prisoner. Apparently Winnie is bringing Adam to Truckee Rock so they can, I don't know, parlay? Joe wants the whole story but Ben says they can talk about it later. The funny part here is that in real life, Chief Winnemucca was also known as Captain Truckee so they're essentially going to his rock.

  • Winnie and his men arrive at 'the rock' to talk with Ben and Joe. They bring out Adam. What is up with his upturned pant cuffs? Was that a thing in the 60s?

  • Ben calls Adam "boy". Whatever. Adam jokes with Joe, asking if the vigilantes ran him out of Sacramento. I like that Adam's relaxed enough in this situation to try and take his brother down a peg. Winnie says Ben will stop the soldiers or Adam will die. That's kind of a tall order, considering Ben has no authority over the army.

  • On another note, Winnie isn’t happy about Ben shooting one of his men. Ben comes back with the fact that the man would have killed his son (Adam). Winnie counters, saying he has 100 sons. I'm assuming he means this figuratively, as in, he considers all his men, his sons. But it does sounds like the bromance is over.

  • Adam pipes up, saying Bruno and Ringnose can fix this and Ben asks for time to ride to the high mountains and get proof. Winnie agrees to not attack for the moment.

  • Joe and Ben run into the cavalry and Major Hungerford while on their journey to Ringnose. We also unfortunately run into Mike 'the total and complete jerk' Wilson who is travelling with Hungerford and continues to cause trouble. I thought Stewart wasn't going to let him talk to the army. In any case, we know Mike does whatever he wants. Here he tries to stir up trouble again and almost draws his gun on Ben.

  • Meanwhile Ben is trying to clean up the situation, saying the Bannocks killed Mike's brother because of what he and Mike did to some Bannock women. Notice how Mike doesn't deny he assaulted these women and instead says Ben has been on the side of the Paiutes all along.

  • Then we get one of the best parts of the show where Hungerford threatens to gag Mike. Do it anyway! I don't mind! Hungerford shows some sense, unlike Ormsby who paid for his stupidity as he's now worm food, and chooses to believe Ben's story. Well it's about time somebody did!

  • Hungerfrod says he's under express orders to attack the Paiutes and punish them but if Ben can bring proof that it was the Bannocks that attacked Wilon's Station, he'll parlay. I like this guy. He bends the rules when he knows something's not right. Ben asks for time, just like with Winnie. Hungerford agrees.

  • Mike protests but Hungerford says that if Ben is telling the truth then Mike will go back to Sacramento with him in irons. Do it anyway! I don't mind!

  • Back at Winnie's camp Adam's tied up in a teepee. Young Wolf orders Adam's guards to leave and moves to kill him. Winnie arrives just in time to stop him and decides now is the time to get philosophical with Adam and talk about how white people ruin everything. Winnie knows Hungerford is coming to fight them. Winnie feels sad for Adam because as soon as Hungerford attacks, Young Wolf will kill Adam. Winnie is one tough son of a gun. I wish we had more scenes with Winnie though. I wanted to see the conflict between saving his people and taking the life of his friend's son.

  • Dramatic music! We cut from a shot of the Cavalry ambling along to Ben and Joe riding like they just fed their horses shots of espresso. They ride right into the Bannoc camp, unopposed and without being shot at. Not believable in my eyes but a Bannoc man remarks that it was brave they rode up into the camp so I suppose it's fine.

  • Ben confronts Bruno because this is essentially all his fault. People are dead because he decided to tell Ringnose about the Wilson's Station incident. Ben says Adam will die if the California army attacks and that the Paiute people will die. Can the Bannoc's live with that? Ringnose says "war is war". Jerk. Ben says Adam brought back Numpta and Bruno's wives. That should count for something.

  • Ringnose says they'll ride and asks what will happen to them if they turn themselves in. I don't think he's thought about the consequences of killing innocent people.

  • Back at the Paiute Camp, Young Wolf drags Adam to the place where they will ambush the army. As Hungerford approaches, he says they can't delay any longer and gives orders to advance but not to fire unless fired upon. We cut to a shot of Mike with his shit-eating grin. That ass didn't listen the first time this was said so he probably won't listen now.

  • Adam's trying to struggle free and we just know he's going to get away. He's a Cartwright; he's like a buttered pig in a cow poke.

  • The bugle sounds, which lets the Paiutes know the army is coming. Very stupid. Adam frees himself at the right moment, punches Young Wolf and runs away. Yay! Winnie is all wtf man!

  • We see shots of Ben and Joe rushing, Adam running, Young Wolf chasing. We cut between the Paiutes and the army, with filler shots and repeated shots that drag out the action. Get on with it!

  • Adam shouts "don't shoot" which Mike takes to mean, "kill the closest Paiute" and shoots and kills Young Wolf. That jerkface! Everyone else starts firing and killing one another and it's a bloodbath. There is one realy cool effect where cannon fire comes right at the viewer but it looks like fireworks so I'm not sure what was going on there.

  • Mike rides up to Adam and is ready to blow his brains out when Adam throws a knife at that ass and kills him. Just then, Ben and Joe ride up with the Bannoc. The fighting stops and everyone is pretty much dead. Hungerford says "Gog help us. What have we done?" Is this the end of the Paiute? Is Winnie alive? Is anyone alive? Hungerford says to tell his men loud and clear that this entire debacle was all a mistake. The Bannocs confess their crimes after the fight and Hungerford says he appreciates their honesty and that they will have come to California with him and stand trial.

  • Adam, Ben and Joe walk over to Winnie who's mourning his son. They don't really know what to say so they just let him be.

  • How will this battle affect the relationship between the Paiutes and the Cartwrights? How about Native Americans and the army? What about the Cartwrights and the people of Virginia City? If the show was being made today it would probably inform on the actions of characters from now on but because it was made over fifty years ago (man that's a long time) everyone will probably have forgotten about this incident by next episode.

    Episode Summary


    Adam vs Vern Wilson = Adam
    Adam vs Mike Wilson = Adam

    Deathtoll: 27 (This number is probably a lot higher. I just counted the ones I saw.)

    Bonanza Summary

    Fight Count
    Adam: 6W 1L
    Hoss: 2W 1L
    Little Joe: 0
    Ben: 0

    Lady Count:

    Adam: 1 (Lotta Crabtree)
    Hoss: 1 (Emily Pennington)
    Little Joe: 0
    Ben: 0

    Kiss Count

    Adam: 1
    Hoss: 0
    Little Joe: 0
    Ben: 0

    Deathcount: 43

    Next Time: Enter Mark Twain
  • No comments: