Bonanza/The Passing of a King

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The Passing of a King
Season 10, Episode 5
Airdate October 13, 1968
Written by B.W. Sandefur
Directed by Leon Benson
Produced by Richard Collins
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The Last Vote
BonanzaSeason Ten
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The Passing of a King is the fifth episode of the tenth season of Bonanza, and the three hundred eighth episode overall.

Starring: Michael Landon (Joseph "Little Joe" Cartwright), Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright), Dan Blocker (Eric "Hoss" Cartwright)

Special Guest Stars: Jeremy Slate (Jeremy Roman), Denver Pyle (Claude Roman), Diana Muldaur (Mary Roman)

and David Canary (Candy)

Featuring: Dan Tobin (Judge Rideout), Russ Conway (Ballenger), Jack Searl (Harrison), K.L. Smith (Sheriff), Larry Ward (Carver)


Plot Overview

The Cartwrights deliver a prize bull to Texas rancher Claude Roman as promised, but Claude's son Jeremy, who has become corrupt over time after he usurped control of the ranch due to his father's ill health, has no intention of paying the agreed sum for the bull and attempts to justify his actions by using moral equivalence to attack Ben and his father's acquisitions of their respective ranches. Complicating matters is a corrupt judge named Rideout who is on Jeremy's payroll, who helped orchestrate Jeremy seizing control of his father's ranch through a false declaration of mental incompetence against Claude and who unjustly got a Mexican ranch hand hung over a charge of slaughtering a calf from the Roman ranch for food for his family, and he refuses to listen and attempts to abuse his power when Claude's daughter Mary accompanies Ben to the judge's office to try to overturn her brother's seizure of control of the ranch.

When Jeremy tries to make trouble for Claude and Mary and for Ben over the bull and the family ranch ownership, Ben brings in Hoss, Little Joe and Candy to help out. Realizing that Judge Rideout is on the take after dealing with him at his office, Ben gets a hearing with a different judge arranged to take place in Amarillo over control of the Roman ranch and the issue of Ben's bull, but when he goes to the ranch to reclaim his bull, a spiteful Jeremy reveals he had it slaughtered and cut up, then he tries to prevent Mary from returning the money owed to Ben, forcing an outraged Claude to pull a gun on his son to stop him. During a brawl between Joe and Jeremy, Claude is forced to shoot and kill Jeremy to prevent him from killing Joe from behind with an ax, but the sacrifice of his own son to save Joe comes at a price as Claude dies moments later of a heart attack. With the loss of both her father and her brother, Mary gets ownership of the ranch and Ben promises to send her one of his bull's offspring.


Arc Advancement





The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments