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Bonanza - The Gunmen

episode 1.19

USA 1960
produced by
David Dortort for NBC
directed by Christian Nyby
starring Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, Henry Hull, Ellen Corby, Douglas Spencer, King Donovan, George Mitchell, Dorothy Crehan, Jody Fair, Jonathan Gilmore, Ann Graves, Dennis Holmes, Jenny Maxwell, Bill McLean, Dorothy Neumann
written by Carey Wilber, music by David Rose


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Brothers Hoss (Dan Blocker) and Little Joe (Michael Landon) arrive in a sleepy little Texas town just to stay overnight - but for some reason everybody thinks they are the Slade brothers, notorious gunmen hired by Alonzo McFadden (Douglas Spencer), to help him in his feud against the Hadfields, and when Hoss and Joe finally want to move on the next day, they walk into an ambush, are made prisoners by a lynch mob and the local sheriff (Henry Hull) can only just save their necks for the time being by throwing them into jail. Then though, Hoss and Joe are broken free from jail by the McFaddens, but that's when their troubles really start because the McFaddens won't even think about letting them move on but instead insist that they do what they (actually, the Slade boys) were hired for: Kill as many Hadfields as possible.

Soon enough the town prepares for a showdown between the McFaddens and the Hadfields which Hoss and Little Joe don't want to be any part of, but everyone else sees them as the main attraction - only the sheriff turns out to be on their side, unexpectedly, because he's the only one who does not believe they are the Slade boys, and between the three of them, they come up with a plan to use bible thumping Lorna (Ellen Corby) and her circle of women to prevent a blood bath in the nick of time and force the McFaddens and the Hadfields to make peace.

Hoss and Little Joe get away from the village just in time because all of a sudden, the McFaddens and the Hadfields decide to put the blame for everything on the Slade boys. Interestingly enough, at exactly this time, the real Slade boys (also played by Blocker and Landon) enter town and ... ouch.


Basically, like many other Western series, Bonanza was just a watered down version of the B-Western from 20 to 30 years ago, it's your typical formula Western but lacking the action and inventiveness of the gest of its kind. That said though, this episode is one of the better of the series, it's quite amusing in its own way and lacks messages about good fathering that were imminent in especially later episodes of the series. Mildly entertaining, but nothing great.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD