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Episodes appear in order of original air date which may not coincide with when they were actually filmed. Episodes that are linked have an In-Depth article.

Season 12: Episodes #362-369 | #370-377 | #378-385 | #386-389

Virginia City

Episode #362: The Night Virginia City Died

Air Date: September 13, 1970   Written by: John Hawkins   Directed by: William Wiard
Guest Stars: Angel Tompkins (Janie Lund), Phil Brown (Wade Tucker), Ray Teal (Sheriff Roy Coffee), Bing Russell (Deputy Clem Foster)

An arsonist is on the loose in Virginia City and it happens to be Clem's fiancé. Roy's job is on the line when the fires don't stop.

Trivia: This episode featured the recurring characters of Clem Foster and Roy Coffee. Season 12 marked the beginning of the series being shot at Warner Brothers, the first 11 seasons being filmed at Paramount Studios. This change resulted in the burning of the 'old' Virginia City and the introduction of the 'new' Virginia City in this episode, since the series was being shot in a different studio.

Season 12 also brought change to the opening cast credits, as the long-running ride up scene was replaced with individual action shots of the main characters. Also, the now famous watercolors that ran with the end credits would be seen for the last time in season 12. David Rose also scored new title music that started with this season.


Episode #363: A Matter of Faith

Air Date: September 20, 1970   Written by: Jack B. Sowards, John Hawkins   Directed by: William Wiard
Guest Stars: Lou Frizzell (Dusty Rhoades), Jack Collins (Mayor Corey), Geoffrey Lewis (Rogers)

The Cartwrights discover that Dusty Rhoades has joined up with the young boy whose rainmaker father was killed.

Trivia: Mitch Vogel makes his first of 39 appearances as Jamie Hunter in this episode. Dabbs Greer has an unscripted appearance in this episode as the mercantile owner - can you find him?

Weary Willies

Episode #364: The Weary Willies

Air Date: September 27, 1970   Written by: Robert Pirosh   Directed by: Leo Penn
Guest Stars: Richard Thomas (Billy), Lee Purcell (Angie), Lonny Chapman (Colter), Elisha Cook Jr. (Marcus)

The Cartwrights become aware of the hard time Civil War veterans are having as they readjust to civilian life.

Trivia: This was Richard Thomas' first and only appearance in the series. He is probably best remembered for his portrayal of John Boy Walton in the long running CBS drama, The Waltons.

In an interesting tidbit, Richard Thomas was being considered as an addition to the Bonanza cast, but this idea was rejected by the brass at NBC.

The Wagon

Episode #365: The Wagon

Air Date: October 5, 1970   Written by: Ken Pettus   Directed by: James Neilson
Guest Stars: Denver Pyle (Price Buchanan), Salome Jens (Madge Tucker), Bing Russell (Deputy Clem Foster)

After being taken into custody by a sheriff who does not care if he is guilty or innocent of a crime, Hoss escapes from the prison wagon with a woman he is convinced got a raw deal.

Trivia: This was Denver Pyle's 7 of 8 appearances in the series. He is probably best known for his role as Uncle Jesse on the CBS series, Dukes of Hazzard (1979).

While working with John Wayne on The Alamo (1960), Wayne became impressed with Pyle's photography and made special arrangements with his public relations office to designate Pyle as the official set photographer for the picture.

Power of Life

Episode #366: The Power of Life and Death

Air Date: October 11, 1970   Written by: Joel Murcott   Directed by: Leo Penn
Guest Stars: Rupert Crosse (Davis), Larry Ward (Sheriff), Lou Frizzell (Dusty Rhoades)

A man is killed and Ben and Joe cross the desert in pursuit of the killer. Ben is shot by Indians wanting to steal their horses and Joe has to cross the desert on foot to get help.

Trivia: This was Rupert Crosse's first and only appearance in the series. The son-in-law of the legendary Cab Calloway, he was one of the actors Jack Nicholson dedicated his Best Actor Oscar to when he won for As Good As It Gets. Nicholson wanted his old friend Rupert to play opposite him in The Last Detail (1973) as the sailor Mulhall, but Crosse was terminally ill and could no longer work.


Episode #367: Gideon the Good

Air Date: October 18, 1970   Written by: Ken Pettus   Directed by: Herschel Daugherty
Guest Stars: Richard Kiley (Sheriff Gideon Yates), Terry Moore (Lydia Yates), A Martinez (Luis)

On the trail, Joe witnesses a woman kill a man and reports it to the sheriff. When the sheriff realizes his wife is the murderer, he tries to kill Joe, the only witness.

Trivia: This was Richard Kiley's first and only appearance in the series. He won two Tony Awards as Best Actor (Musical): in 1959 for Redhead and in 1966 for his signature role, Man of La Mancha.

This was A Martinez' first and only appearance in the series. He would later gain popularity on the NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara, playing the role of Cruz Castillo, one part of the Eden and Cruz 'supercouple'.


Episode #368: The Trouble with Trouble

Air Date: October 25, 1970   Written by: Jack B. Sowards   Directed by: Herschel Daugherty
Guest Stars: Gene Evans (Montana Perkins), G.D. Spradlin (Chip), E.J. Andre (Judge), Jeff Morris (Matthew Brody)

When Hoss volunteers to be Sheriff of a town called Trouble, he soon finds out that the town had correctly been named. He almost manages to arrest the whole town, and captures the Clanton gang all by himself.

Trivia: This was Gene Evans' third and last appearance in the series. Although he often played tough, snarling sergeants, gunslingers or cops, in reality Evans had very poor eyesight and could barely see without his glasses. Only in Donovan's Brain (1953) did his character, a scientist, get to wear glasses, and Evans at the time remarked that it was a revelation for him to be able to actually see the actors he was working with.

Thornton's Account

Episode #369: Thornton's Account

Air Date: November 1, 1970   Written by: Preston Wood   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Gregory Walcott (Ed Thornton), Carl Reindel (Frank Wells), Heather Menzies (Martha Boyle)

Ben's horse, Cinnamon, throws him down a steep slope, injuring his back. Joe tries to find some help, but the settlers in the valley live in fear of the land owner and his hired guns. Joe has to ask for help from these men and they leave him when they are most needed. Joe seeks revenge much to Hoss' dismay.

Trivia: This is Greg Walcott's sixth of seven appearances in the series. Square jawed, tall and handsome Gregory Walcott was born Bernard Mattox in Wendell, North Carolina on January 13th 1928 and he was kept perpetually busy throughout the 1950s and 1960s guest starring in dozens of TV shows, usually westerns such as Cheyenne (1955), Zane Grey Theater (1956), Wagon Train (1957) and Rawhide (1959) that took advantage of his clean cut looks and broad shoulders.