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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

Love Child

Episode #370: The Love Child

Air Date: November 8, 1970   Written by: Michael Landon   Directed by: Michael Landon
Guest Stars: Carol Lawson (Etta), Michael-James Wixted (Scott), Will Geer (Jack Randolph), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing)

A dying woman and her son are rejected by her father because she had a child out of wedlock.

Trivia: Michael Landon recycled this script for his third series Highway to Heaven, changing the title to 'A Child of God'.

El Jefe

Episode #371: El Jefe

Air Date: November 15, 1970   Written by: Ken Pettus   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Rodolfo Acosta (Sheriff Rodolfo Aranda), Warren Stevens (Owen Driscoll), Jaime Sanchez (Ramon Cardenas)

Ben and Hoss come to the aid of Mexican farmers who are forced off their land by the greedy mine owner who runs the town of Prince River.

Trivia: This is Warren Stevens' last of four appearances. Warren Stevens was born in Pennsylvania and joined the Navy at age 17. His interest in acting was piqued while he was attending Annapolis, and this resulted in 12 weeks of summer stock in Virginia. His friends, Gregory Peck and Kenneth Tobey, later arranged interviews for Stevens at the renowned Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.

In this episode, there is one interesting scene inside the Ponderosa - where Joe wears a red shirt!

Pepper Shannon

Episode #372: The Luck of Pepper Shannon

Air Date: November 22, 1970   Written by: John Hawkins, George Scheneck, William Marks   Directed by: Nick Webster
Guest Stars: Neville Brand (Pepper Shannon), ay Teal (Sheriff Roy Coffee), Bing Russell (Clem Foster), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing)

Pepper Shannon is a dime novel hero and outlaw. Ben gives him a job on the condition the one-time outlaw stays away from Jamie, who happens to admire him.

Trivia: This was Neville Brand's second of three appearances in the series. Brand was regularly cited as the 4th most decorated soldier in WWII, but that information is incorrect and was denied by Brand before his death. He was, however, according to official military records, the recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry in combat. His other awards and decorations are the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Ribbon, the European/African/Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with three Battle Stars, one Overseas Service Bar, one Service Stripe, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.


Episode #373: The Impostors

Air Date: December 13, 1970   Written by: Robert Vincent Wright   Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Strother Martin (Joad Bruder), Anthony James (Willie), Diane Shalet (Mrs. Bud York), Bing Russell (Clem Foster)

Hoss and Joe pretend to be stage robbers' partners in order to recover stolen Cartwright money. All goes well until the wife of one of the thieves shows up.

Trivia: This was Strother Martin's fourth of fifth appearances in the series. He did an episode of the The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) called "Baby Fat" in which he portrayed a playwright based on Tennessee Williams in 1965. Fifteen years later while hosting Saturday Night Live (1975), he admitted during the monologue that because of that part, many times he was actually mistaken for the famous playwright.

Honest John

Episode #374: Honest John

Air Date: December 20, 1970   Written by: Arthur Heinemann   Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Jack Elam (Honest John), Bing Russell (Deputy Clem Foster), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing)

Jamie forms a friendship with a bum and his pet crow. Before long, Jamie suggests they fix up an old wagon and leave the Ponderosa.

Trivia: This was Jack Elam's third and final appearance in the series. He appeared with Dan Blocker in the movie comedy, The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970). Elam also appeared in two Bonanza movies: Bonanza: The Return(1993) and Bonanza: Under Attack(1995), which was his last television appearance.

Young Lady

Episode #375: For a Young Lady

Air Date: December 27, 1970   Written by: B.W. Sandefur   Directed by: Don Richardson
Guest Stars: Jewel Blanch (Carrie Sturgis), Madeleine Sherwood (Aunt Vella Owens), Paul Fix (Buford Sturgis), William Bramley (Gifford Owens)

Joe figures out that a young girl's aunt and uncle want custody of her only because they believe she has the rights to her late grandfather's mine.

Trivia: This is Madeline Sherwood's first and only appearance in the series. Her best remembered role was as the Mother Superior in The Flying Nun (1967), and she was born in a town founded, interestingly enough, by an order of nuns. She was a great believer in civil rights, working with Martin Luther King, Jr. and being a member of CORE (Congress on Racial Equality). She was arrested during a freedom walk and received six months hard labor.

Single Pilgrim

Episode #376: A Single Pilgrim

Air Date: January 3, 1971   Written by: Suzanne Clauser   Directed by: William Wiard
Guest Stars: Beth Brickell (Dilsey Brennan), Jeff Corey (Frank Brennan), John Schuck (Tom Brennan)

Settlers from Virginia argue over Hoss' fate after one of them accidentally shoots him.

Trivia: This is John Schuck's first and only appearance in the series. He is best remembered for his role in the NBC Series, McMillan and Wife. He is the first actor to ever use the f-word in a major motion picture - M*A*S*H (1970).

Beth Brickell (Dilsey Brennan) was nominated for an Emmy for performance in this episode; unfortunately, she did not win.

Gold Plated

Episode #377: The Gold Plated Rifle

Air Date: January 10, 1971   Written by: Preston Wood   Directed by: Joseph Pevney
Guest Stars: Jessica Myerson (Mrs. Hagen), George Paulsin (Frank Schneider), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing)

Jamie runs away from home after he breaks a rifle he was told not to touch.

Trivia: This was George Paulsin's first and only appearance in the series. Paulsin is the son of singer Dee Shepherd. His sisters are Georgette Mossbacher (CEO of Borghese Cosmetics and co-chair of the Finance Committee the Republican National Committee. Other sisters are model Lyn Paulsin and Melody Dwyer. Their father George Paulsin died in a 1959 automobile crash. His stepfather Randy Shepherd is the brother of writer Jean Shepherd.