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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 7: Episodes #203-210 | #211-218 | #219-227 | #228-235

The Debt

Episode #203: The Debt

Air Date: September 12, 1965   Written by: William R. Cox   Directed by: William Witney
Guest Stars: Tommy Sands (Wiley Kane), Brooke Bundy (Annie Kane), Ford Rainey (Sam Kane), Ray Teal (Roy Coffee)

A brother and sister work for free on the Ponderosa to make up for their father's robbing of the Ponderosa.

Trivia: This was Tommy Sands first and only appearance in the series. He was a disc jockey at age 12 with a radio station and cut his first record at age 14 which attracted the attention of Colonel Tom Parker and RCA Records. Sands became an immediate overnight sensation after copping the landmark lead in the Kraft TV presentation of The Singin' Idol which was the first TV drama on the subject of rock-and-roll. Tommy played a Southern Baptist Elvis-like lead. The single from that show went to #2 on the Billboard charts. Married to Frank Sinatra's daughter Nancy for five years. Rumor has it that when they divorced, Frank Sinatra saw to it that Sands' career would end.

The Dilemma

Episode #204: The Dilemma

Air Date: September 19, 1965   Written by: John and Ward Hawkins   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Tom Tully (Sundown Davis), Anthony Call (Billy), Elizabeth Perry (Ruth), Kelly Thordsen (Drugan), Ray Teal (Roy Coffee)

A bank robber tells temporary Judge Ben Cartwright that he'll reveal where he hid the bank money if he is allowed to go free.

Trivia: This was Tom Tully's first of two appearances in the series. Tully got into the acting business after a stint in the U.S. Navy. He had extensive experience in radio and on the stage before making his film debut in Northern Pursuit (1943). Tully worked steadily for the remainder of his career, and was typically cast as a somewhat tough but basically decent cop, military officer or other authority figure. He was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his role as the captain being replaced by Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny (1954).

The Brass Box

Episode #205: The Brass Box

Air Date: September 26, 1965   Written by: Paul Schneider   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Ramon Navarro (José Ortega), Michael Dante (Miguel), Adam Williams (Mueller), Sidney Smith (Minton)

A neighbor of the Ponderosa says he has papers which show that he owns most of the land around him, including most of the Ponderosa.

Trivia: This was Michael Dante's first and only appearance in the series. He appeared in many TV westerns in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Adam's absence is mentioned for the first time in this episode.

The Other Son

Episode #206: The Other Son

Air Date: October 3, 1965   Written by: Thomas Thompson   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Ed Begley, Sr. (Clint Watson), Tom Simcox (Andy Watson), Richard Evans (Ellis Watson), Bing Russell (Sheriff Walker)

After being denied going through Placerville, Ben hires a man and his two sons to help him transport explosives across the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe.

Trivia: This is Tom Simcox's first and only appearance in the series. That "Yankee cowboy" is how Beatle John Lennon referred to actor Tom Simcox after both spent time at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in India. In her book, John, Cynthia Lennon, the Beatle's first wife, reveals that John secretly suspected her of having an affair with Simcox while at the retreat. Of Tom, she writes, "The Yankee cowboy was an American actor called Tom Simcox, whom we'd met at the Maharishi's center. I'd got on well with him, but the idea that we'd had an affair was preposterous. Tom had never even hinted at anything untoward between us, apart from once asking me, very sweetly, if I had a twin sister."

The Lonely Runner

Episode #207: The Lonely Runner

Air Date: October 10, 1965   Written by: Thomas Thompson   Directed by: William Witney
Guest Stars: Gilbert Roland (Jim Acton), Pat Conway (Deputy Pete), Ray Teal (Roy Coffee)

A friend of the Cartwrights shoots a man who stole his prize mare.

Trivia: This was Gilbert Roland's first and only appearance in the series. Born Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso, he changed his name to Gilbert Roland after his two favorite movie stars, John Gilbert and Ruth Roland.


Episode #208: Devil On Her Shoulder

Air Date: October 17, 1965   Written by: Suzanne Clauser   Directed by: Virgil W. Vogel
Guest Stars: Ina Balin (Sarah Reynolds), John Doucette (Reverend Evan Morgan), Peter Helm (Gwylem), Adrienne Marden (Emma Morgan)

A woman is accused of being a witch by the leader of a religious order headed by her crazy uncle. The Cartwrights try to help as Ben has developed an attraction for the woman.

Trivia: This is Ina Balin's first and only appearance in the series. Ina lost two big roles to Natalie Wood in her early career. She lost the title role in Marjorie Morningstar (1958) and was tested for and seriously considered for the part of Maria in West Side Story (1961). A soft, slender, but intent-looking actress who could play various types of ethnicities (Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Greek, et al.), she had a lovely, quiet glow to her, but could easily display the fiery temperament of an Anna Magnani when called upon. In the 1960s, however, she was overshadowed by a number of her leading men in their respective showcases. There was little room for any actor to generate interest upon themselves when playing opposite the likes of an Elvis Presley, Jerry Lewis and/or John Wayne.

In other situations, her roles were merely decorative, less showy, or proved less integral to the main plot, such as her secondary role as Martha in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).

While Ina maintained a fine balance of TV roles ranging from the dramatic (Bonanza, Mannix, Quincy, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) to the humorous (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Get Smart), the one big acting role that could have set her apart from the others never materialized. She died at the age of 52 from a rare case of Pulmonary Hypertension, which some think may have been caused by something she may have breathed or ingested while in Vietnam. Many Vietnamese women who developed Pulmonary Hypertension may have gotten it from the herb fen-fen.

Found Child

Episode #209: Found Child

Air Date: October 24, 1965   Written by: Frank Cleaver   Directed by: Ralph E. Black
Guest Stars: Gerald Mohr (Collins), Eileen Baral (Lisa), Grandon Rhodes (Doctor)

Hoss rescues a young girl from a stagecoach accident and brings her to the Ponderosa.

Trivia: This was Gerald Mohr's second of three appearances in the series. Perhaps the only person to voice a character from both DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Besides being the voice of Green Lantern (DC) he was the voice of Reed "Mr. Fantastic" Richards (Marvel) in Hanna-Barbera's Fantastic Four (1968) animated series. He can be heard singing 3 songs, "My Darling Clementine," "Oh, I Killed A Man" and "Aura Lee," in the Cheyenne (1955) episode Rendezvous at Red Rock.

The Meredith Smith

Episode #210: The Meredith Smith

Air Date: October 31, 1965   Written by: Lois Hire   Directed by: John Florea
Guest Stars: Anne Helm (Callie), Robert Colbert (Ace), Strother Martin (Little Meredith), Robert Sorrells (Swanson), Eddie Firestone (Mr. Potts), Winnie Coffin (Widow Smith)

Ben needs to decide who is the true heir to a massive fortune - with consequences that would affect the Ponderosa.

Trivia: This is Strother Martin's second of four appearances in the series. Strother Martin collaborated with friend and filmmaker J.D. Feigelson on dialog in the screenplay for cult film Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Feigelson was writing the the film to star Strother, but before it could be set for production he passed away. Actor Charles Durning replaced Martin in the lead role of Otis P. Hazelrigg. One of memorable lines in the film was Strother Martin's contribution: "He's thirty-three years old, Mrs. Ritter, he's physically mature."