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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 8: Episodes #236-244 | #245-252 | #253-261 | #262-269

Ballad of the Ponderosa

Episode #245: Ballad of the Ponderosa

Air Date: November 13, 1966   Written by: Michael Landon, Rik Vollaerts   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Randy Boone (Colter Preston), Ann Doran (Lisa Stanley), Roger Davis (Harold Stanley), John Archer (Dave Sinclair)

A young man who blames Ben for the death of his father, returns to Virginia City. Script co-written by Michael Landon.

Trivia: Ann Doran was also in Season Ten's, "The Real People Of Muddy Creek". Her career began at age four, with silent films. She was also cast in Little House on the Prairie and Highway To Heaven.

The Oath

Episode #246: The Oath

Air Date: November 20, 1966   Written by: Sidney Ellis   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Tony Bill (Charlie Two), Douglas Kennedy (Big Charlie Monahan)

Charlie Two has made an oath to his father to kill Ben Cartwright. Joe tries to stop this from happening.

Trivia: Tony Bill (Charlie Two) went on to direct and produce television and movies. In 1973, his feature The Sting (1973) became one of the highest grossing films in history and brought him an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Little Town

Episode #247: A Real, Nice Friendly Little Town

Air Date: November 27, 1966   Written by: Herman Hoffman   Directed by: Herman Hoffman
Guest Stars: Louise Latham (Willie Mae Reichmann), Mark Slade (Judd Reichmann), Robert Doyle (Jeb Reichmann)

Joe rides home and explains he got shot where his seat meets the saddle. Guilted by his younger brother, an unwilling Hoss goes off to find the culprit.

Trivia: Guest star Mark Slade is seen as 'Blue', in David Dortort's, The High Chaparral. Robert Doyle is later seen in Season Thirteen's, "He Was Only Seven", and in Season Fourteen's, "Forever". Louise Latham is later seen in Season Twelve's, "The Silent Killer".

The Bridegroom

Episode #248: The Bridegroom

Air Date: December 4, 1966   Written by: Walter Black   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Joanne Linville (Maggie Dowling), Ron Hayes (Jarrod Wilson), Jeff Corey (Tuck Dowling)

Joe plays matchmaker.

Trivia: Jeff Corey, a veteran actor and acting teacher was Leonard Nimoy's acting teacher, and also gave Bruce Lee acting lessons.


Episode #249: Tommy

Air Date: December 18, 1966   Written by: Mort Thaw, Mary T. Taylor, Thomas Thompson   Directed by: William Witney
Guest Stars: Janet De Gore (Allie Miller), Michael Witney (Jess Miller), Teddy Quinn (Tommy Miller), Frank Puglia (Padre)

The Cartwrights protect a woman and her deaf son from the boy's outlaw father.

Trivia: Michael Witney appeared in three other episodes of Bonanza - "Mighty Is The Word", later in "The Stronghold", and "The Prisoners". Witney was also married to the model Twiggy.

Frank Puglia (Padre) had a memorable bit as a Moroccan rug merchant who marks down prices to friends of Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in the classic film Casablanca (1942).

A Christmas Story

Episode #250: A Christmas Story

Air Date: December 25, 1966   Written by: Thomas Thompson   Directed by: Gerd Oswald
Guest Stars: Wayne Newton (Andy Walker), Jack Oakie (Thaddeus Cade)

Singing Andy Walker returns to Virginia City successful, along with his questionable Uncle Thaddeus.

Trivia: Wayne Newton makes his second appearance on the series as Andy Walker.

Ponderosa Explosion

Episode #251: Ponderosa Explosion

Air Date: January 1, 1967   Written by: Alex Sharp   Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Dub Taylor (Barlow), Chubby Johnson (Clyde), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing)

Gerby Royals (rabbits) overrun the Ponderosa as Joe and Hoss try to make their fortune.

Trivia: In the scene where Joe is in his bedroom calculating their hopeful profits, "Now that's 428 rabbits humping 428 rabbits, you got about 956 rabbits", Michael Landon recorded a voice-over for Little Joe's scene. The sound editor caught this in time avoiding major embarrassment for NBC! Did you hear this or not?

Dub Taylor (Barlow) is the father of Buck Taylor, 'Newly O'Brien' on Gunsmoke.


Episode #252: Justice

Air Date: January 8, 1967   Written by: Richard Wendley   Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Beau Bridges (Horace), Lurene Tuttle (Mrs. Cutler), Shirley Bonne (Sally Cutler), Bing Russell (Deputy Clem Foster)

When the woman Joe was planning to marry is murdered, he becomes intent upon tracking down her killer.

Trivia: Beau Bridges (Horace) is the son of actor Lloyd Bridges, and brother of Golden Globe Winner and Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges.