Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Bonanza Season 7 Episodes
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Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby Episode Guide » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:02 pm

Date: September 19, 1965

Summary: Ben is appointed as temporary judge in Virginia City. He must decide what to do with a man who admitted his guilt for bank robbery and promises to return the money if he will be set free.

Written by: John and Ward Hawkins
Directed by: William F. Claxton
Guest Stars: Sundown Davis...Tom Tully Billy...Anthony Call Ruth...Elizabeth Perry Drugan...Kelly Thordsen Snell...John Hubbard Powell...John Archer Roy Coffee...Ray Teal Hamilton...Walter Sande Judge O' Hara...Dayton Lummis Hicks...Lincoln Demyan Bob Miles...(uncredited extra) Bill Clark...(uncredited extra)

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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby Dagburnit » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:29 pm

Was frontier justice in court for criminal cases without a jury as in this episode? Was it possible for people to serve as judges without a law background?

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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby Tracy » Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:06 am

Since many Bonanza episodes are not specifically dated, my impression is that Nevada was not yet a state in this one. Territories were, as far as I know, under their own jurisdiction. They had a model to follow, if they so chose.

Ben was the logical choice to be a temporary judge in the area. What's more important in this episode is the conflict - do what many feel is "right" for the town or do what is moral, follow United States judicial practices. You must also take into consideration Ben's ability to read people. He knew he was being fed a lie, and he chose to follow the laws to smoke out the truth.

And Ben is really hot in a judge's robe. :grin

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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby daisy60 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:16 am

The gist of the episode, from my perspective, the show is based on the Cartwrights. Ben Cartwright was somebody well respected by most people, so when a judge was needed, he may have been voted to be acting judge by drs, the sheriff, teachers, etc. Many judges traveled from city to city at that time and didn't live in the area.

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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby desertgal » Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:51 pm

Dagburnit wrote:Was frontier justice in court for criminal cases without a jury as in this episode?

Sometimes.

Was it possible for people to serve as judges without a law background?

Quite possible, & it often happened, along with folks practicing law without benefit of graduating or even attending law school. The Nevada Bar Association didn't exist then. For more info about real life frontier justice, Google is your friend.

Otherwise, in this case, Ben also got to be a judge because the script said so. That's how it works on television.

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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby eniblick » Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:12 am

I saw this episode for the first time the otehr day when I received my Season 8 boxed set. It was a great pleaseure to see a "new" Bonanza. I thought it was a bit far fetched that Ben was appointed judge, but did make sense in the context of a leading citizen with good moral compass.

I liked this episode!!

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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby Calamity » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:24 pm

This one was a little too far fetched for me. I could completely understand when Ben was asked to decide about the children in Blessed Are They, but this seemed to me to be a legal matter that the territorial judge would have resolved.
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Re: Episode 204 - THE DILEMMA

Postby Smorgana » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:46 pm

As a lawyer I struggle with non-lawyers being judges - if only it were that easy! I did like the courtroom in many episodes they seemed to have make shift rooms.

I have been watching lots of Bonanza episodes lately and the one thing that drives me nuts is the seeming ever changing bedroom layouts and designs (and possibly numbers). This episode introduces a study! I don't recall seeing the study in other episodes. It seems to be on the ground floor on the opposite side of the house to the kitchen.


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