Episode 133 - THE BOSS

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Who is your favorite Bonanza character?: Hoss

Episode 133 - THE BOSS

Post by Episode Guide » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:41 pm

Date: May 19, 1963

Summary: The Cartwrights try to rally the town against a freight line owner.

Written by: Leo Gordon and Paul Leslie Piel
Directed by: Arthur Nodel
Guest Stars: Carroll O'Connor (Tom Slaydon)

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Slideshow courtesy of Bejules

TNTrue
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Who is your favorite Bonanza character?: Hoss

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Re: Episode 133 - THE BOSS

Post by TNTrue » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:59 pm

Liked the opener (Joe getting shot), and there were a few other good moments, but on the whole I thought this was what romance fans call an "idiot plot," where everyone has to act like an idiot for the plot to work. The Cartwrights weren't idiots, thank goodness, but all the townspeople were. And the bad guy's top hand was a complete moron, first giving things away to the daughter, and then thinking he'd get in good with the boss by shooting her. Sheesh. Kind of liked the daughter, though.

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Re: Episode 133 - THE BOSS

Post by TNTrue » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:28 pm

Currently reading John Boessenecker' s Badge and Buckshot:Lawlessness in Old California, and this morning I ran across a passage that reminded me of something else that didn't work for me in this episode. Not only did it not make sense to me that the store owners would just let this guy and his men bully them -- the West was Wild, and when it came to protection schemes like this, store owners were not above paying their own bully boys -- but even in 1859 (the earliest I think the show goes), there was a lot of local traffic hauling to Virginia City (and plenty to Carson City and other places in the area, for that matter), and not only would the local Virginia City store keepers have been hurt by shipments not getting through, but plenty of the guys in California shipping things in.

Also, the route in from California crossed multiple toll roads, and the guys who ran the toll roads would have been furious, and they spent a lot of money keeping their roads clear in the winter and then fixing them in the spring. And there would be all the guys who ran or owned stations on the road, where the teamsters stayed. And the teamsters themselves were seriously tough hombres. There would have been a lot, a lot a lot, of powerful people who would not have been happy with "Boss" Tom Slayden. Not to say there wasn't plenty of corruption -- just that you'd have to be a lot more subtle about it, and target people with a lot less power.

Anyhow, I was reading about a Confederate plot to steal a bunch of Comstock Lode silver, and they're talking about the main supply road (from Placerville, CA, to Virginia City), thought I'd share some of it, since this road essentially ran through the Ponderosa (or along the south edge of it, depending on which toll road was in best shape that year). The event they're talking about happened in 1864, but a lot of what they are talking about was true most of the early 1860s:
The Placerville toll road over the Sierra was then one of the most heavily used highways in California. By day a continuous string of teams stretched from Placerville to Lake Tahoe, carrying frieght to Virginia City and other Nevada mining camps. Each night nearly every station on the road fed three of four hundred horses and mules and dozens of teamsters, who would curl up and sleep underneath their wagons. The six-horse Concord coaches of the Pioneer Stage Company carried much of the silver bullion across from the Comstock, treasure which helped greatly to finance the Union's war effort.
p. 141
The girls and I joke and complain about how often someone's alone in the ranch yard (a place as big as the Ponderosa would probably have a black smith and/or a leather maker and/or any number of people who'd stick closer to home), and how often Hop Sing has to take care of their horses, etc., but even so, we forget just how many people lived in the area. Admittedly, at the same time they were pretty isolated -- while the map doesn't show the Ponderosa as being a million acres, it is still huge, and the people spread pretty thin there even when there were a lot of business in it in real history. People were mostly concentrated in towns, and in small areas along the roads. Virginia City, however, had a goodly sized population, especially if you add in all the smaller cities around it (Dayton and Gold Hill and a zillion more that are long gone), which would matter in plots like this.

Not that the guys doing Bonanza cared -- nor did I as a kid, and nor do I really care now, in that I usually love the show enough to look past things like this. If the writers give me lots of fun Cartwright stuff, or guest roles I really like, I'll forgive a lot. My "personal canon" is that many Bonanza episodes didn't actually happen to the Cartwrights, but still legitimately represent things that happened in the west (to neighbors, or to people they knew, maybe) -- heaven knows the characters themselves seemed to completely forget certain episodes! :grin Or I'll otherwise justify/circumvent non-historical stuff (women in the 1860s did not wear bangs!). But, although I sometimes quite like Carroll O'Connor's acting, this story didn't distract me enough from thinking about real history, I guess.

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