"Bonanza" episode
Season 3, Episode 11
#77 in Series
Air date December 3, 1961
Guest starring:
Written by John T. Dugan
Directed by Don McDougall
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Horse Breaker
Next Episode:
The Frenchman
External links
Day of the Dragon on IMDb
Day of the Dragon on


His search for the two men who kidnapped his bride-to-be, Su Ling, will soon take angry Chinese warlord, General Tsung, from San Francisco to the Ponderosa where Little Joe has been challenged to explain how he won the girl in a poker game.


Joe wins at a poker game and receives an unexpected prize: a young Asian woman.

He doesn't realize that the Chinese slave girl was stolen from the infamous General Tsung. She goes to the Ponderosa, not wanting to be set free. That's because the general is looking for her.


At the saloon Joe is playing poker with Gordon and Barrett, and the stakes are high, Gordon has run out of money and offers Joe something outside, double or nothing.  Joe asks what it is and wants to have a look.  Outside he points and Joe looks at a horse, it's not great and agrees to the bet.  Back inside the saloon Joe shows his hand, he picks up his winnings and walks out to pick up his horse.  

Gordon tells Joe he's got it wrong, it's not the horse he bet on since he needs it and Joe ask what he won looking around.  He tells him he won Su Ling, the Chinese girl standing next to the horse.  He tells Joe she's all his and gives him a bill of sale to make it legal.  Joe wants to know what he means by legal, Gordon tells him there's a powerful Chinese warlord in San Francisco, General Mu Tsung and he left China is a hurry and brought along Su Ling and he bought her off him.  He leaves for St Louis.


Joe speaks slowly to Su Ling and asks her if she can speak English.  She calls him Master and tells him she learnt English in a missionary in China.  He tells her he sets her free but she doesn't want to be free.  Joe asks her why and she tells him she wouldn't know what to do and she'd feel alone in a strange land.  Joe doesn't know what do do either because he's never won anything quite like her before.  She tells her Master she will work for him and will be no trouble.  Joe apologises and tells her that they have enough help at the Ponderosa and he doesn't think his Pa would let him keep her.  She tells Joe she doesn't understand, two Masters already sold her and now Joe wants to send her away, she feels no one wants an unworthy person and leaves.  Joe stops her and tells her he was being hasty and he'll take her home and maybe his Pa will know what to do.  She smiles and thanks him and kisses his hand, Joe snatches his hand back and tells her not to do that as people pass him, he also tells her not to call him Master.  Joe is not looking forward to telling his Pa.

Ben returns home with Adam and Hoss and is surprised to see Su Ling in the front room.  She bows and calls them all Honourable Masters.  She offers to take Ben's hat and his face is still bewildered, Ben passes his hat to her, and so does Hoss.  


Finally Ben asks who she is whilst Joe is spying from the top of the stairs.  She introduces herself and then calls her their new slave, Ben and Hoss look at each other and Joe screws his face up and hides.  Adam immediately shouts for Joe and then Ben shouts for Joseph twice.  Joe comes down the stairs all innocent with a smile while everyone else is looking at him with a what have you done stare.

Ben asks Joe about the girl and Joe tells him he wanted to tell him and Ben invites him to do so.  He tells his Pa he won her in poker game and he thought she was a horse, Joe attempts to continue his story when Ben interrupts him and asks him even at his age he can't tell the difference between a girl and a horse.  Joe tells his Pa he does know the difference and that he thought Gordon was betting his horse but instead it turned out to be a girl.  Ben tells him he can't keep her and Joe he tells Ben he knows and he thought he'd bring her home to Pa so he'll know what to do.  Ben urges Joe to give her back, Joe tells him he can't because Gordon is halfway to St Louis by now.  Ben tells Joe he needs to sit down.

Ben wants to hear the whole story from the beginning.  But Joe tells them all that he wants to tell them about Su Ling first and tells them her story that brought her to America.  Ben asks Joe to call Su Ling.  Joe gets up and rings a little bell, everyone looks at him, Joe tells him she asked him to ring it everytime he wants something.  Su Ling trots out of the kitchen and bows to him and his sons, Ben tells her she's emancipated.  She doesn't understand the word so Ben tells her she's free, she asks free to do what while Joe is smugly watching the events.  Ben tells her she can do what she wants because she free so she tells him she wants to stay at the Ponderosa as the Cartwright's slave girl.  Joe tells his Pa she doesn't want to be free and Ben finds it  


ridiculous.  She asks Ben why he doesn't want her and that he can afford many slaves, Ben tells her they don't keep slaves.  Joe tells him that she doesn't understand their ways and their country.  Ben tells Su Ling he'll pay her a ticket back to China and give her enough money to start over.  Su Ling tells Ben she has no one in China now and now she has the Cartwright's.  She begs Ben if she can stay, she'll be their slave girl who comes when they ring the bell and if she doesn't they can beat her.  Ben relents and tells her she can stay until they can sort something out that's more permanent.  Ben explicitly tells her she's still free and she tells him she's free to stay.  Ben also tells her it's not Master here it's Mister, Su Ling is happy and withdraws to work with much devotion.  Joe hands Ben the bell and he snatches it out of his hand.  

Next morning Hoss comes down, his nose is pulled to the kitchen where Hop Sing comes out with a pot, Hoss want's know know what's inside and Hop Sing calls him a nosy belly, he tells Hoss that Su Ling cooked it and is helping him in the kitchen.  Hoss asks where she is and he tells her she's outside, he passes him a knife and Hoss asks what it's for, he tells him he'll know soon enough.

Outside Su Ling is with Adam peeling potatoes, and Hoss joins in followed by Joe who helps peel the potatoes.  Ben walks outside the house and sees his boys and Su Ling peeling potatoes, he grins at the sight.


Gordon and Barrett are camping for the night, they are discussing Su Ling  It turns out they kidnapped her from General Mu Tsung and he wouldn't pay the ransom because it was against his principles.  Barrett gets something out of his saddlebag when he's attacked from behind.  A group of Chinese men surround Gordon, General Mu Tsung walk out and Gordon asks what he wants.  He asks about Su Ling and Gordon tells him a fella called Cartwright forced him into giving Su Ling to him, the General wants to know where he can find him.  Gordon tells him he has a big ranch near Virginia City called the Ponderosa.  The General tells him men to free Gordon of his lifes pain.

Since Ben and Joe have been having trouble trying to explain the ways of the West they decide to take Su Ling into town so she can talk to her own people to help her understand more.  Joe volunteers to take her in the morning.


In Virginia City Joe has been taking Su Ling around and finally takes her to Dr Kam Lee.  Joe asks how he is and he tells him he's been busy and that he doesn't have enough hands.  Joe wants Dr Lee to tell Su Ling about what he does but Dr Lee is too busy so as long as they don't mind talking while he's with his patience he's talk all they want.  Su Ling offers to help since she worked in the Mission hospital in China, Dr Lee accepts her offer.

General Mu Tsung rides towards Virginia City.

Su Ling has been really helpful with the Dr.  He offers her work should she need it but she turns him down telling him she has work with the Cartwright's.  Joe tells Su Ling they have to get back to the Ponderosa.

One of the General's men has been riding up ahead and comes back to tell him where the Ponderosa is, they ride towards it.

Ben is at the house and is about to smoke a pipe when Hop Sing bursts in and tells Ben the Chinese Army are coming.  Ben is Confused, Hop Sign tells his boss to look for himself and then hides in the kitchen.


The boys are outside and Ben joins them, as the General rides in with all his men.  Ben asks what he wants and he tells him he has something that belongs to him.  Ben asks him what that is and the General tells him Su Ling.  Joe asks by what right and the General tells him the prior right of possession.  Ben tells him that's not a right.  The General tells Ben if he had time he could discuss it with him, and Joe asks him to discuss what since they don't have anything to discuss.  General Tsung insults Joe by calling him a hammer without a head, Ben restrains him.  Ben asks if he would come into the house to talk.  The General agrees by telling Ben a prudent man talks before he acts.


General Tsung wants to pay Ben back any expenses he incurred when looking after Su Ling.  Ben wants him to make it clear that he wants to buy her back and he tells him if he wishes to put it that way.  Joe tells him she's not for sale and Ben tells the General that what they mean is she's not for sale because she's free now and it's up to her to decide if she wants to go with him.  Ben summons Su Ling to the front room and she sees the General, the General tells her that he wants her to be one of his wives.  She doesn't answer him immediately and tells him she needs to think about it and will give him an answer tomorrow morning.  The General agrees but tells her he would have liked an answer now and tells her that he'll be patient and when she does come tomorrow that her response be affirmative.  Joe tells him not to threaten her, the General insults Joe again and again Ben restrains his son. Ben reminds the General that he isn't in China.

After the General leaves Ben tells Su Ling that he wants her to stay at the Ponderosa permanently and they'll respect her decision what ever she decides.  Joe tells Su Ling that he can't believe she would even consider marrying a man like the General.  

Joe is pacing outside the Ponderosa when he hears screaming from Su Ling's room, he runs in and finds two Chinese men grappling Su Ling.  A fight ensues and during the fight Su Ling is hurt when a knife hits her arm that Joe's trying to wrestle from one of the men. Joe ends up on the bed and his assailant runs out the door quickly, the man Joe punched to the floor pulls his gun out and is about to shoot Joe on the bed when Ben enters the room and shoots the man dead.  As usual Joe isn't happy about what happened and Ben has to quiet him down while they look at Su Ling's arm.  Ben tells Hoss to take the knife to the Sheriff and bring back the Doctor.

At General Tsung's camp the man that ran away from the Ponderosa is on bended knee, the General isn't happy he came back empty handed and whips him.  He tells his men they'll wait until the morning and then they'll get Su Ling and repay the Cartwright's for their meddling.  The General looks at one of his men and gives him a silent nod, out of shot a gun is fired as the General looks down at the man who bumbled his plans.

Dr Kam Lee is at the Ponderosa tending to Su Ling's arm, he asks her if she's considered what he said.  Su Ling tells him it's better if she leaves the Ponderosa before the General returns since she's worried about the danger she's put her benefactors in and agrees to work for Dr Lee.  Joe enters the room and brings her out to the others.

Ben asks her if she's better and she tells them that she is however her mind trembles, Hoss reassures her not to worry about the General and if he tries anything again they'll be ready for him.  She tells them it's not that which she is worried about and Adam asks her what is.  She tells Ben that the Doctor needs her help for the people in Virginia City, Ben asks her if she wants to work with them and she confirms she does if her Masters agree to release her.  Joe tells her he won't let her go if her intentions are purely to protect them.  She tells Joe she's been content being at the Ponderosa and she owes Little Joe so much and if he wants she'll stay at the Ponderosa as his servant girl.  Joe lifts her face and tells her she should do what's best for herself.  Joe asks her when she wants to leave and she tells him she thinks it's wise that she return to town with the Doctor.  Joe tells her he'll take them back on the buckboard and asks his Pa if that's ok, Ben agrees.


Joe is packing her things on the buckboard and Su Ling gets on, Joe tells her he's going to miss her being around and if she ever needs help to call on them.  Su Ling tells Joe that their love has given her the courage to leave the birdcage she's built for herself and that Joe taught her the cage kept her inside it and not to keep the world out of it.  She kisses Joe on the cheek and Joe tells her that she had more to teach him than he did for her.    

Everyone comes out to say their goodbyes to her.  Su Ling tells Ben that she leaves with much more than when she came and he tells her if she means their hearts then she's right and tells her they'll miss her.  Ben tells her that she's brought a forgotten warmth back to their home and Adam tells her that she brought eyes full of beauty they'd forgotten to see and Hoss tells her to visit them often.  Su Ling can't find the words to tell them that she has in her heart and tells them that they breathed life into her existence and taught her freedom is very previous.

On the trail to Virginia City the General's men attack them and Joe tries to outrun them.  After a long hard rid they find an outcrop of rocks and hide behind them.  


The General appears with a white flag and wants to parlay with Little Joe.  He tells Joe he's not opened fire because he doesn't want to harm him, he wants Su Ling and will leave him alone.  Joe's answer is no and tells the General if he wants her he'll have to fight for her. The General swiftly lowers his flag as if to signal his men.  Joe is still standing looking out at where the General is when one of the Generals men appears at the top of the rocks and fires at Joe.  Joe spins from the impact and fires back at the man who fired at him killing him.  Joe slides down the rock he fell against and Su Ling goes to him  to look at the wound, the Doctor has come over to him as well, but Joe dismisses her because they have to time.  The General intends to outflank them while his men distract them.

Joe fires back at them but very quickly runs out of bullets, the General creeps up behind them and pointing his gun.  He calls Joe a toothless puppy before he kills him.  Instead of shooting him the General decides to kill him with his knife.  Joe manages to avoid the General's attacks and when there's an opening he punches him forcing him to drop his knife and fall backwards.  As Joe reaches for the knife the General reaches for his gun, Joe throw the knife at the General in one swift move and kills the General.

Ben rides in with Hoss and Adam and deal with the stray men, Joe holds his shoulder while the Doctor and Su Ling have a look.  Ben runs over to check on Joe.  Joe asks what they are doing here and Ben tells him he was following him from afar.  Ben tells him he didn't want his #3 son to run the risk of encountering the General and his army alone.  Little Joe thanks his Pa.

Adam and Hoss bring over what is left of the General's men, Adam asks Joe if he's alright and he tells him he's going to need a lot of Su Ling's care though.  The Doctor tells Joe there will be no charge for their services. Ben tells him you can't beat that, Adam says it was almost worth getting wounded for, and Hoss tells Joe he's lucky, he's got a good Doctor and a good looking nurse all for free.  Su Ling contemplates the word free and tells them it's most beautiful and smiles.


The Cartwrights




Did you know?Edit

  • German episode title: "Die erlauchten Herren Cartwright", meaning "The Illustrious Gentlemen Cartwright".
  • The majority of Chinese people in Virginia City speak Cantonese including Hop Sing. Su Ling speaks Mandarin.


"I hate to see the look on Pa's face when he hears about this."
"The loud voiced child has rightly been called a hammer without a head."
Mu Tsung
"A prudent man talks, before he acts."
Mu Tsung
"Perhaps not Mr Cartwright but it is carved in jade that death is a land without geography."
Mu Tsung



Bonanza Day of the Dragon

Bonanza Day of the Dragon

See alsoEdit