|Season Season 9, Episode 1|
Sense of Duty
Ben is worried when Joe and Hoss fail to return from Sweet Water, there has been an increase of attacks by Indians lately. His worries come true when Joe is injured on their way home and Hoss has to find help in the midde of no where. Luckily for Hoss he finds a camp nearby that may be able to help Joe, however they are less than welcoming.
At the telegraph office updates come through of increased Indian attacks in the area, Ben is worried since he hasn’t heard from Joe and Hoss who are in the area, Ben returns to the Ponderosa so he can travel to Sweet Water.
When Ben arrives home a group of soldiers arrive with injured men, his men were caught in a surprise attack.
Joe and Hoss are ambushed by Indians, and Joe is hit in the shoulder by an arrow. Hoss finds an outcrop of rocks and tends to Joe’s wound, the arrow is in deep. Hoss attempts to pull the arrow out but it snaps leaving the arrowhead embedded.
Lt March tells Ben his job is to find, harass and delay the Indians until a major force arrives. He tells Ben he can scout out the whole area, Ben is worried that Joe and Hoss never arrived at a ranch they were supposed to be at and wants to ride with the Lt who happily accepts.
Hoss has scouted the area and there are no Indians where they are. He notices smoke a little way off and Joe is worried it’s more Indians but Hoss tells him that they wouldn’t do that, Hoss goes to investigate telling Joe he’ll be back.
Brack is cutting logs by a camp fire and Hoss shouts at them that he’s coming in. Brack grabs his shotgun and Hoss jumps off his horse and starts kicking dirt into the fire. Brack fires his rifle at the ground and tells Hoss to ride out, Hoss tells him there are Indians in the area and the campfire will draw attention to them as well as the gunfire. Hoss tells them about Joe’s condition but the man tells him to get lost and fires his rifle again.
Mrs (Estelle) Dawson steps out of one of the wagons and asks why he’s shooting, a young woman called Anna who is also in camp with her father (Mulvaney) tell Mrs Dawson why Hoss is there but she doesn’t seem interested and tells him to leave.
Hoss seemingly goes to his horse but manages to snatch the rifle from Brack, he’s desperate for help for Joe but someone else has crept up behind Hoss and tells him to drop the rifle. Mulvaney tells Hoss he better do as he says as Jonathan Frazier is used to shooting people in the back.
Another man exits the wagon his name is Issac, he tells Frazier to put down the rifle. Mrs Dawson tells Issac he should be resting but he tells her he can’t with all the shooting and shouting. Mulvaney tells Issac that Hoss has a good reason for shouting and purposely calls Issac, Doc, and introduces him as, Dr Issac Dawson. Hoss can’t believe his luck, he tells Issac about Joe but what with all the shouting he already knows. He shows Hoss his hands, they are all seized up. Hoss hears a horse coming and looks over, it’s Joe. He rides into camp but falls from Cochise at the last minute, Hoss catches him. He rode to camp because he heard shots and was worried Hoss was in trouble. Issac bends down to look at Joe and Hoss shows him the wound, Issac tells Hoss he needs immediate surgery but Mrs Dawson disagrees due to his hands. Issac tells Estelle that she will be his hands since she’s been with him through many of his patients. He tells Hoss to bring Joe over to a cot and Estelle to get the instruments. Issac looks at Joe’s wound again and tells Hoss he will remove the arrowhead but there’s a fee, his services until further notice. Hoss agrees and tells Joe he’s going
to get patched up. Issac tells Hoss to move away while he tends to Joe and asks Mulvaney for some of his bottled painkiller (whiskey). Joe doesn’t want it and just wants the arrowhead taken out. Estelle swabs the wound with alcohol which causes Joe considerable discomfort, then under instruction from Issac she starts cutting into Joe, the pain obvious on Joe.
Ben reaches the edge of Sweet Water with Lt March and a couple of his men.
Frazier tells Brack to take the first watch but he thinks Hoss should since he’s spooked by Indians. Mulvaney offers to stand guard, but Frazier doesn’t want him to and tells Brack to move out. Frazier tells Hoss he’d be no good at the moment since he’d just be staring back at camp all the time but once Joe is patched up he expects Hoss to stand guard. Hoss tells him he’ll be ready. Mulvaney tells Hoss it’s a small world that Red Pony is in the area and Hoss asks if he’s heard of him and Mulvaney tells him he has. He was going to save his whiskey and make it last but feels that he’s going to have more whiskey than time, he offers some to Hoss but he declines. Mulvaney wonders if Hoss has been thinking about them and their warm welcome when he came, Hoss tells him he was. Mulvaney tells him that where they went wasn’t what they wanted and they’re basically running with their tails between their legs back East. He tells Hoss he’s joined the company of the losers.
Estelle mops Joe’s brow and Hoss is happy to see Joe perky, Estelle tells Hoss Joe needs rest. Hoss thanks her and her father for everything she’s done. She doesn’t want his thanks since Issac is getting the rest he should have done and mustn’t be disturbed, she also corrects Hoss by telling him Dr Dawson is her husband.
Later that night Mulvaney is seeking out more whiskey which Anna doesn’t approve. He believes he should have left Anna in Virginia City but now she’s going to die out in the middle of nowhere. He mentions Bishops Creek and that there were 200-300 Indians there and half the men he was with had perished before they even heard anything, he berates himself because he wasn’t there due to his horse bolting. Anna tells him it was in the past but Mulvaney believes that Anna doesn’t believe his story. She hugs him and leaves.
Joe’s cot is empty and Brack is sneaking around Issac’s wagon his gun is in his hand and listens for noises from the wagon, he attempts to lift the flap but Joe stops him. Brack tells Joe he thought he heard Issac call and was only trying to help, but Joe counters him due to the gun in his hand. Brack slinks off putting his gun back in his holster. Issac comes out of the wagon thanking Joe but tells him he should be in bed, Joe tells him they both should be. Issac wants to check Joe’s wound but Joe tells him he’s fine, Issac tells him to lie down so he can look. He thanks Joe for his concern but he didn’t have to since he heard him anyway and was waiting for him with a gun in his jacket pocket. Joe asks Issac about the situation. Issac tells Joe he couldn’t afford honest men due to the troubles with the Indians so he had to get what he could. He purposely hired two thieves and lets them think he’s got a considerable sum hidden in his wagon, Joe tells him not only is he heading for trouble but he’s also bringing it along with him. Issac tells him the thieves keep an eye on each other and this is the first time one of them has made a move. Joe tells Issac he should go back to Virginia City and wait for the Indian trouble to die down. Issac asks how long it would take and Joe tells him 2-3 weeks a month on the outside. Issac winces in pain and tells Joe he just wants to get home, to see his son and a granddaughter he’s never met. Joe understands but asks what difference would it make now or a month from now. He tells Joe he doesn’t have a month or 3 weeks to spare because he’s dying, he tells Joe to get some rest and leaves him pondering the situation.
The next morning Mulvaney is taking packs of cartridges from the stores, Anna interrupts him with breakfast and tells him he’s next to stand guard. He apologises to her about the things he said the other night and that whatever happens she’s the finest daughter he’s ever had and she thanks him. He takes another swig from his bottle and then takes his saddle and bags away.
Hoss is complementing Joe on his appetite since he’s eating now. He tells Joe he’s going to be riding with them as an extra gun in case they run into Red Pony. Joe tells him there will be two extra guns since he can still fire a gun. Hoss and Joe hear Frazier shouting at Anna, Mulvaney is gone and she doesn’t know where he is. Frazier tells Hoss he left with half the supply of shells, Brack tells them it’s Bishops Creek all over again only this time he’s left his daughter. Hoss believes that they need to get him back but there are no volunteers and Joe isn’t well enough to ride a horse just yet. Hoss goes to get him.
Hoss sees Mulvaney riding hard towards him, he’s being chased by an Indian. Hoss fires his rifle at the Indian and he falls from his horse, Mulvaney tells Hoss that the Indian jumped him and he didn’t have time to draw, Hoss is worried that more may be out there and they must have heard his gun shot. they return to the camp.
Lt March tells his two men to look around then head back to Virginia City, he tells Ben he can ride back with them but he’s still worried about Hoss and Joe.
Brack believes Mulvaney has given away their presence by attempting to run and Hoss agrees that they should get moving quickly. He tells them there’s a way station on the trail back to Virginia City but Estelle isn’t happy as it’s the opposite direction to the way they want to go. Hoss tells him there are men and guns there but if there isn’t they can still make a fortress there. Estelle is adamant they go East but Issac tells her they should have stayed in Virginia City, he asks Hoss to guide them in the hopes they make it back alive and tells Estelle to only take what is necessary.
Frazier rides Cochise while Joe is in the back of one of the wagons with Issac, Joe can see Issac is clearly uncomfortable and tells him he’ll get them to slow down for him but Issac tells him he’s okay. The wagon jolts causing Issac to be in considerable pain, Joe shouts for them to stop.
Mulvaney is drowning his sorrows; he thinks everyone looks at him like a filth. Hoss wonders what the problem is, she tells him Estelle is checking on Issac. Hoss goes to see Estelle and asks her how Issac is, she tells Hoss she has two sick patients on her hands. Hoss asks if Joe is getting worse and she tells him he’s burning up and infection has spread in.
Ben and Lt March arrive at the stage way station but it’s abandoned.
Frazier asks where the way station is but is interrupted by the call of Indians, Hoss fires at them.
Ben hears shooting at the way station and rides in the direction they’re coming from. Brack is hit by a bullet and falls off the wagon. Ben comes over the ridge and finally bumps into them, they all head to the way station. Estelle loses control of the wagon and it tumbles short of the way station, she is thrown but apart from a bruised knee she’s more worried about Issac. Joe crawls out from the back of the wagon no worse for wear and enter the station with everyone else. Hoss doesn’t know where his Pa came from but he’s a welcome sight, they barricade themselves inside the way station.
Ben notices Joe’s injury and is clearly wanting a better explanation from him, he doesn’t get one.
Lt March finds some extra rifles and everyone takes a window to guard.
Ben asks Hoss what happened to Joe and he tells him about the arrow. Lt March interrupts Ben by telling him they have a casualty. It’s Issac and he’s fading fast, Estelle calls to him and he tells her it’s his fault they’re in this situation. Estelle tells him he’s going to be okay but he knows differently, he tells her he can’t feel any pain now and asks Ben to take care of Estelle. He dies in her arms.
Ben checks on Little Joe, he’s clearly struggling but he tells him it’s nothing he can’t stand and can still fire his gun.
Mulvaney admits to Anna he did run when he was at Bishops Creek, he wanted to save his own neck, Anna wishes he’d stop torturing himself over it. Mulvaney feels guilty for bringing his daughter and doesn’t know why she’s still with him. She tells him it’s because he’s her father but he tells her he’d be ashamed to admit it if he was her.
Lt March looks over at Mulvaney and then goes to talk to Ben, he tells him he could do without him and he knows he’s 'Bishops Creek Mulvaney' and doesn’t feel comfortable he’s there.
Ben tells Anna to go to Mrs Dawson. Ben gives Mulvaney some words of encouragement, but Mulvaney believes he’ll get everyone killed. Ben tells him he has a chance to even the score from his past discretions. He tells Mulvaney he has something very important few men have, a second chance.
Little Joe shouts Ben and Hoss over to his window. More Indians have arrived. Ben wishes the wagon that fell in front of the way station wasn’t so close. Mulvaney starts babbling about the blind spots, the barn next to his window, the wagon out front. He’s worried that they’ll hide behind the wagon and push it all the way to the door and get in that way. Frazier tells them that he’s seen a horse round the back and with covering fire he can get it and ride for help. Mulvaney accuses Frazier of chickening out and he knows the signs and tells him not to try it. Ben tells him not to because he’ll be killed before he can reach it and tells him to return to his window.
Two Indians crawl into the barn.
Joe is struggling to stay upright, he’s breathing heavily, eventually he’s too weak and collapses . Joe attempts to get back up but Hoss picks him up and takes him over to Estelle. Frazier sees this distraction as an opportunity to get the horse, he climbs out the window and makes a dash for it but is shot by an Indian. Estelle tells Ben she’ll defend Frazier’s window.
Mulvaney begins loading a shotgun, then he empties the gunpowder from the spare shells down the barrel. He notices the barn door move and shoots the two Indians that come out. Ben has noticed the Indians crawling to the wagon, they start pushing it towards the station.
Mulvaney rams wood down both barrels of his shotgun and packs them in tightly. He takes Anna’s scarf and ties it to the end of his shotgun. He wants to go out, but Ben tells him not to, he goes anyway. Mulvaney disappears behind the wagon and is attacked. Anna watching sees an explosion not long after and is horrified she attempts to run outside but Ben stops her. Hoss goes out to have a look and sees the Indians leave.
Hoss returns with Mulvaney’s shotgun and tells everyone that he had to pull the trigger to make it work.
Estelle is kneeling at Issac’s grave, Joe takes her to the wagon. Anna is at her father’s grave and Lt March wants to take the shotgun back to West Point and put it in a museum where weapons are displayed there that were used bravely and valiantly and they’d be proud to have it. Anna tells him her father would be proud too. Before they leave Lt March stabs his rifle into the ground where Mulvaney lies and places his hat on top and salutes him before leaving.
The Cartwrights Edit
- James Gregory: Mulvaney
- Bettye Ackerman: Mrs Estelle Dawson
- Joe De Santis: Dr Issac Dawson
- Douglas Kennedy: Frazier
- Jane Zachary: Anna
- Ken Drake: Brack
- James Beck: Lieutenant March
- Martin Eric: Telegrapher
* The same window is used for Lt March, Joe, Ben and Hoss and eventually Mulvaney's. There are a couple of exceptions but the main window seen is the same one for each scene, they just change the scenery for each scene.