|Season 3, Episode 8|
|Ep.# in Series:||74|
|Air date||November 12, 1961|
|Written by||Frank Chase|
|Directed by||Don McDougall|
| Previous Episode:|
The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch
| Next Episode:|
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After chain-gang prisoner Danny Kidd saves Joe's life, the youngest Cartwright has him released into his custody. The young man with a love of horses has spent most of his life behind bars and has a tough time transitioning to freedom.
The Cartwright's convince the prison warden to free 23 year-old chain-gang convict, Danny Kid, imprisoned since he was an orphan of thirteen, and take him on as a ranch-hand to repay him for saving Little Joe from being dragged to death by a spooked horse.
Joe checks on a work gang building a road through
Ponderosa land, Ben wants them to be treated fairly. Travis the guard likes the brown horse he's sitting on and Joe tells him he's breaking him in but is still a little bit nervous. One of the prisoners watches Joe and mentions his finery and his nice horse and then comments that he'll get Travis. Travis hears this and tells him not to say another word, the prisoner spits the ground so Travis fires his rifle at him. It spooks Joe's horse, Concho, and causes him to rear up and run Joe falls of but his foot is caught in the stirrup and he's dragged across the dirt. The prisoner stands in front of the horse and he stops, Joe frees himself and thanks him for saving his life. The prisoner tells Joe he didn't do it for him he did it for the horse. Joe asks him what his name is and he tells him he's Danny Kidd, Joe introduces himself to him and asks him if there is anything he can do to repay him. Danny asks for his freedom.
At the Yuma Territorial Prison, Joe, Hoss and Ben are visiting the warden there. The warden appreciates the way Ben treated his prisoners but thinks he's taking it too far by wanting to release Danny Kidd. The warden asks them if they know what he's done, Joe tells him that he saved his life. The warden summons Danny to his office and he wants Danny to tell the Cartwright's what he did and let them judge if he should be freed.
Ben asks Danny how old he is and he tells them that he's 23, Ben then asks how long he's been at the prison, he replies 10 years. Hoss is shocked he's been in prison since he was 13 and asks what he did. Danny tells him he stabbed someone with a fork. Joe asks why. Danny tells Joe someone tried to steal his apple pie. Joe is confused. Danny asks Joe how often he gets to eat dessert with his meals and Joe tells him almost every night, Danny tells him he only got it once a month and asks him if it manes sense to him now. Ben asks Danny when he lost his parents and he tells him when he was 5. Ben asks the warden if he thinks Danny has been punished enough. The warden tells Ben if he released him then he'd only come back within a week, no trade and no one he can turn to. Ben and Joe look at each other and Ben tells the warden he does now. The warden doesn't think to highly of Danny and wants to make sure the Cartwright's know what
they're letting themselves in for. Joe tells the warden to sign the amnesty letter and Joe will take full responsibility for him. The warden signs the document and tells Danny if he stays out of trouble for a year he'll get a full pardon. Danny turns to leave the room but the warden tells him he's forgotten his possessions, he pulls out a carved wooden toy in the shape of a man. Danny snatches it up. Ben has to leave with Hoss to buy a seed bull and tells Joe he'll be traveling alone with Danny, there's concern in his voice. Joe tells him not to worry and that he and Danny will get on just fine.
On the trail back home they camp for the night, Joe is asleep but wakes up, he stretches and looks over to Danny but his bedroll is empty which spooks Joe. Danny hasn't gone far and he's by the buckboard Joe laughs to himself because he was worried about nothing.
Joe walks up behind Danny and calls to him, it scares him because he's not used to be snuck on from behind. He tells Joe he couldn't sleep and looks out and asks Joe what he sees, Joe tells him nothing he hasn't seen before. Danny tells Joe that he doesn't see walls everywhere he looks, no walls.
They continue the journey home and when they get to the Ponderosa Adam chews him out for being late and tells him about his chores that have been building up. Joe asks Adam if he did them while he was gone and Adam's answer is a flat out no. Joe introduces Adam to Danny. Adam tells Joe Concho isn't doing so well and he's down and wouldn't get up again, Joe takes Danny into the stable with him.
Joe looks at Concho, his breathing is laboured Joe doesn't think it looks good. Adam tells him the Doctor came to look at him and and felt there was nothing he could do to save him. Danny asks if they will kill him and Adam replies that they will have to. Danny wants to know why they don't give him a chance, Joe tells Danny that they don't have a choice. Danny tells Joe he wants to try, and Adam asks if he's worked with sick horses and he tells Adam that he worked with them at the prison and he learnt a little about them. Adam tells him it will take more than a little learning but tells him to do what he can for Concho. Danny asks if he can ride Concho if he cures him and Joe tells him if he can cure him then he can have him. He asks Danny if he needs help and he tells him he does. They need to get him off the floor and stand so he rigs up a way of getting him off the floor by putting him in a cradle that will support most of his weight yet keep him standing. Once Concho is on his feet Danny asks for a kettle of hot water to put blankets in. Once the blankets have been dipped they are quickly transferred over to Concho and they need to keep it that way till he gets better or dies.
The next morning Concho is no longer in the cradle and is eating out of Danny hand. Joe asks why he worked so hard to cure Concho, Danny asks Joe if his clothes and gun are his and Joe tells him they are. Danny tells him that they belong to him and the only thing he has is a toy carving and he's never owned anything until now.
Later, Danny is brushing Concho outside and he's now wearing decent clothes, he helps with chores around the Ponderosa. Joe rides in and greets Danny, he tells Danny there's a party tonight for the owner of the seed bull Ben and Hoss purchased, and asks if he'll be there. Danny tells him he will be.
At the bunk house the ranch hands are getting ready for the party and one of them needs a neck cloth, he wonders if Danny has one in his possession and starts rummaging through his bag and finds the wood carving, Danny tells him to put it down. Danny walks over to his bunk and Bob asks him if he's got a neckerchief, Danny tells him he doesn't. Bob doesn't like him and Danny won't fight with them, he gets called yellow and tells them they're not worth going back to jail for. The men leave to look for 'pretties'.
Danny comes to the party at the Ponderosa and Joe spots him, he introduces him to Anne Carter who he was just dancing with. Joe leaves them alone to speak to Anne's father. Anne is speaking to Danny, she tells him she's supposed to know all the boys from 50 miles around. He tells her that he's not been around for too long, Anne hopes he stays around because she likes him. Danny seems a bit shy and she notices so Danny tells her he's not very good at socialising with girls. She tells him she's going to teach him and asks he puts his arm around her for dancing. The two ranch hands Danny encountered at the bunk house, Bob and Teller, are talking about him with Anne, they hatch something between the pair of them. Bob goes over to Mr Carter and tells him his daughter is with an ex-convict, Mr Carter asks if he's sure about it and they confirm. He walks over to Anne and she attempts to introduce Danny to her father but he tells her they're leaving with explanation. Adam asks if anything is wrong, he tells Adam they're leaving and Adam doesn't understand. Carter tells him that he can understand the Ponderosa hiring ex-cons but to allow one to dance with his daughter is another matter. Adam tells him they weren't hiding it, they just didn't think the party was the right time to talk about it. Carter tells him that anything that concerns the welfare of his daughter that any time is the right time and bids goodbye.
Adam tells Danny that Mr Carter is hot headed and didn't mean it, Joe wants to know who did it. Danny looks at Bob and Teller. Joe asks Bob if he told Carter about Danny and Bob asks Joe if he's fighting Danny's battles, Danny steps forwards and Adam tells them not to since the house is still full of guests. Joe asks again who told Carter about Danny. Teller more or less tells them it was Bob and Adam tells the both of them to go to the bunk house. Bob tells Adam he doesn't take orders from him and Teller says that Ben hired them not him. Adam tells them to go to the bunk house and pack their things, he'll have their wages prepared in 10 minutes. Before Bob leaves he tells Danny perhaps they'll meet again to settle their differences.
Adam bids farewell to the last of the guests and is bushed, he goes to bed while Joe and Danny check up on Concho. Joe is thirsty and he drinks from the pump with Danny's help. Bob comes out of the stables with his friend and push Danny into the water trough. Teller tells Joe he'll take him on while Bob takes on Danny, they start fighting. Danny runs to get a spade and Bob asks him what he's doing, Danny tells him he's going to kill him. Bob dodges the spade attack but Danny manages to grab him and brings him over to the water trough and dunks his head under and holds it there. When Joe has dealt with Teller he runs over to Danny to stop him and tells Teller to take Bob away. Danny tells Joe when you put a man down you make sure it's forever otherwise he would get you later on, Joe tells him he can't do that on the outside and that what he did was wrong. Danny wonders if Joe was wrong in getting him released, Joe tells him if he thinks he's wrong he'll tell him.
Ben is home and has been waiting for Joe. He queries Joe on the previous night and when Joe mentions the incident with Carter, Ben tells him it was what happened later that night. Joe tells him that there was a fight and it was settled, but Adam has already told Ben that Danny tried to kill Bob and Ben asks Joe for confirmation. Joe confirms it. Ben asks Joe why and was there a reason, and Joe doesn't think there was, at least not enough to kill a man. Ben asks Joe what he intends to do about it but Joe doesn't know. Ben tells him he has the power to send Danny back to prison but Joe tells him they knew it was going to be hard and he still believes Danny can be reformed.
Danny is in the stable with Concho, he looks at the wood carving and is about to put it in the saddle bag when Anne grabs it out of his hand, she asks him about it and he tells her he carries it around for luck.
Anne quizzes Danny about his ineptitude towards women and that he's never kissed a woman. Anne tells Danny she wants to be the first and she finds it odd that it's normally her that pushes a man away and she leans in to kiss him. Since he's never done it before he just presses his lips against Anne's lips and that's it. Anne pulls back and laughs at him so he grabs her and forces a kiss on her, scared she pulls away and her blouse rips as she does so. Danny apologises and she runs out and bumps into a concerned Joe. She tells Joe he grabbed her and tore her blouse and then runs off again, Joe trots into the stable.
Joe confronts Danny and tells him that he was wrong about Danny and tells him to pack his things as they're going to leave immediately. Danny relents and walks behind Concho and then slaps his rear forcing the horse to run into Joe. Joe dives into a stall and is stunned momentarily but it's enough time for Danny to pick up a wooden pole and club Joe over the head with it, with Joe unconcious Danny steals his gun and rides out on Concho.
An hour later inside the Ponderosa, Joe is on the setee, Ben is wiping his brow as Joe begins to regain consciousness; Adam and Hoss are also by his side. Ben welcomes him back and Joe asks how long he's been out and Ben tells him about an hour, he asks if he's gone meaning Danny and Ben confirms he has. Ben then tells Joe that Anne came to them in the pasture and she was upset, Joe asks if she told them what happened, and Ben tells him that she said it was her fault. Joe is confused. She admitted to them that she teased him really badly, Hoss tells Joe he went off half cocked without hearing things out. Joe feels bad. Ben tells everyone they have to find him, but Joe believes he should go after Danny, Ben tells him they're in it together and will leave early in the morning to look for him. Ben wants to take Joe to bed but he tells him he wants to sit there for a moment, everyone leaves for bed.
Later, Joe sneaks out the house.
Next morning Hoss comes down to eat breakfast, Ben and Adam have already started and Ben asks Hoss if he woke up Little Joe. Hoss tells his Pa that he wasn't in his room and assumed he was eating breakfast, they leave immediately after Joe.
Joe is out looking for Danny and eventually he finds him asleep. He creeps up on Danny with his gun pointed and cocks it. Danny wakes up and instinctively goes for his gun but Joe tells him he wouldn't make it. Danny asks Joe what now and Joe tells him they go back. Danny wants to know if he means prison or the Ponderosa, Joe tells him it's not up to him, however they do know the truth about what happened. Danny gets up and pulls a blanket off him, but just like in the stable he doesn't go gently. He whips the saddle blanket he picks up at Joe's hand and his gun drops, they start fighting. Danny tells Joe he should have killed him back at the barn and Joe asks why he didn't. Danny tells him if he let him live then he'd let him live, they fight some more. After an exhausting fight Danny gains the upper hand by falling next to Joe's gun, Joe asks why he won't kill him and Danny doesn't know, he drops the gun. Joe tells him he's not an animal, and he'll make more mistakes but he's got friends now. Danny doesn't like the idea of proving himself to everyone he meets and would rather go back to the cage. Joe gets up to leave but before he departs he tells Danny a man has to make his own decisions, if he thinks they won't treat him fairly then he can keep on going the way he was.
Joe rides back home and is found on the way by Ben and the others, Ben chews Joe out and Joe apologises. Hoss asks him where he's tied up and Joe tells him he let him go, Ben isn't happy about that. Joe tells him he should decide for himself, Ben tells him they'll have to look for him. Ben orders Joe back home and Hoss spots something, he shouts to Joe who comes back.
Danny is riding towards them. He doesn't offer any excuses for what he's done and tells Ben he'll accept any decision he hands down. Ben tells him that his chores were only half done and has to get them finished before supper. Joe and Danny smile. Danny gives Joe his gun back, and Joe challenges Danny to a race back to the ranch. Danny agrees but before he does so he pulls out the wood carving and tosses it away.
Ben says that they're wealthy men, and Hoss quizzes his Pa. Ben tells them that they have something money can't buy. It's called friendship.
- Lorne Green: Ben Cartwright
- Dan Blocker: Hoss Cartwright
- Michael Landon: Little Joe Cartwright
- Pernell Roberts: Adam Cartwright
- Betty Endicott: Brunette Party Guest
- Dean Jones: Danny Kidd
- Edward Faulkner: Bob Stevens
- Janet Lake: Ann Carter
- Martha Manor: Blonde Party Guest
- Norman Alden: Teller
- Roy Wright: Travis
- Rusty Lane: Warden
- Stafford Repp: Carter
Did you know?Edit
- German episode title: "Little Joe und der Sträfling", meaning "Little Joe And The Convict".
- South 40.[]
- One of the rare episodes where the fire in the house is not lit.
- "Joseph, sometimes you make me very angry."