"Bonanza" episode
Season 1, Episode 11
#11 in Series
Air date November 21, 1959
Guest starring:
Written by Herman Groves
Directed by Christian Nyby
Episode Guide
Previous Episode:
The Magnificent Adah
Next Episode:
The Hanging Posse
External links
The Truckee Strip on IMDb
The Truckee Strip on


Caught in the middle of a longtime family feud over a disputed piece of land, star-crossed lovers Joe Cartwright and Amy Bishop try to convince their stubborn fathers to resolve their differences as tension escalates into violence.


Several men cut down a tree on a piece of land known as the Truckee Strip. One of the Cartwright ranchhands, Trump, sees the work and hurries back to tell Ben. Two men approach the fallen tree. Jason Carter wonders why only one tree. Pete Jessup assures him that one is enough. Ben Cartwright and Luther Bishop will cause more thunder over this one tree than Carter's ever heard on that mountain.

Sure enough, after Trump tells the Cartwrights what happened, they're in hot pursuit of the lumbermen. Joe loses his man, but comes across a small pond with someone hiding behind a bush. He orders the person out and a young woman with big brown eyes steps out. She's only half dressed and holds her dress in front of her. Joe's surprised with what he's found, but merely dismounts and tells her she's tresspassing. She knows he must be a Cartwright and informs him that the land belongs to her father, Luther Bishop. She's Amy Bishop. Joe turns around so she can get dressed, but then she accidently steps on a frog and screams. Joe's immediately at her side. One look into her eyes and Joe is lost. He apologizes if he scared her when he rode up and asks if she visits the pond often. She says she does nearly every day at this time.

That evening at the Ponderosa, Ben tells Trump to post men on the Truckee Strip and let him know if anyone steps on his land. But he doesn't understand why Luther would do this. The court awarded the land to Ben and he thought Luther would follow the law. But if Luther wants to make an issue out of this again, Ben will be ready. Joe finally speaks up. "For one tree? You're going to start fighting all over again for one tree?" Ben says it isn't just the tree, it's the principle. Ben sends Trump to get the guards and Joe asks if it was worth it. Trump lost an eye in the last fight, was it worth it?

On the Concho, Luther Bishop's place, Luther's foreman Jessup poses the same question. Is Bishop going to fight over one tree? Luther Bishop insists, despite the court order, that the land is his. Jessup agrees Luther has as much right to those trees as Ben and Luther could use the timber money. He thinks Luther ought to take Carter up on his offer to buy the timber. Luther says there are other ways to get money than do business with a man like Carter. Luther suspects Jessup is still angry over having lost a brother in the last fight. Jessup is.

Luther checks on Amy before she goes to bed and she too asks about the land. He swears the land is his and he'll fight for it til the day he dies. Not just for the land, but for the principle. He changes the subject and says Jessup told him that Amy was out to the creek. She says she doesn't like Jessup following her. Luther assures her it's only because he asked Jessup to keep an eye on her. What they don't know is that Jessup is outside her window watching her even now.

Joe meets Amy out at the pond again. She's glad to see him, but says her father wouldn't like it. Joe takes her hand, looks into her eyes, and says, "We don't have to inherit the hates of our families." She doesn't think they can escape it, but Joe says they can if they try. For the first time in his life he questioned his father and he did it because he met a girl with bare feet and big eyes.

Carter is upset with Jessup because the one tree did not get Luther to sell him the timber he needs. Jessup says he'll need to make a bigger play.

That night Jessup and two men steal three horses from the Ponderosa. They wear masks and ride the Ponderosa horses on to the Concho and kill one man, leaving a second alive. Frederick sees the Ponderosa brand on the horses' flank.

Frederick tells Luther what happened. Jessup is ready to ride after the men, but Luther says they'll be long gone. He tells Jessup to inform Carter that he'll sell him that timber off the Truckee Strip. Jessup grins as Luther says, "I hope Ben Cartwright just tries to stop me."

As Hoss and Ben wonder how three of their horses got out last night, Trump rides up and says there's a whole lumber camp up on the strip. The Cartwrights are ready to ride, but Joe's not around. Hoss says Joe's out looking for strays. Ben thinks he's been out looking for strays a lot lately.


Joe's at the pond with Amy as she reads him Shakespeare. To his credit, he's actually listening. He says he could compare her eyes to the stars or her mouth to a rose, but when he looks at her he can't think of anything to say. They kiss. Joe says they need to tell their fathers, but Amy insists that it can never be, a Cartwright and a Bishop. Joe asks, if their fathers won't let them be together, will she go away with him and marry him. They kiss again and Jessup rides by and sees them.

Ben, Adam, Hoss, and Trump ride into the lumbercamp. As Ben demands to know where Luther is, no one sees Trump sneak into a tent after a young Chinese man who held a knife. He's the cook for the camp. They don't realize anything is amiss until they hear a scream. Ben rushes into the tent to find Trump strangling the young man. Trump drops the boy and goes outside where Hoss keeps him. The young cook is dead and Ben orders that Trump be taken in to the sheriff. Trump won't go and attacks Ben. Hoss pulls him off and they fight. Joe rides up in time to see Hoss win.


The cook's body is brought out and Joe takes it. Adam tries to explain that it wasn't Ben's fault, but only Joe seems truly upset about the death. He wants to know what Ben's going to do about it. Ben says they're taking Trump in to the sheriff. Joe can't believe they don't understand. "All you care about is that there's been a killing and somebody's got to pay for that killing." He wants to take the boy back to the Concho. He puts the body across his horse and Ben says Joe can't go. Joe's going anyway. Ben steps forward to stop him and Joe pulls his gun on Ben. "Just put your gun down, Joe," Ben says quietly and asks why Joe needs to do this. Joe realizes what he's done and lowers his gun. He says the killing seems to rub off on people, he pulled a gun on his own father. But he still has to take the body back. Ben lets him go. Adam's worried that Joe will be shot the minute he sets foot on the Concho, but Ben says Joe needs to be trusted. He's got something he needs to figure out on his own.

Joe brings the young man back and is met by Jessup who shoots at him. Luther makes Jessup stop and Joe dismounts. He admits that a Cartwright man killed the cook, but it wasn't Ben's doing. Luther says Ponderosa men killed a Concho man last night. Joe says it couldn't be, Ben's always fought out in the open. Luther helps the boy's father carry the body away. When he's gone, Jessup reminds Joe that his brother was killed on the strip. Joe reminds him that it was a fair fight. Jessup warns Joe to stay away from Amy. Joe returns the threat saying if Jessup goes near Amy, Jessup will have his chance against Joe. Jessup goes for his gun, but Joe is faster. Amy rushes out and stands in front of Joe. Luther returns and sends Jessup away and Amy back in the house. He warns Joe to stay away from Amy. Joe mounts up, but says it'll be harder than that to keep them apart.


Joe is very late getting home and Ben is worried. But when Joe finally comes home, he can't say what he wants to say. He asks if the land means so much to Ben. Ben says it means a lot, but it's not his whole life. He asks Joe what's wrong and Joe finally says he meet a girl named Amy Bishop. Now Ben understands what's been bothering Joe. He promises Joe that he'd never hold his land above his sons. Joe says he wishes Luther felt that way. He also mentions the Concho man killed by a Ponderosa man. Ben says they have a lot to talk to Luther about.

The next day Ben and Joe ride into the lumber camp. Jessup sees them and sneaks away. Ben says the men who killed the Concho man were riding stolen Ponderosa horses. Luther accuses him of lying. Ben, like Joe said earlier, always fights in the open. Luther also questions Joe and Amy's relationship. Ben said he let his boy decide, why doesn't Luther let Amy decide. Luther's confident Amy will choose him and tells Joe he can go get her and bring her back.

Jessup walks into the house and tells Amy that the feud has started again and that Luther won't let Amy and Joe be together. Amy thinks her father will once he gets to know Joe. Jessup says Joe won't get the chance. He's waited a long time for Amy to grow up and he's not letting some Cartwright come in and take her. She doesn't want anything to do with him and he tries to trap her. She escapes and runs to the barn. He's right behind her.

Joe arrives and when he hears a scream from the barn, he rushes in. He finds Jessup molesting Amy. Jessup is unarmed, so Joe takes off his gun and they fight. They use fists, chains, whips, whatever they can find. Jessup grabs a pitchfork and throws it at Joe. He ducks away. Jessup gets Joe's gun and starts shooting at Joe who's hiding in a stable. When Jessup comes around the corner to shoot him, Joe stabs him in the chest with a pole. Jessup dies. Joe goes to check on Amy only to discover she was stabbed in the chest by the pitchfork.


The doctor comes out of Amy's room and sadly reports that he did everything he could. He says Amy wants to see Joe. This saddens Luther, but Joe hurries in and kneels at her side. She tells him the doctor told her she'd be fine. He says Ben gave them the piece of land with the pond so she can wade whenever she wants. She starts to talk about the house they'll have, but stops midsentence. Joe is heartbroken and drops his face to the bed in tears.

When Joe leaves the room he doesn't look at anyone, but merely says, "She said it could never be, a Cartwright and a Bishop." Then he walks out followed by his family.


The Cartwrights



  • Jame Coburn was known for many things, one of his more prominent roles was of Derek Flint.


"You're one of those high-and-mighty Cartwrights who thinks he owns all the land in Nevada!"
Amy Bishop to Little Joe[src]



See The Truckee Strip/videos

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