I can’t believe it. Ben Cartwright, Little Joe, Hoss and…wait for it….Charles Dickens, all on the same show! I was so surprised by this mixture of classic tv western and classic English author that I really had no choice but to write to you about it. My father is an avid old west television and movie fan, so he has handed that love down to me in these past 40 years. Bonanza remains a singular favorite and its rich story-telling is among its greatest assets.
Because of the literary angle, the particular show we wanted to share with you is from season five, episode two of the series and originally aired on September 29, 1963 on NBC. It was titled “A Passion for Justice.”
Here is an especially good summary written by Charles Delacroix at IMDb.com about this fascinating episode: “At Ben’s invitation, Charles Dickens comes to Virginia City to give a reading from ‘Oliver Twist’ while on a reading / lecture tour in America. While there, he stays at the Ponderosa. He becomes enraged by the townsfolk’s casual attitude toward distribution of copies of his stories published without protection of copyright laws. After confronting the local newspaper publisher, the newspaper’s office is destroyed. Already having lost the esteem of the townsfolk, Dickens now finds that the townsfolk blame him for the violence.”
If you have some time, I hope you’ll enjoy watching the episode as much as we did. Thanks to youtube you can click below and enjoy it right away!