(For more detailed
information on BONANZA, visit the fantastic "Bonanza World" page at: http://bonanzaworld.net.)
Before being cast as Adam Cartwright's fiancé, Laura Dayton, Kathie
Browne had already appeared on BONANZA twice - once as Hoss's love interest!
Good-for-nothing Jock Henry, a
of the Cartwrights, finally lets himself
talked into going to work as the local
collector. The job goes to Jock's head
he realizes he has the ultimate authority
how much taxpayers are
Hoss Cartwright is interested in
Owens, the banker's daughter, but he has a
formidable rival on Mark Connor. Margie,
who has a bad case of wonderlust, is
captivated by Connor's stories of his travels.
by David Dortort,
(Exclusive to TV Times, September 11, 1963)
We've made some changes on the Ponderosa, and Ben Cartwright and
his three sons - Adam, Hoss and Little Joe - are all for them. We hope the
viewer will be as happy.
First off, we've decided that it might be nice to hear wedding
bells on the ranch. This would enable the show to move in new, fresh
directions, and, incidentally, answer the wishes of many of the audience.
So, we're thinking in terms of Adam getting married.
Why Adam? I was the one responsible for this decision, and
I believe that it is Adam who is most ready for marriage for three reasons:
First, he's the oldest son. Second, he has a greater
maturity than either Little Joe or Hoss. An adult, true love is the kind I
feel that the show needs. Third, Adam is the leading man type, ready for a
mature love story, not the mere flirtation.
We've already picked Adam's bride, and she's worked in several
episodes. She's actress Kathie Browne, a rare girl, and so far
she's done an excellent job.
I interviewed Kathie first for the role, and she read
extremely well. Then I listened to readings by six other top
actresses. Kathie stood out among all of them.
Kathie has worked on BONANZA twice in the past. On
one show, she played in a comedy episode. She was very expert, and I
remembered this, for to be good at comedy is most important - it shows an
understanding of timing.
The other BONANZA Kathie did was a dramatic tale in which
she had a love situation very similar to the one we envision for her.
However, in that one, Adam was not the man involved.
Briefly, the way we see Kathie's character of Laura
Dayton is a true pioneer woman.
She must be able to convey the strength and courage of the
pioneer. Kathie is all this.
But don't think this will be the usual love affair.
In this case, the concept of Laura is as a girl with deep
psychological problems. Loving her must not be one of those uncomplicated
things that one sees on most series. Adam must be confronted with the need
to help her and, in doing so, finds a deeper love.
This is why she was made a widow with a seven-year-old
girl. The child also has problems. But in spite of her problems,
Laura Dayton is a character with exceptional warmth and deep human feeling.
The character of Laura will evolve in stages. One writer
will pick up where another left off. Each time a new writer is doing a
show, he or she will have to carefully review what has been done before
him. So far, four writers have worked in succession on presenting the
character. As yet, we have not found the right child for the role of her
But that's not the only news from the Ponderosa: We've also
decided to bring in a brother for Father Ben. We've picked Guy Williams to
play the part of Ben's brother. We think Guy will fit into the Cartwright
family just right. He's already played in one Western series - The Mark of
Zorro - and he's a fine actor. He'll be the big boy of the family - Guy
stands 6 foot, 3 inches.
He'll be about 15 years younger than Ben, and in appearance,
he'll seem close to Adam's age. He'll be as different from Ben as brothers
can be. He'll be a seafaring man who's been most anywhere in the
world. He will not have seen Ben in many years and now comes to the
Ponderosa out of a great feeling of loneliness and desire to become part of a
family, to sink roots.
He's a good man, but a troubled man with a great need for
help. He's a "loner" and because of his confusion and problems,
we'll be able to tell more powerful stories.
We won't rush Adam into a marriage with Laura. Their
romance will take time. They'll discover each other's strengths and
weaknesses naturally, so that when marriage comes, it will be right and real.
(The editors would like to thank Kathy E. for supplying us with this
February 9, 1964
Adam is attracted to pretty
stranger tells Laura Dayton that she will
Dayton, a recently widowed mother
receive a large sum from her late husband's
who won't tell her daughter that
father is dead.
May 17, 1964
Adam's romance with widow Laura Will
Cartwright finds himself falling in
Dayton has reached the
love with widow Laura Dayton, Adam's
stage, and Laura's Aunt Lil
that Adam should hurry up and
"KATHIE and the Bonanza Four"
by Rose Perlberg
A lucky girl is Kathie Browne, whose
job includes being spoiled by the Cartwrights of TV fame.
Kathie Browne has to get up at 4:30
in the morning and words until 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. She often doesn't have
time to go on a date for weeks at a stretch. But she still wouldn't trade
places with any other girl she knows. The reason is, quite possibly,
because a big part of Miss Browne's job includes being spoiled by four of the
most popular men in Hollywood!
She is the lucky lass who was chosen last spring
out of 700 eager aspirants to invade the heretofore strictly male domain of
"Bonanza's" Ponderosa. According to the master plan devised by
brains behind (one of) TV's favorite Westerns, she is destined eventually to
topple ol' Pernell Roberts right off his high horse and down on one knee,
a-beggin' for her hand in marriage.
But they're not galloping Pernell to the
alter. "Bonanza" has been, for too long, the only Western where
the girl rides off into the sunset and it may take fans a little while to
get used to the idea of some permanent feminine finery around the Cartwright
quarters. Kathie's courtship will be a slow one, and naturally, the
whole Cartwright clan is going to have a hand in it. Which is just A-Okay
with Kathie. She can't think of anything more delightful.
The prospect is, no doubt, equally attractive to
the heroes involved. Kathie is a soft-voiced blonde with deep, sea-green
eyes and a smile like a shy sun. She is the type who naturally inspires
and red-blooded male's protective instincts - and the Bonanza brood has
responded true to form. Miss Browne, in turn, is a young lady who fully
appreciates such chivalry.
One day early last fall, Kathie met me for
coffee and described some of her feelings about her co-workers.
"When I first found out last spring that I'd
gotten the part," she said, "I was a little leery. I mean, I was
plugging headfirst into a situation that could be a bit sticky. The show
had already been completely accepted without a steady girl character. The
personalities of the Cartwrights had long since been established - they'd
clashed and resolved and the smoke had drifted away and everything was
comfortable and settled. Then I am injected and I have to be able to prove
that I can fit in, too.
"I'll admit I was nervous," she said
candidly. "But from the very beginning, everyone made me feel so much
at home that I just sailed right into it. They could have made it tough
for me, you know. After all, I was in a position to steal a little of
their thunder, and a sense of competition is part of any actor's make-up.
But I never once felt it with any of the boys. They're kind and thoughtful
and such perfect gentlemen. Each of them, in his special way, is so
masculine that I feel utterly feminine around them, if you know what I mean.
"What has impressed me most is that, while
they make such a perfect team on the show, each of them is very much an individual."
"Take Pernell. There's been an awful
lot written about how difficult and rebellious he's supposed to be. Well,
that's ridiculous! Pernell is anything but hard to work with.
"When they signed me for the part, Pernell
and I met with the producers of the show and he couldn't have been more eager to
cooperate. He was already in the office when I got there - and I'm never
late. They explained what they had in mind for us and he listened very
intently, nodding like he was making mental notes. When they finished, he
was all business. 'Well, now' he said briskly, 'I think that Kathie and I
should get together and discuss this first script.' Which is exactly what
"I discovered immediately that Pernell is
extremely serious about his work; he's a real perfectionist. We hashed
over that script for hours, down to the smallest nuance. He's the same on
the set. He's very analytical: everything is always well
planned. He knows his lines perfectly and he's very patient about re-doing
scenes if something goes wrong. I've never seen him lose his temper.
"I've heard that he doesn't like the show
and he's itching to leave, but let's face it, most actors on a series say that
at one time or another. It's a quirk with people in our business:
they scream for security, but the minute they have it, they insist they're being
misused. Of course, while they're hollering, they're still there, and,
really, they have no intention of quitting. Look," she added with a
bemused shrug, "if Pernell really wanted out that much, he could
just take a walk - right?"
She punctuated it with a decisive nod that closed
the subject and continued with a few more revelations about the enigmatic Mr.
"This may surprise you, but Pernell has a
wonderful sense of humor. It's not the explosive type like Dan Blocker's
but more of a dry sort of wit. Pernell has a very quick mind and he's
always tossing off a flip comment, the kind that hits you only after a few
seconds, then breaks you up.
"Another thing, he's quite a musician.
He keeps his guitar on the set and, between scenes, he goes off to his dressing
room or to a quiet corner of the set and plays and sings. He has a very
nice voice and a lot of talent. If he wasn't so set on being a serious
actor, he could be an excellent singer.
"He's basically a serious, intelligent
person. We've had some long discussions - which usually start with a
script and then branch off into other topics. Pernell is very versed on
just about anything, from show business to sports. He's also very
outdoorsy. He adores camping trips, for example. He often rides his
bicycle to the studio and he keeps himself in wonderful physical shape.
"He feels very strongly about keeping his
personal life private - which probably inspires much of the criticism about
him. For instance, he wouldn't be sitting here talking to you, as I
am. He doesn't discuss his home life with anybody. You just get the
impression that he's very happy at home and that's all.
"Otherwise, he's quite cooperative about
publicity. He once spent a whole free afternoon riding me around the
studio on the handlebars of his bike so they could get some pictures. He volunteered
to do it and he was in a marvelous mood - laughing and carrying on and doing
everything they asked him to."
"Dan Blocker is the opposite in
temperament. If you see a crowd and hear a lot of loud laughter, you
immediately know that Dan's at the center of it!" She shook her head,
grinning. "This man is unbelievable. He has the most marvelous
gift for telling stories and the wildest sense of humor since they invented
it. I think that Dan could make a trip to a supermarket sound like a Great
"None of his gregariousness is put on:
Dan is a complete extrovert. The bigger the audience, the better he
performs - I mean off-stage. One of his biggest delights is faking
fights with Mike (Landon). Dan, as you know, is a huge man, while Mike is
no puny weakling, he still looks little next to Dan. They usually start it
by Dan striding up to Mike with a ferocious look on his face and growling
something. Mike snaps back at him like he's really bugged, and Dan glowers
some more and raises his hand in a threatening gesture.
"Mike challenges him and Dan takes a poke at
Mike. Mike returns it and they go at each other fiercely. The
tourists - and believe me, the set is always jammed - don't know what to
think. They just stand there and stare!
"If it doesn't break up with the director
yelling for both of them to get on stage, Mike hollers 'Uncle,' and Dan
reluctantly lets him go, and turns on one of the ladies and, with a charming
smile, makes up a fantastic story about how the whole 'argument' began.
The tourists love it.
"from the way he carries on," Kathie
said, suppressing a few reminiscent giggles, "you'd think Dan was just a
big, overgrown kid out for laughter. That's what I thought at first.
But he has a very serious side. Dan is an excellent actor. He works
hard and he has a good business mind. I doubt if there are many people who
could pull anything shabby on him.
"Mike is a sharp guy, that way, too.
He likes to kid around and all, but when it comes to dollars and cents, he knows
what's going on. He and Dan and Loren have some pretty big business deals
"Mike is probably the sweetest, most gentle
man I've ever met. He adores children. If there's a kid on the set,
you can count on Mike to make a special point of going over and making
friends. The kids immediately dig him, and, of course, the mothers are
completely captivated. It's no politician's bit - Mike's for real.
You can't talk to him for five minutes without him fishing out the pictures of
his own kids - Mark, Josh, Jason and baby Leslie.
"He's the typical proud father: he'll
chew you ear off for hours about how great those kids are. when he says
that his family comes first, he means it. I've never met his wife, Lynn,
but from the way he talks about her, she must be quite a gal."
Kathie broke off, her eyes shining. After a
few seconds, she continued again, her tone casual and the subject was Loren
He's on a slightly different plateau than the
other boys. He's older, of course, and he appears to be more
sophisticated. I don't mean stuffy," she added with a quick little
frown, "because he certainly isn't. But he does have a certain air
of..." she gestured gropingly, "of the matinee idol, the grand actor,
which I, personally, find delightful. Loren kids around with Dan and Mike,
but it's more like a gracious joining in.
"He's the type of person whom I always
visualize as sitting by a fireplace in a velvet smoking jacket, reading a book
and puffing on a pipe, although I don't know if he actually does. I
could also see him sitting around the dinner table with a small group of
politicians and writers and carrying on intellectual conversations. He's a
very warm, friendly person - but he's hard to get to know."
Kathie was born in San Luis Obispo, Calif., a
small town north of Los Angeles on Sept. 19 of a year she steadfastly refuses to
divulge. On "Bonanza," she plays a girl in her early twenties
and she doesn't look much older. She's an only child. Her parents,
May and Joe Browne were divorced. When, she won't say, but we gathered it
was sometime during her early teen years.
She grew up "pretty much of a loner. I
was in and out of a number of schools none of which I was interested in. I
didn't understand the children or the teachers. I never felt like I
belonged. It was probably my fault in a way, because I never made any
special effort to try and fit in. I just kind of kept to myself. I
guess I still do. I read a lot and I enjoyed writing. I still do
that, too. I devour novels and biographies and I write little sketches of
impressions, usually in free verse. I also keep a collection of notes that
one day I might turn into a novel."
Her main source of pleasure was going to the
movies. She can't remember when she didn't have a crush on Cary Grant or
when Katherine Hepburn wasn't her idol. "I used to spend all day
Saturday and Sunday at the movies. I literally lived in a celluloid dream
world. It was a marvelous escape."
She made her own show business debut at six in a
school play. "I was a fairy," she laughs, "and I was scared
to death! I didn't act again until high school." But the bug
stayed, and when she graduated from San Luis Obispo High, she moved to Los
Angeles, stayed with an aunt and dove into little theatre work.
A TV director and some casting agents saw her in
the lead of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," auditions followed and Kathie was
soon playing top roles on major TV shows like GUNSMOKE, "Have Gun, Will
Travel," and "Bonanza." She made her first appearance with
the Cartwrights two years ago and became the only girl invited back a second
time. "We got along great," she says modestly, "and they
seemed to like my work."
By then everyone in the business seemed to like
her work. She was doing a TV show a week until the spring of 1962 when she
took a break to make her first movie, "The Brass Bottle," with Tony
Randall. That fall she took another TV sabbatical, to accept a trip to
Europe as a guest of honor at a foreign film festival.
She briefly toured Europe and the Middle East and
by the time she got back to Hollywood, the TV offers were stacked high.
When the "Bonanza" bosses corralled her last May to dangle the plum
part of Laura in front of her, she floored them by seriously hesitating.
They finally made the offer irresistible with a deal generous enough to cause
mutiny on any lot: she had a one-year contract with complete freedom to do any
other TV show or movie!
Her main extravagance is clothes. She has a
custom-made wardrobe along simple, straight Chanel lines and on Saturdays she
"suffers through endless hours of fittings. But it's worth it,
because I do so enjoy clothes. I'm a bug about how people dress. I
judge a person's appearance on the same aesthetic place as I would a
house. Wearing things that don't match is like putting clashing periods of
furniture in the same room."
Saturday is the one night in the week she goes
out. "I have a lot of boy friends but only one or two men I date,"
she says careful to make the distinction. "Most of the men I meet are
connected with some phase show business, but I'm not attracted to any particular
type. I look for a sense of humor in a man, and most importantly,
someone who has something interesting to say about things other than show
Somewhere in the not-too-distant past she was
married briefly and divorced. It is a subject which she adamantly refuses
to discuss. "Let's just say," she tightly insists, "that I
was married once... very unhappily... and that now I'm single again and that's
the end of it!"
As for her current romantic plans, she
shrugs. "I don't have any particularly strong feelings one way or the
other. I'm not dying to get married, or trying hard to avoid it. I
imagine that I shall eventually get married. I do like children and I
think I could be a good mother. I think I'd be interested enough in them
to be able to giver and care. That's very important, you know."
Would she have time, with her kind of
schedule? She doesn't hesitate. "I would definitely give up my
career," she says decisively. "I don't believe that two careers
in a family can work." She breaks off abruptly and there is a pensive
pause. "Of course, that's something I don't have to worry about
now," she adds.
At the moment, Kathie is a full-time career
woman. She's up before the sun, gets in her little black Peugeot and is at
the studio by 6 a.m. for two hours of hairdressing and make-up before the
cameras roll. Filming from 8 a.m. until 12 or 12:30, when she gets a
one-hour lunch break which shrinks considerably by the time she crawls out of
the corsets and petticoats of the period costume. "I have to
get out of those lacings," she says wryly, "or I wouldn't have room
for lunch!" She admits she has the "appetite of a large
horse," but nervous energy and "a lot of running around" keep her
five-foot-five figure a trim 110 pounds.
She finishes at the studio " hopefully at
seven or eight, and then I dash home and try and answer 20 phone calls in 15
minutes and grab something to eat that goes down easy, like Metrecal, so I have
time to go over the next day's script before I have to go to bed.
Four-thirty in the morning comes awfully early!" She functions best
on eight hours of sleep, but during the working week rarely gets more than six.
Sundays are her "one day to myself. I
treasure them avariciously." Once a month she joins a group for a day
of deep-sea fishing, her favorite sport. The others are spent catching up
on sleep, correspondence and reading books and fan mail. She gets about
100 letters a week, answers all of them personally. Her favorite to date
came from an 11-year old boy who had apparently read an article in which she
said she didn't like horses or riding. He indignantly wrote, "Dear
Horse-Hater: If you hate horses, I hate you. You won't be happy on
the Ponderosa. Go back to the City. (Signed) A Horse Lover."
Kathie claims that she actually told the author
of the story, "I don't like to ride because I'm afraid of horses and they
always know it!" but she didn't mind the misquote and the letter it drew
because "it taught me an important lesson: your fans do read
what's written about you. Since then, I've been very careful about how I
Sunday, and any other day that she has a few
minutes, is introspection time for Kathie. She studies herself in the same
intently analytical way that she tackles a script and she is brutally honest.
"My biggest problem is still letting
go. I'm a very emotional person, but I keep everything inside; I don't
have any outlets, like kicking the cat! You extend this further and it
becomes my struggle to extend myself with other people. I'm gradually
overcoming this, I think. I'm still very shy when it comes to meeting
someone, but all the personal appearance tours I have to do are helping.
"I've also found in the last year that I
enjoy being with people much more than I ever thought I could. On the
"Bonanza" set, I feel almost like one of the family. When I go
back for a second or a third time on another show, it's like old home week -
everyone from the crew to the cast makes me feel I really belong. That's
something I've missed up to this point.
"I'm beginning to find people, in general,
fascinating. Which is great, because I find out about other people.
what I have to learn, more than anything, is how to really be natural and be
myself around people. It's hard because I'm not quite sure of what I
really am. I don't understand myself, really; I suspect I shall spend my
whole life trying to understand myself... but that's the way it probably should
"There's only one thing I do regret,"
she softly reflects. "I wish that, somehow, I could have speeded up
my life, not wasted so much time getting to where I am now - because now
I'm just beginning to realize what it is to be a whole, full, wonderful
person. I think that now, for the first time in my life, I can truly say I
know how it feels to be
(The editors would like to thank Kathy E. again, for sharing this article from
The following is the complete
script for "The Pressure Game," including revision dates.
Additionally, the original, unfilmed ending to the script, revealing that Adam
and Laura have married and are leaving on their honeymoon, follows the text.
"The Pressure Game"
Written by Don Tait
Prod. No. B-226
(also registered as #31531)
September 19. 1963
EXT. VIRGINIA CITY - DAY
It is an extremely hot day and few people are out in the blazing
sun. Some men are draping a flag out in front of one of the stores in
honor of the pending Fourth of July celebration.
EXT. GENERAL STORE - PEGGY
She is standing near the entrance studying a crude poster which
reads: ANNUAL INDEPENDENCE DAY PICNIC - JULY 4TH - DONNEVAN FLATS -
FIREWORKS - SPEECHES - STAY ALL DAY. ADMISSION ONE DOLLAR, KIDS FIFTY
CENTS - ALL PROCEEDS GO TO MINER' WIDOW FUND. ANGLE WIDENS as LAURA DAYTON
followed by ADAM and the STOREKEEPER emerge from the store. Both Adam and
the Storekeeper are carrying parcels. CAMERA PANS them across the
boardwalk to the waiting wagon. Peggy falls into step with them as CAMERA
PANS the group to the waiting wagon. Over this:
Mommy, can we go to the picnic?
Adam and the Storekeeper start
loading the goods into the back of the wagon. Peggy gets into the back of
the wagon, but keeps at her mother.
Please, Mommy. Billy Hammermill is going.
(a little impatient)
We'll see, Peggy. Now get up in the wagon, we have a long way
Peggy obeys, but is crestfallen
by this stall. Adam winks at her.
If you'll be my partner in the sack race, I'll take you -- and your mother, too.
Oh, will you? Will you, really, Adam?
Laura climbs up into the wagon with Adam's help.
Will you put that on my account, Mr. Evers?
Mr. Evers nods. Adam
mounts the wagon and is unwrapping the reins when two middle-aged BIDDIES with
parasols enter the scene and stop. Adam touches his hat, but he is not
anxious to get in conversation with these two.
Afternoon, Mrs. Dayton, Mr. Cartwright.
Thought we'd be hearing an announcement from you two before this.
TWO SHOT - ADAM AND LAURA
Laura is embarrassed. Adam parries the remark with an announcement
about the weather.
Hottest summer on record, but that's not official - just what they're saying.
He touches his hat again and
flicks the reins. ANGLE WIDENS as the wagon starts off down the street.
CLOSE TWO SHOT - THE LADIES
They're not fooling me any. There goes the next Mrs. Cartwright.
I should hope so! That young man has certainly been monopolizing all her
time since her husband died.
I wonder which one is doing all the hesitating.
It's probably the man, my dear -- as usual!
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - DAY - LONG
SHOT - WAGON
moving along road in open country.
CLOSE SHOT - WAGON (PROCESS)
Adam and Laura as we last saw them, but Peggy cannot be seen. Adam
looks at the lack of the wagon.
ANGLE - PEGGY
She is asleep in the back of the wagon, her head pillowed by some of the
Looks like I'm going to have an extra bundle to carry in.
Thank you, Adam -- (beat) Though I suppose you shouldn't come in at all.
Laura avoids Adam's look.
I know -- A woman in your position -- is very vulnerable to gossip....
especially if she's seen keeping company with one man too long.
I'm afraid it's something we both have to think about - not to please those
silly gossips, but to decide these things for ourselves --
I assure you my intentions are strictly honorable, Ma'am.
So are mine.
Adam reacts to something he
There's someone in your house.
POV - LAURA'S HOUSE
A thin trail of smoke comes out of the chimney.
BACK TO SCENE
Laura looks off, concern showing on her face.
The wagon pulls to a halt in front of the house. Adam starts to climb
down, his eyes studying the house.
CAMERA PANS him past the wagon
and towards the house.
ANGLE - THE HOUSE
The door swings open and the figure of a woman is silhouetted in the door
Don't shoot unless you want to lose your favorite Aunt.
ANGLE - THE WAGON
Laura reacts strongly to the sound of this woman's voice.
She jumps down from the wagon
and CAMERA PANS her past Adam and into the arms of Lil, who has moved forward to
ANGLE - LAURA AND LIL
They embrace enthusiastically, ad libbing greetings choked with emotion.
What a wonderful surprise!
as Adam watches, Peggy who has been awakened by the new SOUNDS, runs past
him and into the arms of Lil. Lil sweeps her up and hugs her and puts her
down. Laura now turns to Adam who has moved toward the group.
Adam, I'd like you to meet my Aunt Lil.
Lil extends her hand and she and
Adam shake hands, al lib greetings.
Just call me Lil. Aunt Lil sounds like someone standing over a hot stove
stirring pea soup.
Actually, she's my fairy Godmother. She's always turning up at the right
Impulsively she hugs Lil
You've got to stop polishing those lamps, honey. (a beat) Well, come on in, and
make yourself to home.
Lil and Adam exchange a look which does not get past Lil.
(NOTE: The line should have read: Laura and Adam exchange a look....)
I'd best get back and see if the ranch is still there. Nice meeting
you -- Lil.
Adam turns to Laura.
Can I give you a hand with the things?
Thanks. We'll manage fine.
Don't forget about the picnic.
He nods to the two ladies,
turns and walks out of scene to where his own horse is tethered. He mounts
and rides off. CAMERA HOLDS on Laura, Lil and Peggy as they enter house.
INT. DAYTON HOUSE
as group enter.
If you go up and look in your room I'll bet you find something that wasn't
there this morning.
ANGLE SHOOTING PAST Laura and
Lil as Peggy runs excitedly up the stairs. The two older women watch her
disappear into her room.
CLOSE SHOT - LIL AND LAURA
as they face each other.
LIL (continuing; indicating
So that's the balky critter?
I'll get some coffee started.
She starts away toward the
kitchen, but Lil stops her.
Never mind that, just tell me what's wrong.
Laura looks at Lil with
Wrong? Whatever gave you that idea?
Your last letter. Little things I read between those brave little lines.
Peggy and I are getting along fine.
Laura, this is your Aunt Lil, and I've come a long way.
(coming off it a bit)
I know, and I'm so glad you're here -- Maybe the ranch is getting me down.
It's a rough job for a woman. (beat) Especially when she has to
work with her heart on her sleeve.
Now, Lil --
Don't you now Lil me! --
(takes her by the arm)
Come on, honey. Tell your Aunt Lil the truth. He's sure a
good-looking young fellow, but believe me, I've seen 'em all from Chicago to San
Francisco and there ain't none worth a single hair on your head.
Laura feels obliged to say
something in Adam's defense and she turns away from Lil's arms. Lil smiles
You do have your heart set on him, don't you?
Adam is a very fine man. He's honest and kind -- and he's been wonderful
to me and Peggy -- I guess he's made me really happy for the first time in my
But he likes to keep his hat near the door where he can get at it.
Don't all men? (Don't they all?)
Do you really love him?
Putting it in so many words
kind of shocks Laura.
Lil -- that's something personal between Adam and myself.
Well, really! -- You forgetting who I am, honey? I'm your Aunt Lil, not
I know -- but all this talk about marriage and all -- Well, don't you see, first
we have to be sure we love one another -- then we'll know what to do.
That's fine, but what I say is, get them to marry you first, then fall in love
Lil - you stop that.
as Peggy comes running down the stairs. A new raggedy-Anne-type doll
hangs in her hand.
Oh, I love her, Aunt Lil -- I love her! Thank you, thank you!
(tousles Peggy's hair)
You're welcome, darling -- (looking at Laura) Now that your fairy
Godmother's here, everything is going to be wonderful!
As CAMERA COMES UP to Laura's
31531 - Rev. 2/14/64
INT. CARTWRIGHT LIVING ROOM -
NIGHT - BEN
He stands staring thoughtfully out the window into the blackness -- his
hands shoved into his hip pockets. As he turns away from the window and
walks back into the center of the room CAMERA PULLS BACK and ANGLE WIDENS
revealing others -- HOSS, WILL. They are seated in various chairs about
the room. The mood is one of dejection. Ben pauses a moment in the
room before he speaks to Hoss.
How many we lost so far?
Dozen, or so, maybe. Trouble is, it's not going to get any better.
What about this summer range you talked about? There's grass up there,
Along with plenty of cows to eat it.
It we put too many beeves up there, it gets over-grazed. Then it's years
before the grass comes back.
We gotta do something with these down here, 'cause any that squeaks through the
summer sure ain't gonna last the winter.
The door opens and Adam enters.
Adam nods to the group but
ignores Hoss's sarcasm.
Looks like a wake.
As a participating member of this ranch I think you ought to know that we're
liable to lose over five hundred head of cattle in the very near future.
Hoss says they're already starting to eat cactus and loco weed.
(well aware of all this)
I know. I had a look at them the other day -- I think we better try
and unload them. Little Joe's in San Francisco. Why not wire him and
see what price they're offering down there?
I thought of that -- but we don't have the hands to get them there, no matter
what the price.
Then what about the Bonner brothers?
The reaction of the other
Cartwrights is not good.
If I can help it, I'd just as soon not do business with those two cut-throats.
But I don't see how you can help it -- They're the only drovers working through
here this time of year.
There is a pause as Ben considers
You used to chase around with them before you got better sense. You
want to talk to them?
Maybe I can catch them in town. I'm picking Laura and Peggy at the hotel
anyway to take them to the Fourth of July picnic.
When you going to bring that gal around here so I can get a look at her.
Or better yet marry her so's you can spend a little time around here yourself.
That's the third time today I've been prodded in the same spot and it's getting
There follows an awkward
silence for a beat until Will speaks.
I persuaded Hoss to leave some of that venison. It's in the cooler.
Thanks, Will. I'm not hungry.
He turns and goes up the stairs.
as Will rises and moves over beside Ben, who is looking after Adam,
Heat'll do that.
Yeah -- maybe.
Ben nods as he continues to
look up the stairs after Adam, but it is plain he does not think it is the heat
that is bothering his eldest son.
EXT. VIRGINIA CITY - DAY
We are CLOSE on a rusty, upturned tin can. A firecracker fuse
SPUTTERS under the rim of the can. It EXPLODES, driving the can upward and
out of frame.
ANGLE - THE CAN
as it sails in the air and falls back to the street in front of the
Virginia City Hotel.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY
A Clerk is behind the desk.
The sofa on which Laura and Lil are seated. Both are decked out in
light, attractive summer dresses and hats. On the floor nearby is a picnic
basket. Peggy turns away from a window where she has been keeping vigil.
We're going to miss all the fun if we have to sit here all day!
Laura and Lil smile,
acknowledging Peggy's concern.
You're quite rite (sic) dear -- Isn't it a shame we have to depend on men
for most of our fun?
Where is Adam, Mommy?
I don't know, honey. He said he would meet us here.
Lil gets to her feet.
Well, I've got a pretty good idea where he is. I've had some experience in
Where are you going?
(ducking the question)
Never you mind -- I'll be right back.
CAMERA PANS Lil to the door
and outside. Through the plate glass window we see her sweep down the
boardwalk in grand fashion.
The three young boys are lighting another firecracker. One of them
spots Lil and his eyes widen. He nudges the boy lighting the
firecracker. They all three look up at Lil. What a perfect target.
ANGLE - LIL
She sees them and stops, well aware of their plan. We see a steely
side of Lil and realize that she is able to cope with these boys on their own
(she means it)
You do... and I'll throw you all in the horse through -- in one ugly lump.
The chastened boys decide not to take the chance and Lil, reassured she
has made her point, resumes her role as Grand Lady and sweeps on down the
boardwalk, nodding graciously to a PASSING PEDESTRIAN.
ANGLE - THE BOYS
watching her in awe. The one holding the firecracker suddenly
becomes aware that the fuse is burning and he flings it away.
INT. SILVER DOLLAR SALOON -
CLOSE SHOT - WHISKEY BOTTLE
as the BARTENDER pulls the cork out. It gives a loud POP. He
fills the three shot glasses on a tray. CAMERA PANS him and ANGLE WIDENS
as he carries the order around the corner of the bar. We see that the
Silver Dollar is generously populated with MINERS and COWHANDS, celebrating
Independence Day. CAMERA CONTINUES TO PAN Bartender as he carries the tray
to a table occupied by Adam and the two BONNER brothers. (JEFF and RICK).
ANGLE - THE GROUP
as the Bartender sets the tray down and starts placing the drinks before
the men. Adam signals to the Bartender that the drinks are on him and the
Bartender retires. Adam is doing the selling here and hence the
(downing half the shot)
Trouble is, Adam, the market's way down at rail head -- even for good
You'll come out all right -- you always do.
This is different. That's a big herd -- over five hundred head.
Hungry cattle don't drive easy and we'd have to take on extra men.
The whole deal could wind up costin' us money.
That I'd have to see... All right, we'll make it twenty-five dollars a head --
but that's as low as we can go.
ANGLE - BATWING DOORS
Lil is standing outside, looking over the crowd for Adam. His back
is to her and she can't see him. Nor can he see her.
ANGLE - SAM (THE BARTENDER)
He sees Lil and reacts hugely.
He comes swiftly around the
bar and heads for the door.
ANGLE - LIL
Her face falls. She is about to take to her heels when Sam pulls open
the doors and drags her inside. It's old home week, as far as he is
concerned, and he grabs her in a bear hug and whirls her around. Finally
he puts her down.
If you ain't a sight for sore eyes. When'd you hit Virginia City?
Lil straightens her hat and
tries to regain her dignity.
(the Grand Duchess)
I'm visiting relatives here. Nice to see you again, Sam.
Lil smiles and looks around
the room, trying to spot Adam. But Sam holds her at arm's length, looking
her over fondly and professionally.
Can you still sing? You picked up a pound or two here and there, but
you're still a lot of woman, Lil.
He puts across his point with
a pat we HEAR but don't see.
Sam, please! I'm a lady of means, now. Mrs. Lillian Manfred of San
So you and the Moose finally got hitched? Wonderful!
Charlie was killed in a mine accident two weeks after the nuptials.
Oh, that's too bad.
Not all bad. The cave-in exposed a silver shelf big as that bar.
It suddenly registers what all
this adds up to. Lil is indeed wealthy. He looks her over again and
his tone is more deferential.
Oh, is right.
(The Grand Duchess)
I'm seeking Mr. Adam Cartwright. Is he a patron here?
Yeah, sure, Lil -- Mrs. Manfred. He's right over there.
He leads the way toward the
table where Adam and the Bonner brothers sit.
ANGLE - THE TABLE
The Bonner brothers react to the approaching Lil, and Adam follows their
gaze. As soon as he recognizes Lil, he scrambles to his feet. The
Bonner brothers remain seated. Lil enters shot.
Excuse me, Adam. Laura and Peggy were wondering if you still planned to
attend the picnic.
Adam glances uncomfortably off
at the clock and then back at Lil.
I didn't realize it was so late. Why don't you ladies go on and I'll join
you as soon as I finish up here.
Lil glances down at the drinks
on the table and then at the Bonner brothers. Adam takes Lil by the elbow
and guides her toward the swinging doors.
We are SHOOTING PAST the Bonner brothers, TOWARD the door where we see Adam
hand Lil several tickets he has pulled from his breast pocket. We cannot
hear what Adam and Lil are saying from this distance, but the Bonner brothers
are smirking at Adam's discomfort. By this time, most of the people in the
saloon are watching Adam and Lil.
ANGLE - THE DOOR - ADAM AND
Please explain and tell Laura and Peggy I'm very sorry.
He holds the door open and Lil
(calling to Adam)
You better run along, Adam, before you get yourself in real trouble.
This gets a HEARTY LAUGH from
those within earshot and a grim look from Adam.
'Pears like that Laura Dayton's got a ring in your nose even before she's
got you hog tied.
Adam heads back to the table
amid further LAUGHTER.
as he arrives at the table and remains standing.
I came here to talk about cattle--
Sure, Adam... maybe you could take us out there and give us a look at them
beeves. We'd hate to buy a cow in a poke, so to speak.
Adam hesitates. He
doesn't know whether these two are finally ready to do business or not.
He'd like to close the dead. Again, he glances up at the clock.
You can find them, can't you?
In a week we could, but we're due up in Aurora tomorrow.
Adam grabs his hat off the
He starts out. The
Bonner brothers exchange a look of satisfaction and follow him out.
EXT. A CLEARING BACKED BY
TREES AND BUSHES - DAY
A ball rolls swiftly along the grass coming to a halt at the hooves of a
horse. In the b.g. we can HEAR high pitched voices of people at
play. A man's boots come into the scene as he dismounts and recovers the
WIDER ANGLE - WILL
He holds the ball and looks off in the direction from which it
came. He smiles at what he sees.
Peggy comes running around a clump of bushes, obviously seeking the
ball. She stops short as she sees Will. Quickly he puts the ball
behind him and looks innocent. But Peggy has seen this maneuver.
That's my ball!
Oh. What shape is it?
Will takes the ball out and
examines it closely.
My Aunt gave it to me. You can ask her.
You better learn to catch better. Winners keepers -- losers weepers.
It wasn't my fault. Aunt Lil can't throw too good.
Will reacts to the name.
LIL'S VOICE (o.s.)
Ladies aren't supposed to be able to throw good.
ANGLE - LIL
She has come around the same clump of bushes to help Peggy find the
ball. She reacts at the sight of Will, pleased with what she sees.
She corrects her English.
I mean -- too well.
as Will smiles and gives the ball to Peggy.
Well, since you've made positive identification, I guess I'll have to give it
I'm sorry... would you like to play with us?
Do you need an extra player?
I'll offer you a deal. You play ball with Peggy here -- and we'll share
our picnic basket with you. (beat) That is -- if you're alone.
I'm alone. I just dropped by to take some chances on the raffle.
Good. Come along.
They begin to exit, Lil
ANGLE ON TABLE
showing Laura setting out the picnic lunch. She looks up as Lil,
Peggy and Will approach.
as they reach the table.
I've found someone to play ball with Peggy -- one who can throw better that I
can, I hope.
And we're going to give him some of our picnic lunch.
Laura looks at Will, likes
what she sees, smiles.
A neck'll be good enough for me.
I think we can do better than that -- if you want to take your chances.
(looking at her)
I think I'm doing much better right now than anything I could have won at
I hope you can throw a ball as well as you do a line.
Why ma'am, I was speaking the truth -- the pure truth.
Come on, let's play ball, mister... mister... What's your name?
Will... Will Cartwright.
There is a silence as they all
look at him.
Did I say something wrong?
Forgive us. I'm Laura Dayton. This is my daughter, Peggy, and my
Laura... Oh, you're Adam's girl.
Not exactly. (beat) As you can see.
Where is Adam? I remember him saying he was taking you to the picnic.
I think he's attending to some important business. But you're welcome all
the same -- Isn't it strange that we haven't met?
I stick pretty much to the ranch. But I've sure heard a lot about you from
Oh? -- Nice things, I hope.
Laura... let's fix lunch. We've lost one Cartwright and found another,
so things are sorta even.
That's right, Mommy. Finders keepers, losers weepers.
There is a brief silence, then
Will takes Peggy's hand.
Come along, young lady. I've got to earn my chicken.
They move off. Laura
looks after them. Then, suddenly conscious that Lil is watching her, she
busies herself with the lunch. Lil smiles and starts to help her as we:
EXT. DAYTON HOUSE - NIGHT
The lights are on downstairs.
INT. PEGGY'S BEDROOM - LAURA
Laura is seated on the bed beside Peggy. She is trying to get the
child to sleep. The room is quite dark, the only light coming from the
door which has been left ajar. Peggy's eyes are wet and her cheeks tear
stained. Laura uses a corner of the sheet to daub a tear away and then
folds it back neatly as she tucks Peggy in.
It's nothing to cry about. You had a good time with Will, didn't you?
Yes, but Adam promised. Maybe he got hurt or something.
Oh, I don't think so. Now don't you worry -- just close your eyes and
tomorrow will be a lovely new day.
She leans over and kisses
Peggy's cheek and rises.
Laura looks down at her
daughter, lovingly, protectingly, then she turns and CAMERA PANS her to the
door, where she exits quietly.
INT. DAYTON LIVING ROOM
as Laura comes down the stairs, shutting the door quietly behind
her. Lil is also visible in the shot. She is seated on the sofa, the
picnic basket at her feet. She is finishing a chicken leg. Laura
crosses over to her.
She finally give up?
Want some twice-baked chicken?
Laura has to smile, but she
shakes her head 'no.' Lil discards the chicken bone, licks a couple of
fingers and then wipes her hands on a napkin. Over this:
I don't understand it. It's not like Adam -- At least he could have
sent some sort of message. That's the part that makes me angry.
It's like all of them. Believe me.
Laura shakes her head; she
knows this isn't Adam.
He'll be full of apologies and you might start feeling sorry for him -- so don't
see him. I learned that the hard way.
There is a KNOCK on the door
and the two women look at each other. Laura gets to her feet and starts
for the door, but Lil hurries after her and eases her off to the side so she
cannot be seen.
as Lil moves to the door and opens it. Adam is standing there, hat
Oh, Adam. Good evening.
But she makes no move to step
aside and let Adam enter. Adam is a little surprised.
Is Laura in?
She's retired for the evening. I'll tell her you called.
Please extend my apologies to her and Peggy. I was unable to get away.
Laura enters scene and pulls the door open wider, facing Adam. She's
angry. Lil sighs in despair.
Hello, Adam --
(he's had a hard day)
Laura, I'm sorry -- It was business that wouldn't wait.
Sometimes promises can't wait, either -- It was very rude of you to keep us
waiting in that hotel lobby -- Peggy was bitterly disappointed.
CLOSE SHOT - LIL
She rolls her eyes heavenward. This is getting out of hand.
BACK TO SCENE
I don't think that disappointing a child when it's unavoidable is the end of the
world... I hope to make it up to Peggy.
I hope you can.
Laura and Adam stand there,
glaring at each other. Lil moves away from the door and flops down in a
chair. Laura's blown the whole thing sky high.
Once again, I apologize. Good night.
He turns and disappears out of
the shot. Laura slams the door heavily and goes to the window. Lil
looks at her and shakes her head, sadly, back and forth.
Baby, baby, baby. Don't ever let 'em know you've got a temper --
'specially at this stage of the game.
She rises and goes to Laura to
Aunt Lil -- Really!
EXT. DAYTON HOUSE
Adam mounts and rides out.
INT. LIVING ROOM - LAURA AND
They stand at the window, looking out. Obviously, they have just
seen Adam ride off.
Don't worry, they usually come back, hat in hand, and feeling very contrite.
Lil turns away from the window
and starts back into the room. As she PASSES CAMERA:
(continuing; not sure)
CAMERA MOVES IN on Laura's
face. Tears have started to form in her eyes.
END OF ACT ONE
EXT. DAYTON RANCH - DAY - LAURA AND LIL
They are trying to chase a steer out of the yard. Both are dressed in
everyday clothes and Laura wears an apron and carries a dish towel. She
waves the dish towel at the street, trying to chse it off. She sounds like
she knows what she's doing.
She SNAPS the towel. Lil
picks up a clod and flings it at the steer, hitting it in the rump. Over
The steer trots off in the
direction from which it came.
TWO SHOT - LIL AND LAURA
watching the street take off. The enemy vanquished, Laura sighs in
The garden's ruined. everything!
It's a Cartwright cow. Let them make it good.
We're supposed to maintain that stretch of wire. (her voice rises in
frustration) And I can't fix a fence myself, I've tried.
And you wouldn't think of asking handsome to come over and help out...
No, I wouldn't. And besides...
She is interrupted by the
sound of a distant explosion. Both women look off in that direction.
It's on the Ponderosa. They're probably trying to open up some springs
-- find some fresh water for the cattle.
Lil considers this for a
moment. The wheels are starting to turn.
You know it's such a hot day. I think a little drive will cool me
off. I've never seen the Ponderosa -- maybe I'll drive by there.
No thanks. But you go ahead. If you want.
Laura has no intention of
going onto the Ponderosa and she turns and heads for the house. CAMERA
HOLDS on Lil looking off in the distance.
And while I'm at it, I just might to a little fence-mending myself.
EXT. PONDEROSA BARN - DAY
Ben is busy loading some crates of dynamite onto the buckboard when he HEARS
the sound of an approaching horse and looks up.
POV SHOT - LIL
driving toward him in Laura's buckboard.
as she pulls up and stops near Ben who moves to her buckboard.
Simultaneously, they react to SOUND of another explosion.
With all those explosions going on, I hope it isn't too dangerous -- for a lady.
My sons are doing some dynamiting several miles away.
(indicates work clothes)
I was just on the way to bring them a fresh load of explosives --
So I assure you, you're quite safe.
I'm not so sure -- I can see now where Adam got his good looks from.
You must be Laura's Aunt Lil from San Francisco. I'm Ben Cartwright. I
wish I had known you were coming -- we would have been a little better prepared
to welcome you.
Nonsense -- with your Adam and my Laura, I feel like a part of the family -- and
I wouldn't disturb your work for the world. It's just...well, being a
woman, I had to see this wonderful Ponderosa that Laura keeps talking about.
CLOSE SHOT - BEN
He smiles -- becoming aware of the real reason behind Lil's visit.
She's a wonderful person. We were all greatly concerned for her when she
lost her husband.
Well, as the good book sayeth -- sometimes these things are all for the best.
I must have missed that bit of Scripture.
(getting back on safer ground)
I understand your home is quite a showplace out here, Mr. Cartwright.
Ben knows she is angling for
an invitation and has decided to extend one, but he's enjoying the exchange.
I'd love to see it.
Any time. Perhaps you and Laura could come to dinner tomorrow night.
We'd love to. What a splendid idea!
There is another EXPLOSION o.s.
Both Ben and Lil look off in the direction of the explosion. When it's
over, Ben turns back to Lil.
My sons will be running out of dynamite -- I hope you will excuse me if I get
back to work.
Of course. It's been a very rewarding little conversation.
They both understand each
See you tomorrow.
Lil flicks the horse into motion, turning the wagon in a broad circle and
setting it back in the same direction from whence she came. Ben watches
her fondly. Her brashness and transparency don't bother him. In
fact, he likes it.
ANGLE - BEN
watching the wagon move away. Hoss rides into the scene from around
We been waitin' for you, Pa.
Whooee. Who was that?
One of Dan Cupid's henchmen. There were arrows zingin' all over the
place. Maybe Adam was lucky to be out on the range with you.
Hoss is puzzled by the answer
for a second, but then he realizes what Ben is getting at.
Adam's workin' harder since he stopped seeing that gal, but he's sure harder to
live with. I'm not sure which way is best.
Neither am I, Hoss. Neither am I.
EXT. DAYTON RANCH HOUSE - DAY
(DUSK) - ESTABLISHING SHOT
We can see lights burning in the house.
EXT. PONDEROSA - NIGHT (STOCK)
INT. ADAM'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
He is buttoning his shirt. Through the mirror, he sees Ben
enter. The door has been open, but now Ben "casually" shuts it.
Adam knows there is more on
his father's mind that just that.
A few years back, if you'd come in and closed the door, I'd figure I was in for
a lecture or a tanning.
Ben has to smile. He
(he has a pretty good idea)
Just a little fatherly advise?
Ben picks a string tie off the
bed and slings it to Adam, who catches it, turns to the mirror and starts
putting it on.
I'm probably meddlin' where I've got no business, Adam, but...
(a beat; as he tries to find the right words)
You've been seeing Laura Dayton pretty regularly since her husband died.
That 'n' horse stealing seem to be real serious crimes around here.
Adam, if you want me to tend to my own business, just say so. But there's
no need for this sarcasm between us.
Adam doesn't respond, but his
expression says he regrets the sarcasm.
(continuing; a beat)
See Laura Dayton all you want, and I can't say I blame you. But in
case you're not aware of it, people in these parts are starting to figure her as
Adam Cartwright's property. That entails a certain amount of
responsibility on your part -- even obligation.
Adam turns and faces his
Laura is free to keep company with whomever she chooses and my relationship
with her has been above reproach.
You going to tack that testimonial up in the post office for all the doubting
Adam sees the reasoning in
this. He goes back to his tying.
A man is kind to a woman who has lost her husband and suddenly he finds himself
in a position where...
Is that all it is, Adam? Are you just being kind?
Adam pauses as he considers
I don't know.
Ben moves over to the door and
puts his hand on the knob.
When a man's been single as long as you have, it's natural he'd be a little
spooky about marriage. But if you're not sure then maybe you should back
out of this -- it's better than life with the wrong woman.
He pulls open the door.
I've said it and that's the last you're going to hear from me on the subject.
I'll be right down.
What about the Bonner brothers?
If we want to give that herd away, they'll be glad to take 'em.
We'll just sit tight another day. If they don't come around, we'd
better make plans to drive them to the coast ourselves -- it's that or slaughter
He hesitates, not liking the
thought, then turns and exits.
CLOSE SHOT - ADAM
as he stares into the mirror, wondering what the evening will bring.
INT. THE CARTWRIGHT DINING
The Cartwrights and their guests have finished dinner and are sipping
second cups of coffee. Ben sits at the head of the table with Lil on his
right. Adam sits at the other end with Laura. Hoss, Will and Peggy
fill the sides.
I don't know how you men do it.
Set a table like this with all the other things you have to do.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Lil is not going to let it drop
Still, it must be a chore, coming home from a full day of man's work, then
facing household duties, too.
TWO SHOT - LAURA AND ADAM
Laura lowers her eyes to the table, embarrassed by Lil's bluntness.
It does not escape Adam.
Hop Sing attends to all that in addition to doing
(refusing to give up)
I'm sure he's very good, but you probably miss the pies and cakes though,
and all the other little delicacies a woman likes to make.
Lil's words trail off as she
sees Laura glaring at her. Maybe she is pouring it on a little
Aunt Lil -- Hop Sing's a very fine cook -- as he just proved.
Oh, yes, he did, didn't he?
Ben, I'm just dying to see that new stallion you were talling (sic) us
(a little surprised)
Why not? It's bright as day outside.
Of course, if you'd like.
And Peggy, I bet if you asked Hoss real nice, he'd show you his egg collection.
CLOSE SHOT - HOSS
He chokes on his coffee.
What egg collection?
BACK TO SCENE
Now, Hoss. Be honest. I never knew a country boy that didn't collect
But that was fifteen years ago.
(he knows they're there)
You might just find them in that old chest in the storeroom, Hoss.
With the butterflies.
Hoss is dying.
Could I see them? Please?
Hoss gives Adam a look and
rises, excusing himself from the table. He is followed by Peggy and they
exit the scene.
ANGLE - WILL
watching them go. He realizes he is Lil's next target. He beats
her to the punch, turns to her.
I just decided I'd ride into town.
If that is all right with you ladies.
Both Lil and Laura look at
as Lil, mission accomplished, rises, followed by Ben and Will. They
AD LIB the niceties of civilization to Adam and Laura as they leave the table.
TWO SHOT - ADAM AND LAURA
Adam has made the gesture of rising, but now sits back down. Laura
stares into her coffee cup.
Aunt Lil is quite an organizer.
But a nice organizer. Pa calls her "Cupid's henchman."
There is an awkward silence
then they both speak together.
ADAM & LAURA
I'm sorry about...
Let's forget it. Blame it on the heat.
Adam, if I fan myself with my handkerchief, will you suggest we go outside where
Did Aunt Lil say I would?
Shall we step outside in the moonlight?
They rise and CAMERA HOLDS on
them as they exit the room.
EXT. WOODED AREA - NIGHT
Laura and Adam stroll in the moonlight. CAMERA DOLLIES with them, then
MOVES IN when they stop. Laura has her back to Adam as she views the
It does feel good.
Remember this place?
It's where you first kissed me... I'm afraid I acted rather silly. It
didn't seem right at the time.
Does it seem right now?
CLOSE SHOT - LAURA
Maybe Lil is right. Maybe men do need to be guided a little.
She turns and moves close to Adam, looking up at him in a fetching manner.
I don't know -- I haven't any basis for comparison.
Adam gathers her in her arms
and they kiss warmly -- passionately. When the kiss is ended, Adam
continues to hold her in his arms and she lets her head rest on his chest.
Her eyes are closed.
Oh, Adam, what would I do without you --
Adam frowns. He knows he
has to say something but when he does speak, his words are guarded,
controlled. He is uncertain about his feelings and it shows.
It seems I've done you an injustice, Laura.
Well, you know I've been pretty much monopolizing your time.
Laura opens her eyes.
She is uneasy at Adam's labored, hesitant approach.
You've been wonderful, Adam.
But I'm afraid I haven't given the other fellows much of a chance.
I haven't minded.
Neither have I, but people begin to assume I have some kind of option on you
What are you trying to say, Adam?
I guess what I'm trying to say is... if you'll have me, Laura --
Yes, Adam -- Go on.
Well, maybe I'm doing it badly, but I'm asking you to be my wife.
You don't do something badly that you feel.
Adam cannot reply. He
realizes that Laura's words are true.
Adam, you don't owe me anything -- but I do thank you for your thoughtfulness
and your concern.
She takes one last look at him
and then turns and runs off. Adam watches her go.
ANGLE - FRONT OF CARTWRIGHT
HOUSE - BEN AND LIL
They are coming back from the barn, but they stop as Laura runs blindly
past them into the house.
CLOSE SHOT - LIL
She looks off toward the trees where Adam is and sighs. She knows
Laura has ruined it.
EXT. CARTWRIGHT HOUSE - DAY -
He levers a shell into the chamber of a carbine rifle, and then shoves it
into its leather scabbard. ANGLE WIDENS and we see that he is standing
near a partially loaded chuck wagon on which WIll is strapping a water
keg. As Will comes away from his task, Ben tosses him the rifle.
Put it where we can get at it, Will. Probably be no call for it, but
sometimes they're more precious than food and water.
Ben heads back into the house
and CAMERA HOLDS on Will as he lays the rifle inside the chuck wagon. He
turns at the SOUND of hoof beats.
ANGLE - THE BONNER BROTHERS
They rein in their horses and slouch in their saddles.
We're movin' a trail herd to the Coast. We hope to find some range there.
Well, now, maybe we can save you a trip. Adam around?
I'll fetch him.
Will starts toward the house
but the trip proves unnecessary, as Adam and Ben emerge through the front door
and cross towards the Bonner Brothers. They nod in greeting but do not
invite the Bonner Brothers to climb down.
Rick 'n me talked it over and seein' as how you folks and us been friends so
long we'll go twenty dollars.
I meant what I said the other day.
There is a long pause as Jeff
thinks it over.
I think he does, Jeff.
Okay, you got yourself a deal. We'll run a count and leave a draft at the
bank in town.
(doesn't trust them)
One of the boys'll give you a hand.
When do you plan to move 'em?
That's movin' day for your lady friend, too, ain't it?
The expressions on Adam's and
Ben's faces reveal that this is news to them.
Ain't you heard? She's gonna put the whole kit 'n kaboodle on the block.
CLOSE SHOT - ADAM
as he looks off toward Laura's ranch.
EXT. DAYTON RANCH - DAY - FULL
Some household articles and crates are piled outside the open door.
Adam rides up, views the scene. He dismounts, tethers his horse and walks
toward the house.
INT. DAYTON LIVING ROOM - LIL
The women have dust-clothes around their heads to protect their
hair. Both are wrapping and packing china for transit.
ANGLE - THE STAIRS
Peggy comes out of her room to the head of the stairs and calls down:
Can I take my dolls on the stage?
Just one, dear --
Peggy hesitates thoughtfully
and then disappears back into her room.
Lil is inspecting a milk pitcher with no handle and a chipped
spout. She holds it up.
Nobody's going to bid on this. You want to pay freight on it all the way
to San Francisco?
Laura looks at it.
Lil lets it fall into a waste
basket and we hear the CRASH. We also hear a KNOCK on the door. Both
women turn in that direction.
ANGLE - ADAM
He stands framed in the doorway, hat in hand.
She returns to her work.
Lil is troubled by this and she makes her AD LIB greeting friendly and warm as
she invites him inside.
I understand you're planning to sell the ranch.
Lil knows this is no place for
I'll help Peggy get packed.
As she moves past Laura she
pulls the dust cap from Laura's hair, and hurries upstairs.
Adam comes into the room, moves closer to Laura.
When did you decide this?
Well -- I finally admitted that I can't run a ranch by myself -- Aunt Lil
invited us to stay with her in San Francisco until I get situated.
Oh -- I see.
Thanks for dropping by, Adam. It was very neighborly.
She starts to return to her
work, but Adam catches her arm.
Laura -- is it because of what happened the other night?
Not just the other night -- Maybe it's time I faced the truth.
(feeling his way)
But why all the haste -- I mean, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the
other night and...
Don't, Adam. When it's not there, a lot of thinking and back-tracking
isn't going to put it there.
INT. PEGGY'S BEDROOM
Clothes are laid out on her bed along with several dolls. She, too,
is making preparations for a move. Lil is folding clothes, putting them in
a packing case, as Peggy studies her dolls.
I want to take the doll you gave me, Aunt Lil, but I'm afraid the others I've
had all along will get jealous.
That could be a problem. Jealousy isn't good for people or dolls...
A thought strikes Lil and her
tone changes as she finishes the sentence.
... But on the other hand, sometimes it's real strong medicine.
Lil rises and moves to the
door, her mind working fast.
INT. LIVING ROOM - ADAM AND
Adam is taking his leave awkwardly.
You're sure there's nothing I can do to help?
WIDER ANGLE - INCLUDING LIL
Yes, there is. You can come to dinner tonight.
This is a bolt from the
blue. Adam is surprised and Laura is shocked. They look at Lil who
is coming down the stairs.
We're in no position to entertain now!
Lil has reached the ground
floor and moves toward Adam and Laura. Over this:
Don't you worry about a thing. This is my party. We own Adam a
(looks at Laura)
You don't owe me anything.
Then let's say it's a going away party. Now that's not too much to
ask, is it? -- After all, you may never see me again.
Wonderful. We'll look for you and your cousin Will around eight.
I wish we had room for everyone, but I don't think we could manage more than the
four of us. --
It's just that Laura and Will got along so well at the picnic.
Adam is a little taken back by
all this. He looks at Laura, wondering how she is taking it. Adam
tries to make a graceful exit.
I'll ask him -- he'll be here if he can.
He nods to Laura and Lil and
exits. Laura is glaring at Lil, who starts for the kitchen.
Aunt Lil, will you please stop meddling in my life?
Lil stops and turns to face
Laura. She is the picture of innocence.
How can you accuse me of meddling because I want to have a simple party -- for
just the six of us.
For six of us?
Six altogether, baby -- Including Peggy... and a green-eyed monster.
ANOTHER ANGLE - LIL
She turns and continues into the kitchen.
END OF ACT TWO
INT. DAYTON LIVING ROOM -
CAMERA has the SAME ANGLE as in the finish of Act Two. Only this
time we see Lil emerging from the kitchen carrying a silver coffee pot.
She is dressed for the party. we can HEAR Will's voice and Laura's
laughter as Will finishes a story.
ANOTHER ANGLE - LIL
CAMERA PANS her to Will and Laura who are seated on the couch.
But that was only the beginning... the stage was still twenty miles outside El
Paso in wild country...
More coffee, Will? I made some nice and fresh for you.
Thanks, Lil. It's delicious.
Laura showed me her secret.
Lil starts to set the coffee
pot down and then, in what appears to be an after-thought, but which is quite
deliberate, she turns to Adam.
Oh, Adam. I almost forgot you. Can I warm yours up?
ANGLE - ADAM AND PEGGY
Adam is seated in the leather chair. His fingers are entwined with
a network of string that Peggy has arranged. It is the old parlor
game. Adam holds up his hands helplessly.
I'm afraid it would just get cold again.
Now keep it tight. I've got it this time.
All watch as Peggy carefully tries to remove the string from Adam's
fingers in the right manner so that it will form another geometrical
design. She fails. Peggy is disappointed.
I know what I did wrong. Just once more, Adam, please.
With a sigh Adam holds up his
extended fingers as Peggy starts to lace them with the string again.
ANGLE - LIL
watching Adam's plight. She is enjoying this thoroughly and finds
it hard to keep a straight face.
LAURA (to Will)
Well, go on with your story -- I can't wait to hear what happened.
ANGLE - WILL, LAURA AND LIL
Anyway, as soon as the driver reined in, I knew something was wrong. There
was no stop scheduled way out there.
ANGLE - PEGGY AND ADAM
Peggy is now more interested in Will's story than she is in her own
trick. She looks off at Will, wide-eyed.
What was it, bandits?
You guessed it, Peggy. Five of the meanest looking cusses you ever saw.
Peggy lets her fingers slip
from the strings and she stares at Will, forgetting Adam completely.
(a note of sarcasm)
You're sure it wasn't fifty?
(he knows Adam is gigging (sic) him)
No, just five.
Were you scared, Uncle Will?
Adam gives a look at
Peggy. Uncle Will!
I think I was, a little. They looked like real cutthroats.
Were you armed?
With a single shot Derringer, so discretion seemed the better part of valor at
the time. I grabbed all the large denomination bills from my wallet and
shoved them under the seat.
ANGLE - ADAM
who has been listening to the story less than enchanted. He resents
having the three women hanging on Will's every word.
That was good thinking.
BACK TO SCENE
Will starts to glance over at Adam, but Laura prevents this.
Go on, Will -- You've got me on the edge of my seat.
She crosses to Will and
listens to him wide-eyed.
Well, this Major's wife, who was coming from Chicago to join her husband, wore
two extremely valuable diamond rings. I told her to hold them fast.
The poor girl started tugging at those rings, but she couldn't get them off.
What'd you do?
I don't know what to do. But I realized if those bandits spotted those
rings, they'd take fingers and all.
The women react.
So, just before the bandit leader yanked open the door of the stage, I
reached over and took the lady's hand... as though I were her husband comforting
her. Of course, I was careful to cover the rings on her hand.
To demonstrate, will reaches out and takes Laura's hand in him.
Everyone is extremely aware that Will is holding Laura's hand as he continues
with his tale.
CLOSE SHOT - ADAM
He glances over at Laura.
CLOSE SHOT - LAURA
She looks at him then lowers her eyes.
ANGLE - LIL
She is lapping it up. This is more than she could have hoped for.
Did they ever find the rings?
(shakes his head)
They were completely taken in. I must have held the lady's hand for a
good fifteen minutes, all through the robbery... and for some time thereafter.
Will is a good story teller
and ends this one up on a humorous note.
I've often thought, I'm glad the lady in question had the presence of mind to
remove her hand once we arrived at the garrison, for if the commandant had found
us like that, I might have been in even more trouble.
Laura and Lil laugh loudly at
this aspect of the story.
ANGLE - ADAM
He is staring at the clasped hands of Will and Laura. He doesn't
realize it himself, but he has the string on his own hands pulled taut to the
LAURA AND WILL
Well, if I can hand my hand back, I think I'd better get Peggy off to bed.
Reluctantly Will releases
Laura. The whole scene is charged with feeling. There is a sharp
SOUND of a snap and all look over toward Adam.
POV SHOT - ADAM
He stares at the limp strings which finally give way and now trail from his
fingers. He is quite surprised himself, for he was unaware he had been
exerting so much pressure.
All realize what happened and their laughter is unbridled as we:
EXT. VIRGINIA CITY - DAY -
This is primarily an ESTABLISHING SHOT, but we can see Laura's buckboard
pulled up before the stage office. Will is unloading some boxes off the
buckboard and placing them on the boardwalk. Lil can be seen crossing the
street and entering a store.
Will is struggling with a heavy wooden case, just as Adam emerges from the
bank and starts down the boardwalk. Will spots him.
Can you give me a hand here, Adam?
Adam, who has been
preoccupied, recognizes Will for the first time. The look he gives Will is
none too friendly. He is still smarting from the evening at Laura's house.
I'm surprised an ingenious fellow like yourself couldn't figure out some way to
Will smiles and waits, knowing
what is eating Adam, who finally moves forward and takes the other side of the
crate. CAMERA PANS them as they carry it to the boardwalk and set it down.
You sure are making yourself handy these days.
Just helping Laura get her things ready to ship to San Francisco.
ANGLE - LAURA
as she emerges from the stage office tucking some papers in her purse.
She has overheard this last remark of Adam's.
I'd have called on you for help, too, Adam, but I knew you were busy finishing
up your cattle sale.
Did the Bonner Brothers move them out yet?
I'm not sure they can move themselves. They've been in the saloon all
Well, it's not your worry any more.
This remark seems to apply to
Adam's relationship with Laura also. There is an awkward silence.
I'll see you before you go. I have a little something for Peggy.
she'll want to say goodbye. It'll be a few days before we leave so I'm
sure you'll have time.
I'm sure I will.
Adam touches his hat and moves
on down the boardwalk turning in at the saloon.
Laura stares after him a moment, lost in her thoughts. Will notices
A lot of men would give their right arm to have you looking at them like
This brings Laura quickly out
of her reverie. She looks at Will and smiles her thanks. Will
glances off toward the saloon.
If I've ever seen a picture of a jealous man, that was it -- so I guess your
plan worked to some extent, anyway.
The smile freezes on Laura's
face, as she wonders how much Will knows.
What do you mean -- what plan?
I knew what you and Aunt Lil were up to five minutes after we got to your
place. That's why I embellished the story of the holdup a little.
But I really enjoyed your story...
And I enjoyed helping out -- though the truth is, the only other passenger on
that stage was a salesman from the east.
Laura is still embarrassed,
but she gives up the pretense.
Oh, Will, I'm sorry.
Don't apologize. It was very pleasant telling it - I enjoyed it --
all of it.
Laura lowers her eyes, knowing
Will refers to the hand-holding bit.
So did I. I mean, we all did.
Will glances off toward the
Except Adam --
It is pretty well deserted at this hour. Adam is at the bar, glumly
downing a beer. We HEAR the coarse laughter of Jeff Bonner. Adam,
who does not know which way to direct his turbulent feelings, glances over
toward the laughter. His jaw is clenched. Sam, the bartender,
polishes glassware nervously.
ANGLE - THE TABLE
The Bonner brothers are slouched in their chairs, both pretty drunk.
Rick holds up a shot glass of whiskey and inspects it.
Jeff, you sure this stuff's good for the heat?
Better'n a wind off a snow bank. 'Sides, Rick, we're already medicated in
case'n we gets snake bit on the trail.
Both brothers are highly
amused at this crude humor.
ANGLE - ADAM
He addresses the Bonner brothers through the mirror.
Maybe you'd better stop worrying about snakes and start worrying about the herd.
Don't you go worryin' your head about our cattle, Adam.
He's got problems enough what with that good lookin' Will Cartwright rustlin'
Both Bonner brothers burst out
laughing at this and Adam turns and faces them.
Anything more out of you and neither of you are going to be able to move
What's wrong with you? You ought to be glad you got that ring out of
Adam starts for them, but Sam
Adam, cool off --
(to Bonner brothers)
Why don't you two boys get going --
There is a tense moment as we
wonder which way the Bonner brothers are going to move. Both are glaring
at Adam. Finally Jeff, his eyes still on Adam, polishes off his drink and
Come on, Rick. Let's ride. This stuff tastes watered anyway.
Both men give Sam a cocky look
and stalk out, turning to the right up the boardwalk. The tension
eases. Adam returns to his beer.
With that many whiskeys in 'em they'll ride out of here like a couple of
Comanches on the warpath -- you watch.
Adam, preoccupied with his own
thoughts, finishes off the beer without comment. He puts a coin on the bar
and exits, turning to the left, the opposite direction taken by the Bonner
as Adam walks along toward the stage depot, where Laura's wagon
stands. From this ANGLE we can also see Lil on the opposite side of the
street, as she emerges from a store, her arms full of packages. In the b.g.,
the Bonner brothers are seen mounting their horses.
as Laura sees her Aunt Lil and starts across the street to help her.
Aunt Lil -- let me help you!
SHOT OF BONNER BROTHERS
as they whirl their horses and start down the street at a fast gallop.
showing the galloping Bonner brothers descending on Laura who has reached
the middle of the street. She tries to dodge them -- but dodges right into
one of the horses. She is knocked down and lies still. Adam, Lil and
Will -- who has just emerged from the stage depot -- all react and run toward
MED. ANGLE - LAURA
who lies unconscious in the street. Adam reaches her first, then
Lil -- spilling her packages -- then Will. Adam starts to pick her up.
showing Bonner brothers whirling and coming back towards group.
ANGLE ON GROUP
as Adam, with Laura in his arms, starts for the hotel, followed by
Lil. The Bonners ride up.
Weren't our fault -- she hadn't ought to be so stupid as to run out in front of
Will reaches up, yanks him
from his horse, belts him. Rick dives for Will from his horse. In
b.g., Adam proceeds to hotel still followed by Lil.
MED. SHOT - WILL AND BONNER BROTHERS
Will now belts Rick to the ground.
Now get on your horses -- and walk 'em out of here. If anything is
seriously wrong with Mrs. Dayton... we'll come after you.
showing Adam and Lil entering hotel with Laura. The Bonners mount
up and move off. After a beat, Will moves towards the hotel.
INT. HOTEL - DAY - ADAM, WILL AND LIL
all showing their tenseness -- are seated in the lobby. The clerk
turns back from the door where he has pulled down the blind to keep out the
curious. He smiles and crosses to his desk. Then from behind the
alcove the DOCTOR appears. Adam, Will and Lil rise.
as the Doctor reaches them.
She'll be all right.
They all show their relief.
Outside a few scratches, a slight concussion seems to be the extent of her
Thank the Good Lord --
Yes. She was very lucky. A few days rest and she will be back to
Adam turns to the Doctor.
Doctor... may I see her?
I don't see why not, Adam --
He moves toward the alcove.
ALCOVE - DAY
Laura is lying on a sofa. She opens her eyes as Adam appears.
as he joins her, pulls up a chair beside her.
The Doctor says you're going to be all right.
I'm sorry I gave everyone such a fright.
Laura -- now that I know you're all right, well maybe it was just as well it
I don't understand, Adam -- what do you mean?
Waiting out there... for the Doctor to tell us whether you were seriously hurt
-- I realized what it would be like if you went away.
She looks at him, waiting.
I realized how much... how very much... I need you.
Don't go away, Laura. Marry me.
They look at each other a long
minute. Then Laura...
Oh, Adam... Adam --
He reaches down and takes her
in his arms.
They look off.
Lil and Will, at entrance to alcove, looking at them.
Your recovery seems to be very complete, Laura.
Oh it is, Aunt Lil, it is! Adam and I are going to get married.
As Doctor appears behind Lil and Will.
Not until you've had that rest I prescribed, young lady. Adam, she's your
responsibility now -- so get her home right away, but drive slowly -- no bumps.
I'll get the rig -- and I promise no more bumps.
I'll look in on you tomorrow, Laura -- And congratulations.
Thank you, Doctor.
Doctor exits. Will moves
over and looks down at Laura.
I guess you won't be needing me anymore -- I'll move along.
Thank you, Will... for everything.
It was a... pleasure... Laura.
He turns and exits.
as Lil moves to Laura.
Well, honey, it finally worked, didn't it?
Aunt Lil... what worked?
Why, my pressure game! He proposed, didn't he?
I suppose you arranged for those Bonner brothers to run me down like that...
It was using Will to make him jealous that did the trick, and you know it.
Yes, sir... all you have to do is use the right bait in the trap -- that's
something I learned a long time ago.
As Lil goes on, Laura is
attracted by something out the window.
SHOT - WILL
riding slowly down the street alone.
INT. ALCOVE - CLOSE SHOT -
as she reacts to sight of Will.
The trouble with traps... is that the bait always gets hurt.
FULL SHOT - ALCOVE
What are you talking about, baby?
Instead of answering, Laura
continues to stare out the window. Lil, curious, joins her. Both
women then look at one another, as Adam appears in doorway.
Your carriage awaits, ma'am.
He moves to couch and starts
to pick her up.
I can walk, Adam...
All right -- but not alone.
He takes her arm and they
exit. Lil looks after them.
We set the trap, all right -- But I wonder if we caught the right man?
She gazes up into CAMERA a
moment, then shrugs and heaves a mighty sigh.
The following is the final
page of script, taken from the original, unfilmed ending to "The Pressure
(to Laura, softly, sincerely)
I'm glad it's you.
Laura's expression reveals
that she is really touched by the compliment. She turns and climbs up into
the buggy and Adam goes around and gets in the other side.
Sorry we can't stay for the reception, but we've got a long way to go.
Laura looks at Adam and he
realizes that his words have significance beyond their original intent.
(continuing; to Laura)
A long, long way to go.
Adam flicks the horse into
motion and the buggy starts out. Hop Sing and the others who have been
holding their hands behind them, during all this, now start showering the bride
and groom with handfuls of rice.
The buggy moves off with Laura and Adam waving and the wedding party ad
libbing goodbyes. And then they are gone.
CLOSE SHOT - BEN AND AUNT LIL
Aunt Lil, will you do me the honor of cutting the wedding cake?
Lil daubs at her eyes with her
If you don't mind soggy wedding cake, I'd be proud to.
The others laugh and all start
drifting back into the house for the reception.