"Bonanza" Feet of Clay (TV Episode 1960) Poster

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Hoss Bonds With A Ladd
bkoganbing8 November 2010
Dan Blocker takes center stage in this particular Bonanza episode Feet Of Clay in which young David Ladd who idolizes his father finds he has Feet Of Clay.

The episode opens with a funeral in which David Ladd's mother has just passed away. His father isn't there and he's got an uncle in the east somewhere. When no one else takes him in of course the Cartwrights are always ready to help.

David bonds with Hoss who like everyone else is reluctant to tell him that his father isn't just away, he's away in prison. The father did promise he'd return and the father played by Logan Field busts out of prison along with another convict Bob Tetrick to do it. Of course a few people die in their escape and these guys have one heavy duty manhunt after them.

Given the man's size and bulk Dan Blocker was probably lucky to have landed the role of Hoss Cartwright otherwise he would probably have been confined to character roles as thugs. But in this episode he really rises to thespian heights, especially in his scenes with David Ladd and later with Lorne Greene after tragedy has struck.

David Ladd had a brief career in the early Sixties as a child star, he had appeared in some of his father's films and others, but in the same year that Feet Of Clay was broadcast on Bonanza, young Mr. Ladd had a starring role in Dog Of Flanders. David got rave reviews for both the big and small screen.

The other convict in the escape was played by Bob Tetrick and he's a big man, taller than Dan Blocker, bulky, but not quite as bulky as Blocker. The two of them have a really nasty fight and the casting directors must have combed the lists to find an actor who would have been believable in a fight with Blocker. Tetrick gets the better of Hoss for a while also.

Feet Of Clay is a nice Bonanza episode and a real treat for the fans of Dan Blocker.
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Love Thy Enemy
mitchrmp13 February 2014
This episode will make a grown man cry!

In this episode, we meet a little boy who just lost his Ma to sickness. Unfortunately, his father is a convict and in jail serving a sentence. The sheriff sends for his uncle, but in the meantime the Cartwright's agree to take him in - mainly because no one else would!

The boy (Billy) takes a liking to Hoss. They soon start hanging out together fishing, talking, and working. When Billy's father escapes from prison with another convict, everyone but Hoss goes off looking for him. Also unfortunate for Hoss, tragedy happens in Billy's life.

I must admit that I took a liking to Vance. It seems he was a pretty nice guy that just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. He truly loved his son and wanted them to be together. That's what makes this episode so much sadder. The father/son talk between Hoss and Ben will bring you to tears! Hoss doesn't understand why the tragedy had to happen, and frankly his father didn't either. Hoss can't stand the fact that Billy now hates him.

Though the story does have kinda a happy ending, it still leaves you feeling a bit empty that Billy's innocence was shattered by so many bad things. I hope his uncle raised him right!

4 dead
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Dan Should Have Gotten An Emmy For This Episode, IMHO
As stated in the heading of this comment, I feel Dan Blocker should have received a nomination for (and won) an Emmy for this episode. I, frankly, get teary hearing the discussion between Hoss & Ben where he wonders "Why must I be a big, dumb hoss?". I feel that Dan Blocker was a vastly under-rated actor and deserves much credit for his skill. I can relate to this character, owing to the fact that I, too, am a big man with a big heart. Another great episode which showcased Dan's talent was "The Last Viking" which, like this episode, is also from the first season. Personally, having seen all of the "Bonanza" episodes, I do not believe here is a bad one in any of the 14 seasons it was on.
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The tender side of Hoss Cartwright
cashbacher2 September 2019
The mother of a boy in the 8-12 age range dies, leaving him all alone. His father has gone away and despite his promise to return, has not done so. His only known relative is an uncle that lives some distance away and it will take many days for him to arrive. When no one else will take custody of the boy, Ben Cartwright agrees to care for him. However, the boy is into mischief on a regular basis and Ben gets extremely frustrated. Finally, Hoss tells Ben that perhaps he has forgotten how to talk to young people. Agreeing with Hoss, Ben allows Hoss to make the attempt to fill the role of parent. The boy and Hoss hit it off very well after some initial difficulties. When two escaped convicts appear in the area near the Ponderosa, all available men are mustered to look for them. Leaving Hoss and the boy at the Ponderosa. One of the convicts is the boy's father and when they arrive at the Ponderosa, he contacts the boy, asking him to bring the two escapees some food. There is a violent confrontation between Hoss and the boy's father and the outcome turns the boy against Hoss. Despite his emotional turmoil, Hoss manages to keep his focus on the boy and there is the inevitable and predictable happy ending. This episode has Dan Blocker doing some emotional acting, something that he and the Cartwrights are not known for. While his acting is not spectacular, it is at least tolerable, it is most unusual to see a man six-foot-four and over 300 pounds crying. The incongruity of it, makes it work.
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