Bonanza (1959–1973)
4 user

The Fear Merchants 

The Cartwrights come to the aid of a Chinese-American stable hand accused of murder. Opposing them is a manipulative mayoral candidate who wants all "foreigners" to leave Virginia City.


Lewis Allen


Frank Unger (story), Frank Unger (teleplay) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Landon ... Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright
Lorne Greene ... Ben Cartwright
Pernell Roberts ... Adam Cartwright
Dan Blocker ... Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright
Gene Evans ... Andy Fulmer
Helen Westcott ... Amanda Ridley
Frank Ferguson ... J.R. Ridley
Christopher Dark Christopher Dark ... Jesse Tibbs
Guy Lee Guy Lee ... Jimmy Chang
Ray Stricklyn ... Billy Wheeler
Philip Ahn ... Mr. Lee Chang
Victor Sen Yung ... Hop Sing
Patricia Michon ... Sally Ridley (as Pat Michon)
Arthur Space ... Cyrus Hammond
Gregg Barton ... Sheriff Halstead


An unscrupulous prosecuting attorney hopes to become Virginia City's mayor on a nativist platform. His first step is to run all Chinese immigrants out of town and he falsely accuses a young Chinese man of murdering a girl who died after being accidentally shot by her father. Written by David Bassler

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis










Release Date:

30 January 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Copyright has expired and is now in the public domain. See more »


After a final showdown, with bodies lying in the street, one of the corpses reacts when an actor accidentally steps on his hand. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. Lee Chang: Not many men are so privileged as we are to see a new civilization born before our own eyes.
Hop Sing: There are times in the streets of Virginia City that I question the use of the word "civilization."
Mr. Lee Chang: It is always that way with the new, Hop Sing. A diamond before it is polished seems no more than a clod of dirt.
See more »

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User Reviews

Fitting Show for Today
20 January 2014 | by mitchrmpSee all my reviews

Today it MLK Day, and what a fitting show to review! The Fear Merchants focuses on racial prejudice, but not prejudice against blacks like today's holiday; but prejudice against Chinese. When the Cartwright's cook is beaten, they have blood in their eyes, but they know that nothing can really be done unless they can catch the men red-handed.

It's also Jimmy Chang's eighteenth birthday. The store owner is scared of the hard cowboy that doesn't want Jimmy to have a happy birthday. Ben comes in and forces the store merchant to sell him the items requested. But I'm afraid a happy birthday just isn't going to happen for Jimmy this year. Tragedy happens inside a barn to a father and his two daughters. The father is scared of the truth, so tells everybody (except his shady lawyer who's running for mayor) that Jimmy is guilty of the crime.

The episode does a good job at showing racial tension and how those who fear the "stronger" men will give in even though they know it's not right. Hatred for "non-Americans" ran high in Virginia City. There didn't seem to be too many people who liked or even tolerated the Chinese, except for the Cartwrights, who of course put everything to right!

3 dead.

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