Air Date: April 4, 1971
Written by: Michael Landon
Directed by: Joseph Pevney
Guest Stars: David Canary (Candy Canaday), Alfred Ryder (Judge), Luke Askew (Deputy Hatch), Richard Mulligan (Farley)
The Cartwrights and Candy fall victim of a mad man who chains and enslaves them to work on his gold mine. Joe escapes and returns to try and save his family along with the rest of the men held prisoner.
Trivia: This was Alfred Ryder’s first and only appearance in the series. For many years, he was the voice of Sammy in the radio serial Rise of the Goldbergs. Despite his achievements on the stage, film and radio, Ryder is mostly remembered as a prolific and versatile TV character actor, with over 100 appearances to his credit.
This episode was filmed around the time of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. As a result, Michael Landon’s script needed to be toned down to get rid of what was perceived as excess violence in the script. Filmed in 1968, it did not air until 1971 (this is why Candy is in the episode) – by that time, NBC felt it was it was OK to air. Ironically, it aired on April 4, 1971 which was the third anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.