Bonanza: The Ape

The teleplay and direction are pointedly based on Of Mice and Men, to the extent that Lennie’s murder in Milestone’s film almost takes place, in front of a beautiful background plate of the shimmering lake.

The title character is a burly, scarred child of a man, easily sensitive to affronts and quite careless in his anger. He murders a man for throwing coffee in his face, and takes his money, innocently. He throttles a saloon girl for spurning him and laughing.

Hoss befriends the ape, they are fellow grizzlies among wolves, there is a farm to be had across the lake, but there’s no help for him. He dies in the mountains, hurling missiles at the posse.