While in Texas, Joe and Hoss are mistaken for the Slade brothers who are involved in a feud between two families. Consequently, Joe and Hoss are thrown in jail and are rescued by one of the members of the feuding families. They turn to the women of the feuding families to help stop the fighting.
Bigot Andrew Fulmer is running for mayor. Fulmer's hatred of Chinese people presents a problem for Jimmy Chong; he is falsely accused of shooting Sally Ridley.
Rosita Morales pretends to be heiress Isabella Marie Inez de la Cuesta in order to get a land grant which includes part of the Ponderosa. She is unable to fool Ben. With the help of his sons, he tries to find the real heiress.
A sheepherder, who was originally just passing through the Ponderosa, decides to stay there permanently. Ben attempts to kick him off the land and the sheepherder takes Adam prisoner.
Ben's ranch hand, Dave Walker, has been accused of killing the wife of Marshall Dowd. The Cartwrights go to Los Angeles for his trial.
Ben, who is running for Governor of Nebraska, was accused of murder twenty years ago; he must go to New Orleans to face the charges.
Adam is attacked by escaped convicts. Ben joins Army Captain Bolton in the search for Adam's attackers.
Hoss and Joe look for a way to prevent Adam and Ben from being hanged. A stranger, Lassiter, comes to town and helps prove Adam and Ben's innocence.
Lady Beatrice is married to Lord Marion Dunsford. She thinks her husband is a coward and sets her sights on a "real man" - Adam.
Ben, Hoss and Joe visit San Francisco with some of their ranch hands. The hands vanish. While searching for them, Ben finds himself shanghaied and destined for Hong Kong.
When miner Lem Keith plans to buy land next to the Ponderosa, he goes to the owner's son Todd to help him. Todd is more than willing to help Lem because he is in love with Lem's daughter and because he and Todd share a common hatred of the Cartwrights.
Little Billy Allen's mother has died and he waits for his father at the Cartwrights'. Unbeknownst to Billy, his father is a prisoner who has broken out of jail. When the father commits robbery and murder Hoss is forced to kill him.
A gypsy girl named Tirza has come to stay at the Ponderosa. She has been disowned by her people because they believe she is a witch. While staying with the Cartwrights, Joe falls in love with her and tries to prove her people wrong.
A member of a powerful gang murders a shopkeeper. The killer is sentenced to be hanged and the leader of the gang kidnaps Ben and holds him hostage.
Sam Kriby, a young bank robber, gets a job with the Cartwrights in an attempt to prevent the Sheriff from learning the whereabouts of his accomplices-- the feared Pardo gang.
Captain Pender is looking for a scout and Hoss suggests former scout Charlie Trent. Because Charlie feels responsible for a massacre, he spends most of his time in the bottle.
Gerald Eskith comes to town claiming to be a Deputy Marshall. He wants to take the Cartwrights friend Jason Blaine to San Francisco to testify against the Murdock gang. Adam has his suspicions and decides to go along with them.
Tom Edwards is in a wheelchair and holds Ben Cartwright responsible for his condition. Tom turns to drink and the Cartwrights decide to help him find purpose again.
Jacob Darien is leading his family of Quakers through Virginia City, when he is accosted by town roughnecks. Adam Cartwright steps in with the help of his new traveling companion, Sam Bord. Adam offers to escort the wagon train across the Ponderosa, unaware that Sam is planning a robbery.
While celebrating the return of his daughter Connie, former lawman McKee is asked to assist in the capture of an outlaw gang. While Joe is courting Connie, no one realizes that McKee is involved with the outlaws.
Ben's life is saved by Matsou, an outcast Indian and his wife. In gratitude, Ben gives Matsou some land and a new start in life, much to the horror of neighbor Ike Dagget who hates Indians. When his wife is killed in a nighttime raid, Dagget blames Matsou and kills his wife.
Little Joe and his Hoss spend an unforgettable and almost tragic evening at the carnival when Little Joe's date, pretty Jennifer Beale, disappears. The carnival is owned by handsome Phil Reed, who has an eye for pretty young girls. Jennifer, daughter of a wealthy miner, is intrigued by Reed, whose weakness for a pretty face this time proves costly to him.
Joe's friend Dolly Kincaid, daughter of the Sheriff, is always falling in with the wrong kind. When she becomes involved with Vince Dagen, Joe becomes worried and tries to intervene.
Gunnar Borgstrom stops to visit his relatives the Cartwrights, on his way to Canada. Gunnar meets his nephew Joe for the first time.
An outlaw seeking revenge on the Sheriff hires on at the Ponderosa under the name Sam Jackson. The outlaw learns the Sheriff is his father.
On his way to Nevada City, Adam comes across a woman being threatened by Shoshone who've just discovered she isn't the spirit woman they thought she was. In his effort to protect her, Adam is shot in the leg with an arrow and must rely on White Buffalo women to help him.
During his travels, Joe meets a deaf and mute girl named Ann. Joes decides he can teach her sign language, but her father is skeptical and suspects Joe has other motives.
Hoss becomes friends with a man named Arnie. Arnie doesn't realize his own strength and has never learned to control his temper.
Ben is forced to kill Luke Grayson and now must face his son Todd who returns from the East to seek revenge.
Joe and Hoss travel to Sacramento to visit the widow of Ben's friend Josh Layton; Hoss falls in love with Helen Layton and brings her home, intending to marry her. All are thrilled about the news except Adam, who has reason to believe she is using Hoss.
Joe finds a stranger burning Ponderosa land and must shoot him in self defense. He finds himself left with the responsibility of the man's daughter and brings her home to the Ponderosa. Joe is unaware that her unlawful kin are searching for her.