The Brady Bunch Wiki
Bobby's Hero
Season 4, Episode # 17
Number (#89) in series (117 episodes)
Network: ABC-TV
TV series:
Guest star(s) Burt Mustin
Richard Carlyle
Gordon Devol
Ruth Anson
Production code: 088
Writer(s) Michael Morris
Director Leslie H. Martinson
Original airdate 2 February 1973
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Bobby's Hero is the seventeenth episode of Season 4 of The Brady Bunch, and the 89th overall episode of the series. Written by Michael Morris and directed by Leslie H. Martinson, it first aired 2 February 1973 on ABC.

Short Summary

Bobby becomes obsessed with Jesse James.


Mr. Hillary, the principal at the elementary school, requests a meeting with Mike and Carol, who suspect bad news concerning one of the kids. Indeed, Mr. Hillary's concern is a composition Bobby wrote on his hero, Jesse James, the outlaw. In addition, Bobby, pretending to be Jesse James, brought a cap gun to school.

After Mike and Carol speak to Bobby about the issue, explaining that they're simply curious to know why Bobby chose Jesse James as a hero. Bobby says that he believes he will grow out of his fascination with Jesse James, but his actions say otherwise.

Later, Mike and Carol try to prove their point that Jesse James is not a character to emulate by allowing Bobby to watch a Jesse James movie that they know shows that James was nothing but a "mean, dirty killer." However, all the violent parts are edited out, making Jesse look like a cool guy. In turn, Mike and Carol understand why Bobby would idolize someone like Jesse James.

After finding and reading an accurate biography on Jesse James, Mike believes that Bobby having a chat with biographer Jethroe Collins, a son of one of James' victims, might help. Mr. Collins is friendly but firm as he tells Bobby about how Jesse James brutally and pointlessly murdered his father in a train robbery, and the grief and horror it caused him and his family.

Bobby has a nightmare that he is forced to watch as Jesse James murders his entire family in a train robbery. When he wakes, he finally realizes what his parents were telling him, while also seeing Jesse James for what he really was, an outlaw and cold, vicious killer who murdered people.


  • Originally, Bobby's hero was supposed to be a skyjacker. However, ABC rejected that idea (possibly because of the fresh memories of the hijacking of a NWA Boeing 727 jet by D. B. Cooper on November 24, 1971).
  • Mike Lookinland's fear in the train scene was genuine. Lloyd Schwartz had told him to imagine his own family being slaughtered by Jesse James. After the scene was shot, he was debriefed.


  • Mr. Collins: I hear Jesse's a hero of yours.
    Bobby: I wrote a whole composition about him for school.
    Mr. Collins: I wrote a whole book about Jesse James; only he wasn't a hero to me.
    Bobby: He wasn't?
    Mr. Collins: Nope. Jesse James killed my father.
    Bobby: He did?
    Mr. Collins: Shot him in the back. That's how he usually shot 'em. Too cowardly to face 'em, I guess.
    Bobby: I can't believe that, Mr. Collins.
    Carol: He's telling you the truth, Bobby.
    Mr. Collins: Son, you know the legends; I know the facts.
    Mike: Mr. Collins, why don't you tell Bob about how it was with your father?
    Mr. Collins: Well, I was just a little boy at the time, and my father was riding a train to California; Jesse James held it up.
    Bobby: Did they have a shootout?
    Mr. Collins: Well, it... wasn't much of a shootout; my father with his face to the wall and his hands in the air... and not wearing a gun.
    Bobby: Then why did Jesse James shoot him?
    Mr. Collins: Because that's the kind of man Jesse James was...a mean, dirty killer. My mother used to cry about it in her sleep. And when I was old enough to understand, I used to have nightmares about it myself. Awful nightmares, about that... train robbery.

Guest Starring

  • Burt Mustin as Jethroe Collins
  • Richard Carlyle as Mr. Hillary
  • Gordon Devol as Jesse James (as Gordon DeVol)
  • Ruth Anson as Miss Perry