Robert Pirosh's teleplay for this Bonanza episode was based on an actual 19th century phenomenon. In the years following the Civil War, many young and disillusioned ex-soldiers formed nomadic groups called the "Weary Willies", who roamed throughout the west living off the land and avoiding "proper" employment. In other words, they were the hippies of their time, something with which viewers could instantly relate when this episode first aired on September 27, 1970. In the course of the story, the Ponderosa welcomes the Willies to their property, but their neighbors do not. When a girl is attacked, the Willies are accused of the crime, but the truth lies closer to home. The cast includes a pre-Waltons Richard Thomas as Billy, Lee Purcell as Angie, Elisha Cook Jr. as Marcus, and Kevin Tighe as Krulak. In keeping with its flower-child ambience, "The Weary Willies" features several songs, including "Man Passing Through", "Blood Brothers" and "It Won't Be Very Long".