The end of Mister Ed

There are conflicting stories involving of the death of Bamboo Harvester, the horse that played Mister Ed. By 1968, Bamboo Harvester was suffering from a variety of health problems. In 1970 he was euthanized with no publicity, and buried at Snodgrass Farm in Oklahoma. However, a different version was given by Alan Young. Young wrote that he'd frequently visit his former "co-star" in retirement. He states that Mr. Ed died from an inadvertent tranquilizer administered while he was "in retirement" in a stable on Sparks St in Burbank, California where he lived with his trainer Lester Hilton. Young says Hilton was out of town visiting relatives and a temporary care giver might have seen Ed rolling on the ground, struggling to get up. Young said Ed was a heavy horse and he was not always strong enough to get back on his feet without struggling. The theory is the care giver thought the horse was in distress and administered a tranquilizer and for unknown reason, the horse died within hours. The remains were cremated and scattered by Hilton in the Los Angeles area at a spot known only to him.

A different horse that died in Oklahoma in February 1979 was widely thought to be Bamboo Harvester, but this horse was in fact a horse that posed for the still pictures of "Mister Ed" used by the production company for the show's press kits. After Bamboo Harvester's death in 1970 from kidney disease, this horse was unofficially known as Mister Ed, which led to him being reported as such (including sardonic comments on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update) following his own death.

Young said that when the Oklahoma horse death story came out in 1979, he knew it was not the real Mister Ed, but did not have the heart to "shatter their illusions" that the horse being memorialized was not the real Mister Ed. He believes it was the horse used for early publicity photos.