Ben Cartwright
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Quotes for
Ben Cartwright (Character)
from "Bonanza" (1959)

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"Bonanza: A House Divided (#1.18)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: [to Adam and Little Joe] Brother against brother? How dare you, either of you!

Ben Cartwright: 'The agitation has not only not ceased, but augmented. In my opinion,' he says, 'it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.' Then he says, 'A house... divided against itself cannot stand.'

Ben Cartwright: What about all this trouble that seems to be brewing between the states?
Frederick Kyle: Not trouble. Mr. Cartwright. It's a prelude to war. Civil War.
Adam Cartwright: Now do you really think it will come to that, Mr. Kyle?
Frederick Kyle: There's already talk that some of the states are seceding from the union.
Ben Cartwright: I hope we'll be spared all that grief out here.
Adam Cartwright: Where did you say you were from, Mr. Kyle?
Frederick Kyle: I don't believe I did say, but I'm from Kansas. And it's right in the middle... of everything.

Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Pa, that newspaper you was reading the other day in the saloon about what Mr. Lincoln said about a house divided can't stand. I reckon he was talkin' about folks like us.
Ben Cartwright: No, not us, Hoss. Not us!


"Bonanza: Mr. Henry Comstock (#1.9)" (1959)
Ben Cartwright: Hoss, there were trees that were living and growing in the forest that were old when Christ pulled fish out of the sea of Galilee!

Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Don't cut unless you plant.
Ben Cartwright: That's right, Hoss. That's why we're here. Not just to take from the land, but to give.

Adam Cartwright: How would you like to be able to
[travel to Salt Lake City]
Adam Cartwright: in under three days?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Oh, come on now! From here to Salt Lake City in three days? How are you gonna do that? I think he's gonna fly up in the air, Hoss.
Adam Cartwright: Maybe two days.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Oh-ho! Well, maybe one day!
[laughs]
Ben Cartwright: You talking about a railroad, son?
Adam Cartwright: I am, Pa.
Adam Cartwright: Dreams are mighty good things to have, son.


"Bonanza: The Tax Collector (#2.22)" (1961)
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Well Hoss, are you gonna tell us or not? Who cut your lip for you?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: I done told ya, I ran into a broom.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Mm... I just wondered who threw it. Oh, and that uh... that little scratch you got there on your cheek.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Cut myself shaving, and that's the truth.
Ben Cartwright: Look, Hoss, if you did have a fight...
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Pa, it wasn't no fight... But if you sak me, there's one member of this family looking for a fight right now.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: I'm sorry. I'm just worrying about you, that's all.

Nancy Hart: Do you know he's taxing us for our unborn chicks?
Jock Henry: They ain't unborn, they're just unhatched. They're as alive as you are.
Ben Cartwright: Well, if they settle this one, at least we'll know which came first: the chicken or the egg.

Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: I better win or you'll be out 1720 dollars.
Ben Cartwright: No. We'll be out 1720 dollars. You have half the bet.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: [to horse] You better win this one, Skinny.


"Bonanza: The Stranger (#1.24)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: [to Joe] Truth is something that always comes back at you, isn't it?

[last lines]
Inspector Charles Leduque: Let's wash up.
Ben Cartwright: Give me a hand.

Ben Cartwright: What your mother did or did not do before I met her is of no importance to me. I love her and I married her because she was a wonderful person...


"Bonanza: The Bride (#2.18)" (1961)
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: You uh... found any new breeding stock this trip, Pa?
Ben Cartwright: Breeding stock?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Mm-hmm.
Ben Cartwright: I went to Carson to see the railway people about selling some timber for that new line they're planning up north. You know that.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Uh, Pa, you didn't meet nobody new or nothing?
Adam Cartwright: Well, let's stop beating around the bush. Did you get married?
Ben Cartwright: Did I what?

Ben Cartwright: Ah, this place of ours is so beautiful. Every time I see it, it's as though I'm seeing it for the first time.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Yeah, well you came pretty close to seeing it for the last time, Pa.

Adam Cartwright: Pa, in the future if you ever do decide to get married and sent the bride home by herself, just do us one favor, will ya?
Ben Cartwright: What?
Adam Cartwright: Don't.


"Bonanza: Twilight Town (#5.4)" (1963)
Ben Cartwright: Going somewhere?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Isn't everybody?

Ben Cartwright: Joe, come on home. There's nothing here.

[last lines]
Ben Cartwright: Son, when a man knows something, deep down in his heart, when he really knows, he doesn't have to argue about it, doesn't have to prove it. Just knowing, that's enough.


"Bonanza: The Rescue (#2.23)" (1961)
Adam Cartwright: Horse throw ya?
Ben Cartwright: No.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Did ya bump into a limb or something, Pa?
Ben Cartwright: No.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Forget to duck?
Adam Cartwright: They what was it?
Ben Cartwright: I got into a little scuffle.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: A little scuffle? With who?
Ben Cartwright: Forget it.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Forget it? Why?
Ben Cartwright: Because if I told you who it was, you'd all run out of here hot-headed and itchy and looking for trouble; and you'd find trouble and there would be some gun play and somebody would get hurt.

Ben Cartwright: They said they'd be home before dark. Besides, they didn't take any food with 'em.
Hop Sing: They be back.
Ben Cartwright: Hm?
Hop Sing: Mr. Hoss up there. He smell food up there. He come to food like homing pigeon.

Hop Sing: You tell Mr. Hoss I cook turkey for supper.
Ben Cartwright: Oh that's fine. What are the rest of us gonna eat?
Hop Sing: Ha ha ha, that's a pretty funny joke, Mr. Cartwright. No, not so funny. Have to kill another turkey, pick another turkey, stuff another turkey, cook another turkey. Bad joke. Goodbye.


"Bonanza: San Francisco (#1.28)" (1960)
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Pa, how much did that little redheaded gal get for you?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: [laughs] I wouldn't tell him, Pa. If she did get enough, we might want to sell you back. If she didn't get enough, you wouldn't want to admit it, would you?
Ben Cartwright: Very funny.

Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Hey Pa, how much did that gal get for you?
Ben Cartwright: You'll never know.


"Bonanza: Blood on the Land (#1.22)" (1960)
Jeb Drummond: You've got yourself an empire, ain't you Mr. Cartwright? Is it worth your boy's life? Well, is it?
Ben Cartwright: What do you want, Drummond?

[last lines]
Ben Cartwright: Billy, if I catch you standing out of line just once, I'll...
Adam Cartwright: He'll go get the Sheriff.


"Bonanza: A Rose for Lotta (#1.1)" (1959)
Ben Cartwright: Look at it, Adam. Feast thine eyes on a sight that approacheth Heaven itself.
Adam Cartwright: You been to a lotta places and you've seen a lotta things, Pa, but you never seen or been to heaven.
Ben Cartwright: Well, maybe I never been to heaven... but heaven is gonna have to go some to beat the thousand square miles of the Ponderosa.
Adam Cartwright: As long as it's ours, as long as we keep it in Cartwright hands...
Ben Cartwright: Know anyone that could take it away from us, son?

Langford Poole: Go home, Cartwright.
Ben Cartwright: You tell me to go home? You, with the smell on you of the charnel house? Of flesh rotting and stinking in the sun?
Langford Poole: You're gonna die for saying that to me, old man. You're gonna die.


"Bonanza: Silent Thunder (#2.13)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: You can't shove someone into the water and stand around waitin' to see if they can swim.

Ben Cartwright: You must make her understand that what she feels for you is gratitude, not love. She'll be hurt a little bit, but she'll get over it. If you don't go back, she'll remain hurt forever.


"Bonanza: The Infernal Machine (#2.29)" (1961)
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: That sounds like Hoss.
Ben Cartwright: In a wagon? He left on a horse.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: That's my brother. He leaves on a horse and comes back on a boat.

Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: A man's gotta take care of his partners.
Ben Cartwright: HOSS!


"Bonanza: The Savage (#2.12)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: Now, you can't leave us shorthanded just to go to talk to a man who's probably a crackpot!
Adam Cartwright: Crackpot?
Ben Cartwright: Yes, crackpot!
Adam Cartwright: A long time ago a man fooled around with a thing he called a cotton gin. His name was Whitney,a nd they called him a crackpot, too. And they said the same thing about a man called Watt, until his steam engine made history! And before that, there was a man who thought the world was round.
Ben Cartwright: You missed one.
Adam Cartwright: Who?
Ben Cartwright: In between those last two gentlemen you mentioned, there was another man who rode around looking for windmills, and his name was Don Quixote, and he WAS a crackpot!

Ben Cartwright: I don't have anything against education as long as it doesn't interfere with your thinking!


"Bonanza: The Trail Gang (#2.11)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: Hallelujah, will you tell me one thing? Why did your folks name you Hallelujah instead of Jeremiah?

Ben Cartwright: You were gonna throw down on your own father?
Johnny Logan: That's right. And as soon as I get the chance, I'm gonna kill him!


"Bonanza: Bank Run (#2.19)" (1961)
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: I've been wanting to make some changes around here.
Ben Cartwright: Changes?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Well, n... not changes, sir... More like improvements. I mean like uh... well... cleaning the stable and all those fence posts above the ravine, they need to be replaced. They're all full of dry rot. You know... things like that.

Ben Cartwright: That's the most unbelievable cock-and-bull yarn I've ever heard! You steal the bonds from the bank because it's going broke, then you cash them, and then the bankers steal the money from you!


"Bonanza: Death on Sun Mountain (#1.2)" (1959)
[last lines]
Ben Cartwright: One place or another, there'll always be a Mark Burdette, and for every one like him who makes it, a thousand will fail. But then, what are thousand to one odds for a man who looks up into the sky and sees... a bonanza!

Ben Cartwright: [to Mark] Mr. Burdette, we have our own way of doing business on the Ponderosa. We pay a honest day's wages for a honest day's work and we expect the same in return. Nothing more, nothing less.


"Bonanza: Feet of Clay (#1.30)" (1960)
[first lines]
[Ben, Hoss and Charlie are attending a funeral]
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: It's a doggone shame, ain't it, Charlie.
Charlie: Yep, sure is. Doc said she had pneumonia. By the time he got there, wasn't much he could do 'cept call the sheriff.
Ben Cartwright: Well, didn't anyone know she was sick?
Charlie: [indicating young Billy] First they knew was him riding all the way in to fetch the doc by himself.

Ben Cartwright: Take your feet off the table!
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Do either of you know how we came to be so sweet tempered when we have a grouch for a Pa?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: I don't know. He used to be a mite more mellower when he was younger.


"Bonanza: Breed of Violence (#2.9)" (1960)
[last lines]
[referring to the Cartwrights]
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Pa, how did you ever get involved with this family?
Ben Cartwright: I'll never know.

Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Now, what are you trying to do, Pa? Get my mind off Dolly Kincaid?
Ben Cartwright: That's what you wanted me to do, wasn't it?


"Bonanza: The Friendship (#3.8)" (1961)
[last lines of episode 3.8]
Ben Cartwright: There go two wealthy young men.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: What do you mean, Pa?
Ben Cartwright: Well, they have something all the money in the world can't buy. It's called friendship.


"Bonanza: Escape to Ponderosa (#1.25)" (1960)
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: I just don't feel like getting married... Well, not for a couple of days anyway
Ben Cartwright: You know, Hoss, I think he's going to change his mind.


"Bonanza: Rain from Heaven (#5.3)" (1963)
[last lines]
Ben Cartwright: Oh I believe in a Rain Maker: the one you were praying to last night.


"Bonanza: The Saga of Annie O'Toole (#1.7)" (1959)
Ben Cartwright: It would seem as if Mr. Kevin, himself, O'Toole is buried atop the richest strike ever made in the Washoe.


"Bonanza: Desert Justice (#1.23)" (1960)
Adam Cartwright: Think I ought to go along, Pa?
Ben Cartwright: Adam, this isn't really our affair.
Adam Cartwright: Isn't it? Then why did you wire a thousand dollars to the lawyer in Los Angeles.


"Bonanza: The Abduction (#2.8)" (1960)
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Don't worry, Pa. I'll lkeep an eye on her.
Adam Cartwright: Sure, but who's gonna keep an eye on him?
Ben Cartwright: That's easy, um... Hoss will. Isn't that right, hoss?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Huh? I mean... Sir?


"Bonanza: Vengeance (#2.21)" (1961)
Ben Cartwright: But if my son dies...
Red Twilight: Then he isn't dead.
Ben Cartwright: No. He isn't dead.
Red Twilight: Then that makes you lucky, don't it? 'Cause my brother's dead.


"Bonanza: Bitter Water (#1.29)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: [to Hoss] What are YOU doing with a book?


"Bonanza: The Tin Badge (#3.13)" (1961)
Ben Cartwright: Buy why a sheriff, Joe? Why? I didn't raise my sons to... live by a gun.


"Bonanza: Elizabeth, My Love (#2.33)" (1961)
Ben Cartwright: Now you listen to me and you listen hard. I don't want your command. I never wanted it. But maybe you should be retired. Maybe you haven't the guts for sailing anymore. I thought you could walk proud, no matter what the storm, but look at you! Now you get up on your feet, Captain, and you walk out of here like a sailing master, or I'll knock you down again.


"Bonanza: The Spanish Grant (#1.21)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: [to Sheriff Hawkins] They talk of the lawlessness of the West. Well, this is lawlessness backed up by law! They're evicting families, throwing them out of their homes, killing men - and you protect them!


"Bonanza: Death at Dawn (#1.32)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: I raised my sons to make their own decisions


"Bonanza: The Fear Merchants (#1.20)" (1960)
Andy Fulmer: Does that mean you're against me, Ben?
Ben Cartwright: Well, Andy, it means that if find out you or any of your boys had anything to do with beating up my cook, I'll tie a rope around ya, and I'll drag you up and down Main Street.


"Bonanza: El Toro Grande (#1.16)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: Well, Adam, you thought these boys would have a lot of trouble bringing that bull up here, huh?
Adam Cartwright: I guess I was wrong, Pa.
[Turns to his brothers]
Adam Cartwright: You sure you didn't have any trouble?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Not a bit.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Well, a little bit. Like... uh... wh-when Big Red almost got cut up into steaks by those Indians.
Adam Cartwright: Indians?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Yeah, but that never would've happened except Little Joe was busy fighting a duel.
Adam Cartwright: Duel?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Otherwise, I would have had to get married.
Adam Cartwright: Married?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Yeah, but th-that was right after Hoss fought the bear.
Adam Cartwright: Bear?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Ah, that wasn't nothing. You ought to have seen how Little Joe gunned down them two bushwhackers that tried to steal our $15,000.00.
Adam Cartwright: Now, just a minute. Who you trying to kid?
Ben Cartwright: [Looking at the bull] It's certainly a lot of bull.
Adam Cartwright: [Looks at his father, then walks away from his brothers] Yes sir, it sure is.


"Bonanza: The Avenger (#1.26)" (1960)
[last lines]
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: [referring to Lassiter] He's a driven man, Pa. I would sure hate to be him.
Ben Cartwright: Yeah. There's somebody I'd like to be even less - any one of the men he's looking for.


"Bonanza: The Outcast (#1.17)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: Son, there's one thing a man can't do, and that's to tell a woman who to love and who not to love.


"Bonanza: The Courtship (#2.16)" (1961)
[last lines]
Adam Cartwright: Pa, you think Joe and I enjoyed doin' it? There was no other way.
Ben Cartwright: Oh, I know you meant well. Maybe there was no other way. Hoss is the only one that can decide that.
[Hoss comes down the steps of the ranch house]
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Well, you fellas gonna sit here and mope all day or you gonna go out and go to work with me?


"Bonanza: The Last Viking (#2.10)" (1960)
[last lines]
Ben Cartwright: Come on. He wouldn't want us to mourn over him.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: No. No, I reckon he wouldn't at that. He just wasn't that sort of man, was he.


"Bonanza: The Julia Bulette Story (#1.6)" (1959)
Ben Cartwright: I'm not going to have that woman beating me over the head with my own son!


"Bonanza: The Greedy Ones (#8.34)" (1967)
[last lines in episode 8.34, "The Greedy Ones"]
Ben Cartwright: The gold rush was over, gone like a soap bubble in the sun. The Ponderosa was just as it has always been. And we went home.


"Bonanza: The Decision (#4.12)" (1962)
Dr. Michael Jons: Why tell me this?
Ben Cartwright: You're a doctor.
Dr. Michael Jons: Not a doctor - a condemned murderer!
[prescient of Kelley's oft-repeated line in Star Trek episodes]


"Bonanza: The Burma Rarity (#3.5)" (1961)
Ben Cartwright: [to Hoss] Now, just one long minute! And you look at me when I talk to you! I know that half the people of Virginia City are trying to get me married off to Widow Hawkins. Now, maybe I have to take their smirks and innuendos, but I don't have to take it from my own family, you hear?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: Yes sir.
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Yes sir.
Ben Cartwright: Yes sir! You coming along, Adam?
Adam Cartwright: I'm with you every step of the way, Pa... right down the aisle.
[Hoss and Joe crack up laughing, but stop when Ben turns and glares at them]


"Bonanza: The Blood Line (#2.15)" (1960)
Ben Cartwright: [referring to Todd] You can't keep him behind bars. He's not a criminal! He's a 16-year-old kid!
Sheriff Roy Coffee: With a 16-year-old gun. Ben, do you realize if that kid was just a split second faster, you wouldn't be around anymore to watch either one of them grow any older?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: He's right, Pa. A sidewinder is just as poisonous the day he's hatched as when he's full-grown.
Ben Cartwright: Well, we're not talking about sidewinders, we're talking about a boy. Besides, the fangs of this one have already been pulled.
[Ben drops Todd's gun on Roy's desk]
Sheriff Roy Coffee: And I aim to see that he don't grow another set.


"Bonanza: The Truckee Strip (#1.11)" (1959)
Ben Cartwright: Are we so apart boy? I've never held my land above my sons. Before that'd happen, I'd destroy the Ponderosa.


"Bonanza: The Sisters (#1.14)" (1959)
Adam Cartwright: Look, Pa, after all, I am a grown man!
Ben Cartwright: Now, Adam, there are some women who can bring a lot of trouble into...
Adam Cartwright: [Interrupting] Oh, boy, you must be getting old, Pa! Some women are worth a lot of trouble.