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Bonanza (1959–1973)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,004 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 26 critic

The adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their ranch while helping the surrounding community.

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14   13   12   11   10   9   8   7   6   … See all »
1973   1972   1971   1970   1969   1968   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 8 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Ben Cartwright / ... (430 episodes, 1959-1973)
 Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright / ... (427 episodes, 1959-1973)
 Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright / ... (415 episodes, 1959-1972)
 Adam Cartwright (200 episodes, 1959-1965)


The Cartwright's ten-thousand square mile Ponderosa Ranch is located near Virginia City, Nevada, site of the Comstock Silver Lode, during and after the Civil War. Each of the sons was born to a different wife of Ben's; none of the mothers is still alive. Adventures are typical western ones, with lots of personal relationships/problems thrown in as well. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 September 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ponderosa  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(430 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


From the third season on, the Cartwrights and nearly every other recurring character on the show wore the same clothing in almost every episode. This was done to cut the cost of re-filming action shots (such as riding clips in-between scenes), as previously-shot stock footage could be reused. See more »


During the first season opening credits, the Cartwrights can be seen galloping on horses on a dirt road that contains an unmistakable set of tire tracks from the truck carrying the camera in front of them. See more »


Adam Cartwright: Let's go back to the Ponderosa, Pa. This isn't any of our affair.
Ben Cartwright: We can't ignore the rest of the world. We're the only stabilizing influence in the country.
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Crazy Credits

The opening and closing credits show a picture on the screen that corresponds with whatever credit is being given ("Music by" is accompanied by a man playing a violin, "Written by" has a Mark Twain-inspired writer type holding a book with "Bonanza" written on its cover, etc.) See more »


Referenced in Feast III: The Happy Finish (2009) See more »


Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The second longest running TV Western
19 January 2001 | by (Chapel Hill,North Carolina) – See all my reviews

As a child growing up,I can recall seeing every episode at least a dozen number of times and can fondly recognize all the characters on the show. "Bonanza" was that show. For the 14 years that it ran on NBC,it has become television's second longest running western series,and the only TV show that was presented in "living color" throughout its run. The show was the equilavent of My Three Sons,with the exception that it was in the rolling hills of Nevada during the turn of the 1800's. Only during its run that Lorne Greene and Michael Landon were the original two cast members that stayed on the series in which Landon produced and directed several of the episodes. Only two other members left the show at the peak of their fame when it was in the top ten for the duration of the show(which was #1 in the Nielsen ratings during much of the 1960's). Pernell Roberts,who played big brother Adam left in 1965,and Dan Blocker who played the mighty Hoss left in 1972 due to health problems. Repeats of the series can be seen on PAX-TV along with the lost episodes that date back to the early 1970's. A Must See!

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