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

Creator:

Reviews
Popularity
621 ( 19)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON TV
ON DISC
ALL

Episodes

Seasons


Years



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 9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in the rough and tumble Dodge City.

Stars: James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake
The Big Valley (1965–1969)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The Wild West adventures of the Barkley family in California's San Joaquin Valley.

Stars: Richard Long, Peter Breck, Lee Majors
Rawhide (1959–1965)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Gil Favor is trail boss of a continuous cattle drive; he is assisted by Rowdy Yates. The crew runs into characters and adventures along the way.

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Paul Brinegar, Steve Raines
Maverick (1957–1962)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Bret and Bart Maverick (and in later seasons, their English cousin, Beau) are well dressed gamblers who migrate from town to town always looking for a good game. Poker (five-card draw) is ... See full summary »

Stars: Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore
The Virginian (1962–1971)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more ... See full summary »

Stars: Doug McClure, James Drury, Lee J. Cobb
The High Chaparral (1967–1971)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Cannon family runs the High Chaparral Ranch in the Arizona Territory in 1870s. Big John wants to establish his cattle empire despite Indian hostility. He's aided by brother Buck and son... See full summary »

Stars: Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Henry Darrow
Daniel Boone (1964–1970)
Adventure | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Frontier hero Daniel Boone conducts surveys and expeditions around Boonesborough, running into both friendly and hostile Indians, just before and during the Revolutionary War.

Stars: Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton
Edit

Cast

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)
Edit

Storyline

The Cartwright's one-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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ponderosa  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(430 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Most viewers have only heard the famous theme song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans played as an instrumental. The theme song actually had lyrics and there is footage of the lead actors singing those lyrics. Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon sang a lyric version of this famous instrumental theme for the pilot, but it never aired. Johnny Cash recorded his own version of the theme song. See more »

Goofs

Floor model wheel slot machine in saloon was not built until 1896. See more »

Quotes

Ben Cartwright: You and your education.
Adam Cartwright: Education is progress! Now what have you got against it?
Ben Cartwright: I don't have anything against education - as long as it doesn't interfere with your thinking!
See more »

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 »


Soundtracks

Bonanza
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Magnificent classic western features noble, close knit family
29 April 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I grew up on this classic western series, and as a child always considered it a treat being allowed to stay up late on Sunday evenings to watch it. Bonanza is still infinitely re watchable in re runs.

The series chronicles the adventures of the Cartwright family, who live on a ranch near Virginia City, Nevada around the Civil War era. Their ranch (called the Ponderosa) is run and defended by the widowed father, Ben, and his unmarried three sons, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. These three brothers have different mothers, all of whom have passed away years earlier.

The Cartwrights are a hard working, prosperous, and honourable family, highly respected in those parts. The Ponderosa is large so reaching its extremities requires a lot of horseback riding. Also, trips away are often necessary in order to buy or sell cattle and so forth. Needless to say, few of these excursions pass uneventfully. Although hospitable, much of the Cartwrights' energy must be spent defending their ranch from interlopers, or protecting themselves from townsfolk jealous of their prosperity and stellar reputation. The Cartwrights do a fair bit of firing their guns up in the air and such, but only shoot to kill when deemed absolutely necessary. They are involved in various town affairs, even the political life of the Nevada territory.

One of the main assets of the series is the underlying warmth that is always present (despite occasional disagreements) between Ben and his three sons, and (despite frequent disagreements) between the three brothers. Now, one brother might beat up another every now and then, but generally has a good reason for it at the time and his anger never lasts long! The characters are all very well drawn. Ben is portrayed as a successful and noble man of great integrity. The oldest son, Adam, the most rational and suave of the brothers, left midway through the series. The middle brother, Hoss, is a gentle giant of a teddy bear, who has an insatiable appetite for food and is a little shy around the ladies. The youngest, Little Joe, is a hot headed, handsome charmer who, by contrast, has quite a way with women. This trio of brothers enjoy various romances but their love interests are typically killed off by the end of the episode or else marriage proves impossible, for whatever reason.

The actors are all stellar in their roles, including Pernell Roberts (Adam), Dan Blocker (Hoss), Michael Landon (Little Joe), and of course Lorne Greene as the principled family patriarch, Ben. I also love the ranch cook, Hop Sing, played by Victor Sen Yung.

This is a wonderful action packed western with great values. The Cartwrights are always the noble heroes and most of the bad guys quite villainous. If only there were more programs like this vintage western on TV these days!


12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page