The adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their ranch while helping the surrounding community.
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1973   1972   1971   1970   1969   1968   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 9 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 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 <>

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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)

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Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Michael Landon wore four-inch lifts in the series. See more »


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


[Hoss reluctantly agrees to serve as a temporary deputy sheriff]
Deputy Sheriff: I'll swear you in. Do you?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: I do.
Deputy Sheriff: You are.
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 »


Referenced in American Dad!: Familyland (2014) See more »


Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good Show, but typical of fan catering
3 September 2005 | by (Orange County, CA.) – See all my reviews

Bonanza ran for so many years that it's impossible for someone like myself to say anything negative about the show and have credibility, but I'm going to. So many shows start off with an "ensemble" cast and then, because of fan mail to one or two certain actors on the show (usually the younger ones), turn the show around to showcase only those actors.

This happened with Bonanza. Pernell Roberts was the best actor on the series, and Adam Cartwright lent a sense of rationality and calm to the frenetics of Ben, Hoss, and Little Joe. He was so subtle, yet stole each and every scene he was in. He was like cool water to a fever. However, and as always happens with fan mail because only a small demographic segment write it in the first place (primarily young, single women), the character of "Adam" appeared less and less as the series wore on. Bonanza became "The Little Joe Show," and that's when I stopped watching it. At that point, the only "breath of fresh air" on the show was Hop Sing.

Anyway, Bonanza is a classic and is worth watching when Pernell Roberts was still in the show, or if only to see the myriad of great guest stars in each episode.

32 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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