The adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their ranch while helping the surrounding community.
Reviews
Popularity
506 ( 42)

Watch Now

$0.00 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 7.8/10 X  

The Wild West adventures of the residents and staff of Barkley Ranch 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
Wagon Train (1957–1965)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts and Rocky Mountains. The first treks were led by gruff, ... See full summary »

Stars: Frank McGrath, Terry Wilson, Robert Horton
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
Have Gun - Will Travel (1957–1963)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The adventures of a gentlemanly gunfighter for hire.

Stars: Richard Boone, Kam Tong, Hal Needham
Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958–1961)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.

Stars: Steve McQueen, Wright King, Olan Soule
Maverick (1957–1962)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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 (5 card draw) is ... See full summary »

Stars: Jack Kelly, James Garner, Roger Moore
Cheyenne (1955–1963)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After the Civil War, nomadic adventurer Cheyenne Bodie roamed the west looking for fights, women and bad guys to beat up. His job changed from episode to episode.

Stars: Clint Walker, Clyde Howdy, Chuck Hicks
Bat Masterson (1958–1961)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Dressed-up dandy (derby and cane), gambler and lawman roams the West charming women and defending the unjustly accused. His primary weapon was his wit (and cane) rather than his gun.

Stars: Gene Barry, Allison Hayes, Allen Jaffe
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
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A veteran cop with more than 20 years of experience is teamed with a young Inspector to solve crimes in San Francisco.

Stars: Karl Malden, Michael Douglas, Reuben Collins
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

In 1968 Dan Blocker began wearing a toupee on the series, as he was approaching 40 years of age and beginning to lose his hair. He joined the ranks of his fellow co-stars Pernell Roberts and Lorne Greene, both of whom began the series with hairpieces (Greene wore his modest frontal piece in private life, too, whereas Roberts preferred not wearing his, even to rehearsals/blocking). Michael Landon was the only original cast member who was wig-free throughout the series, as even Victor Sen Yung's Hop Sing wore an attached queue (ponytail). See more »

Goofs

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 »

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

In the opening sequence, when the actors ride on their horses towards the camera and are introduced, the order in which they are introduced is never consistent - this was most likely done to prevent a single actor from becoming the "main" star of the show. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nanny: A Pup in Paris (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Bonanza
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Learn from one of the best TV Westerns!
1 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Feature film makers have many lessons to learn from this classic western serial. Although each episode was made on a small budget when compared to the Hollywood "A" features of today, all of the production values of great classic movies of the golden age -- painterly composition and design, emotionally effective acting, lyrical music, suspenseful storytelling, beautiful timing, strong dramatic dialogue, elegantly choreographed action, powerful themes, colorful period costumes, folksy comic relief -- all of these values were at a consistently high level from show to show, with never an awkward effect or a misfit scene. Each of the featured characters was drawn in a unique and stylish way, suggesting the storybook characterization that distinguishes the best of the Hollywood golden age. Every one of the episodes stands well as a feature length movie in its own right and would look as good on the big screen as on TV. There's plenty of feeling, no padding or softness, and no mindless experimentation with technique or vulgarity such as has ruined so many westerns made since 1970.

It's difficult to understand why an approach which succeeded for so long was abandoned in the 1970's by both television and feature film makers. Many producers turned instead in the direction indicated by spaghetti westerns. Compared to classic westerns like "Bonanza," spaghetti westerns were much less lyrical and took more of a gutter eye view of the old west, stripping it of its romantic appeal and substituting what to a misguided new generation seemed a dirtier and therefore more authentic realism. In retrospect, Hollywood gave up way too much for the little that it got in return. The success of a vast body of works similar in appeal to "Bonanza" (including many of the other action adventure TV serials made from the '40s to the '60s) is proof that there is a widespread taste that is radically different from the one which has predominated in Hollywood since the '70s. Let's hope that one day we'll see the return of Bonanza's classic values to the screen.


43 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When did this show jump the shark? gollumsmeagolrocks
Was Hoss really slow? koala_t_98
The Theme Music Change in Season 12 eveningstarz
How did that Nude Painting get Passed the Censors ? eveningstarz
"A Time to Die" Jack_Mick_Lake
What would have become of the Ponderosa? pismo10-627-563542
Discuss Bonanza (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page