Little Joe finds true love in newcomer Alice Harper. Following a courtship, the two are engaged. Unlike most of the Cartwrights' previous girlfriends, Alice makes it to the altar. Joe and Alice are ...
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 »
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 »
This is the continuing saga of the Cartwrights, only none of the original Cartwrights are here anymore but their sons. Ben and Hoss have passed on, and Little Joe is MIA; he went with Teddy... See full summary »
William F. Claxton
Peter Mark Richman
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 »
The Cartwright's 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was the first US Western television show to have all its episodes filmed in color. 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 »
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 »
I only got onto this show in recent years. Episodes from various seasons would appear at a local video store or on afternoon television. I was not viewing it in production order and I think it needs to be seen in production order as it is a show about a growing family, the Cartwrights! I found it all a bit too studiobound but found the Cartwrights reasonably interesting but nothing that would change my average view of western shows. Then one day I went to a friends place and he got out a copy of the Bonanza pilot of 1959!
A Rose For Lotta (1959, 50 minutes) is a well directed pilot that captures the vast open fields of The Ponderosa, but more importantly, it captures the Cartwrights as we never see them in the series. They fist fight with each other, they fire guns in the air when invaders enter the land, they threaten invaders with murder, this pilot is in my top five western shows (big screen or little screen) of all time!
The pilot story is about powerful silver barons (including Yvonne DeCarlo) appearing on the Ponderosa and taking Joe hostage in return for valuable timber. The acting from the regulars takes on a 1950s theatrical edge instead of the usual sleepwalking acting (best explained this way, think of Chuck Heston in 1959 Ben-Hur compared to Chuck Heston in 1974 Earthquake) and this hour is something you will never forget. Enjoy!
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