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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:


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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?


During the filming of one episode, Lorne Greene was required to jump off of a small ledge into a lake five feet below. Michael Landon recalled that when Greene did the stunt, he jumped into the water feet first and went completely under, but his hair piece came off and floated on the surface of the lake. Landon and the rest of the crew watched to see what would happen. After a short while, Greene's hand shot up out of the water, grabbed the hairpiece, and pulled it down. Greene emerged from the lake, wearing his hairpiece slightly askew. He walked nonchalantly past the snickering crew, and went into his trailer without saying a word. See more »


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


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 »


Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Great Western
22 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Bonanza" aired on NBC in September of 1959. Filmed in color, it was put in the 7:30 PM slot on Saturday nights so that people in the appliance stores could see it on the television sets and be convinced to buy an RCA color television. The ploy worked.

In 1961 it was moved to Sunday nights after NBC realized they had a hit on their hands. It lasted another 13 or so years before being canceled. But it is a landmark in television history.

One suggestion - if you ever find a DVD of "Bonanza" and an episode titled "To Die in Darkness" is listed, don't hesitate to buy the DVD. The episode guest-starred James Whitmore and was filmed in about the mid-1960s. All I will say is that the episode was probably the best of the series.

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