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Bonanza (1959–1973)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,000 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 26 critic

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

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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 8 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 ten-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




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?


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 »


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


[running gag]
Ben Cartwright: Hey, Joe, do you know the difference between a table and an ottoman?
Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright: Sure I do.
Ben Cartwright: Then take your feet off the table!
[Hoss rolls his eyes]
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: He'll never learn to do that.
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 »


Referenced in The Captain's Summit (2009) See more »


Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Great Western
22 May 2005 | by (United States) – 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.

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

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