While a number of minor (or perceived) inconsistencies exist between Ponderosa (2001) and Bonanza (1959), a few glaring retroactive consistencies are present. Most notable among these is the fate of Little Joe's mother, Marie. In the original series, Marie's death was depicted in the episode "Marie, My Love" as a result of falling off a horse in front of the Ponderosa ranch house. Meanwhile in the new series, Marie is killed in Virginia City by a miner who is trying to murder Ben Cartwright. Making the situation even more confusing, the pilot for the original series identifies Little Joe's mother as "Felicia" and not Marie. See more »
Although it is a remake of the legendary TV classic BONANZA, PONDEROSA more than holds its own showing greater depth and much more realism.
The Cartwright clan is younger in this new version, less rich, less sure about right & wrong -- specially in terms of the taking of the Nevada lands from its previous owners and the aftermath this produces. The Cartwright's and the local townfolk are often confronted with displaced and disgruntled Mexicans.
In line with real life, the Cartwright's and their western settler neighbors own only assorted hunting rifles, not slick 6-shooters at the hip. Whenever an odd gun-slinger gallops in from the badlands, he is wearing a monsterous mid-1800's side-arm and not the compact modern revolvers often seen in cheaper Westerns.
Dan Blocker, Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon -- these are larger than TV-life shoes to fill. An impossible task. Fortunately, the producers of PONDEROSA smartly chose have the characters be younger than in the original BONANZA series. As the settlers explored the new world of the real American West, we see the youthful Cartwright boys explore living on the rugged PONDEROSA ranch as well as learning about life in general.
Ben Cartwright is ever thoughtful as he leads his family without a wife to help (think Steve Douglas of MY THREE SONS). PONDEROSA benefits from above average direction, plot lines, set realism and acting.
An excellent Western. A hidden gem.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?