Bonanza (1959–1973)
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A Rose for Lotta 

Lotta Crabtree is hired by mining tycoon Alpheus Troy to lure one of the Cartwrights into town and hold him for ransom in exchange for Ponderosa timber rights.




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Episode cast overview:
Alpheus Troy
Aaron Cooper
George Garvey
Christopher Dark ...
Langford Poole
Hop Ling
Stagecoach Driver


The widower Ben Cartwright is running a huge cattle ranch in Nevada called the Ponderosa. He has been married thrice, and has an adult son with each of the three wives. Adam is the oldest of them, Hoss the biggest, and Little Joe the youngest and cutest. In nearby Virginia City three mine owners are in great need of more wood to be able to build tunnels to new bonanzas. Ben Cartwright has much wood on his ranch, but refuses to cut it down. The mine owners get the idea to hire a famous actress, Lotta Crabtree, who could lure Little Joe to Virginia City, where they can hold him as a hostage. If Ben Cartwright still refuses to sell any wood to them, they will kill his son. Written by Maths Jesperson {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

12 September 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title and the story deals with Lotta Crabtree, an American actress who toured the country and became one of the wealthiest and most beloved American entertainers of the late 19th century. See more »


The real Lotta Crabtree was born in 1847. "Bonanza" is set in 1859, when Lotta would have been 12 or 13 years old. See more »


Adam Cartwright: Next time, Miss Crabtree, pick on a man, not a boy.
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Crazy Credits

The end credits are scrolled over the Ponderosa map with a different instrumental version of the "Bonanza" theme. See more »


Referenced in Bonanza: Return Engagement (1970) See more »


Uh-uh No
Performed by Loetta Crabtree
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User Reviews

Great beginning, 20 yrs too soon...
17 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a great pilot episode for any Bonanza, or TV western fan, to watch. The introduction of the Cartwrights shows them to be much less sympathetic characters and more like a rough and tumble clan. Had this been premiered in 1979, rather than 1959, the characters would have likely remained the same or even gotten tougher, ala Dallas, and not have been softened as they eventually were.

The plot is a little thin because of the exposition to setup the characters and the setting. It does its job though and the great pleasure is seeing the Cartwrights as they could have been, as real westerners and not the 1960s PC westerners that they became. This episode is much closer to the truth of the times than the later episodes. For example, the whole issue of North vs South could have been a focal point as Adam is a Yankee and Joe is a Southern sympathizer and this is shown intently here but later never amounts to much.

There's a great scene where the Chinese men in the Chinatown camp gang up on two roughnecks looking for Joe who set fire to one tent. They really go at it and give the two a clobbering.

Also, it was a smart move to exclude the final sing-song of the Bonanza theme by the family. I've seen it and it is really not too good and doesn't fit well with the rest of the program.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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