Little Joe is blinded by an explosion and wallows in self-pity as he struggles to come to grips with his condition, which may be temporary or permanent. Ben hires a teacher from the Institute for the...
Hoss takes two months of leave. He sees a little black boy steal a candle. He learns the boy wants the candle to make a wish. As he gets to know the boy and his family, he decides to try to help the ...
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 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 are 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>
From the third season on, the Cartwrights, and nearly every other recurring character on the show, wore the same clothing in almost every episode. This was done to cut the cost of re-filming action shots (such as riding clips in-between scenes), as previously-shot stock footage could be re-used. See more »
The majority of male characters were clean shaven. Not only was this unlikely due to a lack of running water, it was also not the style for that era. 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 »
Many television broadcasts and DVDs of public domain episodes currently in circulation replace the famous title theme music with generic music. Only official videos and DVDs from Artisan/Republic are uncut and contain the music as intended. See more »
A great long-running western series that rode out the troubled 1960's
Bonanza explores the adventures of the Cartwright family consisting of three-time widower Ben Cartwright and his three sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. Ben is a self-made man who has carved out a piece of Nevada - a large piece - as a prosperous ranch. Each of Ben's sons has a different mother and a very different background. Adam's mother is from New England, Hoss' mother had Scandinavian roots and met Ben out on the Great plains when Ben and Adam were on the way west after Ben's first wife died. Little Joe's mother was a southerner from New Orleans. This difference in roots is explored even in the first season when Little Joe almost joins the Confederate army after having someone come into town and stir up his feelings for his southern roots. However, the full story doesn't come out until later. There is one episode each in seasons two, three, and four that are dedicated to telling the story of each of Ben's wives.
This first season follows the successful road map that all of the seasons did. Many have a guest star that is recognized even today. For example, Yvonne De Carlo is the guest star in the very first episode. Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper of Gilligan's Island) also makes the first of several guest appearances he will make over the years during the first season.
Most episodes involve heavy-hitting drama often involving some injustice which the Cartwrights, with their prominent place in the community, are in a place to right. The show often used the fact that it was set in the old west to explore some of the social issues of the 1960's without stirring present-day controversy. However, there are a few almost completely comedic episodes here and there. The odd thing is, nobody did comedy as well as Bonanza did when Bonanza decided to do comedy, and usually Hoss is at the center of it all.
The show never really produces a long story arc. Each episode pretty much stands alone. The show really had only two disruptions. The first, which didn't prove fatal to the show, was when Pernell Roberts left in the late 1960's. His "place" was taken by Candy. Candy was not another son - he was a hired hand, but he was also a trusted friend of the Cartwrights.
The second disruption probably was fatal by most accounts. Dan Blocker, who played Hoss, died suddenly of a heart attack in 1972. The show only lasted one more season before it was canceled. Blocker's character of Hoss wasn't the most handsome of the Cartwrights in the conventional sense, but he was the heart and very much the sense of humor of the show. His loss was irreplaceable.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this