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

Creator:

David Dortort
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Popularity
521 ( 12)

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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 9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Lorne Greene ...  Ben Cartwright / ... 430 episodes, 1959-1973
Michael Landon ...  Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright / ... 427 episodes, 1959-1973
Dan Blocker ...  Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright / ... 415 episodes, 1959-1972
Pernell Roberts ...  Adam Cartwright 200 episodes, 1959-1965
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ponderosa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(430 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Every time one of the Cartwrights became seriously involved with a woman, she died from a disease, was killed, or left with someone else. See more »

Goofs

In every episode each character who wore a gun had a pistol belt with no loops for bullets. The show took place during the Civil War. Pistols were cap and ball, did not use metallic cartridges. Thus no bullet loops.

Actually, even though the belts had no loops, the pistols they carried were definitely metallic cartridge weapons. Ben carried a Remington Model 1875 Army revolver, and Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe all carried Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army revolvers. They can all be seen reloading cartridges into their weapons in numerous episodes. See more »

Quotes

[Hoss reluctantly agrees to serve as a temporary deputy sheriff]
Deputy Sheriff: I'll swear you in. Do you?
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright: I do.
Deputy Sheriff: You are.
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 »

Connections

Spoofed in The Last Shot (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Bonanza
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Learn from one of the best TV Westerns!
1 March 2005 | by mbuchwalSee all my reviews

Feature film makers have many lessons to learn from this classic western serial. Although each episode was made on a small budget when compared to the Hollywood "A" features of today, all of the production values of great classic movies of the golden age -- painterly composition and design, emotionally effective acting, lyrical music, suspenseful storytelling, beautiful timing, strong dramatic dialogue, elegantly choreographed action, powerful themes, colorful period costumes, folksy comic relief -- all of these values were at a consistently high level from show to show, with never an awkward effect or a misfit scene. Each of the featured characters was drawn in a unique and stylish way, suggesting the storybook characterization that distinguishes the best of the Hollywood golden age. Every one of the episodes stands well as a feature length movie in its own right and would look as good on the big screen as on TV. There's plenty of feeling, no padding or softness, and no mindless experimentation with technique or vulgarity such as has ruined so many westerns made since 1970.

It's difficult to understand why an approach which succeeded for so long was abandoned in the 1970's by both television and feature film makers. Many producers turned instead in the direction indicated by spaghetti westerns. Compared to classic westerns like "Bonanza," spaghetti westerns were much less lyrical and took more of a gutter eye view of the old west, stripping it of its romantic appeal and substituting what to a misguided new generation seemed a dirtier and therefore more authentic realism. In retrospect, Hollywood gave up way too much for the little that it got in return. The success of a vast body of works similar in appeal to "Bonanza" (including many of the other action adventure TV serials made from the '40s to the '60s) is proof that there is a widespread taste that is radically different from the one which has predominated in Hollywood since the '70s. Let's hope that one day we'll see the return of Bonanza's classic values to the screen.


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