52 user 18 critic


1:39 | Clip
The Wild West adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their Nevada ranch while helping the surrounding community.


David Dortort
674 ( 66)




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1973   1972   1971   1970   1969   1968   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Complete series cast summary:
Lorne Greene ...  Ben Cartwright / ... 430 episodes, 1959-1973
Michael Landon ...  Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright / ... 430 episodes, 1959-1973
Dan Blocker ...  Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright / ... 415 episodes, 1959-1972
Pernell Roberts ...  Adam Cartwright 202 episodes, 1959-1965


The Cartwrights' 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 three 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 edited by Rob

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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In Season 6's "Old Sheba" the circus elephant is called Old Sheba. Incidentally, in Lorne Greene's later series Battlestar Galactica (1978) (TV Series) there was character called Lieutenant Sheba (Played by Anne Lockhart). See more »


The story of Bonanza starts in 1859 Nevada but the clothing worn by the cast is invariably 20th century . For example belt loops did not appear on men's trousers and jeans until many decades later. 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.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

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 »


Referenced in De Dageraad: Aflevering 18 (1991) See more »

User Reviews

Look at it, Adam!
28 April 2003 | by vaudreyvilSee all my reviews

Forty-four years later, I still recall the first line of the first episode of Bonanza. The 14-season debut opened with Ben Cartwright and Adam--just the two of them--riding up to a ridge overlooking the vast expansive glory of the Ponderosa. Horses stopped, Ben turns to his eldest son, stretches forth his hand, and issues "Pa's" first command ... "Look at it, Adam!"

Adam looked. For about 14 seconds.

And so did this young viewer.

It would require, however, another 14 years of "looking" before a 14-year-old boy would come to fully comprehend the treasure Adam beheld in the single moment he, and we, first laid eyes on that majestic, resplendent land of the Cartwright Bonanza.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

12 September 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ponderosa See more »


Box Office


$105,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(430 episodes)


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