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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
Reviews
Popularity
521 ( 12)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



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

Anthony Lawrence didn't write authentic Western scripts, so he focused on writing about relationships and character (as he did in season one, episode thirty-one, "Dark Star" and season two, episode ten, "The Last Viking", for example). One day, Producer David Dortort told Lawrence he wanted to do a story on each of Ben's wives, and Lawrence replied, "Let me do it, I can kill off at least two of them!" Lawrence thought he would get thrown off the set for saying this, and instead was given the task of becoming the writer who scripted the stories with Ben and his wives, all three of whom died (season two, episode thirty-three, "Elizabeth, My Love"; season three, episode twenty-nine, "Inger, My Love"; season four, episode twenty, "Marie, My Love"; and season five, episode eight, "Journey Remembered"). 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

Adam Cartwright: Let's go back to the Ponderosa, Pa. This isn't any of our affair.
Ben Cartwright: We can't ignore the rest of the world. We're the only stabilizing influence in the country.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Repossessed (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Bonanza
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quality Production, Character Stories; A Memorable Family Western
29 September 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

"Bonanza" was the first hour-long TV show in any genre produced in full-color. The continuing cast for the first 6 years featured essentially five persons--Benjamin Cartwright, his three sons and their Chinese cook, along with the local sheriff. Cartwright had been a seaman, who went west and married three times; each time he produced a son and lost his wife. Reaching the ponderosa pine country near Virginia City, Nevada and Lake Tahoe, he built up a large landholding, with cattle, timber, and mines, becoming an important man in the territory. Ben Cartwright was played by Canadian announcer-actor Lorne Greene, who was much younger than the part he played but had Shakespearean training and a powerful speaking voice. Pernell Roberts played his eldest son, Adam, a thoughtful but restless man, 1959-65. Eric "Hoss" Cartwright was portrayed huge Dan Blocker as a man of gentle ways and grit but ordinary intelligence. Attractive Michael Landon played "Little Joe", fast with a gun and learning to be a man; he also write and directed episodes for the series. Victor Sen-Young was Hop Sing, and veteran Ray Teal played Sheriff Roy Coffee. Later, others were added to the series for various stretches, once Adam's part was written out; these included David Canaray as Candy, Bing Russell, Harry Holcombe, Guy Williams, Kathie Browne, and Remo Pisani. Each week guest stars were hired, and a few actors were used in dozens of shows. Among the most memorable guest stars were John Larkin, Ruta Lee, Joan Hackett, Frank Overton, Bruce Yarnall, Inga Swenson as Inger, Ben's second wife, Felicia Farr as his third wife, Grandon Rhodes, Patricia Donahue, Robert Lansing, Lisa Lu and Steve Forrest. Titles such as "The Honor of Cochise", "The Eden Train", "Inger, My Love I,II", "Right is the Fourth "R"", and "The Mountain Girl" among many others bring fond memories. Many directors toiled on "Bonanza", whose title referred to the rich ore found in the Virginia City area during the nineteenth century. The list included Lewis Allen, Leon Benson, William F. Claxton, Herschel Daugherty, Don McDougall, Christian Nyby, Leo Penn and William Witney. Principal writers for the series, with 5 or more credits, included Robert V. Barron, Frank Chase, Suzanne Clauser, Frank Cleaver, the producer David Dortort, Warren Douglas, John Hawkins, Ward Hawkins, Arther Heinemann, Michael Landon, Jo Pagano, Stanley Roberts, Robert Sabaroff, Jack B. Sowards, Thomas Thompson and Al C. Ward. It is difficult to characterize the show except that it was a consistently second-rank attempt to do stories about first-rate ethical people living in an interesting era in a frontier setting. It was the first of the family-oriented westerns, and at the same time a show capable of detaching its principals for dual or independent adventures. If few of its episodes risk to great dramatic heights, many are far-above-average film-making efforts, even by feature-film standards. The production featured clean, straightforward cinematography, Nellie Manley's hairstyles, Wally Westmore's makeup, enjoyable costumes and expert sets, art direction and action scenes. If the family spent too much time at home, seldom were shown with cattle and had virtually no employees, the writers made up for such derelictions by involving the sons and the father in the affairs of town and territory. Innovatve and perhaps inimitable, this was quality dramatic western making from start to finish.


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