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Bonanza: Bar Brawl

This isn't the first bar brawl for the Cartwright boys, and it certainly won't be the last. (01:30)

Bathing Beauty

Nothing like seeing a grown man in a bath. Little Joe doesn't want to go with Hoss so he takes Hoss's clothes and hangs him out to dry. (01:31)

Making a Mill

You almost expect to hear "Whistle While You Work." The Cartwrights help Tom Edwards to build a mill. (00:57)

Bonanza Theme Song


About Bonanza

Bonanza was one of the longest running and most popular of all TV Westerns. For 14 seasons, audiences enthusiastically tuned in to see the High Sierra adventures of the Cartwright clan. Nestled above the shores of Lake Tahoe is the Ponderosa Ranch, home of Ben Cartwright and his sons Adam, Hoss and Joe (a.k.a. "Little Joe"). Each of the young men was born to a different deceased mother, making poor Ben a three-time widower. Strong characters and intriguing plots helped to set Bonanza apart from the usual gun-slinging formula shows of its heyday.

One reason for Bonanza's success was the show's attention to script development. The characters were allowed to grow and evolve; story lines crossed into controversial topics, exploring racial tension, domestic violence and substance abuse. Each of the Cartwright men developed relationships with women on the show; although almost every woman that came into their lives died tragically.

When it premiered on NBC Sept. 12, 1959, Bonanza was not an immediate ratings winner, but the show remained on the air due to the fact that it was one of few shows filmed in color. After barely surviving its first two seasons on Saturday nights, the show moved to Sunday and became a hit: It was the No. 1 show four years in a row from 1964 to 1967. In 10 of its 14 years on the air, Bonanza was in the national Top 10 -- quite a comeback for those Cartwrights.

Bonanza TV Schedule

October 12
The Lonely House
Joe stops to visit the Widow Bolden, but his visit is interrupted when a wounded man stumbles on the place. Joe realizes the man is Trock and man wanted for bank robbery. He is unsure whether he should tell Mrs. Bolden and thi
The Burma Rarity
Two con artists visit Virginia City and of their first victims is a former circus performer, and owner of the local boarding house, Clementine Hawkins, who also happens to be sweet on Ben Cartwright. When Ben calls on her he fi
October 13
Broken Ballad
Gunfighter Ed Payson returns to Virginia City after his father dies, to claim his father's place. He isn't welcomed with open arms though, especially by Will Cass, a local storeowner whose son Dave was killed by Payson in a gun
The Many Faces Of Gideon Flinch
Gideon Flinch and his neice Jennifer check into the hotel with Flinch using the alias Homer T. Cranston. He is a meek man and hoping to elude a man named Bullethead Burke who lost $5000 on advice from Flinch. When Jennifer fin
October 14
The Friendship
The Cartwright's have prisoners working on the ranch putting down rail ties. Joe is saved by Danny Kidd, a young man who was orphaned very young and in the prison system most of his life. Joe offers to repay him and when kid s
The Countess
The Ponderosa is visited by an old friend, who is now Lady Linda Chadwick. Twenty years ago she and Ben were in love and the widowed Chadwick decides it may be possible to rekindle the relationship. When Ben doesn't apppear to

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