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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 6
The Thunderhead Swindle
While trying to deal with cattle rustlers Ben learns of a strike at the Thunderhead Mine. Suspecting foul play he decides to do some investigating of new owners Furnas and Cunningham, and also talks to the former owners Bronson
The Secret
Mary Parson is murdered and her family says she was on her way to meet little Joe, but he knows nothing about it. Joes is arrested for her murder when a credible witness says he saw them together the day of the murder.
October 7
The Dream Riders
Major John Cayley, and old friend of Ben's, comes to the Ponderosa to carry out an experiment with is hot air balloon, which he says is for the Army. Ben is unaware that Cayley and his men are planning to rob the back and use t
Elizabeth, My Love
Adam is battling a high fever and Ben keeps vigil, as he recalls his courtship with his first wife Elizabeth, The daughter of the man Ben served under as First mate, Captain Abel Morgan Stoddard. When the Captain was forced to
October 8
Sam Hill
A family of prosperous ranchers led by widower Ben Cartwright deals with the mining interests of their Nevada town as well as various people who cross their paths.
The Smiler
Hoss comes to the defense of Widow McClure who is being harassed by Arthur Bolling. During the scuffle Arthur Bolling's gun goes off and he accidentally kills himself. At the funeral Arthur's brother comes and is in search of t

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