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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

August 25
Catch As Catch Can
While in Tin Bucket, the Cartwright's & Candy encounter serious trouble. After being put in jail, Joe finally convines the sheriff that all that has happened to the Cartwright's since coming to town are more than a coincidence.
The Sound Of Drums
Georgio is at odds with his neighbors because he has let some hungry Indians live on his land.
August 26
A World Full Of Cannibals
Ben hides Charles Bull of the Ponderosa. Bull & 8 other men committed fraud. Bull has agreed to testify against the other, which places him in great danger, as the others will stop at nothing to make sure he doesn't testify.
Sweet Annie Laurie
Hoss befriends Laurie Adams, who is running from her husband.
August 27
My Friend, My Enemy
Candy is arrested for the murder of John Legget.
Hoss falls in love with Erin ODonnell who has lived with the Sioux and Paiutes since she was a child.

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