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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

July 31
A Nice, Friendly Little Town
Joe is shot "in the Ponderosa" by a ricochet bullet, and insists that Hoss arrest the culprit.
Black Friday
Joe is in Chiso on a cattle buying trip when he meets ranch-hand-turned-gunfighter Steve Friday.
The Unseen Wound
Paul Rowan has been the Sheriff of Concho for the past 12 years, but lately his behavior has become unpredictable.
August 3
Journey To Terror
Joe visits old friends Tom and Ellie Sue Blackwell who have fallen on hard times due to a drought. T
Amigo is wounded while leaving a holdup with his gang.
Judgment At Red Creek
The stage carrying Sheriff Rimbau, Hoss, Joe and some others stop at Red Creek station and find the Sheriffs brother shot and another man killed.
August 4
A Man Without Land
Matt Jeffers is in trouble: His ranch is about to be sold for back taxes, his land is drying up for lack of water and his son is losing interest in the ranch.
Napoleon's Children
Napoleon leads a gang of young troublemakers who are terrorizing Virginia City.
The Wormwood Cup
Even though the coroners inquest found Joe shot in self defense, he feels guilty for killing Zach Krenshaw.

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