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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 2
The Legacy
Ben sets out after poachers on his own and when only his horse returns with blood on the saddle, his sons assume hes been killed and go after the men they think are responsible.
Hoss And The Leprechauns
Hoss comes to the rescue of a little man being pursued by a bear.
The Prime Of Life
Ben is driven to complete a contract and soon regrets his relentlessness when one of his men is killed in an accident.
The Lila Conrad Story
Joe and Adam are accompanying Judge Knowlton and his wife to Virginia City when Joe finds Lila Conrad hiding in his wagon.
July 6
Ponderosa Matador
The Ponderosa welcomes Senor Tenino and his beautiful daughter Dolores.
My Son, My Son
Ben is looking forward to marrying Katherine Saunders.
Alias Joe Cartwright
Joe is mistaken for Angus Borden, an Army deserter and a dead ringer for Joe.
July 7
The Gentleman From New Orleans
A man comes to town claiming to be Pirate Lafitte but Ben has met Lafitte in the past and doesnt recognize him.
The Cheating Game
Adam checks in on Laura and Peggy Dayton only to find problems.
Bullet For A Bride
Joe is overcome with guilt when he accidentally blinds a girl in a hunting accident. Guest Star: Marilyn Mason

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