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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 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.
August 5
The Greedy Ones
Gus Shultz, an old prospector, comes into Virginia City claiming he finally struck gold.
Second Chance
Joe and Hoss have gone to warn the settlers about renegade Indians and Joe is shot by an arrow.
Sense Of Duty
The 116th Division of the Virginia City Militia has Ben called up to active duty along with Major Ben Cartwright.
August 6
The Conquistadors
Four Mexican men are driven from the gold fields and in desperation, plan to kidnap one of the wealthy citizens of Virginia City and hold him for ransom.
Judgment At Olympus
Deputy Gibbs shows up at the Ponderosa to arrest Candy for murder.
Night Of Reckoning
Joe finds Don Buckler seriously wounded and takes him home to care for him.

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