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Bonanza

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Pernell Roberts

Adam Cartwright

Although he was only 13 years younger than his Ponderosa papa, Pernell Roberts was chosen to play the role of the eldest Cartwright offspring, Adam. When he was in high school, Roberts sang at local USO shows. He served for two years in the United States Marine Corps. After flunking out of two colleges, Roberts headed to New York City in 1955 to try his luck on Broadway. In 1957, he headed out West to take on film and TV roles, where he soon found himself on the Ponderosa. On the side he recorded an album of folk songs, 1962's Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies. He exited Bonanza at the height of its popularity during the 1964-65 season, annoyed at the show's direction and inequality. He went on to guest-star on some of the popular TV shows of his day, including The Love Boat, Barnaby Jones and Gunsmoke. His career experienced resurgence in 1979 when he was cast in the title role on Trapper John, MD, a part he played for seven years. Roberts is retired from acting and the only living original cast member of Bonanza.

Character Bio

The eldest of the Cartwright boys, Adam is a genuine chip off the old block: He shares his father’s strong moral code while always looking out for his two younger siblings. Although each of the Cartwright boys is precious to his father, as the senior son, Adam is Ben’s closest confidant. Aside from being a strong and smart rancher, Adam also is well-read and educated. He has a love of the arts, especially books and poetry. He also possesses a wicked sense of humor, which he displays often when dealing with his brothers.

Bonanza TV Schedule

Tuesday
November 25
1:40pm
The Ride
While Adam is at the Goat Springs station, the place is robbed and line manger Toby Barker is killed.
TV-PG
Wednesday
November 26
1:40pm
The Storm
Terminally ill Laura White persuades her father to take her to the Ponderosa so she can see her childhood friend Little Joe.
TV-PG
Monday
December 1
1:49pm
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.
TV-PG