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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

December 1
The Deadly Ones
General Diaz and his mercenaries invade the Ponderosa and take Ben prisoner and force him to accompany them as they plan to ambush a gold train
December 2
Gallagher's Sons
Hoss finds himself saddled with two orphan girls named Charlie and Will. He plans to take them to their Aunt Chloe despite the girls insistence that they want to be on their own. Hoss sets out for Cantill unaware that the girls
December 3
The Decision
When Hoss is injured on a cattle drive, Ben seeks the town doctor only to find him in jail waiting to be hanged for murder. Ben asks the judge to release him so that he can save Hoss' life but the judge refuses, the judges wife