The Wild West adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their Nevada ranch while helping the surrounding community.
Bonanza is an American western television series that ran on NBC from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 431 episodes, Bonanza is NBC’s longest-running western, and ranks overall as the second-longest-running western series on U.S. network television (behind CBS’s Gunsmoke), and within the top 10 longest-running, live-action American series. The show continues to air in syndication. The show is set in the 1860s and it centers on the wealthy Cartwright family who live in the vicinity of Virginia City, Nevada, bordering Lake Tahoe. The series initially starred Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon and later featured (at various times) Guy Williams, David Canary, Mitch Vogel and Tim Matheson. The show is known for presenting pressing moral dilemmas.
The title “Bonanza” is a term used by miners in regard to a large vein or deposit of silver ore, from Spanish bonanza (prosperity) and commonly refers to the 1859 revelation of the Comstock Lode of rich silver ore mines under the town of Virginia City, not far from the fictional Ponderosa Ranch that the Cartwright family operated. The show’s theme song, also titled “Bonanza”, became a hit song. Only instrumental renditions, absent Ray Evans’ lyrics, were used during the series’s long run.
In 2002, Bonanza was ranked No. 43 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, and in 2013 TV Guide included it in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time. The time period for the television series is roughly between 1861 (Season 1) and 1867 (Season 13) during and shortly after the American Civil War.
During the summer of 1972, NBC aired reruns of episodes from the 1967–1970 period in prime time on Tuesday evening under the title Ponderosa.
Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright
Dan Blocker as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright
Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
Bill Clark as Townsman
Victor Sen Yung as Hop Sing
Ray Teal as Sheriff Roy Coffee
David Canary as Candy Canaday
Martha Manor as Townswoman
Bob Miles as Townsman
Bing Russell as Deputy Clem Foster
Mitch Vogel as Jamie Hunter Cartwright
Grandon Rhodes as Dr. J.P. Martin
Hal Burton as Townsman
Troy Melton as Gunman
Bruno VeSota as Bartender
Roy Engel as Dr. Paul Martin
Harry Holcombe as Dr. J. P. Martin
Clint Sharp as Stage Driver
Phil Chambers as Store Owner
Tim Matheson as Griff King
Lane Bradford as Buck
Robert Foulk as Deputy Sheriff Clem
Ken Mayer as Crusty
Bern Hoffman as Bartender
Mike Ragan as Burkhart
Henry Wills as 1st Robber
Bob Hoy as Little Cowboy
Raymond Guth as Bill Cooper
Lou Frizzell as Dusty Rhodes
Charles Maxwell as Billings
Hal Baylor as Arch Stewart
Remo Pisani as Bartender