Bonanza : Synopsis, Pictures, Photos, Trivia, Filming Locations

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Bonanza Dates : 1959 - 1973
430 episodes of 50 min
First broadcasting : 6 Janvier 1965
Creator(s) : David Dortort
Producer(s) : Lewis Allen, Robert Altman, Richard Bartlet, Leon Benson
Music : David Rose, Harry Suckman, Raoul Kraushaar
Web surfers's rate : 9.2/10 for 9 rates - Rate

French Traduire


The Cartwright's thousand-square-mile Ponderosa Ranch is located near Virginia City, Nevada, site of the Comstock Silver Lode, during and after the Civil War. Each of the sons was born to a different wife of Ben's; none of the mothers is still alive. Adventures are typical western ones, with lots of personal relationships/problems thrown in as well.

The Actors

Michael Landon - Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright

Michael Landon

(Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright)

Lorne Greene - Ben Cartwright

Lorne Greene

(Ben Cartwright)

Pernell Roberts - Adam Cartwright

Pernell Roberts

(Adam Cartwright)

Dan Blocker - Eric ''Hoss'' Cartwright

Dan Blocker

(Eric ''Hoss'' Cartwright)


Photos Bonanza n_0 Photos Bonanza n_1 Photos Bonanza n_2 Photos Bonanza n_3 Photos Bonanza n_4 Photos Bonanza n_5 Photos Bonanza n_6 Photos Bonanza n_7 Photos Bonanza n_8 Photos Bonanza n_9 Photos Bonanza n_10 Photos Bonanza n_11 Photos Bonanza n_12 Photos Bonanza n_13 Photos Bonanza n_14 Photos Bonanza n_15 Photos Bonanza n_16


In the show's early episodes, the writers would typically have the Cartwrights being hostile to visitors to their property. Lorne Greene objected to this pointing out that with the Ponderosa being as large as it is, the Cartwrights would be an important business interest in the community. Thus visitors would naturally come for economic and political reasons as well as social ones and the Cartwrights would logically welcome them as such. The producers agreed and altered the premise of the characters accordingly.

During the first season of the show, the guest stars were paid far more than the stars of the show because the producers didn't think that the stars were well-known enough to pull in viewers.

When Dan Blocker died unexpectedly during the final season, it was decided to have Hoss die too by having him killed in an accident.

When Pernell Roberts left the show, his character Adam was written off by having him move to Australia.

Adam's mother was from Boston, Hoss's from Sweden and Little Joe's was from New Orleans.

The character 'Ben Cartwright' was ranked #2 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).

Ben was a major in the United States Army.

Although it got off to a rough start, by 1961 it was the #1 show on TV.

Most viewers have only heard the famous theme song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans played as an instrumental. The theme song actually had lyrics and there is footage of the lead actors singing those lyrics.

According to the 1973 book "Marilyn Beck's Hollywood", when Pernell Roberts told Lorne Greene he was leaving the series because he wanted to challenge himself as an actor, Greene told him to stick to it as he would be so rich by the end of the run he could hire Tennessee Williams himself to write a play for him. Roberts' career went into a tailspin that lasted over a decade after he left the show. Co-star Michael Landon later said of Roberts' departure that they simply took a leaf out of the dining room table and split the money three rather than four ways. While the post "Bonanza" Roberts struggled (until later catching on with "Trapper John, M.D." (1979), Greene, Landon and Dan Blocker became very wealthy from their income from the show, which all three wisely invested.

The character Ben Cartwright is a New Englander who had been a seaman. Before setting out West with his young son Adam, the widower Ben had been a ship's chandler, running a shop supplying gear to merchant vessels. (This past is referred to in several episodes, but most significantly, "Elizabeth, My Love" broadcast during the second season on May 27, 1961, when an older Ben is remembering Adam's late mother, his first wife.)

Lorne Green, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon sang a lyric version of this famous instrumental theme for the pilot, but it never aired.

During the filming of one episode, Lorne Greene was required to jump off a small ledge into a lake five feet below. Michael Landon later recalled that when Greene did the stunt, he jumped into the water feet first and went completely under, but his hair piece came off and floated on the surface of the lake. Landon and the rest of the crew watched to see what would happen. After a short while, Greene's hand shot up out of the water, grabbed the hair piece, and pulled it down. Greene emerged from the lake, wearing his hair piece slightly askew. He walked nonchalantly past the snickering crew, and went into his trailer without saying a word.

This was the first US television show to have all its episodes filmed in color.


Filming locations:

Authors of the card

  • Creation date: 2003/07/01 by ERASER80

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