The Cartwright family owns a big 1,000 acre cattle ranch named the Ponderosa. Instead of living the quiet country life they get into one adventure after another. And by one adventure after another I mean get into sticky situations.
On the air for fourteen seasons, Bonanza was one of the more popular Western television shows ever. It featured a mix of action/adventure and emotional drama that made it attractive to all ages. The strong sense of family values made it a show with Mom and Dad’s stamp of approval.
Episode 1: Bank Run: Little Joe (played by Michael Landon) stumbles upon the fact that a greedy millionaire wants to force suddenly rich miner Tim O’Brien (played by Walter Burke) to give up his valuable claim by closing his bank.
Episode 2: The Fugitive: Will Regan (played by Will Wright), a retired former foreman at the Ponderosa, asks Adam (played by Pernell Roberts) to go to Mexico to find out how Will’s son and Adam’s childhood friend, Carl (played by James Best), died.
Episode 3: Vengeance: Hoss (played by Dan Blocker) accidentally kills a very drunk Willie Twilight (played by Keith Richards) and is wracked with guilt..
Episode 4: The Tax Collector: Jock Henry (played by Eddie Firestone) gets a job courtesy of Hoss as a tax collector and ends up doubling the value of all the area’s ranches and their tax bills.
Episode 5: The Rescue: Ben (played by Lorne Greene) loses a fist fight to Josh Tatum (played by Leif Erickson), a man who resents him and his money, because Josh cheated.
Episode 6: The Dark Gate: Adam’s friend Ross Marquette (played by James Coburn) starts acting strange so Adam goes to Doc Martin (played by Roy Engel), who believes that what is wrong is mental illness.
Episode 7: The Duke: A fighter (played by Maxwell Reed) and his manager challenge every man to a fight. Hoss takes up the challenge after the British boxer attacks Marge (played by Randy Stuart) and beats her love, J.D. (played by Jason Evers), to a pulp.
Episode 8: Cutthroat Junction: The Cartwrights go with the Sierra Freight Company’s troubleshooter Joel Trask (played by Robert Lansing) and his wife Belle (played by Shirley Ballard) to a chaotic town filled to the brim with out of control outlaws.
Episode 9: The Gift: Joe has secretly gone off with to Yuma with Emiliano (played by Martin Landau) to buy a secret gift for Ben.
Episode 10: The Rival: Hoss and Jim Applegate (played by Charles Aidman) are both romantically pursuing Cameo Johnson (played by Peggy Ann Garner).
Episode 11: The Infernal Machine: Inventor Daniel Pettibone (played by Eddie Ryder) is helped out by Hoss in his attempt to get investors for his horseless carriage.
Episode 12: The Thunderhead Swindle: Virginia City is going through an economic depression when mines all over are drying up. Ben becomes suspicious when Furnas (played by Walter Coy) and Cunningham (played by Parley Baer) announce that they are buying the Thunderhead Mine.
Episode 13: The Secret: A neighbour says he saw Joe and a girl taking a buggy ride and that girl is now dead.
Episode 14: The Dream Riders: An old friend of Ben’s Mayor John Cayley (played by Sidney Blackmer) comes to the Ponderosa with his daughter (played by Diana Millay) to conduct some hot air balloon experiments for the U.S. Army.
Episode 15: Elizabeth, My Love: Ben won’t leave Adam’s sickbed and while there he thinks back to his younger years as a sailor, his marriage to Elizabeth (played by Geraldine Brooks) and the birth of their first son, Adam.
Episode 16: Sam Hill: Itinerant blacksmith Sam Hill (played by Claude Akins) comes back home to find his father (played by Edgar Buchanan) is not dead and has sold their land.
Special Features: Archival Footage and Still Photos (1961): Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, Ca., Photo Gallery: Cast Members at “Home”, Photo Galleries: Paramount Studies Publicity Poses, Photo Gallery: 1961 Cast Portraits by Elmer W. Holloway, Photo Gallery: Michael Landon: “Marine for a Day”, On-Air Promos, Archival Footage (1999): David Dortort Stories: “Tribute to the Fans”