Giddyup! With 14 seasons and 431 episodes under its belt, Bonanza is the second longest-running western series in the history of U.S. television. From 1959 to 1973, viewers fell in love with the lives and adventures of the Cartwrights.
Single father Ben Cartwright lived with his three sons on Ponderosa Ranch, a 600,000-acre plot of land on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Ben was thrice-widowed—each of his sons was born by a different mother.
Read on to learn behind the scenes trivia and interesting facts about the show and its characters!
15. Ben “Pa” Cartwright
Greene died in 1987 after facing complications from pneumonia. He was 72 years old and had just signed to appear in a Bonanza revival with a new storyline.
14. There’s A Replica House
The show’s set was so well-loved that Greene himself built a replica. The Ponderosa II home is located at 602 S. Edgewater Drive in Mesa, Arizona, and it’s listed in the Mesa Historic Property Register.
Greene built the home in 1963 as a weekend getaway from Los Angeles. It sits on a half-acre of land and was valued at $849,000 when it was listed on the market in 2016.
13. Bucking Script Trends
Bonanza producer David Dortort sought a different setup and wrote Ben as an admired and intelligent father figure. In order to better explore the show’s characters, Dortort ditched the typical 30-minute program and produced a one-hour show instead.
12. Behind The Scenes
Still, the show was one of the most expensive of its day. NBC spent between $100,000 and $150,000 per episode.
One more fun fact: Many of the show’s actors wore toupeés, including Blocker, Robers, and Greene.