“Bonanza” Fans Will Love These Pieces Of Show Trivia

featured-imageGiddyup! 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

001-15-ben-pa-cartwright-e67e8f09edeb579bbd395953e9db0dbaCanadian actor Lorne Greene played the household’s father, Ben Cartwright. A 2007 TV Guide survey selected Cartwright as television’s #2 favorite father.

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

002-14-there-s-a-replica-house-f97593ca331522a2d1f131a8d0096b40The 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

003-13-bucking-script-trends-ba68a4d6bc017bd85321548ccc7caef3Television in the Bonanza era often wrote fathers as dimwitted and goofy, usually a foil to a smarter and more capable wife.

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

004-12-behind-the-scenes-eeaadb99f0fc3ef5ee6f990c73c34c30Fun fact: The characters on Bonanza never changed clothes! This allowed the show’s crew to utilize stock footage and lower production costs. Stock footage saved thousands of dollars per episode.

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.