the information on this page consists of THREE areas
Episode information in BLACK
Trivia in RED
Bloopers in BLUE
SEASON 1 (1959 –1960)
three sons are forever at each other’s throats, but when the chips are down
they forget their differences and fight shoulder to shoulder. Livingston has
called it a love affair between four men – and in effect that’s what it is."
David Dortort, 1959.
up to Lake Tahoe, we were going to shoot on location the first week and we were
going to do all the riding shots so they could use them in various segments
in the show and we went up there and spent one week on horses and every night
we’d go into the restaurant and stand there and have dinner. We were
Michael Landon talking about the first week of filming
ask me, ‘Daddy, why do people watch you on TV?’ I tell ‘em they don’t watch
me, they watch the show."
Dan Blocker, 1960.
thing was to see the four guys trying to ride up. You know it’s one eighth of
a page in a script but it could take days for the Cartwrights just to mount
up and ride out. Because these horses leave, whoever gets on first and rides
out, the other horses go, they don’t care. And Lorne, if you look at the old
Bonanza series, you’ll see Lorne’s mouth moving, 'Don’t you ride out, don’t
you ride out, dammit.'
You watch it, you’ll see."
Michael Landon on the Johnny Carson show, talking about the early days of making Bonanza.
two years, I wore a hat that looked like a yarmulke - the itty-bitty cowboy
as played by Lorne Greene is not a congenital idiot. He is not led around by
the nose by anybody. We do not have any Moms built into our show – or, for that
matter, any women. We are, as it were, anti-Momism. We don’t have any little
brats who talk like Leonard Bernstein. Nor do we believe in the philosophy that
life favors the underdog.
Instead, we deal with a love affair between four strong men and, even more importantly,
with the land and with roots."
show is a whale of a ball. My problem is, I can’t find anybody I don’t like.
In fact things are so good I’m afraid it’s a frame up."
Dan Blocker, 1960.
as if I’m playing one-fourth of a character. We need time to develop individuality
in the given situation. As far as I’m concerned, the only question is: is an
actor good or isn’t he? After all, it’s his face hanging out there."
Pernell Roberts, 1960.
disagree with Pernell (in response to above quote) But I still feel that in
the family kind of story your own individuality should – and does – come through."
Lorne Greene, 1960.
the show is popular basically because of the four characters, not because of
the stories – which are sometimes terrible."
Dan Blocker, 1960
get right down to it the strongest attachments are between men – fathers, brothers.
It all helps take a Western out of the ‘yup’ and ‘nope’ kind of thing."
Michael Landon, 1960.
had range. I saw in him great tenderness and sensibilities. Perhaps another
Wally Beery. I remember he was all ready to quit acting and go back to teaching
school. I told him to stick around. He did. And he has hardly missed a day’s
David Dortort talking about Dan Blocker, 1960.
2. The Sun Mountain Herd– First aired on September 19, 1959.
Michael Landon's son, Mark, didn't like it when the script called for his father to be beaten in a fight scene. He was on the set the day they filmed the fight scene for this episode, between Joe and Early Thorne (Leo Gordon). Knowing Mark was upset about it, Michael told him not to worry - that Hoss would get him.
|Episode 3. The Newcomers|
|Episode 4. The Paiute War|
|Episode 5. Enter Mark Twain|
Episode 6. The Julia Bulette Story – First aired on October 17, 1959.
In an article in 1961, where Michael Landon picked who he thought were the ten most exciting women in the world, one of the women he chose was Jane Greer (Julia Bulette). Michael said, “I have a special place in my list for Miss Jane, ‘cause she is, to my way of thinking, a wonderful woman. First of all, she’s got a really great sense of humor. When she laughs, the world laughs. You just can’t help it, because she’s got that way of loving life and living every minute of it like it was the greatest adventure ever. And that attitude is infectious, really catches on.”
7. The Saga of Annie O'Toole –
First aired on
Guest star Ida Lupino played Annie O’Toole.
|Episode 8. The Phillip Diedeshiemer Story|
9. Mr Henry TP Comstock
-First aired on November 7, 1959.
10. The Magnificent Adah
– First aired
on November 14, 1959.
|Episode 11. The Truckee Strip|
12. The Hanging Posse – First aired on November 28, 1959.
|Episode 13. Vendetta|
14. The Sisters - First
The following is part of an interview with Jean Willes who plays Amelia Terry in this episode. "My first reaction to Pernell was that I tremendously admired him as an actor. We met on 'Desire Under The Elms.' As I've said, my first impression was that he was...even then...a tremendous actor. He was new to me. Remember this was his first picture. Pernell's good looking...but certainly not the pretty type...which I can't tolerate anyway. There's something very magnetic about his appearance. He's strong looking in a quiet, quiet way. He's very masculine, personable, very attractive. I wouldn't say he is particularly withdrawn. As a matter of fact, he's very good company and very witty. We worked together for several weeks and I enjoyed knowing him tremendously. Burl Ives was on the set and sang his songs for us. It was a fun set. Then later...about a year and a half later, I worked with Pernell in Bonanza. Perhaps he's a little changed...a little more used to the business...more at home in the movie industry. When I first knew Pernell it was his first picture...now he's more confident in the ways of the picture business."
|Episode 15. The Last Hunt|
|Episode 16. El Toro Grande|
|Episode 17. The Outcast|
Episode 18. House Divided – First aired on January 16, 1960.
|Episode 19. The Gunmen|
|Episode 20. The Fear Merchants|
|Episode 21. The Spanish Grant|
|Episode 22. Blood on the Land|
|Episode 23. Desert Justice|
|Episode 24. The Stranger|
25. Escape To The Ponderosa
First aired on March 5, 1960.
|Episode 26. The Avenger|
27. The Last Trophy
– First aired on March 26 1960.
In later years Hazel Court talked about how much she enjoyed working on this episode, saying how wonderful everyone was. On her first day of filming she had a scene with Pernell. Pernell rode off and her horse immediately followed his – she wasn’t ready and fell off. She jokingly said the director was more worried about the horse than her.
28. San Francisco
– First aired on April 2, 1960.
In an article in 1988, after Lorne Greene’s death Michael told the same story. “If Lorne was touchy about anything, it was his baldness. He covered his head with a toupee that Dan Blocker and I called ‘the Gray Rat,’ at first behind his back and then, to his obvious amusement, openly. Hard as we tried, we never caught Cartwright or Greene without the hairpiece. We came close as we were filming a scene in which Ben leaped into a ‘lake,’ really a tank of water. He submerged, but the Gray Rat did not. It floated. ‘Everyone clear the set,’ barked the assistant director, aware of the star’s sensitivity. Dan and I just edged closer to the tank; no one could move Blocker, and we wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Ten, twenty, maybe thirty seconds passed. Finally a hand appeared, snatched the soggy Gray Rat and pulled it under. A moment later, up came Lorne, the dripping piece on his head, a grin on his face. Foiled again!” (Later, Michael talked about visiting Lorne in hospital before he died). “On August 4, he entered hospital for treatment. When I visited him there, he was asleep and not wearing his hairpiece. I waited until he awoke. ‘Do you realize,’ I said, ‘that after almost thirty years this is the first time I’ve seen you without the Gray Rat.’ Lorne rolled his head back on the pillow and laughed at finally being caught.”
29. Bitter Water
- First aired on April 9, 1960.
Merry Anders guest stars in this episode. This is said to be the episode where Michael met his wife to be Lynn on the set, when she was an extra. Lynn later said in an interview on the Mike Douglas show, “I worked extra, usually as a model or a dancer. They put me on Bonanza and I wanted to go home until I saw green eyes here (Michael) and I changed my mind.”
importantly, Mike and I have a great deal of respect for each other, and
we watch for things that might seem out of character. After all, if one
does something good, then it's good for the series. If it's bad, it's bad
for the series. I remember once checking Mike out for something he'd done
unconsciously. He had a scene where, as Little Joe, he was forced to kill
a man. The Cartwright's aren't killers and won't pull a gun unless forced
to it, as in this scene. Now Mike loves to twirl his gun into his holster
and after he'd fired that's exactly what he did. When the scene was over,
I went over to Mike and said, "Hi, killer boy." "What do
you mean by that?" he asked. "Loved the scene but hated the
end," I said. "Do you realize that you twirled your gun into the
holster after you shot that guy, which makes it look as if you enjoyed
killing?" Mike hadn't realized that he had done this and he was upset
when I told him about it. He wanted to re shoot the scene, but by that
time they had begun to strike the set and it was too late." Lorne
Greene, May 1961. Michael does this in the scene where Hoss is pinned
down with gunfire from two men. Joe comes along and shoots
one of the men, spinning his gun as he puts it back in the holster.
30. Feet Of Clay
– First aired on April 16, 1960.
31. Dark Star
– First aired on April 23, 1960.
32. Death at Dawn
- First aired on April 30, 1960.