Cartwrights of the Ponderosa
Bonanza aired in 1959 in color which was a big deal back then. The series helped to make color television very popular. Bonanza lasted for fourteen years. That's pretty close to being the longest running western, which goes to Gunsmoke.
The family oriented western Bonanza starred Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, and Dan Blocker. Sadly only one member of the cast is still alive. Pernell Roberts, who quit after six seasons, is the only surviving Cartwright. Pernell Roberts went on to star in Trapper John M.D.
Lorne Greene, who played the father and leader of the Cartwrights, Ben Cartwright, went on to play on Battle Star Galactica which was a very good sci-fi series.
Dan Blocker (Hoss) died of a blood clot when he was only forty-two in the last season of Bonanza, and Little Joe (Michael Landon) went to make great family shows like Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, which is one of my favorites from the eighties.
Despite the efforts to keep the show fresh, Bonanza began to slip in the ratings after a dozen years on the air. Dan Blockers sudden death in 1972 spelled the end for Bonanza. The loss of the beloved Hoss was a devastating blow to both the cast and the shows fans. Producers reacted quickly, persuading David Canary ,who had played on the show before, to return and recreate his role of Candy, and added Tim Matheson as Grif, a troubled young cowboy, to the cast. But the loss of Blocker seemed to take the heart out of the show. Bonanza limped a long for another season, eventually being moved to Tuesday night, before being abruptly canceled
The last new episode aired on January 16, 1973, but the series has been in syndication ever since. You can catch Ben Cartwright, Little Joe, Adam, and Hoss on PAX TV .
Go to the new Tv Western Internet Index for a huge list of western web sites.