Season 1

Buy the Official First Season set on DVD

from Amazon.com

The Official First Season of BONANZA is now on DVD! If you wish to purchase the DVD set, click here.

A Rose for Lotta

Episode 1

Date Aired: September 12, 1959
Plot: The scene opens to Ben and Adam Cartwright looking at the beautiful scenery of the Ponderosa. This episode is about mine owners wanting Ponderosa timber and Ben won't sell it to them. So they hire an actress and she lures Little Joe into town and the land miners hold him hostage for the timber. Ben and his sons go into town, and spend the whole night looking for Little Joe, and he is busy hiding from the mine owners. In the end they find Little Joe dancing with the actress and they ride into the sunset.
Written by: David Dortort
Directed by: Edward Ludwig
Guest Stars: Lotta Crabtree - Yvonne De Carlo, Alpheus Troy - George Macready

Death on Sun Mountain

Episode 2

Date Aired: September 19, 1959
Plot: Greedy opportunist Mark Burdette and his accomplice Early Thorne stir up trouble between the Paiute tribe and the citizens of Virginia City. Ben discovers Burdette and Thorne are selling antelope beef to the miners and finds the price too high. He offers the miners beef at a more reasonable price. Burdette and Thorne retaliate by framing the Paiute's for attacks, by dressing as them and killing ranchers. Based on a factual accounting. Lorne Greene's first voice-over narration, and no landing constructed yet for the Ponderosa stairway.
Written by: Gene L. Coon
Directed by: Paul Landres
Guest Stars: Mark Burdette - Barry Sullivan, Carl Harris - Karl Swenson, Early Thorne - Leo Gordon

The Newcomers

Episode 3

Date Aired: September 26, 1959
Plot: John Pennington and his crew want to mine the Ponderosa land by hydraulic means. Ben is totally against this method and evicts them in short order. Hoss is given the task of telling Pennington's men to leave, but soon has a moral dilemma on his hands when he meets Pennington's beautiful sister, Emily. He soon discovers a heartbreaking secret...she's terminally ill; but their relationship soon leads to plenty of trouble for the Cartwrights.
Written by: Thomas Thompson
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Emily Pennington - Inger Stevens, Blake McCall - John Larch, John Pennington - Robert Knapp

The Paiute War

Episode 4

Date Aired: October 3, 1959
Plot: Trader Mike Wilson attempts to escape punishment by the Paiute Indians after mistreating two of their women, by placing the blame on Adam. A fierce war between the Paiutes and the California militia follows, and the Paiutes seize Adam as hostage. Very impressive battle scenes in the this first mini-epic of the series. This episode did all it could to stage the real thing; 50 Indians were used and 50 cavalry actors and extras were used, and the production involved three days of shooting on location. This episode encompassed both the biggest cast and most costly stunts. This episode is based on the factual accounting that occured in May and June of 1860.
Written by: Gene L. Coon
Directed by: Paul Landres
Guest Stars: Trader Mike Wilson - Jack Warden, Chief Winnemucca - Anthony Caruso

Enter Mark Twain

Episode 5

Date Aired: October 10, 1959
Plot: Samuel Clemens arrives in Virginia City to write for the Territorial Enterprise at the same time a crooked politician tries to lay claim on the Ponderosa.
Written by: Harold Shumate
Directed by: Paul Landres
Guest Stars: Sam Clemens - Howard Duff, Judge Jeremy Clarence Billington - John Litel

The Julia Bulette Story

Episode 6

Date Aired: October 17, 1959
Plot: Little Joe is infatuated wih saloon owner Julia Bulette, whom he imagines is like his late mother. First episode to reveal backround details concerning Marie Cartwright, and inspired by the true story of a Virginia City madam. Also, the first episode to showcase Michael Landon.
Written by: Al C. Ward
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Julia Bulette - Jane Greer, Jean Millain - Alexander Scourby

The Saga of Annie O'Toole

Episode 7

Date Aired: October 24, 1959
Plot: Adam defends the mining claim of Annie O' Toole in a court presided over by Judge Ben Cartwright. Annie comes to the Washoe Diggings with a claim to a mine filed by her beau, Swede Lundberg. Swede has two claims and sold one to an acquaintance of theirs named Gregory Spain, creating confusion, that only Judge Ben Cartwright can make a ruling on.
Written by: Thomas Thompson
Directed by: Joseph Kane
Guest Stars: Annie O' Toole - Ida Lupino, Swede Lunberg - Alan Hale, Jr., Kevin "Himself" O'Toole - John Patrick, Gregory Spain - Henry Lascoe

The Phillip Diedesheimer Story

Episode 8

Date Aired: October 31, 1959
Plot: Adam and Hoss assist a German engineer in developing the concept of "square set timbering" in the mines. Based on fact, and the first episode not to include all four Cartwrights. Hoss refers to the character, Emily, with whom he was in love with in, "The Newcomers".
Written by: Thomas Thompson
Directed by: Joseph Kane
Guest Stars: Philip Deidesheimer - John Beal, Helene Holloway - Mala Powers, Andrew Holloway - R.G. Armstrong, Gil Fenton - Charles Cooper

Mr. Henry Comstock

Episode 9

Date Aired: November 7, 1959
Plot: In a flashback, the legendary prospector arrives on the Ponderosa and participates in the founding of Virginia City. Coincidentally, guest star Jack Carson played a teller at the Comstock Bank and Trust in the 1942 film, "Gentleman Jim". This early classic was the second episode filmed.
Written by: David Dortort
Directed by: John Brahm
Guest Stars: Henry Comstock - Jack Carson, Winnemucca - Bruce Gordon

The Magnificent Adah

Episode 10

Date Aired: November 14, 1959
Plot: Virginia City is visited by actress Adah Issacs Menken, who happens to be an old acquaintance of Ben's. Joe is badly beaten by Adah's jealous suitor, John C. Regan, who is bested in a fight with an enraged Hoss.
Written by: Donald S. Sanford
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Adah Issacs Menken - Ruth Roman, John C. Reagan - Don Megowan

The Truckee Strip

Episode 11

Date Aired: November 21, 1959
Plot: Luther Bishop and Ben Cartwright have had an ongoing land dispute for a number of years, over a small tract called the Truckee Strip. One of Bishop's employee's has a grudge against the Cartwrights and wants to stir up the feud again, while also harboring designs on Bishop's pretty daughter, Amy. Joe meets and falls in love with Amy, in spite of the family differences and the two want to marry. Just when it looks like the feud will end with the union of the two young people, Bishop's man attacks Amy and Joe must come to the rescue.
Written by: Herman Groves
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Pete Jessup - James Coburn, Amy Bishop - Adrienne Hayes

The Hanging Posse

Episode 12

Date Aired: November 28, 1959
Plot: Adam and Joe reluctantly join a group of vengeful townsmen, who are out to lynch the three men who supposedly killed Vannie Johnson. The posse is run by Paiute Scroggs and Flint Johnson, the dead woman's husband. When Adam and Joe clash with them, they both separate and try to reach the three men before the posse does. This episode's storyline is a variation of the 1943 film "The Ox-Bow Incident".
Written by: Carey Wilber
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Paiute Scroggs - Arthur Hunnicutt, Blackie Marx - Adam Williams, Flint Johnson - Onslow Stevens

Vendetta

Episode 13

Date Aired: December 5, 1959
Plot: In a variation of "High Noon", Ben and Hoss must face a gang of outlaws practically all alone when most of Virginia City's citizens go into hiding. The most action-filled episode since "The Paiute War".
Written by: Robert E. Thompson
Directed by: Joseph Kane
Guest Stars: Anne Samuels - Whitney Blake, Tom Pyror - Simon Scott

The Sisters

Episode 14

Date Aired: December 12, 1959
Plot: Adam has a duel with someone who insulted a saloon girl he likes. Ben is concerned that his son is getting involved with a girl who's past hasn't been very rosy. When she is shot and killed in his arms, he is arrested for her murder while the real killer he shot at gets away.
Written by: Carey Wilber
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Sue Ellen Terry - Fay Spain, Sheriff Jesse Sanders - Buddy Ebsen, Amelia Terry - Jean Willes

The Last Hunt

Episode 15

Date Aired: December 19, 1959
Plot: Hoss and Joe come across a pregnant Indian woman while hunting bighorn sheep and must deliver her baby. Despite touches of humor, including a scene in which Joe refers to a meal as "cattle fodder", the story does not have an altogether happy ending.
Written by: Donald S. Sanford
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Shoshone Girl - Chana Eden, Jason Kyle - Steven Terrell

El Toro Grande

Episode 16

Date Aired: January 2, 1960
Plot: Ben sends Hoss and Joe to Monterey to purchase an expensive seed bull. The first of Blocker and Landon's many comic misadventures, although the casual use of violence, as in the rapier fight, is oddly uncharacteristic for the series. Hoss reveals his real name to be Eric for the first time.
Written by: John Tucker Battle
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Don Xavier Lorenzo - Ricardo Cortez, Cayentana Lorenzo - Barbara Luna

The Outcast

Episode 17

Date Aired: January 9, 1960
Plot: Because she is related to criminals, a young woman is ostracized by everyone but the the Cartwrights. She unwisely seeks solace with an ex-con friend of Joe's, Clay Renton, and it's up to Ben to straighten everything out. First episode to have a chapter title after the cast credits.
Written by: Thomas Thompson
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Clay Renton - Jack Lord, Leta Malvet - Susan Oliver

A House Divided

Episode 18

Date Aired: January 16, 1960
Plot: As the Civil War approaches, Adam and Joe clash over which side to support. The situation is complicated by the arrival of Frederick Kyle, a Southern sympathizer. He was an old friend of Joe's mother and viewers also discover that Joe's middle name is Francis.
Written by: Al C. Ward
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Frederick Kyle - Cameron Mitchell

The Gunmen

Episode 19

Date Aired: January 23, 1960
Plot: In the first all-out comic episode of the series, Hoss and Joe travel to Kiowa Flats, Texas, where they are mistaken for the notorious Slade Brothers, also played by Blocker and Landon.
Written by: Carey Wilber
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: B. Bannerman Brown - Henry Hull, Jubal - George Mitchell, Alonzo McFadden - Douglas Spencer, Twirly Boggs - King Donovan

The Fear Merchants

Episode 20

Date Aired: January 30, 1960
Plot: The Cartwrights encounter racial bigotry in Virginia City and end up protecting a Chinese boy from mob violence. Victor Sen Yung, in his largest role to date, speaks normally in the presence of his fellow countrymen, but reverts to broken English when with the Cartwrights.
Written by: Frank Unger
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Andrew Fulmer - Gene Evans, Amanda Ridley - Helen Westcott, Mr. Ridley - Frank Ferguson, Jesse Tibbs - Christopher Dark, Jimmy Chang - Guy Lee, Billy Wheeler - Ray Stricklyn

The Spanish Grant

Episode 21

Date Aired: February 6, 1960
Plot: In "The Spanish Grant", a young bargirl, Rosita Morales is pretending to be a Spanish noblewoman named Isabella Marie Inez de la Cuesta and at the end of the story, it's revealed she is really Rosita Morales, but on the other hand, is she really Rosita Morales? This little twist at the end is simply entertaining everytime it's viewed, with the viewer able to determine the young woman's real identity at the end of act four.
Written by: David Dortort
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Isabella Marie Inez de la Cuesta / Rosita Morales - Patricia Medina, Don Antonio Luga - Sebastian Cabot

Blood on the Land

Episode 22

Date Aired: February 13, 1960
Plot: A shiftless sheepherder, Jeb Drummond, encroaches his herd of sheep on the Ponderosa and refuses to budge. He resists all of Ben's attempts to throw him off his land and finally resorts to taking Adam prisoner in exchange for ownership of the ranch.
Written by: Robert E. Thompson
Directed by: Felix Feist
Guest Stars: Jeb Drummond - Everett Sloane

Desert Justice

Episode 23

Date Aired: February 20, 1960
Plot: When a tough U.S. Marshal from California arrests a Ponderosa hand, Dave Walker, for murder, Adam and Hoss go along to make sure their employee reaches Los Angeles alive. In one scene, Adam is dressed in black for the first time. In another, Hoss, upon seeing Southern California for the first time, remarks, "It sure ain't never gonna amount to much". Later, Adam makes an amusing reference to the chow Joe says he was forced to eat in "The Last Hunt".
Written by: Donald S. Sanford
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Marshal Emmett Dowd - Claude Akins, David Walker - Wesley Lau

The Stranger

Episode 24

Date Aired: February 27, 1960
Plot: Nevada Territory is awaiting statehood, and Ben considers running for governor until he learns he is wanted for murder in New Orleans. Inspector Charles Leduque arrives and says Ben is wanted for commiting the murder 20 years earlier, and after Joe kills his bodyguard in self-defense, Inspector Leduque makes it appear the other way around. Ben has no choice but go with Leduque, to clear his name in a very suspense-filled episode. Once again, there are several references to Joe's mother, and viewers are shown Marie's grave near the shore of Lake Tahoe.
Written by: Leonard Heideman
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Charles Leduque - Lloyd Nolan

Escape to Ponderosa

Episode 25

Date Aired: March 5, 1960
Plot: After Adam is bushwhacked by three army deserters, Ben tracks them down, and tackles the brutal Captain Bolton who is pursuing them.
Written by: Robert E. Thompson
Directed by: Charles F. Haas
Guest Stars: Neda - Gloria Talbott, Captain James Bolton - Chris Alcaide

The Avenger

Episode 26

Date Aired: March 19, 1960
Plot: A restaurant owner whom Ben and Adam have confronted over stolen Ponderosa beef ends up dead one night. His daughter, Sally Byrnes runs the cafe and in her resentment, wrongfully accuses Ben and Adam of murdering her father and they are sentenced to hang. A rancher by the name of Hawkins is also jealous of the Cartwrights and has hired his men to stop the town from helping Ben and Adam, ensuring they hang. Hoss and Joe are willing to stop them, but Ben insists they stay within the limits of the law.
Written by: Clair Huffaker
Directed by: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Lassiter - Vic Morrow, Sally Byrnes - Jean Allison

The Last Trophy

Episode 27

Date Aired: March 26, 1960
Plot: Adam takes Ben's friends, Lord Marion Dunsworth and Lady Beatrice, on a hunting expedition, and they are captured by a gang of crude thieves and murderers. During one early scene, after listening to Ben reminisce, Hoss says, "Always like to hear Pa get wound up. He don't do it often."
Written by: Bill S. Ballinger
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Lady Beatrice Dunsford - Hazel Court, Lord Marion Dunsworth - Edward Ashley

San Francisco

Episode 28

Date Aired: April 2, 1960
Plot: In this comic episode, the first to take place far from the ranch, Ben, Hoss, and Joe deliver a herd to San Francisco. Although he warns his sons to be careful in the big city ("This is not the Ponderosa!"), Ben is the one who is shanghaied and must be rescued.
Written by: Thomas Thompson
Directed by: Arthur Lubin
Guest Stars: Kathleen / Quick Buck Katie - Kathleen Crowley, Alexander Pendelton / Shanghai Pete - David White

Bitter Water

Episode 29

Date Aired: April 9, 1960
Plot: Len Keith, a miner, wants to purchase some land adjacent to the Ponderosa from rancher Andy McKaren. Andy's son, Tod, is anxious to sell. Keith has offered him a partnership,and more importantly, he is in love with Keith's daughter. When Ben warns Andy that a mine on the property would foul up Ponderosa water, Andy agrees not to sell the land. Len Keith, determined to get that land, plants tick infested cattle in a Ponderosa herd to turn Andy against the Cartwrights.
Written by: Harold Jack Bloom
Directed by: George Blair
Guest Stars: Tod McKaren - Don Dubbins, Virginia Keith - Merry Anders, Len Keith - Robert Simon

Feet of Clay

Episode 30

Date Aired: April 16, 1960
Plot: Hoss takes Billy Allen, the young son of a convicted felon under his wing, then is forced to kill his father and Billy will not forgive him. The most emotional Hoss story since "The Newcomers" and one of Blocker's best.
Written by: John Furia
Directed by: Arthur Lubin
Guest Stars: Billy Allen - David Ladd, Vance Allen - Logan Field

Dark Star

Episode 31

Date Aired: April 23, 1960
Plot: Joe falls in love with Tirza, an undeniably strange gypsy girl who says she is cursed and never does seem to "snap out of it". The first episode of the series with a supernatural flavor, directed appropriately enough, by Lewis Allen, who made the classic ghost film "The Uninvited".
Written by: Anthony Lawrence
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Tirza - Susan Harrison

Death at Dawn

Episode 32

Date Aired: April 30, 1960
Plot: Virginia City is plagued by organized crime, Sam Bryant and his gang. One of his men, Farmer Perkins, kills a storekeeper, and at his trial, the wife of the store owner is afraid to testify. When Perkins is sentenced to hang, Bryant kidnaps Ben and wants to exchange Ben for Perkins, which leaves Adam with the most difficult decision of his life. A stellar cast.
Written by: Laurence Mascott
Directed by: Charles F. Haas
Guest Stars: Sam Bryant - Robert Middleton, Farmer Perkins - Gregory Walcott, Sheriff Biggs - Morgan Woodward