Biography of Hoss Cartwright
Written by Hart4Ben, April 2016
Born with a heart as large and open as the Ponderosa, Eric “Hoss” Cartwright was destined to help build and manage the vast Nevada ranch with his father and brothers. His older brother, Adam, noted his size at birth and named him “Hoss”, just as his uncle had wanted for a future Cartwright son. It is a perfect fit for this big, friendly man, incapable of guile, with an expressive face that clearly exhibits his thoughts and feelings. Notorious for his voracious appetite, Hoss claims to be able to discern Hop Sing’s dinner menu from miles away, and seldom leaves much behind when a meal is done. After dinner, he might relax by playing a game of checkers or reading a book in his favorite blue chair by the hearth. He is good-natured to a fault, easily persuaded--usually by his younger brother Joe--to be party to some outlandish schemes. Despite the chaos that follows, this amiable fellow may produce a toothy grin or a belly laugh that can rattle the rafters.
The second son of Ben Cartwright is known for his love of the great outdoors and a God-given gift with animals. Seeing every living creature as one of God’s creation to be nurtured and loved, his crystal blue eyes that shine with child-like wonder and innocence can suddenly turn a steely gray when they detect abuse or neglect. Hoss has difficulty keeping his soft heart in check, often to the frustration of his family. He perpetually brings home “strays”, both two- and four-legged. This mountain of a man with the strength to match his size has a sweet and gentle disposition that seems to lend itself more readily to the care of animals than to a relationship with a woman. Though Hoss desires to settle down and raise a passel of kids, he is generally shy and awkward around women. He has yet to find a lady who fully understands and appreciates his purity of heart and capacity for love. Nevertheless, he gives his whole heart with ease, especially to children, quickly earning their confidence and trust.
Hidden unexpectedly behind his plain, unassuming, cowboy exterior and folksy speech is a keen sensitivity and insight into people’s feelings and motives. As a result, Hoss frequently finds himself the mediator between his father and brothers or members of the local community. His sense of truth and justice enables him to cut to the heart of a matter. Motivated by his tendency to see the good in every person, he places the needs and desires of others ahead of his own, even to the point of endangering his life. His family is forced, at times, to painfully stand back and watch helplessly as he is used, misunderstood, or emotionally-wounded. Hoss then requires a time of solitude to process his feelings that run so deep. Yet beneath his self-sacrificing nature and affable demeanor, there simmers a righteous anger that bursts forth to mete out tangible and physical punishment to anyone who seeks to promote evil or injustice.
To his family, Hoss is the ever-present listening ear, the voice of reason in a tense situation, the encourager who offers a slap on the back, and their ready protector. He approaches life with relaxed gratitude and joy. There is no pretense or striving for self-gain. Hoss’ love and loyalty for his family is evident in his hard work and willingness to give his all for them. Solid as the Sierras, gentle as the whispering breeze in the pines, calm and deep as the waters of Lake Tahoe, is this big man who wears the tall white hat and roams the Ponderosa on his sturdy, dark horse.
"I reckon the Ponderosa holds about as much claim on us as we do to her. It's more like a partnership. Like we're all sort of beholdin' to one another." - Hoss Cartwright