Bonanza: Season 1 (1959 - 1960)

SEASON:

Season 1
Bonanza

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 12, 1959

The 14-season run of Bonanza began with this introductory episode, originally aired on September 12, 1959, entitled "A Rose for Lotta." Guest star Yvonne DeCarlo plays renowned entertainer Lotta Crabtree, who finds herself duped into a plot against the Cartwright family and their ranch, the Ponderosa, located outside of Virginia City, Nevada. A cartel of businessmen led by Alpheus Troy (George Macready), Aaron Hopper (Barry Kelley) and George Garvey (Willis Bouchey), have been pressuring patriarch Ben Cartwright (Lorne Green) to sign over all the timber on the Ponderosa, to provide lumber that is essential for the continued operation of their mines; but Ben is equally adamant in his opposition, as the trees are essential to the future of the ranch and the land. Troy decides to use Lotta Crabtree as bait, to entice one of the Cartwright sons into Virginia City, where he plans to take them hostage and force Ben Cartwright to deal. Hot-headed youngest son Joe Cartwright (Michael Landon) falls the hardest for Lotta, goes to call on her, and finds himself trapped. But Troy hasn't reckoned with how the Cartwrights stick together, how far Ben and older sons Adam (Pernell Roberts) and Hoss (Dan Blocker) will go to protect one of their own -- even facing down a hired killer -- or just how resourceful Joe can be, even on the run, unarmed, from a pair of thugs who don't seem bright enough to know that they need him alive, or to avoid wrecking half the town.

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Air date: Sep 19, 1959

Ben Cartwright finds out that Mark Burdette (Barry Sullivan) and Early Thorne (Leo Gordon) have been illegally slaughtering the antelope on the Paiute Indians' property, then selling the meat to the miners at an exorbitant price. To thwart the two poachers and protect the Indians' food supply, Ben offers to sell his own meat at a much lower price. Burdette and Thorne then hatch a scheme to foment a war between the Paiutes and the Cartwrights. First telecast on September 19, 1959, "The Sun Mountain Herd" (aka "Death on Sun Mountain") was written by Gene L. Coon and David Dortort, who based their teleplay on a true story.

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Air date: Sep 26, 1959

Inger Stevens guest-stars as Emily Pennington, the frail and sickly fiancée of itinerant miner Black McCall. Arriving on the Ponderosa, McCall asks that Emily be allowed to stay until her health improves. Hoss grows fond of the girl, but can't shake his fundamental mistrust of McCall's motives. Featured in the cast is Bob Knapp as Emily's brother John. Written by Thomas Thompson,"The Newcomers" originally aired on September 26, 1959.

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Air date: Oct 3, 1959

Unscrupulous trader Mike Wilson (Jack Warden molests two Paiute Indian women, then manages to place the blame on Adam Cartwright. This incident, added to others sparked by Wilson, mushrooms into a full-scale war between the Paiutes and the California Militia. In the thick of the hostilities, the Indians take Adam hostage. Also appearing are Anthony Caruso as Chief Winnemuca and Mike Forrest as the Chief's son. First telecast October 3, 1959, "The Paiute War" was written by Gene L. Coon.

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Air date: Oct 10, 1959

The fifth in a seven-volume collection representing the best of the long-running television western chronicle of the Cartwright clan, this video contains "Enter Mark Twain," in which the Cartwrights meet the famous humorist.

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Air date: Oct 17, 1959

Film noir icon Jane Greer guest-stars as Julia Burnette, a hard-shelled Virginia City saloon owner. Despite Julia's checkered past, Little Joe Cartwright is smitten by her beauty and charm. Ignoring the admonitions of his father and brothers, Joe falls in love with the much older woman. Written by Al C. Ward, "The Julia Bulette Story" first aired on October 17, 1959.

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Air date: Oct 24, 1959

Ida Lupino is cast as the titular Annie O'Toole, who along with her father (John Patrick) arrives in Washoe Diggings with a gold claim filed by her fiancé Swede Lumberg (Alan Hale Jr.). When Annie's father dies, Adam Cartwright helps her establish a restaurant to keep her solvent. Annie is going to need every penny she can get: an old acquaintance, Gregory Spain (Henry Lascoe), insists that he is the rightful owner of Swede's claim. The case is taken to Miner's Court, where Annie's fate rests in the hands of Adam's father Ben. First telecast October 24, 1959, "The Saga of Annie O'Toole" was written by Thomas Thompson.

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Air date: Oct 31, 1959

Engineer Philip Diedshiemer (John Beal) arrives in Virginia City, where, in partnership with Adam Cartwright, he creates a timbering system called "square set," which is designed to make the Deep Silver Mines safe from cave-ins. Trouble ensues when the mine owners refuse to pay Diedshiemer for his efforts. Also in the cast are Mala Powers as Helene, R.G. Armstrong as Andrew Holloway, Charles Cooper as Gil Fenton, Paul Birch as Tregallis, Robert Osterloh as Casey, Howard Negley as Dr. Wesley, and silent-film veteran Mae Marsh as a townswoman. Written by Thomas Thompson, "The Philip Diedshiemer Story" was first broadcast on October 31, 1959.

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Air date: Nov 7, 1959

Jack Carson guest-stars as colorful financier Henry Comstock. No sooner has he arrived in Nevada than Comstock finagles a half share of a rich gold claim staked by a pair of local miners -- thereby establishing the Comstock Lode that made Virginia City possible. Inevitably, the Cartwright clan crosses the path of this pioneering high-roller. First shown on November 7, 1959, Mr. Henry T.P. Comstock was written by Bonanza producer David Dortort.

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Air date: Nov 14, 1959

Legendary stage actress Adah Isaacs Menken (Ruth Roman) brings her celebrated Mazeppa troupe to Virginia City. Ben Cartwright welcomes the opportunity to renew his longstanding friendship with the "lady in pink tights." As for Ben's sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe, they become convinced that Adah is trying to ensnare their father into marriage. Also in the cast is Don Megowan as Adah's persistent would-be suitor John Regan. Written by Donald S. Sanford, "The Magnificent Adah" was originally telecast on November 14, 1959.

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