Bonanza an American western television series that ran on NBC from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 431 episodes, Bonanza is NBC's longest-running episode, western, and ranks overall as the second-longest-running western series on U.S network television (behind CBS's Gunsmoke), and within the top 10 longest-running, live-action American series. The show continues to air in syndication.
The story centers around the 1860s and follows the wealthy Cartwright family who live in the vicinity of Virginia City, Nevada, near Lake Tahoe. The time period for the television series is roughly between 1861 (Season 1) and 1867 (Season 13) during and shortly after the American Civil War.
The show's theme song, Bonanza, became a hit song. Only instrumental renditions, without lyrics, were used during the series' long run. In 2002, Bonanza was ranked No. 43 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, and in 2013 TV Guide included it in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time.
During the summer of 1972, NBC aired reruns of episodes from 1967–1970 in prime time evening under the title Ponderosa.
Added note:In 1968, Don Blocker began wearing a toupee on the series, as he was approaching age 40 and his hair loss was evident. Pernell Roberts and Lorne Greene, both begun the series with hairpieces (Greene wore his modest frontal piece in private life too). Michael Landon was the only original cast member who was wig-free throughout the series. Even actor Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing) wore an attached ratta