The BEST episodes of Bonanza
Every episode of Bonanza ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Bonanza!
The show chronicles the weekly adventures of the Cartwright family, headed by the thrice-widowed patriarch Ben Cartwright. He had three sons, each by a different wife: the eldest was the urbane architect Adam who built the ranch house; the second was the warm and lovable giant Eric "Hoss"; and the youngest was the hotheaded and impetuous Joseph or "Little Joe". Via exposition and flashback episodes and each wife was accorded a different ethnicity. The family's cook was the Chinese immigrant Hop Sing.
#1 - Feet of Clay
Season 1 - Episode 30 - Aired 4/16/1960
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.
#2 - Bitter Water
Season 1 - Episode 29 - Aired 4/9/1960
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.
#5 - Death at Dawn
Season 1 - Episode 32 - Aired 4/30/1960
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.
#10 - The Lila Conrad Story
Season 5 - Episode 14 - Aired 1/5/1964
Joe and Adam protect a saloon girl, who has killed in self-defense, from an angry lynch mob. The accompanying Judge, along with his wife, takes a liking to Lila, and before it is all over, he and Lila discover much more about themselves.
#11 - Elegy for a Hangman
Season 4 - Episode 17 - Aired 1/20/1963
A stranger, Bob Jolly, arrives in Virginia City to accuse a drunken Judge Harry Whitaker of sending his innocent father, Carl, to the gallows. Adam defends the judge's honor because of his long friendship with the Cartwrights. After Adam talks with Jolly, he begins to believe his story. Upon further investigation, Adam discovers that Senator Cal Prince and Hobie Klinderman as well as the judge might have had a lot to gain from Carl Jolly's murder. In an attempt to learn what really happened, Adam organizes an informal meeting in the saloon.
#14 - My Brother's Keeper
Season 4 - Episode 28 - Aired 4/7/1963
While hunting for a wolf, Joe is attacked by the wolf. Adam also hunting for the wolf, hears Joe struggling with the wolf comes to Joe's aid. He fires his rifle but the bullet hits Joe. Adam hurries over knocks the wolf off Joe, shoots, and then kills the wolf. The damage has already been done with the wolf bite and Adam's bullet in Joe. Adam has to rush his little brother back to the Ponderosa. Will he make it back to save Little Joe's life, since the wolf's bite is fatal?
#15 - The Night Virginia City Died
Season 12 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/13/1970
In the 12th season premiere, a series of destructive fires strike Virginia City, and always late at night. Is it the work of a ruthless arsonist, or someone very close to Deputy Clem?
#18 - The Bride
Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired 1/21/1961
The Cartwright boys are surprised to find that a woman, claiming to have recently married their father, shows up on their doorstep. When Ben gets home, he is just as surprised as they are. Has the lady been swindled by a con-man, or is she something of a con-woman herself?
#20 - The Horse Breaker
Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired 11/26/1961
A professional wrangler working for the Cartwrights is paralyzed when thrown by a particularly mean bronco. The woman nursing him was once engaged to the late son of a neighboring rancher out to get Ben.
#22 - The Last Viking
Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired 11/12/1960
Gunnar Borgstrom is the leader of a vicious band called the Commancheros. They burn houses, kill people and steal anything of value. When the Commancheros get to Nevada, Gunnar decides to visit his relatives, the Cartwrights. Meanwhile the gang capture Little Joe and his girlfriend. When Gunnar returns to the gang, he has no idea who Joe is because he'd never met his nephew before.