|2001 - 2002
Set in 1849, this was the story of Ben
Cartwright (Daniel Hugh Kelly), a thirty-five-
year-old widower as he struggles to
establish a ranch (The Ponderosa) in Eagle
Station, Nevada near Lake Tahoe, with the help
of his three young sons.
The Cartwright sons included:.
- Matt Carmody as Adam Cartwright, the oldest son. He
learned how to shoot a gun from Joaquin, a famous outlaw. Adam was
asked to write the true story of the Donner Party by a man's
adopted son who allegedly survived the ordeal.
- Drew Powell as Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright, the middle son.
He challenged "Iron Hands" Malloy to a boxing match. During a
drought, Hoss fell in love with Judith, the daughter of a
rainmaker who came to town.
- Jared Daperis as Little Joe Cartwright, the youngest
son. His French mother called him "petite" thus his "Little"
moniker. When his mother was killed, although just a boy, he set out
to find her killer.
Friends and acquaintances of the family included:
- Brad Dourif as Maurice "Frenchy" Devereaux, the owner
of the Eagle Statin Livery and a town council member.
- Josephine Byrnes as Margaret Green, Tess' mother. She
owns the nearby Green Valley Ranch.
- Fernando Carrillo as Carlos Rivera de Vega, one of the
first ranch hands Ben hired for the Ponderosa. He is later killed
by a robber working for Manuel, a former friend. Before fighting
in the war, Carlos had a ranchero on the very land now
occupied by the Green Family.
- Sara Gleeson as Tess Greene, a local girl who is
interested in Adam Cartwright. Her father was killed in the
Mexican-American war. Tess once considered marrying Hoss when they
found an abandoned baby who needed a home.
- Nicky Wendt as Shelby Sterritt, a frontier woman who
owns the local saloon and restaurant.
- Gareth Yuen as Hop Sing, an Asian slave whom Ben found
working to pay off a $25.00 debt for a vicious woman. Ben
pain his debt and Hop Sing moved to the Ponderosa to work as a
- Jaqueline Aries/Marcella Toro as Isabella Maria Rivera de Vega.
Carlos' long lost eighteen-year-old sister who comes to live on
the Ponderosa. She and her brother were separated during the
Mexican-American War. Isabella has feelings for Adam.
- Bruce Dickinson as Big Dan Larsen, a former trapper and
mountain man with long hair, buckskin clothes and a rifle who
worked as a handyman at Eagle Station.
- Abbe Holmes Ruth Orwitz, a local storekeeper.
- Jim Knobeloch as Jack Wolf, the sinister owner of a
local saloon, hotel and brothel.
- Don Halbert as Jack Roberts, a gambler.
TRIVIA NOTE: Based on the characters
on the NBC western series BONANZA, this prequel
series follow the early years of the Cartwright
family as they begin to build their ranching
On the original series, Little Joe' mother Maria
(Ben's third wife) dies from a fall from a
horse. In this prequel, Joe's mother (called
Felicia) dies from an explosion set by a
prospector in Virginia City who sought to kill
her husband, Ben.
Another change was Eric's nickname Hoss. In the
original series, he was nicknamed Hoss by his
Swedish mother. It was a mountain expression for
a "big friendly man." On the prequel series,
Eric's mother dubbed him "Hoss"
after Joe's new horse bit Eric on the behind..
Also, on the original series Little Joe was born
at the ranch, while according to prequel Little
Joe was around eleven years old when Ben
Cartwright acquired his ranch..
Other items of trivia regarding the names oh the
series: Lorne Greene (The Green Valley Ranch);
'Big Dan' Larson (Dan Blocker), Ruth Orowitz
(Eugene Orowitz, Michael Landon's real
name), and Jack Roberts (Pernell Roberts).
The series was filmed in Daylesford, Victoria,
Australia, and produced for Associated
Television International and Paxson
PAX-TV (renamed ION (as in "TelevisION").
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