|Moral Rating:||usually OK|
|Primary Audience:||All Ages|
Show Synopsis: This prequel to the classic western series “Bonanza” explores the lives of the Cartwrights approximately ten years before the first season of Bonanza takes place. Ben is a strict but loving single father raising three young sons while fostering the ranch; intelligent, handsome Adam is called upon to be the family problem-solver and to watch out for his younger brothers while he's torn between a dream of college back east and family loyalty; good-natured, gentle giant Hoss tries to steer clear of teenage romantic woes and crazy schemes thought up by his brothers; and spirited Little Joe keeps everyone on their toes with his antics while he struggles with the hidden hurt of recently losing his mother.
With the help, and sometimes the hindrance, of the quirky citizens of the only nearby settlement, a tiny trading post called Eagle Station, the Cartwrights make a go of it against the odds, united by an exceptionally strong family bond as they work together to build the dream that we see on Bonanza.
With adult-oriented programming filling most primetime slots, and weekly nighttime shows that the entire family can sit down and enjoy together almost nonexistent on the networks, The Ponderosa is refreshing and welcome family-friendly fare.
Add to that the fact that The Ponderosa stands alone as the only historical western television show currently being produced. The program harkens back to the great classic westerns of the 1960s, combined with the poignancy of more recent historical dramas like "Little House on the Prairie" and "Dr. Quinn".
Just like “Bonanza,” some episodes are comedies, some are dramas, and some are adventure tales. All hold at least a hint of an uplifting message. At the same time, "The Ponderosa" explores the roughness of life in the Old West, where settlers had to rely on each other and work together to simply survive. It paints a realistic, emotional, and enduring sample portrait of our amazing ancestors who braved the frontier wilderness and embraced the "land of opportunity".
Review by Kierin Lundy