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The Ponderosa

Actors from 'The Ponderosa'
Moral Rating: usually OK
Primary Audience: All Ages
Genre: Western
Length: 1 hr.
Starring: Daniel Hugh Kelly, Drew Powell, Jared Daperis, Matt Carmody | Produced by: Beth Sullivan

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

viewer comments…
Usually Okay—I think this is a great clean show that you can sit down and watch and you don't have to worry about hearing that 4 letters word all the time. I know it's not like Bonanza and the people that played the parts were great nothing can ever take their place,but I think they did a good job of picking the people to play their roles. And in this show you see more of the towns people then they did in Bonanza. Don't get me wrong, I love Bonanza; it's a classic. But I am always looking for good clean show. I hope that Ponderosa will return; I am looking forward to seeing more of the show.
Nina, age 42
Usually Okay—I wish you had a better rating to choose from. I love this show. I think the Ponderosa is a wonderful show, And the people who do not care for it must not understand the show. I hope it will be able to hang around for another season.
Phoenix Swan, age 44
Usually Okay—Too bad there is not a choice for “GOOD” instead of "Usually OK'. I agree with the one poster, it is sanitized, and I say its a breath of fresh air!! What do latent Christians want, more from Ted Turner and those in Hollywood jumping in and out of bed with everyone? Sanitized? I think a better description would be a show that reveals that when a moral man takes a stand, no matter what the cost, it is better than selling out their values, conscience and commands to be holy as He is holy. This show teaches my children that there is a cost to taking a stand for what is right, and its the way the Lord has commanded his children to do. It also teaches that when a man is right with the Lord, He makes this mans enemies at peace with him. Thank goodness PAX has this and DOC.
Rich Close, age 49
Avoid—This show was a pathetic rip off on Bonanza. The scripts are weak, and I would be hard pressed to find anything authentically Western in it. Unlike the original series, these Cartwrights are Sanitized For Your Protection. They carry no guns, and get in no fights. Hop Sing is now a 19th century sage and the Native Americans are all very noble. It's so politically correct its painful. Its also boring. I absolutely love the original series, and trust me, your time is far better spent watching it.
Elizabeth, age 30
Usually Okay—This is a great show with no violence. We need more shows like Ponderosa and less sleaze like Survivor and Fear Factor.
Usually Okay—…one of the few shows that I can sit with my family and watch. It has something for everyone.
Teresa Ebert, age 33
Usually Okay—The Ponderosa is a prequel to Bonanza, and like Bonanza, the themes of this show revolve around honesty, integrity, courage, and standing up for what you believe in. We see the young Cartwrights working together as a family to build the Ponderosa ranch that it will become in Bonanza. This show portrays many of the values that built America--hard work, and working together with family and community to build a dream. Like Bonanza, the show also contains drama and humor. This is a show that families can sit down and watch together, in a day and age when that is sometimes hard to do due to the content of the shows. I would highly recommend this show!
Cherie B., age 35