Title: Bonanza (1959-73)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Western
My Rating: ****
Official Rating: None (probably PG--a few possibly reaching PG-13)
Age Group: 10+
Mr. Cartwright and his three sons own a huge chunk of land known as the Ponderosa, located in Nevada. The Bonanza TV series tells the stories of their battles with the land, and those living on it, attempting to keep their belongings safe from those who would take or destroy them. In typical western style, there are horses, guns, and fights everywhere.
Word of Warning:
- Guns are used, but people are rarely shot. If they are, it is even more rarely the good guy who is shot. Even if the bad guy is the one who is shot, people still feel bad about it and try to make up for it. The Cartwrights are especially wary of shooting at another person, which often puts their lives in danger.
- Fist fights.
- Drinking. All the time. Sometimes it ends up in drunkenness, but usually this is not the case.
- The youngest of the three brothers, Little Joe, is always falling for a new woman. This results in flirting and some kissing.
- A few deaths here and there.
- A rough and tough way of life. Sometimes under a roof, sometimes under the stars. Sometimes on the run, sometimes at home in bed.
For those of us who love westerns, this is right up there with The Lone Ranger. Only in this case, it's just a family (minus the mother who passed on years ago) fighting to protect what's theirs. The West is a harsh place, and the boys are brought up not only to protect themselves but also to do what's right. The episodes are filled with mini lessons and illustrations of moral virtue. Granted, they don't always make the right choice, but they always try. When they mess up, they confess and try to fix the damage they've done. It is, in a sense, what true story telling is meant to be.