Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 10, 2013

Incline Village, NV, Home of Bonanza!

We're not a one to saddle up and run -- Bonanza!
Any one of us who starts a little fuss
Knows he can count on me
One for four, four for one
This we guarantee
We got a right to pick a little fight -- Bonanza!
If anyone fights any one of us
He's gotta fight with me!

Bet you didn't even know that the Bonanza theme song had lyrics!  Well it does.  And for many years, you could visit the Cartwright house in Incline Village, NV.  

When my dad and I went to California for three weeks in 1988, one of our destinations was the Ponderosa Ranch.  It's on the Northeastern shore of Lake Tahoe.  I went again in 1990.  It opened in 1967, at the height of the show's popularity, and closed in 2004.  The land was owned by the Anderson family, who frequently had people show up on their property, asking to see 'The Ponderosa'.  They seized the opportunity for a money making venture and contacted NBC and producer David Dortort to discuss opening up a theme park on the property.  Only 15 episodes of the show were ever shot on this property, however.  The rest were shot in Los Angeles, mostly on soundstages!

 Hop Sing's kitchen.

There's ol' Ben!

The actual costumes worn by Dan 'Hoss' Blocker and Michael 'Little Joe' Landon.

 The view of North Lake Tahoe from the ranch.

Also on the property was a replica of Virginia City.

There was also a chapel (not shown) where people could get married.

You could even get a Hoss burger for lunch if you were so 'inclined' (see what I did there?).  I was not.  lol

Unfortunately the land was purchased by a billionaire software developer in 2004 and closed the theme park.  The son of the original ranch owner sold it because the land value was so high.  It's a shame that, as usual, the dollar means more than sentimentality.  Supposedly a 'new and improved' theme park was planned but nothing has been done, and the last I heard, it was sitting there empty.  I just hope they don't raze the buildings and turn it into a parking lot or strip mall.


  1. What a shame! I would have loved to have visited too - how cool that you got to see it before it closed.

    Good old Lorne Greene - a great Canadian actor.

  2. I love Bonanza especially Little Joe. I'd love to visit an old cowboy town.

  3. So sad it is closed. I would love to visit. I had a 45 single record with Lorne Greene singing "Bonanza" on one side and
    "Johnny Ringo" on the other.

  4. Such a shame. It would be good to know it was still out there, even if I'd never go there.

  5. I worked there in 1976! At the big gift shop, selling jewelry and um, er tourist crap! Wore a white cowboy hat and a gingham western shirt. Tahoe, another place that has changed in some sad ways!

  6. That's pretty cool JoJo! I wasn't a big fan of the show...Westerns in general aren't my favorite but I still would have visited there.

  7. Have driven by the Ponderosa a few times on family vacations. We never stopped in to see the place though. Beautiful country.

  8. I used to watch Bonanza all the time. I was in love with Little Joe.

  9. Sweet I-blog today! I grew up with Bonanza, every Sunday night, and you took me right down memory lane.

    And then I discovered your Penguin widget and wasted several minutes playing with that.

  10. It's a shame that it closed down but kids today didn't grow up with it, except maybe in reruns but for us it was 'new'. And I was in love with Little Joe too.

    My cousin Diane has it bad for Adam; she's a BIG TIME Bonanza fan. She named her first son Adam Joseph, although she 'swears' she didn't do that on purpose. lol

    Megan, aren't the pengies cute? If you scroll down more there's an interactive hamster too.

  11. That is really neat. Too bad it's closed, my Da really loves Bonanza!

  12. I loved Bonanza. I always wanted Ben to be my dad

  13. This post reminded me of my mom. She used to love to watch it. Me, not so much =P

  14. Anonymous9:52 AM

    It looked perfectly fine to me as it was :0(

  15. That sounds like so much fun.

    I'm with you, people throw away and tear down history to make a buck every day. :(

    Growing up, we pretty much did the Western Marathon whenever we visited either grandparent. Somehow we managed to watch Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Wild Wild West, High Chaparral,Bonanza, and probably others that aren't now coming to mind. I am not really into 'Western' all that much other than admiring Western scenery, but I did admire the story-telling aspects, even when they were campy, and I'll bet this trip was a lot of fun.