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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Bonanza: The Official Complete Fourth Season'
(Michael Landon, Bill Clark, Lorne Greene, Victor Sen Yung, Pernell Roberts, et al / 9-Disc DVD / NR / 2012 / Paramount Pictures)

Overview: 'Bonanza' followed the High-Sierra adventures of the Cartwright family - wise patriarch Ben Cartwright and his three dissimilar sons, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe - as they attempt to maintain and operate their sprawling timberland ranch, the Ponderosa, in an era of violence and lawlessness in mid-1800's Nevada.

DVD Verdict: OK, first things first - did you know there were 14 seasons of this TV show made? I certainly didn't! Worse yet, as it was such an incredible show, all fourteen seasons are already out in Europe and beyond - but we're only now here (on Region 1) in the US catching up with the fourth season!

Oh well, let's be thankful for what we have, shall we. 'Bonanza' told the tales, the adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they ran and defended their ranch while helping their surrounding community at all times. Indeed, 'Bonanza' was the first hour-long TV show in any genre produced in full-color.

The continuing cast for the first 6 years essentially remained the same and featured five cast regulars - Benjamin Cartwright, his three sons and their Chinese cook, along with the local sheriff. Cartwright had been a seaman, who went West and married three times; each time he produced a son and lost his wife. (Er, maybe someone should have looked into that unfortunate pattern?!)

Anyway, moving on, and reaching the ponderosa pine country near Virginia City, Nevada and Lake Tahoe, he built up a large landholding, with cattle, timber, and mines, becoming an important man in the territory. Ben Cartwright was played by Canadian announcer-actor Lorne Greene, who was much younger than the part he played, but had Shakespearean training and a powerful speaking voice.

Pernell Roberts played his eldest son, Adam, a thoughtful but restless man, 1959-65. Eric "Hoss" Cartwright was portrayed huge Dan Blocker as a man of gentle ways and grit but ordinary intelligence. Attractive Michael Landon played "Little Joe", fast with a gun and learning to be a man; he also write and directed episodes for the series. Victor Sen-Young was Hop Sing, and veteran Ray Teal played Sheriff Roy Coffee.

As for this fourth season, well, as usual it has some great episodes, for my money! I enjoyed THE HAYBURNER, which other 'Bonanza' fans have also rated their favorite all time, in truth! Another great one is ELEGY FOR A HANGMAN, but as this is the Complete Fourth Season, Parts One & Two Bundle Pack, well, it means the great episodes are simply jumping over each other to be seen!

And the guest stars were numerous too, and came in the form of: Denver Pyle, Claude Akins, Robert Vaughn, Dawn Wells, Victor French, Edward Platt, Keir Dullea, Slim Pickens, John Milford, Ellen Corby, Harry Dean Stanton, Dick Miller, Ford Rainey, Dabbs Greer and Carroll O'Connor. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.paramount.com/homeentertainment





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