‘Bonanza’ Helped Inspire This Quentin Tarantino Western: Here’s How

by Megan Molseed

Quentin Tarantino has certainly left his mark on pop culture by developing some wildly popular and iconic films over the years. However, his inspiration comes from some unlikely sources. Including the inspiration that led to his western flick The Hateful Eight. A film Tarantino says was inspired by some classic television western shows. Shows such as the enormously popular Bonanza.

Quentin Tarantino Finds Inspiration In Classic Westerns Like Bonanza

In 2015, iconic director Quentin Tarantino released a western film titled The Hateful Eight. And the inspiration for this release, the director says, came from classic television shows like Bonanza.

In a discussion about these inspirational classic television storylines, Quentin Tarantino notes that there are often episodes where bandits take over the ranches. This is reminiscent of another one of his popular films, Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino suggests.

“They’d all be played by guest stars,” Quentin Tarantino says of the classic western shows where we see some of the famous television ranches be overtaken by the bad guys.

“It couldn’t help but lend itself to a situation like Reservoir Dogs,” he says.

“Trap them all in a room and let me get rid of all the hero characters so there’s no moral center,” the filmmaker explains.

Fans of the film know that this is exactly how things unfold in The Hateful Eight which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. The film builds to a terrible blizzard trapping the characters for the film’s climactic moments.

Which Bonanza Episodes May Have Inspired Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight?

Of course, we know that Bonanza is one of the most popular western television shows of all time – and there’s plenty of inspiration to be found. However, according to a MeTV report, there are a few episodes of Bonanza that stand out above the rest when portraying the sort of feeling communicated in the hit Tarantino film.

In 1963, a fourth season Bonanza installment titled Five Candles sees Ben Cartwright trapped with others. In this episode, Ben and three people find themselves trapped when the courthouse floor collapses. Things get extra tense as one of those trapped may be a dangerous killer.

Then, another Bonanza episode following this trapped in a dangerous situation vibe is the 1969 installment, Any Friend of Walter’s. In this episode, Hoss takes shelter in a prospector’s shack after he’s attacked by outlaws. Sheltering with Hoss is the prospector who owns the cabin and Walter, the old man’s dog. Who, IMDB notes is a “surprisingly communicative” pooch.