‘Bonanza’: One Cartwright Member Appeared on ‘Gunsmoke’ as Three Different Roles

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Mitch Vogel is one actor’s name that doesn’t come right up when thinking of “Bonanza.” He also made appearances on “Gunsmoke.”

In fact, Vogel was such a good actor in his teen years that he was able to pull off three different characters on “Gunsmoke,” the long-running CBS western. These were before joining the “Bonanza” cast on a full-time basis.

He received a lot of recognition for playing in the Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda family comedy, “Yours, Mine and Ours,” in 1968. Vogel also gained a Golden Globe nomination playing alongside Steve McQueen in a 1969 film adaptation of William Faulkner’s book “The Reivers.”

‘Bonanza’ Star Vogel Pulls Off Triple-Guest Shot Effort

On “Gunsmoke,” Vogel played Dodie in a 1970 episode called “McCabe.” Dobie is McCabe’s son, who goes off and tells people in a nearby town that his father is back. Now the issue is that his father is wanted for a serious crime. Dodie is angry that his father left him alone for many years.

In 1973, Vogel plays Rob Fielder in “Lynch Town.” He portrays the son of Jake Fielder, a poor man who was lynched in a nearby town. Apparently, Jake admitted to stealing money but denied killing a woman in that town. Matt Dillon, played by James Arness, took off to check out why this happened.

He appears as Dink in a 1975 episode called “The Hiders.” Dink believes he can do better in life than stealing, so he starts to change his ways. One problem, though, is the group of squatters he’s been hanging around with don’t like him straying away.

Youthful Actor Grows Up, Takes Life In Different Direction

On “Bonanza,” he played Jamie Cartwright, an orphan boy who was adopted by Ben Cartwright, played by Lorne Greene. Vogel appeared in the show’s final three seasons, apparently because producers wanted a bit of youth on the show.

He talks about the first time on the “Bonanza” in a 2017 interview with Jeremy Roberts.

“I didn’t even have to audition for ‘The Real People of Muddy Creek,'” Vogel said of the “Bonanza” episode where he was a costar. “They just asked me to do it. Even though it was a small part, I had a great time being there. I remember being on the set for about two days. The thing that impressed me so much was that Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker were all so very nice to me.”

Yet Vogel, obviously, started growing up and his youthful look changed.

Eventually, Vogel left the television and movie industry in 1978. His attention turned toward music and starting a family. Vogel got married in 1985 and remains married to his wife Christine, with whom he has two children.