‘Bonanza’: Dan Blocker’s Take on Hoss Cartwright’s Political Stance

by Will Shepard

Many people, when they were young, were taught never to talk politics outside of the family. Well, Dan Blocker talking about what Hoss Cartwright’s politics would have been is certainly an exception to that rule. The Bonanza actor provided some excellent insight into the character in 1965.

For fourteen seasons and 415 episodes, Dan Blocker was an integral part of Bonanza. His character was one of the most iconic characters in Hollywood for all of the 1960s and into the 70s. Even after he passed away, Hoss Cartwright maintained his fame.

Dan Blocker described himself as a happy man, just like one of his co-stars on Bonanza. But, the character he played on the show was different than his actual real-life persona. Off the screen, he describes his political biases as democratic. But how would Hoss Cartwright’s views have looked?

Consequently, in an interview about Bonanza, Blocker was asked about how he thinks Hoss might have voted. So, he launched into a short monologue about his character’s political leanings. Even though the show never depicted him as leaning any certain way, Blocker has a good idea of how his character would have voted.

Dan Blocker Hilariously Described What His “Bonanza” Character’s Political Leanings Would Have Been

So, to answer the question about what Hoss Cartwright’s politics might have been, he answered pretty starkly.

“Well no, because at that time, there was no Democratic party or Republican party,” Blocker explained. “There were the Tories and Whigs. But yeah, I have a notion that Hoss would have been a liberal and a progressive. The only people that I know that aren’t, are people who are unhappy, and life’s been a big disappointment.”

As the Bonanza star drags on his cigar in between answering the questions, his personality still shines through. This take in the modern-day would be incendiary. But, in the 1960s, this still fell under the umbrella of making a joke.

Nonetheless, his take on Hoss Cartwright’s political view may have some merit. The Bonanza character might have been an intimidating presence to anyone who didn’t know him. But, Hoss epitomizes what a gentle giant looked like.

Blocker played the character well. He crafted a quiet, loyal, loving, and gentle human. However, if someone wronged him or anyone he loved, they would certainly regret having done so. Consequently, the Bonanza fan base adored the character.

Whether or not the Bonanza fanbase would have cared about Hoss Cartwright’s political leaning is up to you. But, the bottom line was that he was an excellent part of the show for fourteen years.