HomeEntertainment‘Bonanza’: Everything to Know About the Iconic Ranch Where the Series Was Filmed

‘Bonanza’: Everything to Know About the Iconic Ranch Where the Series Was Filmed

by Emily Morgan
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

The 1960s beloved western series “Bonanza” featured the perfect backdrop for the Cartwright family and their Ponderosa Ranch.

From 1957 to 1973, the Ponderosa Ranch was the Cartwright family’s fictional homestead. The picturesque setting of Cartwright’s ranch and its surroundings was only a few of the reasons why the show became the second-longest-running western series in network television history. 

While many fans fantasize about visiting the Cartwright’s ranch, it’s no longer possible.

However, it was duplicated in Hollywood in 1967.

For much of the show, the backdrop of Lake Tahoe was a common sight in the show. However, most of the filming happened in southern California on television sets. 

For fourteen seasons, audiences watched the adventures of Pa, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. From 1956-1967, “Bonanza” was classified as the nation’s highest-rated show. 

Fans Could Step Into The World Of ‘Bonanza’ At Recreated Set

The show filmed its famous opening scene on location at North Lake Tahoe. The idyllic location acted as the backdrop for weekly episodes. 

However, both the house, interior, and exterior, were filmed on a Hollywood sound stage.

Bill Anderson worked with the film crews on location, building roads and buildings for the set. 

In 1967, he approached the show’s producers and NBC with a proposal to build a replica of the house exterior in Hollywood. 

He would make a version of the interior inside, creating a detailed replica of the fictional ranch house. In 1967, his vision came true, and Anderson’s Ponderosa Ranch was open to the public.

The recreated Ponderosa became the centerpiece of a western-themed tourist attraction.

Attractions at Ponderosa Ranch included souvenir shops and vintage car exhibits, and a Wild West show, but the main event for fans was the recreated ranch house.

Inside, fans were also greeted with the show’s familiar items: a stone fireplace, Pa’s desk, the dining table, and the stairs.

After learning more about the show on the Ponderosa house tour, a walk up to the photo platform also gave fans stunning views of the house and surrounding ‘town.’