‘Bonanza’: Hoss Fought a Trio of Leprechauns in This St. Patrick’s Day Special

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with the Cartwright family. The classic western “Bonanza” had its own Irish holiday special back in 1963.

The normally straight-laced western decided to embrace its mythical and supernatural side. Or so it would seem. The show pokes fun at the leprechaun mythology in a tongue-in-cheek episode. The episode follows Hoss and his run-in with what he believes is a trio of leprechauns.

During the episode, Hoss manages to rescue a man dressed all in green from a bear. The creature forced the man up the tree to escape it. Additionally, Hoss finds a lockbox that contains a bag of gold dust. The cowboy quickly believes he accidentally stumbled across a leprechaun. When both the gold and owner disappear, Hoss’s suspicions are confirmed.

But Hoss has a difficult time convincing his family of his encounter. They insist that he didn’t actually encounter a real leprechaun in the woods. Hoss’s encounter and the arrival of an Irish professor quickly convince the town otherwise. The other Cartwrights eventually get involved in the leprechaun madness sweeping the frontier.

The Cartwrights and others start to search for the leprechauns. But it turns out there may be more than one of them. And they may not be quite as supernatural as they seem.

‘Bonanza’ Ran For 14 Seasons

“Hoss and the Leprechauns” was just one of countless episodes in the western’s run. Not all of the adventures involving the Cartwright clan were quite as humorous though. Sometimes, their adventures could be tragic and downright sad. Such was life on the frontier in the Old West.

Ben Cartwright and his three boys Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe had to find the toughness and grit within to survive out in the West. The family often came across adversaries and bandits as much as they came across leprechauns and adventures. Ben Cartwright, played by Lorne Greene, was a stern but loving father in his sons’ lives. He always looked out for the best of them.

In total, “Bonanza” ran for 14 seasons on the air and 431 episodes. The western came to a close in 1973. It took slipping ratings and the death of Hoss to send the Cartwrights off into the sunset. No, the leprechauns didn’t get him. Sadly, Dan Blocker passed away in-between seasons, leading production to kill off the character. Still, the good times remain, preserved in reruns.