There will forever be a divide between “Gilligan’s Island” fans. The debate is endless, Tina Louise’s Ginger or Dawn Wells’ Mary Ann? It truly is just a matter of preference. But one thing that we can say for both of the 1960s TV heartbreakers is that they also made appearances on the classic Western, “Bonanza.”
In the case of Tina Louise, it was only for a single episode. But the role she played was a significant one. In a Season 9 episode title “Desperate Passage,” the “Gilligan’s Island” star played the role of Mary Burns.
The episode follows the Cartwrights as they navigate their way through dangerous Paiute territory. They come across the aftermath of an attack that left behind only two survivors. One of them, Josh Tanner, has also been accused of murder, which complicates things greatly. The other survivor is Mary Burns, played by Tina Louise.
Her character knows the whole story behind the attack and the accusations against Josh Tanner. But she isn’t as forthcoming with the information as she could be, and it makes for some good drama.
Tina Louise’s role on “Bonanza” was her first after finishing up on “Gilligan’s Island.” In fact, the finale of her hit show and her appearance in this episode came in 1967. You can watch the entire episode of “Bonanza” below.
It Wasn’t the First Time Tina Louise and ‘Bonanza’ Star Michael Landon Had Crossed Paths
Years prior, the actors who would go on to star on their own respective hit shows worked together on a movie. And Tina Louise won herself a Golden Globe for the performance she turned in. In 1958, she played the role of Griselda Walden in “God’s Little Acre.”
In the movie, her character is unfaithful to her husband. She cheats on him with a character named Will, portrayed by Aldo Ray. The role earned her a Golden Globe for Most Promising Female Newcomer, and it set the stage for her career to come.
Michael Landon’s character in the movie, on the other hand, is something to behold. He plays an albino character by the name of Dave Dawson, who’s a good luck charm to Robert Ryan’s lead character Ty Ty Walden.
The two reunited nine years later in the middle of their flourishing careers on the episode of “Bonanza.”
Fellow ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells’ Time on the Classic Western
Before “Gilligan’s Island” came along, Mary Ann actor Dawn Wells appeared on “Bonanza.” In 1962, she was featured in an episode of the classic Western titled “The Way Station.” Her character was named Marty Johnson.
Years later, after both “Gilligan’s Island” ended and Tina Louise’s appearance on the show, Dawn Wells came back to “Bonanza” to play a different character in an episode titled “The Burning Sky.”