HomeEntertainment‘Bonanza’: Why Character Adam Cartwright Disappeared from Show

‘Bonanza’: Why Character Adam Cartwright Disappeared from Show

by Keeli Parkey
Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

We all have television shows that we absolutely love. There are new ones and classic ones. Among those classic shows that continue to have a devoted following is “Bonanza.”

While we watch our favorite shows – be they old or new – we often don’t think about what goes on behind the scenes to make that magic happen. Like most shows in the history of television, “Bonanza” wasn’t without its share of drama.

It has been reported that actor Pernell Roberts, who portrayed Adam Cartwright on the popular Western television show, was not happy at all. Depending on who you ask, Roberts might have actually “hated” his role as Cartwright.

Pernell Roberts began acting as Adam Cartwright in 1959. Adam was the oldest son of rancher Ben Cartwright. As portrayed by Roberts, Adam was the level-headed older brother. He evaluated the information he had before he decided what to do. And, Adam – and Roberts – became very popular.

However, once the sixth season was complete, Roberts left the show. And, he never returned. The exit has been a question for some fans for many years. Citing a report by The New York Times, CheatSheet.com says Roberts’ past as a stage actor impacted his views about “Bonanza.”

“I feel I am an aristocrat in my field of endeavor,” Roberts has allegedly said. “My being part of ‘Bonanza’ was like Isaac Stern sitting in with Lawrence Welk. … OK, so I threw away a million bucks. So what? All I cared about was my emotional well-being. That job was very unpleasant, and I never regretted leaving.”

In addition to not enjoying acting in the role, Roberts didn’t really like other members of the cast – including the legendary Michael Landon.

Roberts passed away in 2010. After he left “Bonanza” he also went on to act in other very popular television shows. These included “Trapper John, M.D.” – a spinoff of “M*A*S*H.”

Final Episode of ‘Bonanza’ Airs During January 1973

It is said that all good things must come to an end. That was true for “Bonanza.” The concluded its 14-year run on NBC with its final episode on Jan. 16, 1973. At the time, it was the second-longest-running Western in the history of network television in the United States. TV Guide also ranked “Bonanza” on its list of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. The show was listed as No. 43.

What kept “Bonanza” popular for more than a decade was the important issues it addressed, including racism Focused on the Cartwright family of Virginia City, Nevada, the show allowed its audience to wrestle with different moral dilemmas.

“Bonanza” also made Michael Landon a household name. From there he went on to lead the hit show, “Little House on the Prairie.”