‘Bonanza’: Why Cinematographer Haskell Boggs Thought Michael Landon Was a ‘Brat’ to Work With

by Katie Maloney

What did the “Bonanza” crew really think of Michael Landon?

Michael Landon became a household name after starring in “Bonanza.” And after landing his starring role on “Little House on the Prairie,” Landon became an international sensation. America loved him as the father they always wanted and his co-stars loved him as a dedicated yet fun leader. But not everyone was a fan of Michael Landon, at least not at first. “Bonanza” cinematographer Haskell Boggs revealed his first impression of Michael Landon during an interview in 1997.

“Well, I’ll tell you, to be honest, he was a little brat,” said Boggs with a laugh.

However, Boggs added that with a few more years of experience under his belt, Landon became a great guy.

“When I think about Mike, I could see the cogs turning around. A few years before ‘Bonanza’ closed down, I could see Mike…he was applying himself,” said Boggs. “He was doing things to prepare himself in case. And he did. And he turned out, in my opinion, to be a very wonderful actor, director, everything.”

Boggs was nominated for five Emmys throughout his career. Four of his nominations were for his work on “Bonanza.” The other was for his work on the Michael Landon television movie, “Where Pigeons Go to Die.”

Haskell Boggs talks about Michael Landon on “Bonanza”

‘Little House’ Star Alison Arngrim Said Michael Landon Wasn’t the ‘Saint’ Everyone Thought He Was

After nine seasons together, the cast of “Little House on the Prairie” knew each other pretty well. During an interview in 2016, actress Alison Arngrim, who played “Nasty” Nellie on the show said Michael Landon wasn’t necessarily the man everyone thinks he is.

“It’s funny to think of, you know, Michael as a teacher,” Arngrim said. “Because he was so crazy and funny and wild. I mean, people talk about him now, it’s ‘Saint Michael.’ He’s, he’s … the Vatican doing a letter. I mean, he’s just become sainted.”

However, Arngrim said that there were a lot of things about Michael Landon that his character, Pa Ingalls probably wouldn’t have approved of.

“And, he was this crazy person,” Arngrim said. “I mean, he divorced twice. He married three times. He had a whole passel of kids. Um, he drank and smoked. He told dirty jokes. He swore. I mean, he did all these ‘Not Pa Ingalls’ things. [Michael Landon] was so not Pa Ingalls. He was a lot more fun than that.”