The Cartwright's thousand-square-mile Ponderosa Ranch is located near Virginia City, Nevada, site of the Comstock Silver Lode, during and after the Civil War. Each of the sons was born to a different wife of Ben's; none of the mothers is still alive. Adventures are typical western ones, with lots of personal relationships/problems thrown in as well
Blocker was born Bobby Dan Davis Blocker in De Kalb in Bowie County in northeastern Texas, son of ...
Dan Blocker was six foot four and three hundred twenty pounds (Michael Landon, "The Tonight Show", March 19, 1982) when chosen to play the gentle middle son Eric, better known as Hoss. The nickname was used as a nod to the character's ample girth, an endearing term for "big and friendly", used by his Swedish mother (& Uncle Gunnar), or a rib to his humiliating, failed attempt to break a horse (Ponderosa, "Pilot", PAX-TV, episode No. 1). In the Bonanza flashback (Bonanza, "Journey Remembered", episode #142, NBC-TV, 1964), his mother Inger names him Eric after her father. To satisfy young Adam, Inger and Ben agree to try the nickname Hoss and "see which one sticks". " Inger says of "hoss", "In the mountain country, that is the name for a big, friendly man."
In May 1972, Blocker died suddenly from a post-operative pulmonary embolism following surgery to remove a failing gall bladder. The producers felt nobody else could continue the role. It was the first time a TV show's producers chose to kill off a major male character (though it was done twice previously with female leads- in 1956 on Make Room For Daddy, and again in 1963 with The Real McCoys). Not until the TV-movie Bonanza: The Next Generation (Syndicated, 1988) was it explained that Hoss had drowned attempting to save a woman's life.
Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright Photos
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