Can you tell the difference between the Cartwright brothers on Bonanza?

Do you know Adam, Hoss and Joe like family?

Image: The Everett Collection

As westerns go, Bonanza is one of the longest to ever hit the airwaves. It lasted 14 seasons from 1959–73. Part of its enduring appeal were the main cast of characters — Ben Cartwright and his three grown sons.

Pernell Roberts as Adam, Dan Blocker as Hoss and Michael Landon as Joe each brought a different personality to the show. While they shared some things in common, there were many differences. How well do you know each Cartwright brother and the actors who played them?

Take this quiz and put your knowledge to the test!

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  1. True or false: All three brothers each have a different mother.
  2. Who is the oldest brother?
  3. Which brother appeared in the most episodes?
  4. Although they played brothers of different ages, which two actors were the same age in real life?
  5. Which actor played college football?
  6. What is Hoss Cartwright's real first name?
  7. Which brother went to college for architecture?
  8. Which actor appeared on the cover of TV Guide more than 20 times?
  9. Which actor started the Bonanza Steakhouse chain in Westport, Connecticut?
  10. Which actor wrote multiple episodes of the show?
  11. Which actor served in the Korean War?
  12. Which actor marched for civil rights from Selma to Montgomery in 1965?

Can you tell the difference between the Cartwright brothers on Bonanza?

Your Result...

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166 Comments

Happy1 1 month ago
11 out of 12. And I should have known it...I have the complete dvd set...cause I love the show!
SusanTammy 2 months ago
7/12 Wow I need to go back to Bonanza school!
JERRY6 5 months ago
12 out of 12 was to easy so says me tv
MichaelJF 5 months ago
11/12 I should've known the Korean War question.
Kaydee 6 months ago
11/12 I truly wish Pernell Roberts had not taken his role as Adam Cartwright so personal. It was a job with great success and a great deal of $$$$ to go along with that role. Pernell was given several main character episodes while on Bonanza. Especially the episode "The Crucible" co-starring Lee Marvin which was a great episode in my opinion. The show Bonanza went on successfully without Pernell, however I feel Bonanza would have been better than a great legendary show had Pernell stayed on till the 14th season. I really believ David Dortort would've conceded and had allowed Pernell take off his toupee eventually and also had Pernell portray his character Adam Cartwright in a more independent role. Possibly getting married and raising a family and never having to call Ben Cartwright "Pa" again. I strongly believe the situation could've been worked out between Pernell and the entire production crew, I have read many times that David Dortort truly admired Pernell's talents and wanted to keep him on as a cast member and eventually and unfortunately David Dortort didn't give in too soon and Pernell didn't extend himself longer in tolerance in hopes of improvement with the show in all aspects to his liking. Although the much arrogant Micheal Landon didn't care vocally that Pernell had left the show I believe Dan Blocker and Lorne Greene would've loved for Pernell to continue on. What's odd is how God has a plan for all of us...Pernell was the first to leave the show and the last of the original surviving cast members of Bonanza to eventually pass away in 2010. Dan Blocker (Hoss) 1972 Lorne Greene (Ben) 1987 Micheal Landon (Little Joe) 1991 RIP... Bonanza Forever!
Cougar90 Kaydee 6 months ago
11 out of 12. Like I've said many times I love my westerns. Loren Greene told Pernell to stay with the show until it got cancelled, then use the money he earned to make the projects he wanted to do. He probably gave the same advice to Michael Landon and looked what happened there. Michael said, "we split the money three ways instead of four and got a smaller dining room table!"
dmzabooo 6 months ago
Moving along great till I got to #9, #10, & #11
Pulled a 9 out of 12 damnit. I'm better than that ! But apparently not lol. Love me some early episode Bonanza. Once Roberts left it went down hill. Though Candy was a good character though. That Jamie kid, don't get me started.
MichaelJF 6 months ago
12/12 I guessed at the steakhouse question..
dazeofwine 6 months ago
12/12. Yes I watch a lot of Bonanza and I've read about it for years. And yes Michael Landon was the only one that didn't need a hairpiece and was the only one that needed boots to heighten himself.
Kaydee 7 months ago
11/12 I got #5 wrong...Knowing Dan Blocker's huge stature, I should've known that one Lol
JeffPaul76 7 months ago
"You got 9 out of 12 ------That was almost too easy. Great job!" -----I got 10, 11, and 12 wrong.
oldmoe51 7 months ago
8/12 not too bad but a fun quiz
ncadams27 7 months ago
Regarding #12. At the time, it was the Southern Democrats who were strongly against integration and the Civil Rights Bill (passed July 2, 1964). Selma and Montgomery are in Alabama, whose governor was George Wallace.
dmzabooo ncadams27 6 months ago
Yes they were! Klansman you could say. But our history books all but covered that up for the party of the left. The democRATS Filabustered the Republicans on civil rights too. Al Gore's father. Go figure.
STTOS 7 months ago
You got 11 out of 12 - That was almost too easy. Great job! Not as familiar with this show as other MeTV classics but still did rather well. I'll take it, thank you.
MikefromJersey 7 months ago
"You got 12 out of 12. That was almost too easy. Great job!"

They might have rode the range in the West, but Michael Landon was from Jersey and Lorne
Greene was proudly Canadian, in fact he was known as The Voice of Canada and even appeared
on a Canadian postage stamp. They are buried next to each other as Lorne was the father
figure in Landon's life.
daDoctah MikefromJersey 7 months ago
Fun fact: in 1960 Percy Faith and his orchestra had a #1 hit with the theme from "A Summer Place". Ten years and a couple of weeks later the Guess Who hit #1 with "American Woman". Between those two chart-toppers over a decade apart by Canadian artists, only one Canadian ever got a single to number one, and even then only for a single week.

And that week was in 1964, which might have been part of the reason a song called "Ringo" suddenly got so many requests.
MikefromJersey daDoctah 7 months ago
Yup, Lorne was a good singer. But I think Pernell Roberts blew him away, you can tell
he must have had serious training, check out his rendition of "Alberta" on You Tube.
Or the Bear Family's CD release of all the Bonanza cast records, in one set.
Maybe it's out of print, but many of the songs are really well done.
Bear is a German firm, and for awhile they included in this big release a long
sought - by some - collector's item, though it's in questionable taste.
I have noticed you like trivia daDoctah, can you name the item?
daDoctah MikefromJersey 7 months ago
Just guessing based on your mention of "questionable taste", but I'm guessing something to do with Hop Sing?
MikefromJersey daDoctah 7 months ago
Good guess. Included in the set was a brown envelope with Chinese characters,
with a English translation:
"A Gift from Hop Singh". Inside was a handful of rice.
(The Germans spelling the name with an "h".)
Oh that madcap German humor.
You can see why almost all of them were probably chucked out, either for being
offensive or out of "who cares about this dumb gift."
ncadams27 daDoctah 7 months ago
I think people bought the song because they thought it was about Ringo of Beatles fame. That year anything remotely connected to the Beatles would sell. The song did have the words “Ringo” and “Starr” (although spelled “star”) in it.
daDoctah ncadams27 7 months ago
Yeah, and it's possible that a couple of years later Yoko Ono was willing to meet John Lennon from the first time even though she was completely unfamiliar with the Beatles. She had heard they had a drummer called Ringo, though, and was amused at that because "ringo" in Japanese means "apple".
ncadams27 daDoctah 7 months ago
Maybe Apple Records was named after Ringo.
HeleneNeiman 7 months ago
When the show premiered, I was 9 years old, and my heart-throb was Little Joe, since he was the closest in age to me....then, when I was in College, my heart's desire was Adam....now that I am 74, I find myself drooling over Ben ! LOL ! What does this say? ( I never did drool over Hoss )
Poor Hoss, first Julie Adams gambles away all in his money in Virginia City and then leaves,
now Helene is also giving him the brush. As the great Bowery philosopher Slip Mahoney once
noted to his sidekick Sach, "dames is moider, I tells ya."
dmzabooo MikefromJersey 6 months ago
Those brothers were always punching one another in the face over their courtshis. lol
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