Can you tell the difference between the families in The Big Valley and Bonanza?

Both the Cartwrights and the Barkleys had large ranches run by single parents — but what set them apart?

The Big Valley and Bonanza were two of the most popular Westerns in late 1960s America. At a time when many cowboy shows had already been taken off the air, these two series leapt off the screen in full color and showed a different side of the Old West by focusing on the trials and tribulations of an entire family instead of one lone gunman.

They shared many similarities— the fully grown children in each family had differing, and sometimes clashing, personalities and both households lived on large ranches in picturesque locations.

Of course, both shows were different in many ways as well. Pick which family you think each of the below statements are referring to and see how many you can get right!

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  1. This family had a daughter, Audra.
  2. Each son in this family had a different mother.
  3. This family’s ranch was named after a type of pine tree.
  4. This family lived in California.
  5. This family adopted a teenager late in the show’s run.
  6. The oldest son in this family was a lawyer.
  7. The person who played the parent in this family was only 13 years older than the actor who played their oldest son.
  8. One son in this family was born out of wedlock.
  9. This family had a fourth son, Eugene, who appeared briefly in the first season.
  10. Two sons from this family weren't in the show’s last season.
  11. This family was loosely based on a real ranching family from the 1800s.
  12. This family was hostile to outsiders on their ranch early on but changed their ways after an actor suggested they be more hospitable.

Can you tell the difference between the families in The Big Valley and Bonanza?

Your Result...

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84 Comments

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flight401 17 hours ago
12/12 grew up watching both and still do
AllisonWunderland 22 hours ago
Yee-haw 🤠...Got 8/10 on this here quiz 🤗
ScoobyDoo169 24 hours ago
11/12 "The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great Job!" I missed number 8. I was about to pick the right answer though. I don't know really anything about The Big Valley but I do about Bonanza. I don't recall them ever being hostile to outsiders though, I just got a lucky guess on that question because it seemed like something like that could happen, the changing of the script and characters I mean.
Cowgirl 1 day ago
You got 12 out of 12
The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great job!
I love both shows, but the first 6 seasons before Pernell Roberts left Bonanza were the best.
TheDavBow3 Cowgirl 1 day ago
Totally agree, CG!
Quazimo 2 days ago
12/12 almost missed one 13yr old question had me thinking
Catwoman212 3 days ago
Love them Cartwrights Hoss was my man, I could relate to him. Gentle giant. My stepfather had the honor to meet him way back and he said he was a very likable person.
MichaelPowers 3 days ago
The exterior & interior set for the Barkley Manor on The Big Valley often showed up on episodes of The Wild Wild West.
The interior of the Barkley"s house was also used in the pilot for Charlie's Angels.
I believe I saw the Barkley house "modernized" in an early season episode of Mannix.
JeffPaul76 3 days ago
'' You got 12 out of 12'' ----------The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great job! First time taking it too!
grandpa5741 3 days ago
Perfecto me gusta tanto El Grande Valle mas que La Bonanza. La señora Barkley fue tan guapa.
JustGeri 3 days ago
Woo hoo 12/12! I know my Big Valley for sure. Only two questions gave me pause …the parent actor only being 13 years older than eldest son character but of course realized Ms. Barbara Stanwyck was definitely more than 13 years older than Richard Long. Then which story was loosely based on a real family…guessed correctly that was Big Valley…seemed more likely. I did not know that two Cartwright sons were not in final season but I knew all the Barkley boys were. Was The Big Valley cancelled? Was Bonanza also or did it decide to end? And the Barkleys always welcomed visitors. For once, or twice maybe, got all of them!
Do/did you not recall that Dan Blocker died on the operating table, while Bonanza was still in production?
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