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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112 Comments

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pucko1230 27 days ago
100%. Two of my favourite shows.
Susan00100 1 month ago
12/12. That's odd, because I hate Westerns as a genre.
marleo8 2 months ago
You got 11 out of 12

The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great job!
Dajj 2 months ago
11/12 I really had to think hard on some of these. I would like to see some new westerns on free TV.
Cowgirl Dajj 1 month ago
They used to have them all day on Saturday but then some not too bright person decided that Saturday mornings needed to be cartoons instead of westerns.
Jamesatkinson 3 months ago
10/12 : missed the last two. 😏😄
trogg888 3 months ago
who the hell was eugene
AnnieM trogg888 3 months ago
He was the youngest Barkley. He went away to college and was never heard from or spoken of again.
Susan00100 AnnieM 1 month ago
Kinda like Chuck Cunningham from HAPPY DAYS.
Cowgirl trogg888 1 month ago
Eugene was the youngest son. He was only in the first season because the actor who played him was drafted so he was written out of the show.
Muleskinner 3 months ago
12/12. Knew most of them, but # 11 was a lucky guess.
Tommygunz 3 months ago
12/12 I watch both shows everyday, so it was easy for me.
Craigg 3 months ago
You got 12 out of 12
The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great job!
flight401 3 months ago
12/12 grew up watching both and still do
AllisonWunderland 3 months ago
Yee-haw 🤠...Got 8/10 on this here quiz 🤗
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