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Bonanza: The Official Fourth Season, Vol. 2 [4 Discs] [DVD]
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Special Features

  • New audio commentaries by special guest star Patricia Crowley on "The Actress," and Andrew J. Klyde on "The Hayburner"
  • Original NBC logo, bumpers and Chevrolet spots on selected episodes
  • Rare episodic, behind-the-scenes photographs


The fourth season of Bonanza introduces Barry Coe in the role of Clay Stafford, a new ranch hand on the Ponderosa. Reportedly, Coe had been brought in as a potential series regular, just in case star Pernell Roberts (Adam Cartwright) made good his oft-repeated threats to leave the show. However, Roberts decided to stick around for a while, and this, coupled with alleged friction between Coe and other series regulars Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright), Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright), and Michael Landon (Joe Cartwright), resulted in the decision to drop the character of Clay Stafford almost as soon as he was introduced! The most noteworthy season four episode is "Marie, My Love," the third in an unofficial trilogy introducing, via flashbacks, the three former wives of Ben Cartwright, all of whom met untimely ends -- but not before giving Ben one son each. Felicia Farr guest stars as Marie, a feisty New Orleans belle who is fated to become Ben's third wife -- and the mother of his youngest son, Joe. Outside of "Marie, My Love," the season's best-remembered episode is "Any Friend of Walter's," the story of a faithful dog, a scroungy prospector, and an even scroungier trio of thieves -- a premise that proved successful enough to warrant a 1964 sequel, "Walter and the Outlaws." The fact that Bonanza dropped from second to fourth place in the ratings during its fourth season can probably be chalked up to the decline in popularity of the TV Western genre. Even so, Bonanza was still the top-ranked Western series in America, with only Gunsmoke, at tenth place, even coming within shouting distance. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Lorne Greene - Ben Cartwright
  • Dan Blocker - Hoss Cartwright
  • Pernell Roberts - Adam Cartwright
  • Michael Landon - Little Joe Cartwright
  • Victor Sen Yung - Hop Sing
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