The show chronicled the weekly adventures of the Cartwright family, headed by patriarch Ben Cartwright (Greene). He had three sons: Joseph or "Little Joe" (Landon); Adam (Roberts); and Eric, better known to viewers by his nickname of "Hoss" (Blocker). The family's cook was the Chinese immigrant Hop Sing (Sen Yung). The family lived on a ranch called "The Ponderosa", on the shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.
Following the program's cancellation it was brought back as several made-for-television movies. These include Bonanza: The Movie (1988), Back to Bonanza (1993), Bonanza: The Return (1993), Bonanza: Under Attack (1995), and Bonanza: The Next Generation (1995)
Bonanza also featured a memorable theme song that is often parodied.