Bonanza is back in the guise of "Ponderosa". This episode is very good, telling the back story of what went on as Ben Cartwright got the deed to the Lake Tahoe property. Unfortunately, someone else also wants the property, so he can strip-mine it and turn the land into a waste-land. Ben's wife and Little Joe's mother is killed when the store in which Ben is working in at the time is blown up by the miner, the one who takes her death the worse is Little Joe. Shortly after this (and because of it) Ben is awarded the property. All seems to be said and done, but as Ben and the boys are building the house, in the middle of the night the miner sneaks onto the property and pours kerosene all over the house and ignites it. Little Joe takes Ben's gun and goes hunting down the miner, not realizing the new trouble he could be causing because of it. Meanwhile, two other characters come into play. The first is Carlos (Fernando Carrillo), a Mexican Soldier who returns to the town after being in the hospital for several years, only to find that his ranchero has been taken from him and a new family is living there. Even Eagle Station the town in which Ben is living seemed to belong to him as well. The second is a Chinese slave named Hop Sing (Garet Yuen), who is being over-worked by the beautiful but devious lady bartender (Nicki Wendt) Ben pays the fine Hop Sing is working off -- 25.00, and both Carlos and Hop Sing come to work for Ben. NOTE: This episode, and in fact the entire series is extremely enjoyable, but it can not compare to the original Bonanza, as the seem to differ in so many ways. In one way they differ is that Bonanza seemed to thrive on the sometime ultra-violent shoot-outs and brawls, while in this one they seem to avoid them both, even for fun, as seen in a later episode titled "Bear Knuckles". There are also some mild changes to the history of the Cartwright's, for example, Erik's nick-name "Hauss" was given to him by his own mother at birth, because it had some special meaning to her people, but in this episode it was given to him by Little Joe and his step mother because a horse bit him on his backside. The changes in tone from the 60's version to now and history aside, it is still a very enjoyable show, and should be around for a very long time.moreless
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