Skip to Content

What Happened in the Last Episode of Bonanza? (Answered 2023)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

What Happened On The Last Episode Of BonanzaDan Blocker’s character Hoss Cartwright was a key part of Bonanza. But what happened in his last episode? It turns out that The Hunter provided viewers with an unexpected twist and resolution to this beloved series.

In this article, we’ll explore all aspects of the final episode from its plot to how it addressed Hoss Cartwright’s death after actor Dan Blocker tragically passed away during filming. We’ll also take a look at how Bonanza ended and its lasting legacy on television today.

Hoss was the middle brother on Bonanza and known for his warm, gentle nature. His character added heart and humanity that balanced the other characters. Fans adored his good-natured humor and kindness. So when Blocker unexpectedly died, it left huge shoes to fill.

The last episode, titled The Hunter, focused on Hoss being kidnapped by a vengeful prisoner he helped convict. It ended on a cliffhanger with Hoss in jeopardy. The next episode addressed Blocker’s real life passing by having Hoss heroically die while trying to save a little girl.

The Hunter and following funeral episode provided closure for grieving fans. Having Cartwright die saving a child stayed true to Hoss’ big-hearted character. While emotional, it honored both the character and Blocker’s legacy. The loss left an undeniable void, but Bonanza continued for another season before ending its 14-year run.

Today Bonanza remains one of TV’s most beloved and long-running Westerns. Hoss Cartwright lives on as a fan favorite character – a testament to both Blocker’s talent and the show’s multi-generational appeal.

While his death was heartbreaking, that final episode provided a touching send-off.

Key Takeaways

  • The final episode of Bonanza focused on Hoss Cartwright being kidnapped and ended on a cliffhanger.
  • Hoss Cartwright’s sudden departure was addressed in the next episode by explaining that his character had heroically died trying to save a little girl, providing closure for fans.
  • Despite its premature cancellation after Dan Blocker’s passing, Bonanza remains one of TV’s most beloved and long-running Westerns.
  • The last episode featured Lorne Greene in the dual role of Ben Cartwright and Bradley Meredith, with the Cartwrights foiling Meredith’s nefarious plot to impersonate Ben.

The Final Episode of Bonanza: the Hunter

The Final Episode of Bonanza: the Hunter
On the last episode of Bonanza titled The Hunter, you watched Joe Cartwright encounter a mentally affected man named Cpl. Bill, bringing the iconic Western series’ 14-year run to an unexpectedly abrupt end after 430 episodes.

The Hunter’s conclusion left you and other devoted fans disappointed, as the show closed without tying up loose ends or giving a proper send-off.

Despite your hopes for resolution, Joe’s sobering encounter highlighted the plight of mentally ill veterans while underscoring Bonanza’s humane approach to social issues.

Though the abrupt ending wasn’t the satisfying closure you desired, it poignantly reflected life’s unpredictable nature.

While you wished for more from the final episode, Bonanza’s impact endures through its pioneering portrayal of complex social concerns within the Western genre’s traditional framework.

The series broke ground and made its mark, even as The Hunter brought the curtain down.

Dan Blocker’s Impact on Bonanza and His Character Hoss Cartwright

Dan Blocker
You were likely heartbroken when Hoss Cartwright’s sudden departure from Bonanza was addressed in the show’s 14th season. The legacy of Dan Blocker’s affable character lived on in the memories of loyal fans who sorely missed this core cast member on the long-running Western drama.

Hoss Cartwright’s Unexpected Departure

Your heart aches as you realize Hoss’s untimely death meant he’d never wed his sweetheart. In the moments after his unexpected exit, Bonanza’s farewell felt inconceivable. Hoss Cartwright’s sudden departure due to Dan Blocker’s pulmonary embolism left fans grieving a heroic death.

Despite low viewership, Bonanza’s legacy endured after the impactful loss of Blocker’s beloved character.

The Legacy of Hoss Cartwright

Despite his tragic, untimely passing, Hoss Cartwright lives on in viewers’ hearts as a beloved TV icon. Viewers longed to witness the gentle giant’s jokes, wisdom, and loyalty. His humble nature and righteousness left a mark on television’s history.

Although the Ponderosa ranch closed down, Hoss rode off into immortality. Dan Blocker’s thirteen-year portrayal as Eric Hoss Cartwright profoundly impacted pop culture.

The Last Episode’s Plot and Resolution

The Last Episode
As a Bonanza fan, you likely recall Lorne Greene’s memorable dual role as both patriarch Ben Cartwright and his imposter Bradley Meredith in Dan Blocker’s final episode. The Cartwrights foiled Meredith’s nefarious plot to impersonate Ben and steal the family’s fortune, providing a dramatic and poignant farewell for Blocker’s beloved character Hoss.

Lorne Greene’s Dual Role as Ben Cartwright and Bradley Meredith

You’re convinced Ben Cartwright has pulled the wool over your eyes when his double enters the Ponderosa. Lorne Greene enchants you with his gripping dual performance as both the beloved patriarch Ben Cartwright and the conniving imposter Bradley Meredith in Bonanza’s thought-provoking farewell episode.

As Meredith’s deception becomes clear, Greene’s masterful portrayal intensifies the story’s dramatic tension. Bonanza concludes with Greene skillfully revealing his characters’ contrasting morals and motives, leaving a deep, lasting impression.

Foiling Bradley Meredith’s Plot

You foiled that dastardly Meredith’s plot faster than a jackrabbit on a hot greasy griddle in the last episode of Bonanza! Meredith’s scheme to steal Cartwright cash was devious, but the Cartwrights saw through Bradley’s deception quickly as a whip.

They foiled his evil plan with cunning and grit. Although Meredith’s defeat had impact, that last Bonanza episode still disappoints this fan today.

How Bonanza Addressed Hoss Cartwright’s Death

How Bonanza Addressed Hoss Cartwright
You were devastated when Dan Blocker’s character, Hoss Cartwright, died unexpectedly in real life during Bonanza’s 13th season. The show briefly mentioned Hoss’s passing in season 14 without explaining it further, but years later a reunion movie revealed that he had died heroically while trying to rescue a woman from drowning.

Season 14’s Mention of Hoss’s Death

The way season 14 merely mentioned your brother’s death without explaining what took him from you so suddenly makes your heart ache all over again.

  1. No details about his gallbladder surgery complications or heroic drowning rescue were provided.
  2. Just a passing reference to your beloved Hoss’s absence was made.
  3. Fans deserved to understand Eric Hoss Cartwright’s departure and the reason for it.
  4. The show failed to acknowledge his tremendous legacy as a core cast member for 13 years.
  5. At least the reunion movie finally revealed some of what happened to this pivotal character.

The cast reactions showed how much Dan Blocker meant to the show. Hoss left a lasting imprint on Bonanza that continues to resonate with viewers today.

Hoss’s Heroic Death Revealed in a Reunion Movie

Hoss valiantly sacrificed himself trying to save someone from drowning, as revealed in the reunion movie years after the show ended. The reunion film disclosed Hoss’s heroism years later, honoring Dan Blocker’s legacy.

Originally, Hoss was to be wed in the last episode. Instead, his selfless act embodied the Cartwrights’ nobility, touching Bonanza fans deeply. Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon movingly portrayed the family’s grief over their beloved Hoss.

The Cast’s Reaction to Dan Blocker’s Death

The Cast
You’ve watched as the Ponderosa family grew together over Bonanza’s 13-year run. The sudden death of Dan Blocker left his co-stars Lorne Greene and Michael Landon grappling with the loss of their friend and colleague while also contemplating the show’s uncertain future without their beloved Hoss.

Lorne Greene’s Thoughts on Blocker’s Impact

You’d have understood how deeply Lorne Greene felt the loss of his 13-year costar when he spoke of Blocker’s tremendous impact.

  1. Blocker was deeply loved by cast and crew alike.
  2. His character Hoss was the heart of the show.
  3. Viewers connected with Hoss’s gentle spirit.
  4. The show was never the same without him.
  5. Blocker left an enduring mark on Bonanza.

Blocker’s passing left a void no one could fill. His legacy profoundly shaped the iconic Western series.

The Impact on the Cast and Crew

Feeling his passing daily, you see your friend in every memory. The cast and crew mourned Blocker’s sudden death deeply, appreciating his kindness and humor behind the scenes during Bonanza’s 13-year run.

His immense presence influenced the show’s emotional core. Regrouping after his last episode, the actors channeled their grief into celebrating their friend’s legacy and impact on TV history.

The End of Bonanza and Its Legacy

The End of Bonanza and Its Legacy
You loved seeing the Cartwrights gallop across the Ponderosa every Sunday night for over a decade. Though Bonanza’s abrupt ending after Dan Blocker’s death disappointed fans, its humane approach to social issues and family drama cemented its significance in the history of Western television.

Bonanza’s Cancellation After Blocker’s Death

You must’ve been disappointed when Bonanza was canceled just months after Dan Blocker’s unexpected death, ending its 14-year run prematurely. For instance, imagine following a favorite TV drama for over a decade, growing attached to the characters, only to have it abruptly end mid-storyline due to a cast member’s untimely passing.

  • Replaced Hoss with Guy Williams as Will Cartwright
  • Attempted to continue without core cast member
  • Declining ratings after Blocker’s exit
  • Cast and crew shocked by abrupt end
  • Left unfinished storylines and character arcs

The premature cancellation was undoubtedly difficult for the show’s loyal fans who had invested so much time in the Cartwright family and life on the Ponderosa over 14 seasons.

Bonanza’s Significance in Western TV History

Though its unexpected end disappointed countless viewers, Bonanza’s progressive storylines highlighting social issues ensured its lasting imprint as a pillar of early Western television. Despite Bonanza’s abrupt finale in 1973, its trailblazing 14-year run cemented its status as a flexible, genre-bending Western addressing racism, substance abuse, and bigotry.

From the iconic Ponderosa ranch set to stars Lorne Greene and Michael Landon, Bonanza’s assets made it an influential TV milestone.


Ultimately, the last episode of Bonanza was a fitting farewell to the beloved Western TV show that had captivated audiences for 14 seasons. Captivating audiences with its story of the Cartwright family, the show addressed social issues with a humane perspective.

The last episode, aptly titled The Hunter, featured Dan Blocker’s character Hoss Cartwright in his final scene on the show. Though Blocker’s untimely death left the cast and crew devastated, his memory remains alive through his beloved character.

Lorne Greene’s dual role as Ben Cartwright and Bradley Meredith, as well as the foiling of Meredith’s plot, made for a fitting end to the series.

Though the show ended abruptly, it remains one of the most influential Westerns in TV history.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.