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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120 Comments

MichaelJF 6 months ago
One of the easiest quizzes ever. 12/12
LynCarrigan 7 months ago
I don’t remember the Cartwrights ever being hostile; they seemed always kind and ready to help those in need. They had money and seemed willing to help.
LynCarrigan 7 months ago
I know my Bonanza but have never seen TBV. I only got one wrong!
cripplious 13 months ago
12/12 The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great job!
TerrenceYoungblood 28 months ago
Had to look carefully at each question
12/12
TijuanaSlim 29 months ago
I missed
#5 'Add-a-Kid/ Cousin Oliver
#12 Early Installment Weirdness
pucko1230 30 months ago
100%. Two of my favourite shows.
Susan00100 31 months ago
12/12. That's odd, because I hate Westerns as a genre.
marleo8 31 months ago
You got 11 out of 12

The answers really jumped out at you on this quiz! Great job!
Keith 31 months ago
11/12 Missed question #11
Dajj 32 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 31 months 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 32 months ago
10/12 : missed the last two. 😏😄
trogg888 33 months ago
who the hell was eugene
AnnieM trogg888 33 months ago
He was the youngest Barkley. He went away to college and was never heard from or spoken of again.
Susan00100 AnnieM 31 months ago
Kinda like Chuck Cunningham from HAPPY DAYS.
Cowgirl trogg888 31 months 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.
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