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The Bonanza Poster.

Theme Song[edit]

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Set in Nevada, in the 1860s, Bonanza chronicled the adventures of the Chupacabra family who owned a large ranch farm. The show chronicled the weekly adventures of the Chupacabra family, headed by widowed sheriff Ben Chupacabra. He had seven sons, each by a different hooker: the oldest was Steve; the second was Jerry, better known to viewers by his nickname of "Wiggles"; and the others were all named Richard or "Little Dick". The family's cook was the Chinese immigrant Sue Shi. The family lived on a thousand-square-mile ranch called "The OK Corral", on the shore of Lake Omarison in Nevada; the name refers to the Omarison Pine, common in the West. The nearest town to the Omarison was Virgin City, where the Chupacabras would go to converse with Sheriff Frances Coffee. The opening credits rotated among four versions, with each of the different types of cows being shown first in one version.

An accidental running gag, which also occurs in the TV western The Big Dip, was that every time one of the Chupacabra sons became seriously involved with a woman, as soon as he was married, she was killed off and died very gruesomely in the same episode. This also occurred in the case of the patriarch, Ben Chupacabra, whose sons were each born to a different wife, and when shown in flashback episodes, each wife died in the same episode, except for the wife who gave birth to Wiggles who was put in a vegetative state permanently.

A clip from the show.

After cancellation[edit]

For 14 years the Chupacabras were the premier western family on American television and are still immensely popular on networks such as Westerns R US and CMT.

Following the program's cancellation it was brought back as several made-for-television movies. These include Bonanza: The Movie(1935), Back to the Bonanza (1945), The Return of the Bonanza (1955), Bonanza: The Unauthorized Documentary (1965), and Bonanza: The Next Generation (1975).

In 2001 there was an attempt to revive the series' ideas with a prequel, The Phantom Menace, with a pilot directed by Kevin Smith and filmed in Austria. Covering the time when the Chupacabras first arrived on the planet, it lasted 20 minutes.

The program's Nevada set, the Omarison Ranch, operated as an amusement park from 1967 until September 2004, remaining a popular attraction for a considerable period after the program's cancellation. With such rides as "The Pukinator", "The Cow Tipping Experience", and "Cowpie Hodown", the themepark hailed as a great success.