Bonanza : Forever (1972)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Prime-Time Drama [TV]  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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The fourteenth and final season of Bonanza began on September 12, 1972 with a special two-hour episode. As originally written by series star Michael Landon (who also directed), "Forever" was supposed to have focused on the ill-starred marriage between Hoss Cartwright (Dan Blocker) and Alice Harper (Bonnie Bedelia). The tragic death of Dan Blocker forced Landon to rewrite the story as vehicle for his own character, Joe Cartwright-and the result was one of the series' most heartbreakingly poignant episodes, not so much because of what was seen on camera, but because of the emotional baggage brought to the set by surviving Bonanza regulars Landon and Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright). In the final version of "Forever," the happiness of the union between Joe and Alice is clouded by the fact that the girl is pregnant by another man-and by the criminal activities of her ne'er-do-well brother John Harper (Andy Robinson). Exquisitely photographed on location in the High Sierras, the episode was enhanced by David Rose's haunting musical score, elements of which were later heard in Landon's subsequent starring series Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. This episode also marked the return of Rose's original Bonanza main theme, after a two-season absence. The ending of "Forever", in which both Joe and Ben quietly weep over their respective losses, is guaranteed to move even the most jaded viewer to tears.



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