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Bonanza episode
“A Rose for Lotta”
Season 1, Episode 1
#1 in Series
Air date September 12, 1959
Production code
Guest starring:
Written by David Dortort
Directed by Edward Ludwig
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External links
A Rose for Lotta on IMDb


010 - A Rose for Lotta

Lotta Crabtree is hired by mining tycoon Alpheus Troy to lure one of the Cartwrights into town and hold him for ransom in exchange for Ponderosa timber rights.


The Cartwrights lives on their ranch, the Ponderosa, near the new silver mining town, Virginia City. Virginia City sprang up practically over night when gold, then silver, was found in what became known as the Comstock Lode. Ben has little to do with mining. He respects the land and will do nothing that can't be easily replaced.

The mine owners need millions of feet of timber to dig deeper for the ore and Ben won't sell to them. He has thousands of acres of Ponderosa Pine, but believes too much logging will ruin the land. The mine owners hire renowned actress Lotta Crabtree to lure one of the Cartwright boys into town where he can be held hostage until Ben agrees to sell them lumber.

The Cartwrights spot a carriage barreling across the Ponderosa and follow it to investigate. The carriage has lost a wheel and come to a halt. The boys pull guns on the driver and demand to know what he's doing on their land. A beautiful woman, Lotta Crabtree, steps out of the carriage and refuses to cower. The Cartwrights offer to help fix the wheel Joe takes Lotta back to the house for a cool drink. Joe, who's been admiring the lady's beauty, is happy to oblige. However, Adam jumps down first and is the one to lift the woman onto Joe's horse.


Once the wagon is fixed, the Cartwrights wonder what's taking Joe and Lotta so long. Their Chinese cook, Hop Sing, rides up in the buckboard and is upset that everyone missed lunch. But when Hop Sing says Joe took the lovely lady back to Virginia City, everyone knows there's going to be trouble. Adam pulls his gun and holds it on the driver. He threatens the driver, Ned, with one minute to tell what he knows. Ned says he was hired to drive the lady around these hills. Ben demands to know if it was Alpheus Troy who hired him. Ned admits it was. Ben says they'll gather their forces and if the three of them aren't back by dawn, their men are to ride in behind them.

Joe escorts Lotta into town and asks if he can see her after her performance. She doesn't disagree.

Joe takes his horse over to the Chinese section of town and meets Hop Sing's father, Hop Ling who runs a laundry. He takes a rose from Hop Ling's bush and heads back to town.

Joe attends Lotta's performance and tosses a rose to her when she's done. Then he visits her in her hotel room. He tries to make a few moves on her, but she manages to politely sidestep them. Joe gets the message and they just talk. She's been to New Orleans, which is where Joe's mother was born, and he loves to hear about it. Lotta looks out the window and sees two men she recognizes and realizes they're coming for Joe. She locks the door and begs to know why Ben won't sell his trees. Joe's now very suspicious and says, "Without those trees, we can't keep the land going. Are you expecting any visitors, ma'am?" She looks guiltily away.

The Cartwrights ride to town and demand the return of Little Joe, but Alpheus Troy refuses to say where Joe is. He tells Ben to take it up with his associate. The associate is a gunfighter named Langford Poole. Adam insists that Poole fight him and not Ben. They square off and Poole draws. Adam is faster and wounds Poole in the arm. Still Troy won't say where Joe is. Adam suspects Lotta is involved and marches over to her hotel.

The two men push their way into Lotta's hotel room. Joe, sitting casually in a chair, merely tells them that their appearance wasn't entirely unexpected. After a brief fight, Joe escapes out the window and takes refuge in Hop Ling's laundry. The two men have followed and proceed to tear Chinatown apart looking for him. This upsets the residents and they attack the men. Joe comes out of the laundry and joins the fight with an enthusiastic "Yahoo!"

Meanwhile, Adam has arrived at Lotta's hotel room and accuses her of working with Alpheus. She claims it was all a game and she didn't know they meant to hurt Little Joe. He asks where Joe is. She says sincerely that Adam doesn't understand. He pushes her away in frustration. She again insists she didn't know they'd hurt him and she thought of it as a game. He doesn't believe her and storms out.

Adam returns to the saloon and reports that he didn't find Joe, but his horse is still in the livery. Poole is still there with Troy, so the Cartwrights leave to continue the search.

At sun up, they are riding down the main street when they hear music coming from a restaurant. They dismount and go in to find Joe dancing with Lotta as a man plays the harmonica. After his sigh of relief at finding Joe alive and well, Ben yells at Joe, "Is this what you've been doing all night?!" Joe says he was just getting started. Ben orders him out. Joe scampers away, trying to avoid getting a swat from Ben. Ben and Hoss notice that Adam hasn't taken his eyes of Lotta. As Hoss turns to follow Joe out, he gives Adam a nudge towards her. With Ben, Hoss and Joe outside, Adam steps up to Lotta and gives her a kiss. With a smile, he turns and leaves.

Cast and Characters[]

The Cartwrights





  • Sweden - mentioned
  • New Orleans - mentioned
  • Virginia City
    • Alpheus Troy's office
    • Hop Ling's laundry
    • International Hotel
  • Ponderosa
  • Yellow Jacket - mentioned
  • D'Abloe - mentioned



  • Thunder


Wikipedia has an article related to: Lotta Crabtree.

  • In this episode, everyone is much fiercer and meaner. For instance, Ben tells Hop Sing to kill the stagecoach driver if they aren't back by morning.

Did you know?[]

  • The title and the story deals with Lotta Crabtree, an American actress who toured the country and became one of the wealthiest and most beloved American entertainers of the late 19th century.
  • The cast sang the lyrics for the Bonanza theme in a scene to run at the end of the fourth act. However, it was so laughably ridiculous that it was cut and never made it on the air. This outtake featuring the Cartwrights' warbling has been shown since, but not as part of the series.
  • This episode cost $190,630.50 to make.
  • Lotta returns in a later episode, Return Engagement, however, she is played by Sally Kellerman, not Yvonne De Carlo.
  • While filming, De Carlo was reportedly arrogant and standoffish.
  • When it first aired Bonanza received mixed reviews, mostly bad.


  • Joe tells Lotta his mother's name was Felicia. Her name is changed in later episodes to Marie. However, actress Felicia Farr played Marie, so it seemed that Joe already knew who would play his mother.
  • The real Lotta Crabtree was born in 1847. "Bonanza" is set in 1859, when Lotta would have been 12 or 13 years old.


"Look at it, Adam. Feast thine eyes on a sight that approaches heaven itself. The Ponderosa!"
"You've been to a lotta places and you've seen a lotta things, Pa, but you never seen or been to heaven.
Ben and Adam[src]

"Don't you josh with me, Little Joe!"
"Ha! That would be the day anyone tried to josh with you, you Yankee granite head!
Adam and Little Joe[src]



See A Rose for Lotta/videos

See also[]