Bonanza Wiki
Joseph Cartwright
Michael-Landon-in-Bonanza-Premium-Photograph-and-Poster-2002127 49878.1432427645.1280.1280
Biographical information
Full Name: Joseph Francis "Little Joe" Cartwright
Occupation: Rancher, bodyguard, riding teacher, choir master, karate teacher,
Gender: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Hair color: Dark brown
Eye color: Green
Born: 1842
Died: N/a
Family/Relatives: Ben Cartwright (father)
Marie DeMarigny Cartwright † (mother)
Adam Cartwright

Hoss Cartwright (half-brother)
Clay Stafford (half-brother)
Jamie Cartwright (adopted brother)
Will Cartwright (Cousin)

Spouse Alice Cartwright
Romances/Domestic Partners:
Children: None
Appeared on: Bonanza (TV Series)
First Episode: "A Rose for Lotta" (Series pilot)
Last Episode: N/a
Portrayed by: Michael Landon

Joseph "Little Joe" Francis Cartwright is the third son of Ben Cartwright and the only child of Ben and Marie Cartwright, Ben’s third wife.

Personal life[]

The handsome, eagle-hearted Joseph Cartwright was named in honor of Marie Cartwright’s former husband Joseph "Big Joe" Collins. Joe has little memory of his beloved mother, and was under five when she died in a horse riding accident, one he would mirror years later when his horse Cochise fell at the ranch. Little Joe was fond of New Orleans, where his mother was born and lived for most of her life. His goal was to visit New Orleans one day.

Little Joe received his nickname because compared to his brother, Hoss, he was little. Even as he grew up, the nickname stuck, and Hoss remained taller and larger than Joe. Joe enjoyed playing checkers and poker; he also made bets that ended up with hilarious results. His enthusiasm for life often got him acting before thinking of consequences. Joe was the romantic one in the family and was always eager to meet women.

About "Little Joe"[]


Little Joe and Cochise in season 5 episode "Alias Joe Cartwright"


Little Joe in season 14 episode "Forever"

"Little Joe" was the only Cartwright born on the Ponderosa, unlike his other family members. He was the third biological son of Ben Cartwright. Joe enjoyed reading detective novels, and also loved to laugh, which was contagious to anyone near him. His trademark horse, Cochise, often called "Cooch", was a black and white pinto. Joe was very fond of his horse. Little Joe was also not known to be one to back away from a fight or a challenge, as his hot temper sometimes took over and clouded good judgement and common sense. However, he seems able to recover from any fight either unscathed or, from a bullet wound with nary a scratch.


Little Joe appeared in 416 of the 430 Bonanza episodes which means that he was only missing in fourteen episodes. He appeared for the entire run of the Bonanza series.


Michael Landon as Little Joe

The role of "Little Joe" Cartwright on Bonanza was played by actor Michael Landon.


→ See also Joseph Cartwright/Gallery#Images


→ See also Joseph Cartwright/Gallery#Videos


External links[]