Bonanza: The Next Generation
Bonanza: The Movie originally went out as Bonanza: The Next Generation. That title accurately reflected the film's content: death and previous commitments prevented the cast of the original Bonanza TV series of 1959-1973, thus the talent roster of The Next Generation was brand-new. John Ireland took over from Lorne Greene (who signed for this movie, but died before production commenced) as the brother of Greene's character Ben Cartwright. Home from the sea, Aaron Cartwright (Ireland) stupidly turns the drilling rights to the Ponderosa over to those perennial 1980s movie villains, the "evil land developers." It's up to the sons of Adam, Little Joe and Hoss Cartwright to save the ranch (One wonders how the Cartwright boys could have had sons, given the mortality rate of their sweethearts on the old series). Michael Landon Jr., son of the original series' Little Joe, is here cast as Benj. This 1988 Bonanza TV movie sequel was supposed to have been spun off into a weekly syndicated series, but for various reasons this project never came to fruition, despite station clearance and sponsorship in virtually every major market.