Set in the vicinity of Virginia City, Nevada. Widower Ben Cartwright was the patriarch of the all-male clan and owner of the thousand-square-mile Ponderosa Ranch. Each of his sons had been borne by a different wife, none of whom was still alive. Adam, the oldest of the half brothers, was the most serious and introspective. Hoss, the middle son, was a mountain of a man who was as gentle as he was huge, at times niave, and not particularly bright.Little Joe was the youngest, most impulsive, and most romantic of the Cartwright offspring. The adventures of these men, individually and collectively, their dealings with the mining interests and the ranching interests, and the people whose paths crossed theirs made up the stories on Bonanza.