Here is what happened to Bonnie Bedelia from “Bonanza”

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Bonanza was the ”mother of television drama”. Running from September 1959 to January 1973, it was the longest series in television history, covering relevant themes such as racism, love, loss, and family, all set on the beautiful Ponderosa Ranch.

The series ended suddenly following the death of Dan Blocker( Eric ”Hoss” Cartwright), and the show’s producers felt he was too central for the series to proceed without him.

Joe’s wife’s story was also critical in the decision to cancel the show. What happened to Little Joe’s wife in Bonanza is revealed in the episode premiere of the show’s final season.

Read on for all the details on what really happened to Alice Cartwright and what Bonnie Bedelia, the actor behind Alice’s character, is doing now, many years after the western television series.

Did Little Joe Marry on Bonanza?

Known for his long string of girlfriends and lovers, no one expected the hotheaded Joe Cartwright ever to get married and settle down. But, alas! he did find a nice girl and took her to the altar.

In a two-hour premiere episode of the 14th season of Bonanza, we see Joe fall in love with and marry Alice Harper.

Before the episode ends, Alice announces the good news about her pregnancy as the newlywed begins to settle and start their family.

What’s really interesting is that Joe wasn’t the one slated to marry. Rather, his bubbly, friendly brother Hoss was the one meant to get married.

But actor Dan Blocker who played Hoss Cartwright, died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism and blood clot complications after surgery to remove his gall bladder.

Hoss was a key character in the original cast set who helped round off the domineering male personalities on the show. His real-life death dealt a blow to the television series, resulting in its cancellation in November 1972 after the fourteenth season.

To keep up with the wedding storyline, show producers decided to have Joe and Alice marry, but this plot, too, would end in tragedy.

Little Joe’s Wife Died Shortly After They Married

Just when Ben Cartwright’s (Lorne Greene) youngest son, Little Joseph, began life as a married man, the worst happened, and he would, rightfully, never recover from the tragedy.

One day, when Joe was away, a ruthless gambler named Sloan badged into their home on the vast Ponderosa Ranch. It turns out that Alice’s brother, John, had been involved in a gambling deal and had failed to repay Sloan.

Sloan held John at gunpoint and went with his gang to Joe and Alice’s homestand. The gang demanded that Alice pays them the money on behalf of her brother John. But she refused to cooperate, which is when the gang beat her to death! To cover their crime, Sloan and his musclemen set Alice’s house ablaze, leaving her to burn to ashes.

Upon arriving home, Joe is meant by the scene of a house engulfed in flames. We see him screaming and calling out to his wife, hoping she will answer.

Joe attempted to force himself into the burning house but was unable to, seriously injuring himself in the process. In the end, Joe surrenders, leaving the house in flames.

Alice’s Demise Helped Michael Landon and Lorne Green Grieve Don Blocker

After his wife’s unexpected death, Joe returned to the burned-down house and was adamant about staying there. Ben came over to console and convince his son to return home. Joe completely breaks down in this scene and seriously mourns for his beloved late wife.

Seeing his son completely broken, Ben, too, lost his cool and began crying before father and son embraced and cried together for a long time.

Later, Bonanza cast members revealed that the scene where Joe and Ben cry and embrace was a genuine expression of emotions as they released their grief over the real-life, tragic death of their friend, Dan Blocker.

What Happened to Bonnie Bedelia?

Bonnie Bedelia played Alice Harper on Bonanza. The show’s producers never revealed the reason for terminating Alice’s character so fast after being cast in just one episode.

But, it would be safe to say that the storyline of Alice’s death was a way to honor fellow cast member Dan “Hoss” Blocker, giving his colleagues some closure and allowing them to mourn him following a sudden demise.

After Bonanza, Bonnie Bedelia had an on-off TV and big-screen career. Compared to other actresses of her calibre, such as Marilyn Monroe and Julia Roberts, Bedelia has yet to accomplish much for someone of her talent.

Her most famous role was in the film Die Hard, where she plays Holly, Bruce Willis’ wife. Her most recent roles were in Parenthood, where she was the family matriarch as Camille Braverman between 2010 and 2015.

Bedelia also played Margaret Denner on the Netflix series, What/If, and in Violet, where she acts as Aunt Helen. According to the actress, ageism is why she has not progressed much in Hollywood. The Bonanza actress said that producers would only go for her when there was an emotional character and would pigeon-hole her into motherly roles despite being fully capable of acting as a sexy, beautiful woman.

“Many movies simply do not have women in the leading role, and it is just three males. If it’s a substantial role, they’ll say, “OK, number one on the list is Julia Roberts. It could be a 50-year-old hunchback, black woman, and they’ll still go to Julia before going to Whoopi!” she said.

Bedelia is currently married to Michael MacRae and is basically missing in action from Hollywood, deciding to pursue her other passion, painting. She’s also written a memoir for her sons Uri and Jonah from her previous marriage.

So, now you know just what happened to Little Joe’s wife during and after the still-popular syndicated television series Bonanza.