Willie Nelson to star in ‘Bonanza’ movie, with Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Shooter Jennings


Willie Nelson’s publicist announced today that Willie will star in the movie version of ‘Bonanza,’  the television show that ran from 1959 – 1973, originally starring Lorne Greene as Ben Cartright, Pernell Roberts as Adam, Dan Blocker as Hoss and Michael Landon as Little Joe.


Nelson will play patriarch Ben Cartright, 3-time widower, who had a child from each of his three wives.  Shooter Jennings will play Adam, Woody Harrelson will play Hoss and Owen Wilson stars as Little Joe.


In the movie, Pa Cartright is upset that his sons continue to live at home and refuse to move out and get their own places.  He longs for the day when he can  run away to Texas with his Mexican girlfriend Rosalita, played by Selma Hayek. 

Ben and Rosalita hatch a plan to have a large party at the Ponderosa and invite beautiful women from all over Nevada, in the hopes that his boys will finally meet someone and move out.  Ben even invites some handsome young cowboys, in the event that any of his sons may be secretly frequently fond of handsome young cowboys.

The party is in full swing, and Rusty Spurs and his Cactus Cowboys (played by Johnny Bush and his band) play music while the guests dance,  when a young man runs into the ranch house and yells out that horse thieves have stolen all the horses.


As it turns out, Ben Cartright’s nemisis, El Guapo, played  by Paul English, and his no-good sons Juanito and Jorgito, played by Sean Penn and Mickey Raphael,  have taken off with the Cartright herd and all the horses of their wealthy guests.


Ben and the boys call in favors of local outlaws ‘Los Machachos,’ played by the Fryed Brothers, who help them find the horses and bring the Guapo brothers to justice.   There are a few plot twists in the end, involving a pet monkey and a runaway stagecoach that adds to the film’s excitement.

Filming starts later this summer at Willie Nelson’s western movie set town of Luck, Texas. Willie will record the soundtrack, which will include Willie’s recording of the beautiful Bonanza theme song, sung in the video here by Lorne Greene.

**** APRIL FOOL’S*****

12 Responses to “Willie Nelson to star in ‘Bonanza’ movie, with Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Shooter Jennings”

  1. Corinna says:

    Is this for real, or is it an elaborate Willie-style April Fool’s joke?

  2. LindaLee says:

    I think the soundtrack will be great, don’t you?

  3. MissTex says:

    hahaha…Bill Mack told Willie that someone had sent a msg. asking if Willie was going to be playing Ben Cartwright in a new Bonaza movie. Willie didn’t know what he was talking about. It was sooo funny. I wanted to call in so badly and tell Willie to read your blog. 🙂

    Did you hear it today, Linda?

  4. linda says:

    I did! I hope he reads it, too. But I have been getting so many e-mails and phone calls about the schedule. I finally added *completely fictitious** under the fake colorado schedule. You can joke about somethings, but not Willie’s schedule!

    I wonder where he’s playing in Austin tomorrow nite?

  5. MissTex says:

    I wonder myself, not that I could go but we just always MUST know where Willie is playing.

    Yeah, I just saw the Colorado schedule come across my Google alert. I’d be moving in with you for a month if it were true!!! 🙂

  6. ---------------------- says:

    This BETTER be a joke! Seriously!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, this joke sure had plenty of Bonanza fans horrified, I can tell you that…

  8. LindaLee says:

    Oh, Anon, who could you cast in a Bonanza movie that would be better than Willie and those guys?

  9. LindaLee says:

    Wouldn’t you love to see that movie?

  10. MissTex says:

    horrified???????? 🙁 I would sure love to see this movie!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well, when I say horrified, I speak for many, many fans on the Bonanza fansites (yeah, they’re still out there!) They’re about to have heart attacks over it! You’re talking about the holy grail of western television! LOL I myself kinda wish it would happen. No, it wouldn’t do the original show justice (Woody as Hoss? Come on!) but it sounds like an entertaining idea. I love both Willie and Owen, so I’d watch it for them alone.

  12. LindaLee says:

    Yeah, I sure didn’t mean to make light of any Bonanza fans. My family can’t understand why I google for Willie news everyday, either, so there you go. Was there ever a movie? Chris Farley would have made a good Hoss — what do you think? I was trying to think of people Willie likes to hang out with. It was interesting to learn that Bonanza was second only to Gunsmoke for longevity. Now I want to watch it again. I don’t think there are any re-makes in the works, so everyone can probably rest easy. Thanks for visiting the site.

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