By Dawson Fearnow | East Valley Tribune
Historians say that today’s East Valley was mostly just barren desert during the whole “Wild West” era. But don’t tell that to the hundreds of wannabe cowboys and cowgirls who flock to Mesa every year from the far-flung corners of the world, looking for an authentic slice of the Wild West. Or at least, Hollywood’s version of it.
“Bonanza” was a beloved TV Western that was one of the most popular shows of the 1960s and early ’70s, and still lives on in reruns – and Internet fan clubs – across the globe. So popular, in fact, that the show’s star, Lorne Greene, decided to build a replica of the show’s signature set piece, the Ponderosa Ranch House, on a golf course and home development on the then-distant outskirts of east Mesa.
That sprawling log cabin that Lorne Greene dubbed the Ponderosa II was the focal point last week for the annual “Bonanza Friendship Reunion,” a celebration of the show and its fans.