Bonanza was a television Western which aired on NBC from 1959 until 1973. The series became the second longest-running TV Western, after Gunsmoke. Bonanza focused on the Cartwrights, owners of the Ponderosa ranch, and their attempts to help friends and neighbors in nearby Virgina City.
In 1970, for the second season of Sesame Street, series stars Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright), Michael Landon (Little Joe), and Dan Blocker (Hoss) appeared in multiple inserts, in character, on the Virginia City set, and with their horses. Greene and Landon subsequently did similar duty on The Electric Company.
- Counting to twenty (First: Episode 0131)
- Demonstrating near and far (EKA: Episode 0161)
- Saying the alphabet (First: Episode 0136)
- Adding horses (EKA: Episode 0150)
- Subtracting horses (EKA: Episode 0184)
- In The Jim Henson Hour episode 101, Space Guy is reluctant to communicate with alien visitors, for fear of missing Bonanza.
- The Bonanza theme (by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston) was used during the cowboy portion of the Sesame Street Live show When I Grow Up.
In addition to the three stars, several performers who appeared on the series have also worked in Muppet/Henson productions.
- Roscoe Lee Browne played Joshua in "He Was Only Seven" (1972)
- James Coburn played Pete Jessop in "The Truckee Strip" (1959), Ross Marquette in "The Dark Gate" (1961), Trace in "The Long Night" (1962)
- Dabney Coleman played Ivor Peterson in "Queen High" (1968) and Clyde in "A Darker Shadow" (1969)
- George Gaynes played Senator Purdy in "The Late Ben Cartwright" (1968)
- Pat Hingle played Sheriff Austin in "The Silence at Stillwater" (1969)
- Sally Kellerman played Kathleen Walker in "A Dollar's Worth of Trouble" (1966) and Lotta Crabtree in "Return Engagement" (1970)
- Leslie Nielsen played Sheriff Paul Rowan in "The Unseen Wound" (1967)
- Jaime Sánchez played Ramon Cardenez in "El Jefe" (1970)
- Telly Savalas played Charles Hackett in "To Own the World" (1965)
- William Schallert played George Norton in "Look to the Stars" (1962)
- Olan Soule played the town telegrapher in several episodes
- Harry Dean Stanton played Bill in "The Dark Gate" (1961), Styles in "The Way of Aaron" (1963),
- John Stephenson played John Henry in "The Sisters" (1960)
- John Vernon played Beaudry in "Yonder Man" (1968)
- Scott Walker played Guthrie Amber in "The Rattlesnake Brigade" (1971)
- Jack Warden played Mike Wilson in "The Paiute War" (1959)
Several actors who appeared as themselves with the Muppets also worked on the series.
- John Astin played Abner Willoughby in "Abner Willoughby's Return" (1969)
- David Canary played ranch hand Candy (1968-1970, 1972-1973)
- Sandy Duncan played Colleen in "An Earthwauke Called Callahan" (1971)
- Jodie Foster played Bluebird in "A Place to Hide" (1972)
- Mariette Hartley played Alicia Purcell
- Ron Howard played Ted Hoag in "The Initation" (1972)
- Ted Knight played Sgt. Brown in "A Place to Hide" (1972)
- Richard Mulligan played Farley in "Kingdom of Fear" and Dr. Mark Sloan in "Don't Cry, My Son" (both 1971)
- Leonard Nimoy played Freddy in "The Ape" (1960)
- Marlo Thomas played Tai Lee in "A Pink Cloud Comes from Old Cathy" (1964)